I have not found a word that captures the exact line that I am looking for. Commitment may be a bit too strong, and tends to connote “should,” thus invoking the non-choiceful energy of obligation and duty. “Intention” is not strong enough, in my mind, to carry the unwavering force of staying the course even when the going gets hard. Somewhere I also want to capture the unpredictability of life. These commitments are not a promise, which none of us can give. I have full understanding of how challenging life is, and imagine that no matter how strong the choice, every single one of us at some point or another will not find sufficient inner resources to follow through on these.
In order to soften the intensity of “commitment” without losing the strength, I chose to use the word “want” rather than “commit” in the actual wording of the commitments. Another reason is that I want the words to remind any of us who makes the choice to follow this path of the overarching clarity that this is what we want, that there is no in-principle objection to living life in this way, no matter what anyone else is doing, no matter what the structures of the world look like, not matter what the circumstances are.
This is a tall order. This, to me, is a mobilized life. The commitments serve as a compass, a reminder, a scaffolding that can hold us in living by choice.
While the choice is ours to make, and the invitation is to extend ourselves to life fully without conditions, we need each other to be able to continue to face reality – external and internal – and keep focused on what matters to us most. This is why each of these commitments includes a reference to seeking support. I have already written earlier about how essential community is to embarking and sustaining an emotional journey. No matter how far we are on the path to wholeness, sustaining where we are continues to be a journey because of the continued challenge of meeting a world that is not designed to meet human needs. This is why I call on all of us to welcome and seek support and reminders for staying on track with these commitments.
The Core Nonviolence Commitments will soon be available in French, Spanish, German, and Hebrew translations.
A centerpiece celebrating conscious intentions at the NVC-UK Annual Gathering 2017. See explanation below.
The commitments used in an activity to open an NVC weekend in Spain, 2016. See explanation below.
This section offers a variety of options for how you can engage with the commitments, whether to deepen your commitment and capacity to embrace the path of nonviolence and/or to integrate these particular commitments as a guide to your own life.
Photo from NVC Annual Gathering in the UK
In November 2017 Laura Gill wrote Miki:
We are in the midst of the NVC-UK annual gathering about an hour from Oxford.
I thought you might like to know and maybe celebrate with us…
As we came into the room that had been prepared for the opening of the gathering on Thursday night, and throughout yesterday, the rich intentions you (and Inbal) articulated and shared from your consciousness community had been placed in a circle around the center piece that was our focal point on the floor as we sat in our whole community circle…
Personally, I also sat with the self- responsibility intention quite literally under my feet in the circle yesterday and experienced a grounding connection with myself, you, and others because of it.
Photo from NVC Weekend in Spain
Helen Adamson wrote Miki in June 2016:
I’m sharing a photo with you from the last weekend gathering of the Facilitación de cursos basados en la CNV, the 3rd level of our Programa Anual de Convivencia de CNV offered by me and Amalasiri.
We opened the weekend on Friday night with an acitivity using the 17 core commitments: Each person randomly chose a slip of paper with one of the core commitments written on it. Then the person who had commitment #1 read the commitment out loud, and lit a votive candle from the heart candle in the middle, then #2, and on around the circle. Amazingly, there were exactly 17 of us present that evening!
It felt like a very meaningful way to start our last gathering together, although we liked it so much that Amalasiri and I may decide to start every gathering of the both the 2nd and 3rd levels with this ritual.
My intention in sharing this with you is so you too can know and celebrate how the commitments you created have touched the lives of a group of people in Spain!
Miki Kashtan is a co-founder of Bay Area Nonviolent Communication and author of several books. She is inspired by the role of visionary leadership in shaping a livable future, and works toward that vision by sharing the principles and practices of Nonviolent Communication through mediation, meeting facilitation, consulting, and training for organizations and for committed individuals. She holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from UC Berkeley and her articles have appeared in Tikkun magazine, Waging Nonviolence, Shareable, and elsewhere.
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