On September 17th 2021, the Community Conversations team in CTW hosted a Conversation about Social Change asking the following questions.
- What is the world needing that you as an NVC practitioner, or us collectively, as NVC practitioners, could contribute to?
- What is it important to be doing right now?
- What will deepen our lives and our connections to one another and the web of life?
- What are our options for integrity in a time of increasing marginalisation of some, of collapsing systems and civilisations and the threat of extinction?
- How do we choose where to put our energies?
- What if we have low capacity or ill health?
- How can our practice of NVC support all of this?
This is Sue Johnston’s response to these questions.
“My interest is around the disadvantaged, disabled, sensitive, outsiders, misfits and frankly rejects; those with conditions that suffer more than enough ignorance and intolerance – for example neurodivergence, CFS, fibromyalgia, illness with imposter syndrome. Conditions often undiagnosed or ordinary looking enough to be measured against norms and found wanting, repeatedly.
Who in NVC circles find it difficult to remember “an occasion when”; in identifying feelings and/or needs; in making clear requests.
What does it cost our humanity when we protect our own comfort/perceived safety above another’s basic well being, when our fears blind us to consequences? What gets in the way of our curiosity about their story?
What hampers our curiosity about the negative consequences for them and ourselves when we other them?
Could it be that taking time to grieve might address something of our failings at such a time?
Do we tend to the consequences of our othering, or rush on with our plans, and what is it that orientates us in the direction we choose?
When we focus on removing people who interrupt our plans for harmony and growth, is it possible that we undermine the very qualities we seek?
Are our time frames askew; when we “protect ourselves from inconvenients” what happens when we one day become the inconvenient ones?
What is this process doing to our culture?
What are the children learning from seeing this?
Is it not the same approach that is eliminating inconvenient life everywhere?
When particular individuals consistently run into the personal boundaries of others and become isolated, does that mean anything for personal boundaries?
Could we be reinforcing the very prejudices we long to address?
Is there any value in having “difficult” people in our midst?
In such troubled times, when there is so much we are each struggling with, could it be that gathering such folk in might better serve the whole? Might listening to them be a worthy endeavour? Not to “help them” or “support them”, but to learn and live and model interdependence.
Obviously I am orientated in a particular direction, given my experiences of isolation and loss. And at the same time I’ve been on both sides; I’ve found adults very daunting indeed, and blocked many out. I’m longing to listen for what I am missing when I am convinced of my position; longing to find patience and humility to put interdependence and relationship before my needs or yours, whenever I have sufficient capacity so that I am not putting my health at risk.
Written in gratitude to the ones I have othered, who have endured my clumsy attempts to reach out in curiosity, who have indeed humbled me with their stories.”