Celebration/Celebración…en dos idiomas

It is December, 31st, closing the year and I received the news this morning that the crowdfunding campaign Arcoiris – Nonviolent Communication in Education…a bike journey has reached its set minimum, necessary criteria to access the financial support for the project I’m going to start beginning of February.

It leaves me smiling and I observe myself relaxing into joy. Reaching this moment is important to me. It is one consequence of an ongoing process of self-care, allowing myself to be visible and asking for help.

I decided to trust interdependence and the idea that as social beings we are wired to be connected. I decided that a way out of our social and environmental crisis is learning to trust in this connectedness. My intention is to learn how to be with the other without comparing myself, without belittling myself, without shutting myself in, without turning away…

These days I re-read Brené Brown “Braving the Wilderness”. She writes:

“…Belonging is the innate human desire to be part of something larger than us. Because this yearning is so primal, we often try to acquire it by fitting in and by seeking approval….Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance…” and

“…When our belief that there is something greater than us , something rooted in love and compassion, breaks, we are more likely to retreat to our bunkers, to hate from afar, to tolerate bullshit, to dehumanize others, and, ironically to stay out of the wilderness….Our belief in inextricable human connection is one of our most renewable sources of courage in the wilderness….”

I want to stand in the wilderness, this place where I speak my truth with confidence, with courage and with love. I believe we will need this skill in order to grow in resilience as a planetary community, if we want to live together in peace in a world of our liking…not only surviving, but co-creating the world we want to live in and we find worthwhile living in, together…all of us and not only humans.

I’m deeply grateful, that I have the privilege to venture on that journey and hopefully be able to share my learning for the well-being of life larger than my own.

These days I felt resistance when closing mails with the words Happy New Year…..may it be a year of joyful commitment, peaceful listening, courageous authenticity and connection from curiosity to understand each other. Very big words….I want to grow into.


Es el 31 de diciembre, cerrando el año ….esta mañana recibí la noticia de que la campaña de crowdfunding Arcoiris – Nonviolent Communication in Education…a bike journey ha alcanzado el mínimo necesario para acceder al apoyo financiero para el proyecto que comenzaré a principios de febrero.

Me deja sonriendo y me observo relajándome de alegría. Llegar a este momento es importante para mí. Es una etapa en un proceso continuo personal de escucharme, de darme permiso de ser visible y pedir ayuda.

Decidí confiar en la interdependencia y en la idea de que como seres sociales nuestra naturaleza es estar conectados. Decidí que para mí una forma de salir de nuestra crisis social y ambiental es aprender a confiar en esta conexión. Mi intención es aprender a estar con el otro sin compararme, sin menospreciarme, sin encerrarme, sin alejarme …

En estos días releí Brené Brown “Braving the Wilderness”. Ella escribe:

“…Pertenecer es el deseo humano innato de formar parte de algo más grande que nosotros. Debido a que este anhelo es tan primitivo, a menudo tratamos de adquirirlo encajando y buscando aprobación … Debido a que la verdadera pertenencia solo ocurre cuando presentamos nuestro ser auténtico e imperfecto al mundo, nuestro sentido de pertenencia nunca puede ser mayor que nuestro nivel de auto-aceptación … ” y sigue:

“… Cuando nuestra creencia de que hay algo más grande que nosotros, algo arraigado en el amor y la compasión, se rompe, es más probable que nos retiremos a nuestros bunkers, que odiemos desde lejos, que toleremos las tonterías, que deshumanicemos a los demás e, irónicamente, que nos quedemos en nuestra zona de confort … Confiar en esta conexión humana inextricable es una de nuestras fuentes de coraje más renovables para poder salir de y estar fuera de nuestra zona de confort… “

Quiero poder estar fuera de mi zona de confort, en este lugar donde digo mi verdad con confianza, coraje y amor. Creo que necesitaremos esta habilidad para crecer en resiliencia como grupo planetario si queremos vivir juntos en paz en un mundo de nuestro agrado … no solo para sobrevivir, sino para co-crear el mundo en el que queremos vivir y en el cual vale la pena vivir juntos,… todos nosotros, no solo humanos.

Estoy profundamente agradecida de tener el privilegio de poder aventurarme, con la intención que estos mis privilegios sean al servicio de un bienestar inclusivo y amplio.

En estos días sentí resistencia al cerrar correos con las palabras “Feliz Año Nuevo” … que sea un año de compromiso alegre, escucha pacífica, autenticidad valiente y conexión basada en la curiosidad para entenderse. Palabras muy grandes … que me darán una dirección para crecer.

Connecting


In the mornings I give support to clients that have bought products and experience problems with them in one or the other way. I want to share one dialogue I had with a client expressing painful issues….Sometimes it is not only about the product.

Client – “I am not satisfied at all with my …..I bought from you because it was cheaper than the Romanian dealer and I believed all German products are the best. I didn’t take in consideration the fact that you will treat me like a third world citizen because I am Romanian..”

Answer – “…Thank you for your message. I’m sorry that you received items that stopped working after a short time. I imagine it painful to think we would treat you differently because you live in Romania, that we might consider it less important to care for your satisfaction as our client. I hope we can change that impression. Would you send us a picture of the … in order to understand why it looks slightly used? Depending on the extent we can offer you a discount or exchange the item. Looking forward to your mail….”

Client – ” ….If you were sure that you send only new and unopened stuff you wouldn’t need any picture to prove otherwise. The … was dirty and the ribbon cable was bent and dented, things I corrected but proves my opinion and a picture is useless. But I like your enthusiasm in denying any racist behaviour …………….NOT !!

Answer – “…. I receive your anger and I guess it is based on repeated experiences with having been treated differently due to your origin. I deeply regret that. I can just imagine the frustration and the impossibility to trust. At the same time, I feel sad and worried…because it will be difficult and painful to work together on the basis and the attitude that I am your enemy. I will try to go beyond the enemy image… I just called the provider of X products: the battery that you need is a LR 1130:…..”

Client – ” ..I’m not angry or frustrated. I am only sad because I believe in the good nature of all people. So just forget it. …”

Answer – “…. I am moved…I feel connected in a subtle way because me too I believe in the good nature of all people. Please find a credit note attached for the value of….. I refunded the amount back onto your credit card account. I hope that will be enough for buying new batteries. My intention is to express that your needs matter to me…”

Client – ” ..Thank you but it is not necessary. I can afford a battery. Thanks anyway. …”

Answer – “…You’re welcome! I wish you enjoyable holidays and end of year festivities. A good start into 2020…”

Client – ” ..Thanks. Same to you….”

Some years ago, I would have defended myself, reacting by saying “I’m not a racist. This is not true. You don’t even know me! You are probably one!” and I learned that my words cannot be heard on the other side if I don’t listen first to what is behind the words. More and more often I try to hear them.

These days I long for staying open and vulnerable for things that go wrong, for injustice, for suffering and not shut down behind a wall of protection, not hide, not give up. I wish us all love and compassion for ourselves and others in order to feel with the world.

Merry Christmas and loving resilience for 2020.

Contribution, Support, Interdependence

I’m overwhelmed…moving from one state of mind and heart to the next one…

The first day of the crowdfunding campaign being public I was so restless that I had to leave a conference…I couldn’t concentrate.

The second day I was worried that not enough people would ever be aware of the project in order to support it. I realised that the journey had already begun in leaning into trust and rehearsing patience.

I started to send whats-apps to all the people whose phone numbers I have. I enjoyed contacting them again, often after a longer period of silence and feeling the curiosity towards the person, tender feelings through connecting, open hearted. Addressing the person directly expresses my desire to appreciate the ways he or she has contributed to my life until now. “I see you, you are not only a number in my phone book…”

The third day I received more donations and especially words of support and recognition and I felt incredulous and joyful at the same time, often deeply moved by feeling recognized in my intention.

I begin to receive invitations from kindergardens, from primary schools. I feel encouraged, curious, I want to get to know all those people and institutions, the communities that try a different way of learning and living and leading together.

Crowdfunding

las banderines para coser todos vuestros nombres

Estoy muy conmovida, nerviosa…la campaña de micro mecenazgo se ha publicado .

Ahí presento el proyecto con más detalle con la invitación de apoyarlo económicamente o colaborar de otras maneras: https://goteo.org/project/arcoiris-nonviolent-communication-in-education

Durante los primeros 40 días hay que conseguir la meta mínima…..

Durante los últimos meses casi no hice otra cosa que pensar como formularlo para que se entienda y que sea claro…para que la energía que me lleva a moverme sea transformada en palabras adecuadas, …en inspiración, en hacer saltar la chispa…


Cuanto apoyo recibí hasta ahora! La gota que faltaba para creer en la idea y atreverme – gracias Ana. Las propuestas espontaneas ……..de dejarme la bici – gracias Jordi… de regalarme la caravana – gracias Marc… de enseñarme instagram – gracias Siddhi……de ayudarme a crear un blog – gracias Blanca.… de chequear la bici antes de salir – gracias Creu…… La oferta de publicar en la página web – gracias Marie.

Y miles y mas reacciones y respuestas motivadoras, acciones de apoyo y de ayuda. …de traducción, de reflexión, de escucha, de cuidado! Tantas para darme cuenta que sabemos contribuir de tantas maneras distintas!!!

Estoy super agradecida….a todo lo que ya habéis aportado….y os invito a seguir participando y co-creando…

Next time I come you give me therapy!

I went to the bus station to pick up a friend early this morning …and the bus was late.

I sat next to the info stand for a while watching the person there start her day, answered some early messages on my phone and then went outside to wait next to the bus stop.

The sky turned more and more light blue, the dark silhouettes of birds began to be visible against the sky. The day woke up. A young man came over to where I sat and occupied the space comfortably, taking of his shoes for a moment while talking on his mobile phone in a broad Italian accent. I was curious and stayed where I was.

We began to talk with questions about the bus schedule and directions, where we were from….He had been in several German cities, tried to remember all their names. He liked to travel. He worked as a mechanic repairing car tyres during the year saving money and then set off to travel again. His eyes were vivid and present. “Do you work? What do you do? he asked. “I teach…” “Oh you are a teacher for languages..” “No..” “For history?” “No, it’s sort of accompanying adults about themselves.” “Aah, you do some kind of therapy?” “Sort of.” “What? Give me an example.” I laughed and felt so alive due to his naked curiosity that did not feel intrusive, just pure curiosity about ways of life.

I named an example and he agreed that owning one’s anger was less disconnecting than blaming others. We immediately connected by naming things we valued. “I need freedom. Not for a million would I give up my freedom. You can’t take money to the grave and our life here is short. I like living in Barcelona, it’s nice, not too strict. Germany is a tough country, you know I was in jail for 14 days there, pity crime because I hadn’t paid for the train ticket and when the police wanted to take me to an office they grabbed me in a way that I reacted. I hit back.” “How did you feel in jail?” “Lonely… 23 hours a day I sat alone in a cell without TV, 10 min to call family, an hour to move a bit…. Italy was better, 4 people in one cell with table football, TV, a mobile hidden under a bench, from time to time weed and sports. The food was good not as in Germany.”

I couldn’t stop laughing because he named essential things for well being, clear, straight forward, not hiding. It had such a relieving effect.

“You like generosity?” I asked.  “Yes, I like being generous and to share what I have even if it’s just a sip of my coffee, but only to people that need it. Not to those that fake neediness.”

“So you find honesty important?”

He looked at me: “Do you know when you can really judge who is your friend? When you have eaten 300 kg of salt together,… then you can trust. You have to be able to trust people; you can’t go through life without. There is something bigger than us and it gives me more serenity to believe in it.”

He showed me his tatoo, a boomerang and the words next to it “It always comes back” – “Yeah, you will receive what you sow.”

The bus arrived that he then took. I welcomed my friend and went to him to say good bye. “I really enjoyed meeting you”, we said to each other simultaneously and swopped phone nºs. “Next time I come you give me therapy!”

I had such a good time with him. I felt trusting. I felt joyful listening to his lively story. There was no shame, there was perhaps regret. There was energy.

The Journey to Jerusalem

– greetings from Yan –

The other day I watched a recent German movie: “Die Reise nach Jerusalem”. It means the journey to Jerusalem, funny enough the given name to a game: music plays and you walk around a number of chairs with other people to quickly sit down as soon as the music stops. You try to get a chair before the others do as one chair is always missing.

It’s the story about a woman, 39 years old, freelance with too little work to get by. She regularly participates in a creative advertising scheme being rewarded for her participation with vouchers for the gas station. As she has no car the vouchers accumulate but real money doesn’t come in …she is quite creative in finding ways to reduce expenses…. cutting down heating, renting out her studio (she spends the night on the street), cancelling the phone contract, snatching away cookies from a little girl and having abundant suppers at her parents’ house.

She never tells her parents about her difficult situation not even when she finds out that the money her grandmother saved for her had been spent by her parents for a caravan instead.

She finally gets invited for a job interview and she suddenly gives in, finally surrenders, makes her lies evident.

It’s the tipping point: She looks for the caravan in the streets and drives out of the city with all the vouchers in her pocket…

When the first tank filling is empty, she enters a lonely brightly lit bar. She is invited to participate in the human mingling and carefree laughter. They all play the chairs game: she is the last one to sit on the last chair and is rewarded a golden paper crown, making her the winning queen of the evening.

In the last scene you see her driving off by day sitting at the steering wheel putting her crown back in place, looking at the road, ….


I am touched by her resistance against falling apart, against being crushed under the surrounding pressure!

How can we protect our dignity, our self-respect and self-esteem when the usual criteria for “being someone” fall away, when we do no more fulfil social expectations?

I imagine there will be more and more people that will no more have a continuous and stable job and employment in a near future. There will be suffering if we do not redefine where our own value lies and why we matter.

In one of our NVC workshops for parents we turned the game around: everyone was called to help the others come aboard while more and more chairs disappear.

I hope we can do that in real life.

Life is not empty
There’s kindness, as long as the poppies bloom.
 There’s  my heart, something like a grove of light
 Like early morning, slumber
 And I am so restless I want to run
 To the end of he pain, to the top of the mountains
 A voice calls me from afar 
by  Sohrab Sepehri  

La Ultima Fila…

Todas las personas sentadas en círculo, en sillas y en el suelo… algunas personas llegan tarde, entran y buscan sitio…… ronda de presentación… Una persona sentada en el suelo toma la palabra:

“…No conozco la Comunicación No Violenta y como llegué tarde pensaba sentarme en la ultima fila sin hacer ruido…y así incorporarme . No llamar la atención. Que sorpresa ver que no hay ultima fila y que no parece una charla desde delante hacía atrás, pero un circulo con dinámicas interactivas…Me sorprende agradablemente…”

Me encantó escucharla porque en pocas palabras hacía visible lo que disfruto: en el circulo hay sitio para todas las personas, sus presencias cambian y influyen en el circulo y cada una está invitada de tomar su poder tomando la palabra y expresándose. …no desde la ultima fila, si desde una altura a mismo nivel de ojo, no desde una autoridad de conocimiento, si desde una autoridad de estar conectada con su vitalidad y teniendo en mente la presencia del circulo.

Si todas supiéramos que importamos, que nuestras necesidades importan …”I matter. My needs matter.”

Cuéntame que celebraste últimamente….Nos presentamos mutuamente debajo de este lema.

Me conmovió escuchar las celebraciones tan diversas, me infecté de “las gratitudes” ….gratitud de estar vivo y presenciar el amanecer cada mañana, la gratitud de celebrar el cumpleaños con personas queridas, la gratitud de encontrase verdaderamente alrededor de un funeral, la gratitud de tener una nevera funcionando y apoyando que lo cotidiano fluye, la gratitud de cumplir proyectos o abrir nuevas oportunidades y la gratitud de parar el tiempo en presencia de una amiga y sentirme plenamente aceptada ..

Razón para el encuentro fue el 10º Aniversario de la Asociación CNV en España …..Happy Birthday!

Y me llegó un poema a través de la cadena de mails (entrada “How to say NO”), que me inspira mucho:

Dreaming the real

I’m lying down looking at the colour of sky,
falling through trees, dreaming the real.
Tasting what it feels like to love it.

Oh why did it take me so long to let go? To simply exhale,
so the day can breathe itself in and open,
without me standing in the way.

How could I forget the grace of my own body, strong as this blue,
tender as the white of the wild blossom,
warm as midday light

Let me practice a patience bold enough
to hold every weather, trusting the elements.
The beauty of rain, all it’s shades of grey

I want whatever is real to be enough,
at least it’s a place to begin. And to master the art of loving it,
and feel it loving me back, under my skin.

by Linda France

How to say NO

I received a mail inviting to share poetry….

I have been enjoying poetry more and more over the years….

The mail begins with “… Please send a poem to the person whose name is in position 1 below …” – I felt a short contraction, “oh, a chain mail!”…you send it to a nº of people, they send it to a nº of people and so on and you hope to receive, in this case, poems from around the world.

The contraction was short, because immediately a reflex jumped in of checking who had sent it and worrying whom I would cut short of receiving poems if I didn’t join….

I enjoy poems too, would be nice to receive them, won’t be that hard to find people to send the mail to, a handy reason to take the time to read a poem again,…” was what I heard me think. I breathed deeply and asked my flat mate for her poetry book “Being Alive” by Neil Astley, that I like….

Some days later I receive answers from friends who apologise for braking the chain, for not participating….

And there is where my learning comes from!! The way they express is so inspiring and offer different ways of how to say NO, how to listen to oneself and take care for oneself and at the same time care for the other. They are examples for this exquisite balance of how to be with me and you at the same time. Not rejecting, not submitting but be responsible for both parts.

Thanks for thinking of me, …thanks for the invitation.., thanks for including me…” – saying: I recognise you choosing among the people you know, I appreciate the opportunity to connect

Poesía hay que circular…siempre, …blessings to your poetry …, ..beautiful initiative..” – saying: poetry is so important, has to stay alive, has to be shared and read, it’s precious

I’m disconnected from technology…, ….chain letters – they’ve tainted me…, …how can I share spontaneity and inspiration over emails…, … prefiero enfocar mi energía y reducir distracciones.…” – saying: I have reasons not to join, this strategy of connecting doesn’t help me to be present to myself

“…Paso la cabra con esta propuesta.., …I’m going to take a pass.., ..  I can’t join .., ..can you find someone else?…” – saying: I look after myself and at the same time I care for your intention and hope you find another way of meeting your need for inspiration

I’m grateful for this learning, makes me smile, inspires me deeply, …and surprises me that the lesson comes from a chain mail!

And while pondering over this I discovered the following poem from a website I like, https://poets.org/


For Calling the Spirit Back from Wandering the Earth in Its Human Feet

Put down that bag of potato chips, that white bread, that bottle of pop.

Turn off that cell phone, computer, and remote control.

Open the door, then close it behind you.

Take a breath offered by friendly winds. They travel the earth gathering essences of plants to clean.

Give it back with gratitude.

If you sing it will give your spirit lift to fly to the stars’ ears and back. Acknowledge this earth who has cared for you since you were a dream planting itself precisely within your parents’ desire.

Let your moccasin feet take you to the encampment of the guardians who have known you before time, who will be there after time. They sit before the fire that has been there without time.

Let the earth stabilise your postcolonial insecure jitters.

Be respectful of the small insects, birds and animal people who accompany you.

Ask their forgiveness for the harm we humans have brought down upon them.

Don’t worry.
The heart knows the way though there may be high-rises, interstates, checkpoints, armed soldiers, massacres, wars, and those who will despise you because they despise themselves.

The journey might take you a few hours, a day, a year, a few years, a hundred, a thousand or even more.

Watch your mind. Without training it might run away and leave your heart for the immense human feast set by the thieves of time.

Do not hold regrets. When you find your way to the circle, to the fire kept burning by the keepers of your soul, you will be welcomed.

You must clean yourself with cedar, sage, or other healing plant.

Cut the ties you have to failure and shame.

Let go the pain you are holding in your mind, your shoulders, your heart, all the way to your feet. Let go the pain of your ancestors to make way for those who are heading in our direction.

Ask for forgiveness.

Call upon the help of those who love you. These helpers take many forms: animal, element, bird, angel, saint, stone, or ancestor.

Call your spirit back. It may be caught in corners and creases of shame, judgement, and human abuse.

You must call in a way that your spirit will want to return.

Speak to it as you would to a beloved child.

Welcome your spirit back from its wandering. It may return in pieces, in tatters. Gather them together. They will be happy to be found after being lost for so long.

Your spirit will need to sleep awhile after it is bathed and given clean clothes.

Now you can have a party. Invite everyone you know who loves and supports you. Keep room for those who have no place else to go. Make a giveaway, and remember, keep the speeches short.

Then, you must do this: help the next person find their way through the dark. – by Joy Harjo – 1951

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