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Mindful : April 2019
In this era of polarizing rhetoric coming from every where, it’s just too easy to get caught up in the emotion of discourse without really...com- municating. Say What You Mean by meditation teacher and mindful communication expert Oren Jay Sofer is surely a book for such charged times. But it’s also a book for anyone simply interested in learning how to deepen their own relational experiences, on any scale. And per- haps that should be all of us, for as Sofer writes, “ What we say matters.” Further, “ Intention is the single most powerful and transformative ingredient in dialog ue,” he writes. “It shapes our verbal and nonverbal communication, directing the course of a conversation.” The book is structured around three funda- mental skills for mindful communication: Lead with presence; come with curiosity and care; focus on what matters. Through discussion and example, and sup- ported by reflections and practices to ground the teaching, he helps us explore our own habituated styles of not just communication, but of viewing the world, and how this impacts how we speak to one another, and, importantly, how we listen. The book is also chock-full of “ahas”—gems and statements that immediately hit you as important and true. Things like: Everything we do, we do to meet a need. The less blame and criticism in our words, the easier it will be for others to hear us. When someone trusts that we’re actually interested in understanding them... They can stop defending themselves and just hear what we’re saying. To say what we mean, we must first know what we mean. To know what we mean, we must listen inwardly and discern what’s true for us. At the end of each section Sofer offers a useful Q+A to explore the reality of wanting to follow the principles and guidelines of mindful com- munication, and getting tripped up in real time. The advice is succinct and practical and deliv- ered with a bid for compassion, for ourselves and for everyone just trying to be understood. SAY WHAT YOU MEAN A Mindful Approach to Nonviolent Communication Oren Jay Sofer • Shambhala Publications 74 mindful April 2019