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NVC: Nonviolent Communication

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Buddha, NVC, Meditation, Nonviolent Communication

Have you heard of NVC? (Nonviolent Communication)

It’s something I’ve heard about on and off for the past few years but didn’t know anything about.

So this week I decided to reach out to NVC certified trainer Alan Seid to find out what the deal was, and to see if it’s something worth learning.

If you have no knowledge of NVC, this article will give you a great introduction.

In this article:

Let’s begin:

What is NVC?

Michael Frank: What is NVC? What is Nonviolent Communication?

Alan Seid: NVC is about how we express our honesty in such a way that our perspective is most likely to be received with understanding, and our needs are most likely to be met in a way that’s in harmony with other people’s needs.

On the listening side it’s about how we receive what might be coming at us, even when it sounds like an attack or blame or criticism or a judgment, and how we listen for the other person’s needs and values so that we’re standing in a more compassionate place, so that we’re less likely to get defensive, and most likely to diffuse a potential conflict.

Note to the reader: This definition will become a lot clearer throughout the article

My definition of NVC is: Compassionate communication and listening with empathy 

Michael Frank: Is NVC mostly about how we communicate and listen to others, or is it also about how we communicate with ourselves?

Alan Seid: It’s mostly about how we communicate with ourselves.

Violent vs Nonviolent communication

Michael Frank: Okay so if that’s how we define “nonviolent communication”, how do we then define “violent communication”? Can you give us some examples of what you would consider to be nonviolent vs violent communication? (Apart from swearing, threatening, yelling, mocking etc.)

Alan Seid: We can break down violent communication into five different areas:

1. Diagnoses which include criticism

2. Judgments e.g. “you’re an idiot”

3. Denial of responsibility e.g. an adult telling a child “Don’t make me hit you” (as if a child could “make” an adult do anything). All forms of denial of responsibility.

4. Placing demands on others e.g. “Do it my way or else” or anything where there’s a subtle threat of some sort of punishment. So in violent communication, the verb “to be” is very important and we want to know who is what, especially who is “good” and who is “bad”, because then we know who “deserves” to be punished or rewarded

5. Coercion. Manipulating other people through fear, guilt, shame, duty and obligation to get a reward or to avoid a punishment out of ‘shoulds’ or ‘have tos’. So anytime I ask you to do something for me, and let’s say I threaten you to do it, or I try to manipulate you or guilt trip you into doing it, that would be a form of violent communication

Lashing out or withdrawing is often a cry for help

Michael Frank: Do you have any suggestions for what to do when someone is being verbally violent and directing negative language our way?

Alan Seid: Yeah, so it’s really helpful to remember that when somebody else is in pain, when any of us is in pain, we tend to lash out or withdraw.

In other words, when I’m in pain is when I’m most needing other people’s love, care and support, and it’s also when I act in ways like lashing out or withdrawing, that make it least likely that I’m going to get that love, care, and support. So for someone new to NVC who’s trying to listen to difficult communications probably the first thing to understand is that any judgment or criticism coming your way is probably coming from some hunger for love. The other person has a need that’s not being met, so we can hear it as an expression of their pain rather than take it personally.

Michael Frank: I think that rings true a lot for me. For example, for me now in my late thirties where I see people angry, I tend to notice the pain behind the anger. I’m not trying to see the best in them. I’m not trying to see them any particular way. It’s just honestly what I notice. This person is in pain. When I see anger and frustration, I see the pain behind it.

Alan Seid: Yeah, exactly. And I think whether it’s a child or whether it’s an adult, we can make the assumption that any lashing out is coming from some form of pain. Somebody who’s happy and centered and calm and self-connected doesn’t hurt other people. Hurt people hurt people, and it’s when we don’t know how to process our grief that we ended up acting in ways that are sociopathic.

How to deal with verbal violence

Michael Frank: So if someone is being verbally violent or hurtful or negative, how would you suggest we deal with it? Is it just a case of listening? Or walking away? Or asking them in a non-confrontational way why they seem to be upset?

Alan Seid: Initially I want to be present with empathy with this person who’s being verbally violent, and if I notice that I can’t be present with empathy, that’s because I need it.

If somebody is being verbally violent and immediately I’m upset, disappointed, sad or angry, then it’s going to be extremely hard for me to give them empathy, because at that moment I’m needing it. So if I have the skills to give myself emergency first aid self-empathy, once I do that, then I can be present with the other person. I have a specific example if you’d like to hear it.

Michael Frank: Yes please

Alan Seid: I was at an event with a few hundred people. The event had ended and people were trickling out and somebody approached me and put his face about six or eight inches from mine and proceeded to do what most of us would call “yelling” (NVC observes without labeling) and telling me how my values were what was destroying the planet and life on the planet.

The level of aggression coming at me was such that my very first impulse was to punch this person in the face. Now my training in nonviolent communication tells me that’s an indicator that something inside me is hurting.

Now I just want to unpack this desire to punch somebody in the face, or the desire to lash out and hurt somebody. The deeper need is actually empathy. It’s empathetic understanding. The way that works is somebody said something to me that I find hurtful, I’m hurting, now I want to punch them so that they’re hurting. In other words, I’m wanting so much understanding about how much that hurt, that I want to make you hurt, so that you understand how much I’m hurting. That’s the unconscious psychology behind that. So right away I noticed that I wanted to punch this person and I wasn’t able to be present with them for empathy because I was upset, so I turned my attention inside and noticed I was deeply disappointed because I value a different way of interacting with other people, and I was also feeling very irritated because I have a need for understanding, and I wanted to be seen differently than how he was describing me.

Because of my training, this only took about two seconds, maybe a second and a half, to turn from this person yelling at me, to noticing I wanted to punch him, turning my attention inside and reconnecting with my needs, then I was able to turn to him and be present. I was able to give him empathy and I said something like: “Well it sounds like you have some values that you feel very, very strongly about”. And he said “THAT’S RIGHT!” and he started telling me more specifically, and then I was able to demonstrate understanding by letting him know “Yeah it sounds like you really value the rivers and the forest and habitat for other species”.

And then I switched to my honesty and I said “You know I’m feeling rather confused because I’m wondering whether you heard me speak at the event”. And then he said “Yes I heard you speak” and then he launched back in. I was able to stay with him in empathy, but then he turned around and walked away. So I could’ve followed him and continued the conversation. I chose not to based on connection with my needs. But I think he was looking for a confrontation and he didn’t get it. So if I can tune into what might be important to this other person who’s being confrontational, great. If I can’t even bring myself to turn my attention toward them empathically, that means I need empathy so I can turn my intention inward.

Michael Frank: If you said: “Excuse me, I’d like to listen to you, but the way you’re communicating is making it very difficult. I’m happy to hear you out, but could you please tone it down a little bit?” Do you think that would have exacerbated it and made it worse? How do you think that would have played out?

Alan Seid: I honestly don’t know. And that’s the thing, we have no control over how other people are going to take things or how they’re going to hear them. But you know what Michael, I wish I had thought of what you just said. I wish I had actually said that. I love it. I think it’s brilliant. I just didn’t think of it in the moment.

What if the other person doesn’t want to play?

Michael Frank: What if you are listening to someone compassionately trying to understand their needs and potentially asking them questions: “So I understand that you feel this way”, or “it appears that you are frustrated because of X, Y, and Z” etc. Do you encounter cases where someone still doesn’t want to listen? Like: “I don’t care what you think” and they just walk off?

Alan Seid: Yeah. Sure. So if I’m reflecting back and they just don’t want to play and they walk away. At that moment I have choices. I can judge them for that. I can judge myself for that. Or I can tune into what might their feelings and needs have been that led them to walk away? And what are my feelings and needs as I’m experiencing this? What’s happening for me inside rather than judging myself for judging them? What’s alive for me at that level of feelings and needs?

So yes, people could walk away and that’s why 90% of the time empathy is in silence. There’s a distinction between empathy and reflecting things back out loud. So reflecting back things back out loud, is not the same thing as empathy. Most of the time empathy is in silence, because technically we don’t give people empathy, technically what we give them is our full presence and as a result their need for empathy is met.

So most of the time this just happens in silence, but I would reflect back out loud in two circumstances:

  • If I think it would be comforting and reassuring for the other person to hear back what I’ve heard
  • If I really didn’t understand what they said, and I want to reflect it back to them just to make sure that I’m understanding

Otherwise it’s mostly in silence. So I find that most of those people who don’t want to play and walk away, it’s because they have a suspicion that we’re trying a technique on them, or we’re using some kind of new age psychoanalysis on them, or manipulating them in some way.

Dealing with sensitive people

Michael Frank: I find that some people are so sensitive, especially when it comes to criticism, that no matter how much I soften it or sugarcoat it, it’s too much for them. I mean, I’m almost unable to communicate with certain people, because even if the feedback is not necessarily negative, and it’s not that you’re wanting to hurt that person, but even if you make a gentle suggestion, they just can’t hear anything. So I’ve found that I can’t say anything, because no matter what you say, on a scale from 1-100, you can give them 0.0001% and it’s too much for them.

Alan Seid: Yeah, I’ve experienced that too. So we’re responsible for three things.

We are responsible for:

  1. Our intentions
  2. Our words
  3. Our actions

Everything else we don’t have control over, so we can’t be responsible for that. So yeah, we don’t have control over it how somebody else is going to take it. And that’s just a part of life.

Empathetic listening

Michael Frank: You mentioned empathy and I’d like to unpack that a little bit, especially empathetic listening or deep listening as NVC calls it, and I’m curious as to where you draw the line because, and I’ll give an extreme example, but there are some people that are so unconscious and unaware that they’ll just vomit out a stream of nonsense for two and a half hours if you’ll listen to it.

Where do you draw the line between compassionate listening, listening with empathy, and knowing that this is probably a waste of my time?

Alan Seid: Well, I look inside. So I’m present with someone as long as I can be. Now if it’s not making sense, I can come back to my honesty and say: “You know, honestly, I’m a little lost, I’m not really following right now, could you slow down a little bit and help me clarify so that I can understand you?” However, there are all kinds of situations in which we reach our limit and at that point we can stop. I mean Marshall Rosenberg (founder of NVC) said: “Don’t listen to one more word than you’re willing to listen to”. So we listen as long as we can.

And there are other situations when what the person is saying may sound like nonsense, and it could be that we’re just not understanding. And people ask me questions all the time about NVC and people with mental illness, and if you’re open, I’d like to tell you the story of the very last conversation I had with my father right before he died.

Michael Frank: Yes please

Alan’s last conversation with his dying father

Alan Seid: So he was in Mexico City with my mom, and that’s where I grew up. And I’d spoken with my mother that day for about an hour and she’d told me everything, every detail, what they ate, where they went, who visited, who called, just everything about their time there. And for the previous two or three days she had told me: “Hey your father’s reliving his childhood. He’s having these hallucinations or fantasies like he’s a child again”.

My father had cancer and it had spread through his body, and at one point he had a tumor behind his eye that was pushing on his brain. And so that was my mother’s explanation for some of what was happening in terms of my dad reliving his childhood. So we had this long conversation on the phone and at the end she says: “Do you want to talk to your father?” And I said: “Yeah of course”. And so my dad gets on the phone and he says in a very ominous tone of voice:

“Somebody called… they want to kidnap you and your mother”

Now I knew nobody had called to say they wanted to kidnap me and my mother. So at that point I was stunned. I was shocked. I was surprised. I was confused about what to do. So I was just quiet. I was just silent on the line. And after thirty seconds or so, he repeated it:

“Somebody called… they want to kidnap you and your mother”

And at that point I got it. I switched into empathy and I said: “Dad, it sounds like you’re really worried and concerned for me and my mom’s well being and safety”. And he goes: “Yeah” (deep exhale). I could just hear the sigh of relief from just being heard. And then he said it again:

“Somebody called… they want to kidnap you and your mother”

And I said: “Oh yeah, I’m hearing you’re super worried and concerned about me and my mom’s physical safety and well being”.

And he goes: “Yeah” (deep exhale). And then at some point I asked him: “What do they want?” And he said: “Money”. And I said: “Should I give it to them?” And there was a long pause and he said: “I don’t know”. And then I switched into empathy again. I said: “Dad it sounds like you’re not only worried and concerned about my and my mom’s physical safety, but you’re also really concerned about our financial well being, and making sure that we’re going to be okay financially”.

“Yeah” (deep exhale)

So I just hung in there with him to hear his feelings and needs, and once I got the sense that he had gotten it out and he really was heard, then I came back with my honesty. And there is a metaphor here that might be useful to your listeners that I’ll share in a second. It’s the metaphor of the tube of communication. So don’t let me forget.

But anyway, I came back with my honesty and I said: “Hey Dad, I just want you to know that I’ve got it handled. I’ve got everything under control. I’ve got it covered and my mom and I are going to be okay. We’re going to be fine”. And I could just hear him relax on the other end of the line.

So here’s somebody who had a story about reality that was totally different than the reality everyone else was living in. Nobody had called to kidnap anybody. And I could have argued with him, I could have tried to reason with him: “Listen father, the reason you’re saying this is because there’s a tumor behind your eye that’s pushing on your brain”. I could have done all kinds of things except empathy, and he would not have gotten what he needed. So here he was essentially speaking nonsense, but what he needed was the empathic understanding for what his feelings and needs were underneath.

So NVC is about switching from listening to respond, to listening to understand.

The tube of communication

Michael Frank: It’s a powerful example. You were going to mention the tube of communication metaphor

Alan Seid: Yeah. Most people are familiar with the story of Marshall Rosenberg when he was teaching at a mosque in the Middle East. It’s in his book A language of life where somebody in the audience stands up and yells: “You murderer!” Then Marshall replied: “Sir, are you upset because you would like my country to spend its resources in a different way?” and the guy’s like: “That’s right! We don’t need bombs!” anyway many people are familiar with the story…

The idea is let’s imagine that there’s a tube of communication between any two people. So between you and I Michael, we can imagine this tube, it’s like a plastic tube, or maybe one of those cardboard poster tubes, and let’s say that you’re trying to get your point across and so you’re stuffing a scarf through the tube, but let’s say that I’m trying to get my point across at the same time, so I’m putting my scarf through the tube on this end. What happens? The tube is clogged and neither one of us is getting heard or getting what we want.

So what NVC teaches is that if I can take my scarf and just put it to the side for the moment, and allow your scarves to come through, once your scarves have come through, now the tube is clear again and I can come back with what I had to say. So I’m not suppressing anything. I’m not denying my truth. I’m just putting it on the shelf momentarily to allow your message to come through. One thing people forget is that empathy is not agreement, empathy is a respectful or compassionate understanding. I’m willing to give you the experience that “I get it” – which is different than “I agree”.

So in Marshall’s story, this other person vents for about 40 minutes, it was 40 minutes worth of scarves coming through, but finally he was quiet and then Marshall came back with his honesty, and he said: “Well sir, I’m rather frustrated right now, because I was invited to teach a class here, and I’m wondering if you’d be willing to grant me the remainder of our time to continue with my presentation”. The guy was like “Yeah, yeah, go ahead!”. So similarly in the story with my father, I allowed his message to come through, and I was listening for the feelings and needs, not for the veracity of his story, and once his message came through, now the tube was clear again and I was able to share my message, which was: “Hey, you know what? You have permission to die man. I know you’re tired. I know it’s hard. I know you’re worried about your family, but we’re gonna be fine and you can let go now.”

Michael Frank: I’ve heard it said: “Everybody wants to talk, but nobody wants to listen”, and I think that when you do listen first, when you enable the other person to express themselves, to get things off their chest, they’re a lot more likely to listen to you.

Alan Seid: Absolutely.

The importance of self-connection and self-talk

Michael Frank: You mentioned at the beginning of the conversation that NVC is mostly about how you communicate to yourself and that surprised me. I’d like to know more about that. Can you speak more a little more about that?

Alan Seid: Yeah the way it works is like this: The two main parts of NVC we mostly think about is authentic self-expression and empathic listening. My level of self-connection is either a limiting factor to those other two – or it’s a supportive factor. So if I’m totally disconnected from myself, how honest can I be with you? If I’m going through a huge storm, if I’m flooded, if I’m triggered, then how present can I be emphatically to what’s happening for you? It’s very, very difficult if I’m going through an internal storm.

Michael Frank: When you say how you’re connected with yourself, do you mean how present and conscious and aware you are of your own thoughts and feelings? Or is there more to it than that?

Alan Seid: I would say particularly feelings and needs, but thoughts are also important because the stories we tell ourselves are an expression of the meaning that we’re giving to situations, which also tends to stimulate which needs are coming up for us. But I was thinking specifically of feelings and needs, but certainly the story we’re telling ourselves is important to be aware of too.

NVC, Nonviolent Communication

How you communicate to others…

Michael Frank: Is there anything else you want to say on self-talk?

Alan Seid: Well the way we communicate with others is usually a reflection of how we’re communicating with ourselves. So if I tend to be really hard on myself, if I tend to hold an unreasonably high standard for myself and then berate myself every time I fall short of that standard, chances are that I’m treating other people that way too. Even if it’s in silence, even if I don’t tell them it’s a standard I’m holding them to.

Michael Frank: People that are very judgmental and critical are often that way with themselves. So when you say it’s a reflection of the way we communicate with ourselves, I wholeheartedly agree with you. But I’m wondering, where do you think this communication begins? So when we see a teenager or an adult and they’re very critical and judgmental of others, and they tend to be that way with themselves, do you believe that for some people it’s inherent in their personality? Or do you believe it’s a learned behavior that’s been trained into them by their parents, their peers, society etc. to be communicating with themselves in that way?

Alan Seid: I would say that it’s a learned behavior. I’m not sure if it’s inherent to anybody’s personality, but beyond those two possibilities, I think it’s actually inherent to a specific developmental stage that human beings go through. Let me put it this way: Philosopher Ken Wilber summarizes the evolution of human consciousness as growing from “I” and “me” to “us” and “we”. So the circle of who you identify as “we” or “us” grows from egocentric to ethnocentric to sociocentric to world centric. In other words, you’re compassionate embrace grows larger and larger.

So initially we think the only people who are worthy of moral consideration are just people who look like me, or just people in my family, and then only people in my society, and only people of my culture. And then it grows to all human beings, and beyond human beings, all sentient beings. So there is a certain developmental stage I think in human consciousness that defaults to blame, judgment, criticism, but it’s also reinforced culturally. So as culture evolves, as our collective understanding of how the world works evolves, it acts like a magnet and it pulls people up toward that level.

How to become conscious of your self-talk

Michael Frank: If you want to improve the quality of your self-talk, for me the very first thing you need to do is become conscious of it, and for those of us who don’t practice mindfulness, who don’t meditate and watch their thoughts etc. do you have any suggestions as to how we can become conscious of our self-talk?

Alan Seid: Well the simplest thing is to write it down. So if you notice you’re upset, if you notice you’re disappointed, if you notice you’re angry, write down what you’re thinking and just let it be a stream of consciousness and just write, write, write, without censoring, without limiting, without saying “this is inappropriate”, without saying “I shouldn’t think this”, but just allowing it and giving it space to just be. And then you can go back and start looking at it.

So for example, if I notice that I’m judging my neighbor for being greedy or inconsiderate, right there in the language, just the judgment “he’s being inconsiderate” tells me that one of the things that’s important to me is consideration. Or if I’m calling somebody selfish, it’s that I don’t trust that they’re taking other people’s needs into account as much as their own needs. So that’s a value or a need. So I can look at the judgments and the ways that I’m diagnosing or characterizing others, then I can start to notice the deeper values or the needs underneath that. The clues are in the very language we’re using.

Michael Frank: Journaling is a great idea. Any other suggestions Alan?

Alan Seid: Yeah, absolutely. You know I once asked Marshall Rosenberg (founder of NVC): “Marshall, I notice some people come to your workshops and within two or three workshops they get it really quickly and NVC is almost natural to them. And then I notice other people who take workshop after workshop after workshop, and when you add them all up, it’s like decades worth of workshops, and yet they don’t seem to be progressing. What’s the deal? What’s happening?”

Marshall said: “I don’t know, but one thing I’ve noticed is that people who have some kind of awareness based practice tend to pick it up a lot faster”. So the very first step is a desire to become self-aware, and to become more mindful of our inner world, our inner reality, and knowing how it is that we impact other people. Every religion, every wisdom tradition in the world, has some version of know thyself. So I think it starts with that intention and that desire to become self-aware. Then there can be lots of ways to do it.

The four areas of focus in NVC

Michael Frank: What else do we need to know about NVC?

Alan Seid: Well in NVC we’re focusing our attention on four areas:

1. Observations: What exactly happened? We’re observing facts and behaviors (without labeling)

2. Feelings: How we feel about it, or how the other person feels about it

3. Needs: Universal human needs e.g. Connection, Honesty, Peace, Physical Well-being

4. Request: Clear and specific request

I want to differentiate between the intention and the words, because I could have the intention to get my way, or to manipulate a specific outcome, and then use words and language that sounds like observation, feeling, need, request, and that would not be NVC at all. That would be a subtle form of manipulation. So we want to make sure that our intention is centered on creating a high quality of connection out of which we’ll find a mutually agreeable outcome.

NVC, Nonviolent Communication

The three toolboxes of NVC

Michael Frank: Can you also unpack the three toolboxes of NVC for us?

Alan Seid: Absolutely. So NVC has three different toolboxes, one in how we express ourselves, one in how we listen, and one in how we connect with ourselves. And these three toolboxes equal three different areas in which to put our attention.

  1. Inside
  2. Emphatically toward others
  3. Expressing myself authentically

So self-connection or going inside is about connecting with what’s motivating me at the level of feelings and needs, and it’s also about connecting with the parts of me that allow me to humanize the other, and connecting with other people with where they might be coming from. So the self-connection piece is pretty big, and it’s where the depth of compassion really comes from is inside us.

The other two areas are empathy, how I listen to others, how I’m present with other people, and the third area is honesty. Honest, authentic, genuine, self expression. Now here’s an insight about honesty that I think a lot of people haven’t thought about, which is: I don’t choose what my honesty is. I look inside and I’m honest with you about what I find.

Michael Frank: But we must be conscious about how we express ourselves, depending on what we see. Correct?

Alan Seid: You mean because how we express ourselves can have an impact on others?

Michael Frank: Yes

Alan Seid: Sure. So we can be skillful not only about how we communicate, but also with the timing. Absolutely.

Why should I practice NVC?

Michael Frank: To someone that said: “Why should I communicate nonviolently? No one else speaks nicely to me!” What would you say to that person?

Alan Seid: First, I would offer them empathy for that. Even if it’s silent, even if in my mind I’m simply understanding where they’re coming from, so if there’s someone who is saying “Why should I even bother? Nobody else does this”. Maybe they have a value around shared responsibility. They don’t want to be the only one in their family or at work who is taking the initiative and who is doing that, and maybe they feel overwhelmed thinking about taking that on. So that’s the first thing, instead of labeling them as “resistant” or “hardheaded” or “intransigent”, I would first have compassion for where they’re coming from. Then if I choose to say something, and if I want to help them see a different perspective, we might discuss: “Well what’s the cost of doing things that way or continuing to do things that way?”

But the bottom line is that nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care. Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care. So first I would establish rapport with this person. Otherwise, anything I say is going to go in one ear and out the other. Once I establish rapport, then yes I can ask them: “So how’s that been going for you?”

Summary

Michael Frank: I want to summarize some of these points to make sure I’m not missing anything. So from my basic understanding of nonviolent communication:

  • We are communicating with compassion both with ourselves and with others
  • We are listening to other people with empathy, and trying to understand their feelings and needs
  • We are observing the behavior and words of other people, without evaluating and making judgments about it

Are there any other key things that I’ve missed out re: NVC?

Alan Seid: You know the main thing is slowing down, and accessing tenderness inside us and knowing that it’s there for other people. There’s a beautiful traditional Japanese tale about heaven and hell that really exemplifies the difference for me.

So in this traditional Japanese tale about heaven and hell, a virtuous prince dies and his guardian angel shows up and says: “You’ve been very virtuous so I’m going to take you to heaven, but I’d like to grant you one wish before I take you to heaven”. And the prince says: “Well I’d like to see hell. I’d like to see what it is I’m missing out on”.

And so in a flash they’re in a room with a large banquet table with the most delicious food that you can imagine. And everybody sitting around the table has one meter long chopsticks from their pinky and forefinger, and everybody around the table looks irritated and gaunt like they haven’t eaten in a long time, and because the chopsticks are so long and they can’t feed themselves, they spend their entire time knocking food out of each other’s chopsticks. So that was hell.

And then they appear in heaven. And what they see in heaven is a long banquet table with the most beautiful delicious food that you can imagine. Everybody sitting around the table has one meter long chopsticks from their pinky and forefinger. And everyone around the table is enjoying good conversation and everybody looks well fed. And because of the one meter long chopsticks from the pinky and forefinger, they cannot feed themselves, so they spend their entire time extending food to one another.

So the biggest shift is in the mindset. The biggest shift is really realizing that in this moment we are in deep space. We’re flying through deep space on this little blue ball and there’s no planet B, we’re here, and so some of the stories that we need to question are:

Who are we?

What is the good life?

What is our shared destiny on this planet together?

Michael Frank: Alan it’s been an absolute pleasure. Thank you!

Alan Seid: Michael, thank you for your time, thank you for your work, and please stay in touch!

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

PS: If you would like a masterclass in NVC I highly recommend this video:

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