That title got your attention, didn’t it? However, I’m not just doing this for attention. I have my reasons to be freaking out today, including:
- I am leaving for Panama in two days and — as much as I like to travel — I have automatic fears about (a) flying and (b) new, unfamiliar situations.
- Yesterday — my first vacation day — I came down with a cold, viral infectious disease, or whatever else you want to call that ailment we humans keep getting, no matter how much medical science has advanced in other areas, and which often rears its miserable, mucous-y Common-But-Powerful head at the worst possible times. (I assume that I’m not alone in that experience) (although perhaps your description of your Common Cold experience wouldn’t be quite as wordy or petulant.)
- I’m still trying to integrate the latest news I got from my cardiologists last Wednesday about my Very Unusual Heart.
So how can I ease the Freak Out, right now? Because that would be my wish for this post, dear readers.
I could do the opposite of freaking out, as a way to reverse the trend, I suppose. But what is the opposite of freaking out? Freaking in? My first thought about “Freaking In” is this: that would not be helpful, since it sounds like repressing — and directing inwards — fears, anxieties, and worries. And that’s the last thing I need right now. I’ve spent way too much time freaking in, especially when I was a kid.
However, while Freaking In is probably not helpful, I’d still like to take a quick visit to Google-Image-Land, at this point in today’s post. Before I do a Google Image Search for “Freak In,” let’s start on familiar territory, by searching for “Freak Out.”
Here’s the first image that comes up:
It’s Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention! I’m always glad to see those guys, especially Mr. Zappa, who is no longer with us.
This is reminding me of my favorite tune from an album I loved from the 70’s: “King Kong,” where jazz violinist Jean-Luc Ponty played Frank Zappa music (with a guest appearance by Zappa himself). Here it is:
(thanks to takamasa1963 for the YouTube video)
Listening to that, right now, is helping me freak out less, already. I also found this video, of Ponty and George Duke playing “King Kong” live at Zappanele — which is, apparently, a festival honoring the music of Frank Zappa, held each year in Germany.
(thanks to LudzNL2 for the Youtube Video)
This post is helping me in another way, right now. It’s reminding me that I’m going to be attending a Jazz and Blues Festival next week, during my trip to Panama. That synchronicity wasn’t an accident; it was planned. Therefore, I am now — in my mind — rewriting the famous Panama Palindrome:
A Man, A Plan, A Canal, Panama
to this, as a cheering reminder to myself, about my upcoming trip:
An Ann, A Plan, Some Jazz, Panama
So while that doesn’t scan as a palindrome, it’s still helping.
This is reminding me of something else I definitely wanted to write about today, believe it or not. Just the way I re-wrote that palindrome, I find it helpful to “rewrite” old, unhelpful messages, especially those that increase fear and anxiety.
As I may have mentioned here before, images — rather than words — are particularly powerful at evoking old feelings. Therefore, in my work as a therapist, I sometimes talk to people about changing anxiety-provoking, or even “stuck” images, to something different. For example, in this post, I described changing somebody’s old, unhelpful image of a wall — which was keeping other people at a distance — to a different kind of wall, that invited growth and healing.
So what are the images that are causing me anxiety, right now? Because I sure would like to change one.
A powerful and unhelpful image, for me right now, is that of a small plane crashing. Why? Very soon, I’ll be flying in a small plane, for the first time, in Panama.
So let’s see if we can reduce my anxiety by replacing an unhelpful image with something better. To start, let’s see what Google Images has for “Small Plane Crashing,” right now.
Eeeeek! While Google Images was stumped by “Freak In,” it has LOTS of offerings for “Small Plane Crashing.” And just looking at all those images, right now, is increasing my anxiety. I also don’t want to upset my readers, so I’ll just show the first image (as is my wont):
I found that image here, and the headline for that link is actually … reassuring. “Two escape serious injury in small plane crash.”
Well, that’s good.
Okay! Now that we have a (bearable) image for my fear, what I’d like to do now is counter that image with an image for something very different. Let’s try …. “small plane soaring.” Here we go:
I found that image here, and even though I had my doubts about using this technique for this particular problem …
… that DOES look like fun, doesn’t it?
Okay, it’s time for me to bring this post home.
Thanks to Frank Zappa, Jean-Luc Ponty, George Duke, mothers of invention (of all kinds), and to you — of course! — for visiting today.