Something else I loved at the Nonviolent Communication Training for women and girls at EcoMe last weekend, near the Jericho junction: hearing women speak their deepest painful truths into the circle and then ask, “is there someone who will tell me back how you feel, after hearing what I just said?” Watching an Israeli woman asking a Palestinian woman, after sharing her scary honesty, “would you tell me what touched you about what I just said?” Listening to a Palestinian women asking, after sharing, “would you tell me back what you heard me say is important to me?” And then, after hearing back from each other, asking, “did I hear everything that is in your heart?” “Did I hear what you wanted me to hear?” We wrote these connecting requests down on strips of paper and passed them around for everyone to use.
Making a follow up request to someone after we share something scary and vulnerable is a key way to empower ourselves to speak our truth and create connection. Learning how to express with “scary honesty” was the theme of this Training.
Checking in with each other in this way after sharing from the heart is so empowering and connecting. When I know I will ask one of these connecting requests – to see how I was understood after I share something difficult – it gives me such strength, bravery, and confidence to share the scary truth. Hearing back how I actually am heard and received, hearing when I am heard and received in the way I am yearning for, gives me a strong sense of power and connection.
Reflecting back to each other in this way creates a connection on a deeper and deeper level – now it’s not just me hearing your story and you hearing mine – it is each of us connecting with what is in our hearts. We become partners in the endeavor. We can move on to partnering in changing the world to meet our needs.
My website for musings, upcoming retreats and workshops inspired by Nonviolent Communication, Meditation, and Jewish Mindfulness: www.steps2peace.com