Let's evolve, together!
So, what's compassionate relating – wolf style? It's quite simply rituals that signal safety and honor healthy boundaries – which are vital for keeping a pack functioning safely together as a whole. Without clear communication, wolf packs are vulnerable to unexpected threats in the wild. And so are we!
To begin, let's turn for a moment to Marshall Rosenberg's system of Non-Violent Communication (NVC), also known as Compassionate Communication. Mr. Rosenberg founded NVC to support partnerships and help resolve conflicts between people and in society. NVC was born out of a childhood trauma when Mr. Rosenberg at the age of ten moved to Detroit and within a week fell witness to the Detroit Race Riots of 1943.
As you can imagine, Mr. Rosenberg was traumatized by what he saw out of his living room window. Decades later, Mr. Rosenberg would dedicate his life to compassionate inquiry as a pathway to bridging peace and understanding. While revolutionary for its time, I've found it doesn't quite go far enough.
What's missing is the feminine aspect of signaling safety and obtaining permission – a technique honed by nature. This is a conscious ritual for testing and reinforcing safe boundaries for the purpose of harmonious co-habitation and informed action.
NVC, while a huge breakthrough, fails to take into account the primal nature and utility of boundaries and how one must respect them before advancing.
Let's take a look at how wolves simply and effectively communicate in a way that promotes safety between individuals and within the pack as a whole.
Wolves know naturally how to avoid negative reactions – humans don't.
Every single one of us knows what happens when boundaries are breached in the human domain. Usually someone gets triggered, and when that happens, all efforts to communicate fail.
Now is the time in human history to reclaim boundaries as natural, life affirming, kind, and essential. Then we may finally learn how to co-exist in peace.
The Practice of
Boundaries ARE bridges and necessary for cultivating healthy and loving relationships with others.
When we communicate naturally like wolves in the wild, we honor natural boundaries and can collaborate with ease.
Take a look at how this translates to human interactions below. And take note of how often you or others you know may miss the first two steps by jumping right to "engage". This is fragmented and even dangerous to building safe bonds and being known.
Below is a hypothetical scenario of compassionate relating in action as it relates to an often triggering topic, Covid.
Ready to give it a try?
Pick someone in your inner circle to practice Compassionate Relating with.
Select an easy topic that requires collaboration.
Practice Compassionate Relating, like a wolf! Follow the steps (even referring to the outline, as needed). Remember the step of "adapt" may involve some further inquiry on everyone's part so all may uncover what's true and where needs meet or diverge. Compassionate Relating is not about coercing others to follow your lead. Rather, it's about providing safe space for all to share openly and honestly what's true so everyone may creatively adapt and move forward in a way that is respectful and healthy for all. Remember what we learned from Dr. Gabor Mate around trauma? Every human is traumatized as a natural course of life. Key for each one of us is to find our way to authenticity in a manner that is safe and engaging.
Download the Compassionate Relating guide below:
When I practice signaling safety I feel . . .