social change, critical awareness and nonviolent communication

About two or three years ago I was the information technology coordinator for Center for Nonviolent Communication. I had the great privilege to sit in on many board meetings with one of my hero’s, Dr. Marshall Rosenberg. I was able to hear his insights and get a close look at the man. Looking back now, the biggest admiration I have of him was hearing his desire to see Nonviolent Communication taken beyond the realm of personal and interpersonal development. It took me many years to understand this message and see how it fits into the big picture. I often wonder if what Dr. Rosenberg was really desiring was for individuals practicing and teaching Nonviolent Communication to have a deep knowledge and commitment to critical awareness.

I define critical consciousness/awareness as a practice of being aware of the amount of suffering, injustice and oppression being inflicted on our world. I see Nonviolent Communication as a mental and emotional frame work that allows us to put into practice the skills that will create connections and relationships that can have a positive impact on these injustices; and there for reducing the amount of suffering and the oppressive behaviors instilled in us and in systems designed to govern us. I imagine that someone committed to critical awareness sees opportunities around him and acts as an agent of change. Rather than viewing social change as a task at hand, embraces it as a way of life.

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