If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself
and take up his cross daily and follow me.
“Life is difficult” is how Scott Peck puts it in his Road Less Traveled. To grow in truth and love, which is to grow in
Jesus, involves some pain. Most of that pain, according to mystical theologians is the pain of letting go of our false
selves, all the little coping mechanisms that try to avoid pain. One Abbot said that 80% of our suffering is caused by
avoiding suffering. Surrendering to the daily cross takes an act of trust, trust that God will be there, trust that this feeling
of death to my own will is leading me in the right direction. Jesus promises this in this weekend’s Gospel.
Non-violent Communication, Part II
One cross we can pick up daily is our communication with our neighbors. There are ways of expressing myself that reverence both my
experience as well as the values and dignity of the one I am speaking with. Marshall Rosenberg’s Non-Violent Communication: A Language
of Life is a great book for learning better methods of communication. I recommend it often where there is tension in relationships. Here is Part
II, written by writer in residence, Catherine Whetham:
This interplay of mutual giving and receiving in conversation is achieved by the four components of NVC (Non-Violent Communication): Observation,
feelings, needs, and requests:
1) Observation – concrete actions we are observing that are affecting our well-being. NVC observes without evaluation. Even appreciation
should focus on concrete actions to avoid categorization and manipulation. “When we combine observation with evaluation, others are apt to
hear criticism and resist what we are saying” (Rosenberg 32). By focusing on observing concrete actions as they relate to our own feelings
and needs, we avoid the damage from guilt or shame that comes from unfairly evaluating, labeling, or judging an entire person or even an
individual action as Good, Bad, Evil, Corrupt, Crazy, Selfish, etc.
Toxic Communication (TC): “Henry is aggressive.”
Nonviolent Communication (NVC): “Henry hit his sister when she switched the television channel.”
2) Feeling – How we feel in relation to what we are observing. “By developing a vocabulary of feelings that allows us to clearly and specifically
name or identify our emotions (shocked, unhappy, irritated, anxious, weary, happy, joyful) we can connect more easily with one another”
(46). The language of NVC holds to “I” statements; by taking responsibility for one’s feelings and needs, the violence dissolves that comes
from the mistaken belief that other people cause our pain and therefore deserve punishment.
TC: “Will you please stop using me as a wastebasket for your words? You haven’t taken a breath for ten minutes.”
NVC: “Excuse me, I’m feeling overwhelmed because we only have five more minutes left to talk, and I’m worried I won’t get to respond to
all that you’re telling me.”
3) Needs – The needs, values, desires, etc., that are creating our feelings. Acknowledge the needs behind our feelings like the roots of a
tree. “What others say and do may be the stimulus, but never the cause, of our feelings” (60).
TC: “I feel scared when you raise your voice.”
NVC: “When you raise your voice, I feel scared because I’m telling myself someone might get hurt, and I need to know that we’re all safe.”
4) Requests – The specific, concrete actions we request in order to enrich our lives. “The objective of NVC is not to change people and their
behavior in order to get our way; it is to establish relationships based on honesty and empathy that will eventually fulfill everyone’s needs.”
TC: “I want you to stop drinking.”
NVC: “I want you to tell me what needs of yours are met by drinking and to discuss with me other ways of meeting those needs.”
--Quotes, some examples and content taken from Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life, by Marshall Rosenberg. Catherine Whetham
Thanks to ‘Cat’ Whetham for this summary of NVC. Let’s disarm the world with a Word of truth and love.
Thanks for the gifts and spiritual bouquets.
Your love and support last weekend was very heart-warming. Thanks for all your gifts that have made my five years of priesthood a joy
Next Week - Next week I’ll share with you the miracle of Masaka that you are a part of as well as other great happenings.
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