diverting discussions

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Conal Elliott

Sep 25, 2008, 10:45:49 PM9/25/08
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Craig -

Here's another response from you that I'm particularly disheartened with.  For the same reasons as in my previous note.  I guess woman's choice for abortion is one of your agendas, and yet it was tangential to Angela's message.

If you want to talk about abortion and how it relates or doesn't relate to nvc, then please start your own thread, rather than piggyback on Angela's.  If you have a beef with Eckhart Toelle (whom I see as teaching the heart of NVC more than my beloved MBR does), Course of Miracles, NLP, organizational needs, or whatever, please start threads on those topics rather than distracting from ongoing conversations.

Thanks,  - Conal

On Sun, Sep 21, 2008 at 6:16 AM, Craig Sones Cornell <st...@craigsonescornell.com> wrote:

Hi Angela, this is Craig,

As to your request for needs guesses regarding your feelings of being
scared and having a heavy heart regarding what Marshal is proposing as
social change, which included protecting women seeking abortions. Are
you experiencing needs for harmony, balance, authenticity, integrity?

I know it is not in the model to interject myself so early in the
process of empathy without waiting for a few rounds to pass at giving
you empathy guesses. But I share your unease. As well as disheartened,
I am shocked and angered. Behind the anger is deep disappointment,
fear, and loneliness.

Compassion, a term that is hard for me to understand in relation to
NVC anyway because it implies a focus on either suffering which is
only half of NVC or kindness which is not really being authentic,
seems to be a way to manipulate or soften the blow toward a specific
social agenda.

Is Marshall also going to open up centers to support women who choose
not to terminate a pregnancy but who do not have confidence in their
ability to raise a child? If he doesn't, he is way out of harmony with
those who are convinced by religion or DNA that we are killing human
beings in every abortion procedure.

It is hard enough to reach anti-abortion or Vegan practioners who both
believe that brother/sister creatures are being slaughtered to accept
that they are supposed to hold back in OFNR or a variation as it is.
Now we are taking a substantive position in this thicket of
complexity. In the name of compassion, are we to use NVC not as a
process to encourage connection but as a substantive base to oppose
any animal products in our diets and wardrobes, open centers for
animal protection, etc.

This will destroy the heart and purpose of NVC. It would make us part
of a positional advocacy group. More than anything I have heard so
far, it would make me want to set up a whole different system to teach
active empathy without any affiliation with Marshall or the CNVC. It
would make certification a positional, you must practice and believe
what I do to be in or teach NVC officially.

In calming down a bit, if Marshall wants to use his personal energy to
take a position and help out one side of the abortion issues, so be
it. He is entitled to champion and act in furtherance of a value
position he holds. But without a disclaimer that he is acting on his
own accord and in no way wants to require others to think or act in
accord with him, we are in deep shit.

In my opinion this is not evolution but devolution.

Sad and perplexed, Craig.

On Sep 20, 9:26 pm, "Angela Harms" <angela.ha...@gmail.com> wrote:
> I have a heaviness in my heart that I've been holding for a while now, and
> I'd like to share, and see if I can get some connection around it.
> Specifically, I attended some workshops with Marshall Rosenberg last week,
> and some things came up which leave me wanting clarity. I wonder if somebody
> here would like to offer some, or talk about the ideas?
> Marshall talked about social change, and how intimately he sees it being
> connected with NVC, and I'm wanting some understanding about what that
> means.
> Marshall teaches that if you want to practice NVC you don't go in with an
> agenda, or to get the person you're talking to to change their behavior.
> Instead you go in with a desire for real connection. This seems to me to be
> close to the very heart of NVC, and I have some concern--no, fear--that it's
> being lost behind an agenda for something called social change.
> During the conference, I heard M. say many things that warmed my heart. But
> I also heard him say this: "If I want someone to change what they're doing,
> I'm going to start with compassion."
> I do not want to nit-pick. I have awareness that we all say things from a
> jackal consciousness sometimes, and I'd prefer sitting across from M. and
> asking him what he was experiencing (F/N) when he said this, but I can't.
> The reason I bring it up, though, is because it happened more than once. It
> did not seem to be a fluke brought on by disconnection in a single moment.
> I actually had an extended interaction with him during the conference about
> whether he was promoting a particular social agenda, after he talked about a
> clinic he was involved in creating that helped women get safe abortions. He
> was clear during this interaction that NVC was not about promoting a
> particular political agenda, but he came back to this position later--that
> if he wants someone to change what they're doing, he starts with
> compassion--and that concerns me. It seems to be a persistent error, and one
> that he may in fact be working on structuring the CNVC around.
> I'm scared when I imagine that NVC as a movement may be directed toward
> supporting political agendas, rather than connections between and among
> people with the intention that everyone's needs will be met.
> To anyone who feels moved to respond: I'd like to understand how this fits
> in to what is happening with Marshall's work and CNVC, and to have feedback
> and ideas about how best to make sense of it. I would also welcome empathy
> that might help me get better connected with the beautiful needs that are
> asking for attention through the feelings this brings up in me. :-)
> Angela
> ---
> Life. Love. Food.www.lifelovefood.com
> Cornucopia Presswww.cornucopiapress.com
> Writers' Editing Workshopwww.writerseditingworkshop.com

Craig Sones Cornell

Sep 26, 2008, 11:25:56 AM9/26/08
to NVC Evolves
Hi Conal, this is Craig:

I am both puzzled and amused by your response to my posts,
particularly to Angela. I am excited about getting some feedback,
because I truly want to learn about how to communicate better and more
connectingly in writing. I have need for clarity, autonomy, and well-
being that are very alive for me. I hope we can make a connection on
that and gain better empathy with each other. Some of my response
below is intended to clarify but may also be defensive. I will not
worry to much about which is which right now and warn anyone who does
not want to read outside of the context of OFNR or its cousins to be
warned that I may slip into jackal.

Angela wrote about Marshall’s social change preferences that almost
seemed to move to an agenda. I responded to her with what to me was
empathy for her disquiet and concern for Marshall taking a position on
abortion. My position on abortion may appear to you to be pro-life,
but in sum it is not. I am appalled by late term abortion as are all
EU nations I know about, but see early term abortion as a necessary
stage in our evolution to empower women. I am in sum basically pro-
choice. However, I used to be a free speech attorney and had as a
client group anti-choice advocates. In the interests of transparency
at that time I probably was anti-abortion. I still deeply appreciate
their position that babies are being killed. I think that this
position is one of passionate belief and is not entirely illegitimate.
It is exactly the kind of opinion that principle of free speech are
designed to protect. We do not need a First amendment to protect
speech that makes everyone happy. I so long for my anti-abortion
friends and former clients (I am no longer practicing law) to have NVC
or something like it as their operating principle when making contact
with those seeking abortion using empathy and compassion rather than
harassment and intimidation. Actually, many “sidewalk counselors” are
passionately connecting. In another post, if I want to, I may describe
their poignant attempts to offer help, connection, and love to those
often in a panic about their unwanted pregnancy. I would hate to see
someone seeking NVC skill and that perspective to be turned away
because our beloved MBR is taking a substantive position on abortion.
If his position were that we need to help passionate believers on both
sides of the issue gain clarity and acceptance of those of the other
sides feelings and needs, the I would be all for it. But it causes me
great pain to think that Marshall’s taking sides publicly would make
this difficult if not impossible for either side to seek NVC as a way
to make their lives more connecting. I regret that I have not made
this more clear, but I also did not want to take sides on the issue
when I pondered and wrote about what was a part of Angela’s post. It
was not and never has been a part of my agenda to hijack any posts and
support any agenda except my understanding of NVC. .

As to Eckhart and Marshall, I am laughing out loud. I really
appreciate and resonate with Eckhar’s theoretical perspective. His
models are mind expanding to me and my wife and the subject of many
profound and deeply evolutionary aspects of our conversation and
consciousness. My frustration with Tolle is that by not offering many
concrete tools for how one reaches a state above thought and judgment—
outside of ego—he has created a very painful cycle of almost despair
amongst many of my dear friends. Even though Tolle sites many times
that judgment and self-judgment are ego, these people have a devil of
a time not self-jackaling that they are in ego. Tolle lacks something
like self-empathy to deal with being in, above, and bellow ego.
Eckhart’s admonition to observe, breath, and meditate are not enough
to help people out of the “am I in ego” cycle of self-judgment. Hope
is a very tentative thing when it is not coupled with the tools to
manifest that which is hoped for. It leads to suicide, violence, and a
whole host of non-life serving aspects. At least that is my opinion.

Anyone in NVC who wants to make a connection with Tolle, NLP, or
anything else that is useful and coherent to them is welcome to do
that in my perspective. That is inherently connecting and
evolutionary. Not that anyone needs to follow my opinion. However,
there are many who would benefit from NVC who may not resonate with
these other perspectives and I do not want to turn them off and
therefore turn them away from NVC because of these other theories. I
passionately believe I am actually quite concerned with all of the
talk from Marshall and many others about the spirituality of NVC and
needs. I am pretty certain if this perspective were more than
mentioned in passing by the trainers that turned me on to NVC that I
would have balked and run from another new age, bullshit attempt to
convert me to a new religion that is just as confining in many ways as
the old ones I am still untangling in my being. I to this day find
myself triggered by the God and spirit talk at NVC conferences. It
makes me feel disconnected and alienated. I make it a habit to request
that when people talk in hushed, reverent tones about the many faces
of God moving through us as we hold hands in a circle that the
experiences be more explicitly connected with needs. I really resonate
with the meaning of God and spirit and religion when it is connected
with my sense of what needs are alive for people around such things.
In the presence of giraffe’s I prefer not to have to guess. I want to
hear it as a connecting and inviting part of the experience. Otherwise
it triggers me with a reaction something similar to what many in NVC
might experience in the presence of many who ground their reality and
experience of religious doctrine or particular beliefs in God. In the
interests of transparency, I am on a hiatus from God and spirit and
the like. For me NVC is connected with the matrix of every human being
and is part of our DNA heritage. A great blessing but inherently from
US in the core of our beings, not he/she or us as a part of
disembodied spirit. Empathy, not compassion, is the key to the
connection of the deep matrix of one of us to another or others. This
meets needs for inclusiveness, evolution, and space and space for me
and way to have a deep, universal connection with what I see and hope
is really at the heart of NVC.

The whole idea of key distinctions is to me just a thinly disguised
form of categorical thinking in the mouths of many who espouse NVC. It
leads to exclusivist us/them, good/bad, labeling tendencies in us all.
It forms a platform from which we are visited by the giraffe police.

I guess what I really long for is an NVC that is inclusive and
inviting to everyone, no matter where they are in this mortal travail
of ours. I want the atheist, the contemplative, celibate Roman
Catholic monk who believes in the infallibility of the Pope, the
Vegan, the anti-abortionist, the psychiatrist, the AA group leader,
the teacher who believes in grades or at least sees no practical
alternative, the corporate CEO who wants greater effectiveness and
connection in her organization and is not attracted to having to
reform the whole thing into a sociocratic model. I want the cop and
the murderer to adopt NVC without sensing judgment and exclusion. I
want the soldier and the general to be included. I want the democrat,
the republican, the establishmentarian and the libertarian, the
structuralist and the anarchist all to be included and invited. If NVC
ever becomes an advocacy or exclusivist, I will flee and create my own
thing that is different.

I am and always have been very eclectic in my processing of reality.
Even before NVC and its profound perspective on needs and core values
as transcending, uniting human realities, I saw the integrity of most
positions that people hold, the positive motivations behind them. I
also really revel in making connections between apparently disparate
aspects and perspectives. It makes life so much fuller, more
inclusive, richer for me. What to you may seem like hijacking a
discussion or thread is my apparently fallible attempt to bring in a
different way of looking at what has been brought up.

I guess, at bottom I am really exploring profoundly to challenge and
expand all of my capacities to experience and process what comes my
way. Before going into what I hope would be an evolutionary
exploration or challenge to the postings of others, I try to make
connecting statements and guesses. I guess though that my challenges
and eclectic thinking and perspective may be off putting. If the
general tone of the posts and the intention of NVC Evolves is to
foment a forum for agreement and accord, I am in the wrong place. I
will never be capable of sacrifice being nice for being real anymore.
Though I have always had a people pleasing tendency. However, I am
truly desirous of being authentic here. I hope that such is invited
and embraced here.

Conal, I really appreciate your expressing yourself and what sounds to
me like some pent up emotion and perspective. I most certainly do not
want to be an exclusivist trigger point for you or anyone else, but
rather an inviting but challenging inclusivist. I want my personal
tent to include as many as possible. I am eager to learn from you.
However, I am not willing to personally go back and rehash all of my
past posts to get to what you are trying to communicate. If it helps
you to bring up specific examples from the past, I am willing to
consider them and am hoping they will bring greater openness and
process. But I would much prefer that we had an open channel for the
expression of such discontents and feedback as we go forward. I would
much prefer to connect with you and everyone else in empathy.

Conal, I am much appreciative of you bringing into the picture some of
the connecting posts that I have made that were obviously successful.

I am really open to and invite you Conal and all others on this group
to help me grow and expand my skills by giving me feedback in giraffe,
jackal, or anyway else. But I would like it to be in the flow of the
context and intentions of NVC. Although I guess I would accept an
occasional fuck you fat boy.

All the best, Craig.
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> - Show quoted text -

Angela Harms

Sep 29, 2008, 11:34:12 PM9/29/08
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Conal, and Craig & all,

I was actually really happy when I read Conal's responses to Craig, especially his response to the social change thread. I didn't know how to reply without pushing people away, so up to now, I haven't. But this list and the work it's aimed at matter to me a lot, so I'm going to try, and see what happens.

When I've read posts by Craig, I've often felt sort of withdrawn, and not known how to respond. I want to stop withdrawing and pay attention.

Craig, you wrote this: "In light of this insight about yourself, what would you request as something doable for CNVC to do to meet your needs for autonomy, self-direction, and growth?" I want to understand my reaction to that question a little better. Tonight I sat with it for a second and discovered my reaction was "fuck you," and I'm not sure exactly why.

I'd love to have help from the group getting deeper into that reaction. I can say that these things Conal mentioned ring true for me as well:

> * missing the heart and essence of the original note
> * using another person's inquiry and invitation to collaborate as an opportunity to push your own agenda
> * certainty/dogma, rather than curiosity
> * attachment to the Preserve-and-Protect paradigm
> * interrogation rather than connection or personal revelation

...especially the one about certainty vs curiosity. But why annoyance rather than just disinterest? I suspect it has something to do with wanting this list to work, to make wonderful things happen, and fearing that these posts can get in the way of that. So maybe there's a sadness there.

I'd love to know what sorts of hopes y'all have for the list, how you feel when they see the same posts (of Craig's) that Conal talked about, and whether--whatever your other feelings--there was any excitement on reading either Conal's response or this one.


Niklas Wilkens

Sep 30, 2008, 12:02:36 AM9/30/08
to nvc-e...@googlegroups.com
Hi Angela,

voicing my reaction to your post, to the question of what I want for this list and how I react to Craig's posts: It's in all cases some kind of emotional detachment. Behind that I sense fear, connected to a need for support and community. The fear comes from the doubt whether I even could have these needs met after all. And when I doubt it, which is rarely not the case, I sort of tell myself "Come on, you knew that there's nobody you could depend on. Structures are not trustworthy, communities aren't. There's no consistency in acting according to my values to be expected. You're all on your own, as you always were and always will be." The post about my position to Marshall's role as a leader came from the same direction.

I'm feeling very sad, noticing how I don't even see a world possible, in which there are people around me, who really really really are able an willing to support me in my goals. So when you ask me, what I want for this group, I have the image in mind of a little boy, being scared and doubtful, standing in the gap of the door to his room, peeping out and asking "Are you really asking me? Do I really matter? Does it really matter, what I want? What I'd love to see? Or will you tell me afterwards, that I should get my needs met elsewhere?"

What I like about this group is exactly an atmosphere of freedom to express whatever strikes me as noteworthy. A sense of freedom of expression. That people are also interested in my thoughts, not only what I portray as feelings and needs. I like the background of feelings and needs though, since they ground me again in what I value in life, what I find delicious and and what's dear to me. Not in a formal, but a direct way.
I like the postconventional stance on NVC. That the conventions are seen as tools in relationship to goals, and not as obligatory. And according to the goals it is decided, what tools to pick. I find that I get support for that here. When I read in other NVC-groups, I don't have that. So it's refreshing for me to be here.

I've also come value transparency a lot. And I'd like transparency to have the highest priority in this group. That doesn't mean that you have to share every piece of your heart, only that you're clear on your intentions, when you say something. (I)'s post on being disconnected met my need for transparency. I loved that.

These are my two cents. I'd be glad to hear others' positions.

-------- Original-Nachricht --------
> Datum: Mon, 29 Sep 2008 20:34:12 -0700
> Von: "Angela Harms" <angela...@gmail.com>
> An: nvc-e...@googlegroups.com
> Betreff: Re: diverting discussions
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Angela Harms

Sep 30, 2008, 9:31:34 PM9/30/08
to nvc-e...@googlegroups.com
Niklas, I was really touched by your response. I appreciated the openness and vulnerability. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself!

I too have had fears; mine say something like there isn't enough empathy to go around, nobody wants to hear it, etc. But I have optimism around that, especially lately, after seeing things develop on this list over the past few days. I know that I have found places in myself I didn't know I could find, or trust, or express. I am excited about the potential I see *here* for safety, empathy, compassion and collaboration.

And like you, I really enjoyed (I)An-ok's openness about his disconnection.

Life. Love. Food. www.lifelovefood.com
Cornucopia Press www.cornucopiapress.com
Writers' Editing Workshop www.writerseditingworkshop.com

Susan L

Sep 30, 2008, 10:11:51 PM9/30/08
to NVC Evolves
I used to follow this group with interest and participate a lot in
discussions about the evolution of NVC consciousness - where it's
going, what I see as my role in that - about the hopelessness and loss
of trust we shared when certification was suspended and it became
clear that the so-called new process was going to be more of the same,
and about the integrity and validity of the certification process

Lately I've found that I have to be REALLY bored to even bother to
catch up with the reading. Actually, that situation has been building
for several months as posts have gotten so long that I have to click a
Read More or Show Quoted Material link to even read them and the
topics have become more abstract and philosophical and less grounded
in personal experiences and real-world observations.

I notice that I feel sad about putting that into words because I am
ever mindful that this is where I first connected with Irmtraud and
Niklas and Conal and (I), and those have been very life-enriching
connections for me. I am also feeling reluctant to share my ideas
about where the group "should" go because I value organic self-
direction so highly and I do have other places to meet my needs for
challenge and connection.

So, sisters and brothers, it's not like I'm fearful or angry - just
sad and disappointed. And it's not like I'm leaving the circle - just
moving to the periphery to make room for those whose needs are met by
participating more actively at this stage of the evolution of the
evolution group. I'll be back front and center when something happens
that engages me more.
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