Rosenberg’s nonviolent communication and Boulding’s integrative function of power

Boulding named an integrative function of power that operates across the three faces of power: threat, exchange and love. This integrative function acts to bind, to inspire loyalty and to create community. The integrative function acts through a number of structures. These structures include:

  • trust, communication, courtesy and
  • pride, guilt, shame,

Boulding recognised that neither power with the face of love nor the integrative structure was necessarily positive but did not clearly distinguish between the structures. The practice of nonviolent communication (nvc) as described by Rosenberg can be used to  distinguish these integrative structures in the space between requests and demands. Continue reading “Rosenberg’s nonviolent communication and Boulding’s integrative function of power”

My (most recent) nvc fail

So, Dave picked me up last night after a nonviolent communication (nvc) workshop and I was very excited about all that I had experienced. I bubbled away about it while groping in my backpack for my new phone. Ah – someone’s tried to call me, not sure about the number; I’ll call back just in case it’s one of my sisters.

The phone rang and a familiar voice answered… Well hello, finally. Do you know how many times I’ve rung you over the past three weeks! I’ve left five messages! And I ring all your mobiles and just get that bloody ding-dong. Continue reading “My (most recent) nvc fail”

an observation

I am lying in bed. It is dark. I can hear techno music. It appears to be coming from a particular house across the road. The house that is inhabited by a number of people who appear to be less than 25 years old. The house that about once a month emits techno music well after midnight. Continue reading “an observation”

an observation

A woman is pushing a child in a stroller up a hill and out of the park. It is afternoon. The sky is beginning to darken and the temperature has dropped a little. The child’s red face is wet with tears and perhaps snot. She(?) opens her mouth and lets out a series of high pitched, drawn out sounds. These sounds echo around the nearby buildings. As our paths cross, I offer the woman a small crinkle-eyed smile.  Continue reading “an observation”

living nonviolently in an old house that could use a few renovations that we can’t afford just yet.

20160131_070123 (1)Our house is pretty old, for Queensland. It is 120 years old, but it’s heart is 150 years old. That’s what special about our house. The original 1 room house was wrapped in a newer house at some stage. When you go underneath you can see the mismatch of timbers and joints between the two, and in the oldest part, we find hand-made nails. On the inside, part of the now-hall was once the verandah, and there is a cute proper outdoor window looking out from the oldest room to the hall, and the door from that room to the hall is an outside door, a simple hand-made front door with a key lock (the key long-lost).

My favourite parts of the house are that window and door, but also my perch on the back step. It’s kind of a humble place to sit, beside the loo pipe and the worst of the cracked paint, and all. But from this spot I can watch the chooks fuss about and I can wave at the neighbours as they pass. It’s a humble view: the view of the back yards-a-jumble of old cars (being worked on – or neglected) wild gardens, kids skating, clotheslines, veggies and chooks, bric-a-brac storage. It’s messy life and I like that.

Another part of the house I enjoy is the front verandah. The verandah is the coolest spot to be after about 11am. It is on the easternmost side, so is shaded by then and there is nearly always a good cooling breeze from the river. The verandah is wide enough for a full table and chairs and we all sit out here in the evening and eat our dinner. At first I felt a bit embarrassed about being in full view of the street, but if the neighbours thought it weird, they are now used to it and just smile and wave as they go past. My insomniac daughter also does yoga on the verandah in the middle of the night, in the dark. When I think of the verandah I realise how happy we are as a family here. It works.

Some parts of the house do suck though. The bathroom is too tiny to stand in with your arms spread wide, which is unpleasant. Also, the shower is made of asbestos and even though our builder said it was stable I hate looking at it, it gives me the creeps, so I don’t like to spend time in that room.  And the kitchen is not suitable for tall people. We have all banged our heads on the cupboards when we wash up, and the stooping over the sink hurts our backs for ages afterwards. Just 1 little sink to wash up in, it’s pretty basic.

Sometimes I tell myself We really must do something about this! and get stressed out, especially about the asbestos. If I let myself, I will lie awake at night worrying about how much it will cost and imagining running out of money in the middle of renovations and having no toilet and the bank throwing us into the street and oh my god how are we all going to sleep in the car!!  Getting myself into a state about it all. And this is where I use nonviolence to get me through. These are the things I can do…

I can breathe and be aware that I am breathing. Breathe in and out. Breathe in and calm my body, breathe out and smile (thank you Thich Nhat Hanh).

I can rephrase: We really could do something about the bathroom. And remind myself that it’s just a choice (thank you Landmark Education).

I can reach out and touch my house and be aware of the strength and character and love that lives here right now (thank you Marie Kondo).

I can think about the needs met and unmet by the house and in the space that opens up be free to consider alternate strategies to expensive renovations (thank you nonviolent communication).

So the really best part of the house is that there really is no need for me to suffer about this old house. I am free to enjoy her strength and character and quirkiness and her crumbling rambling shambles as well.

 

 

from keep your goddam hands to yourself to empathy

The terrible sexual assaults in Cologne are reminding me of some experiences I have had, so I thought to do a nonviolent communication exercise on one incident here. Two things to note: 1. This isn’t a serious incident, but if reading such things causes you upset, please don’t read further. 2. I am not saying that this exercise will make everything better for people who have experienced sexual assault or sexism. No. I do find that doing this exercise creates a safe mental space for me to think about a situation, about how to address it in a powerful way. And I also experience a sense of peace, these are the potential benefits I am suggesting. Continue reading “from keep your goddam hands to yourself to empathy”

What to do with my Christmas ambivalence

Yes, I would love to appear all sweetness and light but I am Christmas-ambivalent. I like shiny sparkly things, but when I see tinsel and lights I wonder what this display is costing the environment? Gifts can be great when given from the heart: they can be an expression of love of recognition of who you are and an acknowledgement of what is alive in you. But so often it seems to be a ‘check off the list’ activity. And something that is demanded of me. Worst of all I love my family but am not looking forward to seeing them all at once… shouting over the top of each other, asking mean questions like “so where are you travelling to this year?” when they know I can’t afford to travel. And they compete over the behaviour and characteristics of their children. And talk about politics! Continue reading “What to do with my Christmas ambivalence”

Nonviolence – With horses!

I just arrived home from a few days horse riding and camping at *Nash Horsetrekking it was a lot of fun and also a wonderful opportunity to see nonviolence in action – with horses. Continue reading “Nonviolence – With horses!”

shame redo

we were at a pub, a big group of us in a nice place, having fun, joking, laughing and a man we did not know who appeared to be drunk appeared at our table. he made some comments about my friend’s appearance. it wasn’t nice. we ignored him and he persisted and after a bit the only man in the group attempted to change the topic and encourage the stranger to return to his friends. one of the pub staff appeared and gave the stranger a look so he walked past our table and to the bar.

but now the mood had changed. there was a bit of discussion about how nasty that was and we hoped they were not going to keep serving him at the bar when clearly he had had enough. but this did not dissipate the discomfort i ( i suspect all of us) were feeling – i  was feeling very uncomfortable and bad for my friend who had been the target of the comments. why hadn’t i said or done something to make the man go away? i felt frustrated but mostly ashamed of my inaction.

i was feeling vulnerable, and wanting to be safe and maybe being quiet, not engaging with him was the right or most effective thing to do, to have him move away as quickly as possible. but i wish i had expressed myself, i wish i said so she could hear as well as him, that she..’is my friend. she is smart and very kind and funny and looks out for us, and we all care for her very much and when you make comments about her like that it hurts us all.’

i guess i don’t really care what he thinks and i don’t suppose she does either. but i think i would be happier in this moment if i had said something like that. because in the end there just are people that blow in and out and say things but it’s how we respond that matters. and maybe the opportunity wasn’t just to meet a need for safety and have the guy leave but to demonstrate to her that we care, that she is one of us.

 

 

 

my ‘first home’

About a year ago I asked myself what it might take to be a first home buyer – and buy a beautiful and affordable home for my family. I now know the answer. It takes a lot.

It takes dedication. Hours of driving and viewing houses that we had no intention of buying, months before we were even ready to buy to get a feel for different areas, and for value. Watching prices go up and seeing the difference between what people asked and what they received (often a big difference!)

It takes persistence. Dealing with a bunch of people all with their own agendas: agents, bank managers, solicitors, and then with the bank itself! Plowing through paperwork, providing what they ask for, asking questions and more questions because everyone speaks a different language, and even though the words sound familiar they have a different meaning. Forms!

It takes communication skills. I have used all the nonviolent communication tools, all the Landmark Education tools, all the conflict resolution skills I have. I have never been so stressed, wired, anxious, high, excited, fearful and probably all the other emotions as well in my whole life. Trying to reconcile our needs/wants and budget. Following up with the bank when they missed a deadline – and not making a mess of the fabulous manager who sorted it out for us. Fending off agents trying to sell us things that were nothing like what we wanted. Keeping it together for the kids who were plowing through their own studies and needing some sense of home right now.

And finally, it took a community. My husband dealt with the solicitor when I had to go to work (that stuff is usually firmly in my domain!) My daughters cooked and cleaned and no doubt they all did stuff I have not even noticed. My extended family were great too, I got plenty of empathy and sympathy too 🙂 My workmates were fabulous as well – so caring and understanding, especially in the past month as a heap of dramas unfolded.

It takes a lot!

And here she is. A little Queenslander cottage in very tall boots! We move next week.

first_home

%d bloggers like this: