Is this you?
You are dedicated to living an authentic life with compassion for yourself and others. You understand that living from authenticity and compassion requires an expansive and discerning mind as well as practical skills. You are willing to practice mindfulness and relationship skills in a safe environment that includes vulnerability and self-reflection. You are ready for support in managing reactivity, setting boundaries, self-compassion, and creating relationships that are mutual and life-serving.
What is it all about?
Mindful Compassionate Dialogue naturally supports you in creating the relationships you want by integrating the wisdom and skills of three powerful modalities: Hakomi, Nonviolent Communication (NVC), and Mindfulness.
Hakomi offers clarity about reactivity and healing, NVC offers a means for self-responsibility, skillful communication, and agency, and Mindfulness adds the stable attention and the clear focus needed to continuously refine your understanding and skills.
The workshop will be experientially focused. We will introduce a concept and skill and then you will take time in a structured exercise in a small group, pair, or individually to practice and integrate what you are learning. You will learn using examples that you choose from your own life.
Topics for the Day
MCD is a system of 12 competencies and nine foundations. For our introductory workshop, you will be introduced to and have an opportunity to practice with the first six competencies. The foundations will be weaved into material throughout the day. Here are the competencies of focus for the day:
Appreciation: Competency 1
Appreciation is about noticing what’s working well, and saying that aloud more often than expressing what’s not working. Appreciation practice lays a foundation for a vibrant relationship, and the ability to meet challenges with skill and grace. It contributes to resilience by creating a sense of confidence that each person is seen for their good intentions. Appreciation is actually a form of positive feedback: it is about knowing what works in clear and specific terms. This level of clarity and sharing makes collaboration easy.
Empathy: Competency 2
There are so many benefits of cultivating empathy in your relationships. When you can give and receive empathy, each person has a deep sense of being heard. Knowing you can be heard, means a relaxing of defensiveness and the impulse to convince another of your point of view. Empathy contributes to healthy differentiation, as well a secure emotional bond. With empathy, you can truly be a companion and support for another without taking on their struggles as your own.
Empathy is a heart-based response to a heart-based expression of another. Empathy means giving your compassionate curiosity to another’s experience without having an agenda. It often involves verbally guessing another’s feelings and needs. For example, when your someone shares about a difficulty at work, instead of trying to problem solve you can make an empathy guess like, “Are you feeling discouraged because you need support?” In this way, empathy makes space for being present with feelings and needs so that the door to wisdom and compassion opens naturally.
Honest Expression: Competency 3
Honest expression is a rich and subtle practice that empowers you to live in alignment with your deepest values. It often feels vulnerable, as it requires awareness and direct expression of your needs and explicit acknowledgment of interdependence through specific and doable requests, and negotiation with others. It helps you to truly collaborate with others while fully maintaining autonomy and self responsibility.
Honest expression includes the following:
Awareness of your intention when you express
Awareness of the quality of connection in a given moment, both with yourself and another
Taking responsibility for reactivity by learning to recognize it and then name it aloud and/or taking time to get grounded before continuing to engage in dialogue
Expressing feelings and needs with full self-responsibility by making specific and doable requests of yourself and/or another
Taking responsibility for thoughts, speech, and reactivity by discerning the difference between what you actually observed and the interpretations you made
Knowing the difference between universal needs and related preferences and strategies for how needs are met
Communicating specific and doable requests as the starting point of collaboration
Self Empathy: Competency 4
Self empathy is an essential ingredient in a thriving relationship. To have a loving and conscious relationship with another, you also need to have a loving and conscious relationship with yourself.
In addition, self empathy gives you relief from internal conflict, criticism, and doubt. You can learn to greet each part of your experience with compassion and acceptance, which gives you access to wise discernment and effective action.
Self empathy means taking responsibility for your experience by gaining the skills to identify observations, thoughts, feelings, needs, and requests with compassion for yourself. Being able to identify your experience in this way opens the door to staying true to yourself and honest with another.
Recognizing & Managing Reactivity: Competencies 5 & 6
Recognizing reactivity means freedom. The moment you can recognize reactivity arising, you can be free from its grip on you. In addition, when you learn to track reactivity in yourself, you can more easily recognize it in others. This means you can take effective action to prevent escalating arguments.
Reactivity is defined as the misperception of threat to one or more needs. It can be recognized by at least three main characteristics:
1) A change in physiology, such as heart rate or breathing
2) A stuckness or narrowing of view
3) A loss of access to creativity, skills, broad perspective, wisdom, and compassion
Recognizing reactivity means becoming familiar with the many signs and symptoms that it is arising. When you fully know reactivity, it can’t take over. You get to choose speech and actions that truly serve you and others.
When you learn to manage reactivity effectively, a whole world of possibility opens up for you and your relationship. You find it is safe to be yourself in your relationship. Reactivity can come and go without causing major ruptures in connection. You see it as normal and trust that it can be met. Lastly, when you are not walking on eggshells because of reactivity, your relationship has space to grow and evolve in whole new ways.
Once you learn to recognize reactivity, it becomes your cue to engage the skills you have for managing it. Managing reactivity includes skills such as regulation strategies, interpersonal de-escalation strategies, self empathy, naming, recognizing blame, working with tender needs, and engaging healing work.