This week we get an opportunity to experience one of the more powerful practices I learned in ministerial school; Nonviolent Communication (NVC). NVC is based in the work of Marshall Rosenberg and has as one of its core teachings that there are universal needs that all people are attempting to have met and that miscommunication and conflict arises in our attempts to meet these needs.
The first step, which is where I am concentrating my remarks today, is observing what is actually happening. So often I have found when an event or situation occurs that triggers one of my shadows I react out of my projection, assumptions, old stories, and judgment. Little of what my reaction is based on is what actually happened. This is where the miscommunication and conflict starts.
For example something happens that triggers my old story of self-worth and value, the old belief that I am not enough. My self-esteem is challenged and I begin the process of reacting out of an old story and I become defensive and aggressive in an attempt to protect myself and my ego. NVC has taught me to pause and step back and focus my attention on what actually occurred. For those who remember the old series Dragnet I have learn to focus on the facts.
Facts are what was actually said not what I projected the meaning to be. Facts are what I can confirm with my five senses. Everything else is my story getting in the way of true communication. There are three more steps, which Susanna Warren will share with us on Sunday, but what I have found quite often is that when I separate the facts from my story and opinion I am able to solve many of my conflicts with little effort.