Last year in December I went to a Nonviolent Communication (NVC) International Intensive Training in Birmingham. One (of more) fantastic incident was, that Magdalena Malinowska was there – which ended/started in the co-creation of the “Time for Honesty” Project together with Paulina Orbitowska-Fernandez, and all the wonderful trainers and whole-hearted people (maybe you!) who joined and created a field of gathering and learning throughout the last week of March 2019. Just to let you know there is more to come for sure!!!
And the second thing that happened for me at the IIT was getting to know “How to open your heart” by Jeff Foster, a text that was shared by Octavian Istrate, an NVC trainer from Romania.
Trust your heart
The following paragraphs are my reflection connected to the “Time for Honesty” and the mentioned text, which is about taking care and listening to our hearts, because the heart only opens when it feels safe – when the conditions are right.
Jeff Foster writes, that we must trust our hearts and never tell them to be more open than they are. It is a passage about the wisdom of our hearts, which means for me, that if we really listen to our hearts, we get to know that they are savagely honest. Why savagely? Because our hearts are telling us honestly when they feel safe, even if we don’t like it. At least me, I know this phenomenon of my closed heart in situations and moments when I want something different and want to be different.
When your heart is closed
If we listen carefully to our hearts, those moments of our closed heart is an opportunity to start to respect ourselves more and more – which does mean, that we may not meet certain expectations we have on ourselves. For me this is sometimes not easy to implement, because I tell myself stories that I should be more open, more transparent, more courageous, more connected, more honestly expressing from my heart – which means being more vulnerable and showing my inner truth and so on and so forth.
Bullshit with these expectations, with these stories I am telling myself! Really being honest sometimes means to stay closed and not showing up and admitting that my heart does not feel safe. Getting to know this wisdom enables me to not force something, to get step by step less violent with myself, less critical, less demanding, less expecting – instead more caring, more compassionate and more loving and in the end more honest with myself and others.
I don’t have to feel safe all the time
What is important at this point is, that I learn that I don’t have to feel safe all the time. This is a challenging process. In fact, it is very connected to shame – the way we see ourselves through the imagined glasses of others and thinking that we are not-enough and related to this thinking – sensations in our bodies. Some may refer to shame as fear.
It appears to me, that we live in a contrary world, where fear and unsafety is created to control us (when we get the message, that we need to be protected by some higher force from somewhat/someone/the other to be safe) and at the same time it is kind of taboo to admit feeling fearful and unsafe (the goal that is sold to us all the time and everywhere is, to live a fearless life full of amazingly happy experiences).
Learn how to feel unsafe
Admitting that unsafety is part of life would question the constructed protection of “the system”. It would tell, that it actually is not possible to protect us from feeling unsafe, and not necessary at all. Much more it is needed that we learn how to feel unsafe – to surrender into this moments and phases.
Having the bigger picture in mind, it is no wonder that there are many phenomena that make it hard to listen to our heart, for example: showing fearlessness, not showing fear, is awarded – speaking in front of people, climbing up high high mountains, diving deep deep into the sea and so on… What I experienced in my life, when I was fearful and acting shy, was being belittled in my emotions: “don’t be shy… it’s nothing to be afraid of…”, comparison: “see how brave the others are”, being ignored – for sure, I was never praised for admitting and showing my fear and my feeling unsafe.
Can you accept your brave closed honest heart?
And please understand, I don’t want to be praised. What I want is that our brave closed honest hearts are accepted. I know that a moment of radical acceptance is magic. If I reject a part of me, I am not whole. I suppress emotions, and that gets me stuck.
So, let’s create spaces to recognize and feel unsafe and fearful and get comfortable with feeling uncomfortable and not living up to expectations. Let’s create spaces of deceleration – to live our unique rhythms of closure and openness. Let’s create spaces to feel, to just be honest with what is in this moment, not trying to change or even go against it.
Exploring who we are, without doing/producing something – pure honesty with ourselves, even if it is hard to hold the space for that.
Sometimes showing up means to stay closed – accepting our closed hearts – honestly caring for our hearts. By honestly caring for our hearts, we learn to care for other hearts – that’s it.
Tell me how this resonates with you, or how it doesn’t!
Let’s continue or honest conversations…
And let’s keep being inspired.
About the author:
I got to know NVC in 2008 and since then I am on the path of constantly practicing, sharing, creating and co-creating. I work mainly in the “online-world”, offering online-communication-trainings on topics like parenthood, shame/guilt/vulnerability, small inspired steps… I also offer one-on-one compassion sessions, monthly group sessions called LAB. I create a lot of free content as “mini-inspirations” for reminding that you have all the qualities inside you need to create a life and relationships you truly want and that we are all imperfectly perfect. One of my biggest passions and learning field is facilitating conflicts with Restorative Circles and mediation a la nvc. I like to be supportive in seeing conflicts as part of being alive and as a chance to explore something beautiful and important, not as something we have to reject and be fearful of. NVC for me is peacework, knowledge and wisdomcombined, a language of all senses, consciousness-training. It is a tool for me to stay on my path, be open for the challenges of life and be present in every encounter I experience. I am mother of two boys (5 and 9). Being part of the Empathic Way Europe Project fulfills many needs like co-creation, contribution, adventure, community, peace. I am on the path to CNVC certification. Website: alltagsinspirationen.at and coriliebhart.com