February 2017 ~ Our Corners & Edges
“We don’t rise to the level of our expectations, we fall to the level of our training.”
What are your conversational street signs (e.g. OFNR, Red/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)?
Tools for this week’s practice group:
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
(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)
In her book on The Five Keys to Mindful Communication, Susan 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.
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
(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)
*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
Bull and bear in front of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange (Photo courtesy of Eva K.)
Continuum (& related exercise) beneath via
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 …
rage, disconnection and violence connection, compassion, peace
Note parallel between Mindful Communication’s “Green Light” (above)
the NVC’s “Zero Step” (below)
Characteristics of the Zero Step:
• Warmth toward self and other
• Care for the vitality of both yourself and other(s)
• Which leads directly to Connection Requests
• Openness to Outcome
Four Steps of NVC
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.
Notice when you’ve become defensive and closed off. Be careful. Communicating in this zone can lead to difficult and painful reactions.
Pay attention to the limbo between open and closed. Relax with the uncertainty. Pause, reflect, linger there, and let possibilities emerge.
When your state of mind is open, feel free to explore your connection with others. Share. Learn. Change. Expand.
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)
“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 is a marriage and family therapist and author who presents training programs applying mindfulness to conversations, relationships and communities.
Click to hear interviews with Susan Chapman
See too: What is Mindful Communication
(Photo courtesy of Wiki Commons via Beyond My Ken)
By Udo J. Keppler (a.k.a. Joseph Keppler, Jr.; 1872-1956),
via Wikimedia Commons
WaPo on February 1, 2017: …the high Arctic will rise over 50 degrees above normal…“This is happening now,” he added. “Not in 50 or 100 years — now.”
Guardian (also on February 1, 2017): Donald Trump will work towards the abolition of the Environmental Protection Agency – and any employees cleaving to the Obama era should be “very worried” by the prospect of Scott Pruitt taking over the agency, a key aide of the president has told the Guardian. In an exclusive interview, Myron Ebell – who headed up Trump’s EPA transition team, said that agency’s environmental research, reports and data would not be removed from its website, but climate education material might be changed or “withdrawn”…
Gabriele Giuseppini, via Wikimedia Commons
NYT’s Coral Davenport: …“Environmental protection, what they do is a disgrace,” Mr. Trump said after the election. “Every week they come out with new regulations.”
But in Mr. Pruitt, who is expected to be confirmed by the Senate this week, the president has tapped a surgeon, not a butcher, to fulfill those pledges. As much as anyone, Mr. Pruitt knows the legal intricacies of environmental regulation — and deregulation. As Oklahoma’s attorney general for the last six years, he has led or taken part in 14 lawsuits against the E.P.A.
His changes may not have the dramatic flair favored by Mr. Trump, but they could weaken the agency’s authority even long after Mr. Trump has left office…
(Image courtesy of Wiki Commons: Woodennature)
Six degrees may be where we are headed, according to international energy experts, and within this century too — under (fossil fuel favoring) business as usual policies.
Sources: “World Energy Outlook 2011,” P. 40, International Energy Agency & “Too Late for Two Degrees?” PricewaterhouseCoopers, November 2012, P. 1.
Those who traffic human beings are ultimately accountable to God. Let us pray for the conversion of hearts. @M_RSection
“Great sporting events like today’s Super Bowl are highly symbolic, showing that it is possible to build a culture of encounter and a world of peace,” the pontiff said, in a text of the video released by the Vatican Sunday afternoon Rome time.
“By participating in sport, we are able to go beyond our own self-interest – and in a healthy way – we learn to sacrifice, to grow in fidelity and respect the rules,” he said, speaking in his native Spanish.
“May this year’s Super Bowl be a sign of peace, friendship and solidarity for the world,” Francis said.
The Kingdom of God is already in our midst like a hidden seed. Anyone with pure eyes can see it blossom.
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Courtesy of Daderot via Wikimedia Commons