Sunday, October 21, 2012 ~ Choicefulness
(with pauses to self-connect).
I once facilitated a call where someone got on late, fresh from an argument with their partner. Sitting with my own sense of dread and wariness as I discerned the stimulation that was present in the latecomer’s energy, I opted to call on people in the order that they’d arrived to the call, for our check in. Unfortunately, this scenario was an explosive tripwire in the making, and one in which I was not adequately resourced to handle constructively, despite my best efforts. Crestfallen by an experience of having one person’s emotional reactivity consume much of the time, I was desperate for what I might have done differently. When I broached the dilemma with a more experienced practitioner of NVC, it was suggested that I might have offered a brief acknowledgement of the ‘aliveness’ or needs being brought to the table by another, even if only in a phrase (and as a kind of disarming prelude to my own concerns for the collective task at hand). Something along the lines of, “You know, I get that there is quite a bit of aliveness in what’s going on with you in this moment, a sense of urgency to share, and yet I also notice my own uneasiness, wanting efficacy as a facilitator and concerned about keeping the focus on the collective intention for our gathering, so I am wondering if you’d be open to taking a breath or two while others check in first?” This idea of being able to rock back and forth, towards another’s point-of-view, apprehending and giving voice to their concerns (to the best of our discerning ability), and then back to mine own — perhaps especially in the midst of heated dialogues, in the context of formulating requests — has been something I’ve chewed on ever since.
Non-violence is not a cover for cowardice, but it is the supreme virtue of the brave. Exercise of non-violence requires far greater bravery than that of swordsmanship. Cowardice is wholly inconsistent with non-violence. Translation from swordsmanship to non-violence is possible and, at times, even an easy stage. Non-violence, therefore, presupposes ability to strike. It is a conscious deliberate restraint put upon one’s desire for vengeance. But vengeance is any day superior to passive, effeminate and helpless submission. Forgiveness is higher still. Vengeance too is weakness. The desire for vengeance comes out of fear of harm, imaginary or real. A dog barks and bites when he fears. A man who fears no one on earth would consider it too troublesome even to summon up anger against one who is vainly trying to injure him. The sun does not wreak vengeance upon little children who throw dust at him. They only harm themselves in the act.