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Paul Shippee

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Ten Tips For Compassionate Communication

By Paul Shippee

Nonviolent Communication (NVC), sometimes called Compassionate Communication, is a way of being and a way of speaking that connects you more deeply to yourself and to others. It is a daily practice of increasing awareness that has both spiritual and practical benefits. It is a personal and a relational practice that sheds light on wrong-doing and reduces life-alienating communication. NVC has the potential to create harmony and mutual understanding, to regard all conflict as opportunity, and to make life wonderful in the present moment. Here are ten tips for how you can practice the art of living with NVC:

1.     Recognize and acknowledge the larger story that everyone’s basic nature is compassion and basic goodness.

2.     Identify your own obstacles to compassion and empathy such as old beliefs, thoughts, and habitual patterns of defensive behavior, for example, blaming, judging, one-upmanship, misplaced anger and sarcasm.

3.     Cultivate emotional awareness in the present moment so that your inner reactivity is not projected outward onto others; become precisely aware and accepting of feelings as they arise and pass through you.

4.     When triggered emotionally, realize that no one can cause you to feel emotions such as irritation, hurt, impatience, anger, fear, happiness, fulfillment, etc. Instead each person is responsible for his/her own emotional responses, feelings   and reactions.

5.     Practice making neutral and factual observations of situations and events instead of evaluations, projections, and judgments.

  1. Work continuously with your impulse that wants to make others (or self) wrong.
  2. Learn how to clearly identify and express your basic and common deep human needs without shame…needs like belonging, autonomy, connection, love and authenticity.
  3. Practice requesting what you’d like from others without making a demand.
  4. Look inside at your inner motivation for blaming, complaining, shaming and other defensive behaviors that make others wrong.
  5. Recognize your anger as a signal; use it to connect with your primal feelings of hurt or fear that may lie hidden beneath anger and blame.

This personal, earthy inner work is often regarded as preliminary (or parallel) to spiritual practices in order to overcome “spiritual bypassing,” which is using spirituality as an escape from the hard work of developing one’s basic healthy ground of emotional awareness. NVC is a challenging and rewarding practice that leads to transformation in self-awareness and how we relate to others. It is a process of uncovering and discovering who and what we really are, and as such often includes uncomfortable aspects as well as comfortable and joyful experiences. Some would call it soul work on the earthy plane of feeling and emotions, in preparation for spiritual development. It involves cultivating awareness of what actually happens when genuinely connecting or absently disconnecting in relationship with others.

Presently there are three ongoing NVC practice groups that meet bi-monthly in Crestone. Call 719-256-4656 for more information. 

Paul Shippee sent a quote from Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche (CTR)
In meditation practice, finally, we are exposed. We hoped that we wouldnıt 
have to go through the embarrassment of exposing ourselves; we hoped to
bypass that particular area and become enlightened. You might talk about how
bad you used to be. Itıs okay to talk about that because itıs in the past;
you are already a better person. The practice of meditation is the complete
opposite of this. Itıs not about getting a certain state of being at all.
Meditation practice is a way of making friends with ourselves. Whether we
are worthy or unworthy, thatıs not the point. Itıs developing a friendly
attitude to ourselves, accepting the hidden neurosis coming through. -CTR