A MNV Moderator's Musings
As a moderator, I see my role as one of holding a safe space for the group and each person who has bravely brought themselves to the table that evening. Personally, I don't like to be pigeon holed as a one issue person or to be stereotyped in any way, based on my age, gender, or where I grew up. With this in mind, I come to the table sharing the same sense of openness and inclusion for everyone that I would wish for myself.
That said, sometimes I find myself speaking 'carefully' when it's my question. Balancing my thoughts, beliefs and principals. As I learned from a recent table, we often find ourselves, within our three minute response, constructing and tempering our thoughts so they come out in a way that's not offensive or incendiary. Because we all want to be heard. Maybe this is a very intended consequence of the listening exercise - we learn to frame our deep and passionate beliefs in ways that can be heard by those whom we live with, in this community.
In this regard, My Neighbor's Voice is a real personal growth point. It gives me a place to break bread with new friends and to truly consider opposing sides of an issue which I might have completely dismissed. I may not change my belief but for a portion of time, I have weighed and considered another viewpoint. I have heard how and why someone else thinks differently from me about something that is common to our human existence in this country and on our planet. This is my most fascinating take away from the MNV tables.
One of the best parts of the practice is, we listen seven, eight or sometimes, 10 times more than we speak in any given round. I think this is the greatest challenge. To weigh various opinions and facts that are presented. And then, we remain still and listen some more.