Connective Communication

The essence of connective (nonviolent) communication is detach from your feelings so you can observe and identify them. These feelings are not evil but are clues to what inner needs are not being met. Empathize with others in the conversation and guess at their needs. Seek a balance of needs and come up with creative solutions which accommodate both.
(Image from Joe Brummer at

Overcoming Dualism in Communication

(July 7, 2022) Perhaps nothing shows just how much dualism damages human culture than it perversion of the way we communicate. We instinctively tend to be judgmental with an absolutist I am right you are wrong attitude. We do not instinctively seek balance and connection. We are not instinctively aware of the emotional roots behind our communications.

Through trial and error, psychologist Marshall Rosenburg has come with techniques helpful in overcoming the dualism inherent in our communication. He calls these techniques Nonviolent Communication. Its goals are the Nature Pagan ethical principles of connection, balance, and growth. It seeks to enhance the connection between people by balancing their needs. Through practice everyone grows in self-awareness. This procedure has four steps shown in the left figure.

  1. Detachment with honest observation ("when I")

  2. Determine feelings

  3. What needs are generating these feelings

  4. Creative solutions so everyone's needs are met

This is easier said than done. Connective communication is not instinctive and automatic for most of us because we have been emotionally conditioned by dualism instead of connection. But with practice everyone becomes better.

Yet communication requires the participation of two people. If one cuts off communication or plays games by breaking off communications when not pleased then you just have to let them go. They will just end up corrupting your spiritual/emotional network.

Not everything can be resolved by connective communication. If people have different sources of authority (sacred texts) then they will eventually have differences which cannot be resolved. Nature is the only authority which is held in common by all humans and using it as an authority is the only hope of human peace.


Rosenberg, Marshall B. (2015) Nonviolent Communication - A Language of Life. Puddle Dancer Press
Not being aware nor accepting of all our inner needs and emotional memories leads to denial and distortion which are forms of disconnection. Like everything else, our inner needs must be balanced against each other in proportion to their importance.

Identifying and Accepting our Inner Needs is Not Easy

(July 7, 2022) We humans have three strategies which we use to cover up and deny our own needs. In todays dualist culture this cover up is quite common because we are taught some feeling are evil, that we should not even be feeling them. Yet in the Nature Pagan religion all feelings are Divine because all conscious impressions are are part of the spiritual realm. Feelings are simply clues to our inner state. How we choose to use feelings is something else again. Nature Pagans use them as guides to align with the Divine purpose as revealed in Nature of connection, balance, and growth. The three strategies are:

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We Blame Others

  • You make me angry!

  • You make me happy

  • You make me feel like a doormat

We generate our own feelings. People may do things which then trigger those feelings within us but they are only doing things "out there." Those same actions may cause different feelings in other people. Our own emotional make-up is what translates their actions into feelings. We must acknowledge our feelings and then use them to determine when of our needs are not being met and when they are.

Instead do a detached observation and say to yourself:

  • I find I get angry when Joe does not pick up his clothes in the morning.

Next determine what need is not being met. Perhaps you like a sense of order? Or Perhaps you really fear the judgment of your mother when she comes over? If the unmet need is important to you and you already have some sort of connection with Joe then tell him of your need. People having connections value those connections and will seek to preserve them by merging the needs of other in with their own.

We Overgeneralize our Judgments

  • They're ignorant

  • She is evil

  • I am stupid

  • He has a big mouth

  • I feel that I am living with a wall

  • I feel it is useless

We humans have a habit of overgeneralizing everything! It is an easy way to understand our environment by classifying everything in broad simple terms. Yet it is not accurate.

Because in our dualist culture over generalization leads to racism and all the other hatreds of groups different from your own. It ends up disconnecting us from the Divine and from others.

To get around our tendency to overgeneralize we need to step back and focus on specific observed examples and then discern what feelings they generate. Some examples of disconnective over-generalizations in communication are as follows (a better more precise observation is in parenthesis):

  • You never do what I want - (The last three times I wanted to do something you did not want to do them)

  • He often comes over - (He comes over about three times a week)

The use of the word "you" is often an accusative attack word leading to an evaluation. It tends to result in the target getting defensive instead of connective.

Buying into the Expectations of Others

  • I need to be beautiful

  • I need to make lots of money

  • I need to be good

  • Everyone does it

  • Everyone believes that way

  • That's the rule

  • I do this because I have to

We like to fall back onto rules, regulations, and dogmas of our culture's authorities to avoid taking responsibility for our own actions. We will not be blamed or judged if we just follow orders or follow the crowd. Yet that is only the way of the world and not the way of the Divine.

We often buy into our cultural authorities without realizing that they often have agendas contrary to our inner needs and contrary to Nature. Consequently we are fooled into measuring ourselves by those arbitrary standards instead of finding our own path.

The search for our own path is not easy. We will make mistakes because we do not have perfect knowledge of our environment nor of ourselves. So we live and learn and will do better next time. Realizing we are on a journey avoids the need to condemn ourselves for being less that perfect. Without self-condemnation in the first place we will not need to forgive ourselves.

Yet we may still need to ask for forgiveness from others if we have wronged them. This clears the air and lets them know we now recognize our mistakes and are attempting to be better.


Rosenberg, Marshall B. (2015) Nonviolent Communication - A Language of Life. Puddle Dancer Press
We express ourselves connectively and not dogmatically. Blurting out an opinion is not expressing yourself connectively. That's simply being obnoxious and often raises defensive feelings on the part of the listener. First the people in a group discussion must establish a connection and context by stating the problem and/or a few not overly generalized observations. Only then should opinions be stated.

The Cost of not Allowing Ourselves to Express our Needs

(July 7, 2022) Our dualist culture has a dogmatic arbitrary definition of Love as a self sacrifice for others. This is not connection which by its definition is two way. This dogmatic definition of love is especially hard on women in this culture who are supposed to be loving and nurturing of all family members. The result is often that some women become profoundly unhappy because she herself is not emotionally nurtured.

Marshal Rosenburg relates a poignant story about his mother (Marshal 2015, p 56)

My mother was once at a workshop where other women were discussing how frightening it was to be expressing their needs. Suddenly she got up and left the room, and didn't return for a long time. She finally reappeared, looking very pale. In the presence of the group, I asked, "Mother, are you all right?"
"Yes," she answered, "but I just had a sudden realization that's very hard for me to take in."
"What's that?"
"I've just become aware that for thirty-six years, I was angry with your father for not meeting my needs, and now I realize that I never once clearly told him what I needed."

My mother's revelation was accurate. Not one time that I can remember, did she clearly express her needs to my father. She'd hint around and go through all kinds of convolutions, but never would she ask directly for what she needed.

Marshal Rosenburg identifies three stages to emotional liberation in which people are able to express themselves:

  1. Emotional Slavery Stage - In his practice Rosenburg routinely heard variations on the theme "I'm really scared to be in a relationship. Every time I see my partner in pain or needing something I feel overwhelmed. I feel like I am in prison, that I am being smothered and just have to get out." This happens when people in love feel they must assume responsibility for their partner's feelings. They are supposed to sacrifice in order to make their partner feel better.

  2. Obnoxious Stage - This is the rebellion stage in which the relationship may end or at least provocative comments are made like "That's your problem!" "Whatever!" "Do what you want, I don't care"

  3. Emotional Liberation - This is the stage where both partners open up and can talk about their feelings and needs. With their connection established (ideally in the first stages of love) both can come up with creative ideas about how both of their feelings can be met. This is not the sort of compromise where each partner has to give up something, instead it is a creative compromise where two become one, where both needs are satisfied.


Rosenberg, Marshall B. (2015) Nonviolent Communication - A Language of Life. Puddle Dancer Press