October 28, 2012 ~ Dwelling in Request Consciousness

On Monday, November 26th, during the Nov. Telesummit, Street Giraffe’s Facilitator, Pamela, will be presenting a talk on “The Challenge of Shifting from Habitual Reactivity towards Choiceful Requests

 Telesummit – Requests from the Heart: Practical Empathy

Sunday, October 28, 2012 ~ Dwelling in Request Consciousness

I’ve often said that my NVC practice largely consists of OFN… (i.e. Observation, Feelings, Needs…leaving off Requests).  However, a wise and far more experienced practitioner than myself once suggested that requests can be an outgrowth of ‘dwelling in needs consciousness’ and buttressed by skills that may come more naturally (such as utilizing empathy and honesty, inspiring engagement, while conveying a request).  And requests can be made of ourselves, even in the most subtle ways.  For example, I was once sitting on the floor of a courtroom lobby, waiting for my case to be heard as a Guardian ad Litem volunteer.  I had just been inside the courtroom and heard lawyers discussing the paternity of a child, which could not be discerned since the mother in question had been gang raped.  Deeply disturbed by hearing the details described so clinically, I couldn’t possibly imagine what request could arise from such a muddled state of overwhelm.  A friend suggested that I ‘look for a smile’ that day.  And as synchronicity would have it, just as she said this, a baby began crawling towards me on all fours, moving feverishly complete with a toothless grin (perhaps suspecting this person on the ground must indeed be a fellow playmate!).  Since that day, I’ve never underestimated the potency of requests, even rather modest requests of myself.

Courtesy of Miki Kashtan – BayNVC :

Making Requests and Not Demands: This practice supports us in two moves at once, and I often think of it as the most difficult aspect of the NVC practice. On the one hand, this practice supports us in asking for what we want, which I already alluded to being essential for creating a life that works for us. At the same time, this practice supports us in being able to meet a “no” with openness to dialogue. The true “test” of a request is precisely when we hear a “no” – do we give up on ourselves? Do we judge the other person and give up on them? Do we penalize them, directly or subtly? If we recognize that “no” is simply a piece of information that tells us the other person has needs that wouldn’t be met by our proposed strategy, then “no” is an invitation for us to remember interdependence, and specifically the focus on holding everyone’s needs with care. This is a practice of power and of non-attachment.

Example: Part of what makes this practice so difficult is that words by themselves don’t really give us enough clarity to know if we are open or not to shifting our strategy of choice. We can say words that sound like a request, and then discover that it was actually a demand when someone says no and we get angry. That said, some words lend themselves more easily to being understood as requests, and thereby reducing the chances that they will be heard as demands by others when we don’t mean them to be so. For example, “Would it work for you to do the dishes today?” is more likely to work than “Can you do the dishes” or even “Please do the dishes”. Similarly, “Are you open to having a conversation now?” is less charged than “Let’s talk about this.” Ultimately, it’s only in actual practice that you will discover the words that work for you.

NVC AcademyMary Mackenzie:

Requests” NVC Nonviolent Communication Part 1 of 2 – YouTube

Requests” NVC Nonviolent Communication Part 2 of 2 – YouTube

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