Compassionate Communication: Getting Started with Mindfulness and Jackals
Getting Started with Mindfulness & Jackals
The foundation of Compassionate Communication (NVC) is mindfulness. Awareness of what’s happening and what’s creating disconnect sets the stage for change. Thus I continually encourage those wishing to transform the way they communicate and relate to have consistent meditation and mindfulness practices. These practices strengthen your ability to think, speak, and behave from your deepest values rather than from reaction to your own conditioning and interpretations of reality.
As you cultivate this mindfulness and begin to learn NVC, you may find yourself on a jackal hunt. You catch yourself and others in judgment, blame, demands, evaluations, and “have to’s”.
At first, this is all you can do. You notice jackals and disconnect and watch as it escalates. As your mindfulness and skill evolve you are then able to notice disconnect and keep yourself from feeding it.
At this point you are standing on a precipice. You are ready to take a step out of the old way of relating into a whole new paradigm.
If you don’t develop the skills and consciousness to step off the precipice into a new paradigm, you can get stuck in a jackal catching program.
You know just enough to catch yourself and others in the subtleties of violent communication. You find yourself saying things like, “That’s not NVC!”, “That’s jackal talk.”, “If you can’t use NVC I won’t talk to you.”, “I know this is jackal, but…(more jackal)”.
Taking that next step means catching the jackal and then releasing the feelings and needs it is always carrying.
With yourself you catch the jackal, preferably before you express it, and look for the feelings, needs, and requests that are behind the jackal and express those.
When others express in jackal, you work to hear the feelings and needs underneath. For example, “Hearing you say ‘I should have been there’, I’m guessing you feel disappointed and sad and would like support and caring?” Regardless of what someone is saying you are continually listening to the feelings and needs underneath.
So, the purpose of catching a jackal is not to catch a jackal. The purpose of catching a jackal is to release the universality of feelings and needs underneath thereby joining with the Beloved in yourself and the other.
This week choose a particular kind of jackal you would like to listen for and practice guessing (silently or out loud) the feelings and needs behind that jackal.
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