Day four – PB#1

Talk Together has asked all participants at Talk Together to contribute their experiences for the blog. Here ‘s the first one.

Participant blogger #1 talks about the ‘group dialogue’ exercise. This takes place at the end of each day, and allows  participants to share their feelings of the day in a secure and safe environment. PB#1 also relates talks about an exercise in the non-violent communication section of the conflict resolution course.

“Today has been my fourth day here. It is sometimes hard to explain how I am actually feeling. Saying that I am happy would be the closest to reality but i wonder if it is not kind of selfish to feel so happy when we are here discussing such a tough topic. This was one of the issues that i exposed yesterday in the group dialogue that we have to finalize the day. How hard is it for me to combine both sides of me, the guy who enjoys going shopping, being in the pool and drinking each now and then with the guy who wants to learn more, who wants to make a difference but that sometimes feels that he is getting further from what really matters.

“Nevertheless, i have decided that i do not want to be worried about these thoughts, as my mum says, you should try to make a lemonade out of a lemon so i am here to try to do everything that is in my hands and if i can keep a smile on my face and a general feeling of joy that is even better.

“Yesterday i went to Oxford town with Somaia, Senia and Andrea; on my way there i finally asked those “stupid” but at the same time very important question that were bothering me from within. I could feel that both Somaia and Senia are so looking forward to talk and to be properly listened, as i said, i did ask some “stupid” questions but they really help me to understand their needs. I asked Senia why did she need a country, why is it that important the concept of independence. Being from Spain (and thus having the Vasque Country issue and a terrorist group) really makes it hard for me to understand why is independence so important, why don’t we try to join our strengths as the EU is trying to do, why don’t we try to be united by our similarities? I liked her reply and it sounded more than reasonable to me.

“Today we did a very interesting exercise in the morning. Four chairs were required for it and each of them had a purpose. There was someone acting as a trigger and we had to move from chair to chair. In the first one we had to have and internal monologue trying to discover how we felt about what we just heard, in the second one we have to reactively respond (we all were experts in this category), the third one was for us to reflect about what the other person really wanted, about what was underneath the hard words. Finally, in the fourth chair we showed the other person how we felt about what we just heard, what were our needs and we politely asked if they would be willing to sit down and talk/ be less rude etc.

“I realized that it is so hard to avoid the second chair. It is so easy and somehow so momentarily pleasant to respond and to get into an argument, it requires much more self control and is much more time consuming to reflect about my needs and the other person needs and to be able to open the argument up for a non violent discussion especially without making ourselves the victims instead of speaking truly from within. I do not think i can act like this, nevertheless, i am happy because thisis the first challenge that i have found on my way and communication starts to become a more complex issue now.”

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