Comments from you are incredible life moments for me.
Thanks to all who help me share incredible life moments in this blog, including YOU.
Comments from you are incredible life moments for me.
Thanks to all who help me share incredible life moments in this blog, including YOU.
On this 2581st day of this daily blog (which is also the Lunar New Year), what would you wish for?
Would you wish for
Would you wish for more photos from me?
I also wish for a good birthday for myself on 02/02/2020, for great music like this …
… and for comments about what you wish for.
I wish you knew how much I appreciate all those who help me create this daily blog, including YOU.
Yesterday, in my Coping and Healing group, the members talked about what’s going on in the world, expressing the wish that different people could be sitting down, sharing, and getting along.
What’s the secret to getting along? According to the group members yesterday, it’s listening to each other with respect.
I need to be getting along to work early this morning, so here are all my other photos from yesterday:
What are your thoughts and feelings about getting along?
I won’t be getting along without gratitude to all who help me create this daily blog, including YOU.
Okay, everybody! Let’s each make a wish, using whatever method we prefer for wishing.
When people wish at my office, they sometimes use one of these:
Do you believe that if you make a wish and share that wish, it won’t come true? Just to be safe, I’m not going to share the wish I just made, but I do wish to share all the other photos I took yesterday.
I do make a wish, every day, that I will help and awaken somebody, sometimes by encouraging them to wish.
I also wish to help and awaken somebody with “I Wish” by Stevie Wonder.
I shall now make another wish: that my readers comment on this blog exactly as they wish.
I wish, as always, to end this daily post with thanks to all who help me blog exactly how I wish and — of course! — to YOU, no matter what you wish.
Fact. I am returning to work tomorrow, after taking a two-week vacation which included a trip to London and Edinburgh with my son.
Past-focused thinking. When I’ve returned to work after time off, I’ve previously experienced:
Future-focused thinking. I hope that #1, above, will be with me when I return to work tomorrow, and that it will linger, a welcomed guest.* I fear that #2 and #3 might be with me, in unhelpful ways.**
Wishful thinking. I’m looking forward to returning to work for many reasons, including seeing this in my office.
Yes, that’s a magic wand, for making wishes (when wishes might be helpful).
Here are my three wishes, for today:
Okay! Time for a wishing sound (and feel free to join in with your own wishes for today):
Thanks to Jojikiba (for the YouTube sound effect), to The Princess Spinning Light Up Wand, to wishers everywhere, and to you, for reading today.
* See the Rumi poem “Guest House”, which is at the end of this post.
** Come to think of it, look at that Rumi poem again.
*** I thought of many possible words for what I wanted to express here, and settled on one I enjoyed hearing during our recent time in the UK.
I haven’t written much about how my 60th birthday party went down, way back on Groundhog Day (a.k.a Day 33) (a.k.a. February 2).
Planning that party did make an appearance in this blog, on Day 16, when I was struggling with some self-judgment during that process.
My goal in planning that party was to create a day which was meaningful and fun, where people I appreciate and love could help me celebrate reaching quite the birthday milestone.
One of my ideas was to put up on the wall giant post-it notes (these 25″ by 30″ beauties, right here), which people could write or draw on. On some of those posters, I had written questions or topics that people could answer throughout the party. I really liked that idea, because I thought that would help people engage and feel comfortable, soon after they entered the party, since the posters were hanging right where people first entered my place. Plus, in general, I LOVE asking people questions, so that made it more fun for ME.
Here were the questions I put up on the posters:
What is something in your life that you love?
What’s a really helpful lesson you’ve learned in your life?
What makes a good party?
What’s something you haven’t done yet that you want to?
Words to live by?
If you could be any animal ….?
And during the party, it was fun for me to see my guests, engaging with each other around those questions. Plus, at the end of the party, I had — as a memento of the day — the answers to keep. All of the answers were anonymous, so that was fun, too — to guess who wrote what.
My idea for today’s blog was to pass on what people at my party wrote for “Words to Live By.”
This is what people wrote:
Laugh a lot every day.
Laugh at lot at Ray every day. (This, I know, was written by my hilarious friend Janet, married to Ray.)
If not you, then who?
If not now, when?
Everything in moderation, including moderation.
Show up, be gentle, and tell the truth
Please and thank you.
No, you first.
Leap and the net will appear.
Don’t sweat the “small stuff” — it’s all “small stuff.”
Live, love, laugh
Do one thing every day that scares you. (Eleanor Roosevelt)
Life is emergent curriculum.
Those “Words to Live By” were just some of the many gifts I received at the party.
I’m pleased to re-gift them here, to you.
“Object constancy” is a Psychological Concept which I will now try to explain. (When I say “try to explain,” I mean that I’m going to Google it, check to see whether the definition there matches my assumptions in the moment) (and, if I find a definition that’s good enough, steal it).
Of course, it’s risky when you go to the Internet for information. Who knows which sources are reliable? But here’s a definition of Object Constancy, from the GoogleSphere:
in psychoanalysis, the relatively enduring emotional investment in another person.
That doesn’t quite “click” for me. Hold on.
Well, I’ve looked at a few, and I’m going to use this one, which — interestingly enough, defines LACK of object constancy.
Lack of object constancy is the inability to remember that people or objects are consistent, trustworthy and reliable, especially when they are out of your immediate field of vision.
Hmmm. It’s occurring to me that this definition reflects a kind of all-or-nothing thinking. I mean, look at those words: “lack.” “inability.”
Object constancy is not usually something that human beings either have OR don’t have at all. The vast majority of us are somewhere on the scale from 0 to 100%, Object Constancy-wise.
Let me tell you why Object Constancy is the Topic Du Jour. Yesterday, I gave a party for myself, to celebrate a Big Numbered Birthday. And I invited people to come and help me celebrate the day — people who have meant a lot to me and people who I assumed would feel comfortable being there.
And these people said some pretty incredible things to me throughout the party — face-to-face, by cards and other writings, on video messages, and during a point in the party where people sat around and shared memories. And I was trying really, really hard throughout the party to take the good stuff in. I was trying not to get caught up in what might go wrong with the party, whether people were having a good time, whether I was being a good host, whether I seemed too self-centered in having this kind of party for myself, and the other varied menu of judgmental choices. And I was friggin’ exhausted the whole time, because I had trouble sleeping the night before. So I was trying not to judge myself for that, too. (Why didn’t you make sure you got enough sleep so you could be more present?) And I was trying not to be disappointed that I hadn’t managed to figure out how to RECORD what people were saying at certain points, so I could remember it later.
And I really wanted to record things, because I think of myself as a person who has “Poor Object Constancy.”
Which, I realize right now, is a judgmental term.
I mean, it’s the word “poor” that tipped me off, right then.
But let me tell you by what I mean by that belief about myself: People may be vivid, real, and important to me in the moment, but they can fade when I’m by myself. When I am by myself, I can start believing that I’m not important — that I fade from their minds, too. And even though I know on some level that there are people out there who care about me, when I’m alone and feeling scared or insecure, I have trouble accessing a sense of those connections.
I spend a lot of time, in my work, talking to people about What Sticks and What Doesn’t Stick. And I have noticed, in myself and other people, that what scares us — the negative things — do tend to stick and seem more important than the positive things. If you’ve read other posts in this blog, you’ve probably noticed this theme coming up before. And here’s something else I’m sure I’ll write about more than once. When we’re feeling at our worst, we tend to NOT do the things that will help us feel better. Over and over again, I see people isolating when they feel worse about themselves and their lives.
The tendency of the negative to “stick.” How people, when they are in pain, tend to isolate. Yes, I will probably write about these themes — and others — many times throughout this Year of Living Non-Judgmentally. Because (as the cab driver said in response to the rider asking, “How do I get to Carnegie Hall?”), practice, practice, practice.
It takes repetition and practice to let go of old ways of seeing things.
So, yesterday, I tried to practice, practice, practice throughout the party. I tried not to judge the judging thoughts that came up for me during the party. I tried to take in the specific positive things people were telling me. And I tried to let these very positive messages in: You are important to me. I am important to you.
When I say “important” I don’t mean “all important.” All of us have complicated lives, and maybe we do lose track of each other here and there. But importance — like most things — is not All-Or-Nothing.
And there was a moment yesterday, when people who mean a lot to me were singing “Happy Birthday.” In that moment, I let go of all judgmental, self-conscious, and scared thoughts, looked around the room, and thought, “Wow.” Here are all these beautiful connections, right in the room. Here are all these wonderful faces, looking at me, and celebrating my birthday with song and with themselves. And I took a mental photo of it, filed it away, and reminded myself to Practice, Practice, Practice making that image stick.
And even if my Object Constancy is not the best — even if that image fades and maybe is hidden from me at times — that image is still there. And I’ll practice, practice, practice making that picture more constant.
Thanks, dear reader.
This post relates to a lesson that I keep encountering these days.
When I’m working on creating or learning something, which I haven’t quite figured out yet, and I’m disappointed in where I am, I have this thought:
This [thing I’m working on] sucks!
And, almost always, this is followed by this more vicious, shame-based thought:
And you suck for not figuring it out yet!
Unfortunately, sometimes the above gets abbreviated to:
Lately, I’ve been noticing, over and over again, that after the You Suck! phase, I actually come out the other end with some good ideas. That is, once I start to feel better, I come up with several new solutions that often solve the problems I’ve been encountering up until then.
Do I think the You Suck! Step is necessary? No, I don’t. However, it does seem to be a signal that something’s not working and needs my attention.
Believe me, I would love to skip the You Suck! Step. I haven’t quite managed that yet, but I have been making a lot of progress in getting off that step — and moving on — a LOT more quickly these days. Thank goodness.
One thing that is helping is the phrase (which I believe i mentioned in a previous post): “It’s good enough already, AND I can make it better.”
Of course, when I’m in the “I suck!” phase, I don’t believe that sweet and helpful phrase. But perhaps using that mantra, whenever I think of it, is helping me inoculate myself. And maybe that’s one of the reasons I’m moving through that step more quickly.
I want to give you an example of this process, which is on my mind, because I lived it this morning, between 5:30 and 6:30 AM. Yes, I did.
Here’s the deal: I am planning somebody’s 60th birthday party. And I’d like it to be a meaningful AND fun event, for the birthday girl and also for the participants.
I searched on-line for ideas, and I didn’t find anything that was particularly helpful.
So I’ve been working on the idea of Story-Telling, and how to create a space where people can share memories in a way that feels comfortable.
I’ve checked out this concept with people, and several of them have cautioned about the dangers of this, pointing out that this kind of party might seem awkward or forced, and that people might feel anxious or on the spot.
Here’s where I was at 5:30 AM this morning: I had been working on the idea of designating a time during the party when people could gather around and share memories, tell stories, or say whatever they wanted to say. I was going to try to make this easier by having “prompts” available to suggest ideas for stories, if they hadn’t thought of one ahead of time. For example, these prompts might include “Tell a story where you and the birthday girl had an adventure.” Or “If you were going to spend a whole day with her, what might you do?” Or “If she appeared to you in a dream, what might she signify?” (I’ve facilitated going-away events at places I’ve worked, and I’ve used these sort of prompts to help in the process of people expressing appreciation and saying goodbye to the person who’s leaving.)
Anyway, at 5:30 this morning, I wasn’t liking this plan very much. I was imagining all the different attendees at the party — many of whom don’t know each other — with all their different interpersonal styles. And I could see, very clearly, that this activity might be …. awkward or forced, and that people might feel anxious or on the spot.
And then the “This sucks!” and “You suck!” thoughts came in for a little while.
But then, about a half hour later, I started to have more ideas. I thought: What if I set up a sort of Meaningful-Birthday Amusement Park throughout the party and give people more room and choices to say what they’d like to say to the birthday girl? What if I have a room set up where people (who might be more introverted) could use a computer to record a message (which might be a story, or anything they chose) and to look at the other messages recorded? And what if there were places to write down stories and share them? And I also remembered these cool magic wands, that make noise when you wave them, that I had seen at a toy store. What if there were a bunch of those around, and at any point in the party, somebody could grab one of these, wave it, get people’s attention, and make a wish for the birthday girl? (Sort of the equivalent of tapping a glass to propose a toast.)
Anyway, I just kept coming up with more ideas to integrate the meaningful stuff throughout the party, and it started to seem like an evening that might be fun for a wide range of different types of people.
By 6:30, I was no longer feeling nervous and insecure about the party. All thoughts of “This sucks!” and “You suck!” were gone. I was actually looking forward to planning the party AND attending it. The pressure was off.
Now, did I have to come up with all these ideas to make this party work? Probably not. The party probably would have been good enough, as it was.
But I think it’s going to be more fun for all, now. And I’ve been telling people about these ideas and — so far — the advance reviews have been good.
I’ll tell you how it turns out, dear reader.
And maybe, just maybe, I’ll skip the “You suck!” step next time.