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Village connections to turn around difficult times and make the most of good times

Hazel Ashton writes:

It’s almost Christmas.

Here in New Zealand Christmas is a time for family giving and good will to all.

Last week, despite attempting to be a caring considerate parent, I managed to get off-side with one of my daughters.

We’ve since had a phone conversation and made up.

In the conversation my daughter gave me some advice.

She said she had noticed I was rather intense and uptight and thought – for my own good and the good of others – I should aim to be like the Non Violent Communication (NVC) specialist Marshall Rosenberg whose DVDs we have both seen.

She said Rosenberg came over as such an excellent communicator, very calm and laid back.

My daughter knows I have been trying to practice Rosenberg’s methods of communication.

She also knows that I try to share what I have learnt with others – including her two young children.

My contribution: a social change agent, not a communication expert

I had encouraged my daughter to give me feedback about how we might communicate more effectively. I said I’d listen and I did.

Her advice set me thinking.

As a result I’ve come to realize that even if I could access and pay for the best NVC training, I wouldn’t want to give my life to being an individual expert who could always be calm, laid back and available to meet expectations.

Like Marshall Rosenberg himself, I’d rather put effort into helping to create a new everyday culture – where instead of destroying each other through physical or emotional violence, people could learn how to identify unmet needs behind this violence, and, together, move on to make life more wonderful.

Family problems

Over the last few weeks I have had some difficult issues to deal with.

My daughter is right to observe that I’ve been uptight and tense.

Our family has needed to come to terms with the news that my younger brother has a melanoma that is spreading around his body.

We have also been feeling disturbed at a heated altercation between some family members and at a loss as to how to deal with it.

I wanted so much to be able to be there for my brother and for family members to be able to support each other.

I’m now very relieved that we have reached a stage where helpful and healing conversations are beginning to take place.

Now my brother can hear how much his family love him and how deeply we care for him.

New village-connections infrastructures

I found it really helpful to be able to talk with villagers outside my immediate family, and share experiences and thoughts.

Now I no longer feel uptight and tense.

More generally, I think there will be more opportunities for family love and care to come through in difficult and stressful times when we have more numerous and diverse village connections and relationships that can help with understanding and support.

Next year, 2011, I shall focus more specifically on projects to develop village structures for connection and communication to turn around difficult times and make the most of good times.

Villages everywhere now face major and unprecedented social, economic and ecological challenges.

At the same time, I think putting in place new connection and communication infrastructures (social and technological) could open unprecedented horizons of individual and shared opportunity.

What might these look like?

I look forward to sharing more about these projects in the New Year.

Many thanks to readers and contributors over the past year and very best wishes for 2011 –

Postscript –  Marshall Rosenberg quotes

I would like to conclude with words of wisdom from Marshall Rosenberg.

He says:

Imagine connecting with the human spirit in each person in any situation at any time.

Imagine interacting with others in a way that allows everyone’s need to be equally valued.

Imagine creating organizations and life-serving systems responsive to our needs and the needs of our environment…

Everything we do is in service of our needs. When this one concept is applied to our view of others, we’ll see that we have no real enemies, that what others do to us is the best possible thing they know to do to get their needs met

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