#109 The Non-Violent Communication Toolkit and The New Culture Sexual Freedom Movement with Kelly Bryson
The question is: When someone's angry with you or they feel a little bit off with you, how do you turn that around? A great tool that I came across and started using around a year ago is called "Nonviolent Communication". This was designed by a guy called Marshall Rosenberg, who unfortunately just passed away in February of this year. He used this to diffuse conflicts peacefully. That was really the roll of this tool, to diffuse situations and allow you to connect with the person and create rapid intimacy.
This is really what has happened in my experience when I've had some kind of conflict, or something like that, and I've taken the time to think about this and use this tool. It's worked very well for me in terms of creating that kind of intimate connection and getting rid of the underlying issue. We dig more into the details of that in this show.
Today's guest is Kelly Bryson. Kelly Bryson is a licensed psychotherapist and authorized trainer for the international Center for Nonviolent Communication (NVC). He's been doing this for a very, very long time, 35 years or so. He's also got a book out called "Don't Be Nice, Be Real: Balancing Passion for Self with Compassion for Others", which was published in 2010.
He has studied all sorts of methods to communication and he believes NVC as it's called - Nonviolent Communication - is by far the best, simplest, and most effective. Something else that we jump into in this episode, in addition to the nonviolent communication tool, is called: New Culture. It's something that Kelly Bryson has been involved in for a while and it's basically a different dating lifestyle that we haven't yet encountered. So we're going to learn a bit more about that. I guess you would call this an evolution of polyamory (if you wanted to call it something), but we'll get into exactly what it is.
A quick apology, because the audio quality is slightly lower than usual on the guest side. Unfortunately, because of where he was based, that was unavoidable. We had our audio guy to clear it up a bit, so bare with us. It is a really good interview with some interesting insights, especially for those of you who are exploring new ways of dating and new ways of having relationships, and you're interested in the whole intimacy and connection aspect of things.
Specifically, in this episode you'll learn about:
- Kelly's views of the relationship area that may differ from other relationship writers (04:25)
- Kelly's relationships and how they function (10:24)
- Whether Kelly feels he is in a particular relationship category (13:50)
- New Culture (free love): love free of fear, possessiveness, control, manipulation (14:30)
- The establishment of social and cultural values / principles in communities and whether this is viewed negatively (15:45)
- The number of people involved in New Culture and their dating practices (18:40)
- Examples of violent communication that most people do not consider violent (22:10)
- Explaining nonviolent communication (NVC) to someone who is unknown to it so they understand it: the empathy approach (24:50)
- Examples of empathy and how to get into it (27:06)
- Does NVC always work? (28:10)
- NVC's impact on relationships (29:30)
- Whether NVC is effective in short term encounters and casual hookups (31:15)
- What Kelly communicates beyond nonviolent communication in his book "Don't Be Nice, Be Real" (31:57)
- Polarization of the masculine and feminine is mostly due to patriarchal society (32:50)
- Do most women and men in the New Culture take on a nurturing behavior towards each other? (36:06)
- The idea of men maintaining their masculinity in a New Culture environment (38:05)
- The type of person that fits into New Culture (39:50)
- How to get involved in New Culture (40:20)
- Kelly's involvement in New Culture and its environment (41:40)
- Nonviolent communication as the best communication tool (45:20)
- Is there a tendency to drift from previous communities as people become more involved in the New Culture community? (45:51)
- The first steps to learning nonviolent communication (48:31)
- Being self-aware of your moods, emotions, judgments, and energy through NVC (51:09)
- OFNR - Observation, Feeling, Need, Request (54:12)
- Advice Kelly offers to men and women in relationships that is often ignored (56:17)
- Cultural permission to follow your romantic or sexual preferences (57:55)
- Guilt versus empathy: Is it about you or about them? (1:00:37)
- The biggest objections Kelly has experienced to his advice (1:01:36)
- How to connect with Kelly to learn more about him and his work (1:02:47)
- Recommendations for high quality advice in dating, sex, and relationships (1:04:03)
- Top three recommendations for men starting out in relationships, dating, and sex (1:04:55)
Items Mentioned in this Episode include:
- Nonviolent Communication (Marshall B. Rosenberg): How to improve the quality of your relationships, communicate effectively, and deepen your sense of personal empowerment - peacefully.
- Don't Be Nice, Be Real: Balancing Passion for Self with Compassion for Others: Kelly's book about teaching the mechanics of Nonviolent Compassionate Communication, and real-life situations to show that nonviolent communication really works.
- Languageofcompassion.com: Kelly's website to learn more about him and his work. It also offers resources on how to get involved with New Culture.
- ZEGG: For those in Germany, another resource website for people interested in New Culture.
- Center for Nonviolent Communication (NVC): Recommended by Kelly to learn more about NVC.
- The Future of Love (Daphne Rose Kingma): Kelly noted this book while discussing relationships and how they function. He referred to the author saying that our attractions, our residences, tell us where our evolution is. If we can follow them and try not to make them something they're not, then they'll reveal an aspect of our evolution to us in all kinds of different ways.
- David Deida: Angel noted David Deida's similar work regarding masculine and feminine polarity.
- The Sacred Matrix (Dieter Duhm): One of Kelly's favorite authors on masculine and feminine polarity.
- Sex at Dawn (Christopher Ryan, Cacilda Jetha): Kelly noted this book in reference to cultural permission to follow your romantic or sexual preferences.
- Reid Mihalko: Kelly recommends sex and relationship expert Reid Mihalko for his work and advice.
- For men starting out in dating, sex, and relationships, Kelly recommends the following books:
Books, Courses and Training from Kelly Bryson
Full Text Transcript of the Interview
[Angel Donovan]: Kelly, thank you for joining the show.
[Kelly Bryson]: You're welcome. Thanks for having me.
[Angel Donovan]: So, let's start off with how you look at the area of relationships which may be different to other writers about relationships if you're talking about it more broadly. How do you approach differently, the subject?
[Kelly Bryson]: Wow, we're just diving right in. Okay.
[Angel Donovan]: Boom.
[Kelly Bryson]: Boom, let's do it. I suppose the unique flavor that I bring to it or a perspective I have on it is that I see it as part of a web of lies. It's all these systems and all these relationships that are interconnected whether we recognize it or not and whether we're conscious of it or not. So, you might say I have a systems approach to everything, life, relationships, communication.
What system are you a part of? Do we have nurturing systems that are supporting us and what systems, what paradigms are we dancing with in our heads to do this thing called relationships?
Even the whole idea of love, are we coming from a place of romantic love where, "All I want is you. Can't live if living is without you," great song here in the US. Or, I am coming from this other place of not even thinking of love as a feeling but, more as state of consciousness. When I'm in it, All I want is your happiness, all I want is your [inaudible] of your life. In one sense, I don't feel a need for anything from you, just to share this state of loving support for each other. That's all I want."
It comes from the awareness that we are loving awareness. When I'm conscious, I am loving awareness, I don't feel this big, "I've got to have you" kind of thing but it is wonderful when I'm looking to you for my fulfillment, my wholeness or whatever. We can look parallel into the world and share that together instead of looking at each other for our fulfillment and satisfaction.
I think in order to do that, we need to be part of what I call "transparent touching, trusting, tolerant tribes." We need to be part of that system to nurture us, to fulfill us, to keep us connected to ourselves so that we don't lose ourselves when we start to go be intimately, sexually, emotionally with other people.
[Angel Donovan]: So, it sounds like from that it's very direct true communication you're talking about?
[Kelly Bryson]: I'm more able to I think. The more I'm connected to my soul (if you want to call it that, self), the more conscious I am of what's alive in me, not just what's going on in my head. The more I'm able to be transparent instead of just being honest and there's a big difference between just being honest and being able to be transparent.
When I'm transparent, I'm showing you my energy. I'm letting you see my whole body, my whole life force, my whole emotional field. I'm being vulnerable exposing you to that. I'm open to making contact with you.
I can be honest with you and not be open to you. My heart could be totally closed to you.
[Angel Donovan]: Would you have a good example of that? Like, when someone is being honest but, they're not being transparent?
[Kelly Bryson]: Yes, one time I had a girlfriend I suppose and she lived in another city.
[Angel Donovan]: I'm just interested, why did you say "suppose"?
[Kelly Bryson]: Oh gosh because, we spent so many hours trying to figure out what label to use instead of "my girlfriend" or "my boyfriend..."
[Angel Donovan]: Uh huh.
[Kelly Bryson]: ...and that honors us with more consciousness. In the moment, I couldn't come up with anything more conscious than that. Hopefully, we'll listen to understand and I may explain more later.
We don't see ourselves as owning each other. So, it's not really a good term to say "my girlfriend."
[Angel Donovan]: Great, I mean I think that's interesting. I'm glad I followed up with you on that point.
[Kelly Bryson]: So anyway, my girlfriend (common usage) told me that she was feeling some attraction for another man in her home town. We have a little bit of a long distance relationship and so, she was being honest and I really appreciated that. I was grateful for that.
As time went on, she will tell me occasionally her interest or what she was doing with this other man. I kept feeling uneasy. I kept feeling uncomfortable or nervous about it or not connected somehow. Didn't understand why because, she was being honest with me after all.
After a while, finally she got there first. She says, "Kelly, the reason I think you're not comfortable because, I have not been transparent about my energy about this man. I've only told you the honesty on the surface."
I said, "Well please, show me the other thing. Show me the other thing. Show me the energy. Do the transparency thing."
She says, "Okay." So, she sits quietly for a minute with her eyes closed and her hands in her lap and after a minute or so, she starts trembling, she was shaking. Finally, she opens her eyes and she says, "Kelly, I really want to make love with this man really bad, really intense. We have an intense attraction and I want him really bad."
So when she said that, at first I got scared a little bit. Then, I felt this "Ah" relaxation move over my body because, finally she wasn't hiding anything from me. She was letting me in on the little secret part of herself, energy part that she was afraid to show me before. [09:35]
Afraid I would leave or react of whatever but, at soon as she showed it to me, I felt trust. I felt relaxation because, she was not just being honest. She was being energetically transparent with me.
[Angel Donovan]: So, she was sharing a lot more of the emotional intensity, emotional value of what she was feeling rather before, the honesty was kind of dry...
[Kelly Bryson]: Yeah.
[Angel Donovan]: ...and yeah.
[Kelly Bryson]: It's factual. It's in the head, just thoughts.
[Angel Donovan]: Right, right. Yeah, basically honesty can sometimes ignore that communication is all this other stuff as well. You know, it's the emotional aspect, the emotional value.
[Kelly Bryson]: It doesn't necessarily build the trust. What I'm finding in the communities I'm working in, most important thing we can do is to establish trust between the people and the best way to do that is by full transparency not just honesty.
[Angel Donovan]: Well great, thank you for that. That's a really good start to the conversation.
In terms of your own life, I guess we kind of a saw some perspective there. In terms of your own relationships, how do they function? Do you have girlfriends now or are you married or what's kind of the context?
[Kelly Bryson]: I've never been married.
[Angel Donovan]: Okay.
[Kelly Bryson]: And I have several people that I have deep=-connection relationships with that are all very, very different. Some of them are very rich soul connections and soul recognition. When we meet together, we just go to heaven.
I have other relationships, particularly in Germany. I have my translator in Germany. We have a heart-soul connection but, we're five year-olds together like in puppy love all the time. Five year-old puppy love with each other. We're not sexual. We're not romantic but, Boy are we in love. Just love to spend lots of time together if we can. So, that has its own quality.
I have a partner here locally the town where I live and it's a very intense sexual connection. We just have some chemistry around that. So, it's very intense and it's a bit more...I need to use more of my NVC skills in this relationship than with the others. They're more easy and natural.
[Angel Donovan]: Right great and we'll get into the NVC part for sure. It's interesting that you define each relationship very differently. They're kind of playing different roles in your life.
[Kelly Bryson]: It's almost like I need a different word for every relationship. I have one in Switzerland that's just soulful in another way, not sexual but, it's soulful.
Each one is like its own form of relationship. Each one is totally unique and I couldn't really put them in any category together.
[Angel Donovan]: That's one of the things I love about relationships. I feel like I learn a lot from each relationship I have. I don't know if that's something you feel which is another benefit to having these individual?
[Kelly Bryson]: Yeah, I like what Daphne Rose Kingma said in her book. She wrote a beautiful book called The Future of Love and in it she says, "Our attractions, our residences tell us where our evolution is. If we can follow them and not try to make them something they're not, then they'll reveal an aspect of our evolution to us in all kind of a different ways and they're totally unique."
I've tried to listen to that pull, that resident and not come with a preconceived package or label for it. Though I might feel a strong pull to somebody, my first thoughts sometimes is, "Oh, it might be sexual."
[Angel Donovan]: Yeah.
[Kelly Bryson]: But often, it's not. Often it's other things.
[Angel Donovan]: Right and you have to figure that out. I mean, that's quite a hard thing to do I think sometimes. If you haven't had experience and I think a lot of people maybe listening today and they're like, "Well, no I just...I kind of feel sexual attraction or I don't" but, I've certainly seen a lot of different colors in a relationship. So, I can kind of...I don't think I'm on the same level as you but, I kind of understand where you're coming from.
[Kelly Bryson]: It's so sad for me because, most men have a symphony orchestra going on inside of them but instead, they sound like tin whistle. "Either I'm attracted, yes or no, I'm not attracted sexually." They're missing out because the whole... by that tin whistle, it's two notes. Yes/No. Good/bad.
Attraction sexually or not but inside, there's a symphony orchestra playing all different kind of residency and finding out what is my particular residence with this person is a beautiful adventure. I like to go spiritually spelunking into the caverns of consciousness with everyone who's willing to go deeper with me.
[Angel Donovan]: Great, great thank you. I'm also wondering. I told you before we started that we've had polyamorists and a wide variety of people. I was just wondering if you put yourself in any category or you think of yourself as like undefinable by all of these kinds of categories like polyamorists, like swingers and there are a lot of these kinds of communities and stuff?
[Kelly Bryson]: There's a whole cultural feel behind each one of these communities. Polyamory was started by particular people in a particular place in Northern California and it has a culture to it.
[Angel Donovan]: Yeah.
[Kelly Bryson]: It has a particular vibration to it. It stared in a certain place and grew up with certain ideas related to it. So, it has a cultural feel to it and I would say it has about 3% overlap with this other cultural field that I love to play in. I'll call it "new culture."
[Angel Donovan]: Which culture?
[Kelly Bryson]: I call it "new culture."
[Angel Donovan]: New culture, Okay.
[Kelly Bryson]: New Culture or some people in Germany, they call it, "pria libra".
[Angel Donovan]: Uh huh.
[Kelly Bryson]: And it's free love. Love free of fear, free of possessiveness, free of control, free of games, free of manipulation and it has a particular quality to it.
[Angel Donovan]: And how did you get involved in this for the first time or like, where did it come from?
[Kelly Bryson]: I think first, I did...and being in California, I stumbled across some people who were playing at something called polyamory and I checked it out for a bit but, then, I found out it didn't have the cultural breath. It didn't have...it wasn't in a context of, I'll call it healthy holistic community setting.
It was just focused on having multiple partners. It wasn't focused on having a different kind of love, a different quality of love. It was focused on having different quantity of love.
So, I'm interested in being a part of communities that support each other for finding out what is your particular preference in love relationships and helping you be true to that. Not helping you hide out in polyamory or hide out in monogamy or hide out in anything except to be true to your own preferences and to call you on that. It's a fortune finding that.
[Angel Donovan]: Because the thing about any community, they tend to develop social rules and their own kind of cultural rules which then...I mean, I feel like I always don't want to be defined by the social context around me. I just want to be myself and I want to develop myself and I guess it's a skill I've developed is to kind of resist and not be sucked in by these kind of...like the social standards and rules and that kind of social pressure around you to fit one way or to go it one way. Is that something that you perceived that is maybe not the best idea from your perspective?
[Kelly Bryson]: Well in the cultures that I'm playing with and creating and some of the communities I'm helping to create and start in Germany and the West Coast and Hawaii, we do have some cultural values and principles. I wouldn't call them rules but, it's helpful to have some principles, cultural supported in part of the culture of the community. Otherwise, it's just pretty chaotic with nothing to support it. There's no matrix to support consciousness growing.
So some of the principles that we bring in to help support this consciousness is a value to not giving in, for example. We ask that people don't let others give in to them and that they don't give in to other people. We don't abandon ourselves in the relationship as best we can, would be one. Another is this value of transparency. It's not a rule. You can't make people be transparent but, it's a value.
[Angel Donovan]: Great, great thank you for...I like the idea of values instead of rules. I have to admit, the way I put it wasn't the best approach to it but, the values you buy into.
[Kelly Bryson]: Well, it's understandable coming from where most people are coming from but, they're a culture. They're a society. It's pretty focused on getting you to sacrifice yourself for the good of the culture, the good of the people.
I call that a "collectivist culture," "collectivist organization." You're asked to become sheep, to follow the crowd, to support the values, the economics, the power structure, the culture you're in as opposed to organizations or tribes that I would call "communitarian".
In a communitarian tribe, the focus is on how do we get each individual to bloom? How do we support each individual of having a fully lived life? It's about what a community can do for the individual and of course, it's mutual support in that.
Otherwise, we just get into what we get...learn these games, these gottcha games, power over games. We bring them into our love relationships. Ego battle games, perpetrator/victim/rescuer games, low drama. We get very [inaudible] from that kind of stuff. You can do that in a polyamorous cultural field or monogamous cultural field but, you can do it a "new culture" field. It doesn't support drama.
[Angel Donovan]: So, are there a lot of people in this New Culture community? You've mentioned Germany quite a few times. Is that when of the places it came from?
[Kelly Bryson]: It's one of the places it started from. It is Zegg community in Germany. It's that community in south of Berlin and now, it's spreading all around the world. There's a huge community in Portugal, south of Lisbon called www.Tamaera.org and then, there's just networks of people in the US all across the country that have tribes.
Dating is very different in a tribe because, when you're dating within your tribe, you know about the people. You see how they are on a daily basis with people. You learn about their integrity. It has a different feel to it. You date people who are part of the same culture, tribe.
[Angel Donovan]: Absolutely, so you have a lot more information on them just like how you go about it. So, I'm guessing people within this tribe, this community, they only date people within the community?
[Kelly Bryson]: No, not that they only do but, it's helpful for me in my relationships too to have people to support the relationship, that can give the honesty that...some people can give the honesty that she won't hear from me or give me the empathy that she can't give me. So, it's just a support for making relationships work. A chapter in my new book...one of the chapters is It Takes a Village to Raise a Relationship.
[Angel Donovan]: It takes a village to...?
[Kelly Bryson]: ...raise a relationship,...
[Angel Donovan]: Okay.
[Kelly Bryson]: ...to support a relationship. Just trying to do it on your own is very difficult, especially if you're doing any new paradigm relating. If you're doing the old paradigm of patriarchal, then there's plenty of support for that but, not for a non-hierarchical, non-patriarchal. You need the support of a tribe to make it work well.
[Angel Donovan]: Right, so we've talked before about how this works with marriage where...one of the nice things about marriage is when you get married, people around you tend to support the relationship more. They see you as in a partnership. Marriage is pretty iconic in our society.
So, people look at you completely different once you're married and that can be very supportive. You know, your family is supporting you, your friends and so on. They all look at you and that reinforces the relationship. So, is that similar?
[Kelly Bryson]: Yeah, yeah because, you're declaring, "We are in this connection together. We would like support for it. We need tough honesty sometimes. We need nurturing, compassion, empathy sometimes. We need different things to keep our connection alive and healthy between us."
[Angel Donovan]: One things I'm curious about is you mentioned empathy a few times there. So, say you're dating someone in the community and she's not a very...people are different. They have different apologies. They go around their lives differently. She's not feeling like very empathic towards you or to certain things. Would they just communicate that when that's going on inside them. They're not feeling empathic or that's not in their nature.
[Kelly Bryson]: Hopefully, they've had some non-violent communication training.
[Angel Donovan]: Yeah.
[Kelly Bryson]: If they have, they wouldn't tell you what's not going on. They would tell you what is going on. They wouldn't say, "I'm not feeling empathic." They'd say, "I'm feeling empty. I'm feeling lost. I'm feeling scared. I have pain going on in myself that prevents me from giving you the empathy I'd like to give you. Can you tell me what you're hearing? Can you give me empathy for that?" They'd say what's alive in them and what they want back from you about it if they've had NVC training if they're willing to practice.
[Angel Donovan]: Great alright, let's dive into [inaudible] non-violent communication and you call it NVC, right?
[Kelly Bryson]: Yeah, that's shorthand.
[Angel Donovan]: Okay, cool. Well, so I'd thought we jumpstart this part by talking about some examples of violent communication that most people don't consider violent. So, something you look at from this model and you say it's violent where other people are like, "Oh, no I don't get that."
[Kelly Bryson]: Here's a good example of it. It'd be something like you know, love relationship. It sounds very new age. It sounds very conscious. I've heard this all over the place. There's a bunch of them. Here's one or two.
"I feel unheard." It sounds like very new agy or very conscious but, it doesn't reveal any of the vulnerability. It doesn't show any of my vulnerability to say that. It also implies you're doing something wrong. It's wrong to not hear people.
It also doesn't take responsibility. It's not saying how I'm not taking care of my needs or I'm not saying what my perspective is that causing myself to feel this pain. I'm also not making a clear request of what I want in this very moment in relationship to that painful state.
[Angel Donovan]: Okay, it sounds like a lot of it is about not lowering my defenses when I'm communicating and in a sense, pushing the fault even though it's kind of subtle on the other person.
[Kelly Bryson]: It's a disguise form of blame. It's things like, "I feel manipulated by you. I feel attacked. I feel judged."
I was watching these majors players. They're like workshop leaders and very well-known and they were teaching people to say things like, "I feel attacked by you. I feel judged. We got into this big battle with each other about who feels judged. I feel judged by you is saying that you feel judged." It's a judgement hall of mirrors going on. It's just weird.
[Angel Donovan]: Right so, you're that that's pretty much...if I say, "I feel attacked by you," it's pretty much the same as saying, "You're attacking me."
[Kelly Bryson]: Yeah. I think most of the time, that's how it would be heard because, it doesn't reveal any of my vulnerability. I'm saying, "I feel scared. I feel hurt. I feel pain."
I'm also projecting it on to you. I'm saying, "It's because of you and what you did" as if I have no power to choose my own response to things, as if I'm just a victim of whatever you do to me.
[Angel Donovan]: Yeah, so I used...I told you before, I've used it a few times over the last year. I've studied some of the courses and stuff and I still find it quite challenging, non-violent communication to get it right. I think it does, it takes a fair bit of study but, I have seen that it works remarkably. You get very remarkable response from the person even when you're in an argument and a conflict.
However I was wondering how, when you come across someone who has never seen what non-violent communication is and you know, maybe they're not as open to, I don't know self-development or they haven't been working on that aspect of themselves so much. How do you explain non-violent communication to them so they can understand what it is and how it works and why it's something they should take an interest in?
[Kelly Bryson]: I don't.
[Angel Donovan]: Ah ha.
[Kelly Bryson]: What I would do is, I would let them experience something they cannot resist which is empathy and I would do it silently. I wouldn't do it in words, overtly. I would let them get used to and feel what it feels like to be empathized with until they feel the trust going, until they feel the warmth and the connection with me. Then, maybe later I would talk to them about the mechanics of it or something like that but, empathy always...I...
Carl Rogers is kind of the father of empathy. Once he said, "I don't know what empathy is but, whenever I get it, it feels damned good," and other people will feel the same way. They feel damned good when you practice being empathic to whatever they're expressing and that good feeling is your doorway into trust.
[Angel Donovan]: Yeah, so one of the really fundamental principles here is growing trust between people?
[Kelly Bryson]: Absolutely and for how that person is communicating with me, there's always a way to empathize with whatever they're saying and I can sit silently or I can do it with words out loud but, either way it starts to build a bridge of connection energetically.
[Angel Donovan]: Right, you've been doing this for 35 years, correct?
[Kelly Bryson]: Something like that.
[Angel Donovan]: Yeah, it's a long time. When was the last time you had an argument, like how we look at arguments?
[Kelly Bryson]: Oh Jesus, couple days ago.
[Angel Donovan]: A couple of days? Okay, cool. So, you still do have the arguments but, do you deal with them differently to most people?
[Kelly Bryson]: To most people? Well, it depends on who it is partly. It's just one person that I have the hardest time with. It's someone that I probably am the closest with and in that situation, that's the challenge to really keep my empathic consciousness turned up. There is the biggest challenge. I heart someone. There's so much on the line [inaudible].
[Angel Donovan]: When you're emotions on the line, it's a lot more challenging.
[Kelly Bryson]: Yeah, when your heart is invested.
[Angel Donovan]: Yep, great thanks for the transparency on that. It's really good to hear. When you were talking about empathy a minute ago, what kind of things...in order to kind of make this a visualizable by the audience, could you give me an example of that?
[Kelly Bryson]: If someone says to me, "I feel unheard by you," so they're kind of blaming me. They're saying I should have been listening better. So, what I would like to do is turn up my empathic sensing conscious. Just get present, get really present and listen and turn my attention toward them and practice empathic sensing.
I might try to sense into what they're feeling. My words might sound something like, "So, it sounds like you're really hurt because, you would like to have been heard much more deeply than you have been so far. Am I on target?"
Mostly, it's about the energy. What's in my heart when I say this? Am I truly having empathy and compassion for the hurt that I've been the stimulus for, not the cause of. If I'm clear on that, then I'm simply the stimulus and not the cause, it makes it a lot easier to have empathy for them.
[Angel Donovan]: Great, thank you for that. It's a very clear example. What are the most extreme situations you have seen NVC used successfully and does it always work? Have you found that it's like one of these tools in life, these approaches to life which is really, really valuable because, it works a lot, you know 99% of the time?
[Kelly Bryson]: Well, depends on your definition of work. Most people...many people's definition of work is, "I get what I want. I get the person to give me what I want regardless of whether it meets their needs or not." So in that case, I'd say it doesn't work all the time nor would I want it to.
I only wanted to get what I'm needing as if it comes from the other person's heart and they're giving it joyfully to me not, giving into me because, that destroys the relationship. Does that make sense?
[Angel Donovan]: Yes, it does.
[Kelly Bryson]: It depends on how you defines works. I like to keep the relationship in good order and not damage the relationship by just getting what I'm wanting about a particular situation.
[Angel Donovan]: Right, right. So, if the primary objective is keeping or having a healthy relationship?
[Kelly Bryson]: Yep.
[Angel Donovan]: Then, it works very well but, if your objective is to get something from the other person, then obviously it's not designed to do that. It's not a win/win situation basically as we'd say in modern lingo.
I'm assuming you've worked with a lot of couples and in male/female situations. Where have you seen NVC used most effectively or you felt it's had the biggest impact?
[Kelly Bryson]: Well, for many people it's just magic right off the bat. In a week or two they're functioning at a whole another level if people are committed to it and they come to me like ready. They've suffered enough. They're ready for a change, ready to let it go of being right a little, the ego and start practicing this stuff.
Many, many... I've had hundreds and hundreds of emails from couples saying it saved their lives. It saved their family in a very short period of time. In a matter of weeks, it can shift dramatically the quality of your connection and communication and I've seen it heal major rifts in fathers and daughters and mothers and daughter in a very quick way. It is like magic. It's a magic empathy.
[Angel Donovan]: Great so, do these people have to come to learn it together or can one person in the situation...it's a husband for instance in a marriage, can he learn it can then go back to his relationship and it will have the same impact as you just described?
[Kelly Bryson]: Well, I think it's better if both parties can be involved but yes, I've worked with many single women or single men who come and get some empathy and get some tools and get some learning. Then, they go back into their relationship.
It's such a dramatic change often for the partner. The partner's often willing to come after they've experienced the change in their partner. They're willing to come and be together and work together.
[Angel Donovan]: Great thank you. You know a lot of this context is relationships, right? We're talking about long-terms relationships though a lot of people are having much shorter term relationships or you know, they're meeting people. They could be hookups or they could be very brief relationships. Do you think it's equally as effective in these short-term where people haven't got to know each other yet.
[Kelly Bryson]: Intimacy is ecstatic whether it's for five minutes or 50 years and it is so very useful to have that kind of intimate, empathic connection in resolving any kind of negotiation. The more connection there is there, the more trust that is there, the easier any kind of negotiation goes.
So, I've had very short encounters. Five minute encounters that can be sweet if my intention is to connect, if my intention is to be vulnerable and I language it in a way that reveals that. I've had very sweet short-term...
[Angel Donovan]: So, I know the title of your book is Don't Be Nice, Be Real. It's interesting in a non-violent communication context. What did you want to communicate beyond non-violent communication in that book?
[Kelly Bryson]: Well, several things really. I think one is just the power of vulnerability is profound. The other thing is the intention to have compassion, empathy, connect to the other person is a profound power in itself. Then the third thing is, we need each other.
That even couples who come together, I don't think they can overcome the polarization that happens between a masculine and feminine in this patriarchal world without the support of a conscious, trusting, skillful, sophisticated tribe of people to support that relationship. It's those three things.
[Angel Donovan]: Great so, I just picked up on the polarization point because, I found it's interesting is you're saying that polarization of the masculine and feminine is mostly due to the patriarchal society?
[Kelly Bryson]: Yes, there were times when 8000 years I think when cultures were not so patriarchal and the power of the feminine was more available to make relationship work and there was much less domination culture going on. So, there was peace and women didn't need to be dominated by the masculine in order to create order and I think if we can come back to that, that's what these little tribes are all about.
We started to share the power again. Bringing the feminine power back so that these tribes can be really rich, really sacred and more powerful.
[Angel Donovan]: Great, well the way I'm looking at it...do you know David Deida's work?
[Kelly Bryson]: A little bit.
[Angel Donovan]: Okay, because he talks a lot about the masculine and the feminine and I think he talks about it the same way as you. What I got from you there is that you're that the difference is that the feminine is dominated and is actually weaker in the patriarchal society but, what you're talking about is feminine energy but, a strong feminine and that's what David Deida teaches also. So, I think it fits. Would you say that sounds like it fits also?
[Kelly Bryson]: It fits and then I would add one more thing would that Dieter Duhm is one of my favorite authors on all of this. Dieter Duhm wrote a book called The Sacred Matrix and it he says that new culture's healthy non-violent civilizations in cultures and tribes are founded on the basis of the trusting circle of women where women come together in a circle and really get real with each other, get transparent with each other and trust each other.
So, they're not always trying to protect their relationship with their man, control each other and be suspicious of each and not trust each other, always afraid that some woman's going to try to take their man from them. They can really get into a deep trusting place. That's the foundation for a healthy, nurturing, trusting tribe to have.
Also, it makes it so that women don't lose themselves into a man because, they have their sisterhood to make them strong and to not abandon themselves and be true to themselves so that they don't become co-dependent and give their center away to a man. Then, you can have a healthy non-violent society field of relationship.
[Angel Donovan]: That's really interesting that you brought up the point of women fighting each other. We had a recent interview with a scientist talking about inter-sexual competition and how in modern society, like it's taking place all the time and it's very common and just the fact that you brought that up. I always find it interesting when different worlds connect with similar ideas.
[Kelly Bryson]: What do you mean by inter-sexual?
[Angel Donovan]: Well, inter-sexual basically means women competing against women which was the topic of that interview and men competing against men. We often talk about men competing against men but, you just referred to women being considered about losing their male and thus competing against each other. Is that correct?
[Kelly Bryson]: That and also, them looking for in a man what they've lost in the universe. They try to find their soul in a man and really, it's much more able to be found by the supportive group of women supporting each woman in finding their own authentic connection with themselves so they do lose it. They don't sell it away to a man.
[Angel Donovan]: So, would you say most of the women in the New Culture take on this nurturing behavior to each other?
[Kelly Bryson]: Yes, it's part of culture. It's a cultural field issue. It's a natural part of the culture.
Even like for example, at the Zegg community in Germany, if a woman gets jealous and is upset and has pain going on in relation to her man, first thing she does is she calls the women together. They have this very special place on their property where they go and they be together and they comb her hair and they tell her how beautiful she is, how much she's done for the tribe and how much she's loved and massage her.
Because she's feeling really good and connected and powerful again, then she goes back to her man with a whole another energy, not one of blaming and green-eyed jealousy and all this controlling pain kind of stuff, victim stuff. It's very different.
[Angel Donovan]: It's like they're healing her emotions.
[Kelly Bryson]: In fact, they were strengthening her, empowering her.
[Angel Donovan]: Yeah.
[Kelly Bryson]: Same for the men, I've gone to the men's circle there. The men sit around they talk about how can we support each other in having the relationships with the different women in the tribe that we want. So, they're not in competition. They're actually in collaboration with each to support each other in having whatever kind of relationship they want with whoever it is in the tribe instead of competing.
[Angel Donovan]: When you talk about it, it sounds like a lot of these are places where people live together?
[Kelly Bryson]: The last thing I've been talking about is where people live together in a [inaudible] community but, this can be done in any kind of network. It doesn't have to be [inaudible]. Any network can do this.
[Angel Donovan]: Great, the way you described it, it sounds like the women pair off in their groups for this kind of thing. Is that because it works better potentially and the men pair but, is there also like cross-nurturing?
[Kelly Bryson]: There is a value to it, sure. When there a meeting together, frequency you will try to come together as a men and women together and have nurturing and growing and healing activities. There's also the value to having men...be just a circle with just the men and women to have circles with just the women sometimes. There's a value, a special power to that.
[Angel Donovan]: Great, just to be clear, I'm guessing that the men are still masculine? I think that's something to bring up because, sometimes where we think about these...I don't know. Some people might be thinking about kind of love communes in the new agy kind of stuff a little bit as you're talking about this.
[Kelly Bryson]: That would meet my need for transparency.
[Angel Donovan]: Ah huh.
[Kelly Bryson]: The new age man who's like leaned over and kind of a like trying to hide his sexuality, trying to hide his power as a way to lure women in and help them make them think they're safe so that they can have sex with them basically.
[Angel Donovan]: I've never heard put that way before that's great.
[Kelly Bryson]: As opposed to, the man that I see were very grateful for the full powerful expression of their hot, sexual male power and they live and breathe it and express it and don't hide it. They allow other people to be scared about it. They allow people to get wounded by it. They don't make it happen, they don't hide it.
So in this new culture, there's more focus on people living and breathing, expressing their personal power and their sexual power and allowing other people to have their reactions to it because, we need to grow. There's community support for that too but, it's tragic that men have been asked to hide their hot, beautiful, sexual male power.
That women are...if they start doing that, they're seen as asking for something, asking for it. They're asked not to, you know...they're asked to turn it down in the old culture.
In the new culture, you're asked to just let it rip. Let it be there what's there.
In particularly older people too. Older women like it because in their community, they're very sexy and they're loved for it and respected for it and the energy is powerful in itself even if the physical form has changed a bit.
[Angel Donovan]: Is there a certain type of person who fits into this culture or do you think anyone who wants to be the real version of themselves...?
[Kelly Bryson]: I'd say that. It's not for everyone. Surely, it would not culturally suite everyone's taste and there's a lot people who are very wounded and it will bring up your wounds to get around an authentic group of people. Some people would need to do a lot of work and healing first, I think before they would be very comfortable coming into authentic culture like this.
[Angel Donovan]: Great, those some great points. Okay so, if someone today is interested in this culture and they think it's kind of inspirational and it's something that might have a good fit for them, what kind of stages would you suggested they go through and how to get involved with it eventually?
[Kelly Bryson]: Well two or three things, I'll try to give the resources. One, I have quite a few resources on my website, www.LanguageofCompassion.com. There are quite a few resources there. Some resources that are in England. Are most of your listeners from the UK or from all over Europe.
[Angel Donovan]: Most of them are in the US and then, they're scattered all over the world.
[Kelly Bryson]: In that case yeah, like I said my website. Also, if you're in Germany, [inaudible] is a useful website. Also, I'll be touring Germany pretty soon. In May, I have a two-month tour. You could come then.
There's also www.Tamera.org in Portugal. It has a world-wide influence. There's also www.nfnc.org, The Network for New Culture. There are some resources there.
Also, the book Sacred Matrix is helpful. Then, my book Don't be Nice, Be Real.
[Angel Donovan]: Great thanks.
[Kelly Bryson]: There are groups starting and I'm willing to be on Skype and help people start groups any way they want to do it. Just start building this transparent, touching tribe thing.
[Angel Donovan]: Great and so, give us a bit of a context to this. How long have you been involved in it?
[Kelly Bryson]: About, I think somewhere between 15 and 20 years.
[Angel Donovan]: Okay, it's a really long time. Have you seen it grown a lot in popularity numbers?
[Kelly Bryson]: Yes, in a very beautiful organic way. Right now, all around the US, there's New Culture tribes in many of the big cities now. particularly on the West Coast and we have these camps. I just got back from two-week summer camp. 110 people for two weeks and other people are starting these camps. All over like in Hawaii and California and Southern California and the East Coast, Virginia and Cleveland.
[Angel Donovan]: So, is that called a New Culture camp or...?
[Kelly Bryson]: Yeah, Network for New Culture Camp.
[Angel Donovan]: Okay great and what happens at the camp? What do you do?
[Kelly Bryson]: Well, one big thing we do, we haven't talked about yet is we practice this, kind of a sacred practice called the Zegg Forum. What it looks like is a big circle of people and one person at a time gets in the middle and they're facilitated by one or two facilitators in expressing what's authentic, what's alive and what's true.
It could be a related to a particular issue they're having with their relationship with themselves. It could be a celebration. It could be just some communication they're wanting to make to the whole community. So, the Zegg Forum was designed as a process to help a community communication with itself but, it also does transformational psycho-drama work.
So, very playful. We joke with people. We have them do silly things. We have them do dramatic kind of psycho-drama things. All kind of interventions and techniques we use in a very creative intuitive way to bring the subconscious to the conscious kind of like being denied and bringing into reality but, it's our tool for healing and empowered and authenticity and helps the whole community start to understand and know what they issues are for the different people so they can support them and help them in dealing with their issues whatever they are.
[Angel Donovan]: Sounds a little bit like Ayahuasca.
[Kelly Bryson]: A little bit yeah, that's a good example. I would say yes and the focus is on one person at a time. The whole community supports one person at a time in awakening.
[Angel Donovan]: So, how long does that last for? Is it a ten-minute thing or a...?
[Kelly Bryson]: Usually, we do it every morning for an hour and a half.
[Angel Donovan]: Wow, so the person's in the middle for an hour and a half.
[Kelly Bryson]: No, no, no. People are in there anywhere from one minute to twenty minutes.
[Angel Donovan]: Okay, okay.
[Kelly Bryson]: Several people go in, you know.
[Angel Donovan]: Is it voluntary or do they get kind of chosen?
[Kelly Bryson]: Absolutely voluntary.
[Angel Donovan]: Oh, it sounds like a great growth tool.
[Kelly Bryson]: It's a wonderful tool. It's one of the most powerful community-building tools I've ever seen and it is the foundation for at least 13 potential communities that I know of in Europe. It's really the bedrock, the foundation of their trust and transparency, the communication with themselves and it does something a on a field level.
It resolves community issues, whatever they're dealing with whether it's a man/woman conflict, a freedom and closeness problem, emergence versus design issues, money issues, sacred economics. This is something that's come up a lot. So our forum processes tend to be around economics and that stuff in the field.
Whatever's up in the community field, we work on it. One person at a time takes on a part of it and the others piggy-back. So, after people get up in the middle and share some issue of process, other people have a chance to give mirrors. They reflect what they saw in the field. Maybe what they saw that didn't come out and help deepen, broaden their understanding of their own process where anyone gets to participate in the process.
[Angel Donovan]: Great, great thank you for that. It makes it a lot clearer when you describe it in those words. So one of the things that you mentioned, it was the best tool that you'd found over the years. So, I'd be interested what you're comparing it against. Like what other things do you look at over the years?
[Kelly Bryson]: To me, non-violent communication is the very best communication tool, dialogical, for dialogical purposes. This is the best community tool for a community to communication with itself. I would say NVC is to communication what Zegg Forum is to community building. They're both the best tools I've found but, for a little bit different purposes.
[Angel Donovan]: Great, one other things I'm is like as people get involved in this community...I've seen communities grown before and the people who get involved in the community start to drift away from the other communities they'd been in in their life where you know people around with them. Is that something that happens, tends to happen? I'm not saying it's a bad thing, it's just something.
[Kelly Bryson]: Yes and no. As people put more attention into their local tribes, naturally they have less time for other things but, there's no taboo on that. I love being connected with lots of different tribes. There are different things that I give out to different tribes and the interesting thing about New Culture tribes is that we bring back the technologies we learn from other tribes.
Where we invite people from other tribes to teach us. Recently, we invited the people from the next culture movement into the New Culture camps to teach us their processes called Possibility Management where they're...it comes out their tribe. So, there's a cross-pollination. It's very wonderful between the different tribes that have different debts consciousness about different subjects.
A little example would be like Findhorn. I image your familiar with Findhorn?
[Angel Donovan]: Do you say Denned Horn?
[Kelly Bryson]: Find. Findhorn.
[Angel Donovan]: No, I'm not aware.
[Kelly Bryson]: They're a large community in Scotland.
[Angel Donovan]: Okay.
[Kelly Bryson]: They're very spiritual but, they're not very evolved in their sexuality. So, they bring people from the Zegg community (which they're very evolved in their sexuality) to Findhorn to help increase their consciousness around it and the people from Findhorn who are very evolved in their spirituality go to Zegg and share what they're learning on the spiritual level with that community.
So, it's a wonderful kind of exchange program happening between the different communities and we steal, so to speak. We borrow from all these different communities whatever tribal technology we feel will help us.
[Angel Donovan]: Great, it sounds like a movement rather than something that's already been well-defined?
[Kelly Bryson]: I think so. I guess a quality of it is just what I'm talking about. We have no loyalty to any particular process. We just use whatever process helps us and different tools help us in different time in our development.
There's good ones coming from Thomas Hubl Sharing the Presence, Next Culture [inaudible] work, [inaudible]. There's a lot of good stuff coming out.
[Angel Donovan]: Great, thank you for that. So yeah, I think we've got a good idea about what the New Culture is about and thank you for introducing that which wasn't actually something I knew we were going to explore on this interview. So, it's always the most fun when we do these kinds of interviews.
So, changing gear a little bit and a few practical questions about non-violent communication so, people can kind of get that into their heads. What would be the first step to take for someone who's interested in learning it to start using it effectively.
[Kelly Bryson]: There's lots of stuff online. You can go to www.CNVC.org, Center for Non-Violent Communication and there are lots of resources. You can go to www.YouTube.com. There are lots of videos, wonderful video by Marshall Rosenberg. There are a couple of them by me and other people. Wonderful YouTube stuff.
There's also good material books. My book is called A Handbook for Non-Violent Communication. Marshal Rosenberg's book Non-Violent Communication and there are several good ones out right now all on non-violent communication.
There's plenty of audio CDs you can download, podcasts just to get you started but, really there's nothing like a little group to practice it in. It's like learning any language. It's better if you can learn with a local practice group sometime.
They're all over England. They're all over the US. You can look up on www.CNVC.org where the supporters are on.
[Angel Donovan]: Great thank you for that stack of resources. I was wondering, I mentioned earlier I found it a little bit tricky to get started with it because, it's nuanced in terms of the violent things we say. You have to kind of have this self-awareness of like, "Oh, that's another one of those nuanced violent words that I didn't think was violent but, I know it but, subconsciously..."
[Kelly Bryson]: Let me make a distinctions about something. The violence comes from the energy in the intention, not from the form of the word.
[Angel Donovan]: Okay.
[Kelly Bryson]: What energy and intention is behind it? I could tell you to go to hell with love and you'll get it because, my intention, my energy is supporting and caring about you or I could tell you to go to hell and my energy is very punishing and the intent behind it is to make you suffer and to bring pain for you then, I mean that makes a very different communication.
So, I say that communication is 20% form, 80% energy and intention. So, that makes a big difference. What's happening in my heart? Can I pay attention to how I'm feeling as I'm choosing, expressing these words. If I'm caught up in very punitive intention, I may need to stop and get myself empathy first or get it from somebody else first before continuing the interaction with somebody.
Or, if I'm noticing that I'm caught up in some angry punitive energy, I might humble myself and just ask directly for empathy. "Hey, I'm feeling very angry about what you did yesterday. It really did not meet my needs for respect. Partner Dear, what are you hearing this about for me? I need empathy."
[Angel Donovan]: Yeah, there was some examples packed in there. What I found was kind tricky with the wording. I understand perfectly what you say about the 80% is a feeling behind it. Let me know if you think this is true.
What I've kind of seen coaching guys over time is that I feel, especially when they first start out on this path to better themselves, to better this aspect of their lives, they're not as self-aware. It's a process of learning about themselves.
What I've seen in many cases, the ones who are a bit more challenged and they're taking more time to improve this area of their life is that they're not aware when they're being angry or they're not aware of when they're in a mood or offensive. I feel like sometimes, often in fact, it's easier to start with something like communication approach like NVC to take those first few steps because, it's very tangible.
It says, "Okay, this way of talking is more violent. This way of talking is non-violent and is going to get you better results. Then, I feel I mean that these kinds of tools actually engender a learning process of you becoming more aware of yourself through them just by a bit of process of using them. Does that make sense from your world and what you've seen over the years?
[Kelly Bryson]: Yes, very much so. Just being conscious of what is a judgement and what isn't a judgement. Being able to recognize that your consciousness can turn your attention to, "What energy am I coming from? What's going on with you." So yes, I think the tools can be very helpful to try to speak in a forum that has a non-violent intention.
Kind of like training wheels on a bicycle, they're very helpful. Where until you get the consciousness behind it. I mean yes, I'm all for supporting...
Let me give you a little tool. You said you like takeaways and things. Here's one little tool that helps me. I use this with men with men who have not practiced a lot identifying and articulating their feelings.
I would tell them, "Just look inside and ask yourself, are you feeling mad, sad, glad or scared. Mad, sad, glad or scared and often, even men who are shut down can identify if they're mad, sad, glad or scared.
I tell them that if they really are scared and they don't say it, they come across as being aggressive. Unexpressed fear looks like aggression and they can see how that works in their lives and they'll start being a more vulnerable person. Just ask them, "Am I scared or am I mad? Let me check."
If they'll put it out there, "Hey, I'm scared," ask them this, "Well, would you let me drive?" or whatever it is. It really helps. They'll see pretty quickly they get much better results than if they just say, "Can I drive?" and how aggressive that comes [inaudible].
So, the little tool is mad, sad, glad or scared. Just check in and see which one of those it is and be vulnerable and expressive as a starting point.
[Angel Donovan]: That's very helpful. You've really simplified it down just to four emotions and by doing that, it's a lot harder...and they're extreme so, it's a lot harder to recognize which box you're in. Great little tool. I'm guessing you still use that today?
[Kelly Bryson]: Yeah sure.
[Angel Donovan]: Okay great, great or MGSS? Do you call it MGSS or mad, glad...?
[Kelly Bryson]: No, I don't know that.
[Angel Donovan]: Okay no, I was just wondering like Mad, Glad, Sad...
[Kelly Bryson]: Oh, I see.
[Angel Donovan]: ...or Scared. You know just another way to remember it for people.
[Kelly Bryson]: There's another little one. I'll give you another anagram tool if you want.
[Angel Donovan]: Yeah absolutely.
[Kelly Bryson]: OFNR, I want you to do this practice more often. OFNR stands for Observation, Feeling, Need, Request. I try to use it more often. Make the observation. "When I see you leave the toilet seat down, I feel..." Then, I did my feelings, "...angry because, I'm needing respect and a drive bottom and I request, would you be willing to put the toilet seat down when you finish?" So OFNR.
[Angel Donovan]: That's great and then, that's actually the tool I learned and what I was going to say earlier is like, in live conversation, it's more challenging for me to start learning or something like that.
So, what I did when I was first using, I was using it mostly in emails, Skype, text, in situations that had become conflictual. That's where it gave a little bit more time to think about it and to get it right, basically instead of kind of half messing it up as I might have done if I'd just done it in the moment as when you're learning any tool.
Is that something you've seen that's been helpful for people, maybe writing or using non-verbal...? It's kind of like [inaudible] versus immediate live communication.
[Kelly Bryson]: I think it's easier when I have the time to look at what's really going on with me and articulate it in a way that's in line with my value. The more time I have, the better.
Sometimes, in a moment when it's spur of the moment and go up and I try to think, "What's the right NVC thing to say?" I leave authenticity, I leave my body, I leave my emotion, go up to my head and think about it. That can take me away from power of the energy I'm trying to express.
So, it can become quite kind of mental if I'm trying to do it from a technique place. So, it helps if I can understand that there's these observation, feeling, need, request ideas and not like try to do it right. Try to do it from my heart. Try to speak feelings, needs and requests intuitively from my heart without thinking about it. It was more authentic.
[Angel Donovan]: Great, thank you for that. So, this is a question we run by everyone and it's a bit more general. What advice do you give out to a lot of men and women in relationships that you think is ignored the most?
[Kelly Bryson]: Well, I think the thing that gets ignored a lot is the foundation for having a healthy love relationship going on which is in my mind again is to have a healthy little group of people, maybe just five people who come together and support each other and become empowered and helping each other with our different issues, things like that as a foundation. You get that going first, at least five people who are your supporters and then, go start dating and bring your date to your tribe and have everybody fall in love with her and support you in having a good relationship. So, the foundation for a healthy relationship is often ignored but, we need that family, that community first and then, intimate relationships are not so drama-filled.
[Angel Donovan]: Absolutely, absolutely. I'm definitely a big believer in tribes as well and we've had quite a few speakers coming from different perspectives to you but, they're all believing in that communities are more important, tribes are more important and then, obviously we've got a bit away from those in an independent society. I think men in particular seem to struggle with that today.
[Kelly Bryson]: Or there were families...long before there were families, there were tribes and by the way, just to be controversial, these tribes were generally speaking non-monogamous. We know that now because of DNA and looking at the bones of families of these tribes a long time ago.
[Angel Donovan]: I don't think it's so controversial on this podcast.
[Kelly Bryson]: Okay [inaudible].
[Angel Donovan]: Yeah, the audience has heard it a lot before but, it's great of you to bring it up and remind us.
[Kelly Bryson]: There's a good book on it called Sex at Dawn.
[Angel Donovan]: Oh yeah, of course Christopher Ryan yeah.
[Kelly Bryson]: When actually, what would happen is I see folks here in California and then Germany and people are given permission to follow their preferences, many of them will follow the preference of having more than one romantic love or sexual partner. It just happens if they have permission culturally and not to put pressure on anybody. It just kind of seems to be what happens when people have that permission.
[Angel Donovan]: Yeah, I can tell you that a lot of people I've met over time have moved towards that like the men will want to have more partners in general. Most men do however, they often struggle with how to not hurt the women involved. This is something that is like a conflict between what they feel they want naturally and they don't want to hurt the women.
[Kelly Bryson]: Two big things about this, number one there needs to be a consciousness that we don't really hurt each other. We are the catalysts for stuff coming up. We are detonator not the dynamite. That's one thing.
We're the stimulus, not the cause and we need to have that or else we feel so responsible for people's, we can have no responsivity to their pain. We feel guilty so we can't have empathy. So, it doesn't bother me so much if someone has some pain if I can really have an empathic, compassion connection to it. That's the one level.
That's the individual level but, on the tribal one, the field level, there is a place, there is a field of community consciousness where if jealousy, hurt feelings, drama doesn't even make sense anymore. We see how we do it to ourselves. We see it's the beliefs.
It's the what I tell myself it hurts me and then, you just can't do it to yourself anymore and sometimes in these fields, jealousy and all that drama just can't grow there. It can't get a foot hold there because, it's not a part of the consciousness of that field and it's hard to do this just on your own.
That's why I think it takes this kind of social emotional romantic enlightenment that can only happen as a group activity. Only a group I think can really realize this freedom and have healthy sexual and romantic relationships in the field of this self-responsibility and low drama, the absence of drama.
[Angel Donovan]: It's a great absence of drama. I used to be very obsessed with it 10 years ago. Actually, the exact conundrum I was discussing with you just then, the drama and guilt as you named.
So just on the guilt is the guilt about you versus the empathy is about them. Is there an easy way to explain this?
[Kelly Bryson]: Guilt comes when I tell myself I shouldn't have done what I did. I'm having compassion for myself and I'm not accepting reality. I'm not accepting what is.
Then the other thing is I tell myself this belief, this mass hysterical belief that we have the power to hurt each other. When I wink at Susie over here, that causes Jane on the other side of the room to go into deep and it's scared. It's insane.
[Angel Donovan]: It's interesting because, that feeds our ego, right, that behavior you just...?
[Kelly Bryson]: Kind of yeah. "I'm that powerful that I can wink at Susie and cause Jane to fall into a lot of pain." It's not very accurate. The truth is I am the stimulus. "Yes, I did wink. What's my intention. Did I intend to create pain for Jane over here or was my intention just to express some affection towards Susie?"
[Angel Donovan]: Great, thank you, thank you that was a good definition. Okay, so what are the biggest objections you've come across to your advice. I'm just wondering if there's like some people you come across with [inaudible]?
[Kelly Bryson]: A lot of people disagree with what I'm just saying, "You don't cause each other pain. That when I wink at Susie, it does cause Jane pain and therefore, I'm responsible for it."
[Angel Donovan]: Right.
[Kelly Bryson]: There's a whole world of word drama. Consciousness, perpetrator, rescuer, victim, it pretty much has a big foothold on our culture right now and a lot of people would be very upset with me suggesting otherwise.
[Angel Donovan]: That sounds very much like talking about boundaries. We've often had that topic. We've had polyamorous. We talk about boundaries and other people. It sounds very much like it's about just I'm responsible for myself, you're responsible for yourself, having a clearer boundary between you.
[Kelly Bryson]: I would say a little different language would be, "Can I maintain my center and can you maintain your center or do you give your center away to me and try to make me responsible for what you're telling yourself. Trying to make me responsible for your decision to hold yourself out and be caught up in the idea of you being the victim of what's happening.
[Angel Donovan]: Thanks, thanks for that. It's helpful. Okay, rounding off the interview. Thank you so much for time Kelly. Where is the best place people can connect with you and learn more about your work?
[Kelly Bryson]: Just go to my website www.LanguageofCompassion.com of they could email [email protected]
[Angel Donovan]: Excellent, yeah direct communication is always the best. Are you on Twitter at all or anywhere like that?
[Kelly Bryson]: I'm on Twitter. I'm also on Skype. People can call me. We can do Skype sessions sometimes if the technology's working.
[Angel Donovan]: Yeah, not 100% today.
[Kelly Bryson]: I will be in the US up to May and then in May, I'll be in Europe but, there's lots of good information out there. There's more coming up all the time.
So, there is something beyond polyamory that is really very exciting to me. It's not about the old agreement thing. It's more on consciousness than agreement and boundaries. It's an evolutionary step up and you're in control. You can control a lot.
[Angel Donovan]: Were you polyamorous before? Was that one of your kind of steps?
[Kelly Bryson]: I was exploring the polyamorous culture in California but, I could see that it didn't really meet my needs for consciousness in love. Pretty much the old types of love, the old kinds of games but now, you're doing it with a multiple of people which just makes it for a multiple train wreck.
[Angel Donovan]: Yeah, was that a learning step for you also?
[Kelly Bryson]: Sure. I could learn a train wreck.
[Angel Donovan]: Okay, okay so who besides yourself would you recommend for high quality advice in this area, dating, sex, relationships, the whole area?
[Kelly Bryson]: Let me see, well there's some guy named Reid Mihalko.
[Angel Donovan]: Oh yeah.
[Kelly Bryson]: You know Reid?
[Angel Donovan]: Yeah, he's been on here before.
[Kelly Bryson]: Oh he has? That's fun. You know, [inaudible] down in San Diego a wonderful teacher very well known in this whole are of I call it New Culture relationships. People of that community, Ian [inaudible] are wonderful teachers in relationships they live in Germany. [inaudible]. There are a lot of New Culture practitioners in the US now but on the east and west coast.
[Angel Donovan]: Thank you so much for those references. Really good, it helps people to further explore the topic as well. So, what would be your top three recommendations to men who are starting out with relationships, dating, sex, this whole area of their lives and saying they have no knowledge and they're kind of just starting on their journey? What would be your top three tips to them.
[Kelly Bryson]: I'd say number one, find a couple books that really start the process of waking up, right? Eckhart Tolle's books and The Future of Love is a beautiful book about it.
I have another book called The Marriage of Sex and Spirit. There's a whole bunch of authors that wrote an anthology together which is good. Start with that. Sex at Dawn, read a little bit and find some friends who resonate and you can talk to about it and be a support to you about it and then, as you go out dating, you might people more aligned with what you're really looking for.
Also I'd say, be really transparent up front with the people by what you really want once you're clear about what you want in your love life and your relationship. Start with that so that the person [inaudible] just say, "Yes, I'm on board," or "No, that doesn't fit for me," rather than spending so much time months and weeks dating and then finding our you're not a fit.
Also, I have a last recommendation is that you know this connection thing that where I got so focused just on the women. I find out later I can also have that same certain quality of soulful connection with men that meets a lot of needs so that I'm not so hungry and needy. I can come to women in a more casual place and a more grounded place, a more playful place.
Then, it seems to work a lot better. The connection works a lot better when I'm not so desperately hungry for a connection. You can get your connection needs met somewhere and then, go fishing so to speak.
[Angel Donovan]: I think that's an excellent piece of advice that a lot of guys don't think about. The guys who struggle the most in this life, they also have a smaller social circle and friends and people who they can talk to directly as you know, you've been transparent and so on, have the types of conversations they want to.
So you know, I find often one of the good first steps to start working on it is like developing their social circle, meeting people that they can relate to properly and so on and makes them a lot more comfortable with women, a lot less nervous, a lot less anxious on those kind of things. Great, great, great point.
[Kelly Bryson]: They need to find social circles that value transparency not just mental talk but, they really value being authentic and open-hearted with each other. If you can't find one, make one up. You can just invent it. Start an honesty salon of your own.
[Angel Donovan]: Absolutely, absolutely great point. Okay, thank you so much for your time and it's been a great discussion.
[Kelly Bryson]: It's been really nice for me too Angel. Thank you so much.
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DSR Podcast is a weekly podcast where Angel Donovan seeks out and interviews the best experts he can find from bestselling authors, to the most experienced people with extreme dating lifestyles. The interviews were created by Angel Donovan to help you improve yourself as men - by mastering dating, sex and relationships skills and get the dating life you aspire to.
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