AVL NVC Consciousness Gathering – Practicing Feelings

In our next Asheville NVC Consciousness meeting we will be experientially exploring Feelings as distinct from thoughts/evaluations. While Feelings seem straightforward, our language and culture has conditioned us to overlay our Feelings with thoughts and emulations with the phrase “I feel like/as is/that.” Building a feelings vocabulary and awareness is part of the core of an NVC practice.

Please join Sasha Tsyupka and me as we practice feelings awareness and vocabulary.

We will be meeting at our regularly scheduled time and location, 7pm-9pm on the first Tuesday of the month (July 5th) at Kairos Community Center West (742 Haywood Rd), in the same parking lot as The Guitar Trader across the street from Biscuit Head.

We hope to see you there!

AVL NVC Consciousness Gathering – Transforming Our Anger (pt2 – workshop)

  • Location: Kairos – 742 Haywood Rd, Asheville, NC 28806
  • Date & Time: Tuesday, May 3rd from 7pm-9pm.
  • Co-host: Sasha Tsyupka

Our last gathering (Transforming Our Anger) turned out to be a wonderful discussion around the process of identifying and transforming our anger. Part two will be the hands-on experiential workshop component of this process. I’m delighted that Sasha Tsyupka will be co-hosting this event again with me.

In this gathering we will review what we discussed in the last meeting, then Sasha and I will demonstrate the process of transforming our anger, and then we will break into pairs to practice the process. Please try to bring with you 2 specific examples of a time when you felt angry and be able to identify a specific trigger person/scenario around this anger.

Please note that pairs will be matched by relative sensitivity to anger. For example, if you have a high sensitivity to anger, you will be paired with someone who shares a high sensitivity and who will likely be mindful of this sensitivity.

I look forward to seeing you there!

“For teaching purposes, I sometimes refer to anger as similar to the warning light on the dashboard of a car – it’s giving you useful information about what the engine needs. You wouldn’t want to hide or disconnect or ignore it. You’d want to slow down the car and figure out what the light’s trying to tell you.” (Marshall B. Rosenberg)

*This event is free.

AVL NVC Consciousness Gathering – Transforming Our Anger workshop

Transforming Our Anger

  • Location: Kairos – 742 Haywood Rd, Asheville, NC 28806
  • Date & Time: Tuesday, April 5th from 7pm-9pm.
  • Co-host: Sasha Tsyupka

For our next Asheville NVC Consciousness gathering we will be meeting at Kairos West Community Center. I’m delighted to share that Sasha Tsyupka will be co-hosting this event with me where we will be talking about and working with Transforming Our Anger.

“For teaching purposes, I sometimes refer to anger as similar to the warning light on the dashboard of a car – it’s giving you useful information about what the engine needs. You wouldn’t want to hide or disconnect or ignore it. You’d want to slow down the car and figure out what the light’s trying to tell you.” (Marshall B. Rosenberg)

Together we will discuss steps to transform our anger, see a demonstration of the process, and then break into pairs to practice these steps. Please bring a specific example of a time when you felt angry and be able to identify a specific trigger person around this anger.

Please note that pairs will be matched by relative sensitivity to anger. For example, if you have a high sensitivity to anger, you will be paired with someone who shares a high sensitivity and who will likely be mindful of this sensitivity.

*This event is free.

Distracting ourselves from it won’t make it go away

When we commit the time and energy (and bravery) to connect with ourselves at a supremely honest and vulnerable level, even when the feelings we’re experiencing are on that “Feelings When Needs Are Not Being Spoken To” list, even when it means shedding light on thoughts we shouldn’t be having, when we move with and be present with what is alive in us rather than trying to avoid or change what is present, we open the door to discovery of such depth, such clarity, such invigoration, such care, such empowerment!

The longer we consider this state of being as negative, bad, wrong, incorrect, should not be, to be fixed and controlled, the longer we will persist in this state of being, our driving life force deeply longing to be acknowledged, to be heard, to be understood. Avoiding it, side-stepping it, distracting ourselves from it will not make it go away.

How to “Be Yourself”

“Be Yourself” or “Accept Yourself” is not about attaching to the specific strategies you’ve chosen in life, it’s about having the courage to be honest with your feelings and needs, about honoring and being in integrity with your driving life force, even when it’s scary. When there is a disconnect with or lack of understanding about our driving life force, our needs, then it becomes incredibly challenging to find the clarity, the inspiration, and invigorated presence of Being You and Accepting You.

What is alive in me right now? Beneath the voices in my head, beneath the concepts and judgments, the ideas of rightdoing and wrongdoing. Right here, right now, what am I experiencing? Needs are the expressions of life seeking to manifest itself in this moment. To be yourself and accept yourself, this presence and awareness is paramount.

Expressing Feelings and Needs

We often say “I feel like ___,” or “I feel that ___.” What follows often isn’t a feeling but rather an assessment. For example, “I feel like you don’t listen to me,” or “I feel that you don’t care about this relationship.” What follows “I feel” is an assessment of a situation rather the feelings evoked by that situation. If I was telling myself “I feel like my partner doesn’t listen to me,” I may be feeling sad, angry, annoyed, frustrated, hurt, lonely, afraid, anxious, or any other number of feelings.

Additionally, when say “I need ___,” often what follows isn’t a need but rather a strategy. For example, “I need you to clean your room,” or “I need to get to work on time.” What we’re expressing is something we are wanting; a strategy to speak to an underlying need. “I need you to clean your room” is stating a desired strategy that we hope will speak to our need for order, respect, consideration, or some other need.

Here is a link to a list of common Feelings words. Here is a link to a list of common Needs words.

When we clearly express our feelings in relation to our clearly expressed needs, it is easier for others to connect with us, and for us to connect with ourselves.

 

Take note of what follows the phrase “I feel ____” and “I need____” when you’re speaking tomorrow. Are you completing each sentence with a feeling or need? If not, would you like to?

To really see this language in action, watch a 30 minute TV show and listen hard for “I feel ___” and “I need ____.” It’s amazing how infrequently we are actually sharing our feelings and needs with others.

Mutually Beneficial Interactions, It’s not all win-lose

In my experience, most people (including myself) were not socially trained to express themselves with what they are actually feeling and needing – the language of feelings and needs is foreign. We often use the phrase “I feel like…” or “I feel that…” but in my experience, what follows is usually not a feeling, it’s an assessment of the situation. Our language is permeated with judgments of ourselves and others. Many of us are even taught that to have needs and express those needs is selfish, taught to please others (or conversely, take what you can while you can). Many of us are taught that a “win-lose” situation is all there is, that either I am giving and Other is taking (and I am good) or I am taking and Other is giving (and I am selfish.)

What I came to realize at my first NVC workshop was that it does not always have to be that way, that in dialogue, in relationship, there are ways in which both individuals are giving and receiving. I remember I was talking to one of the NVC trainers for at least 45 minutes during an exercise. He listened to me and offered me empathy while I vented topical frustrations until I was in touch with the root feelings and needs beneath my surface expressions of anger, that I was desperately longing for understanding, to be heard, and to be okay, to not be judged for how I was feeling and what I was needing. When Jesse (the trainer) made an empathy guess about what I was longing for,  that it sounded like I was really wanting to be heard and to be okay, I broke down crying. Then I quickly cut myself off from being present with my feelings because I felt guilty for “using up so much time” in this small-group exercise.

When I expressed my anxiety to the trainer and a fellow participant, I was completely surprised to discover that both the trainer and observer were also benefiting, receiving from my exchange with the trainer. NVC can be a tranformative experience, a tongue for which to speak and an ear for which to hear in a connected manner. This is why my practice is so deeply rooted in NVC.