Posts Tagged ‘NVC Consciousness’
It’s the last month of 2018… Whoosh!
As I write these words, many of the events of 2018 are running through my mind. Some of them were deeply painful, others exquisitely joyful. Many more were filled with meaning for one reason or another. All of them represent my response or reaction to life.
The one thing I have control over is how I respond to life.
December calls me to review what has transpired throughout the past year: my behaviors… my reaction to others’ behaviors… events or relationships I’ve mourned… and awareness around how my limited thinking can create greater suffering for me and others. Part of this reviewing process also involves clarifying the qualities or values I’d like to bring into the next year.
This is sacred work, because I believe the Law of Attraction: that what I put forth will be returned to me.
Several years ago, at a time when I was feeling especially judgmental of my parents and how they raised me and my siblings, I was driving down the road ruminating on their lack of generosity.
Have you had times like this? Times when you found yourself running the same stories through your head, and they all have the same ending: the ending that makes the other person — or yourself — stay in your bad graces?
So on this particular day, I was ruminating on my parents’ lack of generosity while driving down the road and heading to a cabin by the ocean, near where I was raised in Washington State (one of my favorite places in the world), when it occurred to me:
The other morning, I was walking in our local Nature Center and admiring a goose family that was made up of a Mom, Dad, and two goslings. They were floating down the river and I was standing on a bridge just over them. When the Dad saw me, he stretched his neck up and placed himself between his goslings and me. The Mom then took the lead, while he watched me. I really felt touched by how they both cared for their family and also sad that my presence invoked fear or stimulated a desire for protection.
Do you ever feel that way? Like you’re protecting yourself or your family or your stuff?
I confess I spent the first week after Donald Trump’s election as president of the United States in mourning, deep despair, and bewilderment. I felt as if someone I loved had punched me in the chest. Many people I love, in fact, voted for him. They too were feeling despair: despair that I didn’t vote for him, and confusion about why I felt so devastated.
During that first week, I led several meditations on peace in different national and international venues. I offered formal and informal empathy sessions to many people, and listened to many more: hundreds of stories about enormous pain from families, spouses, and loved ones who had suddenly found themselves deeply divided.
It was exhausting — until I said “STOP,” and allowed myself the space to receive empathy, to offer it to myself, and to grieve and grieve and grieve my own grief.
And then I got clear (really clear!) that I wanted to focus on healing the gap between those of us who didn’t vote for Donald Trump, and those who did – and all our life experiences that led us to this point.
Thich Nhat Hahn says, “We need someone to be able to listen to us and to understand us. Then, we will suffer less. But everyone is suffering, and no one wants to listen.”
I am listening.
Everything someone does or says is an attempt to meet a need …. Really?
The other day, I was in a gathering and I ran into a woman two times. What I mean is, I looked up and she was right there and we were standing so close that I was startled. After an hour at this event, I was pulling out of my parking place. I looked both ways and waited for a car to go by and then pulled out of my parking space and I nearly side-swiped the lady’s car. The very same lady!
In each case, I apologized and blamed myself. Then, on my way home, I started to blame her. Do you ever find yourself ruminating on your judgments and trying to place blame? Has this behavior ever relieved your anxiety or angst over the situation? It hasn’t succeeded for me even once, yet I’ve tried it countless times throughout my life and one more time with this lady.
If it’s true that ‘everything someone does or says is an attempt to meet a need,’ what needs would judgment and blame serve?
Happy Holidays! This song / message from John Lennon and Yoko Ono was inspiring and lovely for me to receive. I hope you enjoy it as well. It reminds me that peace starts with me and it’s possible if I am committed to it in my life. It takes true commitment, even a kind of fierceness, to live nonviolently and in such a way that values all needs.
On this day, I say I am committed for one more day to live my value of nonviolence. I hope you’ll join me.
John Lennon and Yoko Ono:
Warmest Holiday wishes to you,
Blame, blame, blame….it is so easy to blame, isn’t it?
I’m discouraged over how automatic and easy it is to blame. The other day I was driving in an area I didn’t know so I turned on my trusted GPS unit (Daniel) and entered my information. Daniel was taking more time than usual and so I started out in the direction I suspected was correct. No sooner had I gotten started when Daniel said in his calm British accent, “Recalculating.” And I said in a voice louder than I am proud of, “Well, you didn’t tell me where to go!”
Kaboom. I blamed a computer. I actually blamed a computer.
Today I got a handwritten card from someone who is visiting family in Ohio. She wrote to tell me how much she appreciates my book Peaceful Living that was published in 2005. Then, she mentioned that she was writing because she’d heard about the forest fires in Flagstaff and wanted me to know she was thinking about me and wishing me well. I don’t know this person and don’t recall having any previous correspondence with her.
I am so touched by this card and the sentiment because of the community, care, and love I receive from it. You know, sometimes I just go about my life and forget how many lives I touch just by living. Do you ever feel as if what you’re doing isn’t making a difference? Or, that you’re not making progress?
I have felt that way many, many times in my life. And then today I get a card from someone in Ohio who tells me she’s thinking about me and appreciating my book and hoping I am safe.
I believe my role is to live each day in integrity with my values as best as I can. To keep showing up for life valuing all needs, focused on the life in each of us, and committed to nonviolence. When I do this I feel better about myself and I feel better about everyone who crosses my path.
I am so grateful to be reminded of this, and equally grateful to know that there are people thinking of me and wishing me well, even when I am not aware of it. This helps bolster my commitment to live in NVC consciousness.
I write this now because I want to express gratitude and to let you know I’m thinking about you; whoever reads this, I’m thinking about you and sending love.
I’m in Hawaii for three weeks offering a variety of trainings. Nearly every day I express my gratitude that I get to do work that I love so much, in a place that is so beautiful to me, and to work with people whom I love. Ahhh.
There have been many moments that I have thought, “remember this for the blog, Mary,” but have been distracted by all the beauty and joy and snorkeling and hiking with friends. So, this morning, I will write about one thing and I hope to write again tomorrow.
I was in the second day of a 4-day retreat and I noticed that I felt uncomfortable with one of the participants and my inner chatter was saying, “He’s not satisfied with the workshop” and “He’s smirking” and “I actually have no idea what’s going on with him!” I became aware of my jackal howling at the lunch break.
Does your jackal howl in your ear for a while before you notice her? Sometimes, mine howls for a while before I become aware of her. I believe this is because it is so familiar to have judgmental or critical thoughts. NVC is teaching me how to become more aware of my jackal inner voice and to respond to her much more quickly, rather than be complacent in my judgments.
Yesterday I boarded a flight from Phoenix, Arizona to Oahu, Hawaii. It was to be a 6.5 hour flight. I had taken special care to reserve a window seat. Upon boarding, I realized that I was seated in the middle seat, in the middle of the plane. I was so frustrated and annoyed! 6.5 hours in the middle seat!
So, I was getting myself settled in my seat with an undercurrent of grumpy judgementalism. The first thing that happened was a man in the row behind me offered to hold my tea while I got myself settled. Next the man sitting to the left of me offered to hold my tea while I buckled my seatbelt. Next, the man sitting to the right of me offered me the Phoenix newspaper that he had just finished. This all transpired while I was grumbling internally, empathizing with myself, feeling worried about how uncomfortable I’m going to be for the next 6.5 hours, blaming airport employees for my miserable situation, etc.
Within 10 minutes, well before the plane started moving, I remembered that if I continue on this course, I will ensure that my flight is utterly miserable. So, I took a deep breath, began empathizing with myself in earnest (not just enjoying the jackal show!), and began to shift my attitude. Then, I napped for about 30 minutes because I realized (through self empathy) that the biggest obstacle for me was only getting 4 hours of sleep the night before.