It may be useful to begin with how Saras and my connection happened. I've phrased it like that ("happened") deliberately, because there was no planning, concoction or even prior knowledge one another before be met, and somehow there was this deep resonance that seemed to be almost a manifesting of an intention I'd not entirely known I'd had. Saras is a sublimewe teamplayer who has been a part of over many decades of ongoing research with numerous coHearts across borders has been, and is being, poured into developing the sublimewe framework, process, and practice. She is also, as she would put it, a friend-philosopeer-mirror. For me, to have someone to explore the rich depths of everyday experiences with, with an intellectual curiosity and resonance, is rare privilege; to mutually learn from one another in that connection without judgement, without hierarchy, and with a kind of harvesting... that is wholly a gift. I know Saras through circumstance, and in some ways, those circumstances seem almost orchestrated. And if not, it's a fantastic, wholly exciting series of coincidences!
In our first conversation, we started to harvest our learnings from the sublimewe workplay in Delhi on July 23rd. Having been unable to attend the sublimewe gsx in Chennai the week before, I was really excited to have something happen in Delhi. While Saras and I had spoken before while she was here, I hadn't had the chance to stay with the process for a whole day or longer. And somehow, in the day-long workplay in Delhi, there was a depth of learning and connection. My own inkling and learning from that workplay was that in some strange way the instruments of sublimewe - the three objects we workplay with - in their design led groups to connect with what was inherently alive between them, tuning into the frequency of the group itself. An unformed idea at best.
This resonated between Saras and me. What I've harvested below comes largely what from she said.
sublimewe supports groups in moving towards an "us", whatever be the constellation or combination, tapping into the natural frequency of the us, which emerges as it is allowed to. Then, when we speak of strategies with a real understanding of the need, individual insights and contribution through their wisdom - with the individual emotional charge and volatility - it allows for something to grow in terms of collective insight, reality and shared learning, bringing forth an organic strategy that works naturally for the constellation of the us.
In a sense, this adds up to the non-dualistic flow between the individual and the collective, and evokes the question of what does it truly mean when I say that I am responsible for the world around me? In a lack of resistance to emotional volatility, in fully accepting and allowing what is to emerge and flow, I stand to allow what is inherent in me to contribute, from a space of authenticity, to the collective. And the collective in its own wisdom can then receive me.
In a very personalised way, this is a tapping of local and/or personal resources, enriching local communities and commerce, rather than haemmoraging and bleeding the substratum of the local resource. When we can harvest something within us through authenticity, deep reflective listening, and self-empathy, we can similarly stop bleeding energy and bring it, instead, to the personal and/or local which in its natural space can receive it.
sublimewe is then a structure where this can happen. In our (my small and Saras's considerable) experience of sublimewe, the process allows an individual to deeply listen to themselves and get in touch with what their longing is and what is alive in them, and to move past, examine, and hold with care the debilitating voices within self, self-doubt and questions, like "am I worth this?", "do I deserve to be fully met in love, by love, with love?", "do I deserve to be loved?"... In the deep listening, a restorative and regenerative process is afoot, which could lead to a very specific renewal of self and the assimilating of these parts, when these debilitating voices are fully heard. Through this, the potential of individual aliveness to emerge into the space of the "us" is likely and immense. There is a welcoming of the tender voice into this space, that is saying "this is my aliveness", "this is priceless and precious in me right now", "can you hear me and support me in this...?"
sublimewe is listening deeply to ourselves, which then reflects in how we listen to each other. There is no hierarchy, between speaker and listener, empathiser and empathised, facilitator and facilitated, presenter or teacher or guide and presented-to, taught, guided; it offers a set of instruments that support us in being fully inclusive, and creating a space where learning is shared. There is not even a hierarchy between the three instruments, as all instruments affect, interact with, and draw from all instruments. The pace, aliveness, enthusiasm of learning, and content, is determined by each individual and the collective. It creates a pedagogy where everyone optimally contributes to the intentioned subject by restoratively listening to self, and in being receptive to everyone's wisdom and experience.
About "Conversations with Saras"
My conversations with Saras have generally happened with a synergy that is both surprising and organic; in my comprehension, what has arrived between us has been exactly what needed to. In the last two weeks, things aligned in a way that both had time and space enough to talk on a fairly regular basis, in conversations that started out agenda-less but arrived as unintended, unasked gifts of wisdom, learning, and collaboration. This series of blog posts is intended as a harvesting of what we spoke about, and contains mostly her words - which I noted as she was speaking and later assimilated to offer them as such.
"If you listen to your body when it whispers, you won't have to hear it scream."
~ Project Happiness
This last week, I fell sick. As is my throat's way, it was all very dramatic, and I went from being largely functional on Monday to sleeping eighteen hours and still feeling shaky on Tuesday. It came at an interesting time, at the end of a second longish trip in a month, just as Ranjitha (of the Bangalore NVC Practice Group) and I finished our workshop on Self-Empathy, and when I had, for the first time, the prospect of a few days where I had no huge commitments. Almost as though my body knew I was already looking for more things to occupy myself with (I had just made a "to-do" list the size of the Grand Trunk Road), she decided to put her foot down. It was nice that she waited until I was done with the workshops.
It occurred to me as I succumbed and rested my body and mind, that I've been receiving very clear signals for the last month or so: a shorter temper than usual, a general sense of fatigue, the necessity of to-do lists as I had moments of blanking out, and insane amounts of body ache. My body and mind have been telling me for weeks to rest, and I've been resisting. (On another note, I'm not too sure what needs this resistance meets for me. Contribution, perhaps, and participation, as I remain engaged in the world; community and belonging. And perhaps meaning. I am very sure that it comes at the cost of rest - and eventually this costs me all of those needs I'm trying to meet in the first place! To say the least, this isn't a strategy that is working too well for me, and my body has made it very clear!)
In the week of rest my chest infection so firmly guided me to, I found a lot of things began to happen. A physical wellness has started to emerge - along with a renewed ability to heal those small aches and pains which were blossoming into all out chaos before. As though through my resting, my body was able to access its natural wisdom and take the time it needed to pull things together. This is perhaps generally known to people. For me, the awareness that my body was able to heal itself was a warm reminder, and a relief - physically, this has been the most comfortable I've been since floating in the ocean.
The second thing that happened was that my heart and mind found more space too. To be sure, the white noise of thoughts did not entirely abate; at some moments, there had to be a conscious choice to put aside the thoughts that were adding such clutter in my head. And at the same time, once that choice was made, the thoughts became less potent. In resting, the thoughts had the opportunity to find where they really needed to go. Some of them were just judgments, little chattering jackals who needed sleep to calm down, or who were willing to wander elsewhere if I was willing to let them go. A few were those that really wanted to stay, really needed attention; those stayed, and without the clammer of the others, I was able to attend to them.
The emotional saturation made it difficult to have conversations that were longer than ten or fifteen minutes long, and maybe once or twice a day. I had gratitude for people who were able to give me that space and time to rest. In meeting my needs for rest, once the body and mind and heart felt more assured, I had more space in a few days. I also had more acceptance of how things were, because the thoughts telling me "I should be able to talk" or "I'm supposed to do this" and so on were quieter once they'd calmed down. And once I had rested, other things came back - creativity, calm, order, contribution, meaning, and the need I really had no idea I was holding dearly: joy!
Resting seemed to require a conscious decision to stop NOT resting, one that I was very resistant to. This teaches me something about myself, a lesson I am not entirely sure about yet. In letting it lie, though, with an infinite acceptance that for now I do not know, I sense things will become clearer. Rest also had the sense of taking a lot of space for self-care and healing. In some ways this was almost a bit scary. Perhaps that was the resistance, the fear of "too much" space. It transpired to be not the scary kind of space that yawns out in a manner that is rather terrifying, but a spacious holding with infinite ease. Meeting my need for Rest was sort of like lying down in that field that Rumi talked about, "when the soul lies down in that grass, the world is too full to talk about," with openness and acceptance, and deep lovingkindness for myself.
This is a far more open-ended post than the ones before - as for me, speaking about self-care is like delving into an uncertain part of the sea, which I am only now learning to navigate.
I have travelled for the last ten days, meeting my needs for self-care in many ways. At the same time, while I have been trying to write about this one for over a week, it has taken me a lot longer than I thought it would. Even sitting down to try to write about it has been an effort - as this "weekly needs study" has taken on the character of an introspective investigation more than anything else.
Self-care, as a need, showed up in a big, unmet sort of way last week, when I found my instincts leading me away from a plan I had made a month back. Instead of attending a workshop I was looking forward to, I found myself honouring my instincts, though I didn't realise at the time that they were leading me towards caring for myself in a way that served me better at the time.
This helps me trust my instincts more, as this was exactly what I needed. And yet, I know that as a conscious choice, I would not have taken the break that my body, mind, and heart needed. In fact, the decision to change my plans, and do something entirely different, was almost traumatic.
I am aware that I find it very hard to give myself permission to relax, care for myself, and give myself the loving attention I need.
Writing this is difficult as well; I have some resistance to this, in the form of blankness and confusion. Clearly, I am still learning.
I do know that Self-care is a hell of a lot more than the occasional pedicure or backrub (though god knows I love those). Over this last week I've had a few big thoughts, which appeared as fancy neon-sign-like epiphanies, without much elaboration, as mostly I don't understand them enough in a practical sense.
- Self-care is a kind of SELF-PARENTING, or caring for yourself as a parent would
- Self-care also as SELF-LOVE, loving yourself as as someone who loves you would care for you, though treats and gifts that express this love
- Basically, Self-care as treating yourself with the love, kindness and actual respect that you would offer anyone else, with presence and empathy. Through TALKING to yourself, LISTENING to yourself, and indeed, taking TIME to heal what's going on within
While these sounded very nice in my head, I have a thought that self-care, much like most other things, is a daily practice.
There are a number of wonderful, amazing people, like Line (thehugdealer) and Hazel (who likes to 'spreadjoysmile'), who are blogging more regularly about radical self-love, and about creating a sort of regular, doable, everyday practice. Perhaps, in our habitual practices, most of us are not able to (or just not used to) take time to connect with ourselves. Making friends with myself requires me to show up for myself everyday, to create a path to myself that, over time, becomes easier to access.
As always, it helps me to think about this in terms of puppies. If my inner self is a puppy, and I have not given it much attention, it may choose to show up as an angry wolf monster type thing, or to retreat inwards and refuse to emerge until it has the assurance that I am here. Showing up on a daily basis - whether it is through half an hour of rest in the afternoons, or an hour for reading everyday, or talking to oneself in the mirror - creates that pathway, and offers that assurance to an alienated part of myself.
So how do I do that? Here are some of the things I've learned about meeting my need for Self-care, either through hands-on learning, or from others who have a better grasp on it, over the last ten days.
Jumping into the ocean
I did this not ENTIRELY literally, but also quite literally and quite often. For me, this has something to do with PERMISSION. Allowing myself to do whatever I am longing to do without doubt, guilt, or hesitation. In the most literal sense, it means jumping into the ocean when the instincts call for it. It also means exercising requisite caution, as that too is a part of self-care - and giving myself the permission NOT to jump into the ocean on days where it felt less than doable. Oddly, I was always supported when I needed to be!
I don't know why this surprises me every single time I come to this realisation. There is simply nothing as healing, heartening, and fortifying as sleep, and the lack thereof can create utter chaos. Have you ever slept on a bed that feels like a teddy bear's tummy? It may or may not be the best thing in the world.
Talking to my body parts
I do this sometimes, and not often enough. The intention is to do it when there is injury or illness, or even crushing self-loathing and shame, connected with my body parts, to treat every part of myself as a unique, special being, and offer it the gift of presence and empathy. This is also connected with Focusing as a practice. Recently, I've been diagnosed with hypothyroidism, and, perhaps because this is an area of shame, I have not been paying attention to my throat and thyroid glands. One commitment I have to myself is to have a conversation with them in the next week, and see what's up. (This is exactly what it sounds like!)
Self-care often sounds like a "selfish" need. And yet, it is a Need that lives amongst other needs like harmony and peace, and is life-serving beyond myself. My biggest learning (which was offered to me by a couple of others) in this context, is this: when I am cared for and nourished, when I have enough resources to care for others and nourish and serve life in whatever way I choose to. Caring for myself does actually serve life. Doing what I love, what my instincts call for, supports life to come into its fullness - as I am fulfilling what is natural to me. In that sense it is not "selfish", so much as "self-full" - filled and nourished to my warmest capacity, and therefore able and willing to give from my own heart.
It isn't always easy to sense into yourself and find that you need care. Like Thom Bond says in his Introduction to NVC on YouTube, we have spent a really long long actively learning to disregard our feelings. And so it is quite difficult to even be aware, from moment to moment, about what one is feeling.
A feeling is different from a "sense" (for example, "I feel that I am being judged"), or a "thought" ("I feel that he needs to change his attitude"). Examples of feelings would be anger, sadness, disgust, irritation, dejection, overwhelmed, and so on.
Most of us have been asked to "control out emotions", "not get so emotional", "be more rational" - things like that, which take us away from feelings. Indeed, feelings can be quite overwhelming. This is particularly true of feelings like anger and depression, which have the quality of shadowing, or corroding through, other experiences and feelings. Anger can take over when things feel too sad, or too disgusting, or too overwhelming, and make one forget about moments of love, or joy, or even of pain.
And then there are wordless feelings - which are more like a "felt sense", or even a physical sensation - like a punch in the fut, or knees turning to water, or a shakiness, or lightness... these are feelings too, and speak of something that is arriving from our inner landscape.
There is a kind of wisdom in each feeling, each emotion. Nonviolent, or Compassionate, Communication suggest that each feeling arrives as a reflection of the state of our needs, and is connected only with the met- or unmet-ness of our needs. When my needs are met, I am likely to feel joyful, lighthearted, playful, warm, and happy. And when my feelings are not met, I am more likely to feel frustrated, resentful, hurt, angrry, and sad.
Whatever I am feeling, it is coming from within me, and not because of something someone did outside of me. No one has the ability or power to MAKE me happy or sad, angry or hurt, or even warm and "loved". These feelings are direct reflections of me - the life energy inside me, indicators of whether my life is enriched and served, or alienated, in the current moment.
So how do I feel my feelings and not get caught up in my thoughts? Below is a small offering, in the form of a quick exercise, for anyone who would like to try it out! If you would like to, you can download it following the link at the end of this post.
Here is CNVC's list of feelings!
Although I was thinking of writing about Rest and connecting with my own experience of Rest as a need, this week Support has shown up in so many ways that there is a synchronicity I'd like to honour. Support in the form of friends, family, and total strangers, especially on days when I really needed that support.
The absence of support - or the perceived absense, or Support-when-it-is-an-unmet-need - brings up a sense of something like infinite isolation. Perhaps there is an underlying current about being disconnected from the world, and other needs like love and care and belonging that are not met. Ever have those days when it feels as though everything is falling apart completely and nobody around you seems to notice that you are coming apart at the seams? I know I've had plenty.
Usually, at some point of time during a day like that, I make some decisions about my life, like:
These are very sneaky ways in which unmet needs show up - needs that very deeply rooted and need a lot of nourishment. Usually, for me, Support is one such need, and because I've spent a lot of time trying to make sure I can survive in a world that can be overwhelming, my need for Support is quite neglected as well. Sometimes it arrives like this, in thoughts that try to bring me all the way down to where it is buried. And at other times, when I am not ready to travel down to the unmet need (in any which way), then the unmet need arrives in a blaze of glory and makes itself known. Loudly.
So why has this week been different?
I am honestly not sure. I think I may have my unmet need for Rest to thank for it because all of my attention has really been on wanting about 4 more hours of sleep everyday! Perhaps in focusing on the absence of one key thing - and indeed the absence of it altogether - has helped me not put energy into creating this spiral of how "everything is awful". For whatever reason, I've had the privilege of experiencing a lot of support and love and kindness this week!
Support feels like the qualitative opposite of isolation, which is bringing me to the idea it is about inter-connection and inter-dependence, and in a very real sense, about being loved and cared for by people, situations, and things - or the universe. For me, the longing for Support felt very guttural, almost recalling childish longings for my parents, though not always as intense.
When someone turned up without being asked, there was a sense of unconditionality to their presence, that I so valued. Unconditional in that there was no binding agreement pushing me towards a specific kind of response. And when someone turned up because they were asked - several people this week! - it was still beautifully unconditional, still a kind of holding, a kind of warm loving, that inspires trust in that things are working out in the best possible way. Which perhaps points to another aspect of the need for Support, in that maybe for this need more than others for me, there was also a sort of spaciousness and openness that needed to be created beforehand. Not something huge, but along the lines of a small opening to possibility. Perhaps even in simply acknowledging to myself that I needed help, there was some openness in me to receiving said help.
In some cases, it also requires me let go of my ideas of what Support looks like. Sometimes support is not my friend meeting me at the time I want her to, but a stranger buying me coffee, or another friend warmly inviting me to her home (sublimewe calls this "an unasked offering"), or a cabbie who tells me a story about his family. Rather than being attached to an outcome - like "this conversation is meaningful only if my question is directly answered" - when I am open to hearing other things, sometimes my questions are answered in altogether different ways.
All these ways of Support turning up are ways that are so enriching, and maybe if I had had more energy this week to be attached to my preferred outcome, I would have missed out on what could arrive in the real, authentic sense, in longing for what could not be! This also points me to the learning that attachments to outcomes like these take a lot of effort!
And how it feels in my body is kind of like what a big, warm, cuddly bear hug feels like - my senses are soothed, my bristling back calmed, my panicky bits held, and a sense of deep, hopeful belonging.
Can you think of what Support feels like for you? Has Support ever turned up for you in an unexpected way? Or do you have troubles asking for help, and what holds you back?
The Weekly Needs Study is a study of Needs as I understand them, in the context of Nonviolent Communication, or Compassionate Communication. For this study, I intend to stick to CNVC's list of Universal Human Needs. The idea is to do one need at a time, every week, in a personal, investigative (rather than informative), and open manner, to create a space for learning, reflection and conversation!
Please note that this is based on my understanding of NVC or Compassionate Communication, and there are probably a gazillion other ways to understand Needs, and indeed, NVC itself. Please feel free to check out CNVC for more information.
So much of how we understand the world right now is in terms of "scarcity", and the idea that "there aren't resources to care for everyone's needs". One of the most radical - and perhaps very diffiult to digest for me - in both Nonviolent Communication and sublimewe, is the idea of abundance, the idea that there is enough for each of us to be taken care of.
This is something I am still negotiating and on some says it is really hard to believe this, especially when I think of an object, or a service, or some form of care or self-care, that I am really longing for, which I am not in the position to pay for as of now. Often this happens when I am attached to a strategy; if, for example, I imagine that my need for care can only be met through a nice long massage or a holiday in the hills (and oh, how I do long for both!). But when I step away from my chosen strategies and open myself up to new ways of receiving, I usually find that there is enough.
Today is one such day, where I was short of handy cash. Someone standing next to me in line for coffee offered to pay, with a total refusal of "reciprocity", as I understand it. She had a preference for me passing on the favour to someone else: a currency of Generosity, perhaps.
I am still not sure how this negotiates with real world problems like poverty and food "shortage" (or misdirection). But this experience gives me much to tihnk about today. For today, I can say this with greater belief and sureness: "I am taken care of. I am enough. I have enough."
Have you ever experienced exchanges in the currency of Generosity?
Image credits: Buzzquotes
Conflict is quite exhausting - not the actual solving of it, so much as holding onto it, and clinging to anger and irritation. It serves the interest of holding onto conflict to make my "enemy" a "non-person" - a being who looks human but does not have feelings or needs, and who operates in a paradigm people's actions are aimed towards hurting one another.
It is so much easier to form an enemy image of someone I am not seeing. Indeed, seeing a person like an "enemy" is really not seeing them at all, but seeing a part of yourself that is wounded, angry and hurt. In the absence of connection, touch, actual tangible sight, it is easier to believe that a person is my enemy, less than the sum of their parts and defined only by the thing that hurts or wounds me.
Truly seeing another person and trying to believe they are the enemy is a lot more difficult, because then I start to see the common humanness between the "other" and me. It is easy to say things like: "My enemy is really nasty and has no consideration for anyone." It is, on the other hand, far more difficult - to the point of being ridiculous - to say: "My enemy is really exhausted and needs some rest." And it is especially difficult to do this when I have huge emotions and unmet needs.
Can you think of an "enemy"? It could be a person or a whole group of people. What happens when you look at them and think about what you have in common? Is it easy to hold onto the idea that this is a "bad person" who is your "enemy", or does it become a struggle?
According to the list of needs compiled by CNVC, one of our core needs is that of mourning. Seems almost a bit counter–intuitive, doesn't it, the idea that human beings – and indeed, ALL human needs everywhere, as far as the paradigm of Compassionate Communication is concerned – NEED mourning.
Nearly everything in our bodies, minds, hearts and environments (in most countries, anyway), ask us to shift away from mourning – to embrace joy to create more joy, to speak to the universe in strong, positive and open terms to receive beauty in bounteous ways. Mourning also brings up connotations of grief and bereavement, which in death-denying cultures (indeed, sometimes I sense the idea is more to be “death DEFYING”) is a strong, almost institutionalised sort of denial and avoidance.
So why is mourning a need?
Earlier this week I had posted something harvesting gratitude and celebrating met needs. To my mind, it is very natural, while having gratitude and celebrating, to mourn needs that have not been met. A practice of gratitude may not truly be complete without a space for mourning. Perhaps because in every moment we choose – one act over another, one meal over another, one conversation over another, and so on.
During the NVC India Conventions, facilitators warn against "MMS" – the Might Miss Something disease, which threatens to drive one into a frenzy over making choices. We make choices all the time, and by nature of the choices, we miss SOMETHING. It is not often that I can choose something that meets some needs without "losing out" on other needs that may have been met in another situation. Even when I am in a situation that is causing me great pain, I am making a choice to be there.
For example: Today morning, I sat down and decided to write this little blog post – meeting my needs for self-care, expression and learning (amongst others). At the same time, by choosing this, I have so far:
I can find other ways of meeting the needs I've so far not met today – I could call my dad later (and I will, beware Baba!), I could cook after I finish and I could also nap through the afternoon (feeling a warm ripple of peaceful humming joy at that idea!).
However, for me to make a conscious decision, though, it supported me to have three minutes of connection with myself right now to see what it is I'm missing, to really ask myself: “What is it that I am longing for?”
Mourning, on a moment by moment basis, has the potential to create an awareness and spaciousness inside me to support myself in being more fulfilled in the day.
I also see my unmet needs as little puppies yammering for attention. The danger of ignoring these puppies is that over time, without connection and some minor Band–Aid–like action (such as stretching my body out for some rest and ease, or sending my dad a small note on Facebook to say "Hello, will call you in a bit!", and so on), those puppies become hungry, raging, rabid monsters. Have you ever burned out and snapped at someone from an unmet need for rest? (I do it all the time, to my regret!)
When I do not mourn my unmet need and responsibility for meeting it – by actively staying with my mourning and feeling all the sad and angry feelings, thinking all those scary thoughts, and really connecting with myself over what I want – then I am more likely to be violent in my words, thoughts, actions and behaviour, with myself as well as with others.
This is one aspect of mourning – the day-to-day, moment-to-moment checking in, connecting, and creating space for more gratitude and compassion in my inner and outer world.
Inner Mourning – Grief and Bereavement
The other aspect of mourning I want to look at is perhaps a bit more complicated: mourning for a loved one, someone who has passed away. Perhaps similar thoughts could also apply to a lost dream or a lost opportunity.
Grief and bereavement has been a companion in my life – albeit a neglected companion thanks to how I have looked at grief (as something to be intellectually understood and not really felt). Grief is huge and the prospect "feeling grief" is on the whole terrifying. This might explain the elaborate ways in way people can try to not feel it. For me, understanding and dealing with mourning on this level has been a struggle, both conceptually and palpably, in my own practice.
As I write this, now, I am also suddenly aware that this is also not the first time I've written about it (links below). Clearly, I'm still thinking and learning about it. In the context of Mourning and NVC, I only have a few thoughts.
This kind of mourning transforms us – Ashley Davis Bush talks about this a lot – and there's no getting away from that. In that, there is a need here to mourn the person and aspects of one's being that have left us with the loved one – on one level for understanding and acceptance, but also to own that depth of experience that in many ways enriches how one looks at life thereafter. (As I write this, I have my mourning lodged somewhere in my chest, screaming, "That is a poor bloody substitute." Seriously.)
It has helped me to see my mourning as a deep emptiness. When I tried to put an image to the feeling, all that came up was a depressingly fallow field after a war (and for everyone this would be different I'm imagining). It was terrible to think that a huge part of me that had once been nurtured and joyfully occupied by my mother, and brother, and so many others who have died, is now this wasteland of grief.
But, fallow fields are still nurturing – they just need more time, more healing. The earth has its own inner wisdom, and so does each person. Over a period, you can start sowing new crop here. Not to replace the one who has gone, but to truly celebrate them, to grow from them, and heal yourself and your inner wound. Mourning is that fallow land, that dry period, a most basic kind of healing.
One of the most powerful insights into mourning that I have ever read is Miki Kashtan's piece on "Loss, Empty Space and Community" where she talks about this idea of empty spaces and how it is incorporated into traditional Jewish grief practices, as well as how it interacts with her own journey and understanding.
This is my general understanding about mourning as a need. Mourning as a practice on the other hand is a lot more difficult than writing down a lot of words and thinking about it. From what I can tell, it's that thing about carrying it inside you, holding onto the pain, really breathing into it – going "through" rather than going "around" – and emerging on the other side, potentially. That part I don't know yet, and I'm working on it!
My earlier non NVC based articles on death and mourning:
The Weekly Needs Study is a study of Needs as I understand them, in the context of Nonviolent Communication, or Compassionate Communication. The idea is to do one need at a time, every week, in a personal, investigative (rather than informative), and open manner, to create a space for learning, reflection and conversation!
Please note that this is based on my understanding of NVC or Compassionate Communication, and there are probably a gazillion other ways to understand Needs, and indeed, NVC itself. Please feel free to check out CNVC for more information.
Today, I am experience the difference between saying "thank you" or "that was nice", and expressing Gratitude.
Gratitude, in so many ways, is an Inner Harvesting. It is the act of sifting through myself to see what has been cultivated to its fullness.
In expressing gratitude, I may choose to share:
a) what it was specifically that brought me joy, what I have enjoyed seeing or hearing or sensing;
b) how this lands inside me - how I feel when I see or hear or sense, or remember, that specific action or occurence in my inner or outer world; and,
c) which Needs of mine have been met in this moment.
This practice of gratitude suppors me in connecting with myself as well as with the other. The third step is perhaps the most important in many ways, because it connects me to a fullness inside me, and that fullness is something the other can understand when it is expressed in the language of Needs - as these are common between us.
Can you think of one thing - small or large - that has brought you joy today, and connect with the needs that were met in that moment?
One of my experiences of joy today has been receiving a cup of tea from my cook. I have deeply met needs for support as this wakes me up in the morning and brings me a sense of calm and peace as well.
Gratitude in Compassionate Communication | CNVC Needs Inventory | Image Credits