authentic communication
From: Elke (
Date: Sun, 4 Dec 2005 08:07:23 -0800 (PST)
Hi Melissa,

    I lived in Ganas for 15 years.  It's much more intense than coho,
but some things translate. One thing we asked for was not to talk
about the meeting with people that weren't there.  If you  feel
someone should know they (or a certain subject) are being talked
about, ask them to come to the next meeting.  This avoids a lot of
misunderstandings and gossip.  It also helps create a safe space where
people can express their real feelings without that being taken as how
they think about the topic.  For example if I have a problem with
Mary, I can say things in the group like " I want to strangle her!" 
which expresses how I really feel at the moment, but NOT my intention!
 It also clears the way for me to think (with the group's help) about
how I want to resolve this conflict in a positive way.  Hand in hand
with this is the fact that it's not entirely enforceable.  People have
to be willing to deal with the issues that come up when this agreement
is broken....

   The more meetings people are willing for the better. Trust and
communication take work. Ganas has been meeting 5 mornings a week for
25 years.  This encompasses all sorts of issues, from interersonal to
work (we run 3 businesses together) to logistics - mundane to
philosophical.  Attendence at our meetings is optional.  However, the
more you are there, the more you know about the community, the easier
it is to llug in.  Some people never come, or only when they have a

   Having a base of communication such as NVC is important.  That one
even comes with a handbook!  You have to agree to certain premises to
create trust, and agreement about how to approach issues.

   Another big one is eschewing punishment.  I believe NVC  talks
about this a lot.  If people can agree on the intention to solve the
problem in a way that works best for all concerned without assigning
blame and punishment, incredible creative ideas emerge.  This is one
idea that needs constant attention, as our dominant society is
punishment based, and all of us have been thoroughly saturated in that
thinking for our entire lives.

   I hope this helps.  You might want to check out Ganas' website too,
for more info about what they do (Feedback Learning):

   Best wishes for a wonderful endeavor!    -Elke

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