Welcome To My Blog

The Art of Fine Metalwork and the Art of Empathy and Nonviolent Communication- woven together for you....

Friday, April 30, 2010

To Suffer Creatively

This is not my idea..and I don't  remember who said it. Right now,  though it seems like a good idea since I'm suffering anyway, I might as well be creative, right?

Basically I have that BIG question again in my head. Why, will someone please tell me , am I still here? In this world , on this plane? Earlier, I thought, maybe it's all so I could bring these two beautiful people into the world and THEY will be able to fulfill something and make a difference. Yes I guess that's it , I desperately want to make a difference, and a living while I'm doing it. And that's not happening , at least not yet...but I know I am pretty fed up, waiting...

Well since I'm here and maybe you are too, I'll slip in some Empathy to my-self , after being a little unpleasant to my -self all day:

Me : You'll never get anywhere or do anything, time's rushing by, and what have you achieved?!

Self:  So it sounds like you're pretty down, eh?

Me: You bet I am, just look at you! Been pushing chocalate waffles down, when you're not hungry, what's that?

Self : Sounds like you really want some self-respect...and to take care of yourself in a more concious way

Me: That too! What's with how you're treating your body? You need to see an ear doctor, and that poor little toe of yours , screaming for help! Why, oh why are you continuosly choosing to live in pain? It looks like you're punishing yourself for something! I mean would you treat anyone else like this?

 Self : (sigh.....) I hear you. You're hurting....and mostly I notice that you're very very tired...

Me: (Yawning), yes...very...maybe I'll have a little nap and things will look a little better later.

Self : sounds good to me, go for it....hug

I'm not sure this little empathy session will change a lot but, (yawn) I'll let you know .....

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Empathy - The Missing Link

When talking about parenting with Nonviolent Communication, many parents I work with ask me - what about boundaries? What about right and wrong? How will I ever teach my child to behave?

I'd like to reassure you. No one is taking any of that away from you. We all have values which we think are important to pass on. The question is, not what our message is, but how we say it and more importantly, how will our child receive it? I mean. lets face it folks - how many times have we talked and talked at our child and all we get in response is this far away look and silence? Did our message get through? I doubt it. If anything did get through it's the sound, the vibration, the tone of our voice which can be, in these instances, a little harsh. That won't open our kids' hearts and minds to hearing us,  I can bet you that.

So what's missing? Empathy. Let me give you a little example:

The other day Tom, my 10 year old son, and, as I like to call him, my personal Guru (yes, that's him in that photo) had that faraway. glazed look, while I was ranting about something, I can't even remember what. Fortunately for both of us,  I suddenly noticed what was going on and said:

Tom, you don't like what you're hearing now, right?
Well.....yeah Ima (Mom in Hebrew)
And I'm guessing that it's not what I'm saying, as much as how ?

Now I got his attention! Tom experienced being seen and acknowledged, we made eye contact, I became softer and we had a laugh. Then I could take a moment to look inside and connect with what I was needing in this situation, and say it the way Nonviolent Communication offers us. My needs of communication, dialogue and understanding were met. Not to mention that it changed the mood completely, and I was heard!

That's the magic of Empathy, the missing link. Before educating - we make a connection.

So if Empathy's so great, why can't we always be empathic?

That's in my next post. Till then -try it and let me know how it works for you!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

When we keep repeating ourselves over and over...

Remember those record's from the old days? And those grooves the needle would get caught in whenever there was the slightest scratch - and which, until we would gently lift it would just repeat the same music over and over? That was really annoying, right?

So, today, we don't use those records anymore but our habits, particularly of repeating ourselves over and over, reacting in the same automatic ways and wanting to be "right"; These habits are, how shall I put it, lagging behind technology? 

Do these re-actions bring us any closer to getting our deeper needs met? Probably not.

So how do we gently "lift the needle"?

For me, it means creating a little gap that enables me to choose how I want to respond instead of just shooting whatever comes to mind. My Dad, may he rest in peace, used to say: whenever you find yourself getting angry, go drink a glass of cold water. ( I'm wondering how often he used his own advice...). Sometimes, when situations arise I am able to take an in-breath and out breath, release stress and ask myself, what am I feeling? What do I need? And sometimes, particularly in the family, I notice, it doesn't happen, and I find myself stuck in that ol' groove. In which case I try to remember to be kind to myself, and remember that, as Marshall Rosenberg puts it (roughly): In the family, where our feelings and needs are strongest -  is the place where it is hardest to change those habits which we know don't serve us anymore. And here is where we need to be as compassionate as we can to ourselves...

So how do you create the gap, and move ahead with compassion? I'd love to hear your remarks.

Monday, April 19, 2010

"I Was a Free Man in Paris"

Been Back from Paris for a week now, and it seems like a Dream. What Can I take from this all too short visit? Mostly the memory the feeling , of how it felt to feel free...roaming, wandering, not having to answer to anyone or be anywhere or have responsibility for anything except for experiencing and enjoying life. The feeling of my heart expanding and breathing.
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Sunday, April 4, 2010

When your child blocks her ears and says: Don't talk!

I was chatting with a close friend of mine on the web today. We both have twins aged ten, a boy and a girl...this a transcript of our conversation which can teach two things: first how being in Empathy with my friend simultaneously gave her some relief and opened her up to hear my point of view, and also,  gave a little strategy with what to do, when your child just doesn't want to hear you talk:
Friend: I fear that my daughter  will be a handful as she grows.
Me: Why a handful? Is she acting in a 'cheeky' kind of manner?
Friend: Maya is very closed. She never wants to discuss her feelings and she doesn't want to hear about my feelings either! She freaks out when I do and just pushes me away!
Me Leaving you at loss at what to do? And wishing you could connect more easily?
Friend I mean if I tell her about my feelings, like lets say she has done or said something and I want to tell her that it hurt my feelings and I feel such and such a way, she will hide under the blankets and block her ears and push me away and say stop .
Me: Want my guess?
Friend yes!
Me I think when kids do that they must  be hearing our message as blameful...so I say to them
does it sound like I'm blaming you? And they or he or she says YES!
Friend: O.k. and then what?
Me: That's a starting point;  Sometimes not much more is needed, to calm first.
Friend ok. I see.
Me:  It's an ongoing process... I can then say: ok, I understand, well let me see how I can put this differently... but sometimes just that little tiny acknowledgment really turns around the situation. Sometimes I'll say: well I notice you really don't want to hear me now....right?
Friend ..But she really doesn't want to hear me now!  and not later either!
Me:  You know what I noticed lately? You know how when you are frantically looking for something and it never turns up? and then you just let go....and presto, there it is? Sometimes we just need to LET GO.
Friend That's true. I understand about letting up and then things fixing themselves.
Me I am sure you want a connection with your child that includes being able to talk with one another
and I support that totally
Friend of course.
Me:  Leave her , let her be, let her come to you...she will I promise you. Meanwhile use the time for introspection, continue learning and and check to see , am I blaming her? Not to blame yourself! Just look at it, and see how you can put it  or do it differently.
Friend And if u r in a way blaming her?
Me  Check with yourself : what am I needing? What am I lacking here?
Jeannie:  I get it.
Me: From the Nonviolent Communication perspective, the only reason that anyone EVER blames, shouts , hurts etc, is because there is some unfullfilled need in side of YOURSELF. And to look at with compassion, not more blame have some mercy for your sweet self, you deserve it.
Friend I know
Me:  I believe we are doing the best we can; As one of the teachers I love says: We are doing the BEST we can, with the awareness we have right now, so give yourself some love baby
Friend: That's true.
Me: Our kids can not and I don't think Should not, fill our needs mainly, they just CAN'T, they're still struggling with their own needs, they're still growing up. My experience is that it just doesn't help to put blame on them and believe me, I do it too, everyday...
Friend: Lol
Me Great, glad I put a smile on your face
A little more food for thought and consideration. Talking is one way to meet the need for CONNECTION, that we mentioned that my friend, and every parent I work with, wants with their child. Once we have recognized that need, we can now think of other ways to meet that need. Sometimes offering to play with your child, which children of any age love doing, can create it, or simply saying: "Can I have a hug?" - never met a kid , unless in extreme situations, who won't respond to that.
Remember: Give yourself time.
Rome wasn't built in a day!