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"What happens at most of the trainings is that when people hear someone else's needs, or pain, which can be difficult to hear, their hearts start to open. They start to have an idea of other strategies," says Wall. "What also happens, whether I'm teaching just Israelis or just Palestinians, is that someone will say, wait a minute—could we use this with the Palestinians? Or, how would this work with the Israelis?" Using NVC within the family is the first step—and inevitably it ripples out toward the greater community and even toward people we think of as enemies. It's not about condoning things we don't want to condone, or accepting things we don't want to accept, says Wall. It's about hearing each other in a new way. "This is so connected to living in a way that makes manifest the world we are yearning for, which is a world in which everyone's needs are included and valued in the decisions that affect them, whether it's a child or an Israeli or a Palestinian."
The potential of NVC to open up new avenues of consciousness is something that excites trainers like Wall and Reeves, and practitioners like Fisher. "It's really about making visible in our communication and our choices what is usually invisible, which is love," says Wall. "I think in every human heart there is this yearning to bring out love, or as [Rosenberg] said, to do love. On a deeper level it helps us ask, what is it that's blocking me from expressing myself in a way that makes it easy for others to see the love? And what is it that's blocking people from receiving it? I think of NVC as helping us find the tools to bring out the love that's already in there."
Center for Nonviolent Communication Cnvc.org
Susan Reeves Practicingpeace-newpaltz.com
Roberta Wall Steps2peace.com