When I lived in the mountains, March meant a slight lessening of the chill in the air. There was a lot of snow still, but it was wet and heavy and was often followed by a rain that would melt it quickly. And then, magically, I’d see a daffodil bloom poke its head out of the snow and feel gleeful. Spring is on the way! And it’s time to ready myself for it.
This morning I’m thinking about Marshall Rosenberg, the founder of Nonviolent Communication (NVC), and feeling deeply grateful for my own emotional thawing that happened as a result of my NVC work.
I came to NVC angry and heavy with pent-up and unexpressed emotions. I didn’t understand the impact of all I had been holding onto until one moment in a workshop when I received full-on, connecting empathy for the first time. My emotions burst open and I felt completely free in a way I had never before experienced: the kind of freedom that happens when we are seen and understood – and there’s an allowing for all emotion.
When those moments happen, I feel a combination of grief and joy – grief for the times when I wasn’t understood and for whatever I’m working on in the moment, and joy for the depth of connection in the moment.
Speaking of the depth of connection… The other day I called my dear friend Georgia. I was feeling mad about a mutual friend’s recent passing. Georgia received me with cheer and understanding. She wasn’t mad but she let me be mad. She doesn’t know the formal empathy process, yet Georgia’s a natural at it because with a few words and a lot of listening, she helped me find my soft heart again, and helped me grieve and grieve.
Later that night, I wrote a good-bye letter to our friend, and included a few of our favorite prayers and my personal prayer for her. The entire process was healing and readied me to finally say good-bye…
It all starts with a thawing of the anger, coldness, or hardness I may be feeling – and it brings me back to softness, warmth and love. In that emotional space there’s room for all emotions and healing.
Let’s spend this month focused on warmth. Let’s look for those places that invite it in – like a daffodil growing out of the snow – and demonstrate it to others.
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