Monthly Archives: July 2010

NON-VIOLENT COMMUNICATION

I have spent the last week looking at communication; what and how we communicate. I have spent time with a very wise friend and together we have explored what communication really is about.

How do we speak to each-other? Especially when there is anger, disappointment or resentment? By projecting our negative feelings on to the other person, we make them responsible for what we feel and turn ourselves into victims.

This type of communication is usually the biggest problem between couples that come to me for talks. They do not know how to speak with each-other or how to listen to each-other. Each is wrapped up in their own coat of disappointment, anger and negativity, and this is where they fall back each time there is an argument. This kind of communication creates a negative downward spiral that leads to more accusation and grief, feeding itself in every turn, making it impossible to find a solution.

We own our feelings, we need to own our feelings, and we must constantly be aware of this. When there are negative feelings about something it is because we experience an unfulfilled need. When listening to somebody; listen to the need behind the words. We are responsible only for our own feelings and we need to connect to our inner selves to understand why we feel the way we do. Most often it is easier to blame somebody else. The same goes for listening; instead of taking responsibility for another’s feelings, we need to step back, liberate ourselves from this responsibility and listen to the need behind the words. The moment we do this, non-violent communication is activated; we start looking for solutions and we step away from blame, criticism and attack.

Each and every person has a right to feel whatever they are feeling and nobody has the right to say that this is wrong or unacceptable. We choose how to react:

“What others do may be a stimulus of our feelings, but not the cause.”

– Marshall B. Rosenberg, Ph.D.,

There is plenty of information on: http://www.nonviolentcommunication.com

On YouTube you can find short films where Marshall B. Rosenberg speaks about nonviolent communication.

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THE MOBILE TERROR and disrespect

I searched long and hard to find a simple phone that does only calls and messages. I have found one. It does other things too – barely – but I don’t bother about that. It was the cheapest phone on the market and they will probably not exist for very long, so I better stack up 🙂 I love my paper-agenda (that fits in all bags) with its post-it-stickers and messy, lived in look. I hate it when somebody’s phone takes precedence in a talk/meeting with me…so rude! And usually it’s not even important. I hate it when people expect me to be constantly available – even on the loo? And I hate it when vile ring-signals disturb the peace at a nice restaurant, during a movie or whatever.
I say; start smelling the flowers, lie on the grass and watch the trees.

That said, I still experience a slight quickening of my heartbeat when I realize that I have forgotten my phone – stress. Even if it is only to go to the train-station in the next village, 5 km away, to pick up someone. I think: “What if something happens? Without my phone I am stranded – AAArrrghhh!” This is so ridiculous that I blush.

I have hitch-hiked alone through Europe, brought up 4 children, lived an isolated life in the forest and never did I have a phone. How on earth did I survive? I think we forget about the time when mobile phones didn’t exist and how easily we lived our lives anyway. You made a date with someone and kept it. Now you make a date with someone and if something happens along the way, you just call and everything is okay…and somehow it is as if more things tend to happen “on the way” since the mobile-phones, and we have become nonchalant.

Don’t get me wrong, I am all for the mobile phone. It massively simplifies life…I just don’t like the space they are taking in people’s lives and I don’t like that I sometimes feel stressed by the expected availability of my person. So I make rules; there are times when I am just not available; when I give treatments, when I speak with a friend, at a restaurant, movie, concert. On the loo and when in bed – whatever I happen to be doing there. I want to be the kind of person that gives 100% attention to the person in front of me. And if I feel that I can’t do that – well, then I stay on my own. And when I do answer my phone, I am available and I will give the person the attention they deserve.

RESPECT!

INVISIBLE STRESS

(Escher: Labyrinth)

I am working with a young woman who suffers from an invisible, high-level stress. Her stress comes from inside and even though she’s plenty busy, this is not the source of her problems. The first signs were head-aches that over time became both more frequent and painful. Then she became aggressive and worried. After 4 months she was seriously ill with constant migraine, nausea, constipation, mood-swings and night-mares. One day she fainted in the street and was brought to the hospital where she underwent all the tests in the book: Brain-scan, neurology-tests, blood-analysis – the works. Nothing could be found. The doctors diagnosed migraine and gave her different kinds of medication, constantly increasing the strength but nothing helped, the girl was seriously ill.

At this point enter the complementary forces:

After talks with her it is obvious that she has an enormous need of controlling her world, everything must be perfect – which is also mirrored in her appearance and surroundings. She helps her friends with everything she can and is always available when needed. The feeling I get is that her head is stuck in a labyrinth box. There is such tremendous mental pressure that it has turned into pain, she can find no clarity and when she tries to figure things out she gets confused. She is angry and negative towards her state and scared that it will not go away.

  1. Going over her diet and taking out all stimulants; sugar, tea, alcohol.
  2. Teaching her about mind-mapping (see an earlier post) and how to find clarity. At this point she gets angry and can not find any “clues” in her mind-mapping. I take her through a mind-game and she relaxes as an “inner door” opens. When she feels the results, she is pleased.
  3. Brain-movies: In a guided meditation I take her to a nice place which is her own and where she feels happy. This place is where she will go to heal. I make sure she remembers the path to this sacred place and tell her to do this every night until falling asleep there.
  4. Breathing exercises and how to control the mood-swings by recognizing signals.
  5. physiotherapy for the tension in head, back and stomach – 3 sessions in 2 weeks.
  6. Full-body massage once a week and home-massage of face and neck twice a day with essential oils.
  7. A small roll-on phial with pure essential oils to be carried in hand-bag and used at first sign of headaches; massage temples and nape of neck.

Used oils:

  • Geranium (pelargonium graveolens) Emotional balance.
  • Ylang-Ylang (cananga odorata) Anger-control.
  • Rosemary (rosmarinus officinalis) Clarity of mind.
  • Mandarin (Citrus reticulata) Lighten up the inner child.
  • Sandalwood (santalum album) Spirituality and cooling energy.
  • Roman Chamomile (Chamameleum nobile) Deeply relaxing on all levels. Safety
  • Pepper-mint (mentha piperita) Head-aches.
  • Eucalyptus (eucalyptus globulus) Head-aches and clarity.
  • Lavender high altitude (lavandula augustifolia) Head-aches, calming and relaxing.

TIME MANAGEMENT

Salvador Dali; persistence of time

Time is not always the same, time is not linear: When you are totally stressed out, time shrinks and no matter how you run, you never catch up.  When you are relaxed, on the other hand, time stretches and no matter how leisurely you move, you are always ahead. This is actually true, and we have all experienced that. Most of the time that we lose is in the  “cracks” of our schedules, between the actions; going places or by “saving” time. Read Michael Endes book “Momo” – in it the “time-savers” are hassling everybody to save time in their bank, their idea catches on and before you know it nobody is playing, singing, making love or just hanging out, because they are saving this time for the future…

If you seem to always run out of time, always be a bit late, never have time to finish tasks or just plain no time for yourself….you are seriously suffering from terrible time-management skills because there is always time to be had.

Scheduling, prioritizing and goal-setting are the three most important factors:

  • Scheduling: Each evening, go over the day and look at how you could improve the timing. Go over the next day and pencil it into your agenda. Once a week go over your whole week in the same way. Try pinpointing where you lost your time; interruptions? Small crisis? A child needing a ride? Illness? Fatigue? Traffic? and look at how you can solve these things. “Surprise” happenings can be very disruptive if you have not allowed for such happenings in your planning. Everything goes into your schedule, even your private time, because if you don’t put it in there, it’s not going to happen! And be realistic about timing.
  • Prioritizing: When you schedule, you also need to prioritize; what is most important? Each task that hits your life needs to be prioritized and managed, if not you’ll end up losing time on inconsequential tasks that led nowhere. Prioritizing yourself might have the highest importance sometimes. You are only as good as you can be; exhausted, ill and depressed you are of no use to anybody.
  • Goal-setting: You really need to know where you are going before you can plan your strategy: prioritization depends on your goal; if your goal is to sell your house , then cleaning it and making it look nice is your priority. If your goal is to master a new skill, then this is priority, if you have a project at work that has a short dead-line, this is your priority. If you are ill, getting well is priority. You always have to look at this angle or you will probably ending up doing things last-minute with less than good results.

This is where you start: Get a notebook that is small enough to carry around. In it you record every time you do something during the day, as in a schedule; time, action and how long it took. EVERYTHING! Do this for 2 weeks, then go over the notes and look at where you lose time; I bet it comes from bad organizing: Did you get gas on the way when you went shopping? Did you get all your shopping done in one go, or have you been running to the store to top up? Did you get up on time or did you snooze that extra little bit? Did you organize your bag in the evening or leave it til morning?….On and on. You will be flabbergasted at how much time you are throwing away on nothing.

Next step: Organize realistically and schedule: The ride to work takes 35 minutes, not 30. If you are driving; add another 10 min. for unforeseen happenings; if you get there early you have 10 extra minutes for a coffee or a head-start on your work. If you have a flat tire, you do have some extra time to handle it without panicking; and when you call in late,  you do that ahead of time – buys you plenty of good-will points.

Don’t ever be late: This is incredibly rude, nonchalant and disrespecting. You keep other people waiting (wasting their time) and you don’t look very serious, actually it looks like you have no control over your schedule – which is true. Be on time, or even a bit early; catch up on calls, read a paper…go over notes for the meeting…

Getting the picture? If you have questions, ideas, tips or want to know more; send me a comment.