Practicing Nonviolence in My Mother Tongue Isn’t So Easy

If you think you’re enlightened, go spend a week with your family.

Ram Dass

Well, I spent a month with mine, and I realized that I was far from enlightened. There’s something about going back to your roots — and in this case, my hometown, my mother tongue, and my culture also fit into Ram Dass’ equation — that really puts life in perspective.

Actually, I never thought I was enlightened, but I did think that I had done some good work on the life-alienating ways with which I used to communicate. You see, for about two years now, apart from my job as a teacher educator, I have been facilitating a group that meets bi-monthly to practice the conflict resolution process called Nonviolent Communication (NVC). Prior to that, I had been doing my own personal studies and had attended many weekend workshops at the NVC center in Seoul. With this experience, I thought I had made strong progress with the basic components of NVC which are:

1. express yourself honestly via observation, feelings, needs and request;

2. listen empathically via observation, feelings, needs and request.