Lately, I’ve been asking many questions about favorites on Twitter, including these:
A random thought about favorites: I haven’t had to worry about playing favorites with my children because I have only one child. Here’s one of my favorite photos of me and Aaron, taken years ago with Emo Philips, who was the opening act for Weird Al last night:
Do you see favorites in my other images for today?
There are so many National Days today that it’s difficult to pick a favorite. One of my favorite moments from Emo’s set last night was when he asked the crowd to help record a message wishing his friend Red, who is a jockey riding in the Kentucky Derby today, good luck. It was definitely my favorite use of a cell phone at the concert last night.
Here’s my favorite Weird Al song, in the style of Frank Zappa (who is also a favorite).
What’s your favorite part of this post? My favorite part is always the end, when I get to express my gratitude for all who help me blog every day, including YOU.
Today’s title is inspired by many things, including today’s Daily Bitch Calendar.
I may be the only one who says how that is an example of a cognitive distortion, because chances are that SOMEBODY has said that. At this point in my life, it’s hard to believe that no one has ever said anything, which is my way of saying that there might be nothing new under the sun in terms of what people communicate.
Stephen Sondheim, however, said things in his lyrics that people seldom say, like these lines from “The Ladies Who Lunch”:
So here’s to the girls on the go,
Look into their eyes
And you’ll see what they know:
When I first heard those lines in the 1970’s, I thought, “Stephen Sondheim is saying what no one ever says: ‘Everybody dies.'” And while other people have said it, nobody said it like Sondheim, who died the day after Thanksgiving.
I’m thinking about that line — “Everybody dies” — today because Michael Nesmith passed away yesterday.
No one (including me) ever says that “Everybody Dies” is a good title for this kind of blog, so I didn’t use it today. However, as we get older, “Everybody Dies” rings truer with each loss of somebody we loved.
And I did love Mike Nesmith and the Monkees.
Do you see what no one ever says in my other images for today?
I might assume that no one ever says “Let’s celebrate National Noodle Ring Day,” but I’m probably wrong.
Whether or not someone else says it, this is one of my vivid memories of the Monkees TV show, which seemed to include words that no one ever said before.
This next video includes what Mike and Davy said during their screen tests (which no one ever said during a tryout for a major TV show before).
No one ever says, I hope, that I don’t try to share relevant videos in my blog posts. Here’s another one:
Finally, no one ever says that I end these posts without expressing gratitude for those I appreciate, including YOU.
Yesterday, in my therapy group, I wrote the word “empathy” twice on the white board.
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 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:
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”
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?
Which of those photos represents empathy best, to you?
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.”
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:
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.
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.