Listening for Needs at the Department of Public Works

Last night I had a long conversation with my son, who is 25 years old, and works as a civil engineer for a large project that is redesigning and revamping the water drainage system of a major US city. His department is responsible for looking at traditional water drainage projects and adding “green” components, like water- permeable pavement that filters rain water instead of shunting it off into drainage systems, or “rain gardens”: areas planted with native species that are watered by the flow of the drainage system and thus filter the water and retain some of it as well.

His department looks for where these innovative green systems can fit into already-planned public works. Naturally, his department encounters resistance and complaints when they suggest their green innovations, because the traditional engineers are not used to working with natural systems like rain and plants, or thinking about permeable pavement, etc.

Dan told me that when he encounters this kind of resistance and rivalry between his department and the “sticks and bricks” engineers, he remembers that in Nonviolent Communication, everyone is acting from their needs. They are not “enemies” or “difficult people”. He said his department relies on him to go downstairs and deal with the “sticks and bricks” engineers, because he knows how to listen to them, find out what their needs are, and communicate those to his department and vice versa. He said that he was surprised by the amount of strife and “talking behind each others backs” that he encountered in both the engineering jobs he has had, and that listening to people’s needs helps him get around all that and makes it easier to get things done.

Community Focusing workshops in the Netherlands and the UK!

I’ll be leaving Monday, July 8, for three weeks in Holland and the UK!

Harriet Teeuw and René Veugelers have raised money to bring a Salvadoran Focuser to their Children Focusing training, Being Seriously Playful, from July 15-21 in Friesland. The scholarship goes to Nicolás Areiza, 22, who has been working with the children of people attending Resilience Circles offered by his mother, Focusing Trainer Melba Jiménez. Nicolás has also been co-facilitating workshops for youth in San Francisco Lempa.

Nicolás and I will do a workshop on Community Focusing on Saturday, July 13 from 10 to 4 at Harriet’s home near Wolvega. Nicolás will share his experiences, hopes and dreams, and we will introduce people to the fun and engaging games we use to introduce Focusing in El Salvador. Most of the games and exercises come from Marshall Rosenberg’s Nonviolent Communication.

After the Children Focusing Training, NIcolás will visit friends in Germany, and I will go to The Hague to visit dear friends and supporters Erna de Bruijn and Christine Langeveld.

Then I’m off to visit Community Focusing colleague Jerry Conway and his wife Pauline in Kidderminster, near Birmingham. They will show me the Real England! On Saturday, July 27, I’ll do another Community Wellness Focusing workshop for members of the Palestine Trauma Center and interested Focusers in Hatfield, north of London. I’ll be back on July 29, and ready to start private sessions in Giving Language to Stress and Thinking at the Edge. I will be gathering interested people for a beginning Focusing group in Brattleboro in August, and Evelyn Pross and I will give our fifth 5-week phone class in Giving Language to Stress, sponsored by The Focusing Institute, starting Tuesday, August 13 at 7 p.m. Eastern.

Please let me know if you’d like to sign up for a class or private sessions in August or September.