On this Occupy Heart...
Occupy Self-Empathy

12-2p PDT | 3-5p EDT | 7-9p GMT
Suzanne Jones, one of the NVC expert on Occupy Cafe's core team, steps in to host Occupy Heart today while Jitendra takes a much needed break to visit his family.
Please use this forum thread to scribe ideas during the Cafe Call and beyond.  We are asking these questions:
  1. Recall a time when you were able to powerfully provide empathy to yourself.  What was the value of that experience?
  2. How might you incorporate self-empathy more fully into your life on a regular basis?

Image courtesy of Brian Donovan via GroupWorks

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Thank you for these thoughts, Sea.  When you write...

The Cafe's intense connection personally, inspires seeing physics as an intense connection physically. That intense physical connection is inspired by intense personal connections.

... it tells me that we are succeeding in doing the work we came here for.  (Ben)

I wanted to share this link to Learnist, which has information about attachment and empathy, and this one on awareness.

Peace <3

Hi Cadence,

I like these sites. Really interesting topics and text. I particularly liked the one on forgiveness. Thanks for posting the links.

Hi Sea,

I agree with you that WMS is myopic and that WMS perspective on life is often more divisive than connective. I have a perspective on forgiveness that could get around this myopia. It is one that people don't usually agree with right away, but I have found this way of looking at forgiveness to be very helpful in that it helps me stay in the present so that I can use my energy in a positive way to move forward.

Here's my perspective: We've all done things that have harmed ourselves and others. We tend to think, "Yes, but some things were worse than others." To me, though, any time we ignore another's communication, discount a person's ideas, label a person negatively, we are being violent. If ever we are willing to discount or repress or ignore what matters to another person, we may, under the "right" conditions, be willing to take violence to a greater level. In my opinion, there has been a great deal of psychological and emotional violence done, as well as physical violence.

So why not just forgive ourselves and everyone else for all that we've done in our tragic attempts to get our needs met? It's easier to take this stance if we do not first condemn. There's no need to forgive, if we do not first condemn. We could admit that we have all gotten our needs met in tragic ways, some more tragic than others, and use our energy now to move forward in learning and implementing less tragic ways to communicate and interact. I know this idea might be harder to accept for some than others, and I really believe in it.



Thanks Suzanne. <3

Hi Sea,

I regret that it has taken me so long to get back to the discussion. I was exhausted after the NatGat.

First I'd like to respond to your question about whether you have given positive criticism on the forum. I can't answer this question in a specific way. I am disappointed that I haven't had the opportunity to be on the forum much. I can tell you what came up for me when I read your post of July 10th. 

For me, it's also not about blaming or holding grudges. It's about how we interact in present time. It seems that, for purposes of creating identities, we label ourselves and others quite a bit. That's one level of abstraction about our humanness. Then we tend to evaluate the opinions and actions of each other or each group as good, bad, right, wrong, appropriate, inappropriate. This is a second level of abstraction. Then we compare our opinions and actions to those of the other group; ours are more moral, we are more ethical, our way of thinking is more intelligent. And often criticize their opinions and actions; too simplistic, too violent., too passive - third level of abstraction.

While some of these abstractions can be somewhat useful at times, mostly they just divide us and we lose our human to human connection. If I say to you, "I believe that you're looking at this all wrong. I think my assessment is more accurate," distance is more likely to be created than connection - there;s evaluation and criticism, and some judgment.

But if I say something like "When I hear your assessment of the situation, I feel scared. I want so much for the solution that we arrive at to meet all of our needs and I'm not hearing in what you're saying a way to do that..Can you give me more details so I can understand more about what you're describing" it is much more likely that you will experience my humanness - a humanness that is probably very similar to yours. You probably are also scared and want to a find a solution that works for everyone.

The latter way of communicating brings us closer, opens doors, moves us forward where criticism, moralistic judgment, evaluation, and labeling usually divide us. When we are connected and feel and comprehend our common humanality, we don't need to debate the rightness and wrongness of past behaviors. We can move forward and create a new reality from this precious connectedness.

Others may ask you what you think about their response, but in the light of this human to human perspective, I would like to ask you how you feel reading my response.


Hi Sea,

I smiled when I read that my responses are creating hope in you that we can all work the future out together. I have to admit that much of what I have shared on the forums comes from the works of Carl Rogers and Marshall Rosenberg, although I can take credit, I suppose, for having been smart enough to read their work and attempt to apply it :)

I have tried to scroll through some of the discussions to find responses that you posted, but the responses are intermittent and there are so many discussions. Here's what I can offer, though, in response to your request for what to emphasize and what to de-emphasize in responses.

I try to emphasize what I am feeling in response to what someone has to say. I also try to emphasize what I think I'm hearing about their feelings. I like this way of communicating because our emotions are what are moving in us - what is alive in us at any moment. I love to share that part of me with others and they seem to love my sharing that part of me - people often tell me how much they appreciate my willingness to be vulnerable.

I would enjoy sharing with you that I felt very moved when I read your concern over people possibly leaving the cafe. And I felt moved by your request to learn more about what to emphasize and de-emphasize in your responses to people. I get how much you enjoy making connections with people and how disappointing it might be to imagine that what you say might create disconnection. I also felt happy when I read that you believe we need everyone and a smilecame to my face.

I believe that, if I share my alive emotions with you, we will more likely connect and be more likely to stay connected.

What I would de-emphasize are facts, advice, praise, and even reassurance because these don't really share "me," often lead to debates over the veracity of the facts or definitions of the words, and/or often stimulate defensiveness in others. Facts have a place, for sure, but I prefer to share facts very sparingly and spend most of my energy connecting to the feelings and needs of the other person.

I hope this is helpful. I won't be able to return to the forum for several days because I have several commitments over the next week. I am enjoying the connection we've made so far.



It occurred to me after this past call something rare.  A mental knowing was turned into an Experience and can feel the difference and clarity in my body.  It demonstrated specifically that Fear and Love do not exist together... e.g. where there is one there is not the other.

Then there was a further aftermath deduction that is not yet as clear... Where there is Love, there is not Need.

Thank you Suzzane

One of the most dramatic moments in the Cafe @ NatGat occurred when Heather described a vision she had of "blind lady justice," only to learn after the fact that a woman dressed exactly as she described--blindfold, white robe, scales--was sitting silently at the same table with the people she had been conversing with!  On her scales were the words "fear" and "love."

My sense of this polarity is not so much that we replace fear with love as that we choose to give power to the love within us and not to the fear.  The fear is still there--"fearless" doesn't mean we never experience fear.  That's denial!  I've seen how people behave when they are "afraid to be afraid."  It created a kind of dictatorial pressure that stifles creativity and openness.

By feeding the love, we can learn to let go of the fear and not to allow it to guide our actions.  As in the wonderful Cherokee story of the two wolves.


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Regular Calls are no longer being held.  Below is the schedule that was maintained from the Fall of 2011 through Jan 10, 2013.

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