Posts Tagged With: Frank Zappa

Day 2447: Empathy, again

Yesterday, in my therapy group, I wrote the word “empathy” twice on the white board.

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I wrote “empathy” twice because I heard and experienced so much of it from the group participants. I especially noted and appreciated it because I hear and experience so little empathy, these days,  from world leaders.

Why do the participants in a therapy group seem to have so much more empathy than world leaders?

Is it because “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely”?

Is it because people who have come together to cope, heal, support, and learn from each other naturally have more empathy?

What does your empathy tell you about that?

Here’s a definition of empathy, again:

em·pa·thy
/ˈempəTHē/

noun
the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.
synonyms: affinity with, rapport with, sympathy with, understanding of, sensitivity toward, sensibility to, identification with, awareness of, fellowship with, fellow feeling for, like-mindedness, togetherness, closeness to
“what is really important about learning a language is learning empathy for another culture”

Here are some quotes about empathy:

Empathy is really the opposite of spiritual meanness. It’s the capacity to understand that every war is won and lost.  And that someone’s pain is as meaningful as your own.  — Barbara Kingsolver.

Sympathy relies on a common experience. If you’re clumsy, you might have sympathy for others who tend to bump into things. Empathy, on the other hand, is the ability to understand another person’s feelings even if you’ve never experienced them yourself. —  Joe Gebbia

A prerequisite to empathy is just paying attention to the person in pain.  — Daniel Goleman

Human nature is complex.  Even if we do have inclinations towards violence, we also have inclination to empathy, to cooperation, to self-control.  — Steven Pinker

Empathy begins with understanding life from another person’s perspective. Nobody has an objective experience of reality.  It’s all through our own individual prisms.  — Sterling K. Brown

Empathy is the latest code word for liberal activism, for treating the Constitution as malleable clay to be kneaded and molded in whatever form justices want. It represents an expansive view of the judiciary in which courts create policy that couldn’t pass the legislative branch or, if it did, would create voter backlash.  — Karl Rove

When you show deep empathy towards others, their defensive energy goes down, and positive energy replaces it. That’s when you can get more creative in solving problems. — Stephen Covey

The struggle of my life created empathy — I could relate to pain, being abandoned, having people not love me. — Oprah Winfrey

Empathy is the starting point  for creating a community and taking action. It’s the impetus for creating change. — Max Carver

Empathy is a tool for building people into groups, for allowing us to function as more than self-obsessed individuals.  — Neil Gaiman

 

Is there empathy in my other photos from yesterday?

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Which of those photos represents empathy best, to you?

For me, it’s this one:

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Or maybe this one:

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If necessity is the mother of invention, what is empathy?  Here’s “Call Any Vegetable” from Just Another Band from L.A. by the Mothers of Invention:

Here‘s another version of “Call Any Vegetable”:

Any empathy in this quote from Frank Zappa, the leader of the Mothers of Invention?

The mind is like a parachute.  It doesn’t work if it’s not open.

I look forward to the empathy in your comments, below.

Empathic thanks to all who helped me create today’s post and — of course! — to YOU.

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Categories: definition, group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism, quotes | Tags: , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Day 405: Freaking out

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.)
  3. 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:

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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):

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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:

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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.

Categories: inspiration, Nostalgia, personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 26 Comments

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