Recently in a Nonviolent Communication (NVC) training event, we were asked to think about what energy we would need to put out to attract wild animals to us – like bunnies, not wolves. It reminded me of this story, which I shared at the end of the class.
I used to attended a week-long music festival in the woods every spring solstice. This was a time in my life when my work was very stressful and all-consuming. Every year I showed up relatively closed off, and by the end of the week I was in an open, peaceful, and loving headspace. It was a very healing week that I looked forward to each year.
One year, towards the end of the week, I got up very early and went swimming in the pond on the property. After a while, I noticed that two horses were watching me from a nearby field, so I swam over to visit with them. I stood by the fence just admiring these horses for a long time, emanating all this peaceful, loving energy that had been collecting all week.
One of the horses seemed to be soaking up my admiration. It looked like he was posing for me, standing majestically, head up high, not moving for several minutes, and then changing positions to let me admire him from a new perspective. After a while, I started talking to the horse, sharing my respect. I can’t remember what I said, but the more I talked, the more I was sure that the horse was understanding everything I was saying.
After about ten minutes of this, I put my hypothesis to a test and asked the horse if I could come inside the fence. Much to my amazement, he nodded his head up and down. He had been perfectly still up until this point. Thinking this must be a coincidence, I waited a bit and asked again. Once again, he nodded his head.
So, with this permission, I entered the gate, and then experienced the most profound animal connection I’ve ever had. I stood on the inside of the gate and the horse who had been posing walked over to me, bowed his head down, and rested his forehead on mine. We stayed there, motionless, connecting like that for several minutes. And then something even more amazing happened. He backed up and traded places with his friend, who took his place and did the exact same thing, placing her forehead against mine for several minutes.
Why would we be talking about the energy it takes to attract bunnies and horses to us in NVC training? NVC is not just a way of speaking. It’s a way of listening and being in the world. It’s an energy of connection. The horses may not have understood me, and I certainly don’t speak horse, yet we were able to connect on a deep level, showing each other our mutual respect.
Imagine if all of us could do that. Imagine if all of us were able to put out and receive this level of shared love and respect for each other, even if we cannot understand each other’s language or point of view. As I understand it, this is an example of the bigger vision behind practicing NVC.
One of the ways that I cultivate that energy is to spend quiet time connecting to nature and myself, while disconnecting from technology. Another is through my meditation practice. Each time I have combined the two and lived in the woods for a week, I was transformed from distant and closed to connected, open, playful, and happy. When I changed every aspect of my lifestyle over the last year so I could cultivate this energy year round, the transformation became more permanent, and is growing all the time.
How do you or could you cultivate this kind of energy? How do you or could you apply it to the people in your life? How would cultivating emanating more mutual love and respect change your life and relationships?