By Mitch Miyagawa. Mitch will lead Living NVC: 7-Day Immersion Retreat April 22 – 29. This week-long program is designed to support the ongoing development and integration of Nonviolent Communication (NVC) consciousness, whether participants are relatively new to NVC or experienced practitioners.
I often begin workshops by asking people: What kind of crossroads or decision point do you face right now?
In my experience, we’re constantly swinging between the poles of stability and chaos. Life happens; we grow older. Our bodies change. We face conflict. Relationships fade. Golden opportunities come. We move, we get new careers. we face loss. All the while technology continues to alter our world.
Marshall Rosenberg, the creator of Nonviolent Communication (NVC), called NVC the “language of life”. NVC is a way to constantly pay attention to what is alive in us: the energies of our feelings, and the deeper longings that stir within.
In my view, NVC could easily be called the “language of choice”. By connecting to what’s alive in me, I can consciously choose my response to situations, orienting towards my deeper longings and what is most important in my life.
Say I’m not happy with my work, and I want to quit. I’m just going through the motions. I’m questioning what I want to do, and I feel stuck: leaving my job feels terrifying. But if I don’t leave? I tell myself I’m turning off something inside me.
NVC helps me to see that the fear I have is different than the voice that says, “What will people think?” My fear might come instead from my deep desire for stability and for acceptance.
It also helps me to see what is pulling me to quit in the first place: I may value creativity and play, for instance, and I don’t have any way in my work or anywhere else in my life to express that.
No wonder I’m so torn! No wonder it’s hard to make a decision. All of these longings (called “needs” in NVC) are important to me.
NVC is rooted in the practice of compassion for ourselves – always finding the “no wonder” in our lives. From that “no wonder” place, the judgments I have of myself and others subside.
I begin to feel more empowered to look for strategies that might actually attend to all my longings somehow. NVC also helps me look for support for this, through making clear and doable requests.
NVC is about learning to navigate both our inner conflicts as our outer ones, and helping others to do the same. It’s not a magic pill for more peace and less stress; but in my experience, it does give us a kind of guidance system that reduces how much we suffer in the face of change and choice.
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I hope you’ll join me and my talented team at this year’s Living NVC: 7-Day Immersion. It’s an amazing way to really discover and practice this language of life and choice with a group.
Co-facilitating sections of the retreat with me will be my wife Angela Walkley, who has expertise in organizational development and conflict resolution, and is passionate about somatics and body consciousness combined with NVC. We’ll be assisted by Warren Hooley, who weaves NVC into the imaginative and fun world of Creative Facilitation, working with both First Nation and multi-cultural communities.