German NVC Community Interviews Kelly Bryson on Community Building


• Questions: What led you to non-violent communication? Have you had a key experience on your way?

What led me to NVC was my own violent childhood and attempting to heal the scars.  In that attempt I was completing a Masters in Humanistic psychology when a group from our program was invited to attend a Humanistic Educators Conference where Marshall Rosenberg was presenting.  He invited a couple from the audience to work on stage with him and in a matter of 10 minutes had resolved a conflict the couple had been working on for years.  I was hooked.

• What exactly inspires you about non-violent communication?

The intention to connect instead of correct and the focus on the self awareness,  self responsibility and vulnerability of one‘s transparent honest expressions.  It also helps me tap into “Satyagraha”, a term Gandhi used meaning “Soul Force”.

• Do you have a metaphor for empathy – do you want to share it with us?

When I empathize with someone, I become a strong and gentle wind, filling the sailboat of the other’s inner exploration.  As the Wind, I have no control over the steering of the boat.  That is left up to the captain of the ship, the person I am being present to.  I do not try to direct, only connect with where the other is in this very present moment.  I bring in no ideas of thoughts about the past or the future.  I bring in no thoughts of my own.  I have no preference for where we go on this journey – only that it come from the captain’s heart and choice.  The purpose of my presence is connection, never correction.  I am a steady, present trade wind, not an impatient and gusty gale.

• What sort of personal change have you experienced with non-violent communication? Can you give us an example of an occasion in which you felt, how non-violent communication had changed your everyday life?

I can no longer “play victim” with the same righteous conviction and unconsciousness the way I used to be able to.  I can ask for and get what I want without backlash.  I can have much more compassion for those who come at me with judgement and blame, and therefore much more power with them.

• What does social change mean for you in the context of nonviolent communication?

I can only contribute to as much social change as I have within me.  So if I can co-create a subcultural group around me that is not just believing but be-living an energetic field and consciousness of Super Natural Deep Harmony, this gives me the most power to be my full authentic powerful self.  With this self empowerment and the “field power” my tribe creates with me, together we can have the most influence for creating growthful peace communities. The great anthropologist Margaret Mead said “Never doubt that a thoughtful group of committed citizens can change the world.  Indeed it is the only thing that ever has.”

• What exactly do you mean by “tribe” and what qualities to you need to build one? 

By tribe or village or community I mean a committed network of nonresidential, intimate, bonded people who hopefully live within bicycling distance from each other. Often between 30 and 150 people who share some core values like respect for the divinity of individual autonomy, experiential knowledge of the sacredness of our collective unified group mind/spirit, consensual as opposed to conventional morality, nonviolence in action and speech, a spirit based relationship with nature, creating social environments that promote trust and therefor love, communitarian and not collectivist group organizing principles, (see the book The Quantum Society by Zohar) fear-less systems of thinking, and a desire for SexPeace, i.e. putting an end to the war between the masculine and the femine and against life, sexuality and nature.  Riane Eisler, author of The Chalice and the Blade, says that the lynchpin of Domination Cultures is the masculine control over the femine’s chi, prana, body/sexual energy. (see: The Taliban)

• What is the core of community building and building tribes for NVC practicioners?

NVC is the most amazing tool I have ever found, and for me a spiritual path, and yet it still needs a context, and some guiding principles to become a community.  To say this uber briefly, NVC needs to be set in the context of restoring the lost connection to the entelechy/field of community, nature and the harmony between the masculine and feminine.  With values of respect for the Divinity of Autonomy, energetic transparency (which is more than just honesty) particularly about aspects in the community related to power, decisions, money, love, sexuality, recognition and the sharing of all resources, Communitarian/Deep Democracy organizaional structures, Consensual morality, Curiosity, physical movement,  The healthy organism/community needs a structured ritualized way for it to communicate with itself, not just through dialogical communication but from the individual to the whole community and vice versa. (hence the Zegg Forum and other tools developed in some ecovillages like The New Community in Holland)

• How can we create sustainable/ working tribes?

There is alot of info available thru the Fellowship of Intentional Communities at  Ekhart Tolle, author of The Power of Now said that “The New Earth” will come thru the portal of small groups of people coming together, dropping their egos and communing.  And from this ego-less state we can listen to the guiding entelechy of humanity, show us the way to harmony.  We also neeed a project that inspires us and challenges us enough to bring forth the best from us.  Not to difficult to discourage us but not too easy as that will mobilize little energy.  We need to understant that Tribes were the original form humanity took long before families existed.  Families are way too small to have the strength and eco divisity needed to survive.  Vine Deloria, a Native American teacher said “Only tribes will survive”.  We need to create “Natural Giving Economies”, Consensus based moral codes, Ecologically Healthy Healing Nonviolent Biotopes, Gylanic Power structures (ending the war between genders and the Patriarch), end all punishment and develop our protective powers.

• When do communities fail?

One of the last remaining NVC practice groups in San Diego that I am aware of, bit the dust a few months ago when one of the male members told a female member that he was feeling attraction in response to her.  The group did not have in place the kind of container needed (like The Zegg Forum), the set of principals or the tribal technology tools, to allow such information and and the big reaction to it, to be expressed, explored and processed in a healthy, growthful way.  They were not committed to core principles like Consensual instead of Conventional Morality and Communitarian  instead of Collectivist principles.  And although they were committed to honesty in the group, they did not have a shared value of energetic transparency.

Many communes of the sixties, although they proclaimed “Free Love” it was really free sexuality.  So when love did naturally start to emerged it created more conflict than they knew how to resolve.

• What might happen next? What are your visions in this field?

Decentralized, communitarian, consensual, gift economy, healing biotopes and networks of people learning and teaching the laws of universal peace by experientially learning the universal laws of Sacred Matrix based communities.

• Can you share your experience with money in the context of non-violent communication?

Once I brought Marshall Rosenberg to my house in Santa Cruz, but he look so douwn I asked him what was up.  He said he was deeply discouraged because all around the world in the NVC centers there was so much devisive conflict going on.  In his words as best I remember he said “As soon as you introduce much money into these organizations everybody becomes Jackals.  We need something but I don’t know what it is.  We tried Sociocracy, but it didn’t really help, and I am really in despair.  Any ideas?”  Later I got to give him the book The Sacred Matrix, From the Matrix of Violence to the Matrix of Life, The Foundation for a New Civilisation.

• On our plattform we often create new and playful ways of connecting – adapted to the medium. Would you be willing to tell us something about group energy  (I have heard about FRED) I wonder if this is possible on a virtual platform?

FRED – Frequency Resonation Energy Dynamic.  This refers to the quality of group energy present at any moment in a group. Sometime after a long lecture in a group there will be a sense of flat, stale, stiffled energy, or after a tender emotional expression in a group there will be a present, ecstatic caring energy present.  So sometimes the FRED needs to be fluffed up so you ask everyone to run around the room like totally excited little kids and whisper into different peoples ears what you are hoping to get for Christmas.  Or if FRED is too chaotic with alot of fear and conflict, you can ground the group by leading some group Qi Gong, a big circle back massage, taking 5 deep group breaths where you exhale with a releasing noise.  Sometimes groups go flat when someone is hiding an elephant, (i.e. not saying something that is really alive for them) and then you can play the game of getting into 2’s and taking turns finishing this sentence stem “Sometimes I pretend…..”  But there are hundreds of these tools, and I may send you a bunch later.  One more:  When people are too much in their thoughts and trying to hard to figure things out, turn to someone and begin speaking for 2 min. a nonsensical gibberish language to each other.  One more: Mill about the room and walk up to some one and complete this sentence stem “I observe…..(example – a diamond ring on your finger)  I image…..(You are married) The other says “Thank you.”

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1 Response to German NVC Community Interviews Kelly Bryson on Community Building

  1. Thank you Kelly for sharing this, and numerous other articles I’ve read on your site over the past few days (sporadically, not continuously!). You’ve provided me with helpful perspectives, new ideas, and confirmation of existing ideas and realisations I live with, with regard to the importance of, and means toward, co-creating community. Jonathan

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