I am often asked, of all the systems and modalities out there, why did I choose to devote myself and my work to Nonviolent Communication (NVC)?
The simplest answer is because living in the awareness of nonviolent communication has given me another way to hear and interpret messages that are difficult to hear. NVC provides the necessary tools to live peacefully with myself and others.
In my experience and learning, there are two ideas that induce violence in ourselves and in the world around us: scarcity and separation. These two ideas originate within us, emanate outward from us, and manifest in the world.
Thoughts held deep within our life experiences—thoughts such as I’m not enough or there’s something wrong with me—create the illusion of scarcity and separateness. We are separated from our core selves and from each other; scarcity is created within ourselves and in relationship to others.
The actions that follow from those thoughts and feelings separate us further from who we most want to be in the world; they separate us from the Truth of ourselves. Ultimately, messages of violence and doubt are generated by these thoughts of scarcity and separation.
The thoughts of scarcity/separation—of not enough love, money, courage, truth, action, or change—begin to emanate from each of us, until slowly and steadily, the messages we tell ourselves carve the path of forward movement.
For example, messages of not enough/wrongness separate me from the communities, ideologies, and traditions held by others, reinforcing my feelings of loneliness. The response to life in general becomes either I’m wrong or they’re wrong, perpetuating the cycle of scarcity and separateness.
It is through the practice of Nonviolent Communication that the messages of not enough/wrongness are transformed into inquiries of exploration, facilitating a path of self-discovery. By immersing ourselves in NVC, the non-empathetic veil of how we see ourselves and others begins to lift. Curiosity, creativity, compassion, and choice become the new lenses through which our worlds are interpreted.
In the work of living Nonviolence—and I say work because it takes a committed practice of learning and growth—we begin to experience three qualities of life every person on the planet shares: Truth, Courage, and Love.
I plan to write more about each of these qualities in the future, yet what I know today from living out this “practical spirituality” of Nonviolent Communication is this: I experience the abundance of life rather than scarcity, and I experience connection to myself and others rather than separation.
Is it simple? Yes.
Is it easy? No; if I’m being honest, it’s a sometimes exasperating yet doable set of practices that, when integrated into daily life, slowly become one’s default over time.
With a willing heart, a committed and mindful practice, and the support of a mentor or model of honesty, vulnerability, and transparency, there is enough light for each step along this new path. Through this blog, I invite you to step onto the path with me, to join me in embracing integrity, vulnerability, empathy, and presence, so that we might together enjoy the beauty of life that NVC reminds us to see.