Because I’m a group therapist, I am privileged to witness the healing power of untold stories being told.
Yesterday, after listening to previously untold and moving stories in a group, I noticed this sign at the Public Gardens in Boston:
Do you find any untold stories in my other images for today?
There are often untold stories behind the National Days.
Here’s an untold story about the National Days and me: Periodically somebody on Twitter gets mad about the frivolity of my tweeting the National Days list every morning. From now on, I’m responding with this:
Here’s what I find on YouTube when I search for “untold stories”:
I look forward to your untold stories, below.
Thanks to all who share and witness previously untold stories, including YOU.
Yesterday, between two therapy groups where people tell stories about themselves, I asked this question on Twitter:
Some people on Twitter pointed out that there were many ways to answer that question — is the story the truth or a lie? Is it a story you tell to yourself or to others? My story about the questions I ask is this: there is no right or wrong way to answer any of them. I deliberately made the question ambiguous, so people could answer as they chose.
Personally, I’ve been thinking a lot about the old, habitual stories we tell about ourselves and how those affect us. Many people tell negative, limiting, and outmoded stories about themselves. For example, I tell a story about myself making a mistake that might markedly harm myself and others, even though that has rarely happened in my life. This fear-filled story can make me hesitant to act and can cause me to agonize over something I might have done or will do “wrong.”
I can also get confused by the conflicting stories others tell. For example, which story should I believe: “Look before you leap!” or “He who hesitates is lost!”
What’s a story that today’s images tell?
Now I’m thinking about (1) stories that use strong language, (2) stories people tell to bartenders and (3) the unforgettable stories that movies tell us.
Also, the story I’m telling about the potato latkes Michael made yesterday …
… is that they are the best I’ve ever had.
This is what I find on YouTube when I search for “what’s a story you tell about yourself?”
When people in therapy tell me they are self-destructive, I think:
that is how they are telling the story about themselves for now,
it might be a helpful insight,
it might lead to hopelessness,
it might be a self-fulfilling prophecy,
it’s not destructive that they are in therapy,
there are other things they are doing that are not self-destructive, and
they are not destroyed.
I don’t think it’s self-destructive to share the inspiration for today’s blog title:
Is it self-destructive to share all of my recent images?
Is anybody being self-destructive in today’s video, a compilation of home news bloopers?
It would not be self-destructive to leave your thoughts and feelings about this “Self-destructive” post in the comments section, below. It’s also not self-destructive to express gratitude, so thanks to all who help me create these daily blogs, including YOU.
Do you see any metaphors in my other captured images from yesterday?
I wonder if it’s a metaphor that on this Presidents’ Day weekend my phone and my laptop are not communicating and are refusing to share images with each other. Maybe it’s a metaphor that I’m working harder to create these posts, starting on my phone and then completing my daily blog on my laptop.
Nevertheless, it’s easy enough to share this metaphor-filled song, performed by The Temptations and UB40:
I look forward to any metaphors, similes, or other figures of speech in your comments, below.
Thanks to all who helped me create this “Metaphors” post, including YOU!
That’s what effective, committed, and passionate healers and interventionists like Woody Geismann do — they facilitate people changing the narrative of their life stories for the better. Woody has a lot of experience changing the narrative of his own life — from the drummer of the Boston rock band the Del Fuegos to the founder of Right Turn and also from somebody who had a serious brain aneurysm in 2016 to a person who learned how to walk and talk again.
Do you see evidence of people changing the narrative in these photos?
That’s Cynthia (who as the new CEO of Right Turn is changing the narrative of the program while also preserving and expanding its power) sitting under a painting done by Woody, who changes narratives through music AND art. Cynthia and I had a great talk about how we’ve been changing the narratives of ourselves and others through different careers and through our experiences with different people.
Woody also changed my narrative of the Rolling Stones by telling me this story about them:
Ronnie and Keith were asked which of them was the better guitarist. Ronnie said, “Of course, it’s me!” Keith said, “Neither of us are particularly good guitarists, but together we create something special.” Keith is a very wise person.
I’m probably changing the narrative of Woody’s wonderful story, because I didn’t write down his exact words.
Now I’m changing the narrative of this post by sharing my other photos from yesterday:
Oscar is changing the narrative of who is interested in latkes on Chanukah.
Here’s today’s final example of changing the narrative:
Michael (who makes latkes that are almost as fabulous as my late mother‘s) and I will be changing the narrative of our lives when we get married this Friday.
There are lots of videos about “Changing the Narrative” on YouTube. Here‘s one of them:
That Canadian Beekeeper is changing the narrative by asking for help and support, which we all need to survive.
I like changing the narrative through music, so here is Eliza singing about changing the narrative in “Burn” from the musical Hamilton.
Now, you have the option of changing the narrative of this post by leaving a comment, below.
I’m not changing how I end every narrative in this blog. As always, I end with gratitude to all who helped me share all the narratives in today’s post and — of course! — to you, you, you.
1. a story or account of events, experiences, or the like, whether true or fictitious.
2. a book, literary work, etc., containing such a story.
3. the art, technique, or process of narrating, or of telling a story:
“Somerset Maugham was a master of narrative.”
4. a story that connects and explains a carefully selected set of supposedly true events, experiences, or the like, intended to support a particular viewpoint or thesis:
“to rewrite the prevailing narrative about masculinity”; “the narrative that our public schools are failing.”
Because I’m a psychotherapist who uses narrative therapy, I’m going to add to the narrative here with a description of that.
Narrative therapy is a form of psychotherapy that seeks to help people identify their values and the skills and knowledge they have to live these values, so they can effectively confront whatever problems they face. The therapist seeks to help the person co-author a new narrative about themselves by investigating the history of those qualities. Narrative therapy claims to be a social justice approach to therapeutic conversations, seeking to challenge dominant discourses that it claims shape people’s lives in destructive ways.
Yesterday, I noticed some self-destructive, outmoded, and fixed narratives, including
The people at SoundBot are sharing the narrative, above, that every moment deserves a song. Here‘s a song — which intertwines lots of narratives — that I was listening to yesterday with my new SoundBot wireless musical earmuffs:
We all have a different, personal narrative of the events of September 11, 2001, but we all share elements of that painful narrative.
I look forward to the narratives in the comments, below.
I end every narrative here with gratitude, so thanks to all who help me create these daily posts, including YOU.
I wonder if this post will be the exception that proves the rule. In order to know that, we need to know what “the exception that proves the rule” means.
“The exception proves the rule” is a saying whose meaning has been interpreted or misinterpreted in various ways. Its true definition, or at least original meaning, is that the presence of an exception applying to a specific case establishes (“proves”) that a general rule exists. For example, a sign that says “parking prohibited on Sundays” (the exception) “proves” that parking is allowed on the other six days of the week (the rule). A more explicit phrasing might be “the exception that proves the existence of the rule.”
An alternative explanation often encountered is that the word “prove” is used in the archaic sense of “test”. Thus, the saying does not mean that an exception demonstrates a rule to be true or to exist, but that it tests the rule. In this sense, it is usually used when an exception to a rule has been identified:[clarification needed] for example, Mutillidae are wasps without wings which cannot fly, and therefore are an exception that proves (tests) the rule that wasps fly. The explanation that “proves” really means “tests” is, however, considered false by some sources.
One of my rules here is providing some clarity and explanation about why I’m writing each of my daily posts. Maybe this post will be an exception to that.
Or maybe not. In narrative therapy, it’s important to identify exceptions to people’s unhelpful, generalized, negative rules about themselves and their lives. For example, if somebody sees themselves as a loser or a failure, the narrative therapist helps them identify and talk more about the exceptions to that self-defeating rule.
When I hear exceptions outside my therapy office, I sometimes say, “That’s the exception that proves the rule. Whatever that means.” I’m realizing now that I do know what it means.
Let’s see if any of my photos today illustrate “the exception that proves the rule.”
Usually we don’t have balloons of woodland creatures in the cafeteria at work. Yesterday, there was a holiday celebration called “Wintery Woodlands,” where employees received hot chocolate, chocolate-covered pretzels, a calendar, and a lunchbox. Because I’m exceptionally distracted these days, I left my calendar and lunchbox in the cafeteria. The rule is only one calendar and lunchbox for everyone, so I guess I’m out of luck.
That’s my new and exceptional co-worker, Alice. She’s also taking a picture of the wintry woodlands in that photo. I have a rule, in this blog, of not identifying where I work. I don’t think this photo is an exception to that. (Although I have slipped, one or two times, during the two thousand, two hundred, and ten days of blogging, so I guess those posts are exceptions that prove the rule.)
I’ve taken a lot of photos of this hotel marquee, but none of them have ever said, “12 Days of Music.” I am predicting that this photo won’t be the last one that says that. I’ve also included a lot of music in this daily blog, but I don’t remember ever including any punk. If so, today will be the exception that proves the rule.
Here’s a punk rock cover of “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”
If you usually don’t comment, why not make today the exception that proves the rule?
I’m considering not thanking people at the end of this post (which definitely is a rule at this blog), but some rules I do not want there to be an exception to. So, exceptional thanks to all those who helped me create today’s blog and — of course! — to YOU.
My story — and I’m sticking to it — is that everybody has the right to tell his-story or her-story.
Last night, people in my therapy group told many important and interesting stories. As an exercise, I suggested that we each create and illustrate our own personal book — building that story in just twenty minutes!
Here’s the story I created in group last night:
These other images were part of my story yesterday:
How would you tell your story in just twenty minutes? What might be the background music for your story?