Communication and Resolving Conflict
What Can Be Hard About Living in Community?
For many of us, one of the hardest things about living in community is dealing with conflict. Unfortunately the mainstream culture doesn’t teach healthy conflict resolution skills, so it’s essential for us to learn them in order for our community to thrive. One major skill is learning to communicate more clearly, compassionately, and effectively. This can be incredibly challenging, but when it works well, also incredibly rewarding. Paying attention to our own reactions and needs, while acknowledging that others may legitimately perceive things very differently, goes a long way toward making this work.
Every day offers us the chance to practice better communication skills. NVC (non-violent communication) has been a helpful tool for many here. Other approaches commonly used at DR include personal/internal work, emotional processing, informal counseling/support, and support groups of various kinds. We have a Conflict Resolution Team whose job is to support the community in working with conflict, and many tools for this work are available, including formal and informal mediation, and Restorative Circles.
How We Relate to Conflict
At Dancing Rabbit we strive to work with conflict in a manner where we don’t shy away from the issues. Instead we try to take the time to talk things over and work them out. It’s not always easy and we often don’t handle things as we’d ideally like to, but we make a real effort to bring up issues when we have them and to address them directly with the people involved.
We try to make a space that is safe for people to bring up issues that are affecting their lives. Sometimes this is done informally through social networks of support, sometimes with mediation and/or the support of the Conflict Resolution Team, and sometimes through more formal processes.