Posts Tagged With: small changes

Day 650: Today’s fears (and safety and dreams)

I fear I’m going to start this post by checking how many times I’ve used “fear” in previous blog titles.

Anybody brave enough to guess that number?

The number is  …..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sixteen.  (And those posts are here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, herehere, and here).

Does anybody here fear numbers?

My 16-year-old son (who does not read this blog, these days) does NOT fear numbers, as illustrated by this story when he was three (almost four) years old (from NoteBookLand):

Aaron’s pre-school teacher, Alyssa, said that when the kids at school were asked what they were thankful for, some said, “my parents,” or “my toys,” or “my house,” or “my kitty.” Aaron said, “I’m thankful for numbers, because I can count with them.”

When I was looking for that early Aaron story, I found this much earlier one, which I do not fear to share with you, here:

Aaron and Dada were telling stories at bedtime. Aaron told a story where Aaron was having a dream about a dinosaur and his Dada told him that dinosaurs really weren’t there. Then Aaron told another story about a dinosaur who was having a dream about Aaron and who woke up scared from his dream, and the Daddy Dinosaur told the dinosaur to not be afraid, because no Aarons were really there.

 

As a psychotherapist, I often encourage people (especially those who have encountered frightening things in their lives) to think about how safe they are, in the moment. People — when they take a breath and observe all the realities of their senses —  often find that the present moment is actually safer than they are thinking and feeling.

I fear it is sometimes difficult to take one’s own advice.  That is, I have been fearing some not-really-dangerous things lately, including:

  • running out of storage space,
  • machines breaking,
  • losing things,
  • interpersonal miscommunication, and
  • making mistakes.

Also, I fear, I have NOT been scared of some news-worthy dangers, including:

  • Ebola (and other diseases),
  • financial scams, and
  • murderous people.

I fear that sort of thing happens, when I stop listening to the news. (When I stop listening to the news, I definitely feel safer.)

 

If you fear generalizations about human beings, beware of the next sentence.

Being vigilant about danger can help us survive, so it makes sense for our minds to be fear-focused (although we might get confused about what we should be fearing, which can be scary).

 

This time of the year, there’s plenty to fear, all around:

IMG_0640 IMG_0641 IMG_0660 IMG_0661 IMG_0663 IMG_0664 IMG_0672 IMG_0675 IMG_0677 IMG_0671 IMG_0680 IMG_0684 IMG_0685

Do any of those things scare you?  Do any of them help you feel safer?

If any of them did scare you, what else might help you feel safer, in the moment?

For me, music always helps.

(“Not While I’m Around” from Stephen Sondheim‘s Sweeney Todd, sung by Barbra Streisand, found here on YouTube.)

Here’s a live version of that song, by Jamie Cullum:

 

Last night, I had a dream. Do you fear dreams? I do not fear other people’s dreams; indeed, I welcome them into individual and group therapy. However, I may fear my own dreams (which may be why I sometimes fear going to sleep).

My dream last night was not scary, although there was a moment in the dream where I was afraid of something.

I fear I am not being clear or detailed enough, right now, about my dream. Here it is:

I was outside, talking to people who were standing and walking around in some sort of public gathering place. At times, I was having conversations with individuals — some of whom seemed to be in charge of things. At other times, I would address many people at the same time, as though I was imparting some wisdom.  At one point, I had a revelation. I thought, “in order to help bring about helpful growth in people and in society, I just need to make very small changes, like these:  (1) changing one letter in certain words and (2) increasing numbers I use, just by making them one larger. That’s all I need to do and … I can do that!” As I had this epiphany, I could see things very clearly and I heard a person standing near me describe their own sense of deja vu. I thought, “This is all telling me that I am having a true and helpful thought.”  I felt happy, safe, and joyful.

Then, I had my moment of doubt and fear, as I thought: “If I tell people this, will they think I am too self-important? Will they think I am delusional?”

When I woke up after that dream, I felt good. I wasn’t sure I was going share that dream with anyone but, I suppose, I am now telling it — in a way — to the world.

As I was writing the dream down for this post, here were my associations to that dream:

  • I work with people individually and in groups. That was happening in the dream.
  • When I act like an expert, I fear that I will be seen as wrong and/or as seeing myself as too important. That was happening in the dream.
  • I do believe that creating small changes can lead to bigger and important change. That was happening in the dream.
  • In my work, I invite people to tell their stories differently, as a way of creating more self-esteem and moving towards life goals. That is my association to changing one letter in a word, in the dream.
  • In my blog, I increase the number in the title by one, every day.

Those are my associations with that dream. When I work in therapy with other people’s dreams, I ask this question:

If that were your dream, what might it mean?

I hope you feel safe enough here to respond to that question, or to share any dreams of your own.

Here is ONE MORE three-year-old Aaron story, about change:

Aaron, Mama, and Dada were driving by a restaurant which was all boarded up with wood. When they were talking about how the restaurant was being changed, Aaron said, “Yes, that restaurant is changing. It’s changing into a …. tree!”

Is there any fear about how I might end this post? The endings, here, are almost always gratitude.

Thanks to everybody who helped make this post possible and to you — of course! — for any fears, safety, or anything in-between, that you bring here today.

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

Day 370: Reasons why snail mail freaks me out

Almost 200 days ago, I wrote a post called Why I’m Anxious Today (E-mail, anybody?)

Since I wrote that post, I’ve made a change.

(cue drum roll):

I’ve performed a hyphen-ectomy on the word “e-mail.”  That is, I now write it like this: “email.” This may be a small, irrelevant change to you, but that’s an example of something I like to tell people: “Every change, no matter how little, counts.”

Admittedly, that’s not a GREAT example, plus it’s a digression away from my title, today, which is NOT about email, but rather about …

(cue drum roll):

Snail Mail.

I confess: Both email (with or without the hyphen) AND snail mail make me anxious.

Today, I shall expound on the anxiety-provoking qualities of snail mail for me, these days.*

Reasons Why Snail Mail Freaks Me Out

Reason #1:  There’s way too much of it.

This applies to both email and snail mail. As a matter of fact, I just checked that earlier post about email, and #1 was the exact same phrase with the exact same punctuation!  What are the chances of that?

I guess the amount of snail mail which arrives and accumulates around here is REALLY** making me nervous, because I’m trying to distract you (and myself) with (1) rhetorical questions about coincidences and (2) inviting you and me to go into the past.

Okay, so back to The Here and Now …. that is, the amount of snail mail there is in my life, today.

I would take a picture of the amount of mail there is, in my immediate vicinity, as I write this post, but … I have some shame about that. So I won’t! You’ll just have to imagine how much mail there is — opened AND unopened.

Okay! Now, I assume that the amount of mail you are picturing right now has to do with … your own feelings, thoughts, and experiences about Snail Mail.

Actually, you know what?  Forget your experiences. I am going to reverse myself, right now, and CONFRONT MY SHAME about the messiness of snail mail in my life. In other words, I shall take a photo, right here at Blogging Central.  Hold on ….

Image

Eeeek!

Here’s something interesting about that photo:  Blogging Central has looked much neater in previous posts, like here, about a month ago:

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Yes, that’s the same table, BEFORE I DECIDED TO GET MORE ORGANIZED ABOUT MAIL.

And in case anybody reading this post is thinking — regarding that first photo — “Gee, Ann. That doesn’t look like THAT much mail!” … let me show you another photo, from the Here (actually, upstairs from where I blog) and Now:

Image

Eeeeeeeek!

Hold on, there’s more:

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One more:

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Okay, here’s my dilemma, at this point in my post.

I’ve started a list, about reasons why snail mail freaks me out, and I don’t want to add another entry to that list. I think this might be enough. Which leaves me with a list …. of one. But, hey!  It’s my blog post!  I can do what I want!

So what is my major point, in this List-of-One post, today?

What do you think?

(pause, giving you space to think about what this post means to you….)

Now, I’ll tell you what I think: I think this post is about shame regarding my organizing my external environment, including how — when I try to get better about something —  it often looks and feels worse (at least for a while).

I am letting go of shame, though, in general, and as I try to get better organized about snail mail.

I’ll tell you one thing that’s helping, right now, with snail mail organization  …..

Throwing more away.

(New) Rules About Throwing Mail Away

I shall throw mail away if:

  1. It came before a certain date AND
  2. It’s not important.

What gets in the way of that?

Judging what’s important.

That can be challenging, for lots of reasons, including the fact that so much snail mail has a strong opinion about its own importance. For example:

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Guess what?  I just threw those away.

Thanks to people who are organized about mail, those who are not, and …  I guess that includes everybody.  Wait!  I also want to thank you, especially, for visiting today.

_____________________

* I say “these days”, because snail mail has changed, over the years, Including what we call it. Before email, snail mail was just “the mail” (in case you don’t remember that).

** Ka-ching!  I now owe more residuals to The Culture Monk, who uses REALLY in his title, every day.***

*** At least, for now.

Categories: humor, inspiration, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 56 Comments

Day 365: End of Year (Big Deal!)

I’m looking at the title of this post, people, trying to decide what to tell you about it.

I’m looking at this entire year, people, trying to decide what to tell you about it.

Here’s a relevant quote, from a movie I love.

“Let me explain. No, there is too much.  Let me sum up.”

Here’s a short clip, including that quote:

(thanks to angelofcaine69)

I wanted to find a clip that included JUST that quote, but I couldn’t. So time to move on … to summing up.

Perhaps I avoid summing up.  Why? Maybe because summing up can involve numbers*. Or maybe because summing up means conclusions and decisions, which I can also avoid, because I LOVE …

  • Creating space for people to come to their own conclusions and decisions.
  • Opening up possibilities, rather than restricting them.

And yet, today is a traditional day for summing up and for conclusions. To get closure. To let go of the past (while still respecting its gifts). To move forward.

I’m now looking at the title of this post, again, with a critical** eye.  I’m asking myself, “What is true in that title, and what is opinion?”

Well, it’s an undeniable fact that it’s the End of the Year, right now (at least where I live).  But … is it really a Big Deal? And if it IS a big deal … to whom? To me?  To you?  To other people?

I’ll tell you what I love about “Big Deal!” in that title.   It implies “Yes” AND “No.” It contains authenticity AND irony.***

Yes, I love that.

Okay!  At this point in today’s blog post, ladies and gentlemen, I would like to re-visit my “About” page, which was written a year ago, to see if I have fulfilled my commitments.

ABOUT THIS BLOG

This blog is part of my creative process.

It’s also a way to work on my growing acceptance and appreciation of life, and to share and develop some of the wisdom I’ve been slowly accumulating. My commitment is to start on January 1, 2013 and to blog once daily, throughout 2013.

This blog is also another way for me to take risks, to venture out into the world in new ways, and to embrace and express all my different human feelings– joy, fear, sadness, anger, the whole Emotional Enchilada. I plan to engage in my well-developed sense of play, and approach some painful material, also.

So this blog does a lot for me!

Hey!  You know what?  I fulfilled those commitments.   I shall now take a moment to celebrate that accomplishment, by asking for “New Year Fireworks” from my old friend, Google Images.

Image

(thanks to  dailymail.co.uk)

Because celebrating what I’ve done is a skill I continue to work on (and encourage in others), I would like to extend this celebration for few more minutes, via the same request —  “New Year fireworks” — from another old friend, YouTube.

(thanks to hanabian)

I’ve learned a lot this year, my dear readers.

What have I learned?

Well, I guess you’ll just have to read those posts I wrote, every day, to really answer that question. But, to emulate Inigo Montoya, let me sum up:

  1. I blogged.
  2. I learned many things, from myself and from other people.
  3. I have a lot more to learn.
  4. Therefore, I will continue to blog, as long as I have ideas, and as long as anybody wants to keep reading.

Since I’m continuing on this blogging adventure, what to do about the title of this blog? I mean, it’s “The Year of Living Non-Judgmentally” and that year is coming to a close, today. So, obviously, I have to change it.

(sigh)

That’s been another thing on my friggin’ to do list, y’know?

Well, I highly recommend taking the easy way out, whenever possible. Keep it simple.

And every change, no matter how small, still counts. Every change is a Big Deal.

So without further ado, I shall now unveil the new title of this here blog:

The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

Yep, that’s it!

I don’t know what YOU think or feel about THAT.  However, I do know this:

I LOVE it.

Thanks to all my readers for a year of living, loving, and learning; of disappointment and hope; of fear, sadness, anger, and joy; of all those big deals and more. See you tomorrow, in 2014!

____________________

* I don’t want people to get the wrong idea, regarding my feelings about numbers. I love numbers, sometimes.  However, numbers are not my native language, so sometimes they challenge me. Hmmm. I don’t like the way I said that. “They challenge me” is too mild, too wimpy a statement. How about this? Sometime, I hate numbers. Nope, too strong.  How about this? Sometimes, numbers make me crazy.  Nope, “crazy” is not a great word for me to use. How about this?  Sometimes they make me angry. Nope, people have trouble with anger.  Arrrghh!  What’s the right word, regarding me and numbers?  Damned if I know, right now. Maybe I’ll figure that out next year.

** In other words, with judgment!  Did you catch me?

*** Or humor or sarcasm or whatever else you want to call that.

Categories: humor, inspiration, personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 51 Comments

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