When we speak our truth, we embrace all of who we are. Living this practice in our lives, bringing this wisdom and compassion out in the company of others, asks us to be completely ourselves, to bring forward our truth in words and actions… Speaking our truth may open up things that may be a little “ouch-y”, but when they appear we can bring our empathy, we can bring our presence. In that way, something starts to shift, something starts to transform.The Ongo Book by Catherine Cadden and Jesse Wiens, p.198.
A few months ago I was asked to join my local community organization’s team to facilitate the meetings. I said yes because I wanted to supporting the organization with my NVC skills. However, the reality was much more challenging for me than I was expecting. Suddenly I had doubts about myself and my capacity.
Looking back I can understand what happened. There was frustration and resentment in the group. There were differences about how to address certain topics. This created tensions, and these piled up over a period of time. The team wasn’t able to move forward together, to learn from their experiences and to make changes. People said they felt overwhelmed, exhausted, frustrated and stuck. Is this something which is also familiar to you?
I also got caught up in this mood of stuckness. I had a deep longing to leave the team and find peace of mind. It took me weeks to find my voice and have the courage to speak my truth. I practised self-empathy again and again and I got empathy support from my buddies and loved ones. I held the needs dear to my heart so I could speak from a place of compassion. I also found support in my meditation practice.
Finally the moment came
Finally the moment came, a meeting where I said that I needed to share something. I had the image of standing on a high cliff, ready to jump. I took a moment to breathe and then jumped into the water, swimming as best as I could in the waves. It was amazing to feel the clarity in me and my words came out naturally. I wanted to speak from a place of self-responsibility and self-connection. And I was prepared to empathise with whatever came back as a response.
To my surprise, it was a heart-warming, connecting experience! At the end of the meeting, one of the members said, “Thank you for having the courage to open up. It allows me to be open too.” With this sense of connection, my willingness came back to work through difficulties in this team.
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Now it’s a month later, and I’m just back from another meeting. It’s still challenging when we share openly what is alive in us. I feel exhausted from the intensity and at the same time I’m celebrating our willingness to speak the truth. I see speaking the truth as a breakthrough for connection and trust (safety). The elephant is no longer under the carpet and is becoming more and more visible. The fear of being judged and losing the connection and/or not being heard and understood in a way I would like to be, is fading into confidence in myself that I have the capacity to be present.