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“Healthy Disconnect"

Cultivating a consciousness in the framework of Nonviolent Communication (NVC), at one level, means keeping open the channels of giving and receiving so life energy can flow unhindered.

At a physical level this is done by relaxing and exercising the body so blood flows freely distributing nutrients and cleansing toxins.  This free flow is interrupted when you react strongly to something.  In reactivity, you usually contract muscles in various parts of your body. This creates a physical disconnect in the sense that it inhibits blood flow.

This experience is analogous to what happens in a conflict with another person. Instead of a flow of energy between you, you find a  contraction, pushing, or pulling in your own body as well as in the interaction.

The bulk of my teaching focuses on how to transform these interactions and restore flow or connection.

However, there are times when it is healthy to disconnect from the other person in order to restore connection in yourself.

Here are some alarms that indicate it may be time for you to call for a time out and disconnect from the other person.

1. When you feel yourself shrinking, like your life energy is being pulled from you. This may be accompanied by feelings of shame or fear.

2. When you begin speaking from anger or fear. This usually takes the form of blame, accusation, name-calling or judgment, right/wrong pronouncements, pleading, pressuring, or telling the other person how they should and shouldn't behave.

3. When you find yourself defending & counter-attacking. Both of these indicate that you are not hearing the needs and feelings of the other, but rather you are hearing and, at some level, believing the words they are saying or believing your self-worth can be affected by their views.

4. When you find yourself "going fuzzy". You might being saying yes to something you don't want to yes to or you might find it hard to speak clearly.

5. When hostility or contempt are present. If someone you are close to is sending hostility or contempt your way, it's very difficult to meet them without reaction. In the realm of personal relationships (that is, when you are not serving as a mediator or helping professional), it's important to immediately disconnect and disengage from this energy when it arises because of the damage it can perpetuate. Your response can be as simple as, "I'm experiencing (sensing, seeing) hostility. I am taking a time-out and will check back with you in an hour."

This week notice when you are contracting physically or emotionally. Use this as a signal to return to connection with yourself. Connection with yourself can start with focusing on three deep breaths into your belly.

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