10 seconds – a reflection from NVC Trainer Loes Berkhout
I was invited at Knowmads for a second round of Non Violent Communication ‘shizzle’. Again I wanted to learn how to fully be available for the present moment, to fiercely show myself and to deeply connect to these students. I felt more at ease now knowing the students a bit more.
After a rich morning of learning I asked if anybody wanted to share a personal situation which could support our learning on the NVC dancefloor. After 10 seconds of silence nobody raised their hand. This silence seemed to be a break through moment for me. Because some very important unmet needs were really at stake. ‘Why doesn’t anybody want to bring in something?’ ‘Are they scared? ” ‘Is there really nothing going on in their lives that they want to share?’ So I set myself and them for a challenge: ‘Are you guys open to hear my critics about you on this very moment and to listen to my underlying fears, feelings and needs?’
I’M HERE TO MAKE YOU FEEL BAD
Luckily a big part of the group said ‘yes’, so we created a setting for ‘safe jackeling.’* Together we settled ourselves down on the floor with cushions. I shared some guidelines and precautions for their practice in ‘empathic listening’. I warned: ‘All my jackals are out there to make you feel bad. They hope you feel responsible for my feelings. Remember: whatever I’m saying: it’s not about you, but about my pain and my unmet needs.’
EMPATHY FOR REAL
So I just went for it. I let my jackals out, shared all the things that I blamed them for. It was miraculous for me to talk ‘mean’ and to see eight sweet pair of eyes on me. Young people with the full willingness to really listen to what was going on in me (not the trainer, the human). They were really ‘with me’ and this hit me in my heart.
HOW 10 SECONDS OF SILENCE CAN BE LIVE THREATNING
In the end we say that my interpretation (‘interpretation is often very different then what is in reality) of the silence was: ‘they are not open for my workshop.’ The way my interpretation of this 10 seconds of silence became ‘life threatening’ went like this:
They are not open for my workshop.
I’m afraid that they speak negative about me.
Knowmads won’t ask me again.
Then people share online that I suck.
Then nobody wants to do workshops with me anymore.
Then I have to stop the work that I love.
Then I won’t earn any money.
Then I’ll lose everything.
I’ll be lonely, homeless and feel horrible.
After my ‘verbal throw up’ I completely felt seen, heard and understood by the Tribe members. We unravelled my need for shared intentions (for learning and co-creation), my need to contribute to the world (how can I contribute, give my gift if I imagine that nobody wants to work with me?) and most of all safety.
YOU VOICED SOMETHING NOBODY DARED TO SAY
Then it was time for me to listen to them. I felt completely open, safe and eager to hear whatever is alive. Some where in pain, others in doubt or frustration. One guy said: ‘I think you voiced something that many trainers experienced but didn’t dare to say.’ That a trainer can feel unsafe. Together we found out how many of the Tribe Members are just searching themselves how to relate to own expectations, dreams and the real ‘deep dive’ of the Knowmads school. The insecurity, sometimes unsafety, the newness, the unknown, many ideas about what a real ‘community’ looks like and many wonders: ‘how to actually do that?’ To connect. To create safety. To speak out what’s in your heart and on your mind. To work and live together intensively with a group youngsters of different backgrounds, with their own fears, ideas, stories, wishes, hurt and talents. How to be in a new place under the lead of a creative trio of men, the place that hopefully becomes ‘home?’
I send you a big ‘’I SEE YOU” dear Knowmads
You brave ones
*jackeling means: sharing critics, judgements, blames and ‘you shoulds’