Posts Tagged With: Star Trek

Day 2511: What’s going down

What’s going down around you, my dear reader?

What’s going down around here includes

  • the temperature,
  • rain,
  • moods,
  • arrests,
  • polling numbers, and
  • progress on my latest original “country” song, “What’s Keeping Me Up is What’s Going Down.”

Are you down with these lyrics?

What’s keeping me up is what’s going down.

I’m sleepless and helpless and wearing a frown.

Problems abound, no solutions to be found.

What’s keeping me up is what’s going down.

From the local to the global news

No quick fixes are around to choose.

No matter what your state or views,

There’s no relief, just a belief in booze.

What’s keeping me up is what’s going down.

I’m sleepless and helpless and wearing a frown.

Problems abound, no solutions to be found.

What’s keeping me up is what’s going down.

I turn to everyone I see

And ask if they relate to me.

They do not have a moment free

And they’re crippled with anxiety.

What’s keeping me up is what’s going down.

I’m sleepless and helpless and wearing a frown.

Problems abound, no solutions to be found.

What’s keeping me up is what’s going down.

I would like to end this song with hope

But hope seems to be beyond my scope.

When I’m hopeless I can’t help but mope.

If I had some I would smoke some dope.

Maybe I should text the Pope?

What’s keeping me up is what’s going down.

I’m sleepless and helpless and wearing a frown.

Problems abound, no solutions to be found.

What’s keeping me up is what’s going down.

©️ Ann Koplow, 2019

My photos from yesterday are going down here:

What’s going down with Harley and that squirrel?

Let’s get down with this tune from one of my favorite bands:

If you’re looking to express any reactions to this post, go down to the comments section, below.

Gratitude is always going down around here, so thanks to all who help this blog go down every day, including YOU.

Categories: original song, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

Day 2374: The opposite of a narcissist

Narcissists are often on my mind, these days, because they

Because I’m sick to death of narcissists, I want to pose this question today:

What is the opposite of a narcissist?

For all you non-narcissists out there who care, I just googled “What is the opposite of a narcissist” and found this:

The opposite of a narcissist is called an ’empath’— here are the signs you could be one.

If you read that article by Lindsay Dodgson, you’ll find that empaths

  • are very receptive to the emotions of others,
  • don’t have the filters that other people have,
  • are very sensitive to noise and smells,
  • can be overwhelmed by being in crowds,
  •  are often exhausted by social situations,
  • need time alone,  and
  • have difficulty setting boundaries.

Over six years ago, this empath posted Day 208: Another side of mind reading (empathy), which featured the TV show Six Feet Under,  the Cleveland Clinic‘s “Empathy: The Human Connection to Patient Care” (which always makes me cry), and Gem from Star Trek, who is taught — for the survival of her species — to feel, share, and experience other people’s pain.

Because some things bear repeating, here‘s that amazing video from the Cleveland Clinic:

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When I was in my 20’s, I used to ask people this question:

Do you think there are more mean people or more stupid people in this world?

In retrospect, I think I was trying to make sense of  — and better understand — people who seemed so foreign to me.  (I also think I was trying to make sense of — and better understand — the mean and stupid parts of myself, but that’s another story.)  Today, I want to ask this question:

Do you think there are more narcissists or more empaths in this world?

I am happy to report that, based on my 66 years of experience in this world, I firmly believe there are more empaths than narcissists.  (The jury is still out on whether there are more mean people or stupid people.)

Do you see any narcissists or empaths in my photos from yesterday?

 

 

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Feel free to express any opposites  in a comment, below.

Empathic thanks to those who help me express healthy narcissism in my daily posts and — of course! — special thanks to YOU.

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Categories: personal growth, photojournalism, psychology | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 24 Comments

Day 2189: I’m a ______, not a __________.

I’m a Star Trek fan, not a collector, and I recognized Dr. Leonard McCoy’s trademark phrase on a glass at a Thanksgiving celebration yesterday.

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I’m a psychotherapist, not a doctor, and I recognize that it’s important how we define ourselves by what we are and what we are not.

I’m a blogger, not a bricklayer, and here are the other photos I took yesterday:

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I’m an amateur photographer, not a graphic designer, so click on any of the above photos if you want to see them better.

I’m a questioner, not an answerer (for now), so can you identify what people were and weren’t at that Thanksgiving celebration yesterday, just by looking at those pictures?

I’m a music fan, not a professional musician and I’m sharing Elvis Presley singing two things he is (here and here) and one thing he is not (here).

I’m a curious person, not a pushy one, so might you please share something you are and something you are not in a comment, below?

I’m a grateful human being, not an ungrateful one, so thanks to Michael’s siblings who hosted Thanksgiving celebrations, Elvis Presley, Star Trek, everyone else who helped me create today’s blog post and — of course! —  YOU.

 

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Categories: gratitude, personal growth, photojournalism, Psychotherapy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Day 1491: Too much

Yesterday was a day of too much, so I hope this post doesn’t contain too much for my readers.

Early in the day, I met with my friends Janet and Ray, with whom I’ve had too much fun over the years, and we had too much to eat for brunch.  Janet, Ray, and I  talked about too much, including how the new President of the United States had done too much during his first week in office.  We wondered if it was all too much for the country.

Then, I went to Janet and Ray’s wonderful home in West Boylston, Massachusetts, which has too much space for any two people with grown children.  I loved their place too much and took too much time taking pictures. I told Janet that, with all those photos,  creating today’s blog post might be too much for me. When I have too much to share, I often include too much imagery without too much explanation.

After I spent too much quality time with Janet, Ray, and their son Spencer,  I took too much of my realtor’s time on the phone trying to decide whether to put a bid on a house which might have too much space for me and my boyfriend  and which has a price that might be too much.

Finally, just when I thought I’d experienced too much for one day, I took a phone call from Joyce from a professional psychotherapy society.

I had too much concern that Joyce was going to ask me to serve on a committee.  I had decided that would be too much for me, since I’m recovering from too much heart surgery. Instead, Joyce asked me if I wanted to be President.  Because that was too much to take in, I asked

President of what?

Now I need to decide, before too much time passes, whether being President of that amazing organization would be too much for me. Because I don’t have too much confidence about my  Presidential skills, I wrote too much about that to Janet, including this:

I am in a state of shock right now because I just got a call from a member of my professional group psychotherapy organization and THEY ASKED IF I WANTED TO BE PRESIDENT! A very big deal. I didn’t see that coming. My explanation for this is that this is part of the national trend of having Presidents with no experience.

Have I written too much?

Would seventy photos from yesterday be too much for you?

 

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If  any of those photos are causing too much eyestrain, you can enlarge any one without too much effort just by clicking on it.

I’m choosing this song without taking too much time to think about it:

Any comment you might leave would not be too much for me. It would be just right.

As usual, I have too much gratitude for all who helped me create this post and for you, of course!

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 50 Comments

Day 146: To boldly go where no Ann has gone before

My son, my bf, and I saw the new movie “Star Trek Into Darkness” last night. (I originally thought there MUST be a punctuation mark in that title — perhaps a “:” or a “,” or even a “.” But no. Nada.)

My son had one major question after the movie: “Why was it called ‘Into Darkness?'”

I said, “Maybe because of the way the movie was lit?”  Now that might sound like I was being all snark-y and Film School-y (and I did go to Film School, when I was in my 30’s), but I thought the movie was fine.

Regular readers of my blog may know that I love Star Trek, The Original Series (or TOS,  an acronym which is NOT immediately obvious to me, whenever it pops up). Even if readers don’t know of my feelings about TOS (The Original Series, for those of you who couldn’t hold on to that non-intuitive acronym even for a moment, like me), they may remember that I have written several posts referencing that TV show (here, here, and here).

I’ve used Star Trek (I’m dumping the whole TOS acronym for the rest of this post, people) in this blog, mostly to illustrate an experience I’ve been having, during this Year of Living Non-Judgmentally:

Accelerated Learning,

as illustrated by this Star Trek “villain” (played by Gary Lockwood):

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who became too smart and powerful, too fast, (with too shiny eyeballs), for his own good.

I just re-read that first post about Accelerated Learning, and you know what?  There’s a lot of Good Stuff in that post, to the extent that I thought, “I wonder if I have anything else to teach them?” (or more to the point, anything else to blog about, for the rest of the year.)

(I’m actually not worried about that, in the moment, although I AM feeling a wee bit … conceited, right now, having essentially “bragged” about how helpful I think that post might be, as well as having put myself in the role of “teacher.”)  (Okay, I’m letting go of any guilt about THAT, right now.)

Better.

Another thing I’ve been experiencing, this year, is a LOT of Synchronicity.

Here’s a definition of synchronicity:

syn·chro·nic·i·ty  (sngkr-ns-t, sn-)
n. pl. syn·chro·nic·i·ties
1. the quality or fact of being synchronous.
2. the coincidental occurrence of events and especially psychic events (as similar thoughts in widely separated persons or a mental image of an unexpected event before it happens) that seem related but are not explained by conventional mechanisms of causality —used especially in the psychology of C. G. Jung.

Note the reference to Carl Jung, who is one of my Therapy Heroes.  (Another Therapy Hero was the gentle and wonderful Michael White, from Narrative Therapy.)

(Note also that the first definition, above, is essentially useless, as it refers to another form of the same word.)

Something else to note: another word for the concept of synchronicity is “coincidence.”

Here’s something I’ve noticed. I get really excited about coincidences, and not everybody does. 

Sometimes I think: there are two kinds of people in this world. People who get excited about coincidences and people who don’t.

Sometime I think:  there are two kinds of people in this world. People who think there are two kinds of people in this world and people who don’t.

So where was I, before all those digressions in parentheses AND italics?

Oh, yes.  Star Trek.  And Synchronicity.

So, right around the time that I was blogging so much about the shiny-eyeballed, scarily-smart Gary Lockwood character from Star Trek, rumors were swirling around the internet about the new Star Trek Movie, to be released in May.

And one of the rumors I read was this:

The villain in the new Star Trek Movie will be some version of the Gary Lockwood character in The Original Series.

I thought, “Wow!  How cool is that?  I’ll have to tell my dear readers about THAT little piece of synchronicity!”  Then, that turned out to be an old, outdated rumor.  Oh, well.

But, here was a “true rumor”:  the villain was going to be played by THIS guy:

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Benedict Cumberbatch.  Who is known, these days, for playing somebody else: another hero, who is important to me.

Sherlock Holmes.

I remember, when I was about 13 years old, spending one whole summer reading this book:

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I spent an entire summer reading this book, not because I was a slow reader (I wasn’t), but because there was SO MUCH information in this book.  Yes, people, there’s a reason why the word “ANNOTATED” is the biggest word in that title.  OMG.

But I loved reading  every word, every minute detail, as I made my way through these wonderful stories, starring the World’s Greatest Detective.

Why is Sherlock Holmes one of my heroes?

  • He is really smart.
  • He pays attention, all the time.
  • He doesn’t care what other people think about him.
  • He takes in all the details of all his senses, to solve problems.

It’s occurring to me, for the first time, that Sherlock Holmes is somebody who is REALLY mindful, in each moment.

Now I understand, in a new way, why he’s one of my heroes.

Thanks for reading, everybody!  (And I’m wondering about YOUR thoughts — regarding heroes, villains, synchronicity, Star Trek,  punctuation, or anything else you got out of this post.)

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Day 81: An Appreciation Trip

I have the privilege of doing work that I truly love: being a group therapist.

As usual, in this moment, I am very conscious of language, as I attempt to communicate with others — out there in the blogosphere.

Here are some ways I can describe what I do. I lead groups. I facilitate groups. I do groups. I run groups.

My title? Group leader.  Group facilitator.  Group therapist.

None of this language completely captures what I do, and some of it seems misleading to me — giving me too much power, or otherwise not accurately reflecting my role and my experience in a group.

Digression about Language and Communication

I am focusing on language as I write this because language is sooooo important to me.  I really want to be understood. I really want to communicate, to another person, what is important to me.  I want to do that effectively, recognizing that there are so many reasons and ways that I might be misunderstood. There are so many barriers to people understanding each other.  I experience that every day — in my professional life and in my personal life.

Sometimes I say this when I’m talking about communication:  Each person is so unique — with a  history and a current experience that is so personal, so different from anybody else’s — that it’s amazing that we can understand each other, at all.  It’s like each one of us is our own country, with our own culture, language, and government.  No wonder there are misunderstandings — when two separate countries try to exchange with each other.

Now, I know that may sounds extreme.

And as usual, the opposite is true, too — sometimes when I communicate with others, or witness communication, I experience people understanding and connecting with each other in amazing ways — understanding each other so profoundly and unexpectedly, no matter what their differences. Then,  people can seem so connected,  it’s like we are almost one entity. (Not like The Borg, though.  Heaven forbid.)

Hmmm.  I was planning on writing about something simple, but instead, I seem to be trying to communicate Things Profound (and even Trippy).

End of Digression

When I lead or run or facilitate or do groups, I sometimes (if I’m lucky!) work with somebody else, often called a co-facilitator or co-leader.

For the groups I do on Thursday evenings, I’ve been lucky enough to have a co-facilitator this year.

But I work at a teaching hospital, so people who work there are often there for limited periods of time.   And it looks like my co-facilitator is leaving in a month or two.

Which I feel sad about, because I really enjoy working with her.

Last night, she couldn’t attend the group.

So this morning, I wrote her an e-mail, letting her know that I missed her last night and  that I’ll miss her if she leaves.

But I hesitated before writing it.

Why?

For several reasons:

  • It feels risky to let somebody know that I appreciate them.
  • It feels risky to let somebody know that I am sad, because I’ll miss them.
  • I’m afraid she might have some sort of adverse reaction, like guilt for missing last night’s group.

I recognize those feelings and fears, but my priority is  to let people know when I’m having a positive reaction to them (as I wrote about, here.) So I wrote the e-mail.  The subject for the e-mail was

An appreciation trip, not a guilt trip

And I let her know about how she was missed at group last night, as well as my feelings about the possibility of her leaving.

It felt like the next right thing to do. Or more simply, it felt right.  And as I wrote that e-mail subject, I thought, “That’s my topic for today’s blog.”

Which is now done.

Thanks for reading, everybody.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Day 69: To Do Lists (How NOT to get overwhelmed)

So!   I’ve been learning a lot lately about managing tasks and ideas, almost as quickly as this guy:

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(For previous references to this Star Trek episode in this blog, see here and here.)

Here are some things I’ve been learning (and re-learning) about getting things done, without feeling overwhelmed.  (By the way, if you feel overwhelmed by the length of this list — or by all the links  in this post —  see #1, below.)

# 1. You don’t have to do everything immediately.

Often, you don’t even have to do anything immediately.

When I think of something I have to do, sometimes I act immediately for fear that I’ll forget it or I won’t do it.  And sometimes that immediate action is not only unnecessary, it’s not advisable.  (For example, lately I have been fighting the urge to record an idea or make a phone call on my cell phone while I’m driving.)

Have faith that if an idea is important, it will re-occur to you in the future. When you think of a task you need to do, even if it feels urgent, take a breath and allow yourself to ask a few questions about it — How urgent is this, really?  How should I prioritize it? When might I have time to do it well enough?

In general, have faith in your process. Try  telling yourself “I have all the time I need” (even if you don’t really believe it).

# 2. It can help to write things down.

To Do Lists for tasks and lists of ideas can be very helpful, especially for actions or ideas that (1) you can’t act on it on the moment or (2) you are likely to forget.

I have mixed feelings about To Do Lists.  They can help me remember things, but I’m concerned they might become Dreaded Lists of Shoulds and Proof To The Universe about What I’m Not Doing.

Also, I might lose a To Do List, and then spend precious time looking for the friggin’ thing.

However, I do have a big notebook at work where I write down my Really Important Things To Do, and that seems to work.  I’ve been trying to use my various electronic devices, too, as additional Ticklers, Reminders,  Updates, Notifications, etc. etc.  but haven’t quite mastered those options yet.

A Digression (and short Temper Tantrum) about Tasks and  Technology

There are SO many choices of how my cell phone, my lap top, and work computer can  remind me about stuff!!  Eeeek! That gets  overwhelming.  It’s like technology is getting better at helping us keep track of things at the same exact pace that technology is making us need to keep track of more things.

End of Digression

#3.  If there is an idea or a task that you CAN act on in the moment, consider doing it in the moment.

This may sound contradictory with #1 above, but there you go.

Letting go of shoulds and the anxiety about “I have to do this NOW!” can help you act in the here and now (and procrastinate less).

Here are some thoughts that can make it difficult to act in the moment:

  • This is important, so I have to do it well (or perfectly).
  • I don’t have enough time!! (Hint: there’s never enough time for perfection.)
  • There’s a chance for failure here, and that would make me feel worse.

To deal with paralyzing perfectionism, fears of failure, and too-much-to-do,  practice giving  yourself some slack.   Try doing something  that’s Good Enough, within a short period of time.  Making some progress will help (and you can always go back to it later).

#4.  Set limits with other people.

If other people are involved in the tasks you need to do,  it’s very helpful to set their expectations.  This can do wonders in reducing future anxiety — it’s like an anti-anxiety inoculation!

Here’s how it works.  When somebody is making a request of you (verbally or implied), respond with some version of this:

I can do this. I cannot do that.

An expanded version  of the above is:

I can do these things  (by this time).  I cannot do these things (unless I get more resources). 

You might worry that the person you are setting limits with will take offense at that.  If you are clear, direct, and specific, they will probably appreciate knowing this information.  And,  they will be more likely to leave you alone while you are getting things done!

You might not set limits or manage expectations perfectly. You might  promise something initially which you can’t meet. (I’m getting better at setting limits, but I tend to over-promise and under-estimate the time I need to do something.) If you over-promise or under-estimate,  let  the other person know as soon as possible,  thus reducing your future anxiety and guilt, as well their potential pissed-off-ed-ness. 

#5. Allow yourself the room to be “not perfect.”

You may think you need to be perfect, but nobody else expects that from you. (If somebody does expect perfectionism from others, they will be disappointed. If they don’t learn from that disappointment, they will be disappointed — and ineffective at dealing with people — their whole lives.)

You  don’t  have to get things right the first time — whether it’s managing expectations, writing, or anything else. You can recover from most “mistakes.”

Do you believe that?

Try believing it, and see what happens.

#6. Set limits with yourself.  

Give yourself a time limit to work on something. Limit the number of tasks you are going to try to accomplish.  

For example, I find it helps me to set a time limit on how long I spend writing my blog posts during the week days, and also limit myself to one blog post per day.

#7. Take care of yourself.

If you feel overwhelmed, take a break. Consider the possibility that you don’t HAVE to do anything right now. (I wrote a long post about that, here.)

If you are physically uncomfortable, change your position or adjust the heat.

If you need food, get yourself some (as soon as you can).

If you need sleep, get yourself some (as soon as you can).

#8.  Prioritize.

Recognize that you might have too much to do, and  choose one task to do next.

Let go of guilt and judgment about what you’re not doing. (I wrote more about that, here.)  

Notice and compensate for distorted priorities.

(Here’s some typical distorting prioritizing from me, which I’m doing less these days:

I need to do this NOW, because if I don’t, this person will be ANGRY, and I’m afraid of that person or I’m afraid I will lose that person.)

Where I work, everybody has too much to do, and that seems to be getting worse as time goes on.  People are coming up with creative ways to deal with this.

A  nurse I really like came into my office the other day to share how she manages having too much to do, without becoming overwhelmed.

One of the things she told me was, “I ask myself,  ‘Which is the task and which is the interruption?’  If I  can’t tell which is which, that means I’m overwhelmed. Then, I choose one and proceed with that one. And …. I cannot  choose incorrectly.”

I thought that was great.

#9. Recognize that there are some tasks you just don’t want to do.  

Allow yourself to have some sort of tantrum about that, if that would help.

 (I DON’T WANT TO WORK ON MY TAXES TODAY!!!!!! It’s not fair!!!)

(Better.)

Then, break that task into small steps and take the next one.

(First, I have to locate my documents. How about one document?  That seems do-able)

Consider giving yourself a reward for doing a task you don’t want to do. 

(I’m going to see the movie “Argo” at 4:30!!)

Also, try to reduce the pain of the actual process.

(Somebody at a group last week suggested working on taxes while listening to music you really love. I’ll listen to music on my headphones while looking for these friggin’ documents.)

Let go of cognitive distortions and the resulting guilt or shame about this:

( What’s the matter with me?  This shouldn’t be so hard!  I’m such a weird-o about doing taxes. Other people don’t have this problem. I probably shouldn’t even be writing about this in the blog. People are going to think I’m strange!  There is NO reason why I haven’t been able to get to this before today!)

(Hmmm. Actually, all of those statements above are false.)

(Better.)

#10.  Figure out short cuts and save them, for future easy access and use.  

Figure out short cuts that work for you, and try to make these short cuts easy- to-access, especially when you’re in the midst of being overwhelmed.

I’ve been trying to figure out short cuts at work lately, because I have way too much to do. (Like everybody else there.)  For example, I’ve been making templates of the notes I need to write,  giving myself prompts and choices for information I need to include. 

I’ve been trying to figure out short-cuts here, too, so I can blog more quickly and efficiently. For example, I looked for a short-cut, yesterday, for inserting a copyright symbol at the end of a blog post.

It’s even simpler than I expected. You can simply type a copyright symbol. On a Mac, it’s Option + G. 

#11. Let go of judgment about how you’re doing.

Tell yourself “I’m doing the best I can” in managing tasks and ideas (whether or not you believe it). Cut yourself some slack, especially if you’re doing something new (or something that feels new, because you haven’t done it enough times or recently enough to feel practiced).

#12. Be aware of your strengths and limits.  

Use your strengths whenever you can, and let go of judgment about your limits.

#13. Ask for help, especially regarding your limits.

This may be hard to do, but try this, please.

#14.  If  you are stuck, choose something easier to try.

If you are having trouble getting things done, choose one task that seems the most do-able in the moment.

#15. Consider editing your list. 

Change priorities and even delete things that just aren’t that important to get done.  Consider making things simpler.

#16. Pad your list, to give yourself a sense of accomplishment.  

Put things on your list that you’ve already started. Add  routine tasks. This will give you  a sense of accomplishment when you cross them off..

#17. Notice your resistance, letting go of judgment.

If you’re resisting doing something, assume that — on some level — that resistance makes sense. See if you can figure that out.  Even if you can’t, try to let go of judgment about the resistance.

Also resistance may mean that you don’t yet have what you need (data, support, completing something else first) in order to continue with your task.

Wow!  That list included a LOT of what I know, about a lot of things.

I wonder if there’s anything I have left to tell you  for the rest of this year?

Hmmm. Maybe I should do a To Do List about writing future blog posts.

  1. Start a list of ideas for future blog posts.  (Pssst!  I’ve already done that!)
  2. Keep adding to that list.
  3. Remember that I don’t have to come up with completely new topics.  I can keep writing about similar topics, in different ways (hence role-modeling the importance of “practice, practice, practice”).
  4. Consider spending the rest of the year posting more scenes from that Star Trek episode with Gary Lockwood.

That’s a good enough list, for now.

Thanks for reading.

© 2013 Ann Koplow

(Note:  I just want to let my  regular readers know that my test results came back and I do NOT have endocarditis. Yay!)

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 28 Comments

Day 61: Accelerated Learning (Part 2)

Okay!  Here’s another in what might be a continuing series of things I’m learning this year — at such an accelerated pace, that I’m reminded of Gary Lockwood’s character in “Where No Man Has Gone Before” from Star Trek (The Original Series).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2xeEDtF0bbE

Damn!  I still can’t find a clip that shows Gary’s character learning so rapidly that he speeds through pages he’s reading, really fast. (Although the clip which I ‘ve linked to, above, does show his rapidly acquired mastery of levitating a Cup of the Future, which is probably especially tricky.)

Since I can’t show you the clip I want right now, I’m searching for a good descriptive metaphor for how quickly that Star Trek character learns new things. Like wildfire?   Like Tom Cruise flying some jet in “Top Gun”? ( I’ve never seen “Top Gun”, but that still pops up when I’m trying to think of a metaphor for speed.)  Like some political party member talking to the media about things that are wrong with the other party?

No matter what the metaphor, here’s the deal, dear reader: (1) Gary Lockwood in Star Trek learns really quickly, (2) I’m learning lots of things (although not quite as quickly as him), and (3) you can read more about all that  (with a different clip from that Star Trek episode)  here.

Without further ado, here are more things that I’ve been learning lately, although not quite as rapidly as a Scary, Too-Smart-Becoming Guy on a 60’s TV show:

  1. Projecting fears and critical self-judgments onto other people really screws up a connection in the moment.
  2. Fears about other people’s reactions (anger, envy, fragility) can restrict you, big time.
  3. Worries about whether you’ll be able to sustain or hold on to a current situation, feeling, or thought can really get in the way of appreciating the current moment.
  4. Feeling depressed seems related to focusing on regrets about the past; being anxious seems related to focusing on fears about the future.
  5. It’s really difficult to calibrate and figure out How Important You Are to somebody else (or to a system or an organization).
  6. Taking any action related to How Important You Are can feel very risky, because of #5, above.
  7. You can often do a good enough job at a current task without access to more knowledge or the perfect tools (or the perfect clip from a TV show).
  8. If you don’t have the knowledge or tools to do a job that’s good enough, you can say so, and then find out what you need to complete the task.

That’s all, for now. I hope you enjoyed reading this so much, that it went by as quickly as (fill in your favorite metaphor for speed, here).

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Day 58: Accelerated Learning

There has been a lot going on, in this Year of Living Non-Judgmentally.

By taking a lot of new risks and by letting go of self-judgment, I feel like I have been learning A LOT.  Sometimes I feel like that learning is proceeding at a really accelerated rate — probably because new learning begats new learning, which begats more learning, and so on and so forth.

From that biblical reference of begatting,  I’m going to skip some millennia for another reference re: Accelerated Learning, jumping to “Star Trek” (The Original Series), one of my favorite shows when I was growing up.

One of the first episodes of Star Trek was “Where No Man Has Gone Before” with Gary Lockwood and Sally Kellerman, wherein Gary Lockwood’s character gets struck by something radioactive or something else futuristic  (it’s been a while since I’ve seen it, folks), and he acquires new knowledge (and powers) at an increasingly rapid pace, until his eyeballs get all glow-y and he eventually thinks he’s God.  Of course, this episode did not turn out well for Gary (or Sally, for that matter).

I looked for the clip from that episode that shows how quickly Gary is learning, but I can’t find it on YouTube.  But here’s the trailer, which gives you an idea of what I’m talkin’ ’bout:

Anyway, imagine watching that episode, where that guy with the glow-y eyes is learning new things by viewing them on an electronic reader (essentially, the 1960’s vision of The Kindle). Imagine, dear reader, being horrified as the pages whip increasingly quickly, until they are just a blur!

I’m not saying I’m learning quite that rapidly, but I have been thinking about that Star Trek episode lately.  And while there is little danger that my eyes will go all glow-y or that I’ll end up in a fight-to-the-death with another glow-y eyed person on an abandoned planet, I’m not sure what to do with all this new knowledge.

Therefore, I have decided, for today’s post, to present a Semi-Random list of New Things I’ve Been Learning (or re-learning, in new ways).

New Things I’ve Been Learning (or Re-Learning in New Ways)

by Ann

  1. Hellos and goodbyes are both important.
  2. Telling people what you can and cannot do in a situation is a helpful way to set limits and manage expectations.
  3. You can ask somebody else if they love you, as risky as this may seem. (This is especially handy if you are dealing with somebody who does not tend to verbalize such things).
  4. You do not have to understand technology perfectly in order to use it.
  5. If you make mistakes while using new technology, this does not prove that you are incompetent, stupid, or too old to learn new things. It just means that new technology is complicated and takes practice.
  6. The less shame and self-judgment you are experiencing, the more present you can be in the moment and the more effective you can be with other people.
  7. The more you avoid doing something, the more likely you will be confronted with having to deal with that very thing.
  8. The more time you spend focusing on a mistake you’ve made, the longer it will delay your solving the current situation and moving on.
  9. If you forget something, it doesn’t necessarily prove that you are (a) too self-absorbed, (b) incapable of taking care of yourself in the world or (c) in a catastrophic, age-related memory-loss spiral. It just might mean that there are too many things to remember.
  10. The more you act out of defensiveness, the more you will put other people on the defensive.
  11. People (in the US, anyway) have too much to do, every day, and this can have a profound effect on how they interact with you and other people.
  12. Negative actions or thoughts are not more powerful than positive ones, they just get more attention.
  13. If you are self-conscious about doing something  — for fear of appearing foolish or whatever — you might as well try it. Because (to quote a good friend), YOU’LL LIVE.

Okay, that’s all I’m going to include in this post, dear reader. I don’t want your eyes to go all glow-y, or anything.

Thanks, everybody!

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Day 19: sleep, Judgment and fears about

I would say (and I am going to try to use non-judgmental language here) that I have a challenging relationship with sleep.

It might be hereditary, because my son, from when he was a little boy, has talked about sleep in interesting ways.  Sometimes he sounds like he thinks sleep is his enemy.  “I don’t want to sleep.”  “Sleep is a waste of time.” “I feel better when I get less sleep.”  “Why can’t I stay up all night?  I’ll feel better if I do.”  I talk to him about how humans need sleep and how sleep is one of the most important ways to nourish and take care of ourselves, even though he may not believe it.

And I believe what I say to my son about sleep.  I really do!

However, it is undeniable that I have a challenging relationship with sleep.  I rarely get enough sleep.  I don’t fall asleep easily.  Whenever I wake up and  start thinking, uneasy thoughts usually creep in, almost immediately. (See Day 17 for a posting about that.)

So I thought I would write about sleep today, in a non-judgmental and perhaps helpful way.

How might I start doing that?  Well, I’m thinking about how I move towards a non-judgmental stance with anything — people, situations, whatever.  And how do I do that? Well, I think the elements include the following: (1) curiosity about what is going on, (2) acceptance about what is,  (3) maybe some hopes or wishes about what direction I’d like to move in,  (4) ideas about how to start moving in that direction, (5) taking a step, and (6) losing my investment in what happens when I take that step. (Geesh!  Who knew that there were so many steps involved?)

Note to self:  write future blog post about the steps towards a non-judgmental stance, including how the language “paradoxically” includes both movement and standing still.

Where was I, before the italics? (Another alternate title for this blog:  “The Year of Writing Digressing-ly.”)  I know where I was: non-judgmental stance.  And then before that, the topic:  Sleep.

Hmmmm, maybe nests of digressions like that indicate some avoidance on my part, in writing about this topic of sleep.  And, maybe I’m over-analyzing there, but, hey!  I probably am avoiding that topic.  As a matter of fact, last week, I was doing a group where I  passed out a worksheet on “Self-Care.”  The worksheet included questions like “What does self-care mean  to you?”  “What have you done for self-care?”  “What gets in the way of you doing more self-care?”  “What might help you do more self-care?”  And as I was filling out the worksheet myself, I could feel my mood getting lower. I was pissed at myself for choosing this worksheet.  I thought, “I wish I had chosen a different worksheet instead!  This worksheet sucks! I don’t want to do this!  This is probably depressing other people in the room!”  And it’s true that it was a difficult topic, but it was a helpful one for the group to discuss. But when I thought about why I had that reaction to the worksheet, I realized it was because of The Topic Du Jour.

Sleep.

And how “bad” I am at that — a very important part of my own self-care.

So, now, I’m realizing that I have a lot of self judgment about how I take care of myself, sleep-wise.  And I need to accept THAT, too.

I need to not judge the judgment.

“Not judging the judgment.” That’s a phrase I use a LOT in my work. And that does seem to blow people’s minds.  People have remarked “Yes, my head is now going to explode.” Sometimes, when I say “No judgment about the judgment”  and I see people’s expressions,  I feel like Captain Kirk in Star Trek  when he’s disabled yet another dangerous robot or computer by saying something paradoxical, like “You are perfect AND you’ve made an error.”

Arrrghh!  Another digression! This is ridiculous. But, again, there it is:  I guess this is a tough topic for me.

As a matter of fact, here’s a thought I’ve had several times while writing this: “Maybe I should press Save Draft, and write about this later!  I mean, it is a long weekend, dammit, and I want to relax and have some fun.”

And maybe I will press Save Draft at some point, but not yet.

I also think that, as with EVERYTHING,  I don’t have to “finish” this  today.  Maybe just starting it is helpful.

So, what else would I like to write about Sleep today?

I guess that I do have some judgment and fears about sleep.

The judgment includes thoughts like these:

I’m not taking care of myself well enough.

I “should” know better.

Even though I know and believe that enough sleep is important,  I often don’t give myself that gift, as much as I want my son to have it.

My fears?

Hmmmm, those fears feel scary.  (I think I do fear the fear, at times.)  So I’ll do my best right now to write about them, a little.

What are my fears about sleep?  Maybe that I won’t wake up?  Wow. That’s the ultimate fear, isn’t it?  Also, maybe I have some fear of losing control. And maybe because of the operations I had when I was a kid, maybe I associate sleep with the forced sleep of anesthesia, too, in some ways.

Maybe.

As I often find (and encourage other people to do), just writing down fears — getting them out of your head, on paper or screen, so you can see them —  can help. (As scary as it might feel to do that.)

I think that may have helped.

I’m going to stop there, dear reader, for now.  Thanks so much for your curiosity, and for witnessing me, as I stand still AND move towards non-judgment. (And I hope there were no head explosions or any destructions of computers or robots, at any point during the reading of that blog.)

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