Not all of the tools needed for building resilience are physical ones. On day 2 of Transition Whatcom's Great Unleashing
, someone mentioned how important it is to make sure we have good communication skills. It has been a subject of discussion numerous times since then - as peak oil bloggers Carolyn Baker and Sally Erickson put it, We Can Survive, but Can We Communicate?
They wrote: Sadly, peoples’ experiences of community end all too often in pain and disappointment. Such experiences range from attempts to live in intentional communities to the struggles of serving on church committees
or being part of activist organizations. As a whole we are ill-equipped to create cohesive and cooperative groups and then to resolve ongoing issues and conflicts that naturally arise. People often express cynicism, despair and helplessness around the possibility of successfully creating and maintaining a sense of working community within a culture of empire. Clearly, it is critical to acknowledge the need for a sense of real connection, for the ability to work through conflict, and to cooperate in effective and joyful ways with others.
Once we have come to terms with the need to do so we can begin to find others who have identified the same need and are ready for the task.
Many of us can probably relate to the paragraph above. As we come together to work for positive change in our Transition Initiatives, we are bound to experience many of these communication challenges. One of the models Carolyn and Sally suggest is Marshall Rosenberg's Nonviolent Communication (NVC)
Some of you know that one of the hats I wear is working on the workshop production team for Cascadia Workshops
. This is the series of workshops that Alan Seid
teaches on sustainable living, personal development, and organizational effectiveness tools, processes, and methodologies. A couple of years ago, Angela and I took his series on Rosenberg's NVC process, which Alan calls Empowered Communication
It's all about making genuine connection with our self and others, and developing the skills to communicate effectively and to resolve and dissolve conflicts. For positive social change to occur, people need to come together and work cooperatively toward a common purpose. When people come together to work cooperatively, they need skills for doing this effectively. NVC is POWERFUL in this regard, and I can't recommend it highly enough!
We found this process to be so valuable, we then offered our services to help produce his workshops. And valuable enough to take the series a 2nd time...and a 3rd time. Angela says, "I get a lot out of repeating the course and doing practice sessions in between the weekly classes...It makes for a much deeper integration of the tools." To get a taste of what it's all about, check out these articles by Alan Seid:Four Options for How To Hear Any MessageThe Crucial Nature of Connecting Before Fixing