Being present: Silverton Grange hosts Nonviolent workshop

October 2019 Posted in Briefs, Community, People

By Brenna Wiegand

A general stress pervades our society – something nobody talks about.

People consider so many subjects “out of bounds” and the fear of conflict or stress or awkwardness is preventing them from sharing their opinions.

Nonviolent Communication (NVC), an upcoming course at Silverton Grange, is a tool to build confidence about the possible good outcome, says instructor Tim Buckley.

Based on Marshall Rosenberg’s book Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life, the course entails 12 weekly sessions aimed at taking the scare out of authentic give and take.

“In speaking to people with diametrically different opinions, going in with a loving heart, an open mind and curiosity greatly increases the odds of a good outcome,” Buckley said. “We all have judgmental thinking; self-talk about all kinds of things that leads us to act in ways that take those assumptions for true. NVC helps you qualify those judgments by turning them into observations.

“Being present to what’s going on helps prevent saying something we later regret, and NVC helps to build that emotional intelligence; having the compassion and empathy for others that allows you to protect yourself,” he said. “You can know your own boundaries and how to not get triggered by other people’s stuff and thus be a little more resilient to what’s going on.”

Constricted throat; rapid heartbeat; queasy stomach – the body often reacts to a situation before the brain can make a thought. By tuning in to these cues – “I feel hurt”; “I’m afraid”; “I’m angry” – they become a new compass in building self-awareness.

“When it comes to human relationships, if we never went any further than building self-awareness, peace in this world would be much easier to attain,” Buckley said. “If I’m all keyed up I can sometimes run off at the mouth and say things I did not intend to say. Doing some centering slows that down and gives me a chance to get my mind, body and mouth all in play.”

The class examines the vocabulary of feelings and needs. Perhaps more men than women enter adulthood with a limited emotional vocabulary.

“If my wife asks me how I’m doing every day and I say ‘fine,’ she stops asking after a while,” Buckley said. “By being able to say ‘I’m feeling really disappointed today because my need for inclusion wasn’t met and here’s what happened…’ she has a much better opportunity to really understand and appreciate that rather than just ‘I had a crappy day; don’t ask.’”

In addition to reading ourselves, being able to read other people quickly enables us to act from a place of empathy.

“You can then ask them an empathic question rather than getting overly sensitive or curling up into the fetal position on the pavement,” Buckley said.

From there the class looks at requests vs. demands.

“If we ask somebody to do something, like ask a teenage child to clean her room, and she says no, instead of going ballistic or pulling the punishment card you can do a number of other things and one of them is to find out what’s going on for her and whether she’d be willing to do it at a better time,” Buckley said.

Course members tackle their decades-old beliefs – “I’ll never be good enough,” etc. – that also hinder effective communication.

“People are starving to be in deeper relationship with one another and coming into a group like this it’s amazing how quickly trust is established,” Buckley said. “It’s a relief and a release to share at this level when you’re getting support and compassion.”

Nonviolent Communication course

Intro session Saturday, Oct. 19, 2-4 p.m. at Silverton Grange, 201 Division St. NE. Free. Cost: $150 includes 12 two-hour sessions and the $20 book. Class decides as a group which night to meet. Class size limited; first come, first served.
Info: Tim Buckley, 503-990-6781 2tbucktoo@gmail.com

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