– For those on the certification path

Written by, Alice Sheldon, UK, 4.5 years experience with NVC, certification candidate aiming for certification in October 2013.  Attending the IIT in Poland in December 2012.

I came on the IIT purely to fulfil the requirement to attend an IIT before certifying.  It was hard for me to come because of childcare as a single mum to a 5 year old, with the IIT taking place in Poland.  Without the requirement, I would have chosen to do more short trainings instead.

Thoughts that were going through my mind before coming included: I won’t learn anything, I bet everyone else will have less experience than me, I’ll spend a lot of time doing my own work which will be a much more valuable use of my time than being in sessions.

Thoughts that were going through my mind after the first evening circle and my first session of teaching: I was right, this is going to be a waste of time, I thought this trainer was meant to be fantastic and I’m not going to learn anything from her/him, I’m not going to find people I relate to in this group.

I write on Day 6 of the nine days, and I have been completely blown away by the amount I have learned and experienced and shared.  The tide started to turn on Day 2 of the nine, when I went to a workshop to pass the time because the internet connection was down.  The trainer was someone I had seen in the large group and decided I wouldn’t be able to take anything from.  And I learned more than I could have imagined in that single session.  Since then, I have had one of the two most intense and richest learning experiences of my life (the other being a week long NVC residential training with Miki Kashtan).

Some of the key factors in that learning, in no particular order, have been:

  1. A depth of experience learning from each other that I have not been anywhere close creating in shorter trainings, including long weekends.
  2. Watching myself and all the other human beings who are here with the intention of living in compassionate consciousness – what works, what doesn’t, what could be different.
  3. practising NVC skills at all levels of community – as an individual, in a small home group, in a workshop session, at a meal, where someone is in distress, where there is conflict in the group – and daring to get out there and risk doing stuff even if I make mistakes and experience setbacks and wake up some of my scariest jackals.
  4. finding a trainer I could learn so much from.  I am someone who has found a few teachers who are such rich sources of personal and professional learning that I could spend days with them.  If you recognise this in yourself, I would suggest doing in choosing an IIT is to check out the training team more carefully than I did in deciding where to go.  AND then if you don’t have a choice because you want to do the training within a certain timeframe / geographical area, or can’t find a team you are attracted to, to be open to all sorts of surprises in terms of rich learning experiences.
  5. the opportunity to have live feedback about my contribution to others, with so much support and help and compassion available, and a very safe container to work in.  And the space to get up the next morning and try out new strategies in similar situations.
  6. working through the tensions and triggering which I have only experienced in environments where we share residential training for long enough for all those things to surface.
  7. learning how I want to facilitate groups and be in groups.  Watching trainers, each of whom has aspects that I aspire to, and others that I don’t – supporting me to find my authentic voice as a trainer.
  8. co-creating opportunities with other certification candidates, including offering workshops, supporting each other, and offering feedback
  9. bringing some of my darkest jackals into the light.  This was a complete mistake too.  I went to a group because I wanted to experience a trainer everyone had been talking about.  It was a healing gift to me to bring my shame around a piece of myself into the group and receive some of the compassion and understanding that that part of me so desperately needs.
  10. taking responsibility for my own learning and finding ways to get what I long for.
  11. practising at every moment how to hold my own needs and others’ needs with equal care, especially in groups

I write this as a perspective for anyone on the certification path who is considering the worth of an IIT and perhaps is, like me, in the ‘I’ll do it because I have to’ camp. I cannot recommend the experience more highly.