AVL NVC Consciousness Gathering – Practicing Needs

In our next Asheville NVC Consciousness meeting we will be experientially exploring Needs as distinct strategies. Needs are the heart of NVC and of life, our driving life force. When we understand that Needs and strategies are not the same, we open the door to vast potential to be able to speak to our Needs more effectively and in harmony with the Needs of others.

We will be meeting at our regularly scheduled time and location, 7pm-9pm on the first Tuesday of the month (August 2nd) at Kairos Community Center West (742 Haywood Rd), in the same parking lot as The Guitar Trader across the street from Biscuit Head.

I 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.

Needs, strategies, & meaning

Needs are distinct from strategies. This is what makes them universal to the human condition. If you’re speaking about a particular person, place, thing, or activity, then you are referring to a strategy and not a need. At the same time, a significant component of the human condition is to relate to the world around us, to specific persons, places, things, and activities. We derive vast meaning from this relating.

To think of someone you deeply love and and to believe that NVC is calling this person “simply a strategy” would not be congruous with NVC, which is a language of life. We can simultaneously hold how meaningful a particular person is to us while recognizing that this person is not the underlying need itself. They do not have to conflict.

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.

Play

I believe being silly, and the underlying Need for play, is heavily discouraged as adults. I have so much appreciation for NVC recognizing play as a universal human Need. We’re trained to believe that children play but adults are responsible and work and do not play.

Acknowledging this vital human Need has really opened the door to authenticity, self-acceptance, and joy for me. Which in turn has facilitated my curiosity about life and human interaction. And when we can face the unfamiliar with curiosity rather than judgment, it makes it much easier to be present with “how can we make life more wonderful?” rather than “who is right and who is wrong?”

[gratitude, compassion]

Have you acknowledged your need for play lately?

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.

Don’t just do something, sit there!

One of my favorite quotes is a play on the common phrase “Don’t just sit there, do something.” With simplicity and cleverness, Sylvia Boorstein says “Don’t just do something, sit there.”

Living in the U.S. many of us find ourselves in a constant cycle of hustle & recuperate. Often this recuperation or down time is rather “busy” in itself – we’re still quite mentally preoccupied, whether we’re engaged in a movie, book, or other activity. It can be rare that we find (or rather, arrange for) downtime where our mind and attention can “just sit there” for a moment. When we do make this time, we are often surprised to find that our body has been trying to get our attention about about a need (or needs) that has not been spoken to – a tense shoulder, a sore back, a feeling of sadness, frustration, or fatigue.

Arranging to have this unoccupied downtime, to simple just sit there and breathe, allows us to provide ourselves much needed feedback about what is alive in us. It provides clarity, understanding, and a window to the needs that are driving our every action. Having this clarity helps us to see which strategies are working, which are not, and creates the opportunity to think of different strategies that might better speak to our needs.

Are you arranging your busy schedule to include unoccupied downtime?

Varying Intensity of Needs, Order, & Shared Space

While our human needs are universal, the intensity of those needs varies dramatically from one person to the next.

The need for order is the first example that comes to mind. Most everyone I’ve ever known has been in some form of conflict or discontent with the people they share space with because of this varying need for order. People with a high need for order are called “nit-picky,” “obsessive,” or “controlling,” while people with a low need for order are called “lazy,” “messy,” or “disorganized.”

Behind these judgments are simply a varying intensity of a universal need. Acknowledging this is the first step towards a healthy conversation about mutually beneficial strategies and shared living spaces.