Saturday, August 16, 2008

Celebrating Community - NVC Style

This weekend, Jeff Brown and I co-led two trainings on Compassionate Nonviolent Communication (NVC) at the First Divine Science Church in St. Louis, Missouri. We led an introduction to NVC Friday evening, and an intermediate session Saturday morning.

I feel happy and warm inside remembering both events, and reconnecting with some people in the St. Louis NVC community I hadn't seen for a while.

Following the training this morning, we gathered for a potluck lunch, followed by a St. Louis NVC community organizing meeting, attended by me and five others. At that meeting, the group did some brainstorming for a mission for St. Louis NVC, and also began to explore some strategies about how we'd like to contribute to more NVC in our area.

Over the three years I've been practicing and learning NVC, I've been struck by the quality of connection I have experienced with others at NVC workshops and trainings. In my experience, practicing this process supports people to shift into a state of connectedness that makes relating very sweet. I'm hopeful about joining with others locally in St. Louis who wish to be part of creating NVC community here.

If that is intriguing to you, I invite you to let me know and to join us in some way, such as an NVC community gathering, a training, or an organizational meeting!

In heart,

Monday, August 11, 2008

The Body and Consciousness

As you may have noticed, the human mind tends to get in ruts, and to repeat itself. We can see this in the way that our patterns (some of them not so pleasant) tend to repeat in our lives. Many people utilize affirmations as a way to change, or attempt to change, these patterns that are not helpful.
In my experience, affirmations can be helpful. However, for me, affirmations have not been the most helpful way to create deep and lasting change. That is because, according to yoga, the spoken word affects only the conscious mind, and not the subconscious and unconscious, which is where these deep patterns (known as samskaras in sanskrit) actually reside.
When we want to make changes at this deeper level, there are several ways we may go about that. Some ways are yoga nidra, a very deep form of relaxation, which is what yogis practice, and which is why some yoga masters actually need very little sleep. Other more modern ways to access this deeper mind include 'morning pages' or stream of consciousness writing, which I learned about in the book The Artist's Way. There are very effective manifestation practices which exist in Tantric Yoga, some of which I have learned from my teacher Yogarupa Rod Stryker, which can be learned from someone initiated in this lineage. There is also the practice of writing your affirmation, followed by writing what thoughts immediately come to mind following that (which is your unconscious mind's way of telling you what you really currently believe), and which can start to dissolve, simply by your witnessing it. There are also practices involving art, and writing with your non-dominant hand. NVC, one of my passions, also includes processes to shift these deep patterns, or core beliefs.
My favorite, fun, quick and profound way to experience, feel, and shift deep patterns, is through movement. Gay & Kathlyn Hendricks have developed some ways to use natural body language and body gestures to help us uncover unconscious messages which surface, moment to moment. With this awareness, there are several oh-so-simple techniques, involving the body and breath, to shift to an experience of Essence (or is-ness, freedom from ego). They are so simple that I have shared them with my children, as play. Today, using these simple shifts, I played with my ex-husband, whom - if you know me well - you may know I have not played with in a very long time. I celebrate using this play to shift some patterns that I have been stuck in for over twenty years! I'd love to share it with you -- to learn more about what I'm doing with this work, contact me.