Posts Tagged With: Personal

Day 289: Sometimes, it just helps to know you’re not alone

Two confessions, this morning:

  1. Sometimes, I confuse words for things. For example,  I’ll say “January” when I mean “July.”  I wonder if people think —  when I do that — that I am confused about what time of year it is.  THAT could be embarrassing.
  2. Sometimes, I procrastinate making changes. That can feel embarrassing, too.

So it helps when I realize that I’m not alone in these imperfections. Especially when I realize that I am joined by a person — or an establishment — that I respect.

Therefore, I was pleased to see this sign, this past October weekend, in front of one of my favorite local restaurants.

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Besides the headline, I want to point out some other things about that sign:

  1. It’s located in the eastern United States (not in Australia or any other place south of the equator).
  2. It uses one of my favorite words (“yummy”).
  3. It concludes with something I’ve considered using more of, lately (an emoticon).

If you don’t like emoticons, insert your own preferred smiling image, here, to conclude.

Wait!  Before I do end today’s blog post, I’d like to present some of MY preferred smiling images (from previous posts, this year):

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There’s more, but it’s time for me to end this post, people!

Thanks to Patou Thai Restaurant, people confused in any way by seasonal change, procrastinators (and anti-crastinators, if such people exist), smilers everywhere, and to you, of course, for reading today.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Day 211: A short (but sweet) post

In any moment, you can learn from anything and anyone you meet.

Including this:

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Thank you, bumper sticker!

And thanks to all my readers, including you.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Day 198: The Balance of The Internal and External

This is what I’m thinking this morning:

It’s helpful to balance the internal world and the external world.

Too much focus on the internal world of my own thoughts, feelings and experience = Out of Balance.

Too much focus on the external world (including the internal worlds of other people) = Out of Balance.

The trick, ladies and gentleman, is to figure out a “good enough” balance.

Another trick is to leave lots of room for good-enough balances (so there’s not a razor-thin edge of sought perfection). (That’s a useful trick, in lots of human endeavors.)

I just looked for a visual aid for this post, by googling “balance.” The one I chose, first, was this:

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Hmmmm. Maybe these guys said “Balancing can be simple” because they were trying to sell somebody something.

But maybe they’re right, anyway.

Simple doesn’t mean obvious or easy, though, does it?

Another image that grabbed me, in that Google search, was this:

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That image lead me to this page, called “A Very, Very, Very Delicate Balance.” There, RadioLab’s Robert Krulwich writes about the artist, Michael Grab:

These rocks, says the artist, are not glued, not Velcroed. This is not a trick.

The-Mindblowing-Art-of-Rock-Balancing-by-Michael-Grab_05-@-GenCept (1)

Here are some other things I could write about this morning:

  • NPR’s RadioLab, in particular, is something I’ve been wanting to take some time to listen to, as I re-balance my personal internal and external.
  • While I was writing this blog post, my cat, who is a much more adept and complex user of my laptop than I am, suddenly made all the components I was using to compose this post disappear — Pooof!
  • Which resulted in my needing to use a different part of WordPress to finish this post, which made that last picture show up smaller than I wanted (I haven’t figured out, yet, how to fix this).

Perhaps, if I had more time this morning, I could more smoothly and beautifully arrange the pieces of this post, to pull everything together, making a bridge to some amazing conclusion.

But I don’t. So, that concludes our blog post for today.

Thank you, dear reader, for including this as part of your balance, today.

_____

P.S. On January 9, 2014, I re-visited this post, with more knowledge than I had when I first wrote it, on July 17, 2013. So, now, I will present that image in the size I wanted to, back then:

The-Mindblowing-Art-of-Rock-Balancing-by-Michael-Grab_05-@-GenCept (1)

 

Yay!

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Day 196: Why I’m Anxious Today (E-mail, anybody?)

Why am I anxious today?

Oh, so many reasons, and so little little time to list them, this morning.

1. Technology, for cripe’s sake.

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I am all for trying new things — with a brave, adventurous, and confident spirit, whenever I can muster it — but technology is proceeding at a rate that seems to be leaving me in a confused dust, too much of the time.

And I am a quick learner, people. Others remark on how quick I am. “Wow! What a quick learner you are, Ann!” they are likely to say, without undo prompting from me. And yet, I am in a constant state of dizziness regarding what I have to learn JUST TO KEEP UP these days.

An example might help here, I suppose. (Although I am imagining that you just might be filling in with your own examples, at this point.)

E-mail!

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Ah, e-mail! How do I fear thee … let me count the ways.

  1. There’s way too much of it.
  2. I have trouble keeping track of it.
  3. Just when I think I’ve grasped the rudimentary necessities for E-mail Survival, a new version of my e-mail service comes along — WITHOUT MY CHOICE OR CONSENT — which screws up my already tentative grip on it.
  4. It’s designed to destroy my life. That might sound dramatic, but here’s one example: In the handy-dandy, instant access clickable group of icons for each of my e-mails, THE FLAG ICON IS RIGHT NEXT TO THE GARBAGE ICON. So what’s the inevitable result, if your hand is slightly unsteady, because of too-much-e-mail-induced anxiety? Just this: When I see an e-mail I need to flag NOW, just to keep it bobbing above the sea of other important but less important e-mails, I am just as likely to erroneously stick it in the garbage can. And vice versa.
  5. Arrrrghhhhh!

(pant, pant, pant)

Now where was I? Oh, yes, I started a list of things that were making me anxious today, and technology was #1. Okay! Time to move on.

2. Isn’t technology enough of a reason, people?

Thanks for reading today. (And if you have any hints about how to help me reduce my anxiety, I am all ears and eager to hear.)

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Day 193: Polished stones

In my office, where I do individual and group therapy, I have a basket of polished stones.

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(These are also called “tumbled stones.”)

Whenever I am registering and orienting a new person to the groups I do, I use these stones to show how I do mindfulness exercises.

I tell the person to choose a stone. I choose one, too.

I say that the stone will be the focus of the mindfulness exercise. I invite the person to be as present as possible with that stone, to engage with the stone with the senses “sight, touch … eyes open, eyes closed … as you choose.”

I say, “Other thoughts will come up … your mind will go into the past, the future, outside the room. That’s how our minds are built, so this is not about focusing perfectly. It’s about the re-commitment, in the moment, of re-focusing on the stone.”

I say that I will signal the beginning and the end of the exercise with my chime.

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I say, “Whatever happens between the two chimes, you are doing this correctly.”

Then, I tap the chime.

https://annkoplow.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/zenergy.mp3

During the exercise, I focus on the stone that I have chosen, gently letting go of thoughts that come up for me, which often include “I wonder what this experience is like for this person?”

Then, after a few minutes have gone by, I tap the chime again.

https://annkoplow.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/zenergy.mp3

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I say, “You don’t need to tell me, but I am always eager to hear what that experience was like for you.”

And the person almost always responds, often mentioning a memory inspired by this stone. Or surprise about how easy (or difficult) it was to focus.

Sometimes people say that the stone they chose was a lot like them. They note imperfections in the mostly perfect stone. They use words like “strong,” “hard,” “smooth,” “chipped,” “scratched,” “rough,” “beautiful.”

I am often moved by what people say about their experience of the mindfulness exercise.

When they are finished speaking, I say that the orientation for the group is done, and that they can participate in the group, as they choose, from now on.

And, finally, I tell them that the stone is theirs to keep.

It never ceases to affect me, how people respond to that.

Almost always, it’s as if I have given them an important and precious gift.

A simple, imperfect stone.

Thanks for the gift of your presence, today.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Day 168: A dream of dancing

In Day 148: Dreams I Have Known, I wrote about a dream where I knew I was asleep and dreaming, didn’t like the feeling, and tried to wake up, fighting the typical “dream paralysis.”

Last night, I had a dream that started that same way: that is, I had just fallen asleep and I knew I was dreaming. Usually I don’t like those early-sleep dreams, because I often have a sense of discomfort or foreboding … like there is some danger present. Last night, I didn’t fight the dream or try to wake up, and it quickly shifted into something else. I was in a room that was like a big studio, with mirrors on the walls. I could see myself, and I decided to try some dance moves. Specifically, I wanted to kick my legs way up, to a full extension. Something like this:

kimeneslatteryching

Or this:

Micah kick

And I could see myself, and that reflected image looked like me and dressed like me, and — lo and behold — I could do those kicks.

It was great.

I woke up and I thought, “I want to remember that dream. And I want to blog about it tomorrow.”

I did and I am.

I’m enjoying the memory of that dream, right now. It was fun, freeing, and effortless. I felt graceful and centered. I was surprised by my skill and knew that it was the Dream Me, but the movement and expression seemed to come out of the Real Me.

While I might not be able to kick exactly the way I did in that dream, I know I can kick — in other ways — in real life.

Thanks for kicking back with me, here and now.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Day 164: Unfreezing

When I was a kid, I had lots of scary experiences in the hospital, all by myself, because my parents weren’t allowed to be with me.

I remember listening to the beeping sounds of heart monitors, in the darkest part of the night, feeling frozen.

I’m writing this blog post from a cot in a hospital room, next to my amazing 15-year-old son, who is recovering quite nicely from a procedure, this afternoon, to correct a “spontaneous pneumothorax.”

Earlier, this was the view from his hospital room as day turned to night:

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It’s the darkest part of the night, right now. The only sounds I hear in this room are reassuring ones, including those of my son’s undisturbed sleep.

Each moment I’m with him now, I’m unfreezing.

Thanks, so much, for witnessing this.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Day 158: The Ascending Coil (revisited)

The first week I blogged here, back in January, I shared the introduction of a book I’m working on, which described a wonderful, useful way to look at your healing journey through life.

The Ascending Coil

I can use the word “wonderful” with all due modesty, because it’s not my idea.  Carl Jung came up with this soulful and true metaphor, which matches so many people’s experience of learning and growth.

This is what Jung said: While we may expect ourselves to learn and proceed through life in a linear fashion, like this:

grwthL

The human experience is more like this:

SlinkyRetro_L5

 

(And  yes, that is  a picture of a Slinky!!) (Which I’m thrilled to have found this morning on-line, especially since several people I work with have bought Slinkies,  to remind themselves of this concept.)

Look at that beautiful Slinky.  THAT is how we grow. We move around in circles, learning similar lessons over and over again.

Of couse, that kind of path can feel discouraging at times … like we’re moving backwards. Like we’re relearning things we should  know already.

But here’s the good news. We’re always moving up.  Each time we go around, we have new wisdom and experience. Even when we move back around into periods of pain, confusion, or hopelessness, we will turn another corner and continue to move forward.

We can’t fall back. We can’t unlearn.  It’s impossible.

It make take us several go-rounds to learn something “well enough” to change, but we’re always building, in some way, on what we’ve experienced.

Why did I want to revisit this ascending coil, this morning?

Because when I woke up this morning, facing some difficult challenges — some new opportunities that scare me, I had this thought, which helped tremendously:

Today, I am more equipped than I’ve ever been in my life, to tackle what’s ahead of me.  Because, no matter what I’m doing, I’m further along, on this mortal coil.

Thanks for reading, wherever you are, today.

 

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Day 152: Weighty Matters

Oh, brother. (Oh, sister, too.)

This topic does feel like a weight — on my shoulders and in my gut.

And the topic is …. weight.  How much we weigh.

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Arrrghhhh!

This is SUCH a loaded topic.

There are so many aspects to it.

Body image.

Self worth.

Health.

Societal messages.

The value of women.

The value of human beings.

Stereotypes and prejudices.

Nutrition.

Food addiction.

Family dynamics.

Advertising.

Food-related politics and policies.

National, cultural, and historical differences in attitudes towards food and weight.

Etc. etc. etc.

(You may want to add to that list, depending upon your experience with this topic.)

Here’s my major point, this morning.  All these different thoughts — small and large — floating around in my brain, are inspired by something so trivial … that feels so huge to me:

I weigh more, today, than I ever have in my life.

And it’s difficult for me to feel as valuable and “okay,” once having noticed that.

Which makes me mad, especially since  I’ve worked with so many people, over the years, about cultivating self-esteem divorced from appearance, including weight.

So I’m taking the first step, right now, of naming my observation, my confusion, and my reactions.

That’s the beginning of my process — of moving forward, wherever that takes me.

Thank you for reading and witnessing (wherever you are, with all this).

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Day 145: Positioning and Payments

Yesterday, I wrote about my attempts to remember an important Message to Self, whenever I’m feeling down, depressed, or discouraged, which involved storing this message in a special place.

Today, I moved the Box With The Message, so it can be closer at hand.

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I don’t want to lose track of it.

I needed to pay some bills today.  I just finished scheduling some on-line payments.

One of these bills — my electric bill — is going to be late, as usual.  Arrghh! I know why this is.  It’s because my way of remembering to pay bills is outmoded.

This is the out-dated process of bill-paying I use:

  1. I have it in my head that I should pay all my bills on the 23rd of each month. 
  2. Starting around the 18th, I start to ask myself whether it’s time to pay my bills.
  3. I don’t actually pay my bills, I just ask myself that question every day.
  4. On the 23rd, I remember that this technique is based on a time in my life that — if I mailed all my bills on the 23rd — they would all get paid in time.
  5. I delay doing anything about this for a day or two, because I now pay most bills on-line, and the Big Bills are all due by the 1st.
  6. Around the 25th of the month, I schedule the on-line bill payments.
  7. I feel guilty and stoopid, because — as always — I am late with the electric bill, which is actually due in the middle of the month.

Well!  That was cathartic (if embarrassing) — to actually write down my Out-Moded and Not Particularly Effective Process for Paying My Bills.

I think I want to make a change in my life, people.

This is what I am proposing:  when a bill comes in the mail,  I will immediately rip open the bill and schedule the payment on-line.

Wow!  That would sure save me a lot of wasted steps, time, and anxious energy.

And now that I’ve committed to doing that, here, I can feel a change coming on.

I will keep you posted.

Thanks for reading (and witnessing my process of change).

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

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