“Bienveillance” and being connected within

So, in living harmoniously, awareness about Rank is important to handle hierarchy and authority in a conscious and constructive way. But besides this there has to be a deep heartfelt care for and connection with the group. The word I find best capturing this intention is the french word “bienveillance”. I guess the English word coming close to it is the combination of the words ‘consideration’ and ‘kind-heartedness’, taking others into consideration with a caring intention. This positive caring intention sounds rather obvious, right? but I was surprised how easy it is to forget this positive intention when being caught in the heat of a decision making process. Anyway, without this positive intention I don’t think any community or relationship can last for long and especially in times of tension it can be difficult to stay connected to that feeling.

When traveling on the biketour this became clear to me. We have a meeting once in a while to make decisions and as it is common in the bike tour, decision are made by consensus. I was still new to all of this, and one of the things which struck me was the kind-hearted consideration of one of the facilitators. Even though I knew she had a certain preference on the outcome of the decision, she was able to take distance from her point of view and held the space for the people with a different preference to explain their objections and concerns. I was still in the ‘mode’ of pushing and pulling to get my will across and subconsciously I perceived our meeting-circle as a small battlefield. The ones who shout loudest and with more determination win. This was what I was used to before. However, the facilitator made it possible to create a safe space where people felt free to speak out their concerns and felt heard. Being confronted with the contrast between my own attitude  and the one of the facilitator, it made me aware of how easily I get caught up in my own wants and losing focus of the others. The attitude of the facilitator helped me to connect again with the caring part inside of me, and to realize that, in the end, the relationships are more important than getting my want.

Although it is obvious that there is this need for a positive intention when living together, it is a challenge to stay in touch with this caring intention. A way I find helpful to stay more easily connected to this feeling of caring for the others, is firstly by bringing my own feelings and needs into awareness and listen to them. When our own needs are not being heard and are not put consciously into attention, they will keep on shouting, making it very difficult to listen to the others. Once I am aware of them, they are heard and are given attention, something in me relaxes and makes it possible to open up my heart and start to be receptive to the other’s point of view and needs. Our own personality is a community in itself with many different voices and parts, and when we don’t listen to our own needs, feelings and emotions, a part of ourselves is not being heard. If there is no connection within the different parts inside of us, then there is  also “nobody home” when we try to connect with others. It is very difficult, if not impossible, to genuinely connect with other people if there is no connection with the emotions, body feelings and needs within ourselves.

Both “Non Violent Communication” and “Circling” are beautiful tools/skills to live in a way that is truly connected within, and to be in touch with what is alive inside; the feelings, emotions, needs etc. Using this inner connection as a starting point, it can be used to relate and communicate with others on a different level and create a much deeper connection. In these communities I have been meeting many people that communicate in such an authentic, honest, vulnerable and constructive way. It is so nourishing for the heart, empowers me to be more in touch with myself and enables a deep connection in a short time. These are such vital skills in living an authentic and fulfilling, connected life. They enhance life so much and make the interactions between humans again an exciting adventure. I would recommend it to everyone, but for people living in community it is indispensable! If only we would learn these skills at school as kids, the world would already look so different.


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