“The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed.” ~ Carl Jung
Two weekends were focused on the Transformation of Relationships which included: Breathe for Presence, Breathe for Compassion, and Breathe for Communication. Each day emphasized fostering supportive interactions with co-workers, developing authentic connections with friends, and engaging in courageous conversations with families. There were reflections on empowering these relationships in our lives, as well as the disempowering relationships.
Together we shared our reflections and ideas in small groups and then again as one large group. After sharing our thoughts, fears, roadblocks, and hopes, we quickly forged ahead by making solid plans to implement positive change and agreed to hold each other accountable.
Here are a few of the techniques that we used to develop and transform our relationships.
The Animal Within
After being led through a short meditation, we were asked a simple question: “Which animal do you feel best describes how you communicate: wolf, tiger, eagle, rabbit, or turtle?”
Upon giving it some thought we then broke up into different animal groups to discuss what we believed were the communication strengths and weaknesses of the particular animal that we chose. It was interesting to see how everyone interpreted their chosen animal. In particular, many agreed or had similar perspectives on the communication styles that the animal represented.
Jourdan considered himself to be an eagle and I, myself, a wolf. Upon sharing with each other or reflections we definitely gained insight into how to better communicate with each other. Although we already communicate with each other often and with heart, it helped us understand why we sometimes react in the ways that we do.
I suggest that you try meditating on what animal you think you are and why. Then think about those close to you in your life. What animals might they be and how are the interactions that you have with them affected by your difference in communication style?
In combination with the days spent in training, we were also given homework to implement into our daily lives. One such assignment was to use what is formally known as Nonviolent Communication, or NVC for short.
NVC is a form of communicating with others that focuses on three aspects of communication: self empathy, empathy, and honest self-expression. The goal of NVCl is to provide a healthy way for people to express themselves to others in a constructive and non confrontational way.
This is achieved by following a specific format when addressing your needs. Here is the NVC formula along with an example:
- State your observation: “I noticed that you were late this morning…”
- State your feelings: “…which makes me feel irritated.”
- State the need that is causing the feeling: “I really need to feel respected…”
- Make a concrete request: “…so would you be able to leave early enough to make it here on time.
The NVC method is based upon the idea that all human beings have the capacity for compassion and only resort to violence or behavior that harms others when they don’t recognize more effective strategies for meeting their own needs.
NVC is an effective strategy that works in many situation from parenting to education as well as interpersonal relationships.
For more details on NVC process you can visit the Center for Nonviolent Communication.
You and Your’s
Through the Transformation of Relationships, we gained an abundance of knowledge; knowledge of ourselves, as well as those around us. It was the perfect next step in our yoga transformation.
Along with a deeper understanding of ourselves, we have acquired tools to help make us more well-rounded and mindful of how we live our lives. Such tools as NVC and animal communication allow us to minimize the feelings of overwhelmedness, become more reflective, and most importantly, take control of our actions.
We plan to continue to soak up the insight that we have gained and let the lessons take hold in our everyday lives. I hope that through the personal experiences that we share here, it makes positive impact on you and how you approach your relationships.