Forging Shared Reality


Street Giraffes is a Nonviolent Communication resource blog & free, monthly telepractice group that gathers as a kind of NVC sangha, towards cultivating [universal human] needs-consciousness/mindfulness, focused especially on skill-building (e.g. dialogue-lab experimentation with iGiraffe, etc.).

About Street Giraffes

Learn more as to blog/telepractice here

& NVC, more broadly, here

Telepractice toolbox here

Our Next NVC Sangha:

2nd Sunday of the month @ 7 pm/ET

Join Street Giraffes 
(Password protected)
Learn How


Contact Pamela/@StreetGiraffe
(@streetgiraffes facilitator/blogger)


Learn more as to my path here

List of my blog posts here

Other NVC Learning Venues


“Nonviolent Communication is an awareness discipline masquerading as a communication process.”

~ Kit Miller

Handy Handouts

ZENVC‘s “iGiraffe


John Kinyon‘s

“Every time I mess up is a chance to practice.”
~ Marshall Rosenberg


Experiment with Truth [Dispatch]

Sunday, July 5, 2018 ~

 Forging Shared Reality

Frederick Douglass and grandson Joseph
Frederick_Douglass_& grandson_Joseph


 John Kinyon’s Valentine for Marshall Rosenberg (referencing “Scary Honesty”)

Kinyon:  “In times spent with Marshall Rosenberg, I often heard him tell stories with an honesty that I found courageous.

This was not a surprise. Marshall has said that, in order to create a true connection, honesty is just as important as empathy.

He coined the term “scary honesty,” because of how terrifying it can be to tell people what is true inside of us.

Part of learning how to be honest with people is dealing with them “freaking out,” Marshall said. It helps to be ready for the fact that those who hear our truth may become angry, hurt, or upset. They may well react in ways that stimulate fear in us.

The crucial distinction, Marshall points out, is recognizing that we’re not afraid of other people or their reactions. Instead, we’re afraid of our own internal reactions to their reactions. In other words, it’s not the other person who is scary. It’s the thoughts and feelings that person can evoke in me that I fear…” (continues

“If our connection depends on hiding my authentic self, the relationship is neither a true nor a sustainable connection.” ~ Miki Kashtan, The Little Book of Courageous Living


Videos via @CupofEmpathy


More on conflict resolution here


Historic “Scary Honesty” (exemplary of articulating Universal-Human-Needs)

“True dialogue can only happen if I enter the conversation willing to be changed by it. If I am unwilling to change, to be affected sufficiently to consider options new to me, on what grounds am I expecting the other person to change?” ~ Miki Kashtan

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is frederick_douglass_and_grandson_joseph1-e1530849186282.png

The arc of this masterful Frederick Douglass speech — delivered on this very day, July 5th in 1852 (especially if read in its entirety) — offers much fodder for thought on how a former slave turned public orator addressed the meaning that Independence Day held for him to a gathering of abolitionists (which included the then president of the United States)…

In other words, how Frederick Douglass opted to #MediateOnesLife.  If you get a chance to read it (or listen to the arc of the speech, in clip directly above), please notice how he marshaled both empathy and (scary) honesty on behalf of forging a more just shared-reality.

I hadn’t considered the Nonviolent Communication [Mediation] intonations, intermingling empathy for another’s vantage point with the rawer honesty of one’s own, rather differing point of view until this fourth of July, when my niece and I watched the musical turned 1776 (film)

In the film (clip above), John Adams — addressing state differences as to the slavery clause — says: “If we give in on this issue, posterity will never forgive us…”

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is img_20180801_141043.jpg

Recognizing the poignancy that this debate and other slavery references in the film held for my niece, who is African-American, the next day — July 5th — it occurred to me to introduce her to the Frederick Douglass speech, which we read together (an articulation some 76 years after the Declaration, one might say, from posterity’s hindsight).


In a Fourth of July holiday special, we begin with the words of Frederick Douglass. Born into slavery around 1818, Douglass became a key leader of the abolitionist movement. On July 5, 1852, in Rochester, New York, he gave one of his most famous speeches, “The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro.”

“What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?”

Frederick Douglass

July 5, 1852

Mr. President, Friends and Fellow Citizens:

He who could address this audience without a quailing sensation, has stronger nerves than I have. I do not remember ever to have appeared as a speaker before any assembly more shrinkingly, nor with greater distrust of my ability, than I do this day. A feeling has crept over me, quite unfavorable to the exercise of my limited powers of speech. The task before me is one which requires much previous thought and study for its proper performance. I know that apologies of this sort are generally considered flat and unmeaning. I trust, however, that mine will not be so considered. Should I seem at ease, my appearance would much misrepresent me. The little experience I have had in addressing public meetings, in country schoolhouses, avails me nothing on the present occasion.

The papers and placards say, that I am to deliver a 4th [of] July oration. This certainly sounds large, and out of the common way… (continues)

 Another Reading Of ‘What To A Slave Is The 4th Of July’ By Frederick Douglass: here

What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July? – Wikipedia

What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?[a] is an untitled speech originally given by Frederick Douglass on July 5, 1852.[1] He gave the speech, which is over 2,500 words long, to the Ladies’ Anti-Slavery Society in Corinthian Hall in Rochester, New York,[1] a city that was a center of abolitionist activities.[1] The President of the United States and other important figures were also in attendance when Douglass gave the speech… (continues)

Thomas Jefferon’s Monticello

Hemmings Cabin


Parallels between now and then…

World as Lover, World as Self

“We are bombarded by signals of distress — ecological destruction, social breakdown, and uncontrolled nuclear proliferation.  Not surprisingly, we are feeling despair — a despair well merited by the machinery of mass death that we continue to create and serve.  What is surprising is the extent to which we continue to hide this despair from ourselves and each other.  If this is, as Arthur Koestler suggested, an age of anxiety, it is also an age in which we are adept at sweeping our anxieties under the rug.  As a society we are caught between a sense of impending apocalypse and an inability to acknowledge it.  Activists who try to arouse us the the fact that our survival is at stake decry public apathy.  the cause of our apathy, however, is not mere indifference.  It stems from a fear of confronting the despair that lurks subliminally beneath the  tenor of life-as-usual.  A dread of what is happening to our future stays on the fringes of awareness, too deep to name and too fearsome to face… (continues)” ~ Joanna Macy, World as Lover, World as Self; Parallax Press (2005)

Pictures From Youth Climate Strikes Around the World


Greta Thunberg nominated for Nobel peace prize | Environment

See more here: @thecitizeness

Greta Thunberg
(credit: Anders Hellberg of Effekt magazine)

About Street Giraffes

Street Giraffes Telepractice Group
This entry was posted in Climate Crisis & Ecological Breakdown, Marshall Rosenberg, Nonviolent Communication (NVC) - Resources and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s