Posts Tagged With: Rumi

Day 1630: What you seek

As I seek for ways to begin today’s post, here’s something I found yesterday when I was seeking  photos for this blog.

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Here and now, I am seeking

  • Peace.
  • Health.
  • Love.
  • Connection.
  • Acceptance.
  • Forgiveness.
  • Kindness.
  • Understanding.
  • Nourishment.
  • Meaning.
  • Joy.

According to Rumi, all those things are seeking me.

What are you seeking? Is it possible those things are seeking you?

Here are more images from yesterday that were seeking me:

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I am now seeking music for today’s post. Let’s see what’s seeking me on YouTube.

In my world today,  I’l be seeking new eyeglasses so I can see better in my seeking.

Finally, thanks and appreciation to all who helped me seek and find today’s post and to you — of course! — for all that you seek.

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Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

Day 1145: Comparisons

When I woke up this morning in my incomparable friend Jeanette’s home in Philadelphia, I knew today’s blog post would be called “Comparisons.”

Comparing myself to other human beings, I think we all do many comparisons, every day,  including:

  • Comparisons of ourselves to other people.
  • Comparisons of the present to the past.
  • Comparisons of reality to what we think should be.

How would you compare my comparatively short list of common comparisons to comparisons you’ve noticed?

Compared to other definitions, here’s how “Comparisons” are defined in my list of Cognitive Distortions (Automatic and Unhelpful Thoughts):

Comparisons.
We compare ourselves to others, with ourselves coming out short. For example, “I’m not as smart (or good, competent, good-looking, lovable, etc.) as that other person.” Or, we compare ourselves to how we think we should be, or how we’ve been before. We might think that comparisons help motivate us, but they usually make us feel worse.

Comparing this to other blog posts I’ve written, I need to include:

  1. an explanation of why “Comparisons” was on my mind when I woke up.  In two days, I’ll be trying out for “The Voice,” where my voice will be compared to thousands of others.
  2. photos, which could be compared to each other and/or to other photos you’ve seen.

I am now comparing the size of two of those photos, above,  to what I want them to be.  Here are the two Rumi quotes on Jeanette’s kitchen cabinets, comparatively larger, so you can compare them:

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How would you compare this post to others?

Many thanks to Jeanette, to Rumi, and to my readers, all beyond compare.

Categories: friendship, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , | 35 Comments

Day 230: Random thoughts (on a non-random Sunday)

Fact.  I am returning to work tomorrow, after taking a two-week vacation which included a trip to London and Edinburgh with my son.

Past-focused thinking.  When I’ve returned to work after time off, I’ve previously experienced:

  1. A helpful sense of perspective.
  2. Feeling overwhelmed as I’ve tried to catch up with things I’ve missed.
  3. All sorts of assumptions about people’s reactions to my being gone and my being back.

Future-focused thinking. I hope that #1, above, will be with me when I return to work tomorrow, and that it will linger, a welcomed guest.*  I fear that #2 and #3 might be with me, in unhelpful ways.**

Wishful thinking. I’m looking forward to returning to work for many reasons, including seeing this in my office.

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Yes, that’s a magic wand, for making wishes (when wishes might be helpful).

Here are my three wishes, for today:

  1.  I wish that I can be in the moment, as best I can.
  2. I wish that I can accept where I am.
  3. I wish that everything that people have ever said about how if one shares a wish it won’t come true is …. rubbish.***

Okay!  Time for a wishing sound (and feel free to join in with your own wishes for today):

Thanks to Jojikiba (for the YouTube sound effect), to The Princess Spinning Light Up Wand, to wishers everywhere, and to you, for reading today.


*  See the Rumi poem “Guest House”, which is at the end of this post.

** Come to think of it, look at that Rumi poem again.

*** I thought of many possible words for what I wanted to express here, and settled on one I enjoyed hearing during our recent time in the UK.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Day 215: Bragging, Fear of Envy, and Healing

In my family, growing up, there was a value placed on humility.

Also, there was a fear of reprisal for the Sin of bragging.

I heard, around my house,  many times, that if one bragged, retribution could be swift — from supernatural sources or from my fellow human beings. And I grew up with some fear about envy directed towards me.

I also felt safe enough to feel “full of myself” as I grew.

I have a particular memory, at age seven, of balancing on a short, wrought-iron railing in my backyard.

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That’s not the actual railing from my backyard. Somehow, though, that captures the “feel” of my memory (even though that Google Image shows the winter, not the beautiful spring day of my memory).

In that wonderful memory,  when I was seven, I was balancing on the wrought-iron railing in my backyard, and thinking, for the first time, thoughts like these:

“Hey!  I can do this!

“I am whole.”

“I am great.”

It’s hard to capture that memory in words, because it’s my first memory of a certain feeling. In retrospect, using my “clinical lens” as a psychotherapist, I would now say those were my first feelings of mastery.  My first feelings of self esteem, as a young child.

That moment was so wonderful, that I can remember it, clearly, fifty three years later.

I believe that there were probably many reasons why I had those feelings, that day. Here’s one reason, I’m speculating now: I must have felt loved, by people I also loved.

However, like I mentioned before, there was also fear of reprisal, in my home, for feeling too full of yourself. And I did feel very full of myself, that fine spring day, balancing on a short wrought-iron railing in the backyard.

And, sure enough, there were some “reprisals” from the universe.  Before much time had passed, after that wonderful spring day, I was spending a lot of time, ill, in hospital beds, separated from the people who loved me.

But there were a couple of people, in those hospitals, who also loved me (enough), to help me feel safe (enough). That’s what I believe, right now.

As a result, I may have been damaged by those scary hospital experiences, but I didn’t completely lose that wholeness I had felt, while balancing on that wrought-iron fence in the backyard.

I may have lost track of that wholeness and self-esteem, at times. But it was always there, waiting for me to find it again.

i was wounded, but not shattered. And wounds can heal.

A therapist once gave me a poem, which included a line about a vase that had been broken and glued back together again.  I can’t remember the poem or the line, but I remember the important “points” of that poem: The vase was whole again, in a new way. And the vase was strongest,  at the mended join.

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It doesn’t feel that way, sometimes. I can feel most vulnerable, most at risk of shattering, at those scarred and mending places. And when I feel more vulnerable, I can be more afraid of those Old-Time Scary Things: Envy from other people and from the universe at large.

Which can keep me “playing small,” at times. Which can prevent me from bragging. Which can prevent me from climbing up and saying to myself or others:

“Hey! I can do this!”

“I am whole.”

“I am great.”

Despite that fear, I am going to take a risk today, and quote some co-workers who reviewed their experience of working with me, last week. (All quotes are anonymous, of course, and each person stated comfort with these quotes being shared.)

(Taking a deep breath, because this DOES feel scary.)

Okay, here are some quotes:

Working with Ann has been very rewarding.

With her emphasis on forming and maintaining connections, she is highly successful in forging relationships with patients and staff alike, and with the strength of her conviction that everyone has valuable resources to share with others, she inspires hope and bolsters self esteem.

Ann is exceedingly approachable and collaborative. Always upbeat and very devoted to her work and helping other providers and patients alike.

I am very happy to work with Ann. She is a knowledgeable and compassionate therapist.

I love teaming with Ann Koplow and hope we continue our partnership.

Working with Ann has been a great experience for me. She is always open to my questions and eager to help. Her energy and enthusiasm raise the spirits of her colleagues. She is most certainly a trusted partner and collaborator in the care of our patients. My patients who have been able to do therapy with Ann give me only positive feedback.

Yikes, those are good reviews.

So what am I afraid of, now? That perhaps sharing those might be alienating to some people. That perhaps my “bragging” will cause some retribution against me, in some way.

However, while I have witnessed the backlash of envy (from people or the universe), which has fueled those old fears,  I have also witnessed something quite different, too:

The mutual power of healing.

That is, when one person feels healed in a group — which often involves accepting positive, authentic feedback from others — the other people seem to heal, a little, too. I have seen smiles on people’s faces when somebody in their midst “brags” about an accomplishment. Or when somebody gets authentic, heart-felt compliments from other people in the group.

Another point:  even if envy might scare me sometime, it’s just another human and natural emotion. And as I wrote about yesterday, human emotions are like the weather: passing through, soon to be replaced by something else. And while the weather (and envy) might kill some people,  more often than not, it does not.

I want to end this post with another quote: a poem by the Persian poet, Rumi. I love this poem and have used it with many other people, over the years. One reason I want to quote this poem today?  Because of something I witnessed yesterday in the waiting room where I work: A previously depressed woman, born in Iran, grinning from ear to ear, “bragging” about some recent accomplishments, and  blowing a kiss to her old therapist, who happened to be walking by.

GUEST HOUSE

by Rumi

This being human is a guest house
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

My deepest thanks to Rumi, to people I’ve worked with over the years, to the wonderful blog where I found that picture of the vase, and to all the people, out there, who have felt envious of or healed by the “bragging” of others.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

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