RIP Marshall Rosenberg 1934-2015

Rev. Abby JoStarred Page By Rev. Abby Jo, 29th Sep 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Personal Experiences

I attended at least one of his lectures in person and worked with a few of the teachers (all Israeli women) he personally trained for at least one year, in Northern California, about 15 years ago. I taught this method to my son when he was growing up and when he was a teenager he told me it helped.

One of my teachers taught me empathy

Marshall's page is here , I met him in Oakland, California in 2000 or so.

Marshall Rosenberg has taught empathy as a a formula that seems to work to develop compassion. I used to think of compassion as emotion. I do not have emotion in the same way many people describe it. But empathy can be learned. Observation, Feeling, Need, Request. I have no connection with Rosenberg or his teachings now, his site is Dr. Rosenberg died a few months ago this year, in February 2015. The OFNR seems to work, however. Matthew Fox talks about emotion bridled by love. Emotion is a horse and love is the bridle. Maybe. Or maybe we choose in each moment by sorting it.

Ask: What do I see/touch/hear/smell/taste? What do I feel (attitude about sensory input) What need of mine is not being met? What is my reasonable request of my brother or sister? Marshall had lists of words to help with this, labels, lots of them, to choose. To emphasize, we choose. It's exercise of free will not oppression from outside.

This breaks it down so that I at least was able to put myself in a stranger's shoes regardless of how strange the stranger might be. I found that all sentient beings in physical vessels begin perceptual experiences with sensory input. Emotion is a "gut" interpretation of sensory data, like the teakettle whistles when the water vapor pressure reaches a certain point. The sound a chicken makes, "clucking" is the same sound the tea kettle makes after it sits awhile and small amounts of air escape, it sounds like language but it's not, it's an involuntary action. Still, we humans are thirsty for meaning and we assign causation to patterns that are not directly related. The tea kettle and the chicken both shape source field, perhaps. Each is a different shape for love to take. So this is another reason I personally never rely on spoken word. Some is intended some is not. Some is air involuntarily moving through our particular labyrinthine mazes, leading from bronchioles to tip of tongues, like wind moving in the branches of so many trees with birds attached. Does the tree talk?

The need is the translation of gut reaction into action, the repair, the "fix," as perceived. This should be a balancing action, motivated by an intention to serve the greatest good, to create the most harmony. Then there is the expression. The practice groups focus on REASONABLE expression. It is in the practice groups that we learn to differentiate between subjective, objective, selfish, altruistic, harmful and harmless. I was always amazed and how much self-censorship and fear people would admit to when given an invitation to name their attitudes or feelings. Many participants simply wanted equality, tolerance, space, peace.

Rosenberg also taught his students not to act unless one could act from the heart. That is, we may have many reasons for our actions. We may act out of ego, to get even, to teach someone a lesson. We may act out of duty, because it is socially expected. We may act because we are being paid to act, again, an exterior motive. What's on top, the main reason needs to be from the heart, because when we act out of love, from the depth of our soul, then those actions, I believe are blessed, not because I have a hotline to God, I do not. But because heart/love is the source of all creation.

Rhyme of the Ancients...

From that place we create an echo to the very beginning of all creation that says, this is why I open my eyes and breathe every day, for this I live. For this love. And it remembers this love this creative, selfless inclusive love like the sailor remembers a siren's sweet, so fragile, so rare...he cannot erase it and he sails every day on the dark cold sea in hopes of again hearing the rhyme of the ancient mariner.


Cnvc, Non-Violence, Non-Violent Communication, Nvc, Rosenberg

Meet the author

author avatar Rev. Abby Jo
I am an ordained minister in my 50s. My ministry is online. I practice meaningful written dialogue, truth in all things. Ascending beyond past. I will be here regardless of pay.

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