Peter Ulrik Jensen
Peter Ulrik Jensen is a university-educated theologian and has served as protestant priest in the Lutheran faith for a number of years. He went through a crisis and met Nonviolent Communication (NVC) in 2010. NVC inspired him and gave him a new look on the church and its purpose. Here is Peter’s story, in his own words.
In 2004, I felt stuck and nearly depressed. I had worked as priest for a couple of years and felt empty of life. I tried to solve it intellectually, but I could not and did not know what to do. So I quit the church and started a journey “from scratch.” I went through many explorations, and in 2010, I encountered NVC. The idea of relating directly to feelings and needs spoke to me! I felt whole, life-connected, joyful. I found out more about NVC, joined a local practice group, and experienced the power of empathic listening. I also realised that learning the principles of NVC is one thing, and another is to live it — it takes time and effort to change unconscious habits. Since then, NVC has kept being an “engine of change” for me; it is the most powerful practice I have met.
I live in a daily environment where most people relate only indirectly to feelings and needs and seem to prefer that. Formal kindness, or pressure, appears to be how desired change is achieved. It affects me, and I often unconsciously shift to the same thinking. In that environment, conflict and problems are openings, chances to come back to oneself, to heal through self-compassion and self-connection. When people experience what NVC can do to help a process like that, they sometimes want more of that quality in their lives and want to learn NVC. Other times, “normal” life takes over again. I realise the importance of peers and practice community when learning NVC, and the importance of a trainer who can help keep a consequent focus on feelings and needs and offer words. And yet again, I enjoy thinking that every time I choose and manage an empathic approach, it makes a difference for myself and others.
Sometime after I met NVC in 2010, I began to think that the connection with life that NVC helped me to see, must have been what also Jesus Christ saw and worked for — life as “flow of life” source, to live directly from there. I resumed studying the Bible and looked at what I had learned at university from this new angle. It all opened up and came alive. I felt truly inspired and wanted to now bring this back to the church. In 2014, I started serving as priest again.
My vision is to inspire the church to become again the “power place” that it was in the beginning. A place for compassion, connection and transformation. I am continuously in the process of finding out how this can be facilitated. Part of it is to address and explore obstacles at the level of beliefs and interpretations. I myself sometimes get stuck in conflicts between modern life and religious beliefs where I just can’t harmonize it. Or I meet others who feel stuck. Here again, empathic, non-judgmental listening is really helpful for clarity, relief, and transformation.
I believe that empathic listening and connection with needs can dissolve any inner and outer conflict.
I have visions of a future and share the visions of the Center for Nonviolent Communication (CNVC). I also very carefully refer to CNVC in present situations I find myself in at any time — in order to avoid idealism that in my experience easily can become a new form of pressure. I want to live what I dream of here. The richness of connection now with people I meet is what drives me.
For Danish Speakers
If you speak Danish, please visit the Danish NVC organisation, Livkom, and read about Danish trainers.
“NVC is about connecting with inner life — that’s what we aim for. The aim is not to change anything or reconstruct ourselves, or ‘get it right.’ Not solution, just connection. When what is alive is seen, there is relief — and a solution will appear.”
- Conflict Transformation
- Counseling and Therapy
- Leadership (including organizational culture and executive coaching)
- Spirituality and Inner Work