NVC for liberation

This post is inspired by and offers a brief overview of Miki Kashtan’s blog on ‘Nonviolent Communication for Liberation – flow, mobilisation and emergency.’

Key themes:

  • Liberation and healing are related and distinct
  • Empathic support is needed and not sufficient for liberation
  • Patriarchal conditioning affects all of us, creating a foundation of scarcity in which we live and function in separation and experience persistent powerlessness
  • Liberation is both internal and external, it needs to include liberation from all forms of social oppression, including in particular the core patriarchal structures
  • Every person can reach toward personal liberation and every person can have a role in moving the world toward collective liberation
  • Fully integrating NVC and adopting it as a way of living is inconsistent with capitalism, with either/or thinking, and with scarcity, separation, and powerlessness, all of which are at the root of all patriarchal societies
  • It is exceedingly difficult to integrate NVC all the way into our being as an individual living in such societies
  • To counter the immense societal and inner pressure we can create communities that co-hold the move towards liberation
  • One way of understanding what liberation means is that we reach the capacity to choose how to respond to life instead of reacting to it, more and more of the time

Flow, emergency and mobilisation

  • Flow is the natural state of any living organism
  • Emergency is what happens when we perceive a threat to our survival, which then activates the fight, flight, freeze system in order to rapidly react to what’s happened
  • Mobilisation is any state in which we pull together resources to attend to the purpose at hand
  • When we are in trust in the flow of life, and emergencies happen at a rate that we can bounce back from, we can thrive
  • When we are within the flow of life, we mobilise and make complex decisions by connecting to needs
  • We learn to apply rules and norms without engaging in relationship, without attending to anyone’s needs or preferences, and without complex considerations
  • Under conditions of chronic multigenerational trauma and living within separation, we are more likely to interpret situations as a threat to survival than I imagine we were before patriarchy

What NVC can contribute

  • NVC can bring flow by reducing the thoughts that interfere with being able to trust our preferences enough to follow them – increasing self-acceptance, releasing tension and judgements, and increasing willingness to listen inwards.
  • Gaining fluency in translating judgements and in accessing needs can support us in reorienting to actual needs of all concerned
  • NVC can help us move from either/or win/lose thinking to collaboration and trust
  • NVC supports integration by giving us the capacity to be with our feelings without getting flooded, which increases the chances that we will respond to difficult situations using the tend-and-befriend pathway and without activating the fight-flight-freeze pathway
  • NVC can increase our capacity to disentangle observations from interpretations and, in doing so, to reduce the frequency with which we will interpret what is happening as a threat
  • If we enter conditions of emergency with an integrated capacity to see needs, we can more quickly get to the heart of the matter so resources can accurately flow to needs
  • If we recognize that the primary reason why the range of our options is so small stems from living under conditions of patriarchy, then we can find deeper capacity to choose to liberate ourselves from them
  • NVC supports liberation by helping us see how we have internalized them through patriarchal conditioning
  • NVC gives us more options for how to respond to life

If any of this sparks your interest, i really recommend reading the article.

I would love to know what you think.