Wednesday, April 18th was Victoria’s third Nonviolent Communication (NVC) presentation to bring awareness and the benefits of NVC into our community and this nights focus was on Social Change. April was dedicated to NVC awareness at the Church of Truth Oneness Wednesday’s and for me it was important to bring the spirit of the person that introduced this form of connecting to the planet. A person who was social change long before there was a label for it. Therefore the introduction began with a focus upon my perspective and understanding of Dr. Marshall Rosenberg that is based upon hearing him share his fabulous experiences. One way Dr. Rosenberg enjoys to teach is through modelling and sharing the process (his process) that developed and shaped his understanding and therefore his concepts.
NVC as I heard him share, is a result of Marshall’s inner question and a passion for social change in education. It began with his perspective based upon his cultural and education background which he took on the road and developed his own deepened conscious understanding over many years of being in the “hot seat” of experiences, being a voracious reader and connector to those initiating change in the areas of history, cultural patterns and how humanity perceives information and connects.
Dr. Rosenberg wrote a book about his perspective of how the US educational system could better serve children’s styles of learning. It was his belief and area of passion for social change. Dr. Rosenberg was a psychologist and held the position of Dean at a few different university institutions in the US. He also had his own personal practice. All of which he gave up to become a cab driver. Why? He answered his own office telephone one Saturday afternoon and heard the hesitancy of the mother calling in about her son and the limitation she had of the financial burden. Dr. Rosenberg in that moment had a need to contribute in a way people could afford with ease.
The name – Nonviolent Communication, became the title of his method for connecting from a local community needing a title for one of his workshops. Dr. Rosenberg took this on the road and began to travel into communities inviting him as long as they took care of the arrangements. He would show up and give workshops, presentations and always hold separate space and time to work with individual healing of differences either in families, groups and organizations with a style of mediation and resolving conflicts. He’s traveled throughout the world and inspired may citizens in many countries.
The connection to our community that expanded into British Columbia was through Towe Widstrand who arranged for Marshall to give workshops for our Provincial Government Employees. Towe has gone on to head Dr. Rosenbergs’s Eastern Countries interests.
I believe Marshall was willing to explore differences with a desire or longing for social change. He went beyond his original opinions and perspectives and deepened his own consciousness. Along the way he began showing those around him a bridge, one way of celebrating the differences between individuals that demonstrated going beyond the limitations of personal habitual responses. A bridge that begins with taking personal responsibility for exploring one’s own conflicted inner emotions and identifying the sources of these emotions. Why? In my opinion to replace the habits of automatic behavioural responses and waking up to successful ways of connecting for the purpose of moving beyond the effort of struggle, pain and conflict.
What part of social change in my life brought me to NVC – short for Nonviolent Communication? I was on the Board of Directors of a Buddhist Dharma Centre. I had turned to Buddhist Meditation for finding peace and inner connection and connection to others in relationships. I had a strong connection to the environment, nature and animals, as this was where I was safe, comfortable and found the most peace. While in this community during Retreats, Meditation trainings and practices there was an experience of expanding inner connection and connection to the environment. During the actual practice there was an experience of loving kindness in relationships. In the day to day operations, and relationship behaviours I began to experience it as one of the most violent relationship environments I was entrained within. The explanation I received was the more enlighten you became, the more depth of pain you felt and therefore the deeper the violent behaviour. This did not meet my needs for authenticity or integrity. This led me to NVC and into a Western dogma that I could begin to practice and integrate as my comfort allowed.
My intention for the evening was to guide participants through an experience of the dance we call NVC. My hope was of inspiring curiosity and to motivate a deeper exploration that could be the beginning of celebrating our differences to see beyond enemy images, and connect at the level of our humanism – our values.
In our group sharing at the end of the evening I heard back from a participant that they felt they had an experience where by they connected to the beauty inside them. A wonderful testimony to this method of communication!
Renee Lindstrom, passionately shares ways for connecting to the beauty with in each of us for the purpose of finding ease in connecting to ourselves and others. She is a past director on the board of the B.C. Network for Compassionate Communication and is currently focused upon the creating local Awareness for the Gandhi, King, Chavez Seasons for Peace and Nonviolence. Renee can be reached by email – firstname.lastname@example.org.