My epiphany was really so simple.
I came up with the idea for CVN in 2001 when I realized there were certain types of people with whom I seemed to always be in conflict. I recognized the same the pattern in practically everyone I knew. I noticed that some people got what they wanted in ways that I objected to, while others allowed themselves to be bullied or belittled. The pattern was painfully familiar:
Get angry about something...attack 'them' or make our case...blame the other person for not understanding us... show and tell them or anyone who would listen why we were right and "evil-they" were wrong...tell them what they needed to do differently...watch them get angry in return....until eventually someone would give up or move on. It never worked and it wasn't very satisfying. I was tired of fighting so I tried something new.
So, I began ignoring most of what was being said. I started listening for why it was being said.
AND I didn't just listen to why the other person was saying what they were saying; I actually listened to myself better too! I discovered that I was not being fully honest about why things mattered to me.
When I started to understand and respect the other person's core value without losing touch with my own, things began to change in all my conflicts (with partners, with co-workers, with friends, with family, with people who had different political or religious or other beliefs). I'm not saying there was no more conflict in my life, but the conflicts were no longer stagnant, repetitive and draining.
I became aware that the conflicts that continued in the old pattern were with people who wanted conflict to continue. For whatever reason, they were either unwilling to be honest about what mattered most to them or trying to "win" at all costs, including their own integrity. They wanted something I could never give them.
Over the past twenty years, I've had the opportunity to work with and lead men's groups from all races, walks of life, religions and political stripes. If you don't think men can be argumentative, contentions and sometimes dangerous to work with then I assume you live on a different planet from the one I do.
My experience has provided me ample opportunities to test this process out on unsuspecting victims (aka friends, family, co-workers, clients) in large and small groups and....it works! To date no one reports back feeling as if they had lost anything from the process or been taken advantage of in any way! That in itself is quite a miracle.
I believe this process can, quite literally, save the world at a time when transcending our conflicts may be the only way our species survives.