What’s Up Next? Sunday, February 5, 2017 ~ Our Corners-n-Edges

giraffe

Street Giraffes is a free tele-practice group that gathers on the first Sunday of each month for “dialogue lab” experimentation w/ iGiraffe (towards building street [giraffe] cred &/or muscle-memory) — in the hopes that by cultivating presence we may enhance our conversational versatility.

More About Street Giraffes

StreetGiraffes@gmail.com

Stop, Wait, Go

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Other NVC Learning Venues
NVC Mediation

NVC is an awareness discipline masquerading as a communication process.”

~ Kit Miller of the MK Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence

igiraffe

What’s Up Next?

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February 2017 ~ Our Corners & Edges

“We don’t rise to the level of our expectations, we fall to the level of our training.” 
Archilochos

Inquiry:

What are your conversational street signs (e.g. OFNRRed/Green/Yellow)?  Rules of the road (e.g. [NVC] Communication Flow Chart)?  How do you stay in your own lane (e.g. Self-Connection Process)?

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Tools for this week’s practice group:
Three-Layers-of-Empathy

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Jean Béraud (Walters Art Museum)

Institute for Mindfulness:

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Giraffe Fighting:

Reflect on moments of tensions that you’ve experienced…

  • Write down an observation/stimulus (or several) from such exchanges.
  • Track what were the specific moments, or corners, when these interactions shifted in tone (through the Red, Green, Yellow light spectrum — see Chapman’s “Mindful Communication” beneath)?
  • How did your responses attend to ‘what’s alive’ (your own needs/values)?  How not?
  • How did your responses attend to what the other may have been valuing?  How not?
  • Going forward, identify your ‘strategic discomfort zones’ (growing edges), noting how you might more fully attend to ‘what’s alive’ both in yourself and others (i.e. with greater presence to all of the universal-human-needs on the table).
  • Can you envision what might have ‘made life more wonderful’ (strategies that might have served both sets of needs)?

“The course of conflict isn’t determined by the person who initiates but by the person who responds.” ~ Mozart In The Jungle

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(Photo above courtesy of Wiki Commons via Arriva436)

(Accepting Limitations While Simultaneously Stretching) — About 5 minutes in… Being mindful of our ‘strategic discomfort’ (our growing edges)

Wanting Fully Without Attachment – Tikkun Magazine

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National Archives and Records Administration

In her book on The Five Keys to Mindful CommunicationSusan Gillis Chapman writes about communication that is closed (red light), open (green light), or somewhere-in-between (yellow light).  Initially, Chapman suggest, it’s useful to cultivate an awareness of the more obvious states: green/open & red/closed.  The yellow light is a more nuanced state, often imperceptible (unless mindful), however it may also hold greater potential for increasing our communicative efficacy.

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The Five Keys To Mindful Communication (book’s study guidelines)

Delineating Susan Chapman’s five essential elements of mindful communication:

• Mindful Presence (awake body, tender heart, open mind)
• Mindful Listening (encouragement)
• Mindful Speech (gentleness)
• Mindful Relationships (unconditional friendliness)
• Mindful Responses (playfulness)

See also:  The Five Keys to Mindful Communication

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Triune Brain – Interpersonal Neurobiology

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(Image courtesy of Wiki Commons – ManosHacker)

“First, I realized how I distort my view of other people when I’m reacting defensively. I also saw that when I can open up and see another person in a fresh way, my own self-image transforms. On the surface, these two insights might not seem to be that a big deal. Not as exciting as a dog and a hungry bear rolling in play.* But learning how to switch out of defensiveness into a more humorous, receptive state of mind is a big deal – it is the key to happy, harmonious relationships and communities.”  (Chapman’s “The Five Keys to Mindful Communication”, p. 3)

FYI ~ Polar Bear Plays with Sled Dogs : snopes.com

*The photos circulating around the Internet were of a polar bear and a dog playing together.  I first saw them in a National Geographic magazine many years ago and was captivated by the story.  A dog named Churchill was tied up to a stake in the ice.  His owner spotted a starving bear, just out of hibernation, through the window of his cabin.  He watched in horror as the bear approached his dog.  Feeling powerless to protect his pet from certain death, he grabbed his camera and snapped pictures of the scene unfolding before his eyes.  But to his amazement, what he ended up witnessing was how Churchill saved his own life.  As the bear lumbered toward him, Churchill crouched down and wagged his tail.  In spite of his ravenous hunger, the bear responded to the signal and switched from predator to playmate.  One of the photos shows Churchill and the bear embraced in an affectionate hug as they tumbled and rolled around on the ice.  Then the huge polar bear turned and ambled away.  Over the next few days, the bear returned to the site several times to play with his new friend.  The National Geographic photo essay came into my life at the right moment.  I had been preparing to teach a series of workshops on mindful communication, where students would learn practical skills in bringing awareness, insight, compassion, and choice to their communication…”
~ Susan Gillis Chapman

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Bull and bear in front of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange (Photo courtesy of Eva K.)

 Continuum (& related exercise) beneath via

NYCNVC – The New York Center for Nonviolent Communication

The Exercise – Shifting Toward Compassion

Even though this is an online exercise, you still need a pen or pencil and a piece of paper with a blank side. I created this exercise so people can have what I call a “Shift”. By that I mean experience a “shift” in what you are thinking about and a shift in how you feel. Read More …

The Connection Continuum:
<<< You and I (always moving back and forth) >>>continuum-connection

rage, disconnection and violence                                 connection, compassion, peace

Note parallel between Mindful Communication’s “Green Light” (above)
&
the NVC’s “Zero Step” (below)

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Taste of Compassionate Leadership Free Teleclass – NVC Academy

Zero-Step

Characteristics of the Zero Step:

• Warmth toward self and other
• Care for the vitality of both yourself and other(s)
• Wonder/Interest
• Vulnerability/Empathy
• Which leads directly to Connection Requests
• Openness to Outcome

More notes on “Zero Step” here.  (Recording of Zero Step presentation by Manskes, January 2017:  Download Recording)

Four Steps of NVC

“In the field of observation, chance favors the prepared mind.”
Louis Pasteur

NVC Model

empathetically listening:

observations

feelings

needs

requests

honestly expressing:

observations

feelings

needs

requests

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What is Mindful Communication?

Additional videos:  Green Zone Communication (videos)

Three green-light faculties as the basis for mindfulness practice:

• Awake body, the ability to pay attention
• Tender heart, the ability to empathize with others
• Open mind, the ability to be honest, curious, and insightful.

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Red Light

Notice when you’ve become defensive and closed off. Be careful. Communicating in this zone can lead to difficult and painful reactions.

Yellow Light

Pay attention to the limbo between open and closed. Relax with the uncertainty. Pause, reflect, linger there, and let possibilities emerge.

Green Light

When your state of mind is open, feel free to explore your connection with others. Share. Learn. Change. Expand.


Susan Chapman – Mindful Communication poster

The Three Lights

In my mindful-communication workshops, the metaphor we use to notice whether communication is closed, open, or somewhere in-between, is the changing traffic light. When the channel of communication closes down, we imagine the light has turned red. When communications feels open again, we say the light has turned green. When communication feels in between, or on the verge of closing down, we say the light has turned yellow. Participants find that the changing-traffic-light imagery helps them identify their various styles of communication, and to recognize the consequences of each.

We use the green and red lights to highlight open and closed patterns because this isn’t something we normally track. Once those are clear, we zero in on the in-between stage of the yellow light. Following is a brief overview of what the lights mean. The red light indicates that communication has shut down… (continues)

Mindful Communication – Which of Our Emotions are Accurate?

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Excerpted from Chapman’s The Five Keys to Mindful Communication: Using Deep Listening and Mindful Speech to Strengthen Relationships, Heal Conflicts, and Accomplish Your Goals:

“The yellow light describes the period in between the green and red light, the gap of groundlessness that occurs just before communication shuts down. We’ve been caught off guard and we feel embarrassed, irritated, or disappointed by an unexpected event. Below the surface of these reactions, deeper fears and self-doubts are exposed. If we can meet these fears with gentle insight, using mindfulness practice, we can intercept our red-light triggers…” (continues)

Susan Chapman – online class, “working with fear”

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Susan Chapman on how “green zones” help us to identify our projections

Open/Closed emotions & how to reconnect to the “Natural Communication System”

Susan Chapman is a marriage and family therapist and author who presents training programs applying mindfulness to conversations, relationships and communities.

Resources:  Green Zone Conversations – Green Light Institute

Click to hear interviews with Susan Chapman

See too:  What is Mindful Communication

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In a World in Crisis – Mindful Communication Matters

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1/17 ~ Reflection & Renewal

What’s Up Next?

January 2017 ~ Reflection & Renewal

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François Barraud – La Tailleuse de Soupe

Inquiry:

Do you have any New Year’s dialogic intentions?  Such as a quality of NVC consciousness that you are drawn to, perhaps wanting to cultivate and more skillfully integrate (by this time, next year)?  How might you go about this (what ritual might support you as a practitioner)?

Hint:

Try reviewing the Self-Assessment Matrix
(see more, below) to see if any one skill jumps out at you.

(e.g.  ‘Presence’)

For simplicity’s sake:

Matrix co-creators Jim & Jori Manske have suggested these five skills  as “easy ways to integrate NVC, anywhere/everywhere”:

  • Presence

  • Observing

  • Feelings Awareness

  • Needs-Consciousness

  • Gratitude

Notice how each of the skills above can also be complementary in our capacity for growth with another skill — e.g. distinguishing between observation and interpretation can lend itself to cultivating presence (wanting-fully-without-attachment) or sensing into our ‘feelings awareness’ can naturally flow into a heightened state of ‘needs-consciousness’ etc.

These skills are further delineated by clicking on the chart beneath:

Four Competencies of NVC (Consciousness) ~
Unskilled, Awakening, Capable & Integrated:

Self-Assessment Matrix

Listen to a (free) recording of one way to use the Matrix here.

Matrix small

Via CNVC.org:  This document comes in two sizes, they contain the same information.
The large version is on eight pages and the other version is on four pages.

Download:
Pathways to Liberation Self Assessment Matrix v1 2.pdf
Pathways to Liberation Self Assessment Matrix v1 2 large.pdf

I’ve structured much of the tele-conference to reinforce some of the rituals that I use to buttress my NVC practice (& capacity for ‘presence’).  For example, the four stations of Joanna Macy’s spiral (which serves as an outline for the call’s format) closely parallels the Mediate Your Life Practice honed by Ike Lasater and John Kinyon of Mourn, Celebrate, and Learn (MCL) (an NVC mediation process).  Similarly, I’ve adapted their Self-Connection Process: Breath/Body/Need which then routinely gets employed, on our call, in both an abbreviated and a more lengthy form.

One way that I’ve also found it useful to lean into a growing edge is to begin with something simpler, such as Mourn/Celebrate/Learn or Breath/Body/Need (or Inquiry) and then once that practice is under one’s proverbial belt, to expand upon it.  So, for example, one could tack on a repair action-step (along the lines suggested by IPNB guidelines for secure attachment/trust), or even the option of brainstorming possible repairs, at the conclusion of an MCL process.  Similarly, to deepen the process of Breath/Body/Need, one could intermingle some of the skills of Focusing, such as getting a ‘felt sense’ (and/or handle).  Or of utilizing Inner Relationship Focusing’s (IRF) ‘presence language’…

Here’s an example of an intention (read, ritual) that I’m currently engaged with — at least making the attempt to ingrain it a bit more consciously in the coming year (as fodder for thought for your own exploration/integration).  As with any mindfulness practice, it’s a practice of bringing one’s awareness back into focus (so-to-speak) once you’ve noticed that it’s wandered…

NVC & Inner Relationship Focusing

Free Resources For Powerful Change, Focusing Resources Free Library

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Chardin, Jean-Siméon – Vegetables for the Soup

Inner Relationship Focusing [PDF] – “Presence Language”

Identified Language vs. Presence Language

Identified Language:

“I am angry.”
“I am terrified.”
“I feel so frustrated by what she did.”

Presence Language:

“I’m sensing something in me is angry.”
“I’m sensing something in me is terrified.”
“I’m sensing something in me feels so frustrated by what she did.”

If you’ve ever encountered the modality of [Inner Relationship] Focusing and wondered how it might complement self-connection/self-empathy, here is link to another video clip of Gina Censiose on Embodying Our Needs (Embodying Our Needs (rather than needs as a ‘story-we’re-telling-ourselves’).

Here’s an appetizer:

“I’m going in with a full quality of presence to myself and saying to whatever is there, ‘yes, I want to hear you’. Whether my mind thinks it’s garbage, it’s worthless, other people won’t like it. I will treasure it, in the moment, right now… And that I think allows for that space to unfold. There is a kind of inner relaxing where things will come up because they’re not being judged as bad or this isn’t acceptable. Doesn’t mean I have to share it with other people. But it means that when I am with other people I will be aware of these parts of myself and holding them lovingly and not projecting them either unconsciously onto other people by saying a sweet OFNR that is not at all true or that I’m trying to be nice by using OFNR — and that is obviously a beautiful learning curve in NVC — at the beginning you try OFNR and you see it doesn’t work (people do a two day intro and say, ‘hey, it didn’t work’) …Well, if the intention or reorientation of your heart hasn’t changed, it’s not changing your language that will change anything in life…It’s not the phrasing, it’s never the phrasing, it’s your intention.” ~ Gina Censoise

For the excerpt above in its fuller/video context, click here: http://www.nvctraining.com/media/GC/TP-key-diffs-200812

DOROTHEUMGiuseppe Costantini Die wärmende Suppe

“If you want to know what the soup smells like,
it’s better not to stick your head in it.”
– Eugene Gendlin

Relatively recently, Shulamit Day Berlevtov gave a presentation in which she recalled a quote from Focusing’s originator, Eugene Gendlin (see above).

It struck a rather idiosyncratic chord in me (this time around, despite having heard it before), serving as a reminder of the value of cultivating presence-of-mind towards a greater capacity for discernment; and how by employing a ritual utilization of presence language, I may have a bit more perspective from time to time (thus not becoming as easily mired in the slippery slope of interpersonal dynamics gone awry).  I see it as holding potential in my quest to ‘mediate-our-lives’ by potentially cultivating what in IRF circles is referred to as ‘self-in-presence’ in order to better mediate our internal conflicts which would then prepare us to engage more constructively with those external conflicts as well.

Self-in-presence: an experiential introduction

by  | Jul 6, 2014 | FocusingMindfulnesstranscendence

A friend has asked me to write about “self-in-presence in plain English.” Self-in-presence is a concept from Inner Relationship Focusing. It refers to a skill or capacity, as well as an experience, that creates the conditions for physically felt inner data-wisdom-information to come into a person’s awareness.

Einstein is quoted as saying, “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” Whether or not he actually said it, the idea is significant. Inner data can play an imporant role in taking us beyond what we already know and toward new, present-moment information that can be applied to day-to-day living. This enables us to make choices and take actions in life that are more self-connected, rather than following along with what is already known–either from socialized habits and ideas, or from our own thinking about issues and situations.

Because self-in-presence is a pre-requisite for access to this inner data or wisdom, much of the early learning in Inner Relationship Focusing attends to cultivating self-in-presence and its related inner attitudes. In this post, I’ll outline an exercise that will provide an experience of self-in-presence… (continues)

viejos_comiendo_sopaViejos comiendo sopa

FYI ~ Shula has offered access to a free e-book which guides how to incorporate the ‘presence language’ of Inner Relationship Focusing into one’s self-connection process:  Click here to receive a free e-book

Step-by-step guide to transforming stress with kindness

Shulamit Ber Levtov

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Giraffe Communion Spot

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Institute for Mindfulness

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Street Giraffes

(Via Wiki: Roland H. The endangered West African giraffe)

Questions?  Please contact us at streetgiraffes@gmail.com

Contact Information

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