Tag Archive: compromise


Non violence is a weapon for the strong – Mahatma Ghandi

Non violent communication (NVC) is base don the principles of nonviolence – the natural state of compassion when no violence is in the heart.

NVC begins by assuming that we are all compassioante by nature and that violent strategies –  whether verbal or physical – are learned behaviours taught and supprted by the prevailing culture.  NVC assumes that we all share the same basic human needs, and that each of our actions are a strategy to meet one of more of those needs.

People who practice NVC have found greater authenticity in the communication, increased understanding , deepening connection and conflict resolution.

(Further reading: Non-violent Communication by Marshall B Rosenberg)

We are made in the image of God > compare Christian creations story with others.  We are created in the image of a Creator. This has been co-opted by empire – trying to sell clothes, make up, some ideal image – they are trying to sell something I already have.  The world and earth are alive and creating always. There is a scientific link between art/creativity and healing… when you are writing a story, cooking, drawing, gardening… we are not functioning out of the survival part of our brain.  Importance isn’t what is made but the process of creating.

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MANDALAS

The Mandala (Sanskrit for circle or completion has a long history of being recognised for a deep spiritual meaning and representation of wholeness.

The very nature of creating a mandala is therapeutic and symbolic.  The shapes and colours you create in your mandala will reflect your inner self at the time of creation.  Your instinct and feeling should inspire and guide you through the process of creation.  Ultimately, you will be creating a portrait of yourself as you are when creating the mandala.  So whatever you are feeling at the time, whatever emotions are coming through, will be represented in your mandala.027

So then, how shall we live?

Practices and principles for compassionate, non-violent communication

Proposition: We are made in the image of God, therefore if I am careful and I am creative, exploring who you are and revealing who I am can be an act of worship (our communication)

First issue is realising our reaction to what we perceive as agression or conflict… this is not right or wrong this is just how we are made:

  • fight or flight
  • non-verbal agression
  • tone and inflection

Colossians 1:18-20

He was supreme in the beginning and – leading the resurrection parade – he is spreme in the end. From beginning t end he’s there, towering far above everything, everyone.  So spacious is he, so roomy, that everything of God finds its proper place in him without crowding.  Not only that, but all the broken and dislocated pieces of the universe – people and things, animals and atoms – get properly fixed and fit together in vibrant harmonies, all because of his death, his blood that poured down from the cross.

Basic technique:

  1. Observe (without judgement)
  2. Share our feelings
  3. Sharing what needs, values or desires have created our feelings
  4. Requesting (a concrete action we are requesting to enrich our humanity)

Stumbling blocks: judgements, comparisons, denial of responsibility, demanding.

Communion at FCOC

I have been away in NZ recently for my foster sisters wedding, most of my family are non-Christian but this sister converted to Catholicism to be with her partner and accepted by his family. I read 12 Corinthians 13 in the ceremony – “love is patient, love is kind…” Weddings have a way of bringing lots of different people together and we all need to put aside our individual preferences in favour of these two getting married. She is Maori and he is Samoan so there were different parts of the reception in different languages and around the speeches we’re all trying to follow the correct cultural protocols. We arrive at the reception and realise that our Mum’s speech as Mother of the Bride requires a waiata following her words – we realise there’s one song we basically all know from primary school which echoes the reading – Mum leads off from the front and we have to stand and join in from where we’re sitting and move to stand behind her – it’s only as we get there that we realise other women, family and friends are standing and moving to sing with us also.

Te aroha – loveNZ_Mons wedding 112bw
Te whakapono – faith
Te rangimarie – peace
Tatou tatou e – all of these

This was profoundly significant… I thought attending the wedding was a bit like sharing communion: sometimes we need to speak a new language/learn a new culture to show love; participating in a covenant can mean putting aside our individual preferences – going out of our comfort zone – in order to achieve something bigger together.

In sharing this celebration cup together, we are reminded of the bigger call on our lives to walk a different way, of putting aside our individual needs to further the greater good we believe in – the kingdom of God. Let’s take a moment to sit in silence as the elements are passed around and reflect on where God is calling us into communion.

(silence)

When we toast a couple – linking their names, blessing their shared life together, wishing all good things… let us invoke God’s blessing on the life we share together and all the things we wish for for our world and for each other… to the kingdom of God!

‘to love our neighbours as ourselves’ is a common belief across all faiths.

Sometimes feel depressed – actually those are things worth feeling depressed about (global financial crisis, global warming…) We are complicit in an exploitative system.  Fills us with sorrow.  Accept it as a reasonable response and don’t let it incapacitate me.

Joy and sorrow can co-exist.  Sadder the older I get.

Nehemiah – the joy of the Lord is my strength. In the midst of my sorrow need to find a reason for hope/joy.  God is always there.  God brings joy.  Need a spiritual discipline of finding God in sorrow.  In all things God is working for good.  When we find God in a situation we will find good.  Get up everyday and find something I can rejoice in: within myself, in my relationship with my wife, my family, my community…

Action research – look for problems.  Find them. Generate more à become overwhelmed e.g. “what do you see as the problems in our relationship?”, ask your partner that question and you will have found some problems to work on!

Appreciative research – peak experience, best practice.  What do you like about our relationship? Why? How could we do this more often in the future? E.g. what are the best times we’ve had together? What made them good? How could we have them more often?

Dealing with the negative in a more positive framework is more energy-giving.

What is truly there? Something about how it operates that sustains it – start from that.  E.g. people will keep running a programme long beyond when it is sustainable, it must be because there is something in that worth saving.

Positions polarise – close down options into one of two.  Those positions harden and it becomes difficult to see resolution.  Ask “why?” of both sides to draw out fears and desires.  See if there are solutions beyond their positions that meet desires and address fears. Not easy and not quick.  Fear of the process greater than need to change. E.g. building mosque – the side against were concerned about increased traffic flow and parking, Muslim people feared religious intolerance in their community.

Several options that can look like:
–          No existing relationship, no interest in a common goal
–          Committed to action, regardless of how it affects other relationships
–          Relationship so important, need to NOT act. Can’t risk it.
–          Do have a relationship – are interested in resolution (partial/unlimited)

Community with family:

Plan our time together and there are different kinds:
–          Non-negotiable time, this belongs to my wife and family and it cannot be given away
–          Non-negotiable time, give freely to everybody – don’t need to talk about it
–          Negotiable, to family or community

It is easy to give up something that is not important to yourself on behalf of someone else e.g. living without a fridge in India – easy for Dave to commit to but not for his wife àfundamental injustice.  Only sacrifice what is mine, not what belongs to others. Sometimes excruciating to negotiate, ‘worst way of doing it, apart from all the other ways’. Consequences of not negotiating – more painful.  Negotiating is a heavy process. Something that is life-giving for me might also be death-giving t someone else – have to negotiate to a cost. Often these aren’t win:win but rather choose what is life-giving for her this time and hope that it will roll around to my turn next time.  Important to be putting the other person first.

When first started this work it was all or nothing. Gave freely and fully. Became hurt. You can help and resource others without risking anything but you can’t love them.  Need to be willing/able to be vulnerable. I was becoming increasingly hardened. Prayed. God is love.  To reflect God to the world need to show love.  Get hurt along the way and now scared.  Need to ask ourselves: what can we do today to reach out to those around us so if its not reciprocated or appreciated it won’t destroy us?

Want to risk but can’t take the same amount every day.  A given that we will reach out but give ourselves permission to say how much we are able to risk. E.g. could be the difference between jumping in my car to go to work and only waving at my neighbours on the ways past, or walk out the door and seek people out but only talk about what is ‘light, right, nice, polite’ – no capacity to go to the depths, or go up to one person and go deep: “I’m sorry that we aren’t getting on so well, love to shout you a coffee sometime and talk about it…”

Need to monitor our own degrees of vulnerability.  Become bitter if give more than we can give happily.

Sacrificial giving – condemn Pharisees who only give a little themselves and exploit widows.  Exploit our desire to be generous and then guilt-trip is for more. Jesus was willing to die but not every day, most times Jesus ran away – only died once.  No one takes my life from me but I can lie it down. Sacrifice. We will take a stand and get done over, but not every day.

Need to think about our choices in relation to our partners/kids. E.g. if I am away on holiday for 14 days – need to manage myself to be back, present and attentive, on day 15.  Otherwise that is time that I have stolen from my wife and kids.

So many voices, culture, choices in our head driving us – seek out still small voice (role of the Holy Spirit). For myself, get a blank piece of paper and write things down with an arrow beside them

Arrow pointing upwards: things I want to ask God
Arrow pointing downwards: things God tells me
~ this becomes my ‘to do’ list

Prayer: God grant me the serenity to accept the people I cannot change, the courage to change the one I can and the wisdom to know it’s me.

Turning inwards, that job will never be complete.  But others seeing you on the journey might be inspired to become more like you. Teach me the lessons I need to learn so that I can be useful to someone else in the future.

Appreciative inquiry – if actions are oppressing a third party: have to intervene. In some occasions you can avoid/walk away but others you must intervene.

Becoming involved in conflict:

Keep your distance – a) helps situation not to escalate and b) gives you a head start if you need to run. Say something like “hey mate, can I help you something?” address the perpetrator not the victim.  Will think you’re on their side.  Want to protect them from harm themselves. Always frightened and fearful when getting involved.  If fair fight might sometimes keep walking but not if someone is out-numbered or overpowered.

Be gentle on ourselves. Can be our own worst enemy and our own best friend.  Rather than seeking validation from others, seek how God sees me. My needs and ideas are valid too.  Can’t wait for someone else to tell me that.  Desire for acceptance/approval. “The Lucifer effect”

In the context of God’s validation, accept ourselves.

Activist/doing – gets approval.  Hard work of seeking God and being still – becoming aware of our own faults and limitations. Can ‘survive’ and not maintain your soul. What is the bottom line of what you are willing to compromise of your faith/values? E.g. in a concentration camp: some did anything to survive, even kill other jews (had a life, but no soul), others were reformers preaching hope/outspoken, executed quickly (had soul but not their life), third type would not intervene in someone being beaten but would not engage in brutality themselves (both soul and life).

Whether they fire or shoot me  won’t do ….

What is the bottom line of what you are willing to compromise of your faith/values?