My steps in authentic relating, radical honesty and non-violent communication
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I haven’t written in over a month. That’s the longest time in my year-long life sabbatical. It’s not for lack of inspiration - I can say that in this final chapter of my trip I have experienced and stretched more than in any other. And yet it is because I’m moving more into my edges that I’m having to consider what is right to share when. That said, I feel sad not to have written and spoken with you, my readers and friends in such a long time and excited to share my latest post with you.
I’ve had another major awakening that, although, not as sudden as the first, has felt like a coming home, a remembering of who I really am. And it’s about hearing my wants and needs and voicing them in intentional, heart-centred honesty.
Three weeks ago I posted an ad with a very specific call. I was looking for a person/s to help me feel into, express and explore what I want. At the Oregon Tantra Festival I had a realisation with my morning pod group that I had split off the part of me that has needs and voices them; I often retreat into the gentle giving part of me that likes to please the other; I had lost touch with myself. In this way of relating especially in intimate relationships I could minimise the chance of being rejected or hurt because I wasn’t really getting vulnerable.
So I put out the call and, in accordance with the Law of Attraction, of course the right people and experiences came my way.
The first person was part of a desire-led community and coaching training group. He was relentless in asking me ‘What do you desire?’; we played games where I responded to that question and he said ‘you can have it!’ without an expectation of follow through. I could feel myself realising what was possible, realising it was safe to feel and express. I could feel my awareness returning to my body and heart again. (Your ongoing modelling and coaching has changed me, my friend. Thank you)
Around this time a different coach recommended Radical Honesty to me by Brad Blanton. Reading about his proposition that honesty creates intimacy and often dissolves internal conflict and illness got me thinking — is this where suffering actually stems from? Might it be possible to be authentic and sensitive/kind/loving?
I went to some meetups where I got to practice this some more and I could feel a freedom and joy; my stomach was unclenching after it had held on and prepared to say ‘the right thing’ for so long. I was settling into it and wanted more.
At CA Tantra Festival another mentor came my way. In a time when I felt triggered and pushed him away, he named it in the moment and held space for me to share my inner world. He told me it was all welcome — a revelationary statement that meant I could relax and be really seen. Instead of reacting, I and then he could go into the feelings and express in a container of non-judgement or fixing. And slowly I could move out of my head and into my heart and body. I had a chance to see where the feelings stemmed from and feel their hold on me lessen (Thank you for inspiring and supporting me, love!).
Finally I was invited to a Non-violent Communication dojo at the conscious community tea house, The Centre in San Francisco. Here, in the miraculous way the universe provides the right thing at the right time, I was given the words and structure I could use to express my truth with intention and sensitivity. (Thank you Newt, for sharing your incredible expertise!)
In hanging out with a new friend the next day I got to practice. Still in the after-glow of the Tantra Festival, we had agreed to be authentic with each other as much as possible. So when the time came and I realised there was something I wanted to raise with him I knew I was at a cross-roads. I could:
a) avoid the uncomfortable, suppressing how I feel and deal with the consequences on my own later
b) raise it later with him and feel a big build up beforehand, or
c) give this a try, live, in the moment.
So when he asked me how I feel I told him I going to try out an NVC phrase, that I was very scared and that my intention was to build trust and connection.
What happened left me shocked, wide-eyed in joyful surprise. I could hear my internal ‘wtf!’. He was grateful. Not only that, he opened up to me about his own observations of what I’d raised. He shared how he was working on himself in that way. Wow.
In that I could relax and let go of the tension that it takes to keep feelings locked inside. It was out in the open where it could be seen and addressed together. And in the process my needs felt honoured; the hesitant seedlings were now bursting their first growths into the sunlight and it felt amazing. (Thank you for your openness, my friend!)
Suddenly I can imagine a world where I and others can be fully authentic, ask for what we want and it be ok. Yes some shares may sting and cause bumps and trigger emotions. But in the long run I feel this way of relating is nourishing, healing and connecting; it may even go as far as to stop wars. I’ve seen it build trust and connection even when/because something really challenging was raised. Could this be the new way of relating to each other? Could this be a way of building a new society?
Love to you all dear friends. I look forward (with a few nerves) to exploring this further with you!