Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A Language of Life

About four years ago I went to a workshop by Marshall Rosenberg called "Speak Peace in a World of Conflict." Rosenberg developed a practice and understanding of communication and conflict resolution known as Non-Violent Communication. Hearing his presentation was one of those times in my life that I really felt a new door open.

Rosenberg has offered his teachings to such a variety of people - those caught in tribal warfare, gang members, penitentiary inmates, survivors of domestic violence, and many average people with the everyday struggles of relationship (ie. anyone who is married, has kids, has parents, has friends, or interacts with other people :-). What he teaches really works at all those different levels.

This weekend I had the chance to hear him speak again at the U of O Peace Conference, which led me to a 6-week workshop that started tonight on Non-Violent Communication and Parenting. Michael and I went together. We went knowing that at some point we hope to parent together again, and because we both find meaning in learning about communication and about children.

I don't know if I could adequately sum up the content of what we are learning, but I do want to mention a few books in case anyone is curious.

These three books are by M. Rosenberg:
Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life
Raising Children Compassionately
Teaching Children Compassionately

And this one is by Inbal Kashtan :
Parenting from Your Heart

Tonight Michael and I left the class feeling hopeful and excited. I can see that what I am learning has the potential to enrich my experience working with kids and with parents. And I could feel the potential for me and Michael to be united and supportive in our approach to parenting.

What I love about Nonviolent Communication is that it is incredibly practical while still being profoundly spiritual (in the sense that it asks us to deepen our awareness of ourselves and others and to choose life-enriching ways of interacting). If any of you out there find yourselves interested in this, I would love to hear from you.


janis said...

Jessie, I've been to a workshop by Inbal before, and it was just wonderful! Very empowering, inspiring... if not also very emotional! I really like NVC... it's not easy to apply it, or rather, to adopt it as my new language, but it certainly is worth the try! For a time I organized a support/discussion group too. I'm excited to see you dig NVC too. :-)

amee said...

I'm glad you made it to these. I wish I could I have gone with you. The workshops sound fantastic. Thanks for the book recommendations. I'll check those out. I found a community mediation npo up here that I'm hoping to be able to volunteer for. Apparently the competition is pretty tough. Last year they had over 100 applicants for 20 positions. I'll let you know how it goes. In the meantime, keep me posted on your own journey through the study of nonviolent communication.