Why Nonviolent Communication (NVC)?
When I experience painful and ineffective patterns of communication, I realize I would like to be part of the change towards cooperation, transparency and understanding. I am hopeful realizing that there are good alternatives, and I feel a certain relief realizing that these cannot come from the generation of my parents, who lived their most productive years under a totalitarian regime. This hope goes hand in hand with responsibility for sharing the alternatives with other people each time I choose to divert fom the prevalent (habitual) style of dealing with conflicts.
I believe that domination strategies and language are in the way of reaching this change. Knowing how our language can influence our thinking and actions, I would like to increase trust in that conflict can be resolved peacefully and that we can be enriched by coming to new types of solutions. And I would like to enjoy sharing more effective and connecting ways of communicating with even more people.
As for the education system, I am frustrated realizing the potential and the level of creativity of children before they enter formal education (my personal experience) and how the school system affects them. I am amused realizing that all my patterns learned in family and at school in the end had to be re-programmed at many workshops, which also cost extra time, energy and money. Which leads me to the question: why not change the way we live, parent and teach in the first place?
Each situation that I encounter comes as a choice and a responsibility of how I use my energy. I believe that the change begins with me, that I co-create my reality the way I interact with life and other people. In this sense, every such situation is an opportunity for both learning and teaching – “teaching” the other by how I react to them, gently pointing them towards their feelings and needs, and learning from their response.
I believe that human warmth can be regarded as an alternative source of energy, and I am curious to explore what energy our actions come from, and how that affects the world we live in.
NVC spirituality for me
My idea of NVC stems from what I casually call “trust in love”, which is simply an attitude that maintains awareness and connection: being present with what is alive in me and in the other person, inviting the dance of a dialogue.
The essense of NVC spirituality for me is that of hospitality (in the sense of Rumi’s poem called “The Guesthouse”). It is the space and the openness for what presently is. If I cultivate my ability to look at what is presently happening in me – especially with feelings I am not so keen to feel – with curiosity, love and vulnerability, I also greatly increase my capacity to be present with someone else in their discomfort. It is the commitment to the “now”, which is always fresh and changing.
From my own experience, I know that it is a challenge to use NVC as a method and I have realized over time, that, purely on its own, it is not enough. Especially as an NVC trainer, I know how important it is to embody its principles in practice. And the moments in my experience, where giving and receiving really works even in challenging situations, are the moments when I am not leading but I sort of let things happen “through me”.
I very much resonate with M. B. Rosenberg’s idea of the “beloved divine energy” that can act as a subtle guide of my actions. I experience this energy also in Skype Empathy sessions, seeing how the energy and the focus of the group can have a transforming and healing effect on all that participate (whether sharing or just listening). My experience with dancing, meditation, focusing, tai-chi, contact improvisation and yoga teaching is very helpful then to be able to sense which way the energy is flowing.