Saturday, December 9, 2017

A Recent Encounter, Part 2

     After I found the house where the blasting radio was, I slowed my car and stopped in front of the man's driveway.  He was dreamily wiping down his pick-up truck, obviously intent on listening to the radio host's diatribe.  I rolled down my car window and tried to get his attention.  "Um, sir?  Uh, hello?  Hi there -- sir?"  That went on for over a minute, and although my car was blocking his driveway, he was completely oblivious to me.

     So, I turned off my car and got out.  Took a deep breath.  Slowly and calmly walked toward the man.  (Why didn't I take the time to change into better clothes?)  I was about six feet away from him, and stopped to try to get his attention.  Spoke again.  Waved.  Waved some more.  So I approached another foot or two.  Finally, the man noticed me.  He frowned and reached over to turn down the radio.

     "Um, hi.  I was wondering if you would mind please turning down your radio?  I can hear it from inside my house on the next block."

     A grunted, "Really?"

     "Yes, it's really loud and I was wondering if you could turn it down."

     Another guttural "Really?"  He was emoting annoyance and some of the anger he had absorbed from the radio show.

     "Yes, sir, I was just asking for a little peace in our neighborhood.  It would be nice if you could turn the radio down, please.  I appreciate it."  I could tell I had overstayed my unwelcome, so I turned on my heel and left.  He muttered something that included an overused profanity, and I muttered back (I'm not proud to say), "Same to you, buddy."  And with that, I left.

     But during the last part of the exchange, I noticed something.

     To be continued . . .


Saturday, December 2, 2017

A Recent Encounter

     A few weeks ago, during a beautiful, balmy morning here in the Southwest, I was enjoying a cup of coffee in my kitchen while our four-legged babies were watching the butterflies flit around in the back yard.  Suddenly, the peace was shattered by the sound of someone's radio blasting some angry talk show.  You know the kind -- the male voice ranting about this tragedy or that injustice and how the world is all going to hell and he's angry about it and you should be, too.  Even though the radio was located a block away, I could hear every angry word from inside my house.

     And it made me angry, too.

     Not because I agreed with the radio host, but because I felt his anger and fear and outrage and it felt like someone was hitting me repeatedly in the gut.  It was making me feel overwhelmed and physically sick.  My peace was demolished.

     So what did this empath do?  I got in my car and went to find out who was blasting that noise.

     To be continued . . .

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Are You an Empath? Part 2

     Last week I was listing the characteristics of an empath that Dr. Judith Orloff describes in reference to her book, The Empath's Survival Guide: Life Strategies for Sensitive People.  How did you rate?  Did some characteristics resonate more than others for you?  Well, here are the remaining descriptions of an empath.  Let's see how you do.
  • Are you afraid of becoming suffocated by intimate relationships?
  • Do you startle easily?
  • Do you react strongly to caffeine or medications?
  • Do you have a low threshold for pain?
  • Do you tend to isolate yourself socially?
  • Do you absorb other people's stress, emotions, or symptoms?
  • Do you get overwhelmed by multi-tasking, or prefer to do one thing at a time?
  • Do you need a long time to recuperate after being with difficult people or energy vampires?
  • Do you feel better in small cities or the country rather than in large cities?
  • Do you prefer one-to-one interactions or small groups over large gatherings?
     While I haven't read Dr. Orloff's book (yet), it sounds like it would be very helpful even if you are only somewhat empathic.  The book has great reviews!

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Are You an Empath?

     A while ago I received an email in promotion of Dr. Judith Orloff's online course to supplement her book, The Empath's Survival Guide: Life Strategies for Sensitive People.  In the email, she sent a link to take a quiz to measure whether one is an empath.  No surprise to me, the results showed I am a "strong empath."  How about you?  Here are the first ten characteristics of an empath that she lists:
  • Do you find you need to replenish yourself in nature?
  • Do you often feel overwhelmed or anxious?
  • Have you ever been labeled overly sensitive, shy, or introverted?
  • Do you become ill from yelling or arguments?
  • Do you feel like you don't really fit in?
  • Do crowds drain you?  Do you need time along to revive yourself?
  • Do you feel overwhelmed by noise, odors, or nonstop talkers?
  • Do you have chemical sensitivities or a low tolerance for scratchy clothes?
  • Do you prefer taking your own car to places in case you want to leave early?
  • Do you overeat (or engage in other addictive coping mechanisms) to cope with stress?
     This book may be for you.  We'll continue with our quiz next week.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

An Interesting Quote

     A couple of weeks ago I was promoting The Second Book of the Tao By Stephen Mitchell.  It's a good book, certainly worth reading.

     The author, in an endnote, was comparing the sentiment found on bumper stickers which states, "If you're not offended, you're not paying attention" with Taoist philosophy.  Here is his version of that bumper sticker, with a Taoist spin:

     "If you don't notice that greed, hatred, and ignorance cause great suffering in the world, and if you're not moved to end the suffering, you're not paying attention."

     Hear, hear.