Thursday, February 09, 2006

Monthly Update: Celebrations

I see celebration as a need, a resource required to sustain and enrich life. Celebration can take many forms, from a simple nod to someone who has helped you to a full expression of gratitude using "classical NVC". Celebration also includes connecting to the beauty of needs through mourning, a deep and empathic understanding of the pain of unmet needs.

We've lived in Montrose for about a month now, and I wanted to share some of my celebrations with you to meet a need for connection, learning and intimacy.

In this moment, I am most grateful for the tools to connect with feelings and needs offered through Nonviolent Communication. I know I felt grateful at various times and places through my life before I learned about NVC, and I celebrate the richness the NVC model has given me to more consciously experience gratitude and to express it to others.

Many friends and family have written or called since we have been here. This has enriched my inbox, and more importantly nourished my soul through meeting my ongoing needs for connection, information, and love. I feel warm, right now, savoring the joy of that connection.

The folks in the CNVC office, including departing Executive Director Gary Baran, have done about a million things to make my life more wonderful. Here's one specific example: Angelique, who has worked at CNVC longer than anyone else currently on the staff, asked me if I would be willing to take her to LAX. This request was such a gift to me on so many levels. First, it met my need for intimacy and connection, because it wasn't hard for me to empathize with the challenge of asking someone for support. Second, it opened up an opportunity to connect with her more deeply on the drive to the airport. Third, I was able to apply some creativity and find a way to combine the journey to LAX with other opportunities to meet needs, including facilitating the Santa Monica Practice Group last night. So, I am celebrating the power of a request, especially a scary one to make! We never know what opportunities will open as we consider the requests of another or the responses of another to our requests.

And, I feel waves of appreciation coming up in me for Jori. Her work to help usher in a new era of transformation within CNVC touches me deeply. Watching her interact with empathy and honesty with the CNVC staff has met my need for inspiration and hope that we can transform this world into a world centered on the awareness of our mutual needs. It has also met my need for authenticity, seeing that this is not always an easy or fun process; that sometimes the messages we receive or send to others are not as easy to understand as we would like, even though we are speaking a common language or two, like "English" and "Giraffe". Yet, I feel amazed and pleased right now connecting with how the intention to connect and keeping a focus on the present moment holds the potential to transform any interaction into one that builds empathy and trust.

The other branch of celebration is mourning our unmet needs. In a few days I intend to travel back to Albuquerque. Contemplating this trip is bringing up some mourning of what I miss in New Mexico. Oh, how I long for the quiet of our North Valley property. Even with the gentle hum of the traffic on MontaƱo about a 1/2 mile away, there is an air of tranquility that is absent in Montrose. Here the sound is incessant, more like a dull roar, as 11 million people move themselves around on a complex network of freeways. I miss the sound of the birds singing in my backyard, although as I wrote that line, I was somehow able to hear some birds here! What a surprise!

I also miss family and friends. My daughter lives only about a mile away from our house, and I miss the ease and reassurance that seems to come from that proximity. I miss hearing about the day to day experiences of Jiva, my son, and Steve, who is sharing our house with us. I miss interacting with Curious the Cat, who lives with Steve; and I miss Socks, Jaya's cat who lived with us for almost a year. And I miss my disc golf games with River. What a joy to pick up the phone on a whim and within a half hour being able to walk through Netherwood Park with its magnificent views of the Sandias. I have not yet re-created those kinds of connection here. I worry that I never could.

I feel touched and tearful as I post this. Writing this has helped me to connect more deeply with my feelings and needs. I wonder what reading it has stirred in you. Would you be willing to comment, or send me an email @

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