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Reply with quote  #1 
Hello everyone -

Two years ago I took a course in Nonviolent Communication (also referred to as NVC, and sometimes called "the language of the heart").  The course is taught all over the world and was started by Marshall Rosenberg, Ph.D.  Mastering this form of communication is challenging and an on going process. 

I wanted to share a couple of sections that I found particularly memorable and inspiring from Dr. Rosenbergs book, "Nonviolent Communication."


Excerpt from the Foreward, written by Arun Gandhi:

Growing up as a person of color in apartheid South Africa in the 1940's was not something anyone relished.  This was especially true if you were brutally reminded of your skin color every moment of every day.  And then to be beaten up at the age of ten by white youths because they considered you too black, and then by black youths because they considered you too white, is a humiliating experience that could drive anyone to vengeful violence.

I was so outraged by my experiences that my parents decided to take me to India and leave me for some time with grandfather, the legendary M.K. Gandhi, so that I could learn from him how to deal with the anger, the frustration, the discrimination, and the humiliation that violent color prejudice can evoke in you.  In those 18 months I learned more than I anticipated.  My only regret now is that I was just 13 years old and a mediocre student at that.  If only I was older, a bit wiser and a bit more thoughtful, I could have learned so much more.  But one must be happy with what one has received and not be greedy--a fundamental lesson in nonviolent living.  How can I forget this?

One of the many things I learned from grandfather is to understand the depth and breadth of nonviolence, and to acknowledge that we are all violent and that we need to bring about a qualitative change in our attitudes.  We often don't acknowledge our violence because we are ignorant about it.  We assume we are not violent because our vision of violence is one of fighting, killing, beating, and wars--the type of things that average individuals don't do. 

To bring this home to me, grandfather made me draw a family tree of violence using the same principles as are used for a genealogical tree.  His argument was that I would have a better appreciation of nonviolence if I understood and acknowledged the violence that exists in the world.  He assisted me every evening to analyze the day's happenings--everything that I experienced, read about, saw or did to others--and put them down on the tree either under "physical" (if it was violence where physical force was used) or under "passive" (if it was the type of violence where the hurt was more emotional). 

Within a few months I covered one wall in my room with acts of "passive" violence that grandfather described as being more insidious than "physical" violence.  He then explained that passive violence ultimately generated anger in the victim who, as an individual or as a member of a collective, responded violently.  In other words it is passive violence that fuels the fire of physical violence.  It is because we don't understand or appreciate this concept that all our efforts to work for peace have either not fructified, or the peace that we achieved was only temporary.  How can we extinguish a fire if we don't first cut off the fuel that ignites the inferno.

Grandfather always vociferously stressed the need for nonviolence in communications--something that Marshall Rosenberg has been doing admirably for many years through his writings and his seminars. 

As grandfather would say, "Unless we become the change we wish to see in the world, no change will ever take place." 

Nonviolence means allowing the positive within you to emerge.  Be dominated by love, respect, understanding, appreciation, compassion, and concern for others. 

If we change ourselves we can change the world, and changing ourselves begins with changing our language and methods of communication.  I highly recommend reading this book, and applying the Nonviolent Communication process it teaches.  It is a significant first step towards changing our communication and creating a compassionate world.

Excerpt from Chapter One, written by Marshall Rosenberg

I was presenting Nonviolent Communication in a mosque at Deepish Refuge Camp in Bethlehem to about 170 Palestinian Moslem men.  Attitudes toward Americans at that time were not favorable.  As I was speaking, I suddenly noticed a wave of muffled commotion fluttering through the audience.  "They're whispering that you are American!" my translator alerted me, just as a gentleman in the audience leapt to his feet.  Facing me squarely, he hollered at the top of his lungs, "Murderer!"  Immediately a dozen other voices joined him in chorus:  "Assassin!" "Child-killer!"  "Murderer!"

Fortunately, I was able to focus my attention on what the man was feeling and needing.  In this case, I had some cues.  On the way into the refugee camp, I had seen several empty tear gas canisters that had been shot into the camp the night before.  Clearly marked on each canister were the words "Made in U.S.A."  I knew that the refugees harbored a lot of anger towards the U.S. for supplying tear gas and other weapons to Israel.

I addressed the man who had called me a murderer:

I:  Are you angry because you would like my government to use its resources differently?  (I didn't know whether my guess was correct, but what is critical is my sincere effort to connect with his feeling and need.)

He:  Damn right I'm angry!  You think we need tear gas?  We need sewers, not your tear gas!  We need housing!  We need to have our own country!

I:  So you're furious and would appreciate some support in improving your living conditions and gaining political independence?

He:  Do you know what it's like to live here for twenty-seven years the way I have with my family--children and all?  Have you got the faintest idea what that's been like for us?

I:  Sounds like you're feeling very desperate and you're wondering whether I or anybody else can really understand what it's like to be living under these conditions.  Am I hearing you right?

He:  You want to understand?  Tell me, do you have children?  Do they go to school?  Do they have playgrounds?  My son is sick!  He plays in open sewage.  His classroom has no books!  Have you seen a school that has no books?

I:  I hear how painful it is for you to raise your children here; you'd like me to know that what you want is what all parents want for their children--a good education, opportunity to play and grow in a healthy environment...

He:  That's right, the basics!  Human rights--isn't that what you Americans call it?  Why don't more of you come here and see what kind of human rights you're bringing here!

I:  You'd like more American to be aware of the enormity of the suffering here and to look more deeply at the consequences of our political actions?

Our dialogue continued, with him expressing his pain for nearly twenty more minutes, and I listening for the feeling and need behind each statement.  I didn't agree or disagree.  I received his words, not as attacks, but as gifts from a fellow human willing to share his soul and deep vulnerabilities with me.

Once the gentleman felt understood, he was able to hear me as I explained my purpose for being at the camp.  An hour later, the same man who had called me a murderer was inviting me to his home for a Ramadan dinner. 

edit 4/14/07:  If you're interested, below is a link to a number of video interviews with Marshall Rosenberg.  The most comprehensive information is in a 3 part series entitled "Nonviolent Communication and Corporations."


Posts: 7,990
Reply with quote  #2 
Hi Darcy, ((( Smiles )))

Thats so sad and what you see in the world today..
vengeful violence. What wars are made of what greed provides for..
The tit for tat and the seeing of people weither because of language or nationality/color as being..
some what different then you are as not quite being human enough..

Worthy of love or compassion..

There is just so much crime going on in the world theses days and rage and violence and unfeeling compassion for others...

Alot of people in the world just feel trapped depending on the situation they find themselves in and the influence of the ones around them in their lives..
There are people in this world that are trying to teach non violence and a better way and outlook on life but evil and hatred abounds and it's just
beyond societys control..

Unless everybody in the world decided to just turn non violent and give it up..

But I don't think that will happen from humankind alone..
I think the problems in this world run's too deep..
And not everybody in this world cares for other people like you do..
Not everybody wants too..
Or has that desire or that urge too..
And not everybody can find a way out of their perdicament either..
And when there's money to be made..
Even through immoral and evil ways..
The merchant's abound..
How do you stop them ??
From doing what they " want " to do..
If all they care about is one thing..

A noble cause but not a solution I see for all the problems in the world today.

Take Care


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Posts: 913
Reply with quote  #3 
Hi Lynn

Although the world is filled with violence, I don't think it's hopeless.  Peace will not happen over night; there is much work to be done, but we can get there bit by bit.  I think Marshall Rosenberg demonstrated this well in the story he told.  Note what he stated in the last paragraph:

Once the gentleman felt understood, he was able to hear me as I explained my purpose for being at the camp.  An hour later, the same man who had called me a murderer was inviting me to his home for a Ramadan dinner.


Posts: 7,990
Reply with quote  #4 
Hi Darcy, ((( Smiles )))

Not only did I look at that last sentence I look at everything else as well..
There is nothing wrong with bringing people together who are willing to come together...
Like the program where some Israeli and Palestians come together
to to try to understand the other sides point of view..

I mean all that sounds good and should be done but that hasen't stoped the fighting and violence in the world.
and thats not the only place in the world were fighting and violence and stealing and brutality and suffering and crime and corruption...
is happening to people..

It's happening all over the world even in times of peace before the conflict..
There's alot of suffering going on in this world today from the beginning of time...
Before American even existed not that I'm pleased with everything that goes on in this country as well...

But in history there have been many dictators and brutal rulers and people that followed them and were just as brutal to others..

And I just don't believe that all they needed to do was just meet with their victims over cookies and milk... ((( Smiles )))
and they would come to the realization that they just didn't know they were hurting people and now that they do know that..

They are just full of love and compassion for all..
They will just drop their agenda and plans in the name of love..
I wish they would... but I don't believe they will..

And thoses are the ones that truely matter to change..
Not the townspeople so much..
But the people that are brutalizing the towns people..
The ones causeing the suffering..

I'm pretty sure the language in your heart is completely different then the evil in theirs..

I really believe your a compassionate and a good person..
And you truely want world peace..
I know I do as well..
I think most people who are suffering because of it do..
I want all of the violence to end...
And everybody to get together in one big group hug..
But I just don't think it's going to happen bit by bit before the next generation of warriors and dictators come along...

I grew up in the 60/70's right in the heart of the peace movement..
Where it happened and what come out of that...
Was not the peace and love they all said they wanted..
And I believe that they wanted non violence total freedom & love ..
But instead of that.. 
They brought in the sex drugs and rockroll freedom movement that lead to more violence and less compassion for others.. 
instead of changeing the world for good..

Some went on to become the business babyboomer parents of the future.
And joined the work force and woke up to the reality of it all.. Life..
And others got burned out and ruined their lives..
And some are consumer advocates and still working for the peace movement ..

Still working on it... 

I want true peace in the world..
Not just some people shaking hands..
Though.. not that I'm against hand shaking and people working to bring people together to try to talk it out..

I just don't think it's going to work out that way..
Solve all the problems in the world..
That bring about wars..
Too much weapons / greed / hatred and total disagreements..
of ones point of view... in the world today..
It's saddens me too Darcy..   (((( Smiles )))

Take Care


Posts: 7,990
Reply with quote  #5 
Hi Darcy, ((( Smiles )))

I see you and Abishag are haveing some fun on her puzzle and game thread..
You are a nice person Darcy and I do believe your intentions are good..
And I do wish the world would change myself...
I really do and I do believe it will someday..
By some divine miracle..
But thats just me....
And some others as well...
Spring Break and kids so I shall be back in a few days...
Then I'll check back and see how the puzzles games a going..
But interesting thread like allways Darcy... 

You Take Care... ((( Smiles )))  

Take Care


Posts: 7,990
Reply with quote  #6 
Hi Darcy, ((( Smiles )))

I just came on for a short while..
I've got a small break but still need to get back to the kids when they get
back from hyperbaric treatment..

But yes.. For thoses that do believe like I do..
Psalm 34:14 does say:
depart from evil and do good , seek peace and pursue it..

So it's the right thing to do and there are others that just feel like it's the right thing to do anyway besides one beliefs..

And I think it's a great thing to do as well.. 

But I think of all the worst Dictators and worst genocides of the 20th century.. 1900 -2000..

And history holds alot more of them as well in the past..
But the latest batch..

Idi Amin.. Pol Pot / millions... Stalin/millions Adolf Hitler .. Mao..
Pincohet ect.. and they all had their supporters as well it was not just them..

Everybody has a different point of view and it's not always based on whats good or bad or right or wrong either..

Thats why I'm such a skeptic of world peace by human kind ..
not because of the people that one can talk too..
that may want to try to pursue peace after all..

It's because of thoses that don't..
There the ones that control the agenda for everybody else..
And you'll allways find somebody out there in history..
That wants to do that..
no matter what anybody else thinks about it..

It's just real sad when that happens..
But it does in history all the time..
Beside all the wars in history in the past and the future..
I feel sorry for the people who suffer because of it..
I really do... (((( Smiles )))    

Take Care


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Posts: 913
Reply with quote  #7 
Hi Lynn!

Thanks for sharing your perspective.

If you're interested, I've added a link to some videos that provide a lot more information about nonviolent communication at the bottom of the first posting in this thread.


Posts: 7,990
Reply with quote  #8 
Hi Darcy, ((( Smiles )))

Thank You..
I will look at it later as I've got a short break at this time because
of the hyperbaric chamber but they will be back soon..
then it's my turn to take over..

But I do believe in non violent communication as a skill thats probably a real good idea for one to try to learn and work on..
in life in regard's to relationships around them and communicating with others..

Kind of in line with where I've been going with it on this thread..
Of Healing The Emotional Scars..
Lots of  people in this world do carry and have emotional scars..
From a different kind of prespective but in a non violent communication
one as well.. In relationships with others..

Nothing wrong with that...
If everybody worked on that even with all the imperfection's..
we all have in life..
It would make things much better in relationship to others in this world...
Though everyone will allways have their own point of view on things..
For thoses that choose to do just that..
Work on it..
Why not ???

But I don't believe it will solve all the problems in the world..
Not everybody want's to work on it..
Take Care Darcy.. ((( Smiles )))

Take Care

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