I appreciate receiving these eloquent words by Fr. Richard Rohr from a reader. “Someday each of us has to walk back through our family of origin to rename our fears and security needs, re-feel repressed emotions, re-own, re-live and re-feel things we were never allowed to feel and never allowed to think. And that is, in truth, becoming like a little child, because you feel like a damned fool when you do it. Yet without re-living and re-claiming the child’s journey, you will nurse your wounded child forever.”
I celebrate my own “re-living and re-claiming the child’s journey.”
My own work reminds me of an interaction I had with my daughter Dana when I visited her last month – in Illinois. With my daughter and son-in-law’s permission I will tell you the story.
Something I said to Dana stimulated a reaction within her. She got angry with me and said some things out of that place of reactivity.
For me, here’s the value of my “child’s journey.” I listened to her and responded out of compassion and honesty. And when I spoke, it was with an honest and vulnerable heart. I stayed present – not lost in past stories or in future worries – to both Dana and to me. I know how it feels to react back at her; so how wonderful it was for me to stay grounded in clarity and love.
Dana went off for a bit. She received counsel and empathy from her husband. When she came back, she, too, had an open heart. And we had a touching, lovely connecting conversation. One of those special memories between a daughter and her mom.
I want to share with you. The foundation of my child’s journey is my practice of Marshall Rosenberg’s Nonviolent Communication (NVC) and the support of so many wise and loving teachers along the way. It’s based on the 4 NVC components:
- Observing the truth of what happened without judgment and/or clearly understanding the story I’m telling myself (like seeing the event through a camera or hearing the words from a tape recorder).
- Then feeling the vulnerable feelings that arise (like sadness, anger, fear, grief, …)
- Which leads me to understanding what it is I’m needing (like safety or kindness or companionship or …). Then celebrating the needs met and/or mourning the unmet needs.
- And sometimes making a request of myself and/or others to help meet my needs.
NVC is the foundation of my child’s journey. And I’m grateful for my NVC practice. It’s a true gift.