Sabbatical Chronicles Final Installment
Discernment: Owning our Thoughts and Feelings
Everyone from my original group has finally left the jungle. I am referring to the group that joined me in the Amazons during my Sabbatical. We stay connected through a shared Facebook group and a Whatsapp chat. We share about our journeys coming back home, and how we are integrating returning home.
My spiritual practices, practicing and reading the Tao Te Ching, and the group reading of Marshall Rosenberg’s book “Nonviolent Communication ‘NVC’ (or compassionate communication) through the men’s circle and the Satsang space on Thursdays have been crucial to me. This book has helped me develop and embody a language and practice to express my thoughts and feelings, to express my needs, to describe my reality, and to be able to practice empathy with everyone around me in order to understand and experience their reality. Through studying this book alone, we have had guest facilitators from the community at large delighted to find an eager audience that thirsts for these language skills to communicate compassionately. We have connected with local practitioners that volunteer in non-for profits by bringing compassionate communication to conflict resolution and to provide homeless youth a tool to express themselves. At an invitation from my sister, I am taking an online course with her to further this practice. They offer a free seminar the first Mondays of every month.
Normally our NVC book club meet up is the 4th Thursday of the month. In lieu of that, since it falls on Thanksgiving Day, we will move it to Saturday November 19th at 5:00 pm in the Sanctuary. I want to lift this particular Satsang session because guest speaker Glenda Diaz will lead a workshop on Genogram Therapy. To quote Glenda “The path of self-knowledge involves observing the shadow, that is, our unconscious material. In my experience as a therapist, I have understood that, in order to free ourselves from suffering, we need to review our family tree and all the loyalties that we are serving to the clan in our present moment. These loyalties, which lead us to REPEAT or REPAIR the same painful situations that our ancestors lived, happens out of love for our family and from a deep desire to belong to it. A childish and very unconscious love, we could say, but love nonetheless. Therefore, by seeing them, recognizing and accepting them, we can receive their implicit message which would mean our liberation from them and from the suffering they bring with them. These LOYALTIES or programs that are repeated in our life are not conscious since they live in our subconscious mind. Therefore, we need external help that, through our free will, puts light on them. In this way, we bring the shadow to the light of consciousness to dissolve the suffering involved. Suffering only takes place when we are unaware of its causes, and the causes are ALWAYS on a subconscious level”.
NVC helps us in developing a language to name our feelings that arise moment to moment, including during difficult and triggering situations. To own those feelings, in order to not project them or operate under them. Feelings and judgements, according to NVC, point to our needs: for survival, connection, love, to name a few. NVC is also the common read for the men’s group that meets second Thursdays during Satsang. Nobody is excluded from this meet up, all are welcome, though themes may not be as relevant to everyone.
About the author
Angel de Armendi, Music Director
Angel (he/she/they/any) received his Bachelor of Music degree from New World School of the Arts and continued his study of piano performance at Florida International University. He made his way to Tallahassee through the Music Theory graduate program at FSU. While in school he diversified his piano skills accompanying FSU and Tallahassee City Ballet dance classes. His interest in vocal coaching took him to the Asolo Song Festival in Italy during two summers, as Assistant Director/Pianist and Composer In Residence. In Tallahassee, he also directs the High Holy Days Choir at Temple Israel, and has been their regular pianist since 2008. His love for sacred music and practice has motivated him to go through and graduate in 2015 from the Music Leadership Credentialing Program, offered by the Unitarian Universalist Musicians’ Network. During their 2015 conference in Boston he was unanimously elected as Board Member at Large for the Board of Trustees, a three-year voluntary commitment. He is deeply committed to building a thriving music program at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Tallahassee.