Introduction to NonViolentCommunication Day

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I want to tell you the story of something very special that took place here at Provision this last year right around the summer solstice.  I know that it is now December and might be strange to read about something that happened on one of the hottest days of the year; but here’s the thing: we are right in the middle of summer’s return and we are hoping to be able to create another similar event right around the same time next year, so it is the perfect moment to look simultaneously backward and forward…

It was a long shot: setting up an introduction to NonViolent Communication (NVC) in Alunisu/Magyarokereke, a Transylvanian village of 100 in which most are still practicing peasant agriculture and nobody has ever heard of NVC.  This would be a “first-ever” and was a very real stretch for me as main organiser though I had been dreaming about something like this for a very long time, ever since my husband and I moved here from the US and Holland, respectively.  

We both left “promising careers” in our countries of origin, moved to Romania and began to live like peasants, tarani.  Why?  Our new neighbors were asking as us well!  It is, currently, still an act of “swimming upstream” since many more Romanian residents, including the children and grandchildren of our village neighbors are still leaving home in search of what we already had.  So what brought us back here?  It is those things that are so simple and basic and so often taken-for-granted that brought us back: clean air and clean water and a relatively safe place for our child to grow.  We also wanted to practice cultivating our own food and contributing to local food systems, i.e. Food Sovereignty.  And, another thing that brought us here is a special element that is truly impossible to put into words - it is the essence of village life, a togetherness that takes us outside of ourselves and stretches us into caring for a whole community.  This is a quality that has (mostly) been lost where we were born (where separation is more the norm) and that we wanted to learn, to share, to breathe new life into this quality of care for the whole wherever and whenever possible…

So we have begun an informal “village-farm-folk school” as a project that allows us to create a way for us to stay in the village full-time and as a way to give something that we hope is of value to our neighbors.  And not only our human neighbors: we have organised in the past 6 months a workshop run by Marc Siepman (https://marcsiepman.nl) of the Netherlands on Soil Health, as well as a workshop bringing attention to the health of Water for all of life with Li An Phoa of Drinkable Rivers (https://drinkablerivers.org and https://www.springcollege.org/teachers/li-an-phoa/).  

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But this “Introduction to NVC” was my own personal dream-come-true. I l have long left my profession as a psychotherapist and have walked a path through many languages and countries that has led me through the door of nonviolence and into the world of NVC which is global in scope with over 600 trainers worldwide.  Through contact with NVC I have met and joined the community of trainers in Romania with whom I now am part of the board of ACNV, the Asociatia pentru Comunicare Nonviolenta (http://www.nonviolenta.org/top-level/cursuri/living-nvc) as we navigate a course for NVC through Romanian cultures….  And I hold dear the idea that NVC is not just for privileged folks with money who live in or can come easily to cities for these precious trainings; I want these new “communication technologies” to be available for everyone.

So, in the winter of 2017, I worked with my community of trainers to write a European-funded grant that would allow a number of us to go for additional training to England and would also help us to set up 8 trainings through 2018 - some larger (Bucharest, Iasi and Cuj) and some smaller - Ploiesti, Constanta, Brasov, Satu Mare…and… Alunisu/Magyarokereke!  And then my dear colleague Luiza Stefan from Bucharest stepped up as the main trainer for this event, and I went out “pounding the pavement,” visiting everyone in the village plus our neighbouring village with flyers and words of invitation.  I would have counted myself lucky if 10 people showed up…. 

On the day of the event, one of the hottest days of summer, a staggering 24 people and 5 children came to Provision - mostly from the village and our neighbouring village of Sancraiu, and others from the village who  now live in Cluj, and we kept squeezing into one room that we now know can really only hold 25 people maximum and we were 26!  

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The day after the event, I wrote this:

Yesterday, at Provision, 24 participants created the first EVER introduction to NonViolent Communication that we know of that has been held in a village of 100 souls in Transylvania... The room was warm and full to overflowing, reflecting accurately the state of our hearts. Huge thanks for Luiza Stefan, ACNV, and Erasmus + for supporting this gathering!

And my dear friend Geta Vadan, whose family is from this village and who spent a lot of time here as a child (and now again as an adult) wrote this:

Dacă mi-ar fi zis cineva acum 20 de ani, pe când îmi răcoream verile prin satele astea, că așa ceva o să se întâmple la Alunișu, i-aș fi zis o vorbă de pe la noi: ”Du-te, mă, și bate-ți coasa!”. Dar trăim vremuri interesante :)

Așa că ne-am întâlnit și oameni veniți de aproape, și oameni veniți de departe, și lelea Viorica venită de la fân, să aducem suflu nou în locuri vechi.

Thank you, Robyn, for choosing this place on Earth to work your magic

If I have only achieved this in my life, for me it is enough. Though I am definitely hoping, planning and gathering all my energies to continue - I want to do this again, and Luiza has agreed to look for dates to come back next summer! We are inviting teachers from all over the world to come here to this amazing place and to taste the magic of village-farm-folk life while offering something also to it. I have come to believe that community is the most precious resource that we have.  And it takes a conscious and consistent effort to support it.  May we all play a part in this effort.

With enormous care and gratitude from Alunisu,

Robyn

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