Saturday
Nov102012

Read this Article to Help Unite our Country!

Outwitted by Edwin Markum

He drew a circle that shut me out
Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout
But love and I had the wit to win
We drew a circle and took him in!

I woke up way too early this morning – thinking about this past week’s election. I was on “the winning side” and my heart has been celebrating quite a lot. There was even something enjoyable about seeing the “other side” up in arms. I loved seeing Carl Rove on Fox News squirm as he watched the election results come in. But herein is where the problem lies; the hate in my own heart is what keeps the insanity going. Most of us give lip service to wanting greater unity and discourse in politics, but our politics are merely a mirror of the individuals it serves – a collective conscious of individual consciousness. So, if we want change to happen, we must first be that change ourselves. (Gandhi is overused, perhaps, but dead on.) That sounds so idealistic and it is definitely easier said than done, but I propose a little experiment just to test this theory of being the change to bring about the transformation we seek.

Surely you know someone on “the other side.” As part of this experiment, seek him out and just listen. Do not debate, do not roll your eyes, do not question, don’t even commiserate – just be present to his pain. Listen for the need underneath everything he shares. Here is a list of universal human needs. I guarantee this person is hurting and if you can hear past his strategy (that likely conflicts with your own) and hear the need, there is the possibility for connection and maybe even the gift of softening your own anger. This will be very difficult. As you listen, you will likely have a huge urge to respond as usual – a tug in your heart to make your case and to have understanding from him. This is where your work comes in; this is where the possibility for change can happen. Einstein said, “The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking.” It will take a totally different way of being with one another for things to change in our society. If we want our politics to heal, we (ourselves) must first learn to connect with “the other.”

Let this person talk for as long as necessary and you remain present. When he is done, let him know that you really hear his longing for – whatever need you have uncovered. Let him know that you get it, you get his need and that it is difficult to hear his pain because you want love and joy and belonging for everyone. End on that – it is the truth! No need to debate.

Here is a little tip when the conversation gets hard and you notice yourself wanting to defend. Ask yourself “what in this person hurts so badly that he thinks he must hurt me or ‘my side’ in order to heal?” If you can go to this question, right in the moment of wanting to smack him silly, you will have a great opportunity to touch his humanity. In that moment, there is the possibility for a whole new world.

By the way, if you want to learn how to stay present in moments when you are pissed, please come to one of my NVC trainings. I long to create a world where everyone has this skill. My next training is December 8-9 in Tallahassee, FL.

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