There’s been a lot of desperation around here lately. Are you noticing desperation where you are?
Here’s one source of my desperation: I’m wondering if I control the universe with my anxiety. When I am anxious about something (like planning a dinner in Los Angeles, for example), things seem to go wrong.
I also have desperation about my inability to write something on this blog without using the word “thing.”
Michael has been experiencing desperation about charging his laptop — for days, he has had to anchor the charging cord in intricate ways to get any charge.
Yesterday, a replacement charging cord came in the mail and Michael said, “I’m going to keep that as an art installation called “Desperation.'”
Do you see desperation in my other photos from yesterday?
If you want to make a peep about desperation or anything else, please comment below.
Also, Dr. Matthew Salzler at Tufts Medical Center dispersed any desperation I might have about my healing rotator cuff, a year after my falling and tearing it.
Here’s a comment from somebody who might have had some desperation looking for my son’s video until finally finding it:
8 months ago
I finally found you this is a weird story so sit tight
I was in a music class in elementary school and the teacher there wanted our next song we sang to be Louie Louie he then told us a story about how the song had weird misheard lyrics and showed the class this very video to show us what the misheard lyrics were and I finally found it when I was watching a video on YouTube for weird misheard lyrics throughout history and my mind thought about this video and I thought “I know the in’s and out’s of YouTube now I’ll try to find it.” and I did yes! It wasn’t even that hard to find I was just lazy back when I was a kid and didn’t look very hard now I have liked the video from my memory’s finally.
No desperation at the end of this blog post, just gratitude for all who helped me create it and — of course! — YOU.
Almost exactly a year ago, I wrote Day 1714: Second guessing. So this is my second post about second guessing. I’m guessing it won’t be my last.
A few seconds before my therapy group started yesterday, one of the members tripped and fell. As the other group members witnessed spilled coffee, blood, and first responders in the hospital reacting to the situation, people were second guessing their own and others’ actions.
In the group (after the injured member had been tended to by expert personnel), we discussed the flight-fight-or-freeze response, trauma, guilt, self-judgment, doing too much, doing too little, What’s the right thing to do?, selfishness, selflessness, empathy, looking, intrusiveness, how time stretches out during emergencies, different perceptions, helping vs. getting out of the way, and — I’m guessing — dozens of variations on the theme of second guessing.
I am not second guessing the healing power of groups, especially in traumatic situations. I’m also not second guessing my photos from yesterday.
In this second, I’m guessing that you — like the group members — want to know if the injured person is okay. The person is fine.
Yesterday, I told people in therapy sessions not to judge themselves for being self centered. How could we not be self centered? If we don’t put ourselves in the center of our own lives, who will?
I, myself, constantly witness people judging themselves very harshly for being self centered, labeling themselves too selfish, too self-absorbed and even narcissistic. This is what I tell those selves:
“If you worry about being a narcissist, you’re not.”
I know my self well enough to know I’m not a narcissist, even though I’ve stopped worrying about that.
Here are some self centered photos from yesterday:
Michael himself centered that delicious food on a plate for me last night after my self-centered therapy group.
Today is the 1600th day in a row of blog postings, here at the Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally. 1600 is a round number and a much bigger number than expected when I began this blogging journey back on January 1, 2013.
Do you have any reactions to round numbers? In therapy, people often describe negative reactions they have about reaching round numbers as they age. For example, somebody yesterday talked about turning 40 with a lot of self-judgment. For some reason, when people approach round numbers, they can roundly judge themselves about their accomplishments and life situations.
A round number is just a number, no more significant than any other number. And yet, here I am roundly noting it.
However, I am not going to get into a round of self-judgment about my posts. Instead, I’m going to post two musical round numbers (going round here and here on YouTube).
Here’s a round number of photos I took yesterday:
This is my blogging world, and I’ve tried to shape it as best I can.
A round of applause for the large number of people who’ve help me create these 1600 posts and — of course! — for you, on this round-number day.
is something my ex-business partner, Jonathan, said to me when I was being self-critical about a task I wasn’t good at, decades ago. My memory — which can’t be good at everything — tells me Jonathan said
You can’t be good at everything
when I was feeling shame about my living space being cluttered and not “guest-ready. ”
At various points in my life, it’s been helpful for me to say to myself
You can’t be good at everything
about other things, including
doing my taxes
maneuvering gracefully around other people while walking
keeping my cat away from my laptop
being a perfect mother
keeping my hair neat all the time
and many more.
Sometimes, I seem to think that I SHOULD be good at everything, but I hope my readers know that being good at everything is completely impossible, even if somebody wrote this in your 9th grade yearbook:
You can’t be good at everything, even if you encounter a kind person like Roger sometime in your life.
I can’t be good at everything, including capturing all the wonderful images around me, every single day. For example, yesterday I took only these three shots:
You can’t be good at everything, but I hope you’re good at leaving good-enough comments for this blog.
Good thanks to Jonathan, Roger, my neighbor Karen (for the custom-made bumper sticker on her car), and all the other good people who helped me create this post. Also, great thanks to you — of course! — for reading this, here and now.
particularly important during times of new challenges and transition,
hereby making its first appearance as a post title, and
two words I saw in a store, last night.
Do you agree that “No judgment” should be the only one real rule to any game? What’s your judgment about that? Is having no judgment even a possibility for us human beings? Is it something we should strive for?
Would you have no judgment if I asked you to judge the photos in this allegedly no-judgment post?
Personally, as the end of 2015 approaches, I would like to strive for no judgment about:
what I have or have not done in the past,
my capabilities, as I try my best in many different arenas, and
Christmas monkeys and other puzzlements.
No judgment from me about any thought, feeling, or judgment you leave in a comment, here and now.
No judgment, but yes gratitude, for another day of life.
which I’ve never understood, because I’ve never learned to bake a pie. It’s certainly easy to EAT a pie, especially as the weather turns colder.
My favorite pie, when I was growing up, was blueberry pie.
Here’s something I wrote in 2nd Grade, when I was about 7 years old:
That’s difficult to see, isn’t it? To make those words as easy as pie to read, here’s that faded, long-stored-away, historical document transcribed:
The Roller Skate Who liked to eat blueberry pie
Once there was a roller skate
Who liked to eat blue berry pie
He loved it so much that
he would gobble it
up and he was all through,
so he grew up with
awful table manners.
One day a manner professor
came to the little rollerskate’s
house and just at that
time he was gobbeling the
pie down. The manner professor
arrested the little roller skate and
he spended the rest of his
life in jail.
The last time I looked closely at that piece of pie writing — over thirty years ago — I was charmed at my easy imagination. When I read it recently, after rescuing it from a long storage in a Boston basement, I thought
Geesh! That’s kind of harsh punishment for bad table manners, isn’t it? I love blueberry pie, too! If I were observed gobbling it up, might I be arrested and spend the REST OF MY LIFE IN JAIL?
I’ve been thinking a lot lately — as I daily write this letting-go-of-judgment blog and talk to people who want to heal and feel better — about
the harshness of our self judgments,
how we so easily condemn ourselves to the jails of Guilt and Shame, often for very minor crimes, and
how difficult it is to change those old habits of self-jailing.
Yesterday, at the end of a long but inspiring work day — as manner professors, jails, blueberry pies, and roller skates were rolling around in my tired head (among many other things) — I thought:
So I googled “Best blueberry pie Boston” and found this:
When it comes to pie, we like our hand-pressed crusts substantial and loaded to the brink with butter. So too does Petsi, and the Somerville and Cambridge shops augment their expertly sound pie foundations with just-as-serious fillings—blueberries with a big boost of cinnamon, say, or a bourbon-chocolate-pecan combination that makes for an irresistibly decadent wedge.
So, I gave myself a Mission Possible, which I chose to accept.
On the scale of easy-to-difficult, I would rate that experience …
Hmmmm. I’m having difficulty judging that right now, I have to say.
On the one hand, the traffic was ridiculous (or, at least, worse than I’m used to), there was no legal parking in sight, and it took a lot longer than usual to get home.
On the other hand, because I was focused on a mission, I enjoyed every minute of it. AND I defied my internal manner professor and PARKED IN AN ILLEGAL SPOT. And — I’m happy to report — I am NOT spending the rest of my life in jail.
So, getting and eating the pie — all in all — was easy. And delightful.
Further into the evening, things got more difficult.
I belong, on FaceBook, to a group of people who have my very unusual heart (called congenitally corrected transposition of the great vessels or LGTA or lots of other things) or who have children with my very unusual heart. Last night, in a continuing attempt to keep learning useful and new things, I watched a recommended Webinar titled
I was hoping for some easy-as-pie or — at least — some achievable tips on self-care and other useful things.
Instead, I found myself listening to an expert doctor making the case that it was difficult, if not impossible, for people with hearts like mine to reach my ripe old age of 61.
At least, that’s how I heard it.
I have to admit that my son and my boyfriend, overhearing bits of the webinar from another room, recognized how difficult-as-pie this was to listen to and they both told me to do something as easy as pie: turn the friggin’ thing off immediately.
Which I did.
Then, the three of us spent some easy-as-pie moments together, saying all sorts of hopeful things, including:
You’ve already beaten those odds. — My son, Aaron.
Stephen Hawking was told when he was 20 that it was impossible for him to live even another few years … and HE’S IN HIS SEVENTIES. — My boyfriend, Michael
This reminds me not to worry about all those petty things that can clutter my mind, because that’s JUST RIDICULOUS. — Me.
Then, I had another piece of pie, this time with chocolate ice cream on top:
… ignoring all the manner professors in the world (including Michael, who would never, ever eat blueberry pie with any ice cream except vanilla).
After that easy pie, I posted some thoughts on the FaceBook group page, including:
I was reading through some posts on this page and found suggestions about watching a webinar about “Aging with Congenitally Corrected Transposition of the Great Arteries.” (http://vimeo.com/50410991) I watched a portion of it tonight and — honestly — I got pretty freaked out by the language and the conclusions I was hearing. Yes, I have heard all of this before — including concerns about my ventricle failing because it’s doing heavy work it wasn’t designed for — but the webinar, to me, seemed especially negative. I turned it off after I saw the graph showing people in a study all dying before the age I’ve currently reached (61). So I’m curious, and want to ask people who watched the whole webinar: does it get more positive? … This is an inherent challenge of having a congenitally corrected heart, I think … feeling safe enough to thrive and engage with life without fear, as we age.
I just went to FaceBook to check responses I got from the good people there, and those comments are helping me feel easier (if not as easy as that delicious blueberry pie from Petsi Pies) this morning.
Now, I need to go to work — where I get to sit with people who are dealing with things much more difficult than pie.
I just want to say this, in conclusion: I’m very grateful for the whole pie — blueberries, ice cream, and everything else. So, thanks to roller skates, manner professors, pies, and people everywhere who deal with the easy to the difficult every day — including you, of course!
This morning, I am posing questions about where I am in my life, right now.
I have enough expertise and skill to be a published author. Why haven’t I made that happen, so far in my life?
What’s gotten in the way of that?
Here are some things I can think of:
Doubts about my (previously mentioned) expertise and skill.
My ability to think of a kashmillion things I would rather be doing other than writing something for publication.
Concern (and perhaps some other feelings) that other people would have the control to accept or reject something that was important to me (and what makes THEM such friggin’ experts, anyway?!??)
My short attention span. (Look! It’s a baby wolf!)
Where was I?
Oh, yes. I was asking the question:
Why haven’t I published anything, so far in my life?
Oh, I wanted to state the obvious, at this point. I’m not counting what I’ve published here, at WordPress. Because if I did, I’ve published almost 300 times.
I’m discounting that.
Hmmmm. I’m wondering if I’m discounting anything else?
Because, recent data suggests that I can forget things that I’ve done. By “recent data,” I am referring to my blog post, two days ago, where I forgot that I had actually taken a photo of Carl Yastrzemski, when I was at the 1st game of the World Series, at Boston’s Friendly Fenway Park.
So, let’s see. have I published anything, outside of these blog posts?
Hmmm. I guess you could say I have.
About 20 years ago, when I was in Social Work school, I wrote a paper about how people with disabilities were portrayed in the media. I interviewed people from a local chapter of (I believe) the National Spinal Cord Injury Association, and they asked if they could publish a version of my paper in their national publication. Which they did.
And in years past, if you Googled my name, that article appeared. But I can’t find it now, to check my facts (and support my bragging).
So maybe I’ll see if I can find that article, later.
But in the meantime, it’s a beautiful day!
Which means, I would like to wrap this post up.
Before I do, here’s what feels left undone.
I want to ask myself another question:
Do I WANT to publish (or do I just think I SHOULD publish)? (Psssst! The word “should” can indicate a cognitive distortion.)
Hold on, I’m thinking ….
Here’s the answer.
I do want to publish, if it’s something:
I feel passionately about, and
I think would be helpful to share with others.
So what might that topic be?
I’m interested in communication of all kinds, verbal and nonverbal. Maybe I should write a paper on something like this:
The people in the following image (from a national TV broadcast) are having an experience that most would consider joyful:
That is, they are attending a World Series Game, where their home team is leading by a score of 8-1, one strike away from victory. What emotions are they communicating, non-verbally? What are the factors influencing those non-verbal communications, from the stand-point of those sending AND receiving the communications?
That’s definitely an interesting topic.
However, I can think of another topic, that’s probably a better fit for the two criteria I listed above: The therapy groups that I have created and facilitate, where I work.
So I would like to take steps to publish, about those.
One last thing, before I end this post: I believe it helps, once you have identified a goal, to make a commitment for action, ideally witnessed by others.
Therefore, I hereby commit, to my group of WordPress readers, that I will take a measurable step, by the end of this year, to publish about those therapy groups.