Peace Begins with the Individual: Insights from a “Nonviolent Communication” Workshop Dialogue Monthly Newsletter by CP Yen Foundation, November 2015

In our newsletter last month, we celebrated Nobel Prize Peace Winner Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet for achieving peace through dialogue. Not long after, the world mourned the devastating terrorist attack in Paris. The Dalai Lama, when interviewed by Deutsche Welle, spoke about the terrorist attack in Paris. He reminded people that “we cannot depend on prayers to solve the problem. …If you see others as your brothers and sisters, respect their rights, and then violence will not exist.” The Dalai Lama wishes not to just pay attention to the extremists; he intends to talk more about resolution. “If we emphasize more on non-violence and harmony, we will head toward a new beginning.” At this point, it seems appropriate to remind ourselves the importance of nonviolent communication – achieving peace through each individual.

Nonviolent communication (NVC), also referred as the language of love, was initially proposed by Dr. Marshall B. Rosenberg during the 1960s. He believed “the way nonviolent communication consolidates consciousness, language, communication skills and using power with others has been in use for over hundreds of years. It allows us to maintain our empathy to ourselves and to others despite adversity.” NVC has been active in over 65 countries, nurturing and helping thousands of people all over the world. In our March 2013 newsletter, we talked about nonviolent communication in “Language of Love—Nonviolent Communication.”   

In Taiwan, Ms. Rosanna Hung has actively been promoting NVC through her “Compassionate Communication” workshops. In China, the nonviolent community became active even earlier. In October, Jim and Jori Manske, leading trainers at the Center for Nonviolent Communication (CNVC) held the first accredited workshops on NVC in Taiwan. On Oct 21-22nd , Winkler Partners Attorneys at Law, Zhi Shan Foundation and CP Yen Foundation hosted the NVC workshop “The Heart of Conflict.” At the workshop, participants worked with Jim and Jori Manske on resolving conflicts at work through use of nonviolent communication.
Insights from Participants on “The Heart of Conflict” Workshop

1.    By Jester Lee, Co-founder, Aurora Social Enterprise

During the 2-day workshop, I once again experienced the nurturing power of love. Furthermore, I came to realize that NVC is not just a concept or a language, but a way of being.
The NVC method provides 4 simple contexts to support communication: 1. Observation – observation without judgment to find the roots of the violence; 2. Feeling – there are no right or wrong feelings, just feelings that reflect unfulfilled needs, just like fingers pointing to the moon or the dashboard on the car; 3. Needs: the core of nonviolent communication; and 4. Requests: making requests to ourselves or others to fulfill our needs for a better life

The purpose of NVC is to find connection with quality with the assumption that there is no conflict between the needs of people. Conflict arises from the strategies we choose to fulfill the needs. For example, some participants may request to make recording of the workshop in order to help them learn more. At the same time, others may feel recording would distract them from real learning. By understanding the needs of others, these participants can try to find better solutions to satisfy all needs. That is what nonviolent communication strives to achieve.
Through connecting with ourselves, empathy and sincere expressions, nonviolent communication builds connection between us and others on the basis of needs. During the learning process, Jim and Jori used real examples to show step by step the use of nonviolent communication and its value.
A number of things left strong impressions for me. One of them was self-preparation. Jim and Jori name the preparation prior to real NVC work as “step zero.” One becomes aware of his or her real feelings and the needs behind these feelings during step zero. Jori shared with us that “opening a space so we can all hear one another” is the intent of using nonviolent communication in mediation at work. The steps and training for mediation showed us how to connect effectively. Although we were confused at first, gradually we learned to keep listening, empathizing, and connecting in order to hear one another. 

Nonviolent communication is not only a process for us to work with, but it’s also an inner practice for us to connect with ourselves and others at every moment in time. From Jim and Jori, we also learned how they practiced their work and witnessed how they communicated with each other so well. I am thankful for Jim and Jori for opening a window for us, so we can see a totally different view. I am also thankful for how they demonstrated the power of NVC through their actions so we could see clearly that we are on the right path to the beautiful view ahead.
2.    By Lisa Kuang- CNVC Certification Candidate Trainer

After attending the Workshop facilitated by Jim and Jori Manske on Oct 21-22, I finally understood that NVC is not a field of knowledge for our brains, but a way of being in our daily lives. This realization made me stop my note-taking habit and immerse myself to experiencing the workshop. That is what NVC calls “presence.” At the beginning of the workshop, facilitators asked us to breathe and to be aware of the feelings in every part of the body. That was how we learned to connect with our inner selves. Before communicating with others, we need to connect with ourselves and others. This connection is our compassion and empathy. The purpose of NVC is to nurture loving relationships through the connection to fulfill our and other people’s needs.
At my work this year, I had encountered the most challenging interpersonal situations. The first three months were very exhausting for me. I now realized that I needed to incorporate NVC to work with others, connect with myself and to empathize with others. I learned that all the complaints, criticisms, and attacks were just tragic ways to express unfulfilled needs. At that realization, I let go of all my inner turmoil. By using a different way to look at others, I saw the unfulfilled needs and decided to connect with them.

I am so happy I have embarked on the journey of living NVC.

3.    By Lien Yu-Mei, Innovative Coach

I have asked myself: why do I like NVC (Nonviolent Communication) so much? It’s because it is the secret for “freeing up the locked up heart.” I am often an emotional person. Sometimes I get caught up in my own emotions, focusing on things that had made me uncomfortable during the day. Before I learned to deal with these emotions, I would just throw temper tantrums (mostly to my family), mainly to my mother and my husband. But I am amicable by nature, so I would feel extremely regretful afterwards. I did not like that at all. 

To calm myself down and to try to get along with others, I started to participate in Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) training in 1997. I had devoted myself to learning NLP for 8 years. In 2006, I became a devoted Buddhist. Both NLP and Buddhism taught me several ways to find peace within myself. NLP helped me adjust my inner programming, while Buddhism corrected my awareness to help me release my arrogance and stubborn side. I practiced a lot. And these worked! 
I was lucky to attend the NVC program facilitated by Jim and Jori Manske. Through the workshop, I experienced personally the power of nonviolent communication. The caught-up emotions that required half an hour or an hour for me to calm down only needed 5-10 minutes, 20 minutes at maximum through NVC. And I clearly felt the change of my emotions, turning from displeasure to happiness and feeling blessed. How amazing! 

Why is NVC so powerful? It’s because it just skips our thinking brain and connects to our hearts. I call that “heart communication,” connecting with my inner self and others from feelings and needs. It’s real, sincere, and empathic, a moving experience for me! 

With the new understanding of the power of NVC, I have decided to devote my time to develop my skills in NVC to help more people “free up the locked up heart,” return to the heart’s initial condition, and to release our true potential!