NVC: Connection, Consciousness, and Depth

 

The upcoming Haven offering NVC: A Deep Dive is tailored for leaders who want to live a life of connection, consciousness and depth. Here Angela Walkley describes her own journey with NVC.

NVC entered my life in 2004 as a set of skills that would help me support clients as an organizational development consultant and facilitator. At the time, I could not have imagined the role that it would play in transforming my life and my closest relationships. Nor that it would lead me to my role in teaching NVC and supporting new NVC Trainers.

When my boys were toddlers, I found myself questioning life. 

At the time, I was thriving as a private business owner, facilitating complex inter-governmental decision-making in the Yukon. I was an active member of my community. I enjoyed wilderness adventures with family and friends. I had a cozy little house that I loved. 

And yet, I experienced a longing for something deeper in my life. 

My husband (now also an NVC Trainer) was going through a parallel experience. He was longing for independence, freedom, self-expression and to feel a sense of vitality and aliveness. 

We had been together for 13 years. Thirteen years of trying to be the person the other wanted us to be. Parts of ourselves we had masked or denied were wanting to be seen. Conflict between us increased. 

We hit a crisis point that we didn’t think we could move through. I found my ground slipping out from under my feet. 

I struggled with carrying on the illusion of a capable, competent leader. I prided myself in my transparency and authenticity, but I did not know how to hold space for others and at the same time deal with the internal realities of my situation. 

We did not know if we would stay together. For a period of time, we didn’t. Yet, we knew that even if we separated we would benefit from some ability to be in the life-long relationship of raising our boys.

We turned to NVC and to our surprise, we began to bridge the gulf of disconnect. We began to hear each other and heal our relationship. 

Among many shifts, NVC helped me to discover that I was a subscriber to right/wrong thinking, a ‘perfectionist’. I expected others to comply with my vision without me saying anything. Leaving my husband ‘walking on eggshells’, bumping into unspoken expectations and facing my disappointment or disapproval. 

It was humbling to discover how this pattern showed up in me and what it was like for Mitch (and others) to live with. This pattern also hurt myself, as I frequently judged myself just as actively. 

Speaking our truth to each other was hard at first. After years of hiding parts of ourselves, it was hard to figure out what the truth was and harder to share it out loud. And yet, this unveiling brought intimacy and strength. It is a powerful thing to show up as your whole self and be seen.

It took me by surprise that NVC offered me so much alignment with the way I wanted to show up in the work I do, my approach to social change, the way I parent, in my relationships, with my own self-discovery and in aligning my actions with my spiritual beliefs. 

I was never one to subscribe to any single modality or way of doing things. I enjoy independent, innovative thinking. And yet, I have found a passion for NVC that has led me to spend the last six years of my life dedicated to sharing it with others. 

How, you might ask, does NVC make a difference on the practical side of things? What is it I’m teaching exactly? NVC supports me to:

  • Accept responsibilityfor the impact that I have on others and to step away from either villainizing or victimizing one another. 
  • Decode what is going on for others even when they speak through judgments, blame and expectations, particularly when someone says something I have a hard time hearing. NVC lets us hear the other person without taking it personally. 
  • Express myself clearly in ways that build understanding and trust. When I have a hard message to share with someone, I know how to do it with strength and care.
  • Embody leadership presence: self-connected, curious, open. I know how to lean in and get curious when things get hard. 
  • Transform my own judgment, blame and expectationsinto self-responsibility. Shifting out of standard ‘right and wrong’ and into valuing all individuals’ needs. 
  • Reach agreements and use them as a foundation to collaborate. NVC creates shifts in understanding and accesses creativity for how to co-create solutionsbased on what really matters to everyone.
  • Transform conflicts.I am able to support others to uncover what really matters to them and to say it in a way that can be heard by one another. 
  • Relate to conflict as a source of learning, growth and innovation. The conversations and understanding held with NVC consciousness enrich workplaces, community groups and our closest relationships.

I am really happy that Myriam Verzat will joining me to lead this up-and-coming deep dive. I have a lot of fun co-creating with Myriam and enjoy the ways that she creates experiences that go in and out of digging deeply and then finding playfulness in it all. Together, we create a highly interactive, experiential learning environment that is steeped in our own experiences and insights. 

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I look forward to meeting you there.