We never know what will happen. We can plan our day or trip or meeting in great detail, but we are never sure what will happen. All we can do is to stay present, stay open to the possibilities and enjoy and appreciate the way things unfold. I used to get annoyed and frustrated when things didn’t go the way I wanted. I would have planned and visualized how a meeting or event would proceed and I would be frustrated if things changed, if I didn’t get what I needed when I needed it. I have learned to let go of this. I now try and go with the flow and find the pleasure in the unexpected. 

When I was working for the local Member of Parliament I had to go to a printers to pick up some flyers and I had huge trouble finding the location. I thought I knew where it was. As I drove up and down the road looking for the printers I became more and more frustrated. Finally, exasperated, I called in at the nearest store to ask directions. There I discovered a magical world, a store full of environmentally safe cleaning products and beauty aids in bulk – “bring your own containers” they said. Of course I found out where the printer was located and made my way there, but in the meantime I discovered a place I frequent on a regular basis for gifts and products. A store I enjoy supporting and a business I believe in and want to promote. I would never have discovered this store if I hadn’t walked in to ask directions. Life is curious, and discoveries are just around the corner. Stay open, embrace the unknown and take advantage of the situation

Marshall Rosenberg, the founder of Nonviolent Communications, said “Judgments cause wars”. We all know the damage judgments can do. This is because people usually hear your judgments as criticism and this triggers them. They close down and become resentful. They don’t trust you anymore as you have attacked them, and it is hard to redeem the relationship. The fact is, we remember a judgment much longer than we remember a compliment. Judgments are hard to forget. I still remember the judgments of my English teacher at high school!!

But we all have judgments about places, people and things. Can we re-frame this and turn the judgment into curiosity. Instead of saying “That person dresses in a really bizarre way”, we say, “I am curious as to the choices that person has made” or “I am curious as to why he said that at the meeting” instead of “He made a really stupid comment”. This curiosity is not judgmental, we just want to find out more and re-framing allows us to delve deeper. We gain more understanding, connection and ultimately feel more compassion towards those around us.

Try and use curiosity instead of judgment see how it changes the conversation and your perception of the situation.

I see often see postings saying “Don’t give advice” or “People don’t want to hear your advice”. Why is this?

When someone is triggered or mourning an event, they often need “to be heard”. They have not asked for advice, they have not asked you to tell them about your experiences, they just want “to matter, to be seen and to be heard”.

If you are listening to fix someone, you are meeting your own need “to matter and to contribute”. You are likely not really listening. A part of you is figuring out how to help them or how to fix the problem. They don’t want that. This might seem really frustrating to you as you are up in your head judging the situation and figuring out how to solve it. This is why I say you are not listening from the heart to how they feel and to their need.

I think so many of us have been brought up believing fixing the problem is a way to connect to others and be compassionate. Giving advice is OK as long as you clarify, “Would you like my advice?” By this question, you are offering the person the opportunity to choose. There is nothing wrong with giving advice if it is requested, it is just not useful for the person who wants “to be heard” and have justification that “they matter”.

In Nonviolent Communications we accompany the person in a state of presence, listening for their feelings and needs with a heart to heart connection. We call this NVC Empathy.

Note-   I italicized the universal needs in this blog so that they stand out

One of the first sayings I heard Marshall Rosenberg say when I attended his nine day workshop in 2009 was ”What is alive in you “

When I first heard this question I was confused – my answer was something like:

“Well my heart is beating, I am breathing and my brain is working and I am hearing you”.

But as I became more familiar with NVC I realised that what Marshall meant was what are you feeling? I had never given any thought to this before. I guess I had never considered this before. I did not have a large vocabulary of feelings and was definitely not comfortable expressing them. I did not know how they impacted my being – what the physical manifestations were and I guess I was frightened of how I would respond. So I ignored them, pushed them down and told myself they don’t matter.

Becoming conscious of my feelings on a moment-to-moment basis has been quite a journey. Most of the time I am resting in a comfortable space, some of the time I am more alive and I am more playful. Asking myself what is alive in me regularly helps me check in and find out what is happening. I am becoming more mindful and aware of times when I am bored, afraid, sad or annoyed. I take a conscious note of my bodily sensations. I name what is happening and then name the feeling. In this way I am able to choose how to deal with a potentially tricky situation.

I am trying to live more from my feelings than from my thoughts and I am learning to discover what is alive in me.

We all have out own aesthetic as far as beauty is concerned (what we consider beautiful, pleasing to the eye, well balanced etc). However none of us can argue about the beauty we see in nature. And for this reason walking in a forest, climbing a mountain, walking by the sea shore or just sitting in a garden surrounded by trees and flowers enables us to appreciate nature. We can feel touched by the power of nature. It provides a gentle, healing to our restless soul. It unites us in a purpose and we see we are all connected. It uplifts a heavy heart. Within the stillness of nature lies a power to heal and to renew faith in the world and in humankind.

So today spend a few moments of silence connecting to nature in some way. I can assure you that it will lift your spirits. It does mine.

Why did Marshall Rosenberg call it “Nonviolent Communication” ?

Read the rest of this entry »

 

Clarity- is it hard to impart in an email or electronically?

I have just read a note thanking a group of us for hosting a celebration. It was long and detailed. To be honest I stopped reading half way through and could not tell you what he wrote.

However, there were a couple of words that really resonated for me – ”thank you for the community, the support and the love” – this resonated but I thought the rest  was just padding. Was this just my interpretation or was there really a lot of bla bla?

What I am suggesting is that we are clear what we are thanking someone for, we can explain our feelings and why we are grateful for an action, saying what need it has met – support, appreciation, the opportunity to be heard, but don’t go on and on. In my opinion, it muddies the water and the gratitude gets lost in all the words. We get confused with the thoughts and their meaning. Look for clarity.

Keep it so simple   ….KISS that way the message will get through with clarity.

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