I ad lib a lot but this is the basic framework of my first in a series of Empathy Classes.

What is Empathy? Empathy is the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and having a capacity to understand what another person is feeling. To know, to understand and to feel them. The word empathy is derived from a German word Einfuhlung that means, “To project yourself on what you observe”. An example of empathy is that feeling you have when you see a small child cry or that sinking feeling in your gut when you see another hurt is empathy.
There are many types of empathy but thr main two types of empathy are Affective empathy and Cognitive Empathy. Affective empathy is where we mirror another persons feelings or taking on their emotions as your own. Cognitive is the ability to identify another persons feelings and understand them. To have a psychological understanding of another person’s situation.
Empathy is one of the most important feeling we as human beings have. When we do not have empathy we cease to be truly human in some schools of thought. I person who possesses empathy is a person our society values. Movies and all forms of entertainment show us the value of empathy. Our heroes posses empathy and when our villains have empathy we in turn have empathy for them. We as a society devalue those who cannot posses empathy. We shun those who cannot feel empathy. It is the most needed emotion we as a society expect others to have to be accepted in society.
The Sociopath and Psychopath do not posses empathy. This tells you how important empathy is because we all know these are not very good titles. I should not that some people with autism may appear to not have empathy or may be unable to express their feelings. This is normal for those conditions & we shouldn’t shun the autistic or asperger’s patient for their difficulties with empathy.
Empathy is shaped and formed to some degree by our environment, & our culture. For example, in ancient Sparta young boys were taken from their mothers at age 7 and raised in a cruel & sadistic environment that encouraged fighting & thievery. They would starve the boys so they would be forced to steal to survive.. They were taught to not care about what happens to another person as long as you survived. You could say Spartan society raised generations who lacked easily felt empathy. That they “bred it out”. Some societies teach empathy only for their own while other societies value empathy and readily teach it. Some Eastern Societies teach only their Culture has value but in reality, all cultures do that.
Research has uncovered an empathy gene but studies show that people can enhance or restrict tbut empathy is the first step towards compassionate action. One can see the hurt person and choose not to act.
Empathizing and acceptance is one of the reasons I am pursuing this adventure because I believe when we understand and empathize with others, we can learn to love each other.
As alluded, empathy can be manipulated by society and also taught by society. If we expect people to have empathy, they more than likely will than not. People generally do what is expected of them. With time & training you can teach people to have more empathy than before.
I hate the word propoganda but what you tell the people, they begin to accept.
I believe that people, businesses and all forms of institutions could benefit from a deeper understanding of empathy and the human condition. An example of much needed empathy is found in India. After a deadly chemical leak in Bhopa, India the company responsable treated the victims and survivors shabbily. They were more concerned with not taking blame than helping those affected by the tragedy. To this day, Union Carbide has never cleaned the chemical leak site. They have never made “Right” with India. That’s a lack of caring about others. We can teach that to companies, we can help create a culture of empathy.
Empathy has been called a phenomenon. It goes against logic to give of yourself often for little or no reward. I like to call empathy, “God’s Spark” because it is against self preservation logic to help others and empathy certainly seems to come from a higher place. To help someone at best can’t help you & at worst can harm you. It’s not logical to help someone else yet we do it & scientists can’t answer why.
Empathy is a skill & it can be taught. It is a skill that can be cultivated. Today’s American elitist youth often lack empathy because they have an easy life where they see little suffering. That enviroment leads to decadence & a lack of feeling for others.
You may be asking yourself, what does empathy have to do with gardening. What are the benefits of gardening besides food? Horticultural therapy is the name for using gardening as a tool for personal growth, calm & serenity. Monks spend hours raking complex patterns in gravel as a way to achieve mental clarity. Prisoners fight in prisons to be able to garden. Studies have shown that gardening heals the mind. There is something about digging in the Earth that calms people. It bridges divides.
When we garden with another person, we are more likely to feel at ease with them, friendlier and more helpful than if we were not gardening. This is where my vision of empathy, integration, inclusion & gardening come together. I feel that while gardening people are more likely to listen to each other and be less defensive.
I am going to be teaching classes about a variety of cultures throughout the gardening season at our once a month meetings because I believe when we understand each other, we love each other.
Today we are planting tomato seedlings and so let’s begin….
>>>>Activity:
With a table set up, have in place 10 plants and ask each person to plant a tomato seed in their pot. We discuss, “How does the seed feel about being born?””How would you feel in the dark ground?””Would you be exctied to grow?” COntinue in this line of talking and encourage to put in their thoughts.
COnclude with;
Planting these plants is a lot like empathy. Did you feel for a little bit how the plant felt? Try going outside of yourself & experiencing the feelings of others.
Activity: At this time I share a story about a culture in our area that we may have a misunderstanding about & offer up a discussion.
Activity: Let the group bring up things they feel they want to talk about but never feel a safe place to do so. Encourage community dialogue.
End.

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On Planned Parenthood: How I was almost a victim of Planned Parenthood.

I feel like I have aged a thousand years since June 15, 2015. That is the day videos were released that showed a sting on illegal practices at Planned Parenthood. I have been agitated, upset & at unease since they aired. I have hardly slept & my mind has become troubled. I am troubled because me and my baby almost became victims of Planned Parenthood. I say victims correctly because I feel like a victim of rape or molestation due to Planned Parenthoods unethical practices. I have come to see that Planned Parenthood is an abuser like any other. They use shame, manipulation & deceit like an abuser. An abuser of woman, babies & souls. I should tell you of my experience with them. 10 years ago I was a Federal Officer with a new house & a new relationship. Things were going pretty good. Than one day I found out I was pregnant. My boyfriend’s initial joy soon changed to worry for finances. He just didn’t think we could handle a baby. Over the next week Rob wore me down to having an abortion. I just couldn’t handle the pressure of losing everything for a baby. I called Planned Parenthood and I must tell you, I was never counseled about adoption. I wasn’t emotionally counseled. I was told to come in and have an abortion. I was told it was a painless, easy procedure & best for the baby too. The said my baby wasn’t a baby but a blob of tissue without feelings. They said it was a mercy to abort my baby. I asked about having an ultrasound but I was told my baby was too small & it was a waste of time. I made the appointment for the next day. I couldn’t get my baby out of my mind so I called my regular doctor & he said he could fit me in for an emergency ultrasound if I hurried. I got to the hospital and I laid down on a cold, sterile table. The technician didn’t know¬†I was going to have an abortion the next day. She showed me my baby. His heart was beating like a hummingbirds.He was moving. I looked at his heart beat and I couldn’t kill him. I just couldn’t kill my baby. I started to cry & the technician seemed to understand my thoughts. She left & I cried on that cold table because I was all alone. Than I remembered, I wasn’t alone. I had a little person with me and God. I went outside & in tears told Rob I wasn’t going to kill our baby. He said he would leave me and he did. I gave birth without him & I cut my babies cord alone. I named him LeModre which is Spanish for, “The Mother” because I brought him through Hell and back. My baby is beautiful and not life unworthy of life. He is my beautiful treasure and a gift from God. When I see these Planned Parenthood videos I almost vomit, I almost throw myself to the ground. WHat had I almost done? What had Planned Parenthood made easy & pressured me to do? I feel traumatized since I saw the truth of Planned Parenthood. They are murderers. They are the worst human beings on Earth. They make money off of people’s problems & turn innocent life into meat for a corporation’s sell as if they were a cattle farm. If I had killed my baby, would I have committed suicide due to Planned parenthood manipulations and lies. If you’re a mother unsure of what to do, please know it won’t always be like this. God gives us trials to make us strong. Please choose Life because Death never answered anyone’s problems. I want to encourage Pro-Lifers to keep encouraging and counseling woman. Corporations like Planned Parenthood are here to snuff the Light of God from this Earth and we will answer in Paradise for our actions. God Bless you!