Oct 202016

“Ahimsa” (nonviolence) is the state of “having no enemy in our heart”.  I used to think “I don’t have enemies, this is not for me!”.   Most of us probably walk our lives without a real sense of having enemies.

And yet, – oftentimes* – behind each frustration, disappointment, hurt, we hold a story of what this person did “wrong” (or worse, what “I did wrong”) that is subtly , or not so subtly, playing its power of disconnect between us and this person/people.

For this post, I want to focus on these relationships with people we actually long to connect with, especially maybe long-time partners, or that special family member, or maybe even that child of ours. On these relationships where we retreat, withdraw, start not sharing what’s truly on our hearts, or where we experience continued frustration and anger, maybe a deep desire to see a change in that person’s behavior. These relationships where we can feel some disconnect.

What’s been interesting to me in my learning and practicing Nonviolent Communication over the years, is the truth process of hearing my own thoughts and distinguishing them from reality.

enemy-image-chess-pieceWhat I feel is real. But what I think is often not true.

What is most interesting in deciphering our thoughts and our stories, often about who’s right and wrong, is this second layer of “who’s fault is it?”.  Who is responsible for the pain, frustration, disappointment that we feel?  And have you experienced true lasting feelings of inner peace even when you “know” where the fault lies and who’s to blame for it?

I haven’t. We can sometimes experience temporary relief but I actually have come to experience now that this passation of fault, even when it feels really “right”, doesn’t offer the actual relief and healing/freedom from that situation or that person (even, and maybe more so with people we may have cut ties with).

This is what Marshall Rosenberg used to call “the Blame Game” in which there is winner.  It’s a lose-lose situation.

So how do we come back to a sense of inner peace and, from there, desire to relate to someone we either tell ourselves are ‘wrong’ or who we blame for our hurt?

Well, many practices can lead to this, but one of them is what Francois Beausoleil brings to DC in a two-day retreat on his Living Blame Free process and a specific focus on “Breaking Through High-Level Intensity Enemy Images”.

We will walk a discovery path of what are some of the meanings, labels and covers we apply onto someone else’s behaviors, words and actions – and ours. It will be the process of untangling the knots that cut our connections, dissipate the fog that keeps us far away, clear the lenses that we have created over our own eyes (and thanks to a what often feels a gazillion “proofs”!), and help us clear up the space between us.

The huge benefits of this clearing is, as Francois say, more than the Sum of the Two of Us.  Not only does it offer the clarity of what is truly being felt and needed for You and for this person alike. It offers actually the unique chance to come to synergy and develop a  brand-new and stronger way of relating that actually offers the chance to increase the well-being for the two of you.

Let’s go recover the actual joy of relating as the first day you met this person. Thriving together is possible.

This is the ‘Coeu’rageous journey I invite you to join us in taking.

Mali Parke
PS: *I write “oftentimes” because I want to note that there is more than just the stories we tell ourselves that play a role in why we would want to get closer or further away from someone. I am focusing here on the relationships that we actually engage in on a regular basis, the ones we want to heal or improve, and those where we will assume there is no true sense of danger. If you find yourself in a real sense of non-safety, please contact your support people for you to address what boundaries you need to put into place to help your system breathe and feel hopeful again.



Join us in DC Nov 5-6 for a two-day retreat! Space is limited to 15.

Early Bird ends Friday Oct 21.

Partial scholarships available. Discounts for 2 or 3 people signing up together. Do not let money be an obstacle.

Contact Mali with any questions.
Register Here


Jan 252016

Couple of weeks ago, I had the chance to attend the Blame Free State Intensive that Francois Beausoleil, a CNVC-Certified trainer I invited to come to DC. As I reflect back on all that I explored that weekend, I am grateful to have taken this time and got the support offered to keep digging in areas in my life where I hold Blame – whether onto myself, someone else or situations (or “Life”).

The retreat invited us to find where we had any ‘enemy images’ and work with the empathic support of a buddy to explore all that we want, all that it would do for us, what are the feelings and needs present both for ourselves and others and uncover what stops us from letting go of the Blame as well as powerfully rewrite the story.

I have shifted so much blame in my last few years, liberating myself from a weight and source of drain on my own energy. And yet this is a constant journey…

As situations arise and as relationships form, stretch or end at times, our mechanisms are strong to ‘protect’ and surround ourselves behind the walls of Blame, keeping ourselves ‘safe’ and attempting not to hurt in the face of the struggle.

Some cost of it is that we either numb ourselves to the hurt that is present (in ourselves or others), disconnect from others (or life energy), keep parts of ourselves small inside or even invisible. And it’s so draining… isn’t it?

In the years since I have learned about Nonviolent Communication, I now see the practice of shifting blame as a regular ‘relationship hygiene’ routine – as well as deep self-care and “patching the colander holes’ and ‘filling my cup’ strategy.

Do you relate?  If you are finding yourself ready for unloading or unblocking some Blame in your life, I invite you to “dare greatly” – as author and Blame Researcher Brené Brown says it – and get yourself the support and empathic holding of another to gently explore these protective layers and uncover the gems of that you are holding inside as well as what you are holding precious that stops you from letting go of the Blame. There is a way to hold both sets of needs equally valued within ourselves and our relationships.  We just sometimes need a little gentle care to go there.

Watch Brené’s talk on Blame through this animated video:

And I am delighted that Francois is planning to come back and offer his Blame Free State Intensive again Oct 6-8, 2016 as well as three other deepening days on Breaking Through Intense Enemy Images and private sessions with him. Registration will be posted and open soon.

And I’m always a phone call or visit away to give you my empathic presence and empowering coaching support as I have learned to receive it myself from so many supportive people in my life.

Mali Parke
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