Monday, February 23, 2015

Why Conflicts Don't Get Resolved

Why Conflicts Don't Get Resolved
For more about NVC, check out my blog post:  How to Transform Your Relationships.  

I've been having a problem with this guy. This has made me so upset and so angry, although I have calmed down somewhat, thank goodness.

I am a very private person and it's important to me to maintain clear boundaries. When I think someone is trying to force himself or herself on me, I get very defensive. My barriers go up and they are not coming down! I know this because I know what I am like, and how I tend to react to this kind of situation.

I'm going to break this down. We have an NVC (Nonviolent Communication) group at the London Buddhist Centre and this guy came along. The group is for Buddhists, but we decided to open it up to include people who have done a Buddhism course. This could be anybody who has done a Buddhism course, they don't have to be Buddhists. 

This guy came along – let's call him Fred (not his real name).  I asked him if he is a Buddhist and he said he had done a vipassana meditation retreat.  So I told him we would like him to do a Buddhism course and he said, cool, he was interested in learning about Buddhism. 

A couple of weeks later, we updated the mailing list and, prior to doing a mailing, I asked Fred if he had signed up for a Buddhism course.  It transpired he hadn't.  So I said, you will be welcome once you complete a Buddhism course.

Then he started saying we were “excluding people”.  Remember, it has been clearly stated that this group is for Buddhists, and we meet at the London Buddhist Centre.

Later on, after a series of emails, Fred started saying he had done a Buddhism course. He never mentioned this before.  He also said he had done the vipassana retreat three times.

Apparently, he is now saying he did it six times.  I have stopped reading his emails and told him not to write to me again.   Of course, he continued to send me emails.  As I said, my barriers are up and they are not coming down.

The thing that pisses me off the most is that he keeps saying things like “I'm confused”, “I'm baffled”, and there's nothing confusing or baffling going on here.   My communication has been very clear.

Someone trying to argue and pressure his way into the group simply does not cut it with me.

To break this down, in NVC, we would not say something like “You are excluding people”. This is an interpretation.  We would say something along the lines of, “I am upset because I think you are excluding me”.

Also, I could say that he is lying, but this is an interpretation.   It could also be called “jackal speech”, i.e., speech that disconnects us from each other, such as blaming and labelling.  So I prefer to say, “He keeps changing his story”.

In NVC, we try to be as factual as possible.  Instead of saying, “Such-and-such happened”, we say, “I remember such-and-such happening”.  The truth is that people remember things differently.   I can only be responsible for what I remember. 
 
Similarly, for me to say he is “ trying to argue and pressure his way into the group” is an interpretation, not an observation.

One of the most important lessons to be learned from this is that if we want someone to respect our feelings and needs, we first need to connect with theirs – genuinely and from the heart.  If Fred had connected with my feelings and needs, I would probably have been a lot more willing to listen to his.  Instead, I just want to have nothing to do with him now. This is how conflicts go unresolved.

It takes a lot of practice to learn NVC and I am not always able to use or apply the level of skill I would like to.

As I said, I am calming down about the whole thing now.   Even if I don't receive empathy from Fred or from others, I can still give empathy to myself.   This can be a very rewarding experience.

For more about NVC, check out my blog post:  How to Transform Your Relationships.  

I welcome your comments below.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

MLK's "Lost" Newcastle Speech

MLK at Newcastle University
In 1967, Martin Luther King visited Newcastle University in the North East of England, where he gave a speech about his work in the Civil Rights Movement, fighting for justice. 

He was awarded an honorary Doctorate in Civil Law by the university. 

Recently, a rare film of the speech was discovered in the university's archives and was broadcast by the BBC.  Click here to view the footage and read the text of his speech.  Click here for some of the reactions of African Americans who recently heard this speech for the first time. 

See also:  MLK:  Black Is Beautiful

MLK: Black Is Beautiful

"Don't let anybody take your mind".  This is what Martin Luther Kind reminds us.  We have been taught that everything Black is negative.  

In Why We Need to Identify as Black, I argued that black is the most powerful colour in existence.

Martin Luther King said it and it still is true - Black is beautiful.   
See also: Why We Need to Identify as Black.

Please leave your comments below.  

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Je Suis Charlie

Parliamentary members and staff Je Suis Charlie
I am in floods of tears as I am reading about the Charlie Hebdo shootings.  After all these millennia, can human beings still not find any other way to resolve difficulties apart from shooting each other and blowing each other up? 

Actually, we have.  Those of us who are committed to nonviolence appear to be in the minority, but that has to change or else the whole species is at risk of extinction.  I mean this very seriously. 

Nonviolent Communication gives us skills to relate to, and interact with, each other in a way that addresses everybody's needs.  We can connect and communicate from the heart, and from our commitment to life, to life force energy. 

I am leading an NVC session on Monday.  I hope you will join us.  Click here for more details

I have blogged a lot about NVC on this blog and this one, so please search for more info.

Peace be with you.




Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Chris Rock Divorce



I'm deeply saddened to hear that Chris Rock has filed for divorce from his wife of 19 years.  I'm sure you are, too.

What makes a relationship work?  

Hollywood may have taken its toll on the marriage.  Chris Rock compared marriage to shooting himself in the head.  He also said that he had to bury his own personality once he got married.

A relationship, or any communication, works when both sides hear and respect each other's feelings and needs.  NVC gives us the skills to do this. 

Marshall Rosenberg, author of Nonviolent Communication, has referred to NVC as "making life more wonderful". 

Whether you are single, in a couple, married, a parent - whatever your situation - you can use Nonviolent Communication (NVC) to transform your relationships.  I will be leading a session in London on the 12th of January.  Click here for more info. I hope you will join us. 

Wishing you a wonderful 2015! 

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

How to Transform Your Relationships

It's such a shame to hear that Chris Rock has filed for divorce.  It seems to have been have been a long time coming. 

If you have read Success Strategies or my articles, blogs and ebooks, you know I am passionate about Nonviolent Communication.  We can transform our relationships and our communication using NVC.

Whether you are single, in a couple, a parent, an employee, an employer, or a business owner, you can use NVC to make your life more wonderful.  

I am delighted and privileged to be leading a session of the NVC Meetup group in London on Monday the 12th of January.  Click here for details.  I hope you can join us. 

For more about how to use NVC to transform your relationships, click here for my ebook What They Don't Want Us to KnowClick here for Affirmations for Parents.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Kwanzaa 2014 Events

It's that time again!  I am listing Kwanzaa events in the U.S. and internationally on my Kwanzaa website.

In addition to Kwanzaa events in the U.S., I have included events in the UK, Canada and South Africa.

If you are holding a Kwanzaa event, or are aware of one, and don't see it listed, leave the details in the comments section below and I'll add it to the list.  

You can also find information on the history of Kwanzaa, plus background info and lots of gift ideas - books, music, DVDs and more. 


Monday, December 15, 2014

Healing Post-Traumatic Slave Syndrome

enslaved African men in chains
I am re-purposing this blog post.  Several years ago, Dr. DeGruy Leary gave a lecture in London on Post-Traumatic Slave Syndrome.  She has said the same things I have been saying for many years.
We must heal the past. We must heal the internalised racism and oppression, i.e. self-hatred, that has been passed down within Black families for many generations since the enslavement of African people by Europeans began.
This is why I do the work I do. See my book, Success Strategies for Black People, for positive cultural reinforcement for Black parents and families - for all of us. 

This is why I compiled
Black Success Stories and the More Black Success ebooks.  For more about this, see: Remember Your Greatness.   
For more information on the healing of people of African heritage, click here to download Why We Need to Heal