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The Power of the Powerless by Wendy McElroy

The Power of the Powerless by Wendy McElroy | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it

In the sixth century BC, the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu identified the world’s biggest problem. Individuals viewed themselves as powerless. The burden of impotence made them resent others and fear life, which, in turn, led them to seek power through controlling others. The quest was not an expression of authority, but one of aggression. Lao Tzu rooted most of social problems in the individual’s sense of paralysis.

 

The extraordinary power of the individual can be declared in many ways.


The Power of Living in Truth


In 1978, a 42-year-old Czech playwright named Vaclav Havel (1936-2011) made an observation similar to that of Lao Tzu. He wrote what became one of the most influential essays in the Cold War era: The Power of the Powerless. It was published in samizdat form; that is, it was reproduced by hand and distributed from individual to individual to avoid censorship.


The Power of the Powerless was written in the wake of the “Prague Spring” (1968) during which Czechoslovakia liberalized freedom of speech and freedom of travel. The Soviet Union responded with brutal force that crushed the flicker of liberty. Havel was targeted for his prominent role in the reach for Czech independence. Arrested and imprisoned, he achieved an epiphany: the most powerful weapon against guns was the truth. The Power of the Powerless was a blistering attack on the communist regime. It was also a call for individuals to understand their own power not merely when they dissent but also when they comply with a system that is a lie.

 

Havel illustrated the impact of compliance—denying the truth—by pointing to “the manager of a fruit-and-vegetable shop” who places a “Workers of the world, unite!” poster among his onions and carrots. He does so because not placing it would make him appear disloyal to the regime. “He does it because these things must be done if one is to get along in life.” Thus, the grocer and others who obey without question “must live within a lie. They need not accept the lie. It is enough for them to have accepted their life with it and in it. For by this very fact, individuals confirm the system, fulfill the system, make the system, are the system.” The strength of communism or any oppressive regime rests upon the obedience of individuals.

 

Havel argued that individuals have “within themselves the power to remedy their own powerlessness” simply by living the truth. If the grocer realized that the slogan was actually saying, “I am afraid and therefore unquestioningly obedient,” he would be ashamed to display it. By realizing the meaning of their actions, people are led toward “living in truth,” which is the source of freedom. The truth need not be screamed from a rooftop; it can be manifested in small daily acts through which the individual reclaims his own power, such as the ‘act’ of not posting a sign. The individual must defy unreality and refuse to be complicit in a delusion. Havel observed, “The principle here is that the center of power is identical with the center of truth.”

 

Havel concluded by asking, “the real question is whether the brighter future is really always so distant. What if, on the contrary, it has been here for a long time already, and only our own blindness and weakness has prevented us from seeing it around us and within us, and kept us from developing it?”


The Difference One Individual Can Make

 

Chiune Sugihara expressed another way in which an individual can express his own power. Sugihara exercised what is called “positional power.” That’s the impact a person possesses due to his position in an organization.

 

During World War II, Sugihara (1900-1986) served as Vice-Consul at the Japanese Consulate in Lithuania. Japan and Germany were allies. The Japanese government issued visas only to those who had gone through an immigration process and had sufficient funds. Few Jews qualified, especially since the Japanese Foreign Ministry required everyone who received a visa to be cleared for a third destination that ensured they would leave Japan.

 

Against orders from his superiors and against German interests, Sugihara acted on his own initiative. In July 1940, he began to grant ten-day visas that sidestepped the requirement of a third destination by listing one of two obscure venues that did not require their own visas for entry. He negotiated with officials in the Soviet Union to allow Jews to travel through their territory at five times the normal price of a ticket on the Trans-Siberian Railway. He reportedly spent 18 to 20 hours a day arranging visas; his wife assisted him with the paperwork. For 29 days, Sugihara issued the documents that meant life. In September 1940, when the Japanese Consulate was closed and Sugihara was forced to leave, he reportedly threw blank sheets of paper with the consulate seal and his signature out of a train window to a gathered crowd of people still appealing for visas. He gave the consul stamp itself to a refugee who used it to save more Jews.

 

Estimates on the number of visas issued by Sugihara vary but 6,000 is the most common number. Since families often traveled on a visa granted to a “head of household,” the number of lives saved is even more difficult to assess. The Simon Wiesenthal Center believes that about 40,000 descendants of the refugees he saved owe their existence to him.

In 1985, the state of Israel rewarded Sugihara with the title of Righteous Among Nations. The title honors those who risked their lives to save Jews from the Holocaust.


What is Necessary to Assume Your Power

 

Sugihara claimed his power by acting on his conscience rather than on orders. When asked why he risked so much to help strangers, Sugihara responded: “They were human beings and they needed help. I’m glad I found the strength to make the decision to give it to them. I may have to disobey my government, but if I don’t I would be disobeying God.” That was the truth within Sugihara.

 

It was the truth Havel believed every human being should live. Anyone who did so is profoundly free because he has “shattered the world of appearances.... He has demonstrated that living a lie is living a lie. He has broken through the exalted facade of the system and exposed the real, base foundations of power. He has said that the emperor is naked. And because the emperor is in fact naked, something extremely dangerous has happened: by his action, the greengrocer has addressed the world.

 

He has enabled everyone to peer behind the curtain. He has shown everyone that it is possible to live within the truth.”

 

Anyone who dissents by living the the truth is a fundamental threat to the state because a lie cannot coexist with what is true. Anyone who dissents and claims his own power denies the state “in principle and threatens it in its entirety.” That is why speaking out against the state is “suppressed more severely than anything else.”

 

What is required to live the truth? First, an individual must realize that truth does not come from outside as an ideology or from other people; it exists within as a realization that comes from experience, reason, and a sense of humanity. Second, freedom rests on a recognition of the inextinguishable dignity of every individual. Third, it requires courage.

 

Each person must stand up and claim their own power even if it is expressed in seemingly small ways. Because there is no such thing as a small step toward freedom. The first step, however small, is the one that matters most .

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Is Nonviolence Effective?

Is Nonviolence Effective? | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it
The evidence for the effectiveness of nonviolent resistance is mounting. In the past 100 years, nonviolent campaigns were nearly twice as likely to achieve full or partial success as were violent campaigns and the advantage for nonviolent campaigns held even when controlling for the authoritarianism of the regime.
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Positive Intelligence

Positive Intelligence | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it

Research shows that when people work with a positive mind-set, performance on nearly every level—productivity, creativity, engagement—improves. Yet happiness is perhaps the most misunderstood driver of performance. For one, most people believe that success precedes happiness. “Once I get a promotion, I’ll be happy,” they think. Or, “Once I hit my sales target, I’ll feel great.” But because success is a moving target—as soon as you hit your target, you raise it again—the happiness that results from success is fleeting.  

In fact, it works the other way around: People who cultivate a positive mind-set perform better in the face of challenge. I call this the “happiness advantage”—every business outcome shows improvement when the brain is positive. I’ve observed this effect in my role as a researcher and lecturer in 48 countries on the connection between employee happiness and success. 


And I’m not alone: In a meta-analysis of 225 academic studies, researchers Sonja Lyubomirsky, Laura King, and Ed Diener found strong evidence of directional causality between life satisfaction and successful business outcomes.


Develop New Habits 


Training your brain to be positive is not so different from training your muscles at the gym. Recent research on neuroplasticity—the ability of the brain to change even in adulthood—reveals that as you develop new habits, you rewire the brain. Engaging in one brief positive exercise every day for as little as three weeks can have a lasting impact, my research suggests. For instance, in December 2008, just before the worst tax season in decades, I worked with tax managers at KPMG in New York and New Jersey to see if I could help them become happier. (I am an optimistic person, clearly.) I asked them to choose one of five activities that correlate with positive change: 

1. Jot down three things they were grateful for. 

2. Write a positive message to someone in their social support network. 

3. Meditate at their desk for two minutes. 

4. Exercise for 10 minutes. 

5. Take two minutes to describe in a journal the most meaningful experience of the past 24 hours.

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4 Ways to Raise Empathetic Kids: Make empathy an important lesson in your child's life.

4 Ways to Raise Empathetic Kids: Make empathy an important lesson in your child's life. | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it

When a child does something like ask if a person is feeling sick, or if they can help with a task that helps another, give them positive reinforcement. Praise them if they do an unselfish kind act, or they show signs of remorse.

 

Practice giving compliments to others and validate when they receive a kind word to teach how good it feels to be good to another...

Practicing...Give Perspective...Ethics...Family Time...Make a Difference..

 

 

 

By Corine Gatti

 


Via Edwin Rutsch
Jim Manske's insight:
I appreciate the intention to raise empathic kids by making empathy an important lesson for kids.  However, I feel deeply concerned for the well-being of the next generation by applying a domination paradigm reinforced by an outdated and anti-empathic Skinnerian psychology of punishment and reward (praise).  We can transcend punishment and reward by focusing on needs and authentically express how children's behaviors that contribute to empathy affect us.  What do you think?
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The Dalai Lama’s practical path to peace

The Dalai Lama’s practical path to peace | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it
What he calls “secular ethics” can be derived from “common experience and common sense.”
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Policy Platform

Policy Platform | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it


Jim Manske's insight:
From our colleague in Australia, Dorset Campbell-Ross: Whoo hoo! I do love being the bearer of good news! I’m celebrating (what I believe to be) the creation of the first political party in the world to be committed to applying the principles of NVC! (please do correct me if I’m ignorant of another) The party is called the Wellbeing Party - http://www.wellbeingparty.org/ - and if you scroll down the home page you will notice they refer to NVC as Compassionate Communication, following the requests of CNVC. Thank you, Paulette Bray-Narai, for bringing this to my attention. I am a member, so my celebration may be biased! If this party gets the exposure and success I hope they get, we may be taking a quantum leap forward in world NVC consciousness. Big hugs to you all, Dorset
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DailyGood: Bhutan's Dark Secret to Happiness

DailyGood: Bhutan's Dark Secret to Happiness | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it
On a visit to Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan, I found myself sitting across from a man named Karma Ura, spilling my guts. Maybe it was the fact that he was named Karma, or the thin air, or the way travel melts my defences, but I decided to confess something very personal. Not that long before, seemingly out of the blue, I had experienced some disturbing symptoms: shortness of breath, dizziness, numbness in my hands and feet. At first, I feared I was having a heart attack, or going crazy. Maybe both. So I went to the doctor, who ran a series of tests and found...

“Nothing,” said Ura. Even before I could complete my sentence, he knew that my fears were unfounded. I was not dying, at least not as quickly as I feared. I was having a panic attack.

What I wanted to know was: why now – my life was going uncharacteristically well – and what could I do about it?
“You need to think about death for five minutes every day,” Ura replied. “It will cure you.”

“How?” I said, dumbfounded.

“It is this thing, this fear of death, this fear of dying before we have accomplished what we want or seen our children grow. This is what is troubling you.”

“But why would I want to think about something so depressing?”

“Rich people in the West, they have not touched dead bodies, fresh wounds, rotten things. This is a problem. This is the human condition. We have to be ready for the moment we cease to exist.”

Places, like people, have a way of surprising us, provided we are open to the possibility of surprise and not weighed down with preconceived notions. The Himalayan kingdom is best known for its innovative policy of Gross National Happiness; it’s a land where contentment supposedly reigns and sorrow is denied entry. Bhutan is indeed a special place (and Ura, director of the Centre for Bhutan Studies, a special person) but that specialness is more nuanced and, frankly, less sunny than the dreamy Shangri-La image we project onto it.

Actually, by suggesting I think about death once a day, Ura was going easy on me. In Bhutanese culture, one is expected to think about death five times a day. That would be remarkable for any nation, but especially for one so closely equated with happiness as Bhutan. Is this secretly a land of darkness and despair?

Not necessarily. Some recent research suggests that, by thinking about death so often, the Bhutanese may be on to something. In a 2007 study, University of Kentucky psychologists Nathan DeWall and Roy Baumesiter divided several dozen students into two groups. One group was told to think about a painful visit to the dentist while the other group was instructed to contemplate their own death. Both groups were then asked to complete stem words, such as “jo_”. The second group – the one that had been thinking about death – was far more likely to construct positive words, such as “joy”. This led the researchers to conclude that “death is a psychologically threatening fact, but when people contemplate it, apparently the automatic system begins to search for happy thoughts”.

None of this, I’m sure, would surprise Ura, or any other Bhutanese. They know that death is a part of life, whether we like it or not, and ignoring this essential truth comes with a heavy psychological cost.
Linda Leaming, author of the wonderful book A Field Guide to Happiness: What I Learned in Bhutan About Living, Loving and Waking Up¸ knows this too.“I realised thinking about death doesn’t depress me. It makes me seize the moment and see things I might not ordinarily see,” she wrote. “My best advice: go there. Think the unthinkable, the thing that scares you to think about several times a day.”

Unlike many of us in the West, the Bhutanese don’t sequester death. Death – and images of death – are everywhere, especially in Buddhist iconography where you’ll find colourful, gruesome illustrations. No one, not even children, is sheltered from these images, or from ritual dances re-enacting death.

Ritual provides a container for grief, and in Bhutan that container is large and communal. After someone dies, there’s a 49-day mourning period that involves elaborate, carefully orchestrated rituals. “It is better than any antidepressant,” Tshewang Dendup, a Bhutanese actor, told me. The Bhutanese might appear detached during this time. They are not. They are grieving through ritual.

Why such a different attitude toward death? One reason the Bhutanese think about death so often is that it is all around them. For a small nation, it offers many ways to die. You can meet your demise on the winding, treacherous roads. You can be mauled by a bear; eat poisonous mushrooms; or die of exposure.

Another explanation is the country’s deeply felt Buddhist beliefs, especially that of reincarnation. If you know you’ll get another shot at life, you’re less likely to fear the end of this particular one. As Buddhists say, you shouldn’t fear dying any more than you fear discarding old clothes.

Which isn’t to say, of course, that the Bhutanese don’t experience fear, or sadness. Of course they do. But, as Leaming told me, they don’t flee from these emotions. “We in the West want to fix it if we’re sad,” she said. “We fear sadness. It’s something to get over, medicate. In Bhutan there’s an acceptance. It’s a part of life.”

Ura’s lesson, meanwhile, stuck with me. I make it a point to think about death once a day. Unless I find myself especially stressed, or engulfed in an unexplained funk. Then I think about it twice a day.
Eric
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Kamala Nellen's comment, April 10, 11:50 PM
I find that when I do that I actually become intensely appreciative of every little occurrence in my day and no depression has a place in my consciousness. Thanks for sharing, Jim!
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There’s nothing wrong with grade inflation

Grades don't matter anyway. Here's why.
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Wow! The Washington Post mentioning the tyranny and disconnedtion of grades! 

Wow! The Washington Post mentioning the tyranny and disconnedtion of grades! 
 
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Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life eBook 3rd Ed by Marshall Rosenberg

Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life eBook - Through stories, examples and role plays, this cornerstone book provides a deep understanding of the core components of the NVC process and consciousness. Over 1,000,000 copies sold in more than 35 languages worldwide.
Jim Manske's insight:

Wow!  Only $3 for the Kindle version of Marshall's life-changing book!

 

Please buy one and give away 5 more to friends!

 

If you shop through amazon.com using this link, you will also support the work of the Network for Nonviolent Communication.

 

https://smile.amazon.com/ch/72-1522867

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Why I’m Grateful for My Fear

Why I’m Grateful for My Fear | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it

The experience taught me a lesson about fear. It’s not just the dark and wicked emotion that we all wish would be gone because it seems excessive compared to its survival value in the relative safety of the 21st century. Like all emotions, it has an upside…

 

Jim Manske's insight:

Fear, like all emotions, has a life-serving purpose.  Like the lights on the dashboard of our car, emotions give us vital information about the state of our needs.  Fear is the signal that our need for safety or security may not be met.  If we ignore fear, we do it at our own peril.  

And, it makes sense to investigate when we have fear.  If we think we see a snake in the path, STOP!  Investigate.  Then if it is a snake, choose a path that contributes to safety.  If it turns out to be a rope, we can laugh!

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Roald Dahl fans take note: Mind-reading headset could revolutionise our interaction with the world

Roald Dahl fans take note: Mind-reading headset could revolutionise our interaction with the world | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it
Imagine a world where all your thoughts and feelings were being mapped. Where the pleasure and pain responses in your brain were noted. Where you could control objects using only your mind.  This is reality for Emotiv. The futuristic company sells wearable technology for the brain – portable, lightweight brain scanner headsets with sensors positioned around your scalp – from $300 (£200). 
Jim Manske's insight:

I think I will get one of these!  And give it to Jori!  I have always wished she could could read my mind...

Actually, very inspired by this tech and how it could support people who are inhibited from communicating with clarity because of some sort of physical problem like Lou Gehrig's disease, ALS.

My grandmother died of ALS, and I know how much she would have loved to turn the pages of the books she so enjoyed reading rather than relying on others to do that for her.  The possibilities for tech like this seem almost endless...

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Empathetic chats lower risk of painkiller abuse - Futurity

Empathetic chats lower risk of painkiller abuse - Futurity | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it
More than 50% of adults who take opioids for pain misuse their medication. Non-judgemental "motivational interviewing" may help reduce the abuse.
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I love it when the power of Empathy is confirmed by research...

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Connecting With Compassion

Dreaming in Giraffe

I recently received an email from someone sharing their NVC dreams, hopes and goals. She asked, "what are some of the NVC leadership dreams that some other people have?" This stimulated in me the following response:

When I let myself dream really big, I see hundreds of thousands of practice
groups in the world. Like AA, you can arrive in any city of the world, consult a guide and find a place to practice NVC in a community of support.

I see a million certified trainers (or trainers with that skill and
consciousness, regardless of affiliation with CNVC)

I also see NVC TV, movies, music, media.

I see a Criminal and Civil Justice system based on a restorative model, not a punitive model.

I see a world where ALL people's basic needs are met with relative certainty. Meeting needs is the sure path to a peaceful model of conflict revolution.

I see the opportunity to live an immersion experience, a Global NVC Training
Center where people can come and learn to integrate NVC more deeply into their lives.

I see a network of NVC Communities around the planet.

I see a network of NVC based Senior Citizen centers, tapping the consciousness
and social change potential of Baby boomers done with accumulation and ready for
contribution.

I see a network of schools at all levels teaching and living NVC.

I see a vibrant and acive online community of learning, support, contribution and integration.

I see what is happening in Germany, happening everywhere! Germany leads the world in trainers per capita and getting NVC into the consciousness of Everyman. I've heard that bookshops throughout Germany prominently display the German translation of Marshall's book.

I see a network of synergy between CNVC and other like-hearted groups contributing to meeting needs.

I see us going past the tipping point of awareness of and focus on Needs.

And I see a more active presence of the NVC community in world affairs. Where is the NVC voice concerning Lebanon, Syria, and the other hot spots? Where is the NVC consciousness in the White House, the UN, in politics in general? Where is the NVC consciousness in the "Anti-War" movement?

I see Marshall receiving the Nobel Peace prize. I see Marshall or another "senior Giraffe" as the Secretary of the new US Department of Peace. I see Department of Peace as common as Miistries of War or Defense.

I see Marshall on Oprah, and Leno, and Letterman, on PBS.

And I see what is happening now continuing to grow and blossom. I'm celebrating over 200 Certified Trainers, many registered cert-candidates, and a quarter million folks touched by NVC in the past few years.

And I dream of undreamed of possibilities emerging from our connection to Needs and Request energy!

I'm looking forward to hearing other's dreams!

Warmly,

Jim

Jim Manske's insight:

What fun to re-discover this today after receiving a comment on my old blog.  I felt so inspired reading my dream from 9 years ago that I wanted to share it with you!  Let's all dream big!

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It’s Time to Build an Army of Compassion and Here’s How We Do It

It’s Time to Build an Army of Compassion and Here’s How We Do It | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it

After the recent attacks in Paris, the Dalai Lama said: “Unless we make serious attempts to achieve peace, we will continue to see a replay of the mayhem humanity experienced in the 20th century.” It’s easy to feel helpless when watching the news or thinking about how deeply rooted the suffering is in this situation and in many other situations of conflict around the world today. When a person watches a relative die in a conflict, their contempt for the other side can last a lifetime. There are so many powerful people and strong forces at play, what can we really do?

 

One answer I came up with is be a force that helps build an army of compassion.

 

The fact is I can do this and you can too.

 

Life is full of actions and reactions. This is what makes up the world around us from the trees we see, to the relationships that are kindled and to the babies that come from them. Every single thing we do matters. When Mahatma Ghandi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world,” underlying that was the simple assumption that everything we do matters. Now we know the science behind the wisdom of his words, and why all the compassionate acts we do can have a significant impact on our mental health and a potential healing in the world.

 

Part of understanding the science isn’t a whole lot different than the understanding of neuroplasticity. How we pay attention and what we pay attention to influences the way our brain grows throughout the lifespan. So if we have a continuous series of moments where we are paying attention to helpless thoughts and worrying, so goes the brain. If we have a continuous series of moments where we are cultivating compassion, joy and curiosity in life, so goes the brain.

 

In the same way, we can have this impact not only on our mental health, but on the relationships that surround us and the world as a whole. You may not be a single force in solving the Middle East conflict or in reversing global warming, but everything you do matters. In order to better understand why everything you do matters, it’s important to understand how emotional contagion works:

 

The social scientists Nicholas Christakis, MD, PhD, and James Fowler, PhD, conducted a study to look at the effect of social networks. To determine if there was a causal relationship for obesity, they mapped the relationships of 12,067 people who had more than 50,000 connections to other people that were assessed repeatedly from 1971 to 2003 (not online social networks such as Facebook but physical networks of people). They found that, indeed, “birds of a feather flock together.” However, they found something much more interesting: obesity doesn’t start and stop with immediate friends and family; it is “contagious” by up to three degrees of separation.

 

They also went on to find that loneliness and happiness are contagious by three degrees and that each person you have in your life that feels well boosts your chance of feeling well by 9%. In other words, the way people behave is contagious and causes a ripple effect across friends of friends of friends.

 

It stands to reason that our compassionate acts will do the same, slowly building an army of compassion.

 

Think of it this way, “When carbon atoms are arranged in a specific way, they make a diamond, but the diamond is not in each carbon atom. In the same way, each of our roles in mindfully engaging life can create a much larger social effect that is greater than each of us alone, having a significant influence on shaping our culture for the years to come and providing enormous healing.” ~ The Now Effect

 

Starting right now, get clear on what you can do to boost your experience of compassion in this world. What is something you care about that is greater than yourself? Maybe it’s the planet, or helping distressed people within your country or outside your country, or making a political impact.

 

Something simple is to begin with a lovingkindness practice, holding all the people who have been traumatized around the world by these attacks (maybe including you) and sending them intentions of peace, ease, health and relief from fear and suffering. May we all someday be at peace.

 

Anybody that says that a practice this is new age nonsense and of no use, is ignorant to the current science and neuroscience of not only this practice, but how powerful our minds truly are. Compassion-based meditations have the power to reduce fear and diffuse anger which are often the antecedents to the brain making decisions around violent actions.

 

However, you can also look into other ways to help the victims of the attacks.

 

Taking action alongside these values not only will make you feel good, but will also have reverberations that make this world a better place. It’s important to focus on what we can do, not only what we can’t do.

Compassion starts with us and one-by-one we can build an army of compassion that spreads  through emotional contagion, impacts political systems and creates a greater sense of safety, connection and well-being.

 

As Henry Ford once said, “Whether you believe you can or can’t, you’re right.” Belief is a very powerful thing here.

 

Believe it!

 

Warmly,

Elisha Goldstein, PhD

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Attack in Orlando Shows Utter Contempt for Human Life

Attack in Orlando Shows Utter Contempt for Human Life | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it

The recent shooting in Orlando demonstrated utter contempt for human life, and our thoughts are with the victims of these attacks and the city of Orlando. But thoughts must be backed up with actions to protect people from such violence,” said Jamira Burley, senior campaigner for Amnesty International USA. As a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the U.S. government is obligated to protect people from gun violence. “While much is still unknown about this horrific crime, a full investigation must be guided by facts, rather than speculation or bigotry of any kind. The U.S. government must uphold its obligations under international law and address gun violence as the human rights crisis that it is. It is critical to reform the current patchwork of federal, state and local laws to ensure everyone’s safety and security.No one’s life should be threatened just by walking down the street, going to school or dancing at a nightclub.

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This book upends everything we thought we knew about where grit comes from and how to get it

This book upends everything we thought we knew about where grit comes from and how to get it | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it

For years, researchers have shown that raw IQ or academic prowess aren't everything. Paul Tough's 2013 book How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity and the Hidden Power if Character showed how grit—defined as perseverance and passion for achieving challenging long-term goals (pdf)—and other character qualities, were critical to children's success in school and later on in life...

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Inner Peace? The Dalai Lama Made a Website for That

Inner Peace? The Dalai Lama Made a Website for That | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it
The Dalai Lama has commissioned an atlas of human emotions to further a lofty mission: turning secular audiences into more self-aware, compassionate humans.
Jim Manske's insight:
I enjoy seeing this visualization of our emotions!  I hope it will be useful to all of those learning and integrating NVC. A deep bow of gratitude to the Dalai Lama and Paul Ekman!  Kudos to the NY Times and other media that let the world know of this!
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Leading authors are returning Mother’s Day to its roots as a feminist anti-war protest

Leading authors are returning Mother’s Day to its roots as a feminist anti-war protest | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it
The Compassion Collective—founded by Elizabeth Gilbert, Cheryl Strayed, and three other award-winning female authors—has launched a new campaign to honor the historical roots of Mother's Day. The group, which made headlines in December 2015 by collecting over a million dollars for Syrian refugees in 31 hours, is now collecting donations for unaccompanied refugee children and homeles
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Neuroscience reveals 4 rituals that will make you happy

Neuroscience reveals 4 rituals that will make you happy | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it
You get all kinds of happiness advice on the internet from people who don't know what they're talking about. Don't trust them.

Actually, don't trust me either. Trust neuroscientists. They study that gray blob in your head all day and have learned a lot about what truly will make you happy.

UCLA neuroscience researcher Alex Korb has some insights that can create an upward spiral of happiness in your life. Here's what you and I can learn from the people who really have answers:

1. The most important question to ask when you feel down

Sometimes it doesn't feel like your brain wants you to be happy. You may feel guilty or shameful. Why?

Believe it or not, guilt and shame activate the brain's reward center.

Via The Upward Spiral:

Despite their differences, pride, shame, and guilt all activate similar neural circuits, including the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex, amygdala, insula, and the nucleus accumbens. Interestingly, pride is the most powerful of these emotions at triggering activity in these regions — except in the nucleus accumbens, where guilt and shame win out. This explains why it can be so appealing to heap guilt and shame on ourselves — they're activating the brain's reward center.

And you worry a lot too. Why? In the short term, worrying makes your brain feel a little better — at least you're doing something about your problems.

Via The Upward Spiral:

In fact, worrying can help calm the limbic system by increasing activity in the medial prefrontal cortex and decreasing activity in the amygdala. That might seem counterintuitive, but it just goes to show that if you're feeling anxiety, doing something about it — even worrying — is better than doing nothing.

But guilt, shame, and worry are horrible long-term solutions. So what do neuroscientists say you should do? Ask yourself this question:

What am I grateful for?

Yeah, gratitude is awesome… but does it really affect your brain at the biological level? Yup.

You know what the antidepressant Wellbutrin does? Boosts the neurotransmitter dopamine. So does gratitude.

Via The Upward Spiral:

The benefits of gratitude start with the dopamine system, because feeling grateful activates the brain stem region that produces dopamine. Additionally, gratitude toward others increases activity in social dopamine circuits, which makes social interactions more enjoyable…

Know what Prozac does? Boosts the neurotransmitter serotonin. So does gratitude.

Via The Upward Spiral:

One powerful effect of gratitude is that it can boost serotonin. Trying to think of things you are grateful for forces you to focus on the positive aspects of your life. This simple act increases serotonin production in the anterior cingulate cortex.

I know, sometimes life lands a really mean punch in the gut and it feels like there's nothing to be grateful for. Guess what?

Doesn't matter. You don't have to find anything. It's the searching that counts.

Via The Upward Spiral:

It's not finding gratitude that matters most; it's remembering to look in the first place. Remembering to be grateful is a form of emotional intelligence. One study found that it actually affected neuron density in both the ventromedial and lateral prefrontal cortex. These density changes suggest that as emotional intelligence increases, the neurons in these areas become more efficient. With higher emotional intelligence, it simply takes less effort to be grateful.

And gratitude doesn't just make your brain happy — it can also create a positive feedback loop in your relationships. So express that gratitude to the people you care about.

(For more on how gratitude can make you happier and more successful, click here.)



But what happens when bad feelings completely overtake you? When you're really in the dumps and don't even know how to deal with it? There's an easy answer…

2. Label negative feelings

You feel awful. Okay, give that awfulness a name. Sad? Anxious? Angry?

Boom. It's that simple. Sound stupid? Your noggin disagrees.

Via The Upward Spiral:

…in one fMRI study, appropriately titled "Putting Feelings into Words" participants viewed pictures of people with emotional facial expressions. Predictably, each participant's amygdala activated to the emotions in the picture. But when they were asked to name the emotion, the ventrolateral prefrontal cortex activated and reduced the emotional amygdala reactivity. In other words, consciously recognizing the emotions reduced their impact.

Suppressing emotions doesn't work and can backfire on you.

Via Your Brain at Work: Strategies for Overcoming Distraction, Regaining Focus, and Working Smarter All Day Long:

Gross found that people who tried to suppress a negative emotional experience failed to do so. While they thought they looked fine outwardly, inwardly their limbic system was just as aroused as without suppression, and in some cases, even more aroused. Kevin Ochsner, at Columbia, repeated these findings using an fMRI. Trying not to feel something doesn't work, and in some cases even backfires.

But labeling, on the other hand, makes a big difference.

Via Your Brain at Work: Strategies for Overcoming Distraction, Regaining Focus, and Working Smarter All Day Long:

To reduce arousal, you need to use just a few words to describe an emotion, and ideally use symbolic language, which means using indirect metaphors, metrics, and simplifications of your experience. This requires you to activate your prefrontal cortex, which reduces the arousal in the limbic system. Here's the bottom line: describe an emotion in just a word or two, and it helps reduce the emotion.

Ancient methods were way ahead of us on this one. Meditation has employed this for centuries. Labeling is a fundamental tool of mindfulness.

In fact, labeling affects the brain so powerfully it works with other people too. Labeling emotions is one of the primary tools used by FBI hostage negotiators.

(To learn more of the secrets of FBI hostage negotiators, click here.)

Okay, hopefully you're not reading this and labeling your current emotional state as "Bored." Maybe you're not feeling awful but you probably have things going on in your life that are causing you some stress. Here's a simple way to beat them…

3. Make that decision

Ever make a decision and then your brain finally feels at rest? That's no random occurrence.

Brain science shows that making decisions reduces worry and anxiety — as well as helping you solve problems.

Via The Upward Spiral:

Making decisions includes creating intentions and setting goals — all three are part of the same neural circuitry and engage the prefrontal cortex in a positive way, reducing worry and anxiety. Making decisions also helps overcome striatum activity, which usually pulls you toward negative impulses and routines. Finally, making decisions changes your perception of the world — finding solutions to your problems and calming the limbic system.

But deciding can be hard. I agree. So what kind of decisions should you make? Neuroscience has an answer…

Make a "good enough" decision. Don't sweat making the absolute 100 percent best decision. We all know being a perfectionist can be stressful. And brain studies back this up.

Trying to be perfect overwhelms your brain with emotions and makes you feel out of control.

Via The Upward Spiral:

Trying for the best, instead of good enough, brings too much emotional ventromedial prefrontal activity into the decision-making process. In contrast, recognizing that good enough is good enough activates more dorsolateral prefrontal areas, which helps you feel more in control…

As Swarthmore professor Barry Schwartz said in my interview with him: "Good enough is almost always good enough."

So when you make a decision, your brain feels you have control. And, as I've talked about before, a feeling of control reduces stress. But here's what's really fascinating: Deciding also boosts pleasure.

Via The Upward Spiral:

Actively choosing caused changes in attention circuits and in how the participants felt about the action, and it increased rewarding dopamine activity.

Want proof? No problem. Let's talk about cocaine.

You give two rats injections of cocaine. Rat A had to pull a lever first. Rat B didn't have to do anything. Any difference? Yup: Rat A gets a bigger boost of dopamine.

Via The Upward Spiral:

So they both got the same injections of cocaine at the same time, but rat A had to actively press the lever, and rat B didn't have to do anything. And you guessed it — rat A released more dopamine in its nucleus accumbens.

So what's the lesson here? Next time you buy cocaine… whoops, wrong lesson. Point is, when you make a decision on a goal and then achieve it, you feel better than when good stuff just happens by chance.

And this answers the eternal mystery of why dragging your butt to the gym can be so hard.

If you go because you feel you have to or you should, well, it's not really a voluntary decision. Your brain doesn't get the pleasure boost. It just feels stress. And that's no way to build a good exercise habit.

Via The Upward Spiral:

Interestingly, if they are forced to exercise, they don't get the same benefits, because without choice, the exercise itself is a source of stress.

So make more decisions. Neuroscience researcher Alex Korb sums it up nicely:

We don't just choose the things we like; we also like the things we choose.

(To learn what neuroscientists say is the best way to use caffeine, click here.)

Okay, you're being grateful, labeling negative emotions, and making more decisions. Great. But this is feeling kinda lonely for a happiness prescription. Let's get some other people in here.

What's something you can do with others that neuroscience says is a path to mucho happiness? And something that's stupidly simple so you don't get lazy and skip it? Brain docs have an answer for you…

4. Touch people

No, not indiscriminately; that can get you in a lot of trouble.

But we need to feel love and acceptance from others. When we don't it's painful. And I don't mean "awkward" or "disappointing." I mean actually painful.

Neuroscientists did a study where people played a ball-tossing video game. The other players tossed the ball to you and you tossed it back to them. Actually, there were no other players; that was all done by the computer program.

But the subjects were told the characters were controlled by real people. So what happened when the "other players" stopped playing nice and didn't share the ball?

Subjects' brains responded the same way as if they experienced physical pain. Rejection doesn't just hurt like a broken heart; your brain feels it like a broken leg.

Via The Upward Spiral:

In fact, as demonstrated in an fMRI experiment, social exclusion activates the same circuitry as physical pain… at one point they stopped sharing, only throwing back and forth to each other, ignoring the participant. This small change was enough to elicit feelings of social exclusion, and it activated the anterior cingulate and insula, just like physical pain would.

Relationships are very important to your brain's feeling of happiness. Want to take that to the next level? Touch people.

Via The Upward Spiral:

One of the primary ways to release oxytocin is through touching. Obviously, it's not always appropriate to touch most people, but small touches like handshakes and pats on the back are usually okay. For people you're close with, make more of an effort to touch more often.

Touching is incredibly powerful. We just don't give it enough credit. It makes you more persuasive, increases team performance, improves your flirting… heck, it even boosts math skills.

Touching someone you love actually reduces pain. In fact, when studies were done on married couples, the stronger the marriage, the more powerful the effect.

Via The Upward Spiral:

In addition, holding hands with someone can help comfort you and your brain through painful situations. One fMRI study scanned married women as they were warned that they were about to get a small electric shock. While anticipating the painful shocks, the brain showed a predictable pattern of response in pain and worrying circuits, with activation in the insula, anterior cingulate, and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. During a separate scan, the women either held their husbands' hands or the hand of the experimenter. When a subject held her husband's hand, the threat of shock had a smaller effect. The brain showed reduced activation in both the anterior cingulate cortex and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex — that is, less activity in the pain and worrying circuits. In addition, the stronger the marriage, the lower the discomfort-related insula activity.

So hug someone today. And do not accept little, quick hugs. No, no, no. Tell them your neuroscientist recommended long hugs.

Via The Upward Spiral:

A hug, especially a long one, releases a neurotransmitter and hormone oxytocin, which reduces the reactivity of the amygdala.

Research shows getting five hugs a day for four weeks increases happiness big time.

Don't have anyone to hug right now? No? (I'm sorry to hear that. I would give you a hug right now if I could.) But there's an answer: Neuroscience says you should go get a massage.

Via The Upward Spiral:

The results are fairly clear that massage boosts your serotonin by as much as 30 percent. Massage also decreases stress hormones and raises dopamine levels, which helps you create new good habits… Massage reduces pain because the oxytocin system activates painkilling endorphins. Massage also improves sleep and reduces fatigue by increasing serotonin and dopamine and decreasing the stress hormone cortisol.

So spend time with other people and give some hugs. Sorry, texting is not enough.

When you put people in a stressful situation and then let them visit loved ones or talk to them on the phone, they felt better. What about when they just texted? Their bodies responded the same as if they had no support at all.

Via The Upward Spiral:

…the text-message group had cortisol and oxytocin levels similar to the no-contact group.

Author's note: I totally approve of texting if you make a hug appointment.

(To learn what neuroscience says is the best way to get smarter and happier, click here.)

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BARKING UP THE WRONG TREE
Happy thoughts: Here are the things proven to make you happier
Okay, I don't want to strain your brain with too much info. Let's round it up and learn the quickest and easiest way to start that upward spiral of neuroscience-inspired happiness…

Sum up

Here's what brain research says will make you happy:

1. Ask "what am I grateful for?" No answers? Doesn't matter. Just searching helps.

2. Label those negative emotions. Give it a name and your brain isn't so bothered by it.

3. Decide. Go for "good enough" instead of "best decision ever made on Earth."

4. Hugs, hugs, hugs. Don't text — touch.

So what's the dead simple way to start that upward spiral of happiness?

Just send someone a thank you email. If you feel awkward about it, you can send them this post to tell them why.

This really can start an upward spiral of happiness in your life. UCLA neuroscience researcher Alex Korb explains:

Everything is interconnected. Gratitude improves sleep. Sleep reduces pain. Reduced pain improves your mood. Improved mood reduces anxiety, which improves focus and planning. Focus and planning help with decision making. Decision making further reduces anxiety and improves enjoyment. Enjoyment gives you more to be grateful for, which keeps that loop of the upward spiral going. Enjoyment also makes it more likely you'll exercise and be social, which, in turn, will make you happier.

So thank you for reading this.

And send that thank you email now to make you and someone you care about very happy.
Jim Manske's insight:
Yay! for brains!  These wonderful "plastic" organs that can help us help ourselves and others to making life wonderful!  What's going well?  What are you feeling, right now?  What next step could lead you to some met needs, right now?  Who can you touch?  Simple questions, based in NVC Consciousness, can "make you happier!"

from the article:  "Everything is interconnected. Gratitude improves sleep. Sleep reduces pain. Reduced pain improves your mood. Improved mood reduces anxiety, which improves focus and planning. Focus and planning help with decision making. Decision making further reduces anxiety and improves enjoyment. Enjoyment gives you more to be grateful for, which keeps that loop of the upward spiral going. Enjoyment also makes it more likely you'll exercise and be social, which, in turn, will make you happier."
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7 Science-Backed Ways To Get Happy Right Now

7 Science-Backed Ways To Get Happy Right Now | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it
The happiness model we’re taught from a young age is actually completely backward. We think we work hard in order to achieve success and that achievement makes us happy. That’s what I learned growing up. But it doesn’t work like that in real life. That model is broken.
Jim Manske's insight:
Yes!  Happiness is built from the inside out!
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The Importance of Gratitude in Marriage

The Importance of Gratitude in Marriage | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it
Gratitude continues to shine as a behavior that contributes to our happiness and well-being.

Yet, it seems we still forget to do on a regular basis. Despite it being an amazingly simple act to perform.

Gratitude has been found to be a key predictor in happiness. Not to mention the many other health benefits that science has found recently.

Research from the University of Georgia now shows how gratitude affects marriage.

Marriage can be wonderful. That doesn’t mean it’s always rainbows and butterflies, though. Like any relationship it takes work.

Fights are going to happen. It’s impossible to see eye to eye on everything. How you handle yourself and your behavior can go a long way in influencing marital outcomes. These are the types of things that the research touches on.

The study – published in the journal Personal Relationships – finds that gratitude not only plays a role in marriage happiness, but it can also help alleviate symptoms of negative situations.

Ted Futris was a co-author on the study. He’s also an associate professor in the College of Family and Consumer Sciences. He had this to say about the research:

“We found that feeling appreciated and believing that your spouse values you directly influences how you feel about your marriage, how committed you are to it, and your belief that it will last.”
Their results show that spousal expression of gratitude was the most significant and consistent predictor of marital quality.

When the Going Gets Tough

An interesting and useful part of the research was finding how it protects couples against divorce. Not only that, but it also protects a woman’s marital commitment from the effects of poor communication during conflict.

Ted elaborates on this interaction:

“Importantly, we found that when couples are engaging in a negative conflict pattern like demand/withdrawal, expressions of gratitude and appreciation can counteract or buffer the negative effects of this type of interaction on marital stability.”
The “demand/withdrawal” that Ted is talking about is a common behavior in couple conflict. It occurs when one partner demands, nags, or criticizes. The other person then responds by either withdrawing or avoiding confrontation.

This is a problem and can lead to a breakdown in communication and a lower quality of marriage.

Conflict is not only tough, but it can be an emotional mess. Gratitude can not only break the nasty cycle that can occur with stressful situations, but can have a protective effect as well.

Gratitude is a wonderful and simple strategy for marriage. Especially if you’re not great at communicating in a conflict.

So how can you accomplish this?

In the study, here’s how they measured gratitude. It was the degree of how much a person felt appreciated by their spouse, valued by their spouse, and acknowledged when they did something nice for their spouse.

So to practice gratitude, find ways to do those 3 things. Show your partner that you appreciate them. Show them that you value them. And when they do something nice for you, simply tell them that you noticed and are aware of their kind act.

TheBrainFlux: How Men and Women React to Marital Problems

Understanding Conflict

While the study itself focused on fights concerning financial matters, the lessons learned can apply to other areas as well.

If you want to know more about reaching

The Importance of Gratitude in Marriage

, you should learn about underlying concerns and what a partner really wants in a conflict.

As a final bit of wisdom, Ted has a few last words:

“All couples have disagreements and argue. And, when couples are stressed, they are likely to have more arguments. What distinguishes the marriages that last from those that don’t is not how often they argue, but how they argue and how they treat each other on a daily basis.”

Gratitude continues to shine as a behavior that contributes to our happiness and well-being.


Yet, it seems we still forget to do on a regular basis. Despite it being an amazingly simple act to perform.


Gratitude has been found to be a key predictor in happiness. Not to mention the many other health benefits that science has found recently.


Research from the University of Georgia now shows how gratitude affects marriage.


Marriage can be wonderful. That doesn’t mean it’s always rainbows and butterflies, though. Like any relationship it takes work.


Fights are going to happen. It’s impossible to see eye to eye on everything. How you handle yourself and your behavior can go a long way in influencing marital outcomes. These are the types of things that the research touches on.


The study – published in the journal Personal Relationships – finds that gratitude not only plays a role in marriage happiness, but it can also help alleviate symptoms of negative situations.


Ted Futris was a co-author on the study. He’s also an associate professor in the College of Family and Consumer Sciences. He had this to say about the research:


“We found that feeling appreciated and believing that your spouse values you directly influences how you feel about your marriage, how committed you are to it, and your belief that it will last.”

Their results show that spousal expression of gratitude was the most significant and consistent predictor of marital quality.


When the Going Gets Tough


An interesting and useful part of the research was finding how it protects couples against divorce. Not only that, but it also protects a woman’s marital commitment from the effects of poor communication during conflict.


Ted elaborates on this interaction:


“Importantly, we found that when couples are engaging in a negative conflict pattern like demand/withdrawal, expressions of gratitude and appreciation can counteract or buffer the negative effects of this type of interaction on marital stability.”

The “demand/withdrawal” that Ted is talking about is a common behavior in couple conflict. It occurs when one partner demands, nags, or criticizes. The other person then responds by either withdrawing or avoiding confrontation.


This is a problem and can lead to a breakdown in communication and a lower quality of marriage.


Conflict is not only tough, but it can be an emotional mess. Gratitude can not only break the nasty cycle that can occur with stressful situations, but can have a protective effect as well.


Gratitude is a wonderful and simple strategy for marriage. Especially if you’re not great at communicating in a conflict.


So how can you accomplish this?


In the study, here’s how they measured gratitude. It was the degree of how much a person felt appreciated by their spouse, valued by their spouse, and acknowledged when they did something nice for their spouse.


So to practice gratitude, find ways to do those 3 things. Show your partner that you appreciate them. Show them that you value them. And when they do something nice for you, simply tell them that you noticed and are aware of their kind act.


TheBrainFlux: How Men and Women React to Marital Problems


Understanding Conflict


While the study itself focused on fights concerning financial matters, the lessons learned can apply to other areas as well.


If you want to know more about reaching


The Importance of Gratitude in Marriage


, you should learn about underlying concerns and what a partner really wants in a conflict.


As a final bit of wisdom, Ted has a few last words:


“All couples have disagreements and argue. And, when couples are stressed, they are likely to have more arguments. What distinguishes the marriages that last from those that don’t is not how often they argue, but how they argue and how they treat each other on a daily basis.”

 
Jim Manske's insight:
Grateful to see this affirmation of NVC in Action, doubly grateful sing University of Georgia is my alma mater!
 
Grateful to see this affirmation of NVC in Action, doubly grateful since the University of Georgia is my alma mater!
 
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Dorothy Retha Cook's curator insight, March 5, 1:17 PM
Grateful to see this affirmation of NVC in Action, doubly grateful sing University of Georgia is my alma mater!
 


Grateful to see this affirmation of NVC in Action, doubly grateful since the University of Georgia is my alma mater!



 






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Teaching Peace in Schools Virtual Summit

Teaching Peace in Schools Virtual Summit | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it
This virtual telesummit features inspiring wisdom and leadership from the field of Restorative Justice and Social & Emotional Learning in schools. It will explore bringing these critical skills into school communities.
Jim Manske's insight:

Jori and I are proud to be a part of the team for the Peace Alliance to support Teaching Peace for the Next Generation!  We will be on a kickoff call on Feb 3 at 5pmPST-6:30pmPST along with Congressman Tim Ryan.  You can join more1600 others online  at the free initial summit  and join the course here:  http://org.salsalabs.com/o/696/p/salsa/event/common/public/?event_KEY=85219&tag=CNVC

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Time's Up for 'Timeout'

Time's Up for 'Timeout' | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it
A progressive group of neurology researchers wants to redefine "discipline." Decisions about parenting affect not only children’s minds, but those of adults as well.
Jim Manske's insight:

I long for the day when we can see the futility of punishment as a method to gain respect and cooperation in our families.  Think about your own experience...Do you behave the way you do because you are afraid of the consequences of non-compliance? or do you behave as you do because you intend for your behavior to be in alignment with your values?

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5 science-backed habits that lead to long-term happiness, regardless of your genes and upbringing

5 science-backed habits that lead to long-term happiness, regardless of your genes and upbringing | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it
Every decision we make, at some level, boils down to trying to be happy.
Jim Manske's insight:

Fun for me to see David Pogue writing about the human operating system.  I have read his columns for many years about Apple products.

 

Although Apple products do not make me happy, I have noticed they can contribute to my happiness, supporting me in accessing at least 4 of his seven strategies.

 

 

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Peace Begins with the Individual: Insights from a “Nonviolent Communication” Workshop Dialogue Monthly Newsletter by CP Yen Foundation, November 2015

Peace Begins with the Individual: Insights from a “Nonviolent Communication” Workshop Dialogue Monthly Newsletter by CP Yen Foundation, November 2015 | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it

In our newsletter last month, we celebrated Nobel Prize Peace Winner Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet for achieving peace through dialogue. Not long after, the world mourned the devastating terrorist attack in Paris. The Dalai Lama, when interviewed by Deutsche Welle, spoke about the terrorist attack in Paris. He reminded people that “we cannot depend on prayers to solve the problem. …If you see others as your brothers and sisters, respect their rights, and then violence will not exist.” The Dalai Lama wishes not to just pay attention to the extremists; he intends to talk more about resolution. “If we emphasize more on non-violence and harmony, we will head toward a new beginning.” At this point, it seems appropriate to remind ourselves the importance of nonviolent communication – achieving peace through each individual.

Nonviolent communication (NVC), also referred as the language of love, was initially proposed by Dr. Marshall B. Rosenberg during the 1960s. He believed “the way nonviolent communication consolidates consciousness, language, communication skills and using power with others has been in use for over hundreds of years. It allows us to maintain our empathy to ourselves and to others despite adversity.” NVC has been active in over 65 countries, nurturing and helping thousands of people all over the world. In our March 2013 newsletter, we talked about nonviolent communication in “Language of Love—Nonviolent Communication.”   

In Taiwan, Ms. Rosanna Hung has actively been promoting NVC through her “Compassionate Communication” workshops. In China, the nonviolent community became active even earlier. In October, Jim and Jori Manske, leading trainers at the Center for Nonviolent Communication (CNVC) held the first accredited workshops on NVC in Taiwan. On Oct 21-22nd , Winkler Partners Attorneys at Law, Zhi Shan Foundation and CP Yen Foundation hosted the NVC workshop “The Heart of Conflict.” At the workshop, participants worked with Jim and Jori Manske on resolving conflicts at work through use of nonviolent communication.
 
Insights from Participants on “The Heart of Conflict” Workshop

1.    By Jester Lee, Co-founder, Aurora Social Enterprise

During the 2-day workshop, I once again experienced the nurturing power of love. Furthermore, I came to realize that NVC is not just a concept or a language, but a way of being.
 
The NVC method provides 4 simple contexts to support communication: 1. Observation - observation without judgment to find the roots of the violence; 2. Feeling – there are no right or wrong feelings, just feelings that reflect unfulfilled needs, just like fingers pointing to the moon or the dashboard on the car; 3. Needs: the core of nonviolent communication; and 4. Requests: making requests to ourselves or others to fulfill our needs for a better life

The purpose of NVC is to find connection with quality with the assumption that there is no conflict between the needs of people. Conflict arises from the strategies we choose to fulfill the needs. For example, some participants may request to make recording of the workshop in order to help them learn more. At the same time, others may feel recording would distract them from real learning. By understanding the needs of others, these participants can try to find better solutions to satisfy all needs. That is what nonviolent communication strives to achieve.
 
Through connecting with ourselves, empathy and sincere expressions, nonviolent communication builds connection between us and others on the basis of needs. During the learning process, Jim and Jori used real examples to show step by step the use of nonviolent communication and its value.
 
A number of things left strong impressions for me. One of them was self-preparation. Jim and Jori name the preparation prior to real NVC work as “step zero.” One becomes aware of his or her real feelings and the needs behind these feelings during step zero. Jori shared with us that “opening a space so we can all hear one another” is the intent of using nonviolent communication in mediation at work. The steps and training for mediation showed us how to connect effectively. Although we were confused at first, gradually we learned to keep listening, empathizing, and connecting in order to hear one another. 

Nonviolent communication is not only a process for us to work with, but it’s also an inner practice for us to connect with ourselves and others at every moment in time. From Jim and Jori, we also learned how they practiced their work and witnessed how they communicated with each other so well. I am thankful for Jim and Jori for opening a window for us, so we can see a totally different view. I am also thankful for how they demonstrated the power of NVC through their actions so we could see clearly that we are on the right path to the beautiful view ahead.
 
2.    By Lisa Kuang- CNVC Certification Candidate Trainer

After attending the Workshop facilitated by Jim and Jori Manske on Oct 21-22, I finally understood that NVC is not a field of knowledge for our brains, but a way of being in our daily lives. This realization made me stop my note-taking habit and immerse myself to experiencing the workshop. That is what NVC calls “presence.” At the beginning of the workshop, facilitators asked us to breathe and to be aware of the feelings in every part of the body. That was how we learned to connect with our inner selves. Before communicating with others, we need to connect with ourselves and others. This connection is our compassion and empathy. The purpose of NVC is to nurture loving relationships through the connection to fulfill our and other people’s needs.
  
At my work this year, I had encountered the most challenging interpersonal situations. The first three months were very exhausting for me. I now realized that I needed to incorporate NVC to work with others, connect with myself and to empathize with others. I learned that all the complaints, criticisms, and attacks were just tragic ways to express unfulfilled needs. At that realization, I let go of all my inner turmoil. By using a different way to look at others, I saw the unfulfilled needs and decided to connect with them.

I am so happy I have embarked on the journey of living NVC.

3.    By Lien Yu-Mei, Innovative Coach

I have asked myself: why do I like NVC (Nonviolent Communication) so much? It’s because it is the secret for “freeing up the locked up heart.” I am often an emotional person. Sometimes I get caught up in my own emotions, focusing on things that had made me uncomfortable during the day. Before I learned to deal with these emotions, I would just throw temper tantrums (mostly to my family), mainly to my mother and my husband. But I am amicable by nature, so I would feel extremely regretful afterwards. I did not like that at all. 

To calm myself down and to try to get along with others, I started to participate in Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) training in 1997. I had devoted myself to learning NLP for 8 years. In 2006, I became a devoted Buddhist. Both NLP and Buddhism taught me several ways to find peace within myself. NLP helped me adjust my inner programming, while Buddhism corrected my awareness to help me release my arrogance and stubborn side. I practiced a lot. And these worked! 
I was lucky to attend the NVC program facilitated by Jim and Jori Manske. Through the workshop, I experienced personally the power of nonviolent communication. The caught-up emotions that required half an hour or an hour for me to calm down only needed 5-10 minutes, 20 minutes at maximum through NVC. And I clearly felt the change of my emotions, turning from displeasure to happiness and feeling blessed. How amazing! 

Why is NVC so powerful? It’s because it just skips our thinking brain and connects to our hearts. I call that “heart communication,” connecting with my inner self and others from feelings and needs. It’s real, sincere, and empathic, a moving experience for me! 

With the new understanding of the power of NVC, I have decided to devote my time to develop my skills in NVC to help more people “free up the locked up heart,” return to the heart’s initial condition, and to release our true potential!

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If you want to be more generous, gratitude isn’t enough

Expressing gratitude is a November tradition. By giving thanks, we help others feel appreciated and remind ourselves of how fortunate we are.

 

 

But if we want to promote a spirit of generosity, we need to add another custom to the Thanksgiving repertoire.

 

 

Although gratitude is a powerful emotion, it’s also a fleeting one. Research shows that when we say thanks, we become motivated to pay back or forward what we’ve received. Then the emotion fades and the giving stops.

 

A few years ago, Jane Dutton and I asked people to donate a portion of their money to relief efforts for the Japanese earthquake and tsunami. The base rate of giving in a control group was 13%. When we randomly assigned a second group of people to list three things they had received from others, donations climbed to 21%.


Not bad… until we saw that a different exercise spiked the giving rate above 46%.

 

 

Instead of reflecting on what they had received, we asked a third group to write down three things that they had contributed to others. Now they saw themselves as givers, and here was a chance to earn that identity by helping victims of a natural disaster.

 

 

Gratitude is a temporary emotion. Giving is a lasting value.

 

 

In another experiment, we asked university fundraisers to keep a daily journal about what they had received from others or contributed to others. Over the next two weeks, the fundraisers who reflected on giving increased their total effort by 25%—and put in 13% more hourly effort than their colleagues who wrote about receiving. Having reminded themselves that they were the kinds of people who cared about others, they became invested in giving more.

 

 

According to a popular mantra, we should give without remembering and receive without forgetting. Our research suggests otherwise: we should take the time to remember both what we’ve given and what we’ve received.

 

 

So this Thanksgiving, don’t just count your blessings. Count your contributions too.

 

 

This post originally appeared on LinkedIn. 

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