“Empathy lies in our ability to be present without opinion.” Marshall Rosenberg
That quote is particularly meaningful for me when trying to find the third road regarding Standing Rock. I have an opinion, and so find the road might be a little harder. There is a nice summary of what is going on here.
In a nutshell, a pipeline is being built by Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners through four states to move oil taken from oil fields in North Dakota to Illinois. The pipeline would travel under the Missouri River which is the primary source of drinking water for the Standing Rock Sioux. The tribe doesn’t want the pipeline based on fears about their water supply as well as sacred burial sites that the pipeline would traverse.
Construction was begun in 2014 without all of the necessary permits needed, a risk the ETP decided to take. The Standing Rock Sioux don’t believe they were adequately consulted during the permitting process, a federal regulation. Presently the tribe is fighting the pipeline both in court and with protests.
During this time activists have destroyed equipment and the Governor has called in the National Guard. Frustration is evident on both sides. Let’s see where the third road takes us.
“The Wasichu who clearly haven’t evolved will go all the way to appease their corporate gods up and til the voices have been silenced and the water is wholly polluted!! Power to the Natives as this is Their land — pathetic that history is doomed to repeat itself.”
I am so angry. I want to be heard. I want to be considered. I want to trust my drinking water will be safe. I want understanding that there is a history to this story and consider it. I want to believe we can do something different this time.
“This is everyone’s land we’re all Human Beings.”
“When the elders which are the law on the RES sold the rights to the pipeline what the younger one’s are doing is breaking the law.”
I’m frustrated because I want respect for our elders.
“We could boycott big oil. Need to think of ways and share. And if you own oil shares in 401K or other sell off get out of it.”
I’m hopeful we can figure this out. I want more choice about our energy decisions. I’m longing for us to come together and solve this.
“This has been anything but peaceful.”
I’m angry and want understanding about how I see this. I want us all to see this the same way, have the same understanding about what is going on.
“Once they start burning tires it no longer was or is a peaceful protest.”
I’m frustrated and want people to have some integrity and consistency about the idea of a peaceful protest.
“Protestors are being shot bit and injured from the police when all they are doing is praying how would you like if a cop came into your house shot and told you to get out just like all these protestors.”
I’m so angry! I want some fairness! I want to see law enforcement respond in a way that fits the situation. I want some understanding about how unfair I think this whole situation is.
“I live here and they are breaking the law and destroying property, anything but being peaceful.”
I’m frustrated and want some consideration of my viewpoint. I’m here seeing it. I want some integrity in the use of peaceful protest.
“What law are they breaking and the land is theirs.”
I’m confused! I want some clarity on how they are breaking the law and some understanding that they own the land.
“Destroying WHAT property??? Sacred oil pipeline sites taken by force.”
I’m frustrated that people don’t understand the destruction I see.
“This is what happens when we do not submit to our corporate overlords! The U.S.A. is no longer ours! We gave it away by continually electing the same corrupt politicians.”
I’m so frustrated and want to trust that my country is still my country. I want some support. I want different elected officials that I can trust.
“This could be solved amicably simply by re-routing the pipeline around their sacred land. Why the heck can’t they do that? I thought bullying was against the law???”
I’m frustrated that no effort seems to be made to solve this. I really want to understand why the pipeline company doesn’t seem to be trying to work this out. I want to trust that everyone is treated equally under the law.
As we can see, there is a lot of anger and frustration. People are wanting consideration, understanding, equity, consistency and integrity. I believe by following the third road, we can find the place where we all get our needs met.
Photos are screen shots from YouTube
Heather Schlessman, PhD is a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner who has spent her career either working with or teaching about families. She is also a mother who, like so many other parents, spent years muddling her way raising 3 wonderfully different children, one who happens to be experiencing a disability. Fortunately she has a life partner who muddled along with her. Spending most of her time trying to be perfect, as that would be the safest way to live, she became aware of a desire to be able to see people in a more compassionate way. Little did she know that the person she needed the most compassion for was herself. There is a saying that when you are ready to learn a teacher will appear, and so it was for Dr. Schlessman. She was introduced to the work of Dr. Marshall Rosenberg, the developer of Nonviolent Communication, and her world completely changed. She learned a way to have an intimate connection with herself and others, a way to truly contribute. Her passion now is to help others find their way to a more compassionate life. You can find more of Dr. Schlessman’s empathic expressions along with her husband’s, Rev. Mark Schlessman on their website.