I just attended a wonderful Embodied Life Retreat with Russell Delman at Breitenbush. I had a delicious experience of peace, learning, inspiration, connection, and extraordinary beauty (pink rhododendron explosion)!
The morning before I left, Denise Torres and I met at the Center for our regular planning meeting. We were talking about how we'd like to actively encourage people to take their compassionate practice not only into their personal relationships, but out into our community.
I was very excited that evening when Russell Delman was on the same wavelength, expressing his hopes that people who have a sense of being grounded and with a compassionate heart would "become the ones who can listen first."
To me, that’s exactly what Compassionate Communication self-empathy and listening skills give us the opportunity to do. We can listen to ourselves first, and then give others the gift of empathy: listening for feelings and needs with the intention to understand their perspectives. That practice gives the listener the opportunity to connect with the speaker's humanity, and helps to dissolve enemy images of folks who might think differently. Once people are heard, they are usually more receptive to listening to others. That gives us the chance to share our perspectives, feelings, and needs, and create a dialogue rather than a debate.
Dialogue is not about persuading, rather it encourages honest and open sharing and leaves space for people to consider other perspectives.
I'd love to practice these dialogues with others. Please let me know if you have an interest.