Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field.
I'll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase each other
doesn't make any sense.
- (Sufi Poet Rumi)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Secret Hierachy of Needs

Recently I heard Miki Kashtan, NVC Bay Academy co-founder, speak of a secret hierarchy of needs. Lurking in each of us we have the needs that we “allow” others and ourselves that are less favorite. For example, perhaps you feel it’s okay to have the need of companionship, but not support or nurturance. You enjoy other’s company however you don’t “need” help from anyone, or you don’t want to bother them. In this case you might be looking at people you know or meet and classify them as “too needy” or “too independent.” You are judging them and this can cause distancing in relationships, or worse, outbursts from yourself of domination and power over others. Somehow they are wrong for having the need of support and nurturance.

By being aware of how we judge others we come to full alert to see how we judge ourselves for having the same needs and for being human when we’d rather be perfect.

So when you see yourself judging someone else it could be a sign of how you have blocked a full appreciation of the abundance of life trying to flow through you and how you have denial or discomfort with universal needs. Therefore, if you desire to decrease your judgment of others, you may wish to spend time becoming aware of all your needs. To do this, contemplate what it feels like to have the need of support met. Do this more than once and often. Then contemplate what it feels like to have the need for support unmet. Then shift into just being present with the need of support, not in any particular way in your own life, just with the dream and longing of life seeking ways for we social beings to support one another. In this way you can sense the beauty of this need and come to see this need in others and yourself as worthy and not let judgment of others interfere with the flourishing of relationships and peace. This happens because we open to all our needs and do not let the silent, ignored ones dictate our actions and keep us from the freedom of choosing how to best meet our needs and the needs of others.

May freedom ring in your heart and mind as the world rings in the Chinese New Year tomorrow.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

What Would Martin Luther King Do?

On this day of celebration, heralding a new age ever possible because in part of our collective memory growing stronger about the importance of Dr. King and because of the first African Descent US President, nonviolence comes to mind. Civil rights has been a battle, and continues to be so – can we win by nonviolence when there are those that would use violence and domination against us so that their needs have priority over ours? This was a major question and divisive point during the 1960’s and 1970’s, and continues to be so today. Can we win against terrorism with a Department of Peace alone? Is it possible to raise children without the threat of punishment? Get our partners to do what we want without blame and judgment? The operative word here is “win.” If there is ever a sense of a side, or only two ways of doing things, such as violence versus nonviolence, or my way or your way, then we get bogged down into struggling for whose strategy gets prominence instead of letting go of outcomes and seeing what new, creative, life giving possibility might emerge.

Listening to other’s needs does not mean allowing your needs to be diminished or taken from the table. There might even come a time when you have to “shout” out what your needs are because the “other” isn’t listening, or even use protective use of force when the “other” is too ignorant, unable, or unwilling to keep themselves or others from harm. What would Martin Luther King do today in your shoes? That is the question I leave to your imagination. My guess though is that he would listen and then shout from the highest mountaintop if needed to keep the dream alive. He’d make them hear him, perhaps only after he had been doubly sure he had heard them.

Perhaps this is a simple guide then. Listen for clarity with every possible breath, then listen again. Then give the other a chance to listen, and then try again. But don’t ever let any disappointment in lack of communication and connection turn you around – keep on listen’, shoutin’, and cryin’ if need be for the us to become the we. We. We. All the way home to the beloved community.

In faith of freedom,


Saturday, January 10, 2009

A Request that Sounds like a Demand - Empathy in Government

Dear Friends and Members in the Path of Peace,

Instead of my weekly sharing/reflection I am offering this request for helping with the following. Because it comes with a sense of urgency (January 15th) this can be perceived as a demand. I truly, truly only wish you to get involved if it would bring your pleasure and help serve life in the ways that bring joy and satisfaction to you. How you can tell the difference between a request and a demand is if the requester really values connection over the request itself and doesn't mind hearing a "no." In my case I am smiling with the delight of working and sharing with you our hopes of peace in our families and lives and that is quite remarkable for me. And hoping to grow in that connection - connection first for me and action arises out of what we share together.

So to the request. I have been following the internet community building of President-Elect Obama and his team that is looking for the top ten issues the people of the US wish him to concentrate upon. Right now, Empathy and the Department of Peace have made it into the final selection. And Empathy has a good chance of getting in the top ten - this could really happen!

I'm hoping that you'd be willing to read further in this blog, and then consider the request to spread the word and vote yourself? For my part, I admit to wanting ease and from that space choosing to not bother with one more internet activity. Also in me though is the dream of a government that understands the value of empathy, of inclusion, of the dream of peace echoed throughout it's branches. I long to live that way, in fact, it's what first got me into NVC (Compassionate Communication). I have heard from so many NVC trainers and people on the various NVC list serves that I am hopping on this particular peace train and making requests myself of others.

My first request though is what you make of this request and how goes your time management and your dreams of peace? I don't hear from so many people on our UU email list serves for peace/NVC these days and I wonder if life is overwhelming for so many. Is this close to true? My second request then is if you will read further and go to the websites and vote for Empathy and the Department of Peace. My third request is if you could spread this word to your friends, congregations, UU/NVC contacts, etc. The deadline is January 15th, so there isn't much time - hence the urgency and the tinklings of a demand. May it instead feel like the beloved community calling your forward in delight and pleasure.

In gratitude,

LoraKim Joyner
UU Fellowship of Gainesville
Compassionate Communication Working Group Co-ChairT

here's a movement of citizens inspired by the presidential campaign whoare deciding the top 10 ideas for how they think the Obama administrationshould change America. It's called "Ideas for Change in America," and it'sbeing run by Change.org. There are two proposals: One is called “Bridging the Empathy Gap- Yes We Can!”and the other is “Appoint a Secretary of Peace in Department of Peace andNon-Violencehttp://www.change.org/ideas/view/appoint_secretary_of_peace_in_department_of_peace_and_non-violence.

Your votes are not just about bringing ideas to the ObamaAdministration your votes are about creating awareness and leverage tomake change. Change.org and the Case Foundation along with othernon-profits will create a lobbying campaign to develop the top 10 Ideasand bring them to the congress.

PLEASE VOTEandSPREAD THE WORD in any way you can think of to get us there. Click on anylink here. It takes about 5 minutes or less. Make sure you follow theinstructions until the vote box turns and stays red.As I write, “Bridging the Empathy Gap - Yes we Can!”is in 15th place with 3391 votes and rising at about 35 votes/hour. Weneed to increase that to about 50/hour to be within the top 10.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Resolutions and Requests

In this New Year I’m wondering if you have been dancing with the idea of changes you’d like to make in your life. Did you make any resolutions? If so, do they feed your life with a sense of abundant beauty that is you and is all around you, or do they come from a sense of “shoulds” and “I’m not good enough just as I am?” If you are like me, I’m guessing there is a bit of judgment chattering away in your mind and a temptation to give into domination systems in our society that dictate how one should act, be, and think. Is that right?

An alternative to resolutions are requests, life inviting you to greater flourishing without the demands of stories of judgment and domination. When we make requests of others, or ourselves it comes from knowing our feelings and needs in that moment. We ask ourselves, how is life tugging me at this time in my life to live in wonder, awe, and satisfaction? We also ask, what universal needs are more alive in me than others, and how shall I act accordingly, for today? In addition, requests are specific, concrete, and doable in the moment. Here is an example how resolutions and requests might be framed.


I am overweight and I don’t like the way I look in the mirror. The people at work gave me a funny look when I brought in doughnuts one morning and I’m worried that my partner is not as attentive as before. I’m going to lose 20 pounds by May!


Observation without judgment: My weight is now 170 pounds.

Feelings/Needs without judgment: I feel worried about my health because I value my physical well-being and I’m sad that it is so hard to find time to exercise, cook, and shop (need for rest, ease, fun, and play).

Request: Today I am going for a walk before lunch at 11 a.m. and while walking I am going to think of at least 10 things in my life for which I am grateful. I will write these down and review them before going to bed tonight because I value learning and growth. Tomorrow morning for 5 minutes I will check in with my feelings and needs regarding my weight and see what requests might arise.

I wonder what comes up for you when you think of resolutions and requests? I’d love to hear from you because it’s so great for me to share learning and understanding with others, and to know of other’s lives, hearts, and minds.

In the meantime, may you hold your lovely being in peace and compassion.

In gratitude,