Participatory Decision-Making 

By Martha Lasley

Decision-making is a rigorous, liberating, spiritual practice. At the heart of participatory decision-making process is full empowerment for everybody.

As a group searches for a solution that meets the most needs, one way to facilitate the process that honors both individual autonomy and group collaboration is for all participants to determine their preferences privately, silently, and then share them aloud in turn.

As facilitators, we keep it light, easy, and playful, but we don’t avoid the first crucial step of determining personal preference. In this way, we continuously discover where each person stands.

This process keeps our relationships clean, creative and respectful, by avoiding collusion, control, or going along with the majority.… Read more

Transforming Distress

This process is adapted with gratitude from the work of many practitioners: Marshall Rosenberg, Susan Skye, Robert Gonzalez, and Meganwind Eoyang.

  1. Describe the stimulus of my distress
    1. What triggers me? 
    2. Describe the moment I first felt pain.
    3. What am I seeing, hearing, smelling, etc?
  2. Express my reaction
    1. What am I telling myself? 
    2. What is my judgment of others or myself? 
    3. Voice all the judgments until I have clarity about my core belief or deepest judgment.
  3. Scan my body
    1. Sense my body from the inside and experience the wisdom of the body.
    2. What physical sensations do I notice?
    3. Notice any desires in the body – for attention, expression, or movement. 
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5 D’s of Disconnection

  1. Diagnosis: including evaluations, analysis, criticisms, comparisons, projections, labels, moralistic judgements (ideas of rightness/wrongness, goodness/badness, diligence/laziness, appropriateness/inappropriateness, etc).  In using communications similar to the above, we are using static language to diagnose who we think people are instead of communicating what is important to us.  Such language increases the likelihood of defensiveness, argument or returned criticism and lessens the likelihood of understanding and connection.
  1. Denial of Responsibility: including words like “should”, “ought” “must” “can’t” “have to”, attributing the choices we make to “company policy” or “superiors orders”, or attributing the cause of our feelings to other people or extrinsic situations (“You make me feel frustrated!”).
Read more

10 Things You Can Do to Contribute To Internal, Interpersonal, & Organizational Peace

By Gary Baran & CNVC

  1. Spend some time each day quietly reflecting on how you would like to relate
    to yourself and others.
  2. Remember that all human beings have the same needs.
  3. Check your intention to see if you are as interested in others getting their
    needs met as your own.
  4. When asking someone to do something, check first to see if you are making a
    request or a demand.
  5. Instead of saying what you DON’T want someone to do, say what you DO want
    the person to do.
  6. Instead of saying what you want someone to BE, say what action you’d like
    the person to take that you hope will help the person be that way.
Read more

Four Levels of Interaction 

– by Martha Lasley

One of the things we do in an authentic communication group is to interact in the relational space in the present moment. We call this level 4. Let’s look at all four levels of interaction.

Level 1 is chit chat and requires very little listening. We talk about the weather, what we saw on the news, where we went on vacation. This is the opposite of “here and now” and known as “there and then”. There is nothing wrong with level one or any other level. They are not good or bad. Many times, chit chat warms us up so that we can go deeper into the next level  And occasionally we go too deep too fast, and a part finds that unsafe, “takes a flight” back to level one with a joke or some other banter.… Read more

Rank, Power and Privilege

Issues of power and privilege are often invisible to people who have higher rank, but are more visible to people with lower rank. As facilitators we can move groups towards understanding and effectiveness when we can see the dynamics of rank.

What is Rank

Rank is the sum of our power and privilege that arises from social, psychological, contextual, spiritual or cultural norms. Whether conscious or unconscious, earned or inherited, rank determines much of our communication behavior.

Types of Rank

Social Rank

Social rank is based on the values, biases and prejudice of the mainstream, dominant culture and comes with privileges and more opportunities in life.… Read more

Transforming Self Judgment

Our inner critic is the part of us that generates self judgment. Marshall Rosenberg developed a process of transforming that judgment into awareness of feelings and needs, as behind judgment are unmet needs and pure energy that is waiting to be understood and tapped. We can help clients release that source of energy.

When we support full connection to their needs, we help clients move toward self acceptance, understanding and awareness. Through deep awareness of needs, they come into alignment. Only after that, do we support them in creating strategies to meet their needs. Some common self judgments and underlying needs follow.… Read more

How Do You Repair Harm from Microaggressions?

If you’ve ever said or heard something offensive and didn’t know what to do, you are not alone. It’s one thing to recognize insults. It’s another to respond in ways that repair the harm. People may mean well when they say, “I don’t see color.” Or “He’s not a typical gay guy.” Or “What she is trying to say is…”  Many times, they aren’t even aware of how much pain these messages can stimulate. It can be shocking to learn that our positive intentions are experienced as painfully racist, homophobic or sexist.

Below are a few examples of microaggressions, the positive intention of the speaker and the painful impact on the receiver.… Read more

Compassion, not Diagnosis, Leads to Transformation

Diagnosing individual behavior or group process can feel intellectually stimulating and can give facilitators a sense of order and comfort. Diagnosis gives us the sense that “this is familiar territory” when in actuality, we’re experiencing a unique moment in time. The practice of labeling individual or group behaviors can generate respect for the facilitator’s intellect, but does it really help the group to build awareness?

Often a clinical shroud falls over the group, the hierarchical divide widens between the person doing the diagnosing and those diagnosed, the group connection weakens, and deeper awareness of the needs of the group is obscured.… Read more

Confronting With Care: An Approach that Builds Trust

The word “confront” raises alertness, but is often associated with fear. A sweet alternative is the practice of “care-fronting,” a term coined by Sushma Sharma, an organizational consultant in Mumbai India, for confronting with care. This empowering experience wakes people up to something they are not aware of in themselves. The intention is to enhance their well-being or the well-being of others. But how do you do this without being presumptuous (judging what they are not aware of, determining what is in their best interest to become aware of, and raising consciousness about the matter without being asked)? To do this without bullying, nagging, or assuming a stance of superiority involves choosing the intention to support, selecting the depth that clients are open to hearing, and having confidence that they have the desire and ability to do something about it.… Read more