NVC Academy Co-Founder and CEO Mary Mackenzie shares her thoughts monthly in our Growing Roots newsletter. Read and enjoy Mary's current and past letters from her deep experience as a CNVC Certified Trainer for more than 20 years.
Greetings dear readers of the Growing Roots Newsletter!
Mary Makenzie invited me to be a guest writer for this issue to which I happily agreed. She also shared that her messages are typically more personal in nature, something I always appreciate in a newsletter. The challenge for me then is to braille my way towards a ‘just right’ measure of both intimacy and formality .. a distance that conveys that while I don’t actually know you, I might know something of what draws you here, something of what troubles you and what grants you joy and meaning.
In my own case, at the age of 66 and with two young grandchildren living halfway across the country where I live in Canada, I find myself deeply concerned about the turbulent world that they are growing up in. It will probably come as no surprise that they are also a great source of joy and meaning to me. In my 25 years of teaching NVC, I’m fully in alignment with Marshall Rosenberg’s belief that one of our greatest needs, and maybe even the greatest need of all, is the need to contribute to life. I say a wholehearted YES to this, and perhaps you do as well.
Over the years I have found myself writing quite a bit off and on. During the pandemic I found myself writing very infrequently, at a loss for words. Very recently though I have started looking at some of my earlier writings. Given the state of the world, and also the fact that Valentine’s Day is approaching and we’ll be seeing hearts posted all around, I thought I would share two shorter pieces with you that revolve about love which is so crucial and foundational to our personal and collective well-being. The first is about kindness and the second is about falling in love.
I hope something in these writings touches you. I hope too that I might have the opportunity to meet some of you at my upcoming course Bridging Differences, Building Bonds which starts Feb 20th!
On Kindness ..
Kindness is such a beautiful and generous word .. a way of being that acts like a balm in our world. That "kin" is so evidently at its root, the word beckons us to remember we are part of the human family. And yet as in families, it does not spare us from speaking up when doing so is necessary for the greater good, those times when the flames of conflict are typically fanned. Yet in those situations, even when kinship seems to come under threat, it is often in fact paradoxically strengthened, and it is most often our kindness that ensures it. To cultivate kindness is to be regularly tested in one's ability to keep caring even when sharp edges appear. As the seductive speed car of cynicism and contempt screeches to a halt at our doorstep, inviting us in for a ride as it does from time to time, we eventually come to learn that we lose a piece of our humanity every time we agree to climb in. And so kindness becomes the beautiful grain of our humanness .. and is carved into us not on those occasions when it's easiest .. but at those very times when it isn't .. those times when we would be least inclined and it would be all too easy to resort to an "eye for an eye" thinking or evaluate another as unworthy of our kindness. Kindness is by no means a fool. It does not grant others opportunities to do harm. Kindness has strength, firmness and dignity. It calls on a more magnificent version of ourselves. It requires that we be vigilant and not succumb to indifference or meanness. Over and over again kindness keeps whispering .. don't stop caring.
May You Fall in Love ..
May you fall madly in love this year .. in love with someone who unhinges your tired trajectory, in love with a spouse of several years who might be aching for lightning, in love with demanding children and crazy relatives .. in love with the particular pedigree of genius insanity that has perhaps claimed you in spite of your reluctance .. and certainly in love with an animal, a cloud, a redwood, the wild .. these at least once a day. May you fall in love with this fragile jewel of a world, with hard work, real learning, just causes, petitioning and prayers. May you fall in love with wonder itself, with the grand mystery, with all that feeds you in order that you may live .. and with the responsibility that that confers. May you fall in love with heartbreak and seeing how it's stitched into everything. May you fall in love with the natural order of things and with tears, tenderness and humility. May this be a magnificent year for you. May you fall deeply, madly, hopelessly, inextinguishably in love.
Warm blessings to you ..
CNCV Certified Trainer