Posts Tagged With: spring

Day 1571: On this day

On this day, I am repeating something from yesterday’s post.

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On this day, I am sharing flowers I saw yesterday.

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On this day, I am grateful for spring and all that it brings.

On this day, I am driving to a seaside city to find out about a home I might put a bid on. I wonder if I will be successful in that venture.

On this day, I will be facilitating two therapy groups at work.

On this day, I wonder about the meaning of success.

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On this day, I will have some Yogi Tea.

On this day, I will share some music here.

 

On this day, I express gratitude to all who help me create this daily blog and — of course! — to you.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 26 Comments

Day 1565: Renewal

Last night, in my “Coping and Healing” therapy group, somebody suggested we focus on  the topic of “Renewal.”

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I asked, “What helps give you a sense of renewal?”  The answers included:

  • Spring
  • Gardens
  • Trees
  • Being near large bodies of water
  • Nature
  • Animals
  • Group
  • Travel
  • Friends
  • Showers
  • Good books
  • Good films
  • The movie Arrival
  • Running
  • Good memories
  • Being in the moment
  • Sleep
  • Dogs
  • Cats
  • Taking action
  • Humor
  • Art
  • Telling stories
  • Listening to other people’s stories
  • Mindfulness
  • Church
  • Prayers
  • Music

Speaking of music, here‘s the first thing that comes up on YouTube for “renewal”:

What renews you?

I didn’t mention “blogging” last night at the group, but this blog gives me renewal, every day.

Do you see renewal in any of my other photos from yesterday?

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Did you know that comments from my readers are another personal source of renewal?

Every day, I renew my gratitude for all who help me create this daily blog and — of course! — for you.

Categories: group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 30 Comments

Day 111: Here and now? It’s safer than you fear.

That may seem like a really strange title for today’s blog post.

Especially since I’m writing this in Boston, less than a week after the Marathon bombings, which created wide-spread (and completely understandable) beliefs of “we’re not as safe as we thought.”  (At least that happened here, in the U.S.)

Especially since I’m writing this approximately 36 hours after “Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19” (as the media is now referring to him) was captured, hiding out in a boat, in Watertown, MA.  According to Google maps, he was hiding right behind the Arsenal Mall, where I’ve shopped for the last 30 years, a block away from places I frequently walk, and less than 2 and a half miles away from where this writer currently lives.

Okay, I want to ask myself  (and you) a question right now.  Why am I starting with time and place, in this post?  Why did I write those previous paragraphs, so specifically, about where and when?

Anxiety can heighten a sense of time and place.

I  state the place and time when I’m anxious, as a way to get a sense of how safe I am. It’s like I’m monitoring the environment and asking this: how close am I to  danger (by location and by time)?

I see that heightened anxiety, now, in people all around me.

I see that heightened anxiety in the people who are trying to make meaning of this new reality: My World After the Boston Bombings.

I see and hear people telling their stories, now, with those kinds of details — focusing on location and time. Details like these:  I live(d) in Boston, during this time.  Family members live(d) in Boston, during this time . Boston is/was familiar to me, during this time.

The punchline, that I hear in these stories, is this: Danger is closer than I thought.

Okay, I’m going to turn to the personal, now.

My Year of Living (What Seems to Be More) Dangerously.

I’ve been noticing, lately, that as I do this daily blog — The Year of Living Non-Judgmentally — I typically write in that state of heightened anxiety. That is, in many sentences I write (including many sentences in this blog post!), I state the place and time.  And I’ve been doing that all year.

That’s because I’m more anxious this year.

Why? Well,  I’m doing two new things:  (1) blogging and (2) working at a relatively new job for me. And the new, as we know, can make us more anxious.

However,  I’ve been remaining  anxious, even as I get more familiar with blogging and my job.

I don’t think I need to explain why blogging —  writing and sending personal information out into the world — might cause me some anxiety.   (Friends, Romans, Countrymen, Writers, Fellow Bloggers  —  you  probably have some understanding of this.)

But why does the work continue to make me so anxious?

Here’s why:  This year, I am doing work I love in a location that triggers old, anxiety-provoking memories in me. For the first time in my long  life, I am working at a hospital, and I  had some anxiety-provoking experiences  in the hospital, when I was a kid.

So, the hospital where I am now working, which is — rationally —   a very safe place for me, can FEEL more dangerous that it really is. Because I have so many memories from when I was a child — memories that color the way I see things in the present, that intensify my vision and my hearing as I walk around my now-safe hospital — as a result, I  can feel less safe than I really am.

How have I been dealing with that, this year?

My own process of helping myself feel safer.

I have been reminding myself — in the Here and Now — of the safer reality.

Whenever I can, each day I walk into work, I enter through the hospital’s main entrance. Then, I walk the 5 minutes to my office, looking around, taking in the sights and sounds, and reminding myself — with my internal thoughts and with the evidence of my eyes and ears — of all these things:

You are not a child now.  You are not a patient here.  You are an adult now.  You are on staff here.

You are in control, now.  You are not stuck here.  You can choose to leave, at any time.

Scary, awful things happened to you, but that was a long time ago (although it can feel like yesterday, sometimes).  

These things happened to you around the corner from here.  And this place may look, sound, and feels like that place.  But that was then, and this is now.  That was there, and this is here.

It’s different.

It may feel close to you,  in time and space.  But it’s further away than it feels.

There’s  distance between danger and you, Ann.

And those questions about who you can trust?  The people who work here may remind you of  some people who did scary things, but they are not the same people.

Those people who hurt you — whether it was by ignorance, fear,  or another one of their own limitations — those people can’t hurt you, right now.

It’s safer than you fear.

Those are the things I say to myself, as I walk through the hospital.

And here are some additional things I’ve been saying to myself, lately, as I walk outside the hospital:

Those people out there in the world, right now, who deliberately hurt others?  You may not understand them.  They may seem bigger and more powerful than other people. But they are the same size as other people.  

And there are others, in your life, who can help you stay safe. 

You are not alone.

It’s safer than you fear.

What I see in others, now

This week,  in Boston, I see people, all around me, doing things that remind me of my own personal process —   trying to figure out how safe they are.

As I wrote in yesterday’s post, it’s the PROXIMITY of danger that can make us feel less safe.   We feel less safe when something  happens — something terrible, something violent, something dangerous, something that shatters our sense of safety — closer than we expected.

And I see others, all around me, already, doing whatever they can to start the healing process.

I saw people in Watertown, MA, coming out of their houses immediately after the lock-down was lifted, cheering the law enforcement people leaving their neighborhoods.

As I walked around yesterday, I witnessed other people walking. I wondered if they were doing the same thing I was doing — experiencing the beauty that is erupting everywhere around us, in the neighborhood of recent, violent danger:

 

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And last night, I deliberately returned to my favorite diner (which — as I wrote about yesterday — appeared in almost every TV image during the capture of the suspect).

I went to that diner with people I adore.

 

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That’s Janet and Ray, whom I’ve known for about 30 years (the same amount of time I’ve known the Arsenal Mall, whatever the hell that means).

I was healing myself, by going back to the Deluxe Town Diner, in Watertown, MA., last night, with Janet and Ray.  I was connecting back with many old, safe memories of that place. With people I’ve known and trusted for a long time.

Janet, Ray, and I were integrating the new, awful information with the old,  as we spoke about the Proximity of Danger. We talked about how the capture took place so close to where we were — as we ate, laughed, and reconnected.

These are attempts to heal.  To figure out ways to feel safe enough to move forward .

That is what I see, every day, in the group and individual therapy work I do.  Whenever I witness people doing that — healing themselves, with the support of others — it moves me, beyond words.

It may be beyond words, but I do try to put that into words, in writing and in speech — here and elsewhere.

Here’s a phrase that came to me, many years ago, when I first starting doing the work I do:

All healing is mutual.

In other words, as we witness other people heal, we heal, also.

That is what I see and hear, all around me.

Thanks so much for reading, here and now.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Day 84: Spring

Spring is my favorite season.  I love watching things come to life again.

All winter, I yearn for color. When the trees start flowering, I want to look and look.  The pinks, lavenders, whites, and salmons of those flowering trees seem like silent fireworks to me, bursting everywhere.

They’re not out yet, but they’re coming.  I see the buds.

Soon.

It’s officially spring, but — in New England — that’s only a promise of things to come.  It’s still cold. The snow is on the ground.

But, I saw another sign of Spring last week:

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If the corn dog cart has arrived at Fenway Park, can the flowering trees be far behind?

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Day 33: Groundhog Day

It’s Groundhog Day!

I love Groundhog Day.

The groundhog saw his shadow today.  Which means, according to Punxsutawney Phil, that there will be an early spring.  Spring in four weeks, says the furry prognosticator!

Wait a minute.  That would mean spring will be here on March 2.  The groundhog is telling us that on March 2, it will be warm,  the flowers will be blooming, the birds will be singing like crazy, and all those things I LOVE to feel, see, smell, and hear after a cold, grey winter will be here.

Naw.

Just won’t happen.  I don’t mean to be cynical and doubt my beloved groundhog.  But that’s impossible. At least where I live.

I’ve now seen 60 Groundhog Days and not ONCE has spring arrived on March 2.

That’s one of the interesting aspects of my lifelong experience with Groundhog Day.  It’s based on something that is completely and utterly incorrect. We might even get dramatic here, and say that Groundhog Day is based on a pack of lies!!!

That is shocking, isn’t it?  That the

King of the Groundhogs,
Seer of Seers, Prognosticator of Prognosticators,
Weather Prophet without Peer,

actually doesn’t know what the hell he’s doing.

Of course, I suppose we could crankily say the same about our experiences with professional weathermen and weatherwomen.  (I still  usually call them weathermen and weatherwomen, although I understand that they prefer the term “meteorologist,” which does sound quite scientific and reassuring, although more like  people we’d call when a meteor is about to hit the earth.)

Where was I before the parentheses? Oh, yes. Meteorologists are often wrong, too. And I’ll tell you what drives me nuts about THEM.  (It’s Groundhog Day, so I’m allowed to rant.)  Not once, in my sixty Groundhog Days on this earth have I EVER seen ANY meteorologist acknowledge IN THE SLIGHTEST when the forecast has been completely and utterly wrong.

I’ve listened to these weather-people warn us, with concerned faces and dire voices, for HOURS (or DAYS!) about catastrophes looming on the horizon. And then when the terrible weather event just … doesn’t … happen ….  Nada!  They say nothing.  It’s as if those forecasts, which sounded so absolute and definite, never happened. The day after one of these Forecasting Faux Pas, these weather people betray not  a tinge of embarrassment and regret. Believe me, I’ve looked.

And I’m somebody who — so far in her life — has been SO different from these blithely bumbling meteorologists, when it comes to mistakes.  I’m hyper-aware of mistakes  — often painfully so — and  I am quick to name them to anybody I think might notice.

Well, mistakes are something that I am definitely working on for this Year of Living Non-Judgmentally.  I am working on accepting and letting go of mistakes, and assuming less about other people’s reactions to mistakes.

And as a result, this may be the best Groundhog Day I’ve ever had.

Here’s to you, Punxsutawney Phil.

And to you, too, dear reader.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

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