“Oh the comfort, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person, having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all right out, just as they are — chaff and grain together — certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and with the breath of kindness blow the rest away.” – Dinah Maria Mulock Craik, A Life for a Life
Speaking heart to heart is essential. Often the heart is able to communicate and radiate love in ways that words can never reach. We all feel it. For me I felt this most with my grandmother. I could be silly and free and feel loved even if I didn’t say or do what was expected. For most of us communication is an everyday experience. Often we think of communication as words only. But so much more goes into interactions between people. If we go into an experience with feelings of peace and joy then this is often what is reflected back to us. On the other hand going to speak with someone while feeling anger and frustration will likely bring the same response in return. So how can we manage to speak and interact consciously? Speaking less is often a wise way to bring about more peaceful relations in general. But what happens when we need to stand up and say something that others may not like? The essential is to find the right words, with the right feeling and to express them at the right time.
Barbara Linney, author of Turn Your Face: How to Be Heard and Get What You Want Most of the Time, suggests that we all want to know that we’ve been heard. The best way to do this is to repeat back a part of what was said even if you don’t agree with the person. This lets the person in front of you know they have been heard. It’s also essential to listen. “Listening requires getting quiet, turning your face and body to the person without a cell phone in your hand, calming the chatter in your head enough so that you can tune in, an then restating some of what the other person said.” She’s talking about heart to heart communication. When we speak heart to heart we’re fully conscious of the others and of our self. This kind of communication transcends the need to be right or wrong. It seeks to understand at a deeper level that goes beyond the words spoken.
Learning non-violent communication means first that we must be non-violent with ourselves and learn to calm anger and irritation. Linney suggests that moments of anger in interactions with others calls for self-awareness. When the moment of anger arrives it’s time to “go for a walk, go to the bathroom, run cold water over your hands, and ideally get somewhere and write down all of your feelings.” Linney says that writing down all of one’s feelings can help to gain perspective. Later when the opportunity to arises, it’s time to share but from a calm, serene place. She also says that if you make a mistake don’t hesitate to go back again later with a calm perspective and apologize if necessary. By sitting quietly a few minutes in meditation, it’s possible to open the heart and speak from this place of peace and goodness.
Bio: Debra Moffitt is the award winning author of Awake in the World: 108 Practices to Live a Divinely Inspired Life and “Garden of Bliss”. A visionary, dreamer and teacher, she’s devoted to nurturing the spiritual in everyday life. She leads workshops on spiritual practices, writing and creativity in the U.S. and Europe. More at http://www.awakeintheworld.com and on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/DebraMoffittAwakeintheWorld