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[personal profile] piemancer
Ahoy, internet pals! I want to warn you that the article I linked to contains two paragraphs of extended fat-hating concern-trolling example, devoid of any basis in science and research. 

I am guilty of letting that kind of garbage slide, and I otherwise enjoyed reading this article by Kelly Bryson, the author of Don't Be Nice, Be Real.  The subject is the damage niceness does. I recognize myself in bits of the article, and I also see some other people who lash out and hurt other people with nice. 
piemancer: A front-perspective photograph of a giraffe splaying its legs and lowering its head to drink from a pool of water. (Thirsty Giraffe)
[personal profile] piemancer
In listening to NVC trainings, I often hear the phrase "baby giraffe" to describe a person just learning the feelings/needs jargon and the "Are You Feeling _____ because you need _____?" framework.  I think there's more to it than that- baby giraffes are in the process of learning how to relate to their needs from a perspective of generosity rather than weakness. 

Today, I heard a new phrase- "teenage giraffe." Sometimes, the teenage giraffe gets it right, and can delight in his or her growth and freedom. On the other hand, there's the obnoxious teenage giraffe. I imagine they're the ones who "assert their authenticity*" at all costs. After years of repressing yourself from sharing freely with others, I can see how over-expressing is a step that helps one break the cycle.

I imagine teenage giraffes are also the ones who yearn to share NVC with the world, but are still a little ungainly in its execution. Sadly, these teenagers can turn folks away from NVC. 

Well, I'm proud to be a teenage giraffe. I think I might use this week to explore what it would mean to "assert my authenticity" at all costs.  It doesn't mean I have to A my A, but I can create thought experiments about what might happen if I did.

*I put this in quotes because I'm not sure what it means. I imagine it means always stopping people when I get bored with what they say, or interject my feelings and needs without considering how their reactions to it might feed or not feed me. Those are important skills that I need to develop (well, interjecting my feelings and needs, but I don't want to develop not-consideration). 

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[personal profile] piemancer
I don't think my beloved mortal consort Daniel knows I'm into NVC. I know I've mentioned it to him a time or two, but he doesn't seem interested. That's odd, because he's normally a very curious person, and he is interested in anything that will help him communicate with people more effectively. I suspect he may have had a bad NVC experience in the past, and doesn't want to let on

It's funny... I was chatting with a friend about NVC who told me about a person xe'd met who had probably taken an NVC class and now considered herself an expert, and how my friend shouldn't be so angry, but should do this NVC thing instead. I laughed out loud when my friend told me this story, because, jeezy creezy, anger is a fantastic feeling that is a clew to navigating the maze of our values. It's vital! Also, what kind of jerk tells someone what they should be feeling, anyhow? One NVC trainer whom I really treasure is Jorge Rubio- he got me turned on to really treasuring the emotions of the person I was with, that I could be like a palm tree swaying in the breeze of their emotion. 

I digress.  Daniel and I are really good at disagreements. Even when we're both angry about the subject, we're both focused on the goal of understanding and resolving the problem, rather than just being angry at each other. For example, Daniel loves to have the pantry organized in a certain way, and we've agreed it should be like that. I do my best to keep up, but his system isn't as clear to me as he thinks it should be. 

So yesterday he was upset when he found Piemancer's Private Peanut-butter Jar in the "wrong" cupboard. In the ensuing expression of feeling, Daniel kept repeating himself around in circles. To let him know I really heard him, I guessed what need of his wasn't being met (not hard, really). It still felt really good for both of us when he confirmed that I'd guessed correctly. The relief in his body when he responded was so delightfully amazing to see.  It was like flipping a switch- all his frustration dissolved like that. *snap*

*I'm allergic to wheat, and PB&J sandwiches feature prominently in the mortal consort household. Rather than ask everyone else to modify their spreading behavior for me, I just bought myself my own jar. I hid it in a place that took Daniel about a year to find. So now I know where to put the Easter eggs.

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[personal profile] piemancer
I think it was Marshall Rosenberg who said that he wanted his friends to be flowers for his table, and not air for his lungs.  

Susan Skye recently began a lecture about needs by pointing out that needs can come from a "life serving energy" (I assume these are the needs that are like flowers for your table) or they can be survival needs that are fear based (these would be the "air for your lungs") needs. 

Right off the bat, I knew that was something for me to think about at Giraffe Sancutary. 


Jul. 19th, 2012 10:55 am
piemancer: A front-perspective photograph of a giraffe splaying its legs and lowering its head to drink from a pool of water. (Thirsty Giraffe)
[personal profile] piemancer
Aloha, Giraffes & Jackals!

I think it would be healthy for me to attend a practice group, but I'm pretty shy. I'm also one of those people who won't speak a language in public until I'm fluent. I want life to slow down a little before I begin attending a group... but I think I'm making excuses so I don't have to make a change.

I've let the Sanctuary languish, and I feel sad because updating it meets my needs for connection and reflection!

This has been Piemancer, sending some love out into the universe. 

piemancer: (gneiss)
[personal profile] piemancer
Before people encounter the NVC idea of "need," they have these notions of what having a need conveys. They might think a person with needs is: week, needy, deficient, dependent, vulnerable, shameful, selfish.



Needs are a window into your soul. Everything a person does or says is an attempt to meet a need. They’re never doing it to piss you off.  Even if they're tragic strategies that motivate others to not meet their needs, folks are always doing something with the goal of reflecting their values.


You don’t need the word need. You need that energy where you recognize that this is a thing everyone agrees makes life more wonderful. Call it something else, if you like.


In my Nonviolent Communication world, I can define a need as "a universal quality which, when experienced, enriches life."


A need can be as urgent as air, or as delayable as sexual expression. Both are needs. Also,things like community, excitement, purpose, relaxation, inspiration, belonging, honesty, trust, liberty and order are needs. Everybody has them to different degrees (you bet my roommate's need for order is less pressing than mine, but he has one. Mine is just more central to my being, more core), and everybody can delay them a little. When they're missing from our lives for too long,  things get yucky.


I think of wants as the strategies I use to meet my needs. So, like, I need stimulation, but I want the thing that stimulates me. Say, a new book. I don't need a new book, but the book is a strategy for getting my need for stimulation met. 


I don't want to go to church, but that would meet my need for community. Instead of doing something I don't want to do to meet that need, I do something I do want, like go scuba diving and chatting with all the other divers on the seashore.


I think the kicker is to be uncompromising about your needs (I need food, and there's no denying it), but flexible about the strategies you use to meet the need (peaches, spaghetti, tuna, salad, burritos, or sushi. Or all of them!).



piemancer: a close up of a jackal face. The jackal is lying in the dirt. (jackal face)
[personal profile] piemancer
You have plenty of time to connect and communicate!

This has been a note to Piemancer. :) 
piemancer: A front-perspective photograph of a giraffe splaying its legs and lowering its head to drink from a pool of water. (Thirsty Giraffe)
[personal profile] piemancer
The death and damage dealt by purveyors of niceness has popped up in my life repeatedly lately, so I think it's something that I should contemplate this weekend. 

This is the first hit when I google "NVC Nice."  I haven't had a chance to carefully contemplate, but I want to throw it up here so I remember to check it out. 

I feel rushed right now because we're less-staffed-than-I-would-like at work, and I'm higher-than-I-would-like-to-be on allergy medicine. 

Wild Ride!

Jul. 5th, 2012 10:14 am
piemancer: A pie cools on a windowsill. Two hands come up from below! *steals your pie* (PieSteal)
[personal profile] piemancer
Ok, back to my goal of daily Giraffe posts! I'd given myself an NVC break in recent days, and that has left me less in touch with my giraffe than I would like.  Today, I felt interested in listening to recorded classes at the online NVC Academy again. Yay!

Today's giraffe treat for myself is that i'm going to notice the feelings I feel when I admit I have judgement about a circumstance. I expect to feel relief just figuring out I have them! 

Piemancer Jackal: I shouldn't drink so much coffee.
Piemancer Giraffe: Good job, Piemancer! You found a place where you have judgements!
Piemancer Jackal: Ahhhh. Comfy, comfy judgements.
Piemancer Giraffe: When I'm ready,   I can investigate my needs and values around this circumstance.  
Piemancer Jackal: I can make life better!
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[personal profile] sonia
I'm noticing that it feels exceedingly vulnerable to name needs out loud or in writing. Even naming them to myself comes with shame.

Specifically, I'm noticing needs for validation and reassurance, and at the same time it feels inappropriate to have those needs, much less talk about them, especially in response to someone else's words. The jackals say I'm being narcissistic and thinking about myself when I'm supposed to be providing something for someone else, and also they're not really "needs," more like "urgent wants."

Any comments about that aspect of working with needs? Has Marshall written about that? I don't remember it being specifically addressed in his book, but it's been a while since I read it.
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[personal profile] piemancer
Ok, i am so freakin' excited about giraffesanctuary I can't even think straight. Or I'm hopped up on allergy medicine and caffeine intoxication. Piemancer, don't finish this cup. And take the compost out, while you're at it.

On Saturday, as we were packing up the scubatruck to leave Mukilteo, we heard a scubacommotion in the next parking spot- one of the divers had left half her weights at home. Seventeen pounds. She couldn't dive without it, and her buddy was left high and dry. We're instructors, so we carry tons extra. Ok, only 40 pounds, but you lug that around and see if you don't say tons. 

They were really grateful that we could hook them up with exactly the weight they needed. I felt so happy because sharing $50 worth of weights and trusting that they'd find us the next day to give them back fueled my need for community, connection, and fun. 

Would anyone be willing to celebrate with me by reflecting back what they hear me say? 

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[personal profile] piemancer
 Elainegrey, in her response to me yesterday, said something that inspired me to write a post today. She said, "timely," and she said it like that, in quotes. I suspect she did that because she recognized that "timely" is a judgement that someone makes about an action.

I'd started off my post implying that my reply had taken too long. That's not a reality-based observation, it's my judgement about the situation, and my judgement fueled the unhappiness I'd expressed. Judgements... we're so well practiced in them! And they're a such handy tool for keeping us out of touch with our needs!

Elainegrey had her finger right on reality when she pointed out that the reply came at a time that was good for her. It took longer than I would have liked for me to reply, but it wasn't too long. There is no too long.

The music might be louder than you would like, but it's not too loud for that kid on the bus. He's having a great time with the volume in his headphones right where it is. He might even turn it up, if that were an option. 

If it's louder than you would like, you're older than I would like. Ok, that doesn't work. Communication is fascinating, man. I groove on the spin NVC puts on it.

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[personal profile] piemancer
 I've taken so long to reply to your post about NVC and apologies, elainegrey, that feel regret about it! It's the sort of regret that I can't help but laugh at, because it's rooted in how much I value connection. Still plenty of time for connection, Piemancer. Even connection about apologies.

I suspect it took so long because the answer is, "Yes, but no." Someone might say, "There's no sign for TOOLBOX in ASL! How can it be a useful language?!" The answer to that is "Yes, but no*," too. 

Here's an excerpt from an article from here:

NVC shows us a big difference between mourning and apology. Apology is basically part of our violent language. It implies wrongness - that you should be blamed, that you should be penitent, that you’re a terrible person for what you did. And when you agree that you are a horrible person and when you have become sufficiently penitent, you can be forgiven. Sorry is part of that game, you see. If you hate yourself enough, you can be forgiven.

Now, in contrast, what is really healing for people is not that game where we agree that we’re terrible, but rather going inside yourself and seeing what need of yours was not met by the behavior. And when you are in touch with that, you feel a different kind of suffering. You feel a natural suffering, a kind of suffering that leads to learning and healing, not to hatred of oneself, not to guilt.

From where I'm standing, this NVC mourning is an apology that connects people, rather than sends them to the doghouse. My partner can really tell why I regret so much stepping on his foot, and he really knows what value fueled that regret. I don't get stuck in that place where I cry all the way to work because I got stuck in an "I'm sorry" spiral of lamentation from which I can't escape.

Other people have done the work of writing examples for me, and better than I could. This example is from here, wherein the author is not afraid to use the word "apology" to describe this NVC communication**:

If someone said to me, “What you did really hurt my feelings. You need to say you’re sorry.” I would start with empathy.
It might sound like this: “When you hear me say, ‘I don’t care if you come along’, you feel hurt and sad because you need caring and consideration, is that right?”

I would keep guessing the other’s feelings and needs until I was sure I really heard and connected with them.

Next I would express the feelings and needs that come alive for me when I hear my loved one’s pain:

“When I hear you say you’re hurting, I feel regret and sadness, because it’s so important to me to communicate with caring.Can you tell me what you heard me express?”

After we have both expressed and connected with each other’s feelings and needs we move into requests. I may have thought I did communicate with caring and clarity so I want to know specifically what meets these needs for my loved one. We discuss specific requests and let each other know what we are both willing to do differently in the future so that our needs are met.

A helpful apology isn’t about making someone bad for what they did.It’s about making a space for the hearts of those involved to feel the pain that came up and then connect with what needs weren’t met.With an understanding of needs, you can choose to do something differently rather than just lamenting what you did.

*Sure, there's no single sign for that thing, but Deaf mechanics across the nation have no trouble telling their co workers, "The 5/8" ratchet head is in the third drawer down from the top in the red toolbox by the arc welder." In fact, they have less trouble than their English using co-workers. Heck, the Deaf mechanic will also tell me exactly where in the toolbox drawer it is, and it will take much less time. But I digress.  

**It fills the same societal function as an apology, so i'm cool with calling it the same thing. Like when I put salsa and spicy vegetables in a leaf of romaine lettuce; some object to me calling that a taco, but it's in the ballpark of tacoville.

piemancer: a close up of a jackal face. The jackal is lying in the dirt. (jackal face)
[personal profile] piemancer
 I've never taken an NVC class. I have a subscription to the NVC Academy, and I listen in on recordings of other peoples' classes.

There are some trainers whose style drives me up the freakin' wall, and I don't enjoy listening. 

I notice that the ones I really get are the ones who are eager to accept the Jackal that folks bring to the group. Look at that face. Who can resist it? Playful, swift, riddled with parasites, alert, loyal. Lots of great reasons to love jackals. Not just because I think NVC works best when one person responds jackal-fully (otherwise, you wind up with one of these conversations), but also because our jackals are swift to hunt out our most important needs. And if we miss them the first time (you didn't notice that you feel irritated when your need for order wasn't met?), that jackal will howl until we notice(Cripes, would you just wash the damn dishes, Roommate!).

My jackal fiercely guards a need that I'm struggling to identify: I turn into an angry, unreasonable, stompy, screaming banshee when someone tells me what I'm thinking. 


Jun. 12th, 2012 03:42 pm
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[personal profile] piemancer
 Well, I'm eager to build community in this community. I know there are other giraffes out there in my daily life, but unless I catch someone being blatantly compassionate, I don't know it.

I found an NVC cartoon series, and I couldn't help but get a laugh out of it. 

Of course, it would help me meet my needs for connection if you were to share what's alive in you. Speaking as a baby giraffe, I hope this community will help me become more aware of what my needs are, and how I deal with them when they're not met. 

Lately, I've been especially focused on the need for connection. Today, I'm teaching a scuba class, and, this mornign, I wasn't eager to do it. I'm looking at the ways the class will help me connect with the new divers, and now, I think it'll be ok. 
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