If you haven’t met Gracie yet, come by my office sometime. Gracie is a giraffe designed by the “Melissa and Doug” company, and she looks over my right shoulder when I’m sitting at my desk. I think she’s beautiful, and I’m getting very fond of her. Gracie was given to me by my grandson, Luca, for Christmas—she was on my “wish list”! The idea for Gracie came up when I went to a conference on “Deepening into Living Compassion,” sponsored by the Nashville chapter of Non-Violent Communication. The originator of the NVC movement—which is a worldwide movement—is Marshall Rosenburg, and Marshall uses two symbols to represent the difference between violent and non-violent communication. When he is demonstrating or talking about violent communication—either toward others or toward ourselves—he wears a pair of “jackal ears.” When he is demonstrating or talking about non-violent communication, he wears a pair of “giraffe ears.” The giraffe is a symbol for having a “big heart”–because giraffes have especially large hearts for pumping blood up that long neck and down those long legs—and because giraffes obviously have a wide perspective—seeing from that height. At the November conference, the presenter (Robert Gonzales) had a giraffe like Gracie sitting next to him. My Gracie is a metaphor for communicating compassionately. When we communicate non-violently, we are communicating with a big heart and a wide—or broad—perspective—we are communicating compassionately and avoiding any attempt to be hurtful in any way to the one or ones to whom we are speaking. I’m hoping that I will become more Gracie-like and that Grace Church will become more Gracie-like and that we might even spread Gracie’s message beyond our church—so that Hopkinsville becomes more Gracie-like!
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