Transition Bondi’s Inner Transition event this month was an ‘immersion’ experience of the work of Non Violent Communication, led by a Sydney teacher.
I found it to be a moving and valuable way of processing experiences in the life of each of us there, but in a group setting and a compassionate environment.
What we did
Two themes were offered, for sharing stories about recent events in our lives: mourning (for the first half of the evening), and after that, celebration.
Since feelings and needs are the main language of the NVC approach, as we each shared our stories under the topics ‘mourning’ and ‘celebration’, the other participants were listening for the feelings and needs connected with the teller’s experience. On the coffee-table at the centre of the circle was a ‘mandala’ of many words, each on a separate slip of paper. These individual words became gifts of recognition or empathy, as we took it in turns to select an ‘appropriate’ slip of paper and gently place it on the lap of the teller.
All this took place in an atmosphere of gentle connection, and built on that, as individuals’ worlds were quietly and safely shared, giving and receiving across the room. Group cohesion and individual healing, both achieved in a single activity of two hours.
About Non-violent communication
Marshall Rosenberg is the founder of Non-Violent Communication. Two of his books – Speak Peace in a World of Conflict, and Living Nonviolent Communication, along with some YouTube films of him leading workshops, have provided me a juicy introduction to a hopeful and accessible framework and set of practices, for improving our lives and those of all who we come in contact with.
Two quotes which I really like go like this: ‘once you understand the basis of NVC, you’ll never again hear criticism or judgement, but only a tragic expression of unmet needs”; and “the aim of being alive is to make life wonderful for each other”.
Self-directed practice groups gather around the country to process their interactions and experiences, using The Ongo Book: everyday nonviolence https://zenvc.org/ongobook. Highly recommended!