Posts Tagged With: setting limits

Day 2842: Healthy boundaries

Healthy boundaries are, according to “How to Set Healthy Boundaries” at positivepsychology.com:

[…] those boundaries that are set to make sure mentally and emotionally you are stable” (Prism Health North Texas, n.d.). Another way to think about it is that “Our boundaries might be rigid, loose, somewhere in between, or even nonexistent. A complete lack of boundaries may indicate that we don’t have a strong identity or are enmeshed with someone else” (Cleantis, 2017).

Healthy boundaries can serve to establish one’s identity. Specifically, healthy boundaries can help people define their individuality and can help people indicate what they will and will not hold themselves responsible for.

While boundaries are often psychological or emotional, boundaries can also be physical. For example, declining physical contact from a coworker is setting an important boundary, one that’s just as crucial as setting an emotional boundary, i.e., asking that same coworker not to make unreasonable demands on your time or emotions.

I’m writing about healthy boundaries today because I’m approaching the boundary of my 17-day staycation from work. Healthy boundaries are particularly critical during these pandemic days of working from home, when the boundaries between work and non-work are blurred. Also healthy boundaries are especially important for self-care when you are working in a caring profession, like I do.

In order to set healthy boundaries, I find it useful to

  • write down a list of what I WILL do and what I will NOT do,
  • share that list with others, and
  • follow that list.

What I WILL do now is share my photos from yesterday. Let’s see if we can find any healthy boundaries in them.

As you can see from these two photos …

… Harley’s boundaries are changing, which is healthy for both of us.

This image from the The Kindness Rocks Project (which has healthy boundaries) …

… inspires my music pick for today.

Here‘s the Playing for Change version of “Listen to the Music” …

… and here’s a quote from Playing for Change:

In music as in life, the things that make us different make us stronger. All the various instruments, tones, perspectives, and cultures in this recording combine to create a new version of this classic Song Around The World.

The idea was born a few years ago during breakfast at the Byron Bay Bluesfest in Australia. Our friend and drummer, Peter Bunetta, introduced me to Tom Johnston of The Doobie Brothers and we talked about taking “Listen to the Music” around the world. We started the track with an acoustic guitar demo played to a click track and then added bass from Colombia, tablas and veena from India, and then headed to the Redwood Forest in Northern California to record and film Tom Johnston live outside. We then recorded and filmed Patrick Simmons and John McFee playing along to the track in a park in San Diego. The journey then continued throughout North and South America, Europe, The Middle East, Asia, and Africa. This final version features 30 musicians from 12 countries united through their love of music.

Listen to the music and change the world!

-Mark Johnson, PFC Co-Founder

Here’s a comment from that YouTube video:

Geno M
10 months ago
This is going to sound dramatic and fake but I’ve literally been suicidal for the last 2 months especially this past weekend. I am on medicine and seeing therapists but there is a lot of downtime between getting help and being alone with your thoughts. These videos help me cope and really help me think about the good still left in the world making me try and appreciate what I have and my family. Thank you for uplifting folks and spreading good through music.

There is a healthy boundary between Geno M and me — that is, I can feel empathy for his struggle without rushing in to try to save him. These healthy boundaries are especially important for people who are in a caring profession, like I am.

If leaving a comment is on your list of what you will do today, I will leave you a healthy reply in the near future.

Thanks to all who help me create these posts and healthy boundaries, including YOU.

Categories: life during the pandemic, personal growth, photojournalism, self-care, therapy | Tags: , , , , , , , | 26 Comments

Day 2809: The same time

I like to wake up, blog, and look at the Daily Bitch Calendar the same time every day.

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I do NOT take naps even when I’m tired of doing too many things at the same time, which does not make for sane time.

At the same time of year in 2011, I started my job at a major Boston hospital, where I do group therapy, individual therapy, crisis work, and  otherwise take care of the behavioral health needs of way too many people at the same time.  While I do too much at the same time, at the same time I do NOT want to retire (although many people do retire when they reach the same time of life as mine).

As I tell many people in my groups at the same time, we all need to do a better job balancing our needs with other people’s needs.  At the same time, it’s easier to tell others good advice than to listen to it yourself.

I would love to resolve, at the same time as you, to

  • balance my needs with other people’s needs,
  • do more self care,
  • set healthy boundaries,
  • say “no” to some requests,
  • take a breath,
  • slow down,
  • accept all feelings,
  • be aware of what I can and cannot control,
  • be clear about what I can and cannot do,
  • take achievable next steps towards my chosen goals,
  • let go of worry, and
  • keep a sense of humor.

Here’s a photo I took when my husband Michael,  my son Aaron, and I were walking around our neighborhood at the same time:

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When other people are walking near us, we put our masks on at the same time.

Do you know how some people can’t walk and chew gum at the same time?  Apparently some people can’t walk and wear masks at the same time.

Here are photos I took at the same time that I was taking my walk yesterday, when other people were using the same time to swim and go boating. What else was going on at the same time?

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So many of us around the world are experiencing the coronavirus pandemic at the same time. At the same time, not all of us are reacting to it the same way.

I hope things are better the same time next year.

At the same time that I was watching The Hate U Give and then Rent  yesterday, Michael and Aaron were on their own computers.  Then, we ate veggie burgers at the same time …

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… and  watched The Spanish Prisoner. It’s difficult to find a movie we all want to watch at the same time.

At the same time that I’ve been writing this post, I’ve been hearing this song in my head:

It’s fun to see all those people from the Phoenix Chamber Choir in Vancouver, Canada singing at the same time.

At the same time in every post, I express what I’m thankful for.

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We can be thankful for many things at the same time and I am definitely thankful for you.

Categories: group therapy, life during the pandemic, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

Day 1835: Different ways to say things

 

Although we can get in a rut about how we express ourselves, there are many different ways to say things.

For example, somebody in therapy yesterday wanted to set limits with a intrusive co-worker. Her first impulse was to say “Get Out of My Face!” Because that might be experienced as unprofessional, we made a list other ways to say that.

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Now I’m trying to think of a different way to say some of the same things I wrote in yesterday’s post:

  1. I OVER SLEPT AGAIN and
  2. Here are my other photos from yesterday:

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There are different ways to say “Happy Birthday” to Elvis.  Here‘s one of them:

There are different ways to make comments. I look forward to reading yours later.

There are different ways to express gratitude to all who helped me create this post and to YOU. Here’s one of them:

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

Day 1774: “I’m out of here”

Yesterday, before people were out of my Wednesday morning therapy group, somebody said “I’m out of here” regarding a stressful, toxic family relationship.

I invited the group members to express thoughts, feelings, and associations about “I’m out of here”  using  words, drawings, poetry, or  interpretive dance.  I then did an interpretive dance of “I’m out of here” by leaving the group room to get a drink of water.

What are your thoughts, feelings, and associations about “I’m out of here”?

Let’s get yesterday’s photos out of my iPhone and into this post.

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Those ducks are out of their usual element  because Michael has been using a computer programming technique out of here  called “Rubber Duck debugging.”  He prefers to  express his  thoughts, while he programs, to the purple rubber duck out of Scotland (here). Why?  Because it looks more interested than the Hearing Duck (which is out of here).

Here‘s Shania Twain singing “I’m Out of Here.”

I’m out of here, but not before I express thanks to all who helped me create today’s post and — of course! — to YOU.

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Categories: group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Day 1539: The No List

No. 1.   Here’s The No List that inspired this post:

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No. 2.  The No List on that napkin holder included

  • No high fructose corn syrup,
  • No hydrogenated fats,
  • No added growth hormones in our fresh meat,
  • No artificial preservatives,
  • No artificial sweeteners.

No. 3.   The No List at Whole Foods ended with this:
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No. 4.  My personal No List includes

  • No bullies.
  • No cruelty.
  • No sexism.
  • No racism.
  • No homophobia.
  • No ageism.
  • No regrets about saying “No” in the past.

No. 5.  Here’s a list of quotes about No:

No is a complete sentence and so often we forget that.
When we don’t want to do something we can simply smile and say no.
We don’t have to explain ourselves, we can just say “No”.
Early on my journey I found developing the ability to say no expanded my ability to say yes and really mean it.
My early attempts at saying no were often far from graceful but with practice even my no came from a place of love.
Love yourself enough to be able to say yes or no.”
― Susan Gregg

“Let today mark a new beginning for you. Give yourself permission to say NO without feeling guilty, mean, or selfish. Anybody who gets upset and/or expects you to say YES all of the time clearly doesn’t have your best interest at heart. Always remember: You have a right to say NO without having to explain yourself. Be at peace with your decisions.”
― Stephanie Lahart

“Say no to everything, so you can say yes to the one thing.”
― Richie Norton

“Most women are all too familiar with men like Calvin Smith. Men whose sense of prerogative renders them deaf when women say, “No thanks,” “Not interested,” or even “Fuck off, creep.”
― Jon Krakauer, Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town

“Whether they’re family or friends, manipulators are difficult to escape from. Give in to their demands and they’ll be happy enough, but if you develop a spine and start saying no, it will inevitably bring a fresh round of head games and emotional blackmail. You’ll notice that breaking free from someone else’s dominance will often result in them accusing you of being selfish. Yes, you’re selfish, because you’ve stopped doing what they want you to do for them. Wow. Can these people hear themselves?!”
― Rosie Blythe, The Princess Guide to Life

“It takes effort to say no when our heart and brains and guts and, most important, pride are yearning to say yes. Practice.”
― Cole Harmonson, Pre Middle Age: 40 Lessons in Growing the Hell Up

“He wasn’t used to people saying no, and Eby felt sorry for him, the way she’d always felt sorry for those who had everything and it still wasn’t enough.”
― Sarah Addison Allen, Lost Lake

“Information overload (on all levels) is exactly WHY you need an “ignore list”. It has never been more important to be able to say “No”
― Mani S. Sivasubramanian, How To Focus – Stop Procrastinating, Improve Your Concentration & Get Things Done – Easily!

“We must say “no” to what, in our heart, we don’t want. We must say “no” to doing things out of obligation, thereby cheating those important to us of the purest expression of our love. We must say “no” to treating ourselves, our health, our needs as not as important as someone else’s. We must say “no.”
― Suzette Hinton

“To exist here, I’ll have to become skilled in saying no—an art in which I was once well accomplished, but one I no longer care to practice.”
― Doug Cooper, Outside In

“It is extremely important to be able to make negative assertions. We must be able to say what is ‘not me’ in order to have a ‘me’. What we like has no meaning unless we know what we don’t like. Our yes has no meaning if we never say no. My chosen profession has no passion if ‘just anyone would do’. Our opinions and thoughts mean very little if there is nothing we disagree with.”
― Henry Cloud, Changes That Heal: How to Understand the Past to Ensure a Healthier Future

“If the person you’re talking with continues to press you for more or can’t seem to accept your answer, then you are being harassed. I know that sounds hard for people-pleasers to accept, but it’s true. No means no.”
― Suzette Hinton

“Many survivors have such profound deficiencies in self-protection that they can barely imagine themselves in a position of agency or choice. The idea of saying no to the emotional demands of a parent, spouse, lover or authority figure may be practically inconceivable. Thus, it is not uncommon to find adult survivors who continue to minister to the needs of those who once abused them and who continue to permit major intrusions without boundaries or limits. Adult survivors may nurse their abusers in illness, defend them in adversity, and even, in extreme cases, continue to submit to their sexual demands.”
― Judith Lewis Herman, Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence – From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror

“If something is not a “hell, YEAH!”, then it’s a “no!”
― James Altucher

“Sometimes “No” is the kindest word.”
― Vironika Tugaleva

“Learn to say “no” to the good and the advantageous, in order to receive the best.”
― Sunday Adelaja

“In order for us to practice self-control, we must have a goal. We must have something we are saying “yes” to, which necessarily comes with things that we must say “no” to. We use self-control to maneuver ourselves toward this “yes.” This goal must be entirely our own. The minute another person is choosing and managing our goals for us, we have left self-control behind.”
― Danny Silk, Keep Your Love On: Connection Communication And Boundaries.

“When you say no to the wrong people, it opens up the space for the right people to come in.”

― Joe Calloway, Magnetic: The Art of Attracting Business

“Until you learn how to confidently say NO to so many things, you shall always say YES to so many things. The real summary of a regretful life is a life that failed to balance YES and NO. Yes! A life that failed to recognize when to courageously say NO and when to confidently say YES!”
― Ernest Agyemang Yeboah

“NO” is a complete sentence. It does not require an explanation to follow. You can truly answer someone’s request with a simple No.”
― Sharon E. Rainey, The Best Part of My Day Healing Journal

No. 6.   Heres “Say No to This” from Hamilton. 

No. 7.  Too-expensive tickets to Hamilton have been on my No List, so I’ve said “yes” to just singing along to the soundtrack.

No. 8.  Did you know I said yes to more photos yesterday?

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No. 9. Because not sharing is not caring, sharing gratitude is never on my No List.

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Categories: personal growth, photojournalism, self-care | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 49 Comments

Day 1107: Just say no

If you’re uncomfortable

just say no.

If it’s not working for you

just say no.

If something offends you

just say no.

If you don’t want to do something

just say no.

If you think it’s better for you

just say no.

If somebody is pressuring you

just say no.

If it doesn’t feel right

just say no.

If you choose not to share something

just say no.

If a behavior doesn’t fit your values

just say no.

If you’re thinking “no” and everybody else is saying “yes”

just say no.

If you don’t want to explain

just say no.

If you’re overwhelmed

just say no.

If you feel manipulated

just say no.

If it’s good for your health

just say no.

If you need to set a boundary

just say no.

If something seems toxic

just say no.

If you need to sit one out

just say no.

If you’re asked to hide your true self

just say no.

If you’ve been told “no” is impolite

just say no.

If something hurts

just say no.

If you can’t deal with the consequences

just say no.

If you need to take a break

just say no.

If you sense danger

just say no.

If you’re asked whether you have the right to just say no

just say yes.

Should I share some photos I took yesterday?

You may just say no,  but I just can’t hear you!

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Feel free to say no to anything in this post.  Or not.

Also, if you need some time or don’t know what to say, you can just say nothing.

I’m just saying no, now, to an extended ending with “Thanks for reading!”

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , | 43 Comments

Day 802: How to set limits

  1. Be aware of your limits.
  2. Recognize you have every right to have limits and to set them.
  3. Express your limits to others as clearly and simply as you can.
  4. If other people push or overstep these limits, express those limits again.
  5. Repeat as necessary.
  6. Let go of any worries you have about setting limits.

Yesterday, I set limits with several people, at work and elsewhere. And while I had some concerns that I might

  • hurt people’s feelings,
  • be judged,
  • be misunderstood, or
  • damage connections,

… setting limits actually improved each situation. 

Here’s a  limit I’m setting here:

When you set limits effectively, you remove limits for growth,  for you and others. 

What limits might you set, now?

There were definite limits to my photo-taking yesterday: I only took three.  Here are all the images I captured on my phone, with photographic limits: 


Because I’m the one setting the limits here, I’ll also show you a limited number of photos I’ve limited from previous posts (according to my limited memory):

Because there are limits to what others might see in my photos, I’ll tell you this about that last one: Oscar set a limit with that cat toy, by destroying it.

What limits can I set with “limited” music, right now?

Here are some limited results from YouTube, in response to “Unlimited Wicked” (see here and here):

Here’s my limited ending: quoting that song from the musical “Wicked.”

Together, we’re unlimited.

Unlimited thanks to all who helped me expand my creative limits with this post, to all who set, respect, and test limits, and to you — of course! — for whatever you do with limits, today.

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

Day 611: Saying No

Two days ago, I showed photos with No’s, including:

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If you checked my tags for that post — Day 609: Invisible —  you would have seen this one, at the end:

What trees might feel about being cut down

Just now, I added another tag, there:

What trees might say about being cut down

Does everybody know what a “tag” is, in the world of WordPress?

If you said “No,” here’s some information about tags:

Tags provide a useful way to group related posts together and to quickly tell readers what a post is about. Tags also make it easier for people to find your content. Tags are similar to, but more specific than, categories. The use of tags is completely optional.

If my new tag had made more than fifteen tags for that post, I would have said “no” to another tag.  Regular readers might be surprised at my saying “no” to a list entry, because I never say “No” to a good list.  However, my memory is that  WordPress says “No” to excessive tagging, and I quote:

Your posts will appear in the topic listings of any tags or categories you use. Therefore, assigning tags and categories to your post increases the chance that other WordPress.com users will see your content.

However, you don’t want irrelevant content showing up on the topic listings or search, and neither do we. That’s why we limit the number of tags and categories that can be used on a public tag listing. Five to 15 tags (or categories, or a combination of the two) is a good number to add to each of your posts. The more categories you use, the less likely it is that your post will be selected for inclusion in the topic listings.

Hmm. I could have sworn I saw a more direct, obvious “No” about using more than 15 tags at WordPress. My memory is that WordPress told me that if I used more than fifteen tags, all my tags would become invisible. Let’s see if I can quickly find something about that.

No.

It looks like I may be starting a false rumor (something I always try to say “NO!” to).  While I may have a distinct memory of seeing a firm WordPress “NO!”  to more than 15 tags, here’s what I just found:

Is there a limit to the number of tags I can have?
Yes, the sky. In other words, no.

So if there ever was such a tag-limiting rule, WordPress has said “No” to such limits.

I like WordPress’s answer  to its own question about tag number limits, especially because it includes “no” AND its opposite “yes.”

Is everybody with me?

I’m guessing I got some No’s in response, there.

What else do I want to tell you — about “Saying No” — right now?

  1. Yesterday, my downstairs neighbor, Karen, said “No” to my assumption that the tree in back was being cut down that day.  The tree has a one-week reprieve and will get its final “No” next week, on September 9 (my late father’s birthday).
  2. Yesterday, I set limits with somebody at work, saying a firm “No” to attempts  to push boundaries with me.
  3. Yesterday, people at work said a resounding “Yes!” —  with no “No’s” I could hear — to a proposal I’ve made about improving the delivery of behavioral health services at the hospital’s primary care practice.
  4. Yesterday, I found out (from a third party) that a person, outside of work, who had contacted me about a possible “Yes” to something I want, has decided to say “No” … and is taking their time telling me “No” directly. (This is a style of communication I say “NO!” to, whenever possible, and which I’ve written about here, here, here, AND here).

Is all of that clear? I would assume No, since I need to be unclear about details here, sometimes, because of confidentiality and other issues.

I would love to say “YES!” to clarity at all times, but I’m doing the best that I can.

Is it time for me to end this post?

Not yet.

Today is the day my 16-year-old son, Aaron, returns to school.

Based on past experiences, I’m assuming he might want to say NO!! to all that.

Here’s some actual dialogue we just had:

Me: Do you feel okay?

Aaron: No.

Me: Is there something I can get you?

Aaron (who usually says “No” to breakfast): Yes.

Me (expecting to hear “No” to this next question): Do you feel ready for school?

Aaron: I guess.

Me (after I put breakfast out for him): Is there anything else I can do?

Aaron: Probably not.

Here’s a photo, I just snapped, of Aaron eating some friggin’ thing:

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If you’re wondering if I have any negative feelings, right now, about anything I’ve mentioned in this post, the answer is

No.

Finally, here are some things I saw yesterday, which might get a “No” and/or a “Yes” from you:

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How might I respond to those signs?

Guess.

Thanks to Aaron, to WordPress, to those who tag (in any form of that word), to people who say “No” and “Yes” as best they can, and to you, especially, for saying “yes” to this post, today.

Categories: inspiration, personal growth, photojournalism, pride | Tags: , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Day 328: Limits

It’s time for a post of random thoughts!   Today’s topic is “limits.”

Here are some thoughts on limits, this morning:

I have both strengths and limits. I assume you do, too.

Limits are human, so there is no shame in having them.

We can choose to push limits, to develop new strengths.

We can choose to go with our strengths, and respect our limits.

Setting limits with other people (“I can do this, but I can’t do that”)  can be a real strength.

Hmmm. I’m feeling the need for an example, or at least an image, right now.

Let’s see what I have on my iPhone.

Here’s a photo I took at work last week, of a sign posted on a door:

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Voila!  An example of How to Set Limits.

Here’s another image, from the whiteboard in my office:

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I see an exploration of limits and strengths there, for sure.

Now, let’s see what Google images has for “limits,” today.

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That image, which I chose from many others,  is from markblackspeaks.com.  According to that website, which I just visited for the first time, Mark Black is a “Heart and Double-Lung Transplant Recipient turned 4-Time Marathon Runner” who has been “inspiring and motivating audiences for years with his unique brand of humour, authentic delivery and powerful insights.”

Cool.

Hmmmm. I know when I came up with this topic, this morning, I was hoping to make a few other points, too.

I can’t remember what those were, now.  I guess that’s a reflection of the limits of my memory. However, as I often tell people who lose their train of thought: That thought will come back to you, if it’s important enough. If it doesn’t, you’ll have other thoughts, that are equally important.

Here’s a thought I know is important, because it (somehow) inspired the whole topic today.

In yesterday’s post —  Will, Part Deux — I made these points, which people seemed to appreciate:

I don’t have to do a perfect [last will and testament].  I mean, people will forgive me if they feel slighted or inconvenienced by my will .

And if they don’t forgive me, so what?  I’ll be dead.

Today, I would like to push the limits of those points. That is, I’d like to expand them, like so:

I don’t have to do a perfect [anything].  I mean people will forgive if me if they feel slighted or inconvenienced by [anything I say or do].

And if they don’t forgive me, so what?  I’ll still be alive.

Okay! Time to end this post, limits and all.

Thanks to Mark Black, to people who push, accept, and set limits every day, and to you– of course! — for reading today.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , | 15 Comments

Day 321: The gift of mortality

When I was in my 20s, I was talking to a friend where we both worked, at a high tech company.

That day, we were talking about mortality.

He, who was also in his 20s, declared that people of our age could not possibly have a sense of our own mortality.  We could not  really understand, said he, that we would die some day.

I had heard that before, but that was not my personal experience.  I was born with a congenital heart problem, received my first cardiac pacemaker at age 10, and was definitely aware of mortality issues, in ways my friend was not.

This is my recollection of the rest of that conversation:

Me: Well, that’s probably true for lots of people. That’s not my experience. I’m very aware of mortality issues. I know I’m going to die, and I think about that a lot.

Him:  I don’t believe it. You might think you know you’re going to die, but you don’t really know that.

Me: (pause, not knowing what to say to THAT.)

Him: Look, if you really knew you were going to die, you wouldn’t show up to work here every day. You’d be doing things you REALLY want to do.

Me: (Laughing out loud)

Him: What’s so funny?

Me: I have a lot of trouble showing up here every day.

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That conversation has always stuck with me, because it represents something important.

I have always had trouble spending time on something that doesn’t feel like a “good enough fit”, because I am sooooo aware that my time is limited.

I think that has served me very well.

It has guided me, continually, in improving my situation, at work (through career changes), in love, and at home.

I’m not saying my progress has been perfect or linear, in any way.  (See this post for more about that.)

However, increasingly as I’ve aged, my presence indicates an active choice to be there.*

Every day, when I post, I am choosing whole-heartedly to be here.

I may never know what form the post will ultimately take, but I trust in the process of creation.

That’s how I feel about life, too. I don’t know the course, and how it will end, but I am committed, as much as possible, to every moment.

Okay!  It’s time to choose an image, to end this post.

(Pause, while I check my iPhone for a photo that’s a “good enough fit”.)

Okay!

When people in therapy report progress, strengths, or anything worth celebrating, I sometimes say, “If I had some confetti, I would throw it.”

Here it is:

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Thank you for celebrating with me, here and now.

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* With some exceptions, of course. I never want to be present when it’s time to do my taxes.

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

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