Posts Tagged With: serenity prayer

Day 2091: Open with care

When I open, with care,  every new blog post, I also open, with care, my photo app.

Today I care to open with this photo:

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I open my car door with care and I also open with care other things, including:

  • My mind.
  • My heart.
  • My mouth.
  • My eyes.
  • Every blog post.
  • Therapy groups.
  • Meetings.
  • Communication.
  • Presents.
  • Books.
  • Conversations.
  • Songs.
  • Poems.
  • Emails.
  • Packaging.
  • My laptop.

What do you open with care?

I shall now re-open my photo app with care.

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“I’m not anti-social” (displayed with care on those socks, above) is an interesting way to open a conversation.

Note that I opened my list of favorite movies with “Singin’ in the Rain.”  I’ve opened up, here, about how much I love musicals. Today, I opened my eyes and thought, “I’m seeing Hamilton today!!!”

I now open YouTube with care, looking for relevant music to share.

Later today, I shall open WordPress with care to see how people open their comments.

I open each blog post with care and close it with gratitude, so thanks to all who helped me create this open-with-care post and — of course! — YOU.

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

Day 1669: Concerns

Yesterday morning, people with concerns talked about them in a therapy group. There were concerns about

  • themselves,
  • each other,
  • health,
  • health care,
  • the health care bill,
  • money,
  • housing,
  • nature,
  • the country,
  • the world, and
  • the future.

When those concerned people shared their concerns, we also discussed what we do when we’re concerned.

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I’m concerned that list might be difficult to read, so here it is:

What do I do when I’m concerned?

Sit with the concern

Breathe

Think

Feel

Focus

Take a break

Move

Consider changes

Accept (in the terms of the Serenity Prayer)

Love

Be creative

Balance

Take what power I can

Seek and tell the truth

See the opportunities in problems

I see the opportunity, here and now, to ask what you do when you’re concerned.

Any concerns about my other photos from yesterday?

 

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Here‘s some music about concerns  from Chris Andrews.

To whom it concerns: consider expressing your concerns in a comment.

Concerned thanks to all who helped me create today’s blog post and I am especially grateful concerning you.

Categories: group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 32 Comments

Day 1638: We accept

Do we accept that I saw this yesterday?

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Do we accept that seeing that worn-down sign  got me thinking about what we accept?

Should we accept everything?  Do we accept injustice, cruelty, and other unacceptable things?

I believe that radical acceptance — recognizing and accepting completely the realities of the moment — is necessary before we can move toward change and improvements.

Do we accept that?

Do you accept my other photos from yesterday?

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I make a wish that we have the  serenity to accept the things we cannot change,  the courage to change the things we can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

Can we accept that I just quoted the serenity prayer?

Should we accept this Airbnb commercial called “We Accept” which aired during the 2017 USA Super Bowl Game?

 

As always, we accept comments at this blog.

Please accept my thanks to all who helped me create today’s post and to you — of course! — for your kind acceptance.

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

Day 197: Technology, Part II

In yesterday’s post about technology and e-mail, there was a “shadow” — something on my mind, which I didn’t write about.

Here’s what it is: I’ve not only been having a complicated “relationship” with e-mail lately, but also with a different piece of technology.

My current cardiac pacemaker.

It’s time for a story …

Ann and Her Pacemakers

I got my first pacemaker when I was 10 years old, and I’ve had a LOT of them.

For the first 20 years or so, all the pacemakers I had were fixed-rate pacemakers. No matter what I did, how much I exerted myself, or what I was feeling, the pacemaker (and my heart) were beating the same amount of beats every minute: 80 beats per minute when I was a little kid and 70 when I got older. That meant I didn’t get the boost of extra beats for exercise.

That didn’t stop me from becoming a Disco Queen in the 1970’s, though.

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I (not pictured) took lots of disco lessons, danced in lots of places with lots of people, and had a blast. The way I dealt with fixed rate of my heart? I rested after a dance or two. Nobody knew the difference.

In the 1980’s, when I was in my 30’s, I got my first variable rate pacemaker. With this advance in technology, the pacemaker allowed my heart to speed up exactly when it needed to.

I remember, after I got my first variable rate pacemaker, going to an indoor athletic track, and jogging for the first time.

I felt like I was flying. It felt like a miracle.

Another part of the story is this: I have always been quite sensitive to how my heart is beating. In other words, if my heart skips or speeds up suddenly, I am very aware of it. I guess I’ve had to be, in order to survive. (Also, as somebody said to me when I was in my 20’s, “Ann, some people are just born sensitive.”)

Until I was in my 30’s and got the variable rate pacemaker, any variability in my heart beating (like missed beats, slowing down, or speeding up) meant that Something Was Wrong With The Pacemaker. And by being tuned in very acutely to my heartbeat, I pretty much always anticipated when my pacemaker was starting to fail.

You may have read, on this blog, my bragging about this: I am The Longest Surviving Person In The World With a Pacemaker.*

I’ve broken other records, too. Another one (I believe) is the Longest Lasting Single Pacemaker. That would have been the last pacemaker I had, before my current one. That Champ of a Pacemaker lasted just shy of 25 years. (This could be framed as “pay back” for all the pacemakers I had, early on, that broke and otherwise failed way too soon.)

I loved my last pacemaker, if I may use that emotional word about a piece of technology, because it not only kept me going, but it kept going for such a long time. And I felt physically great with it.

The current one, which I received about 17 months ago (but who’s counting?) does not seem to be quite as spectacular a match. With this pacemaker, my heart is skipping a lot of beats, speeding up suddenly, and … it just doesn’t feel as good. My doctors tried to adjust this latest pacemaker (the new ones have LOTS of fancy programming), but, at this point, we just can’t get it to stop those kinds of behaviors. It’s not that there is something wrong with it, it’s just picking up more than my other pacemakers. My doctors tell me that it is giving a more “accurate” representation of how my heart might naturally beat.

Perhaps this pacemaker is “too sensitive.”

(I wrote about the “too” word in a post, when I first started blogging, here. Also, “too sensitive” is something I hear people say about themselves, in a judgmental way. I sometimes think that’s a characterization that’s not particularly helpful.)

At this point, I’m not sure if anything further can be done, with this pacemaker, to make it a better fit for me and my needs. What I’ve done, for myself, to feel better, is to try to “disconnect” from my sensitivity to my own heartbeat. I’ve tried to “shut off” my immediate, familiar, and learned response of “There’s Something Wrong!” whenever my heart skips a lot.

But, my heartbeat has an effect on me. That effect may include anxiety, at times.

It’s so complicated, how all the different factors — internal and external — interact with each other.

How do I figure this out? And what to do?

Here’s what I thought of this morning.

The Serenity Prayer.

Again.

Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

As usual, Part 3 — “the wisdom to know the difference” — is the challenging part.

What are the things I can and cannot change right now?

At this point, I don’t think I have more options to change this pacemaker, to make it a better fit, although I’m not sure about that. I could find out, perhaps. And, maybe I can find out more about my options for my next pacemaker.

In any case, it helps to name the situation, rather than avoiding it and trying to block it out. And, also, to identify an achievable next step or two.

Thanks, from the bottom of my heart (which skips sometimes), for visiting today.


  • I found out, in 2014, that this brag was not true.  See here for more about that.
Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Day 26: What we can and cannot change

I expect that I’ll be posting on this topic throughout the year.  It’s a biggie, isn’t it?

Often when this really important issue comes up, I’ll say, “You know …. it’s the serenity prayer.”  I said that at a group session last week and everybody nodded. Then somebody asked me, “Exactly how does the serenity prayer go again?”  After I bumbled around for a little while (still spacier than usual because I was SICK, people), tossing words out like “control” “wisdom” “difference” “patience” —  I gave up, left the group room, went back to my office (just down the hallway), and got the notebook where I write down things that help and things that don’t help.  I knew I had written down the serenity prayer under “Things that Help” because …. it helps.

After I returned to the group, I read aloud what I had written in my notebook:

Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.  

Man, that just blows my mind — how simple and profound that is.  I think I have trouble remembering it because it seems so …. perfect.  When I try to quote it from memory (and my memory can be so imperfect), I just want to stop trying to approximate it, and get to the Real Deal.

As we ended up discussing in the group that night, Part 3 of that Perfect Prayer is  REALLY tricky.  “The wisdom to know the difference.”  I don’t think I’ll ever reach and stay at THAT level of wisdom. I mean, I don’t think I’ll every attain a Personal Development Nirvana, where I’ll immediately know, in the moment, what I can change and what I can’t change. It seems like those are lessons I have to keep learning, again and again.

And even when I name “guidelines” about what we can and can’t change, I have to keep re-learning those, too.

For example, here’s something I often name as “something we can’t change.”

Other people.

Realizing that, over and over again, does seem to help. Now, that doesn’t mean losing faith in other people’s ability to change.  Geesh, if I didn’t believe in THAT, I couldn’t do the work I do.   And I’m not saying that we don’t have an effect on each other.

(Wow, this IS tricky.)

But we can’t make other people change, as much as we might (1) yearn for that change, (2) think we need that change,  and (3) believe they need that change.

This brings to mind another profound, ancient piece of wisdom:

Q:  How many therapists does it take to change a lightbulb?

A: One, but the lightbulb has to really want to change.

Yep.

Just some final thoughts before I end today’s post.  Acceptance of where other people are — and letting go of that need for other people to change — seems to help. That doesn’t mean tolerating a bad situation and letting go of your own needs.  It also really helps to clearly state the effect that other people’s behavior has on you, and to express your needs and wishes, and even name consequences, at times.  (I’ll write about “I-statements” in a future post, I’m sure, which is a handy-dandy prescription for more effective interpersonal communication.)

But, what other people think and do? Not in my realm of control.

And I’m still working on the wisdom to know THAT difference.  Like right now, writing this.

Thanks, dear reader.

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

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