Oren Jay Sofer is a communication expert and mindfulness teacher at Spirit Rock in Woodacre, California. He recently wrote the book “Say What You Mean: A Nonviolent Approach to Communication,” and I’m delighted to have him as a guest on the podcast.
This is definitely one of those deep conversations that I found engaging on many levels. From a coaching and academic perspective, I thoroughly enjoyed learning more about how to look at and use mindfulness. From a personal perspective, I found this conversation to be so insightful into how humans communicate and default into what is a habitual pattern (as opposed to a natural pattern), that my husband and I have started reading Oren’s book outloud to each other.
Oren explains his approach to non-violent communication in three steps, as inspired by the work of Marshall Rosenburg:
1. Remain present
2. Set your intention to remain in a space of “curiosity and care”
3. Focus on what matters in the conversation. The skill here is to notice your ability to shift from what you feel “should” be happening in the conversation to why this is important.
Communication and Choice
The theme of Season 5 is that “you are always in choice” and I really love how much of what Oren and I talk about fits into this. By slowing down and noticing your own habitual patterns of speech, and noticing your own patterns of arguments (in some cases – do you and your spouse or partner have the same argument repeatedly, regardless of what the topic of the argument is?), you can make a choice to do something different. The key is catching yourself in the moment, noticing that you’re repeating a pattern, and making the choice to change that pattern. Oren’s three steps, above, can help you reset that.
In this episode, Oren and I talk about:
-That language is an inherited phenomenon
-How to stop ruminating over anger when you are upset
-The work of Marshall Rosenberg around non-violent communication
-Active listening and how to build understanding in communication
-His thoughts on how to Jump Start Your Joy: find ways to be kind and generous, attune to beauty, connect to meaning and purpose, and play more
Say What You Mean: A Nonviolent Approach to Mindful Communication by Oren Jay Sofer (on Amazon)
Oren Jay Sofer’s Website
Sign up for Oren’s class that starts October 17, 2019
Nonviolent Communication by Marshall Rosenberg