Whether we’re aware of it or not, we use a model or template for how we communicate .. and quite often the model we use alienates us from ourselves and others when we enter into conflict situations. In these 8 minutes, Rachelle reviews how we learn the model of disconnection as children.
From a workshop given in Wales Sept 2013.
Rachelle Lamb, author, speaker, relationship whisperer and president of Mindful Communication, has shown thousands how to break new ground using the Nonviolent Communication. RachelleLamb.com.
What if, every time we stepped into a dialogue with someone, we approached it no differently than if we were stepping into a haltingly beautiful cathedral?
Do We Shape Language or Does It Shape Us?
I’d have to say both. In his book The Biology of Transcendence: A Blueprint of the Human Spirit, author Joseph Chilton Pearce says, “All of us know intuitively that we are not by nature savage beasts. Fewer, however, are aware that we are driven to some fairly beastly behaviours by enculturation, despite the fact that the process itself is supposed to prevent this.”
The subject of language and enculturation has always been a fascination to me .. how we shape language by speaking and how it also shapes us in the process is powerful stuff. Having devoted myself for the past 12 years to the topic, I can say that when one objectively examines language and communication within the context of power, partnership, personal and social responsibility, the discoveries are surprising, disturbing and finally liberating. One finds that the victim-oppressor relationship is quite tragically alive and well in how we speak. For instance, just try using words like selfish, manipulating, or disrespectful without being caught in that very dynamic. It’s near impossible to do so.
What if you decided to never again in your lifetime use those words? Would you still be able to fully express yourself, retain your authenticity and initiate change? The answer, thank goodness, is YES ABSOLUTELY! And relationships can only become more fulfilling when we deliberately make that choice. When we refuse to use language that blames and divides, it forces us to dig deeper and rethink our approach. It forces us to give greater consideration to our motives and what we would like to achieve. It forces us to raise the bar in how we relate. It forces us to remember how we need each other. I don’t know about you but I think that’s a good thing!
Here’s a poem by David Whyte that I share at almost every workshop. Loaves and Fishes …
Anyone who knows me well knows that I love movies, especially those where people are real and vulnerable with each other .. where they step into those often difficult conversations that ask them to become courageous and true. Here is a memorable scene from Good Will Hunting.
Rachelle Lamb is an author and speaker and is president of Mindful Communication. She has shown thousands how to courageously and skillfully navigate interpersonal tension and conflict, leading toward breakthrough.rachellelamb.com
At a recent workshop that I delivered, a participant approached me during the break and said, “I saw Margaret Wheatley speak last week and she was saying the same thing you are!” Certainly I know of Wheatley but I’m embarrassed to say that I’ve not read any of her books or heard her speak before. Just a few days ago I purchased her latest book So Far From Home: Lost and found in a brave new world. A few pages in and I’m thrilled to have a copy and be part of her tribe. I love her terminology “weapons of compassion and insight” So beautiful! I have always held the firm belief that within the context of social change and dispute resolution, any conversation that does not hold as central a deep and compassionate inquiry into why alienation and violence occur to begin with will only contribute to continued alienation and violence.
Take the example of bullying. Has anyone noticed that “zero tolerance for bullying” doesn’t prevent bullying? What if instead of trying to stop bullying we began to focus on what leads people to resort to behaviours that we label as bullying? I remember sitting in a classroom of grade 5 students when an outside presenter came in to discuss the subject. She began by asking the kids to describe a “bully”. Predictably, her question elicited more labels from the students: mean, pushy, hostile, aggressive, selfish and on it went. And so how can we develop compassionate solutions when we use and encourage language that segregates and divides? .. language that creates enemy images? How can we possibly find our way to effectively resolving issues when we engage in subtler forms of the very thing we condemn? Sadly the same divisive language is commonplace in marriages, organizational environments and politics. The enemy image is only a word or two away .. and while we’re quick to believe the enemy is somewhere “out there”, it hatches and breeds in our minds.
And so on that note, if you’d like to arm yourself with the weapons of insight and compassion, please consider joining me at Hollyhock May 26-31 on beautiful Cortes Island .. a wonderful five days of rich immersion and “warrior training”. Find out how incredibly satisfying it can be to experience the inevitable shifts that occur when people use language deliberately .. with skillful discernment, curiosity, openness and a deep underlying love for humanity.
Moving scenes from one of my all time favourite movies: Dead Poets Society. Also a little insight into what you can expect from me as a teacher 🙂
Rachelle Lamb is an author and speaker and is president of Mindful Communication. She has shown thousands how to courageously and skillfully navigate interpersonal tension and conflict, leading toward breakthrough. rachellelamb.com