Monday, 5 October 2015

Non violent communication and sublimewe :-)

“What is alive for you at this present moment?” This is a question that I have been hearing for long time; however I couldn’t really understand its meaning or the purpose? So when I was asked the same question, I was confused, there was feeling of grumbling in my stomach and weirdness. Hence I was compelled to ask this question “What does this ‘alive’ means? And why should I bother about it so much” The answer that I got surprised me as this is something I have never bothered to think, observe or even pay attention to! “ Alive at this moment” to my current understanding refers to what feelings I have at this present moment or what is that I am going through inside right now (Important: these feelings are free from our future or past thought process). This was the time when I completely let myself be the part of the circle.

That reminds me what is a circle? Is this just a convenient setting for a workshop? The coolest answer to this is that sitting in a circle negates hierarchy, all are considered equal. One of the insight that I got was circle is something where people can pour their heart out and everything is dumped and lost in the centre of the circle. I got this beautiful opportunity to attend OuRS (Open unlearning Restorative spaces with an intention of exploring non violent communication and also ‘sublimewe’). I knew few things about Non violent communication but sublimewe was something I had never heard! However I got the feel of the same in the very starting of the workshop. 

So the workshop started with the facilitator taking red colored thing that was made of wollen in her hand and sharing how she was feeling followed by other facilitator doing the same. I was confused as to what was actually happening and why we are not instructed about the same! This was something that was bothering the other participants too as why there is no formal check-in or an introduction or agreements? These questions were then put to our thoughts and interestingly answers came from us. I got an understanding that we are so structured or integrated in a particular system that its so difficult for us to think beyond that! It was such an abrupt yet interesting start to the workshop.

One of the participant shared that the things that were kept in the centre of the circle and whole atmosphere spooked her! Later we got to know that the 3 things - fluffy- the red colored wollen thing, a bowl with a wooden thing and a cylindrical thing with candle kept in the centre had their specific significance. If any of the participants wants to share something, they take “fluffy” in their hand and speak; the “tingly thing” was to be used when one resonates with the participant sharing something and “black somewhat cylindrical thing” was to be used for making request or saying anything that is urgent. The ongoing discussion proceeded ahead with the group energy and what was alive for the participants! 

This was followed by an invitation where participants were asked to share their intention of coming and how to take that further. I have always struggled to say ‘No’ to the people close to me, I end up doing things that people like and not me. I also shared that my friends don’t really understand what my needs are or when I say I want space for myself that means I need space. There are people in my life who in literal terms stalk me, follow me, call me! I was structured in a way that I never wanted to hurt people because I didn’t want to do a particular thing. This made me emotional; I really didn’t know how to put it across. So I shared my intention to have my space without hurting others with my words, other participants resonated with the same. In between I was really surprised and joyful that there was no particular structure that was followed in the workshop, no tap on the time and also the activity/ discussion was followed with our energy (sublimewe! Yeye).

This was followed by discussion on what is an observation and perception? To understand we did an activity where in the participants were divided into groups of 2; one had to close eyes and observe the object given by the other participant. As I am so used to follow instructions, I was totally focused on describing the object, however one part of mind was continuously trying to interpret what that object was! After this the facilitator recited one of the poem, we with our eyes closed were to focus on how we felt. I was spooked and felt that it was actually happening to me; the shriek that I heard in between scared the hell out of me. From this activity, the understanding of the difference between feelings and thoughts was established.

Later, the cards with a particular feeling written on them were spread in the centre, each participant had to pick up two cards, describing how they were feeling in the present moment. Interestingly, when one share their feeling, each of the participants was invited to close their eyes and see how their body responds to the feeling shared. This was strange as I never really gave a thought on how feelings and bodily reactions were inter-related. I felt stressed and joyful at the same time and interestingly I could understand how my body was reacting to the same.

The third and one of the major components of NVC is needs. Judgments lead to arguments and conflicts, if one is able to see the need behind the violent or judgmental behavior and could empathize with the person, conflicts can be easily resolved. This was very beautiful described by picture of plant wherein the major source of what we do or what we don’t do totally depends on roots that is needs! This was followed by a grueling discussion on why terrorist or rapist commits heinous crime or what is their need behind that? In between a participant shared that she didn’t feel a need to talk about a criminal’s need.

I had been part of number of workshops, co-created many safe spaces on gender and gender based violence, but this workshop was one of its kinds. For the first time, I could see co-creation in true self, flowing ahead with intentions and what is alive at that moment in each of us. Experiment, experiential and an amazing blend of Non violent communication and sublimewe!

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