Politics, Climate & NVC

Joanna Macy

What follows focuses largely on the prism of climate change/justice to illumine politics and societal dynamics more broadly.

“Climate change is not a story. It is a backdrop for all of our other stories.” @NaomiAKlein 

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

Linktr.ee/climatista (re: #climatecrisis)

Linktr.ee/citizeness (re: #climatejustice)

Marshall Rosenberg quote referencing NVC & social change:

“If I use Nonviolent Communication to liberate people to be less depressed, to get along better with their family, but do not teach them at the same time to use their energy to rapidly transform systems in the world, then I am part of the problem. I am essentially calming people down, making them happier to live in the systems as they are, so I am using NVC as a narcotic.”

Courtesy of #SWYMbook by Oren Jay Sofer
Rosenberg via Oren Jay Sofer
Video:

www.psychalive.org/pl_resources/28337

Renée Lertzman | Speaker | TED

ProjectInsideOut.net

Renee Lertzman, Ph.D.: “I think it’s extremely important that we have perspective on what’s happening through the lens of an individual and collective traumatic experience. It’s not really about either-or. We’re part of a collective, we’re going through a collective experience, and individually we’re experiencing that in our own particular ways. There’s no big leveling message.

When we look at it through the lens of trauma it helps us make sense of our experience. One of the first things that we want to do is to acknowledge and normalize our experience and our feelings. To just name what’s going on — which these questions are doing. It starts with actually relating to ourselves from a place of total compassion. Really directing whatever empathy we have access to towards ourselves first. We need to actually show up for ourselves and accompany ourselves. This idea is inspired by the work of a trauma therapist [& NVC certified trainer] named Sarah Peyton who does a lot on trauma and self-regulation. Our ability to regulate our nervous system, our brains’ neural response to stress and trauma.” (via Dame Magazine‘s How a Traumatized Nation Can Cope)

Excerpt: “…By attuning with ourselves, we’re regulating our own nervous system. And I get this from, the work of all kinds of people, including [NVC certified trainer] Sarah Peyton, whose work I love. She has written a book called Your Resonant Self. It’s like a self-help book that takes all this neuroscience around how do we befriend ourselves so that we can actually be effective and creative and more fully in the world?” ~ Renee Lertzman, PhD | Psychological Insights for a Changing Planet (via article The Psychology of Climate Action)

Joanna Macy’s Work That Reconnects

Project DrawdownSolutions

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Personal Growth & Social Change

By Miki Kashtan 

 Excerpt:

Beyond Personal Growth

On the personal level, the practice of NVC supports the inner work necessary to maintain a stance of nonviolence even in difficult circumstances. However, personal growth, “being the change,” is only one aspect of the work. How do we work towards creating change at the structural level? However we conceive of leverage points for structural change, we would need to organize and act with others to create shifts. For that, we need concrete practices to bring our consciousness and practice of nonviolence to go beyond the personal, inner work. Their absence results in at least three interrelated phenomena:

  • Organizations made up of people with a high degree of personal capacity are nonetheless mired in conflict, mistrust, and inefficiency.
  • People with an understanding of and a commitment to interdependence are nonetheless operating as collections of individuals instead of a community of mutual support and effective feedback loops.
  • Individuals committed to a vision of care, inclusion, and distributed power form and run organizations based on command and control practices, and others are unable to stand up to their leaders with love and clarity.

In my next post I address how the practice of NVC can address all of the above phenomena as well as offer a perspective that allows for envisioning, and eventually designing, social systems based on attention to human needs, care for nature, stewardship of resources, and respect for the interconnected web of all life on this one planet we all share.

Blog post, in its entirety, can be found here

Personal Growth & Social Change

By Miki Kashtan 

Many of us who practice nonviolence carry a vision of a world that works for all, where everyone’s needs matter and people and the planet are cared for. None of us know what will or could bring about our vision. Will it be a miracle of a single leader transforming the cultural assumptions and practices? Will it be a world collapse which will create a void and an opportunity to restructure society? Will it be a critical mass of people who inhabit different forms of human relationship? Will it be a nonviolent revolution? Will it be alternative structures that gradually attract more and more resources and people to them? Or will it be something else none of us can imagine?

Is “Being the Change” Enough?

Not knowing, how can we predict what actions that we engage in could potentially lead to social change? Here’s how one reader has expressed this challenge: “I don’t have the clarity I would like about your distinction between personal growth and social change work. Particularly within the NVC framework, where we intend to create change without coercion. We can model the values we want to see; we can invite, request, even try to persuade or instruct when the occasion seems appropriate, but we’re not forcing change on anyone. And so a big part of the force for social change that I am imagining comes from being the change that you want to see in the world, which to me sounds like personal development.”

Continues here

Rosenberg via Oren Jay Sofer

“If I use Nonviolent Communication to liberate people to be less depressed, to get along better with their family, but do not teach them at the same time to use their energy to rapidly transform systems in the world, then I am part of the problem. I am essentially calming people down, making them happier to live in the systems as they are, so I am using NVC as a narcotic.”

~ Marshall Rosenberg

(My climate oriented posts can be found here.)

“War is a moral contest, and they’re won in the temples before they’re ever fought… This moral contest requires courage to confront ideas, actions, and behaviors that violate ethical standards that we use to govern our life.”
~ Sun Tzu

How to Change Someone’s Mind

Or, as Kishore Mahbubani, the Singaporean academic, former diplomat and author of the forthcoming book “Has China Won?” said to me: “I wonder if one day future historians will look back at this contest between Americans and Chinese and compare them to two families of apes fighting with each other while the forest around them is burning.” ~ Thomas Friedman

5.Renee Lertzman on motivational interviewing from Climate-KIC on Vimeo.

Listen:

Pope Francis’

Environmental

Encyclical

Cartoon courtesy of DonkeyHotey (via Wikimedia Commons)

Renee Lertzman on SQUINs from Climate-KIC on Vimeo.

Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming

Excerpt from Miki Kashtan’s “Taking on the World”

(2011 teleseminar/course)

“The path of vulnerability includes understanding what generates so much fear about stepping into more vulnerability in our lives: learning to sit with the discomfort to create more self-connection; finding ways of redefining vulnerability as strength; discovering an inner sense of safety; and securing support in inhabiting more authenticity.  More than anything, though, the path of vulnerability is about choice: How can we muster inner strength to understand, face, and transform our fears so we can have the aliveness and authenticity that come from the willingness to share our truth?” ~ Miki Kashtan of thefearlessheart.org

Personal Practice:  Self-Connection/Fear

Keys:

A.  Fear results from thoughts about the past or the future.

B.  We can transform our relationship to fear by shifting from focusing on a future over which we have no control or a past we can no longer change to being with our needs in the present.

1.  Please be ready with a situation in which you have experienced fear.  Describe the situation or the inner experience using pure observation language, without any interpretations or ideas.

2.  Write down your thoughts you have about this situation.

3.  For each of the thoughts you identified in the previous step, identify a need that is giving rise to the thought.

4.  Shift your attention back and forth between the observation, a thought, and a need you have connected with.  When you focus your attention in each area, bring all of your attention to that aspect.  Notice what happens to your emotions as you shift your focus.  When do you experience more or less fear?  When do you experience other emotions.

5.  Bring your attention back  to the situation in which you felt fear.  How are you feeling now?  If there is still significant fear, check to see if there are any other thoughts you haven’t worked with.

6.  If you have gone back more than once, ask yourself what needs of yours are leading you to choose to respond with fear.  Another way of thinking about it: what is the significance of this fear?  To what essential needs of yours is the fear designed to bring into awareness?

7.  As you reflect on all the needs you have uncovered, are you able to bring compassion and tenderness towards yourself?  If not, what are the obstacles?  Can you connect with the needs that may be keeping you from softening your heart towards your fear and your choices.

(Beneath references Nonviolent Communication in the context of the climate crisis.)


David Eisenstein’s Climate: A New Story


(Caveat emptor: For better or worse, I have a tendency towards civic ‘climate fundamentalism’ at times.)

Personal Growth & Social Change

By Miki Kashtan 

 Excerpt:

NVC in Support of Social Change

Most often I almost forget that NVC is an acronym that contains the word “communication.” Instead I tend to think of NVC as a set of principles and practices to integrate the consciousness of nonviolence into all levels of living:

  • Personally, practicing NVC offers one way of accepting Gandhi’s invitation to bring nonviolence to one’s thought, word, and action.
  • Interpersonally, NVC conflict resolution and dialogue tools can contribute to the conversations, negotiations, coalition building, and other organizing efforts which are indispensable for any attempt of working with other people towards structural or systemic goals.
  • On the group level, using NVC for facilitation and decision making can contribute to effective functioning for groups and organizations working for social change.
  • On an organizational level, NVC provides a framework and offers concrete steps for transforming use of power in ways that attend to everyone’s needs.
  • Finally, on the systemic level, an NVC perspective allows for envisioning and creating structures, policies, procedures, and hopefully some day even laws that make for a world that works for all.

The Inner Work of Nonviolence

Embodying nonviolence in a world that for several millennia has been structured around separation, scarcity, and mistrust requires considerable commitment, courage, and love. As it applies to being part of groups and organizations of human beings attempting to create change, accepting the call to principled nonviolence entails at least the following aspects of consciousness transformation:

  • Working towards vision rather than against “what’s wrong.” Even when the actions themselves are obstructive in nature, such as acts of civil disobedience, Gandhi’s and Milk’s examples suggest a focus on civil disobedience that models the world being created rather than being entirely an act of protest.
  • Seeing the humanity of everyone, including people engaging in behaviors that appear harmful. Jesus was talking about loving one’s enemies, and Gandhi was talking about finding love for those who hate us. In either case, the fundamental principle is of sufficiency inclusivity that even working to stop people from inflicting harm is done with love and respect for the person.
  • Engaging in the ongoing and demanding work of opening fully to despair, dread, and other emotional responses that arise in response to what is happening in the world. In the absence of doing this work, many people, including those working for social change, tend to numb out or suppress the depth of their feelings and find it hard to operate based on passion rather than anger and urgency.

Interpersonal Practices for Change Agents

Every attempt to create structural change entails being in relationship and dialogue with other people. Working with others to create change means learning to collaborate across different understandings of how to create change; across differences of working styles and personalities; and across differences such as class and race. Beyond the immediate group of people working together, becoming visible and effective when working for change also involves building alliances with other groups and organizations, as well as connecting with people who may be skeptical about or not already in alignment with the goals or strategies of the group. Lastly, creating change ultimately necessitates supporting people, especially those with power, in shifting their views and making different choices than the ones they are used to. Once again, NVC practice supports connection in these various different situations. Here are some of the principles and practices that can support conflict resolution and even prevention…

(continues here)

Oliver Vass (Wikimedia Commons)


UN Chief Warns of ‘Point of No Return’ on Climate Change

 U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Sunday that the world’s efforts to stop climate change have been “utterly inadequate” so far and there is a danger global warming could pass the “point of no return.”

Climate and Environment – The New York Times

NYT: Bleak U.N. Report Finds World Heading to Climate Catastrophes

New York Times: Four years after countries struck a landmark deal in Paris to rein in greenhouse gas emissions in an effort to avert the worst effects of global warming, humanity is headed toward those very climate catastrophes, according to a United Nations report issued Tuesday, with China and the United States, the two biggest polluters, having expanded their carbon footprints last year.

“The summary findings are bleak,” the report said, because countries have failed to halt the rise of greenhouse gas emissions even after repeated warnings from scientists. The result, the authors added, is that “deeper and faster cuts are now required.”

The world’s 20 richest countries, responsible for more than three-fourths of emissions, must take the biggest, swiftest steps to move away from fossil fuels, the report emphasized. The richest country of all, the United States, however, has formally begun to pull out of the Paris accord altogether.

Global greenhouse gas emissions have grown by 1.5 percent every year over the last decade…”

Somini Sengupta  (continues via NYT climate)

Yale University ›
Trump Administration Estimates Planet Will Warm 7 Degrees Fahrenheit by 2100 – Yale E360

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
“Now, you and I look around at current politics, particularly U.S. politics, and massive, coordinated, intelligent, ambitious action does not strike us as particularly plausible.  In fact, it might strike us as impossible.  But that is where we are: stuck between the impossible & the unthinkable. So, your job — anyone who hears this — your job is to make the impossible possible.”
 David Roberts (@drvox)

Grist: Climate change is simple: We do something or we’re screwed [TEDx]

See more about Marshall Rosenberg here

Inbal Kashtan’s NVC Tree of Life
(with U.N. insignia in corner) as shown during Alan Seid‘s Nonviolent Communication slide presentation at the United Nations/#EQ4SDGs — May 17, 2019 #NVC2UN
Non-Violence by Carl Fredrik Reuterswärd – United Nations, New York, NY, USA

Personal Liberation and Personal Growth

By Miki Kashtan

For a long time now I have been troubled by the way Nonviolent Communication (NVC) is often presented and perceived. In our culture, and in several other industrialized, modernized countries I have been to, it is typically seen as a path to personal growth, such as an alternative to therapy, or a way to resolve relationship issues. For me, this focus has been limited. Instead, more and more I think of NVC as a path to personal liberation, and of the two paths as distinct from each other. The former is about enabling us to function, even live well individually in society as it exists, while the latter is about freeing ourselves from the ideas, norms, and roles we have internalized from living in this society. The more free we become, the more we can find a ground to stand on to challenge the system to be much more responsive to all people’s needs, not only some needs of the few.

I often heard from Marshall Rosenberg, the founder of NVC, that a similar concern led to his own decision as a psychologist to leave behind clinical work and private practice in his search for the largest contribution he could make. The issue hinges on the question of what is being served when we attend to the individual effects of a system that fundamentally doesn’t support human needs and life as a whole. I’ve been haunted by this question in multiple ways…. (continues)

“Predictions are hard, especially about the future.” Niels Bohr reportedly said. In 1982, Exxon scientists “nailed it” charting an atmospheric rise in carbon emissions to 415 ppm by 2019.

Trump Administration Uses Inevitability of Climate Change To Burn More Fossil Fuels:

Washington Post

Trump administration sees a 7-degree rise in global temperatures by 2100

By Juliet EilperinBrady Dennis and Chris Mooney 

September 28, 2018

Last month, deep in a 500-page environmental impact statement, the Trump administration made a startling assumption: On its current course, the planet will warm a disastrous seven degrees by the end of this century…

The draft statement, issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), was written to justify President Trump’s decision to freeze federal fuel-efficiency standards for cars and light trucks built after 2020. While the proposal would increase greenhouse gas emissions, the impact statement says, that policy would add just a very small drop to a very big, hot bucket.

“The amazing thing they’re saying is human activities are going to lead to this rise of carbon dioxide that is disastrous for the environment and society. And then they’re saying they’re not going to do anything about it,” said Michael MacCracken, who served as a senior scientist at the U.S. Global Change Research Program from 1993 to 2002.

The document projects that global temperature will rise by nearly 3.5 degrees Celsius above the average temperature between 1986 and 2005 regardless of whether Obama-era tailpipe standards take effect or are frozen for six years, as the Trump administration has proposed. The global average temperature rose more than 0.5 degrees Celsius between 1880, the start of industrialization, and 1986, so the analysis assumes a roughly four degree Celsius or seven degree Fahrenheit increase from preindustrial levels…

(continues)

The Intercept

Noam Chomsky:  The current moment, not just political, is the most grim moment in human history. We are now in a situation where this generation, in fact, in the next few years, is going to have to make a decision of cosmic significance which has never arisen before: Will organized human society survive? And there are two enormous threats. The threat of environmental catastrophe, which at least is getting some attention, not enough. The other is the threat of nuclear war, which is increasing sharply by the Trump administration, in fact. These have to be dealt with quickly. Otherwise, there’s nothing to talk about.

And notice that the wrecking ball in the White House just doesn’t give a damn. He’s having fun. He’s serving his rich constituency. So what the hell, let’s destroy the world. And it’s not that they don’t know it. Some months ago, maybe a year ago by now, one of the Trump bureaucracies the National Transportation Administration came out with what I think is the most astonishing document in the entire history of the human species. It got almost no attention. It was a long 500-page environmental assessment in which they tried to determine what the environment would be like at the end of the century. And they concluded, by the end of the century, temperatures will have risen seven degrees Fahrenheit, that’s about twice the level that scientists regard as feasible for organized human life. The World Bank describes it as cataclysmic. So what’s their conclusion? Conclusion is we should have no more constraints on automotive emissions. The reasoning is very solid. We’re going off the cliff anyway. So why not have fun? Has anything like that ever appeared in human history? There’s nothing like it. (continues)

See also:
Noam Chomsky on Climate Change: Trump Administration Like Nero Fiddling While Rome Burned | Video | RealClearPolitics

(Greta Thunberg can be heard at the 37:50 mark.)

Washington Post:
The world has just over a decade to get climate change under control, U.N. scientists say

Greta Thunberg at the U.N.

Wanting Fully Without Attachment

Miki Kashtan (excerpt): “…Without the tools to keep our hearts open, many of us do, indeed, shut down and tune out the plight of the children so that we can even manage to continue with our own personal lives.

If, however, we remain open to the possibility that no solution will arise and at the same time continue to bring our heart and attention and action to working toward a solution, our work takes on an entirely different flavor. We work toward our dreams, we embrace the vision and our needs in full, and we remain open in the face of what is happening. In doing so, whether or not we have external success (and so far as I know, none of us knows how to move the world from here to where we want it to be), our work itself becomes a modeling of what the world could… (continues here)

IMG_20190601_174400

NYT interview with David Roberts (June 2012)

tedx02-10000-years

An influential TEDx Talk (for me):

Watching David Roberts distill how climate change is simple: we do something or we’re screwed (in a TEDx-Ed talk that then inspired this remix, also directly beneath, some things are worth watching twice), perhaps especially amidst the broader context of tracking the mind-numbing and bone-chilling data from the 2013/2014 IPCC Fifth Assessment Report, was a paradigmatic-shifting even life-altering experience.  I took his final statement, transcribed beneath, as a [high-threshold] request:

At 17 minute mark:
“Now, you and I look around at current politics, particularly U.S. politics, and massive, coordinated, intelligent, ambitious action does not strike us as particularly plausible.  In fact, it might strike us as impossible.  But that is where we are: stuck between the impossible & the unthinkable. So, your job — anyone who hears this — your job is to make the impossible possible.”
~ David Roberts (@drvox)

Remix version:

(Accompanying Grist piece.)

 
Slides courtesy of David Roberts (@drvox)

images

 
 

IMG_20180917_174029

Perhaps an even more crucial climate presentation by Climatologist Will Steffen:

At the 48 minute mark, Professor Will Steffen discusses a planetary carrying capacity of approximately one billion, if we continue on the 4°C trajectory by century’s end (noting that it will not be a gentle decline).

NYT: Bleak U.N. Report Finds World Heading to Climate Catastrophes

NYT: “According to scientific models, that kind of temperature rise sharply increases the likelihood of…endangering the lives of billions of people.”

Somini Sengupta @nytclimate

&

dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com › 
Scientist: Warming Could Cut Population to 1 Billion 

Prior “street giraffes” blog posts, specifically referencing the climate crisis, can be found here:

Climate | Street Giraffes

IMG_20190630_055729_01  

I also intend to blog more deliberately about politics and our impending ecological breakdown here:

steetdispatches.wordpress.com/blog

 

How to Find Balance with the News

More and more these days I find myself dreading looking at the news or the notifications on my phone. Whether it’s a domestic shooting, a tropical storm, or the rainforest in flames, it can feel overwhelming to stay abreast of what’s happening yet impossible to… (continues)

a_stack_of_newspapers

Discovering Tripwires: News as a Spiritual Opportunity

“The news should be a spiritual opportunity because we are confronted with images of suffering from all over the world like no other generation.”

Karen Armstrong of Charter for Compassion

“Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity.”

~ Simone Weil

IMG_20190614_203250528

Seeds of a Nonviolent Ethos

beatitudes

   The scientifically proven, step-by-step guide to having a breakthrough conversation across party lines

By Lila MacLellan

Excerpt: “…But we’ve been here before, according to the late psychologist Marshall Rosenberg. As a communications coach and mediator for civil rights and student activists during the US civil rights era, Rosenberg developed a practical strategy for peaceful conflict resolution called non-violent communication. By focusing on language and process, the theory goes, injured parties can shift the tone of their communication and spur collaboration…” (continues)

Olga Misik: Russia’s ‘Tiananmen teen’ protester on front line

BBC:  Wearing a protective vest, a young woman sat in front of Russia’s riot police.

On her lap was a copy of the Russian constitution, which she began reading to the heavily armoured police around her. Behind them was a demonstration calling for transparent Moscow elections, in which several people were injured.

The photo went viral within minutes and Olga Misik, 17, became a symbol of Russia’s pro-democracy movement. Some compared the image to Tiananmen Square’s Tank Man, who stood in a tank’s path in Beijing in 1989.

“The situation in Russia is currently extremely unstable,” Olga told the BBC.

“The authorities are clearly getting very scared if they are consolidating armed forces from different parts of the country to chase peaceful protesters. And people’s mentality has changed, as I can see.”

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Pieter_Claesz._-_Vanitas_with_Violin_and_Glass_Ball_-_WGA04974

Moscow violinist @Makichyan.Arshak participating in a global climate strike via Pushkin Square on May 24, 2019 (via @Greenpeace/Twitter):

https://twitter.com/Greenpeace/status

(&/or short link: https://t.co/0opDyVTs54)

Screenshot_20190524-152401

Follow Pushkin Square climate striker via @MakichyanA

BBC:  For 30 Fridays on the trot, a young Russian violinist has stood in central Moscow in a one-person protest.

Arshak Makichyan is not picketing about free elections, police violence or political prisoners. His big concern is the planet and his inspiration is Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg.

“This is about our future,” the 24-year-old explains, echoing the teenage campaigner. He says he began to read about climate change after seeing her protests, and realised the threat.

“Russia is the world’s fourth biggest emitter of greenhouse gases and our government won’t act without pressure. So it’s important to strike for the climate.”

Beneath Pushkin’s Watchful Gaze 

img_20190809_134252_602

img_20190809_135134_406

img_20190809_135134_447

Olga Misik: How teenage girl reading constitution in front of Putin’s riot police became a symbol of Russian resistance – MSN.com

@thecitizeness 

pilgrim-soul

Russian citizen/ice-skater Evgenia Medvedeva during 2017 

Ears-cropped

“A jest’s prosperity lies in the ear Of him that hears it, never in the tongue Of him that makes it.” ― William Shakespeare, Love’s Labour’s Lost

Think Progress (circa 2017):  Putin downplayed the need to act on climate, saying, through a translator, that people like Pruitt “who are not in agreement with opponents may not be at all silly.”

The question “isn’t about preventing global warming. I agree with those people who believe it is impossible. It may be related to some global cycles or some greater outer space cycles. It’s about how to adjust ourselves to it,” Putin said. “The local communities will get adjusted,” he added…

Critics have suggested Russia’s meddling in the U.S. election could have been related to oil reserves.

Circa 2019:

Additional NVC & Politics Resources 

 

Host Timothy Regan takes us into baseball practice to help us strengthen our catcher’s mitt to respond to intensity from other people around the topic of Climate and Extinction Emergency.

We detail some powerful choices that we all have in responding to whatever people express:  anger, shame, denial, and more.

Kristin Masters joins us with her warm, authentic guidance to help us practice.  She is also a Certified Trainer of Nonviolent Communication, a leader of “The Work That Reconnects” by local elder Joanna Macy, and a powerful force against oppression of all kinds.

How to Catch People When They Express Intensity (Climate #2 of 4)

global_warming_predictions_map

@climatista

Geopolitics vs. Geophysics

Trump Administration Uses Inevitability of Climate Change To Burn More Fossil Fuels

Miki Kashtan‘s teleseminar calendar via thefearlessheart.org:

Reckoning with Collapse

For registration information, please click here

Why These Calls?

These calls are an opportunity for anyone to come engage with others who are, also, grappling with the overwhelming information and grim prospects that humanity is currently facing, most specifically with climate change, as well as a host of other severe crises…

(continues here)

flat_earth1

Alternative “NVC & Politics” views:

Miki Kashtan’s blog-posts & writings

cracked_ground_346

Imagine a world without trees by Alosh Bennett from Hyderabad, India

Questions?  Contact Pamela via streetgiraffes@gmail.com

Conflict HotlineSocial Change 

conflict_resolution_in_human_evolution

Conflict HotlinePolitical Differences

Miki Kashtan/Department of Peace Teleconference Training Call Notes:

A caller described a scenario is which he quarreled with a co-worker over a political issue. The caller was upset to suddenly find his co-worker passionately disagreeing with him.  Later, when the co-worker apologized, he didn’t seem to know how to  respond.

How to hear an opposing political position with compassion:

The first thing we’re likely to do is to depersonalize the other person, and make them a stand-in for a group.

‘He’s one of those ‘liberals’.”

‘She’s one of those ‘hawks.”

The first thing is to forget about all the other people that agree with that person, and think of this person as a full and rich person, 3-dimensional, just like me.  (Have compassion.)  Remember, another person may have a different opinion from me, but their core values may be no different from the core values that live in me.

Ask yourself, “Can I abstract the core value that they are expressing?” “What is their core value?”  (A core human feeling and need.)

Take a breath.  You are moving from the world of separation, to the world of connection.

As an exercise right now, think of the last political discussion in which you felt some discomfort. Notice the difference it makes in your emotions, to see the needs that you may have in common with your communications partner.

Go back and forth between these two thoughts.

§        when you think of them as a stand-in for what is wrong in the world, and

§        when you think of them as having the same value as you.

This opens your heart.

Feeling the connection with your conversational partner:

Pause before seeking to be heard, and really try to connect with what the other person is saying. After they feel heard, then you may choose to hear your truth.

Separate out:

§        Hearing the other person,

§        From what you want to say.

Because If I…

§        tell you that I feel connected to you because of our common feeling and need,

§        then, without any pause, tell you what I see as different from your view,

it tends to wipe out the connection.

Take a breath at the end of the connection.  Check if you really got it.  Mirror not only the thought they said, but mirror their emotional state.

Tips:

Do not bring any “buts” into the conversation this soon.

Now, after they say, “Yeah, you get me,” then ask,

Would you be willing to hear what this topic bring up for me?”

(They may not be willing to hear you.)

Speaking what is true for you:

If they are willing to hear you,

Make an “I statement”.  Instead of saying what should happen in the political arena, take ownership, and say “what I want to see”.  When we say what should happen, we are making it about being right and wrong.

When you say your truth, chunk it up into small bits.  Check out each chunk for the other person’s understanding and reaction. This way, they won’t be as likely to feel overwhelmed with information they want to respond to.

If someone attacks you, judges you, or swears at you:

A caller related their sadness when they met with their Congressman, who said, “Your legislation has no chance in hell of passing.”  The caller was shocked and left feeling upset, judgmental and resentfuIf this happens, you could say:

1)  “I’m a bit shocked.

2)  “I’m wondering if you might give me a moment to recover.”

Then, work as fast as you can within yourself to release the hold that this feeling of shock has on you:

1.      How do you feel?  Sad?  Frustrated?

2.      What do you imagine is causing the other person to express what they are saying (what human need of theirs is motivating them to say what they are saying). What matters to them?  What is the underlying message that they want you to hear?  What is motivating them to say something that you are interpreting it as an attack?

Then you might be able to ask of them:

“Are you feeling like it would be too difficult to sponsor this legislation, because you have a need to sponsor legislation that has a good shot at passing?”  or “Are you saying, you want me to be realistic about whether or not this legislation could actually pass?”

Our goal in any given lobbying conversation:

If you go into a conversation with your congressman thinking you are going to change them, you may have a difficult conversation, and may end up feeling very disappointed.

If you:

§        connect, from a vantage of mutual understanding.

§        consider: what can I learn from this?  OK, so you don’t think this is a good idea?  Tell me why.

Keep the focus on what they are feeling and needing. If you can do this for a while, the opportunity to tell them your opinions (without creating more upset) may come up later because they felt that their feelings and needs have been heard by you.

We might have other goals as well, that could be accomplished from the interaction.

§        Connect:  To make a human connect with the person we are lobbying

§        Model Peace:  To experience a small bit of world peace during the conversation, thus modeling the peace we are seeking to realize globally

§        Expand our worldview:  To learn from the person.  Our perspective is parochial and limited if we only are capable of preaching to the choir of fellow believers in the peace movement.

§        Learn to respond to objections:  Perhaps we can learn from Congress members how the legislation might generate objections in Congress.  This way, we can start to learn to answer those objections.

@GretaThunberg (Credit: Anders Hellberg of Effekt magazine)
Pushkin Square, Moscow
E. Luminata — Diamela Eltit

“To be rooted is perhaps the most important and least recognized need of the human soul.” ~Simone Weil

NYT: In a 1936 essay, originally titled “Let Us Not Start Another Trojan War” but better known by the title of its English translation, “The Power of Words,” Weil drew a relationship between the increasing abstraction of words and the pretexts used for war. “In every sphere, we seem to have lost the very elements of intelligence: the ideas of limit, measure, degree, proportion, relation, comparison, contingency, interdependence, interrelation of means and ends,” she wrote. “Our political universe is peopled exclusively by myths and monsters; all it contains is absolutes and abstract entities.” (via NYT’s The Stone)