"This meditation helps me understand the feelings and needs that can be hidden behind the words others say." -- Aurelien C., Portland, OR
"It's so, so powerful for me to do [Compassionate Noticing]. I'm usually on such alert mode, and with this I relax in a way that's almost impossible for me to do on my own. I have such a feeling of wellness afterwards, like a glow. This feels amazing, it works! Thank you SO much, this is so healing for me." -- Christina C., Portland, OR
In order to make an "NVC Observation" or to give ourselves empathy, we need to be able to compassionately notice what's happening, without adding any interpretation, story, opinion, or other thoughts.
And in order to truly "do NVC" at all, we need to be able to feel our body sensations and name our feelings ... because these provide the foundation for the resonant empathy that creates understanding, open-heartedness, and attuned connection.
And all of this becomes possible when we can hold ourselves and our experience with compassion.
Compassionate Noticing is extraordinarily effective in helping us develop all of these "presence muscles."
The basic practice is to simply sit, lie, or stand (eyes open or closed) and just notice our own:
- body sensations
- thoughts, and
... and then, from time to time, report out loud what we're noticing.
While we're practicing, we don't add interpretations or opinions; we don't try to make sense or figure anything out. (Which is why, in this practice, we don't name needs.) And we don't try to get away from whatever we're experiencing, either. We just sit with what's arising in us, and we notice.
Turns out, if you'd like to reduce your reactivity and have more choice over what you say and do, regardless of the circumstances, Compassionate Noticing (CN) is googly-eyed effective.
(Yup, you might have noticed that it's a mindfulness practice, practiced in community. If you "can't meditate," like many others you might find this practice both easy and very powerful.)
A delightful side benefit: because in CN we don't comment on what others are reporting and, in fact, don't even have to listen to what others are saying, it gives those of us who tend to be caretakers a chance to practice hearing what others are experiencing without thinking we "have to" do anything about that. (In fact, we're specifically asked NOT to do anything about it. As a recovering helpaholic, this was an amazing revelation and liberation for me.)
CN is also a powerful way to develop earned secure attachment.
What has CN done for me?
Well, when I started back in 2009, I'd been devoted to my personal development for 35 years, including nearly 10 years of NVC. Within a few weeks, practicing CN noticably improved my capacity to stay present and at choice -- able to live my values -- in moments when before, I could only react. This is one of the most dramatic differences a CN practice makes.
Most people are astonished by the simplicity, ease, and impact this practice has ... even when practiced by phone.
Come try it out, and see for yourself.
Visit www.thrivinglifenvc.org/compassionate-noticing for complete details, a sample recording of a real session, and to register.
Compassionate Noticing was developed by Eric Sucher of Portland, OR.