ILYM Winter Retreat: Non-Violent Communication

Author: Dawn Rubbert


Having been exposed to the principles of Non-Violent Communication and the work of Dr. Marshall Rosenberg, who created this method, I am looking forward to the retreat next weekend (Feb 20-22, 2009). I have learned enough about the principles to recognize that in order to use peaceful communication one must practice. The world in which we live does not generally support this kind of communication, it does not come naturally. Rather it must be cultivated and intentionally developed. One needs to practice so that skills will increase and come more easily with less thought as time goes on. Non-Violent Communication is sometimes called “Compassionate Communication”. It is one way to be proactively peaceful in our world. Language is more powerful than we tend to realize, especially on a daily level.


Just try getting through a day without using words that, in some context, refer to violence. I think, from my experience, that you will be amazed. Do you ride in elevators? What word do you use to tell someone what to do to the buttons? Perhaps you say something like “hit” seven for me . . .


Who has not encountered a situation where language separated them from someone else? Misunderstandings about what words mean? Surely you have heard the famous story about England and the United States being separated by a common language.


So, I am thrilled to have an opportunity to deepen my understanding, be with others who are learning, and have a safe Quaker “family” with whom I can practice. They say that practice makes perfect . . . We could all use a more perfect world and I must start/continue that venture by working on myself.