Nonviolent Communication, often referred to as Compassionate Communication (CC) in Unitarian Universalist congregations, guides us in being the peace we wish in the world. In the "Creating Peace" Statement of Conscious passed at the UU General Assembly 2010 Compassionate Communication appears twice; first as means for building peace in our congregations and second as a means for building peace in our relationships. Furthermore, this statement asks us to covenant to create peace within ourselves by developing individual spiritual practices that cultivate peace, such as CC. Here is how CC values correspond to UU values.
* We seek peace resulting from a Thou-Thou connection (a deep knowing and embodiment that the other person or being has inherent worth and dignity). This makes it possible for our needs to be met without depriving any person or persons the resources necessary to have their needs met. Compassionate consciousness is about seeking peace and justice in every moment.
* In this complex world, we recognize the difficulty of living a life based on the values of equality and justice. Thus we realize the importance of an intentional spiritual practice as a basis for peaceful living, which includes growing in intrapersonal and interpersonal relational skills. Practicing is not just building, but living the beloved community.
* This spiritual practice of growing in compassionate consciousness is deeply Unitarian Universalist as reflected in our principles and traditions. We have a long history of learning from others (continuous revelation), affirming the inherent worth and dignity of all beings, recognizing our interdependence within our communities of mixed species, and our hope in the community forming power of love that comes through covenanted community.
* There is no "right or wrong" way to "do" communicate compassionately. We look beyond formulas, creeds, or specific steps in a spiritual practice, to growing our individual and collective consciousness so that as a community we increase our ability to love and stay engaged. To stay engaged and in relationship in the complex interplay of human fumbling and bumbling is to live out the hope and grace of religious covenant, the foundation of Unitarian Universalism.
* Because compassionate consciousness embraces the heart of Unitarian Universalism and because inner peace is not separate from outer peace, seeking to grow and practice peacemaking in our hearts and congregations is a priority. Our sense of urgency arises from our capacity for individual, group, community, and societal violence, domination, and broken relationships, much of which we may unwittingly be a part. Suffering may be ever present, yet the possibility of peace and healing arises in every thought, breath, word, and action.
* With this possibility of being the peace we wish to see in the world, we seek leading the change in our congregations and in our communities. We do not lose our way in anger and hurt because we recognize the opportunities inherent in conflict and relational tension to increase our own capacity for peacemaking within, among and between. By turning anger into a celebration of mourning unmet needs we can stay in relationship in the midst of conflict and enhance our ability to hear and consider everyone's needs. By letting go of specific outcomes and strategies, we engage ever more deeply and joyfully with one another. With an invitation to play, we eventually overcome the differences between our strategies to meet needs, and instead concentrate on developing our collective spiritual life. In this creative milieu, we have the chance to truly understand the needs, dreams, and longings of others. In this understanding our congregations become ever-stronger centers of liberation and service.
LoraKim Joyner and
The Compassionate Communication Task Force
of the Peacemaking Study Action Issue
1. Attend a training (in person, on line, or have a trainer come to your area or congregation)
NVC Training Organizations, Websites, and Resources
* NVC Academy: flexible online and teleconference trainings www.nvctraining.com
* Bay NVC: regular trainings in San Francisco area, frequent trainings throughout US www.baynvc.org
* Center for Nonviolent Communication: Varied trainings in US and internationally www.cnvc.org
* Information/learning: www.nvcwiki.org, www.growingcompassion.org
2. Get connected with other UUs:
Unitarian Universalist Resources for NVC/CC:
* UU Website for Nonviolent Communication: www.uuspeakpeace.org which lists congregational activities, UU trainers, and workshops
* UU Peace Ministry Network for Peacemaking: (You're here)
* UU Statement of Consciousness "Creating Peace" 2010
* UU Speaking Peace Email list serve where you can register to receive occasional emails from other UU’s practicing Compassionate Communication
3. Start a practice/study group within your congregation
* Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life - Marshall Rosenberg (the classic)
* Nonviolent Communication Companion Work Book - Lucy Leu (to lead study groups in congregations)
* Respectful Parents, Respectful Kids: 7 Keys to Turn Family Conflict into Cooperation - Sura Hart and Victoria Kindle Hodson (to apply the principles to parenting)
* "The No-Fault Classroom" Sura Hart
* Being Genuine: Stop Being Nice, Start Being Real - Thomas D'Ansembourg (new, more advanced book)
* Connecting Across Differences -- Jane Marantz Connor & Dian Killian (examples geared to young adults)
For Further Information:
Rev. LoraKim Joyner
NVC Certified Trainer