Marshall Rosenberg On Creating A Nonviolent World
Nonviolent Communication focuses on what’s alive in us and what would make life more wonderful. What’s alive in us are our needs, and I’m talking about the universal needs, the ones all living creatures have. Our feelings are simply a manifestation of what is happening with our needs. If our needs are being fulfilled, we feel pleasure. If our needs are not being fulfilled, we feel pain.
It’s 6:30 in the morning, and Maria is still asleep. I’m awake before the alarm goes off, but I don’t move yet. I just stare into her auburn hair. Her back, with its thick pale scar, is pressed against my chest. I have to be careful when I get up. If I move too quickly, Maria will startle awake and want me to stay, and I can’t miss another day of work. We can’t afford that. I want to get inside her now, but I resist.
We are supposed to be asleep in the van. Instead we are sitting up in the bed our mother has fashioned on the floor and peering out between the paisley curtains at three people splitting a joint. It’s Friday night, and the community-center parking lot is full. Inside, a band from Sebastopol is playing Country Joe and the Fish covers. My mother comes out every half hour to check on us, and we pretend to be asleep. She is due in another ten minutes.
On the weekends she stayed with him, the first sound she heard in the morning was the meowing of his cat. The people in the apartment next door also had a cat, only theirs was put out overnight; his was strictly an indoor cat, black and nearly a dozen years old and just beginning to turn fat. The next-door cat always came to its owner’s front porch and yowled to be let in. His crouched in the bedroom window, peering down, and the two cats carried on a conversation until the next-door cat went inside.