With a world in crisis, steeped in incomprehensible violence, how do we then live? What, if anything, could turn this around? If we're all dying, let us die loving everyone, including ourselves and our former enemies. Let us come together behind wanting everyone to be free. Let us align means with ends as we envision a world that, against all odds, moves towards working for all of life. Let us dedicate our lives to service, to courage, to speaking truth, and to love.
Love keeps the thread of connection intact in times when all around us we see the human fabric becoming threadbare. When we dig deep with love into guessing what others care about that had given rise to their actions, it changes us. It brings us closer to understanding the incomprehensible -- and closer to vision, imagination, humility, curiosity, commonality, and loving action. Read on for more on applying this to people we deem "conspiracy theorists", and those who are on the other end of the political divide.
When something happens that we don't like no amount of resentment nor magical thinking will make it disappear. Instead, we can mourn to dissolve our own resistance, resentment, and numbness of resignation. Mourning can allow us to feel pain with acceptance, and without needing to be okay with what happened. Acceptance can bring us to a place where even all the anguish in the world is fully, part of life.
We can choose our stories of interpretation, and how to respond. And while stories of self-sufficiency can (to a degree) give us more influence over our own lives, they don't erase oppression, war, nor climate change. When stories omit a lens that includes impacts of interdependence, oppression, and structural inequities, stories can also keep us disconnected and blocked from compassion for self and others -- and perpetuating an oppressive status quo. However, with this lens we can make greater compassion and collective liberation possible. Even as the outcome is unknown.
Can the Social Order Be Transformed through Personal Practice? The Case of Nonviolent Communication - Part 1 of 2
By focusing on NVC process and practice without factoring in the interdependent, systemic dimension we unwittingly diminish the power of NVC. We reinforce the dominant paradigm, rather than challenging it -- making NVC one more tool for compliance. NVC principles can turn against its own purpose in cruel ways. NVC could also empower social change. We'll need our attention on this matter if we are to contribute to transforming the oppression we face and our collective march towards extinction.
We can dream and wait for the day to do things differently, or we can continually take steps towards the future of our dreams as though it were here now. The future will not be significantly different from the present if we all act as if change is not possible or only possible after it's already happened. Instead, we can immediately consider everything we do as the possible seed of change beyond our wildest dreams and vision.
Our world trains us to think in terms of providing for everyone’s needs because they deserve it, earned it, or they possess the resources -- it's fair, socially just, supports equality or because people have rights. Instead, can we step outside this worldview to look at providing for everyone’s needs because those needs exist -- can we hold this basic reverence for life? Are we able to have a needs-based dialogue when such a reframe could alienate those who live in the worldview of earn/deserve?
A big part of why receiving feedback is so challenging is because so few people around us know how to give feedback untainted with criticism, judgment, or our personal upset. But, if we wait for others to offer us usable, digestible, manageable feedback, we will not likely receive sufficient feedback for our growth and learning. Instead, we can grow in our capacity to fish the pearl that’s buried within. Here are three specific suggestions for how.
I want to hear others through the lens of the meaning their actions have for them rather than through the effect their actions have on me. The very root of empathy resides in this fundamental shift. Whenever someone’s actions are at odds with our own needs, most of us, most of the time, do the latter. In that way, we keep our attention on ourselves rather than on the other person. We cannot be in empathy when we are focused on how things affect us. Miki Kashtan poignantly shares about the challenges of empathizing with another when we really don't understand their actions.