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Nonviolent Communication

Yesterday evening I finally finished reading the book “Nonviolent Communication – A Language of Life” by Marshall B. Rosenberg. I was fascinated by the very human and compassionate approach towards solving conflicts and towards understanding one’s own real needs and that of others. The method had helped me in handling conflicts with my sons (15/13 yrs), especially with my younger one. (Last week in Berlin, my friends had a mug with a picture of one of the Simpsons saying “The I haven’t done it boy”, reminding me of the many little conflicts about computer sharing or “littering” at home…)

It had taken over 10 years from the first contact with Nonviolent Communication until now: I remember having heart about it when doing the German translation of the book “Spiritual Politics – Changing the World from the Inside Out“, by Corinne McLaughlin and Gordon Davidson in 1996 (for which I hadn’t found a publisher however, in spite of intense search). Then I got some insights in 97/98 at a conflict resolution training course of the Swiss Red Cross, where I was at that time head of a psychosocial couseling centre for migrants and refugees.

The book even came to me in 99, when at an international conference in Geneva a participant from Los Angeles gave it to me. My wife later started reading it and was enthusiastic about it, applying the concepts in her dealing with our chidren and neighborhood help. 6 months ago she went to a training of the Centre for Nonviolent Communication in Basel and even organised a course with a CNVC-trainer in a neighbor village. She tried to do it again the last weeks, but two days ago they had to cancel it because of too few registrations.

We had quite some discussions at home about the nonviolent way of dealing with conflicts, and I had to realise that very often I took me quite some time to understand my behaviour in the little daily conflicts with the children and finding a more intelligent attitude in seeing what are the hidden needs behind a situation. I hope my eyes have been sharpened by reading the book, which for me is a very practical approach of applying spiritual principles in everyday life.

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