HSS Week 2
Our second week of the program started off with a major emphasis on the social aspects of the program that included several classes with Larry on deep listening and nonviolent communication (NVC). I’ve referred to NVC several times, and want to provide the definition from the Center of Nonviolent Communication to help explain this specific style of communication:
“NVC involves both communication skills that foster compassionate relating and consciousness of the interdependence of our wellbeing and using power with others to work together to meet the needs of all concerned.
This approach to communication emphasizes compassion as the motivation for action rather than fear, guilt, shame, blame, coercion, threat or justification for punishment. In other words, it is about getting what you want for reasons you will not regret later. NVC is NOT about getting people to do what we want. It is about creating a quality of connection that gets everyone’s needs met through compassionate giving.
The process of NVC encourages us to focus on what we and others are observing separate from our interpretations and judgments, to connect our thoughts and feelings to underlying human needs/values (e.g. protection, support, love), and to be clear about what we would like towards meeting those needs. These skills give the ability to translate from a language of criticism, blame, and demand into a language of human needs — a language of life that consciously connects us to the universal qualities “alive in us” that sustain and enrich our well being, and focuses our attention on what actions we could take to manifest these qualities.”
We also had our first class on economics with Ronald ‘Ravi’ Logan, a guest instructor, the Executive Director of the PROUT Institute, who sits on the Lost Valley board of directors, and has vast experiences with communities and various aspects of economics. Our economics class focused on the importance of the economic realm in combatting current and future crises.
While economics is important, it was relatively ‘dry’ compared to the meaty topics from the PDC class this week as we touched on patterns in nature, Yeomans’ Keyline Scale of Permanence (KSOP), zones and sectors, as well as climate/biogeography.
The community also held its first “Petal” meeting since the HSS program began, which is more or less a structured community forum to discuss certain topics that arise and make decisions, like: budget expenditures, pet policy items, resident requests, etc… So a few other the other students and myself attended (its open to all residents) and got to see the sociocracy in action.
We wrapped up the week with Larry teaching Tai Chi & Qi Gong basics (I actually felt moving energy!), improv dance with Paul Deering (former resident teacher), and guest instructor Mariah Ambika with Yoga. Colin also passed out composition notebooks to the class for personal journaling as the program progressed. I found journaling to be pretty therapeutic, both writing and reviewing past entries, but didn’t manage to make it a consistent habit.
Luckily I wrote an entry for this day, and after looking at it, I have vivid memories of what I saw and felt physically and internally that day. The impact LEAF and a few lessons from the “personal” classes still weighed on my mind, and I was still in a state of nebulous purgatory – questioning my identity and my existence. But with that came some internal certainty, a feeling of love that could not be questioned, and two women came to mind – a beautiful classmate and a romance from college – who is sometimes still the woman in my Texas country songs…