Jeff Brown: “The world needs our honesty and I’d rather have jackal honesty than no honesty at all!” (paraphrased)
Miki Kashtan: “The second piece is to let go of perfection and to be honest and authentic about the spontaneous truth that lives in me. Eventually I will know how to translate. For now, if I don’t have the agreement, it is better that I speak jackal that is authentic than that I speak NVC that is imposed on you without your agreement and without my authenticity. I much prefer that we speak authentic jackal than distorted NVC look-alike that isn’t real. I hope you take this deep to your heart for the benefit of all beings.” (Naturalizing NVC w/ Miki Kashtan – YouTube)
On Hitting the All-Out-Jackal-Fest Button (w/ willingness to take the consequences)
“Every living being needs some form of protection in order to survive. People are no different from animals in this respect. When the world seems hostile, anger is one of the defenses we humans use to protect ourselves. Like the spikes on a cactus or the thorns on a rose, anger is designed to keep us safe. Anger is a built-in, natural emotion that everyone feels. Each of us, from youngest to oldest, is born with the ability to get mad, and it’s not a shy emotion that waits to be asked to emerge. Like it or not, your anger comes up automatically when you need help to deal with a perceived threat or in seemingly tough situations that you didn’t feel powerful enough to handle calmly and easily. Anger pumps you up. It offers protection by increasing your power, giving you (at least temporarily) the extra strength you need to feel bigger, stronger, and more formidable. With the added strength of anger, you can gain safety by distancing yourself from the people around you, your anger acting as an imposing armor between you and the rest of the world. You can feel this anger in a variety of strengths, depending on the level of your anger. You might think of anger as an ‘umbrella’ term, because it covers a lot of seemingly different emotions. Annoyance, irritation, bitterness, exasperation, frustration, resentment, aggravation, indignation, fury and rage are just some of the labels given to various intensities of anger, each one offering a different level of protection. Anger also offers you protection by removing some of your inhibitions against using verbal or physical force so that you can take a firm stand when you feel it’s necessary. With its added strength and lessening of inhibitions against using that strength, anger can enable and even compel you to speak a difficult truth you’ve been unable to express – to say no and mean it, even when you have previously been too scared to do so. While it can be misused anger can give you courage, determination, and willingness to set limits and take action.”
Warning: Not so much Nonviolent Communication beneath (or as a friend pointed-out/translated, “A [post-conventional] request for support!!”):
F*%$ing Shut Up!
I once heard an anecdote of how to frame the arc of acquiring NVC skills (or embodying its consciousness), which seems particularly relevant to any discussion about the role of anger. Borrowing from what I can only assume must be the psychoanalyst, Lawrence Kohlberg, and his stages of moral development, learning NVC was similarly broken down into three stages: pre-conventional, conventional, and post-conventional. To delineate between these, first imagine a toddler — representing “pre-conventional” — assembling an outfit that mixes stripes, polka dots and a lady-bug patterning. Next, envision the same little girl, now an adolescent, and wishing to blend in with the “conventional” milieu of her peers by wearing the same name brand jeans and sneakers (so as not to stand out!). Finally, see her as an adult professional at Manhattan’s fashion week — a top notch designer of haute couture — assembling those seemingly bizarre “post-conventional” ensembles. To the untrained eye, the post-conventional of high fashion costuming is not all that dissimilar to the “pre-conventional” polka-dots/stripes/lady-bug patterning. But now the creative self-expression seems quite deliberate, of conscious intent/design, as there’s a method to the ‘madness’.
Similarly, as we experiment with role plays utilizing the [iGiraffe‘s] ‘All-Out-Jackal-Fest’ panic button, we’re being “post-conventional” in the intentionality we bring to bear in parlaying our haute couture jackals, getting a felt sense of what it means to exercise the nuclear option — or to go nuclear/ballistic by externalizing our outrage — to track cause and effect* and discern the “Surprising Purpose of Anger” (by Marshall B. Rosenberg). It’s a way of cultivating our attunement to the invariable triggering of our Reptilian Brain (consequently building the prefrontal cortext’s ‘Mindsight’ muscle). Then we have increasing discernment and choice, hopefully in our ‘real life’ travels, as to whether to go jackal or scream-in-giraffe (or do a combination of the two: go ‘Girackal’). Choosing consciously…
Another side benefit of experimenting with the panic All-Out-Jackal-Fest button during role plays is that we’re also learning — as a boxer might while prepping in a gym prior to a fight — how not to flinch at something coming at us!
* Caveat (please note – Stimulus vs. Cause): In NVC, somewhat analogous to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy’s ABC Model, the actions of others are considered only a stimulus (or catalyst), never the cause, often alerting us — through our sensations and emotions — to the true origin of our reaction which resides in what we value (a.k.a. our Universal Human Needs). In this context, I’m referring to cause-and-effect in the way it’s commonly spoken of, in terms of proverbial (often erroneously misunderstood) Karmic Laws of Cause and Effect or the metaphoric (likely also a mis)applied concept of Newton’s third law of action-reaction, i.e. that ‘for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction’. The point is to become increasingly aware, through experimentation, of the choices at our disposal and their plausible butterfly effect.
On Not Holding One’s Tongue
Excerpted from Being Powerful in the Moment by Miki Kashtan:
“…I have had such interactions with people for many years. Perhaps because the training was, largely, about leadership and power, I had an insight that shook me up a little. I suddenly understood what it means to be powerful in a new and different way that tied it to the present moment. At any given moment, I am in a particular place, with exactly the people I am with, in the circumstances we are in. it’s within that context, moment by moment, that I can find my most powerful self. Whenever I think about the people I would wish to be with instead to be more effective, or the activities that would be more meaningful, or any other such thought, I literally take away from my power, in that moment. It became clear to me that if I can remember in each moment to choose the actions that most move in the direction I want to move within those circumstances, I am de facto becoming my most powerful self. ” Read more »
“My life work is an attempt to ground the pure, visionary spirit in the imperfect, intoxicating sensuousness of worldly life.” ~ Thomas Moore
I once heard the spiritual writer, Thomas Moore, describe how empowering archetypal psychology had been to him, especially in breaking down dualistic thinking — e.g. good/bad, right/wrong (think: Rumi’s Field) — which is so pervasive to western culture.
This seems relevant to NVC’s unintended dualism between “jackal (bad)” verses “giraffe (good)”. These days, when I find myself in going for the jugular/jackal mode, I am more inclined to frame it as a shade in a colorful spectrum of archetypal energies, read embodying Kali/Sekhmet as distinct from the more giraffe-like flavor of Kwan Yin.
(See also: I Am Not a Giraffe)
The Liberator: Free Yourself from Limitation
(via Soulful Women)
- Identify your self-imposed limitations, beliefs and behaviors that stop you from stepping-into your radiant fullness.
- Participate in a freedom ceremony to liberate yourself from those limitations and obstacles that are blocking your evolution.
- Get comfortable with cutting away the “dead wood” in your life-including habits, relationships, or ways of being that are not aligned with your greatest expression.
- Develop practices to de-clutter your life every week so that you can become the most effective leader.
Sharing Your Gifts:
- Time management & scheduling
- Explore what must be destroyed or released in order to liberate more TIME for your passions.
See also: The 13 Moon Goddess Archetypes
“She Who Gives and She Who Takes Away.” The way of the Creator/Destroyer is the way of non-attachment. This aspect of the Goddess acknowledges and empowers through intensity in all its forms, intended to polarize your responses until you instead choose to use the same intensity to experience Oneness. The Creator / Destroyer’s transcendent function in the Mystery is this archetype represents bringing one into unity consciousness through resolution of all duality pairs into Oneness.
The shadow aspect of this archetype can be seen in the human tendency to turn this raw or often unexpressed creative energy into chaotic destructiveness, developing affection for the drama of conflict, wanton fits of passion, anger, jealousy, competitiveness or wrathful revenge. In the human play out of this shadow there is a lack of the quality of forgiveness. In this shadow, one gets to experience how unresolved rage erodes vitality, creativity and well-being. In the shadow of this archetype there is a tendency to hold a grudge and withhold love or separate and cut-off entirely from a relationship rather than try to heal or change it.
Her gateway is accessed through deep feelings and passion.
“I focus. I create.”
Color: Red, White, Black, (Creator, Preserver, Destroyer)
Goddess Archetypes: Kali Ma, Pele, Tibetan Dakinis, Cerridwen, Sekhmet, Durga
Kali – Expression (Not Impression)
The energy of the Creator/Destroyer is a very fierce face of the feminine, and one that is disowned for many women today. Yet her energy is celebrated in a number of cultures across the world. Kali and Durga from the Hindu tradition are great examples, as is Pele the volcano goddess for Hawaiians.
In my women’s wisdom circle this month, we dove straight into the arms of Kali. With a necklace of skulls and hair that is matted and wild, she asks us “what stuck pattern have you continued to perpetuate for lifetimes?” And with her dagger raised, eyes glowing, she continues “Are you ready to release it NOW?”
For those truly ready to release, her dagger can be used to cut away old ways that no longer serve us. Her electric wild fire energies rip through the dead, husk-like layers to re-awaken energies that have been dormant. And while it may seem scary or unfamiliar for some, inviting in this energy is also hugely empowering and liberating.
And we do need to integrate this energy. As a woman walking alone down the street at night, we can call on the energy of Kali if someone who seems threatening approaches us. We need to be able to touch into our bellies and our genitals and shout “DON’T MESS WITH ME!” We need access our own fierceness to fend off anyone or anything that threatens us. As we burn through the triggers attached to our anger, we can reconnect with this energy that is our life force, our passion and spark.
We can also use this energy to cut through the sinews of our misplaced attachments. Are you busy trying to keep yourself cozy and safe? Most of us are guilty here. Gulp. But Kali howls with a laughter that peels away our clawing hands. She reminds us that there IS no real safety. Are you willing free fall away from anything that is not real? What is your commitment to your own liberation?
One of the ways we keep ourselves safe is hiding behind layers of masks that we show to the world. Many wear an outer mask of being attractive, nice or pleasing. Others wear the mask of being a victim or being helpless. We might wear the mask of the seductress or hide behind our role as mother or wife. Or it could be the mask of indifference, when the truth is that we deeply care.
No matter what the mask, there’s deep value in identifying them, claiming them, noticing the gifts that each mask has offered us through time, and then making a choice about which ones we may want to let go of in Kali’s fire.
Here’s an assignment that I offered to women in our wisdom school. I invite you to do the assignment yourself and then post your experience in my blog. You are invited to take a picture of your masks and share your process. Or if you want to be a part of an ongoing community to support this type of soul exploration, check out our upcoming Soulful Women Course on Sacred Practices.
Here are the instructions:
Consider making a set of simple mask out of construction paper. These can be layered one on top of each other-representing different aspects of your self. Here are possible layers of the mask. Of course, you can do fewer layers and lay them out in your own way, as you feel moved. The instructions below can merely serve as a guide.
1) 1st layer represents the primal rupture of trust, the “loss of innocence”
2) 2nd layer represents core layer of beliefs, pain and hurt. It can also include behavioral shields, coping mechanisms, compensating behaviors.
3) 3rd layer represents reactions/patterns/trigger points. For example, anger, annoyance, criticism, judgment, impatience, irritation that forms a layer to COVER pain and hurt
4) 4th layer represents the questions “why me?” This could include feelings of unfairness, injustice, giving away our power as a creator and becoming a victim. It could also be the ways you hide out with a smile… saying, “I am fine.”
For each layer, as you create it, ask, “What is the gift and teaching of this layer? Please remember to hold yourself in Love and deep compassion as you explore each level. Please feel free to take digital pictures of these masks and post them on my blog. Click here. For those masks that you feel ready to release at this time, you might choose to release them into a blazing fire, with gratitude. If possible, it’s ideal to release these masks in front of one or more sacred witnesses.
Whether or not you choose to do the assignment above, there’s many ways to invite in the energy of Kali. The first step is being willing to look at the patterns that bind, the ways you stay small, the ways you hide, and the ways you are disconnected from your anger. You call on her in your meditations or prayers, use music that vibrates with Her frequency, and take a risk in showing up in your power and your fierceness. And as you do, you claim the power that has always been yours. Touché!