Posts Tagged With: salmon dish

Day 2775: Closure

Because today is my last day as President of the Northeastern Society for Group Psychotherapy, I am thinking about closure.

As I wrote in another blog post about closure,

Closure is important, in order to move on.

There is no right or wrong way to do closure.

Closure is challenging, because it brings up old closures, which often relate to losses.

I like to use the term “ending the chapter”, when I talk to people about closure. Somebody, in my office, recently said that in their culture, they use the term “putting the period on the end of the sentence.” I like that, too.

Here’s what I’ve written, so far, about closure in my final letter from the President:

As I’ve thought about writing this, my final letter to you as President of NSGP, naturally my mind has gone to thoughts of closure. (Personally, I don’t like the word “termination”, because that sounds SO final.) As I have learned from my trainings at NSGP (and as I often tell people in my “Coping and Healing” drop-in groups) a good-enough sense of closure is critical in transitions — allowing us to appreciate what we’ve shared together and to move ahead better equipped for future challenges.

In my groups, we often discuss the insufficient and disappointing closures with family members, friends, work situations, organizations, and other important aspects of our life, and how this lack of satisfying closure in important transitions can keep us stuck. During these challenging days, when we might be feeling uncomfortably stuck, closure is especially important.

So what helps with closure? Saying what feels left unsaid.

Naming what you got.

Naming what you didn’t get.

Discarding what is not serving you well.

Later today, I will facilitate a “Coping and Healing” group on a telehealth platform (which I sometimes call “The Home Version of Coping and Healing”). At the end of the group, the participants will hear me, as usual, acknowledge the importance of  getting closure in the “wrap up” section of the group. I will introduce wrap-up by explaining, again, what helps with closure. I will invite discarding “what is not serving you well” by showing this to the group:

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That’s the magic waste paper basket, an important part of my Coping and Healing groups. If you throw something away in the magic waste paper basket, it will either go away or  come back less powerful.  Here’s an incomplete list of what people have thrown away in the magic waste paper basket:

  • self-judgment,
  • self-doubt,
  • difficult people,
  • unhealthy behaviors,
  • negative self-talk,
  • worry,
  • cognitive distortions,
  • pain, and
  • paper.

Do you see closure in these other images?

 

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We’re working on getting  humane closure with our 18-year-old cat, Oscar, who has cancer.

Here‘s “Closure” by Hayley Warner

… and “Closure” by Opeth:

I’ll get closer to closure by quoting this comment from YouTube about Opeth’s “Closure”:

Alex Mercer
1 year ago
The abrupt ending pisses me off. I need closure!!

Alex Mercer needs closure. Do you?

Gratitude helps me get closure, every day.

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Categories: life during the pandemic, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 24 Comments

Day 2720: Oscar

Oscar, who deserves an Oscar for being the sweetest, most loving cat I’ve ever met, has cancer.

We’re grateful we still have the 18-year-old Oscar for more precious moments, even if we don’t know how many.

How many Oscars can you find in these photos from yesterday?

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There are four Oscar-worthy appearances of Oscar in videos I’ve posted on YouTube (here, here, here, and here)  over the past 13 years:

As you can see, Oscar has been a great supporting actor for both me and my son Aaron, who wisely picked him out of a shelter fourteen years ago.

Thanks to all sweet and supportive creatures, here and now, including YOU.

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Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , | 34 Comments

Day 2682: What’s your worst fear AND what’s helping?

In the online groups I have been facilitating this week, I’ve been inviting people to share their worst fears and also what has been helping them deal with these.

My worst fear is that I won’t leave enough room for people to have all their feelings and what helps is my asking questions like that one.

Do you see any worst fears AND do you see anything that helps in my images from yesterday?

This interview with Dr. Fauci by Trevor Noah included worst fears and was also very helpful.

Please express worst fears AND what is helping you, in a comment below.

What helps me, every day, is finding and expressing gratitude wherever I am, so thanks to all (including YOU).

Categories: group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism, staying healthy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

Day 2669: Now we are at home

Now we are at home trying to make sense of all the changing developments in the COVID-19 worldwide crisis.

Now we are at home reading this English translation of an amazing poem by Mariangela Gualtieri.

March the Ninth Twenty Twenty
Mariangela Gualtieri

I’m telling you this
we needed to stop.
We knew. We all felt it
that it was too furious,
our frenzy. Being inside of things.
Outside of our selves.
Squeeze every hour – make it yield.

We needed to stop
and we couldn’t.
We needed to do it together.
Slow down the race.
But we couldn’t.
There was no human force
that could hold us back.

And since this
was for all of us a tacit wish
like an unconscious will –
perhaps our species has obeyed
loosened the bonds that protect
our seed. Opened
the innermost cracks
and let it in.
Perhaps this is why there was a leap
in the species – from the bat to us.
Something in us wanted to be opened.
Perhaps, I don’t know.

Now we are at home.

It is extraordinary what is happening.
And there is gold, I believe, in this strange time.
Perhaps there are gifts.
Nuggets of gold for us. If we help one another.
There is a very strong call
of the species now and as a species
we must each see ourselves. A common fate
holds us here. We knew it. But not well enough.
Either all of us, or no one.

The earth is powerful. Truly alive
I feel it thinking a thought
that we do not know.
And with what’s happening now? Let us consider
whether the earth is not what’s moving.
Whether the law that rules
the entire universe, whether what’s happening, I
wonder,
isn’t the full expression of that law
that governs us too – just like
every star – every particle of the cosmos.

Whether the dark matter was this
being bound together in an ardor
for life, with the sweep of death that comes
to rebalance every species.
Keep it within its dimensions, in its place,
going in the right direction. It is not us
who made heaven.

An imposing voice, without words
tells us to stay home now, like children
who are in trouble and don’t know why,
and won’t get kisses, won’t be hugged.
Each within a suspension
that takes us back, perhaps to the slowness
of ancient ancestors, of mothers.

Look more at the sky,
daub a dead man ochre. Bake bread
for the first time. Look intently at a face. Sing
a child softly to sleep. For the first time
hold someone else’s hand tight
feel the strength of the agreement. That we are
together.
A single organism. The whole species
we carry within us. We are saving it inside us.

To that grasp of a palm
in another person’s palm
to that simple act that we are now forbidden –
we will return with expanded awareness.
We’ll be here, more attentive, I think. Our hand
will be more delicate in the doing of life.
Now that we know how sad it is
to stand one meter apart.

Translation by Lucy Rand e Clarissa Botsford

Now we are at home taking this photo …

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… and noting that Oscar does not understand the concept of social distancing.

Now we are at home eating fresh food again because a dear friend dropped off supplies for us yesterday.

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Now we are at home listening to music we love about home.

Now we are at home, feeling grateful for all we have, including YOU.

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Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , | 28 Comments

Day 2648: All I Care About

All I care about, at this point, is getting through 2020 doing as little harm as possible to others and to myself.

All I care about is explaining that “doing as little harm as possible to others and myself” includes:

  • kindness,
  • compassion,
  • authenticity,
  • acceptance,
  • openness,
  • forgiveness,
  • learning, and
  • balancing care for others with care for self.

All I care about is sharing my photos from yesterday.

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Here’s “All I Care About” from the musical Chicago:

All I care about is what you care about, so please comment, below.

All I care about, in the end, is gratitude.

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

Day 2620: Incredible life moments

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Last night, after spending many incredible life moments at work and at home, I watched An American in Paris with these incredible life moments:

Comments from you are incredible life moments for me.

Thanks to all who help me share incredible life moments in this blog, including YOU.

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Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Day 2599: Anxiety’s moments

Yesterday, many moments after creating Day 2598: Moments you dream about, I heard the 1970s Chicago tune, Anxiety’s Moment …

… which lasts only a few moments.

In the 1970s, I had several anxiety’s moments, including when I heard about Chicago’s wonderful singer-guitarist-songwriter Terry Kath‘s  untimely death from “an accidental gunshot wound to the head.”  That still causes anxiety’s moment when I think about it  in this moment.

In these very early moments of the 2020s, many people are already expressing lots of anxiety’s moments.  Are you one of them?

Do any of my photos from yesterday add to or relieve anxiety’s moment?

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Please no lectures but please do take a moment to leave a comment about this anxiety’s moments post.

As always, I relieve anxiety’s moments by expressing my gratitude to all who help me create this daily blog, including YOU.

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Moments after I published this post, I found this video on YouTube, which includes many amazing moments with Chicago and the Beach Boys:

 

 

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Day 2550: Narrative

Because of the kind of narrator I am, I’m going to start today’s narrative with a definition of “narrative”.

NARRATIVE

noun
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

  • I am worthless.
  • I cannot trust anyone.
  • I am stuck forever.
  • I am weak.
  • If people knew the real me, they would reject me.
  • I am worthwhile only when I’m at my best.
  • People don’t want to listen to me.
  • Speaking up is dangerous.
  • Not speaking up is dangerous.
  • People who dislike me can ruin my life.
  • I am helpless.
  • If I ask for help, I won’t get it.
  • People, including me, are not capable of change.
  • There is no hope.

I always have hope that people can change their narratives.  After all, there are so many different ways to tell a story, even the story of your life.

Do my photos from yesterday create a narrative?

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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.

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Categories: personal growth, photojournalism, Psychotherapy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

Day 2480: Different

Although I’ve published many different posts, including Day 2394: A little bit different, Day 1930: Lucky to be different, Day 1835: Different ways to say things, Day 1762: Different parts, Day 1726: Different perspectives, Day 972: Intentionally Different, Day 689: Different stylesDay 690: Different styles (continued)and Day 453: Different languages (and dances)this post is different from all the other ones, just as each one of us is different from everybody else.

When I give a 5-minute talk at my college reunion on September 21, I’m going to stress how different I am, with this beginning:

Everybody our age remembers where they were and what they were doing on November 22, 1963. I’m different from the rest of you.  I have no memories of that day, because I was having heart surgery to receive my first cardiac pacemaker.

Every time I rewrite that opening, it’s different, but the meaning remains the same.

This post is different because it has only three photos.

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Today is going to be different because

  • I’ll be facilitating a different version of my Coping and Healing groups for staff at the Primary Care Practice of the major Boston hospital where I work and
  • each day is different from what we expect.

Last night, I asked my boyfriend Michael — who is different from everybody else —  if he thought that staff group would go okay today.  He said (in different words), “Why should this be different from every other time you’ve done this before?”

Here’s “Dare to be Different” by Donovan (with a slideshow of different photos created by passage2truth):

 

As always, I care about your different thoughts and feelings about this post.

There are many different ways to express gratitude to those who help me create this blog and to those who read it, and here are some of them:

Categories: group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

Day 2314: Look at me!

Look at me, writing a second blog post titled “Look at me!” almost exactly two thousand and two hundred days after the first one.  (Who’s counting?  Look at me!)

Look at me, sharing what I drew in a therapy group yesterday, when the topic chosen by the group was “children.”

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Look at me, seeing my wonderful dentist for the first time since his double lung transplant eight months ago.

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For the first few years of this blog, I didn’t let anybody look at me!

Look at me, sharing all my other photos from yesterday.

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Look at Harley, letting me look at him without running away.

When I searched YouTube for “Look at Me”, I found this ear-splitting, dubbed video of a 7 year old allegedly rapping the late  XXXTentacion’s “Look at Me!” on America’s Got Talent.

Look at me, warning you not to watch that unless you lower the sound before you get to the dubbed rapping.  Here‘s  7-year-old Mir Money‘s actual performance on the show:

Look at Howard Stern hugging Mir Money after he made him cry.

Look at XXXTentacion performing “Look at Me!” live in 2017, almost exactly a year before he was murdered at age 20.

Look at me, looking forward to looking at all your comments about this “Look at Me!” post and also thanking all who helped me create it.

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Categories: group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 25 Comments

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