Say What You Mean - A Mindful Approach to Nonviolent Communication

How much do I want to read more? 9/10

Only because of the opening quote of CHUANG TZU, this book is worth reading.
I so love it, like a philosophy of life, like my sould, this idea is so dear to me.
It touch my earliest memories, my strongest forgotten feelings.

This book is putting Buddhism and NVC together (plus therapy).
I am willing to read it after M. Rosenberg famous book.

PRAISE FOR say what you mean

“By the time we reach adulthood, most of us have learned to operate through such deeply engrained patterns of language and behavior that virtually all of our communication involves projection, assumption, and bias. No wonder we often feel so cut off and all alone! Mr. Sofer deftly weaves together his mindfulness practice and principles of Nonviolent Communication to help us learn how to find one another again. This is a powerful guidebook to thinking, speaking, and listening with authenticity and care. Bravo!”

—- Sharon Salzberg, author of Real Happiness and Real Love

“This tremendous book addresses one of the biggest challenges in any relationship: how to combine heart with strength, compassion with assertiveness. Written with great warmth and clarity, it brings together well-researched principles, effective tools and suggestions, powerful experiential practices, and many examples. It is down-to-earth and completely accessible while also being so deep, even profound. If I had just one book to recommend about interpersonal communication, it would be this one.”

—- Rick Hanson, PhD, author of Resilient: How to Grow an Unshakable Core of Calm, Strength, and Happiness

“Words have tremendous power—both to harm, and to heal. In Say What You Mean, Oren shares a three-part process for communicating with mindfulness, clarity, and compassion and creating more connection and understanding in our relationships. In these times of turbulence and conflict, we need this more than ever before.”

—- Chris Kresser, MS, LAc, New York Times best-selling author of The Paleo Cure and Unconventional Medicine

The fish trap exists because of the fish;
once you’ve gotten the fish you can forget the trap.
The rabbit snare exists because of the rabbit;
once you’ve gotten the rabbit, you can forget the snare.
Words exist because of meaning.
Once you’ve gotten the meaning you can forget the words.
Where can I find a man who has forgotten words,
so I can have a word with him?


Returning hate for hate multiplies hate,
adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.


foreword - Joseph Goldstein

IN ONE WAY or another, we spend our lives communicating. For most of us, the predominant mode of communication is speech, the words we use and the emotional tone underlying our words. Interaction forms the bedrock of all our relationships, and the patterns through which we engage in conversation determine, to a large extent, the quality of our lives.

Jay Sofer explores the many nuances of the way we speak.
useful tools for strengthening awareness of our habitual patterns.
many specific suggestions for how to communicate with greater care and effectiveness.
role of empathy in listening to others.

“Communication practice is not about what we say. It’s about where we’re coming from and how we say it.”

practices for recognizing and understanding our thoughts, perceptions, and emotions, and how they influence, often unconsciously, the words we use and the motivations behind them.
Without this understanding, we often find ourselves caught in the many tangles of our conditioning, not seeing our way to greater connectedness and inner freedom.

“we have more clarity and power when we use fewer words with more sincerity.”

like any other art, communication takes practice.
making our speech a pathway to greater harmony and insight in our lives.

This book, with his characteristic warmth and lucidity, is a great gift to anyone seeking more connection, clarity, and compassion in their life.


WHAT WE SAY matters.
Language can be used to manipulate and coerce on a mass scale, to fuel fear, war, and oppression, and to advance political agendas of genocide or terror. Few things so powerful are also so commonplace.

words have the power to shape our reality.
As we think, so we perceive; as we perceive, so we act.

Thich Nhat Hanh, his modern rendering of the Buddha’s guidelines on “Right Speech”.

Knowing that words can create happiness or suffering, I am determined to learn to speak truthfully, with words that inspire self-confidence, joy, and hope.

A Confluence of Waters

I explained how mindfulness practice developed inner awareness, a prerequisite for being able to identify and stay conscious of feelings and needs—the core of Nonviolent Communication.
He shared, with a bit of dismay, that he’d been trying to figure out how to teach people to meditate for some time using a baby giraffe hat, he said, “Maybe that’s your work to do.”
I have worked to integrate my understanding of Buddhist meditation and Nonviolent Communication.

Three Steps, Three Foundations

Human communication is complex. Our emotions, ideas, and beliefs come into play both verbally and nonverbally.
effective conversation:

mindful communication, our intention, honing our attention, to discern what’s essential and shift its focus in a nimble and responsive manner.

How to Use This Book

This book is meant to be used in your life; consider it a field guide for conversations.
Every concept, analogy, or idea is meant to be tested in your life. Try it out, bash it around, and see what works.

build some capacity. Whenever possible, seek out situations where it will be easiest to practice and where you are most able to experiment and learn without too much resistance.
learning communication skills is remarkably akin to learning a new language. It takes repetition.
The more frequently you practice, the more quickly you will become fluent.

The danger in any communication training is that we mistake the practice for the principle and begin to speak in rigid or robotic ways in an attempt to adhere to some kind of dogma or system.
I’m less interested in following a system than I am in learning how to understand and respond dynamically to the moment.
the aim is to relax and be in the flow of conversation with ease.

What to Expect

"If I use Nonviolent Communication to liberate people to be less depressed, I am using NVC as a narcotic"

It will take time to unlearn and become proficient at something new. But every minute you spend learning is worth it. It will pay off in the quality of your relationships, the amount of well-being in your life, and your ability to engage effectively in the world.

Learning to Ride a Bike

heavy sensation in my chest, a hard knot in my throat, and tears of frustration burning beneath the surface as the rest of my family plowed through the conversation, leaving little space for my voice.
Finding your voice, learning how to say what you mean and how to listen deeply—this is one of the most rewarding journeys you can take.
When you have developed your capacity to speak wisely and listen well, you possess an inexhaustible resource with which to navigate and transform the world.
feel more alive and engaged.

part one - the first step - lead with presence

EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION DEPENDS on our ability to be present. Speaking openly and honestly, listening deeply, and navigating the inevitable twists and turns of a conversation all require a high degree of self-awareness.
To say what we mean, we must first know what we mean. To know what we mean, we must listen inwardly and discern what’s true for us.

show up as fully and completely as possible.
If we’re not here, we’re probably on automatic. And if we’re on automatic, we’re less likely to remember the tools we’ve learned, come from our best intentions, or access our own wisdom.

1 - the center of our lives

Language is very powerful. Language does not just describe reality. Language creates the reality it describes.