Joined: Jun 28, 2020 Last Active: Jul 14, 2024 iNaturalist

(we/us they/them pronouns) If you communicate with us, please try to use compassion; we will try to use compassion when we communicate with you.

We are not experienced with social media and do not always follow news.

Trauma and dissociation can contribute to our feeling distracted, disconnected. Nature is a strategy we use to attempt presence.

When we are out in nature, we try to use our senses to let ourself know it is the present, that we are safe now. We observe a balancing act to not focus too keenly on the senses and tip us into hypervigilance and panic. When we can keep ourself alert but not scared, we notice we have a better chance to access our knowledge to identify birds and other organisms.

We feel passionate about nonviolent communication (NVC), sometimes also referred to as compassionate communication or needs-based relating. The basic premise is that we view all people as having the same human needs for Autonomy, Connection, Meaning, Peace, Physical well-being, and Play (https://www.nycnvc.org/needs). Differences arise from our strategies for meeting those needs.

NVC explains conflict as arising when people are committed to a particular strategy for getting their needs met, often without regard for other people’s equally important needs (though not always). For example, a person or government might insist you get vaccinated to protect them/you/the public from COVID (meet their needs for safety and physical well-being), while another person believes the COVID vaccine will harm them and so not getting vaccinated is their strategy for meeting their needs for safety and physical well-being. Commitment to one strategy results in conflict. The more we listen to, understand, connect with compassion to what feelings people have and the needs they are trying to meet, the more flexible and creative we can attempt to become to find strategies that meet everyone’s needs: if the vaccine won’t meet your need for safety, would you be willing to mask in public spaces so that you are less likely to get and spread COVID? If yes, we can move forward in a respectful, connected way. If no, then we keep expressing our feelings and needs until we find strategies that meet everyone’s needs. How? When we have compassion for other people, we want to meet their needs.

We are nonbinary, which means we do not identify consistently as either side of the binary male/female. Sometimes we feel like we are one or the other or both or neither, which some people refer to as gender fluid or gender queer. These gender identities are not related to sexual preference; gender and sex are not the same to us.

We are also working to become non-binary in worldview, ideology, paradigm, perspective. Our human world is populated with culture, societies. Life is complex and so people use binaries to simplify life. Think of binaries as easy labels we put on experiences/entities to keep track of how we relate to them. To simplify life, we label things as good/bad, right/wrong, weak/strong, big/small, male/female, gay/straight, captive/wild, important/unimportant, and on and on.

For us personally, these binaries are problematic because (1) they leave out/erase some experiences that aren’t static, aren’t easily encapsulated with a binary—like our gender! Some experiences are on a continuum, not on a pole (north/south or east/west). Where would different sexualities reside on a gay/straight binary? They wouldn’t! Bi-sexuality and sexual fluidity are erased in a binary. What other experiences and options are left out of binaries?

(2) Humans like to use labels, often binaries, as shortcuts, which are called judgments. Judgments seem to form the basis of many human interpretations of experience. We (and Nonviolent Communication) find judgments to create disconnection between us and our feelings and between us and what we are judging. If we eat a salad dressing we do not like, it is a judgment to say, “This dressing is awful.” We have judged the dressing. We are saying it is bad (as opposed to good) and that no one can like it. What we probably mean is this: “I do not like this dressing.” Disliking something is an observation or evaluation, not a judgment. It is closer to our feelings: “I feel bummed out that I ordered the balsamic. I wish I had ordered the ranch dressing.” We feel sadness, regret. And when we don’t know how to identify our feelings or are scared of them or don’t know how to feel them (usually because adults—our caregivers such as parents and teachers—wanted Ease and Peace when we were young and so tried to force us not to feel), we resort to moralistic judging.

Judgments can be translated into our feelings and unmet needs. With the salad dressing, our unmet needs are effectiveness and fun (enjoyment). When we connect to our unmet needs in NVC, we can try to get them met via observation, feelings, needs, requests like this:
Server: How is your meal?
You: I tried the balsamic and did not like it. I feel hesitant to try to force it down for the whole salad. I want to eat something I like. Are you willing to bring me ranch instead?
Server: Yes.

Ever wonder how in an argument or in war, both sides think they are right and that the other side is wrong? This is because judgments are not facts. Rather than try to figure out who is right and who is wrong (which seems to be a preoccupation of Western philosophy), we can move outside that binary to examine everyone’s feelings and needs in the situation. We can attempt understanding, empathy, and move to compassion. When we are compassionate, we want to meet everyone’s needs and so we can seek creative strategies that do meet everyone’s needs.

This is where we see hope for world peace, and it starts with each person creating their own peaceful world through compassion.

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