Fractals of Processes: Finding the Larger Experience Within Small Moments – December 2014
The practice of NVC empathy is grounded in the present moment. In my process work with people, I have started asking myself, “How would I respond if this sentence that is being spoken were everything? Is this moment a fractal for this person’s larger experience?” It gives rise to the larger question of what are the reverberations of staying present, accompanying the person on his or her journey, and making guesses that touch on the notes that this soul is singing? (For those of you who do not like the word “soul,” read “irreplaceable, unique, particular and infinite being.”)
And this year, during thousands of hours of empathy guesses, I am honing in on the need for acknowledgment of what is. I find myself guessing, for bodies that are frightened, “Do you need acknowledgment that bad things really have happened to you, and that you have good reasons to be scared?” Bodies enjoy these guesses of acknowledgment, and tend to relax when they receive them.
In the second paragraph above I wrote the words “accompanying the person on his or her journey.” This word, accompaniment, has also been key for me for the last 12 months. Having someone with us, especially someone we care about and who cares about us, changes our neurobiology. It changes the way we perceive pain, it changes our perception of how much effort it will take to get things done, and it changes us down to the level of our immune cells.
So this is the year that I have begun to ask myself, “Am I willing to be accompanied? Am I willing to let myself be loved, imperfectly, humanly, inconstantly? Am I willing to be the center of my own world and let the people who love me form a patchwork of presence and care around me, as I am also present for them in my own inconstant way? Am I willing to receive the truth of their love, even when they are depressed, angry, distracted, grieving or worried?”
As I have thought about what it is like to allow myself to draw on the people I love and who love me, even when I am far away from them, to allow myself to be accompanied, I have noticed that I can tell what I need with much more ease. And I can tell how I want to move: what actions I want to take; what words I want to speak; how much time I want to take; and how I want to be spending my time.
I have been wondering what it would be like to call the actions that arise when we are accompanied “true movements.” What do I do, and how do I move, when I come from this place? How do I breathe? What do I see? What do I want to say? Who do I want to reach out to? Who do I want to connect with?
And all of this is impossible for me if I’m not tending to my own implicit patterns of old pain, mistrust and disbelief, the work of which I write about so often in these monthly letters.