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)

Friday, October 21, 2011

Occupy Life

The news is all abuzz with the sit in protests that started a month ago in New York City known as "Occupy Wall Street."  They sparked movements all over the world, and they have even come to our small town for the past 10 days.  The occupiers  speak of being part of the 99% whose lives are being negatively impacted by 1% of the population who control resources. 

Some of the complaints I have heard about this movement is that they are not clear in what they want, or how to get there.  In Nonviolent Communication speak, they have not made clear and doable requests, or at least that the media has reported. 

Requests though are only one component of nonviolent communication.  Other components are observations, feelings, and needs.  What is happening in the streets is a widespread emotional response to global and local economies that that are heavily directed at serving those with power and control, and not at human flourishing as a whole.  I believe it is important for people, as individuals or as a community, to give full reign to the emotions in their bodies, for in this way they might discern what their needs might be. Out of this connection can arise results.  But we need to allow spaciousness for feelings and needs to arise, such as what is happening all over the world.  I imagine that the gathered feel anger and frustration for they so long for equality and fairness, as well as health for earth and her beings.

Looking at the reports of the crowds, and in some cases, the small gatherings around the world, what feelings come up for you when you think of our economic and environmental situation?  What needs come up that correspond with these feelings?  Allowing yourself spaciousness and time, are there any requests you would make of yourself or others?

Part of allowing yourself spaciousness is to watch the "should" talk. Are you telling yourself that you should be protesting yourself instead of attending to your daily concerns?  Perhaps you are thinking of what the protesters should be doing, or the people against whom they are protesting?

Should language is telling a story that leads us away from our feelings and connecting with our needs, and the needs of others. It places a demand on how others should act, instead of inviting them into a place of connecting to your needs and theirs, which is life serving.

If you have a sense of "shoulding" I invite you to consider this exercise.

Think for a  moment where you are "shoulding" on others or yourself. 


What are you feeling?


What are you current needs?


What request, if any, would you make of yourself and others?

For myself this little exercise of breathing in between NVC components adds spaciousness and more lightness to my body. Heck, even describing this exercise now to you added to my sense of connecting to life by thinking of needs, and experiencing the living energy of needs. It helped me occupy life more fully. 

What helps you occupy life?