Posts Tagged With: self forgiveness

Day 1832: I don’t want to

I don’t want to

  • go outside when it’s “historically” cold,
  • move my left arm,
  • cook,
  • clean,
  • over-eat,
  • over-commit,
  • waste time,
  • watch the news,
  • check my mail,
  • worry about the future,
  • dwell on the past,
  • offend people,
  • get hurt,
  • squelch feelings,
  • read,
  • do much of anything, or
  • complain (too late!)

I do want to

  • blog and
  • share my photos from yesterday.

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No offense, but do cats — modern or otherwise — really need a lifestyle magazine?

I don’t want to be judgmental, but people who say “No Offense” are often offensive.

I don’t want to listen to music, but I will anyway.

I don’t want to set the world on fire, but we could all use a little warmth.

I don’t want to end this post without expressing my sincere thanks to the Ink Spots, to everyone else who helped me write this post, and — of course! — to YOU.

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Categories: personal growth, photojournalism, therapy | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 29 Comments

Day 1670: Which way peace?

I have a peaceful way of choosing my post titles: I look at my pictures from the day before.

Yesterday, I facilitated a therapy group, listened, talked, walked, observed, and  settled in to our new home.  As always, there were ways to peace in every moment.

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Somebody in last night’s therapy group suggested that the way to peace was “forgiving self first.”

Which way is peace on YouTube?

Peace and thanks to all who helped me create today’s post and — of course! — to you, for finding your way here.

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

Day 1110: Life as a work of art

If somebody asked you to write, draw, or otherwise express your thoughts, feelings, and associations about “Life as a work of art,”  what work of art might you create?

Last night, in a therapy group — after we discussed many  topics including life, death, school, work, parents, what other people think, music, painting,  injury, healing, routines, miracles, safety, self-care, imperfection, immortality, wishes, Alan Rickman, and David Bowie —  I asked people to do just that.

Now, I shall attempt to turn my thoughts, feeling, associations, and other aspects of my life into a blogging work of art. Here are some artless and artful photos I took at work,  yesterday:

How do you judge or create works of art?

Yes, thou art being asked to work your responses into a comment, bringing more life and art into this post.

Lifetime-work-in-progress thanks to all who helped me create today’s work of art and special thanks to you — of course! — for the living art you practice, every day.

Categories: group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

Day 1037: Candied

Dear sweet readers,

Can you guess why today’s post may be Candied?

Many of us, this time of year, buy too much candy for Halloween, and get candied ourselves.

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Candied, indeed.

Yesterday, many sweet people in therapy talked about eating candy (among other things) and how that made them feel.

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All that sugar activated my sweet tooth, so  I tried getting candied …

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… and got cookied, instead.

As I suggested to others throughout the day …

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… mindful eating includes recognizing slips and self-forgiveness. Our self-worth is NOT dependent on what we eat or how we look.

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By mindfully letting go of the extra sugar I’ve been eating lately, I was able to notice and appreciate other sweet things around me.

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Now it’s time to share some sweet music in this candied post.

Candidly, I chose today’s title partly because of this:

The Candide Overture by Leonard Bernstein is here on YouTube, with over one million sweet views.

What are your candied thoughts and feelings, now?

Sweet gratitude to all who helped me create this candied post and special thanks to you — of course! — for bringing your sweet self here, today.

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

Day 688: Multiple times

It’s time for me to write my daily blog post!

It’s the 688th time I’ve done this.

I wonder how many more times I’ll write one of these?

Every time  I have a thought like that last one, above, I think  of time running out.

The time between my finishing that last sentence and starting this one = approximately two minutes.

Swarn Gill, who has commented on this blog many times and who has not visited for some time (I think the last time was here), often thinks and writes about time. I haven’t visited his blog for some time, either, but I just took the time to do that.

I wish I had more time to visit Swarn’s excellent blog and other ones here, too.

In the time I spend as an individual and group therapist, I invite people to give less time to guilt and shame. Many times, I’ve told people “You’re doing the best you can.”  However,  I continue to spend time having those feelings (although less time than I used to).

This reminds me that when I spent time yesterday writing a blog post, I did not include any time for music. I’m making up for that, today, times two.

(“No Absolute Time” by Jean-Luc Ponty is absolutely here on YouTube now.)

That’s the second time I’ve referred to that tune in my posts.

I’m going to include this next “Time” song two times.

(“Time Out of Mind” sung by Donald Fagen found this time here on YouTube)

(Steely Dan spent a lot of time in the studio creating the original version of “Time Out of Mind.”)

Is there time for you to comment, perhaps telling me your favorite song about time?

Today, I won’t have time to walk to and from work, listening to music, because I need to get to parent-teacher conferences at my son’s high school, on time. The first meeting starts, according to them, at

12:10:00

I wonder what that says about my son Aaron’s school’s concept of time?

Last year, around this time, I spent a lot of time thinking, feeling, and writing about November 22, 1963, the exact time when

  • John F. Kennedy was assassinated and
  • I got my first heart surgery and cardiac pacemaker, at age 10.

This year, that time will not be out of mind for me. However, I know my experience will be different, this time around.

Each time we go around and over old experiences, we do it differently.

Absolutely, I invite you to take the time to read this post, about that. People tell me, all the time, that “The Ascending Coil” a/k/a “The Spiral” helps them heal and grow.  (The last time I heard that was yesterday.)

Yesterday, I was not thinking about writing a post about time, until I heard both “Time Out of Mind” and “No Absolute Time” during the time it took me to walk away from work.  Nevertheless, before that time, I took the time to take these photos:

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I took the time to snap that last picture when I thought that beloved time-keeper was broken, because that was NOT the correct time. It was the third time, since the time change this month, that clock had stopped.

Not for the first time, I felt fear: was my time with that wonderful clock over and done?

When I got some down time, I was able to make some changes to that clock.

I wonder what time I’ll see on its face when I walk into my office today?

It’s that time, dear readers:

Thanks for taking the time to visit here, today.

Categories: inspiration, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , | 24 Comments

Day 392: Possibilities, Patience, and “IM”

Yesterday, I coined the word “dreadless” —  as a possible opposite of “dreadful.”  That was fun.

Today, as I was considering possible topics for this post, the word “patience” came to mind.  And then, its opposite. And I thought:

Why, oh why, is the opposite of “patience” “impatience”?  Why isn’t it “unpatience”?  Or “nonpatience”?  What the heck does “IM” mean, anyway? Are there OTHER words that use “IM” to create the opposite?  The only one I can think of, right now, is “possible” and “impossible.”

I suppose I could do some research, right now, on the use of “Im” to create the opposite of a word.   But I’m not interested in checking corroborating details or data, this morning. 1

Imstead …. ooops!  I mean, insteadI want to just riff on what we’ve got in this post, already.

Here we go!

Patience is something I think about a lot.  When I was in my 20’s, I took a comprehensive test2 of my aptitudes and skills, to discover why I wasn’t satisfied with my career 3. And they told me, “You have three exceedingly high, natural indications of possible impatience” (or words to that effect).

Recognizing that I am “naturally impatient” has helped me, as I have continued to work on developing the other side of that — my capacity for patience.

Yesterday, I was expecting a visit from my friend, Carol, and I was timing my creation of yesterday’s post to coincide with her expected time of arrival.  A few minutes before that, when I was just about to press “publish” ….  I realized — to my horror — that I had closed the wrong window and had lost the last hour of my work.  I get very freaked out when something like that happens. What bothered me the most about that?

  • I was happy with the post.
  • I hate having to rewrite something I’m already done with.
  • It kills me when I realize I’ve done something “stupid” (as in, “Ann! You should have known better than to close that window until after you published the post!”)
  • I realized  I had two choices: (1) to ask Carol to wait, until I rewrote the friggin’ post or (2) wait until after her visit to complete it (and I knew I would be upset and distracted while she was here).
  • I assumed that I would NOT be able to reconstruct the post back to its former glory.
  • I COULD NOT BELIEVE THIS HAD HAPPENED!

I felt an incredible rush of …. panic, disappointment, adrenaline, upset-ness, whatever-you-want-to-call it.

What did I do?  I talked to myself:

Ann, it’s not the end of the world. You’ve lost stuff you’ve written before, many times in many ways. As much as you hate when this happens, you will rewrite it. And it will be good enough.  Maybe, it will be even better!  That’s not beyond the realm of possibility …. that has definitely happened before.

When Carol showed up, I was already in the midst of rebuilding what had been lost. I asked if she could have the patience to wait for me until I published my post. She graciously and enthusiastically said, “Of course!’

Nevertheless, I was very nervous while re-building that post.  Despite Carol’s reassurance, my knowing her for years, and my logical self knowing that this would be fine, I stumbled and froze several times while fixing that post, which had been pretty intricate (with several “bells and whistles”: links, footnotes, videos, photos, etc.)

Why was I so nervous?  Possibly because I was imagining all sorts of negative reactions, including impatience. Not only from Carol, but from …. you, dear readers.

That is, I was imagining Carol’s impatience with me, as she waited. And I was imagining your impatience with me, when I published a post I feared would (1) have errors and (2) would NOT be as good as it could have, should have, would have been, if I had been more careful.

But, it all worked out.  I finished the post, Carol was loving and understanding (as always), and the post was good enough.  Yes, there were a couple of missing links and typos here and there, but I was able to fix those, well enough, later in the day.

And if anybody noticed those imperfections, they didn’t think those were important 4 enough to mention.

Okay!  I can see by the clock on the wall

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… that it’s time for me to end this post.

Probably, I could find another image, quickly enough, that fits the topics of this post.

But you know what?  I haven’t got the patience.

Thanks to all those who deal with patience, possibilities, perfectionism, probabilities —  and their opposites — and especially to you, for visiting today.


  1. Actually, a lot of my posts, lately, have had an “attitude” about data and proof. Sometimes, it seems, I just can’t be bothered with details. This reminds me of a story: When I was in college, I decided to take a Calculus Course. I suspected that I didn’t have a natural talent for Calculus (unlike other forms of math), so I took the course “Pass/Fall.”  And, indeed, I neither enjoyed that course nor did particularly well in it, but when the time came for the final exam, I knew that I’d done well enough to pass, with some wiggle room.  When I got to a section of the test where I was supposed to solve something I just didn’t understand, I wrote, “Here are the formulas. I’ve done all I can do.  Please solve these yourself.”   And, that was good enough.

  2. At Johnson O’Connor in Boston.

  3. Technical and marketing writing.

  4. Possibly the opposite of this is … “portent”?

Categories: inspiration, personal growth | Tags: , , , , , | 19 Comments

Day 356: Signs, Full Stop

Like yesterday’s post, this post begins with a mistake — with something I mis-remembered.

When I woke up this morning, I knew I wanted to re-use this photo, which I took last week:

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I don’t know if you’ve ever seen one of those signs with Extra Added Stopping Power (flashing lights edition).  I hadn’t, until my trip last week through space and time to sign my will.

After I woke up this morning, I knew I wanted to use that sign, again, in today’s post. And before I trudged downstairs to begin writing, I had many thoughts about what I wanted to tell you, including this:

During 1991, when I was in my late 30’s, and was in the middle of an upsetting law suit (which I had decided to pursue), I ran a stop sign and hit another car. The other car was driven by a mother, who was with her little girl.  

To this day,  I still have a vivid image of the mother, afterwards, standing outside her car, crying, her daughter standing next to her, frozen, and a bag of groceries spilling its  contents into the street.

Today, the image of that accident is still there, in my mind, for me to look at.

Even though nobody was really hurt (physically), I wondered afterwards whether I would ever recover, and let go of my guilt.  My mind kept telling me, “It was your fault.” “Being distracted and upset is NO excuse.” “The red of the tomatoes from the grocery bag could just as easily have been the blood from that little girl.””You are guilty. Period.”

I worked on that experience, in therapy, for a long time.  And I remember also thinking this: if I had actually seriously hurt or killed either of those people, I would never be able to live with myself.

But why such a harsh sentence, for myself?  I mean, my mistake was being distracted, momentarily.  I’m usually a good, observant driver.

And, honestly, I still get distracted, these days, too.  I’m  not a perfect driver. I could still kill somebody, some day. That could definitely happen (to me, or anybody else, no matter how well we drive).

And I still wonder: Would I be able to go on, if something like that happened now?

In my work as a therapist, I talk to people, a lot, who feel guilt about something they’ve done. They often use words like “terrible” to describe the deed. Usually, whatever they did, they didn’t mean to.  It was an accident. They were distracted. They were dealing with difficult emotions. They were, often, doing the best they could, at the time.  But still, something awful happened, and they can ascribe the blame to themselves.

In therapy, we have very interesting conversations about those experiences. Here are  some things I try to communicate, to those people:

You may feel different in profound ways, but you’re still the same person, with all your flawed and beautiful human qualities, as you were before this happened.

If this hadn’t happened, would you feel differently about yourself?   Well, you are still you, only now having made a (terrible) mistake.

Why condemn yourself to a sentence of never-ending guilt, for something that you cannot undo?

I hope they hear — and take in — invitations to forgive themselves, whether they hear them from me, or somebody else.

I hope I take those in, too, because — just by living as long as I have — I have several memories of times when I was imperfect, made mistakes, and hurt somebody else.

So, what’s my unfinished business, for this post, right now?  I told you, at the beginning, that I had made another mistake — related to my memory of that stop sign, above.  You can see evidence of that mistake, in the title of this post.

I had (mis)remembered the part of the sign that says, “all way.”  I thought it said, “full stop.” And I was all ready to say lots of things about the phrase “full stop,” including references to punctuation marks, among other things.

When I first realized that mistake this morning, I entered “full stop” into Google Images, because I wasn’t ready to let go of that (misremembered) phrase. And here’s what came up:

the-full-stop*

i-d-rather-be-a-comma-than-a-full-stop.american-apparel-unisex-fitted-tee.white.w760h760**

download (7)***

keep-calm-and-use-a-full-stop-at-the-end-of-the-sentence****

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And I liked those images, partly because they reminded me of other posts I’ve written for you (and me) this year. (See here and here for two of those posts.)

But here’s what I want to say about the phrase “full stop,” right now.  I wish I had come to a full stop at that stop sign, so many years ago.  But I didn’t.

Maybe, if a sign like the one I saw last week — with its flashing lights and a stop sign at every corner —  had been at that intersection in 1991, all three of us — that mother, the little girl, and me — would have been okay.  In other words, maybe the accident would not have occurred.

But it did. So the best I can do, in the moment, is hope that all three of us are okay, now.

I am.

Thanks to good-enough therapists, drivers, rememberers, healers, and forgivers, wherever they are. And extra special thanks — with flashing lights — to you, for reading today.

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* I found this image here.

** I found this image here.

*** I found this image here.

**** I found this image here.

***** I found this image here.

Categories: inspiration, personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , | 27 Comments

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