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.
Unless we change our collective ways on the planet, we will one day exceed the earth’s carrying capacity. We can only address the planet's very real limits of physical resources at the level of social organization. To operate empathically is to adjust our collective social order and patterns so that resources are more widely available and everyone's needs are met no matter what their output, income, power, circumstances, etc. Can we envision a future where the system is infused with this level of empathy, before it's too late?
The more we can support an interdependent flow of resources and energy in society and the economy, the greater we can increase both natural abundance and the chances of averting extinction. Accumulation is a strategy born of mistrust. It’s an attempt to control the flow of life to guarantee that we will have enough for the future. Accumulation and exchange has blocked this interdependent flow. We can transform this blockage by uncoupling giving from receiving, and shedding excess as much as we can, so that energy and resources can travel further to those in need.
In learning how to re-invent the economic system so that it distributes resources in a way that includes as many people's needs as possible, we would need to be in a process of mutual influence with one another. However, addressing resource distribution can be complex when people in different social locations have 1.)a different sense of what's considered "enough" 2.) different capacities to find creative strategies that work within the given limitations, and 3.)different levels of self-doubt, shame and capacity to put their concerns and needs on the table. Can we collectively create conditions that support people to stretch productively so that included in the outcome are the needs, perspectives, ideas, and concerns of people who are less powerful? What needs to be in place to support the way towards a better future?
Here's an inspiring story of one citizen (the author) who faced a police officer and judge in court to contest a transit ticket... and inspired structural changes in the way one aspect of New York City transit operates. She inspires change with her application of empathy for self and others, acknowledgement, connecting requests -- and an inspiring vision of understanding, shared reality and living in a city where people have some trust in one another's intentions.
Why does NVC practice, and NVC training/coaching, appear to be not enough to bridge divides between people? This article takes a look at the trickle down effect of our societal conditioning, what we can add to our NVC lense, and what we can do "upstream" when NVC doesn't seem to be enough. Additionally, the article talks about unseen constraints that men, women and minority groups face in organizational settings...
Some people in the NVC community consider the words "privilege" and "power" triggering and/or evaluative. From this perspective, how can the concepts of "privilege" and "power" be considered part of the NVC teaching? This writing piece examines the power and privilege debate. It also discusses what the author sees as Marshall Rosenberg and Gandhi's stance on the subject...
What could be, more often than not, overlooked when we think about or represent NVC or Marshall Rosenberg's work? This article busts some commonly held ideas and approaches to NVC. It challenges us to widen the lens of what it really means to be "life-serving", or speaking and hearing the "language of life". And it also speaks to how thinking can deepen feeling and relatedness...
Working for Transformation without Recreating the Past: Social Change and Nonviolence - Introduction
Want things to change in your community, but feel frustrated or don’t know what to do? Miki’s intriguing overview of how to apply the principles of NVC to social change movements may have the exact blend of inspiration and ideas you’re seeking!