All posts tagged: empathy

Rage, Grief and Activism

The Constellation I was one of a small group of facilitators invited to do a systemic constellation around racism. The facilitator, Judy Wallace, asked us to generate a list of what should be represented. With the group size we had, we decided on White Power, Black Bodies, Child, Earth, Poor White Person. I was the one who named “black bodies”. It came out of a recognition that had been stirring for months – that the painful legacy of slavery and racism from its origins through today is defined by the dehumanizing practice of simultaneously valuing and fearing black bodies, but which in my experience was rarely spoken of. Representing black bodies, I found myself circling the center of the room, while white power stood just outside my circle. White power had a calm but piercing attention on the other white people in the room. Both white child and poor white person were not eager to align with white power, though white power was happy to include them in his power.  As I circled the room, I felt numb, moving …

Empathic Intelligence: Your Untapped Jedi Power

Image: http://www.auslanstageleft.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/roman_sermon_base.jpg When I first met Jamaal Bowman, educator, leader, and founding principal of the respected Cornerstone Academy for Social Action Middle School in the Bronx, I was fortunate to have a long conversation with him explaining my work as a facilitator of “Expanded Knowing.” Fortunate for two reasons: first, because he allowed me the time to explain what I often find unexplainable; second, because he was able to sum the whole thing up in two words: “Oh,” he said, “you’re a Jedi Master!” Yes, Jamaal, yes I am. I haven’t yet added that to my business cards, but thanks to you, I am now able to describe my work with a meaningful and universal pop-culture reference. AND, over the past few weeks, I have also developed a greater understanding of my work through another lens: empathy. Empathy, Redefined Image: http://www.thedisabilityfile.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/roman_sermon_base.jpg “Empathy: The ability to understand and share feelings of another” (google search for “empathy,” accessed 5/10/2016). Researchers such as Frans de Waal, Paul Ekman and Daniel Goleman call the understanding aspect of empathy cognitive …