Greetings from the post-travel netherworld: I’m back in the day-to-day of my Seattle life, and still feel expansive and “potentized” by my time in India. This a rich and challenging trip is inspired me and what I’m teaching here in Seattle this winter and spring….
During the three weeks of our travel, I focused on conflict, how it lives in me, how it manifests outwardly when I don’t own my “stuff”, when I don’t recognize my thoughts as evaluations and judgments and get lost for a spell. How do I find my way back to myself, to my heart?
The week-long Nonviolent Communication convention in Kerala we participated in was titled “Creativity and the gift of conflict”. Populated mostly by Indians and a smallish amount of internationals, the language of the convention was English–not my mother language and not the mother language of most of the attendees.
I can see how easily conflict arises from being of different cultural and religious backgrounds; I also know how easily conflict arises in me, often with those I am closest to in all ways.
So how do I go about the fact that the very essence of intimacy is inherently conflictual? That any two people are cross-cultural?
A couple of pointers that have worked for me: I cannot know about your reality unless you are willing to share it with me and I am willing to hear it. And if I cannot be with you and your reality, it is because I cannot be with something in me that has been stirred.
The way to be with something in me that is uncomfortable is to start with an awareness of it as it lives in my body, a willingness to hang out with that energy and get to know it, listen to it, give it space to be. Then there is more space for creativity to emerge, to begin to listen to another with more freed-up energy.
Travelling for 5 hours at a stretch in an Indian mini bus with 13 overheated women certainly provided grounds for practice. A daily routine of asana, meditation and self connection kept me (and my co-leader Barbra Esher) face-to-face (or heart-to-heart) with how our inner conflicts were reflected in our external conflicts.
When I know that I am in the medium, that I am the conflict, the door of possibility opens in relationship.
We’ll be going to Kerala again next January :). But in the meantime…I’ve created opportunities to teach this practice–without mini-buses. I’ll be pairing up with another extremely talented NVC teacher–Kathleen Macferran–to teach monthly workshops and a summer retreat.
We’re calling them “The Communication of Yoga: Compassion On & Off the Mat“. The intersection of Nonviolent Communication and yoga makes for an incredible venue to explore ourselves–through our bodies in a physical practice, our minds as we sit quietly, our whole beings as we’re guided through the exploration.
Friday, March 13 12:00 – 4:00pm: Twist Yoga in Edmonds
Friday, April 17, 1:15-4:15pm: YogaLife in Seattle
Friday, May 22, 12:30 – 4:30pm: Aditi Studio in Fremont
Friday, June 12, 12:00 – 4:00pm: 8Limbs Phinney Ridge