Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Support for the Gratitude Binge

This morning I received a wonderful gift in my email from my dear friend Juli... poem by Rumi:

the net of gratitude

giving thanks for abundance
is sweeter than the abundance itself
should one who is absorbed with the Generous One
be distracted by the gift?
thankfulness is the soul of beneficence;
abundance is but the husk,
for thankfulness brings you to the place where
the Beloved lives.
abundance yields heedlessness;
thankfulness brings alertness:
hunt for bounty with the net of gratitude.

Friday, March 24, 2006

From E-mail to "G"-mail...

My new morning ritual in my spiritual practice is to read my e-mail, working to receive the feelings and needs of the sender and then responding to them from the heart. Framing it as a spiritual practice has moved email, the chore, to "G"-mail! That's "Gratitude mail" or "Generative mail". After all, email at the root level is a strategy for connection, right?

I begin with my intention: what are my hopes and dreams as I open my laptop and log on? What needs am I fulfilling? I want to pay attention to the presence of any demand energy within me that says I "have to" do anything related to this practice. If I notice that, I want to train myself to pause in self-empathy, connecting with the deeper feelings needs under the surface of the "have to" thoughts. I want to savor the life behind that demand energy, than choose once again, opening my self to the vast possibilities of how I might want to move forward in this moment.

If "G"-mail is alive in me, I want to move there with an openness to connect. Scanning through the inbox, who calls to me?

Reading the first mail, imagining what this person looks like as they wrote it, reaching out with empathy across cyberspace and time to connect with another human being who has chosen to send me a "love note", an offering of connection or gratitude, all with the potential to contribute to someone's well being. I have seen and felt the power of words delivered to my inbox. Some "G"-mail moves me to laughter, others, to tears, a few to despair. I want to savor the feelings and needs that come alive in me as I connect.

If the "G"-mail I'm reading ends on a clear and present request, I am likely to respond immediately. Otherwise, I choose to either "let it go", silently thanking the person for considering to include me, or I "flag" it for later response. I usually tuck all received "G"-mails into folders in case I want to re-connect later.

When responding to "G"-mails, I am working to begin with whole-hearted, sincere gratitude, wondering and connecting with what need or needs of mine have been met in relation to this email, either right now in the present moment, or echoing from the past into the present. I start by expressing this gratitude, imagining in my minds eye the person on the receiving end of the "G"-mail savoring with me how they have contributed to my well-being. I tell them specifically what they have done that contributed to me, what need of mine they helped me to meet, and how I feel about it right now. I move from this resourceful space into the body of my g-mail, expressing with honesty what is alive in me, perhaps related to my unmet needs, ending on a clear and present request.

Then, I want to train myself to stop, if even for a moment, to savor. My intention was to meet my need for contribution when I pressed "SEND". I want to feel that feeling that comes with intending to contribute to another's well being. From this space of generative empathy for myself and others, I scan my needs, and choose once again...

And, in this moment, I am imagining you reading this, hoping that it has contributed to your well-being. Would you be willing to let me know by making a "Comment" or writing to me at

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

INTL PEACEMAKER Receives Major Award, Leads Local Workshops
by Bay Area Nonviolent Communication

International Peacemaker Marshall Rosenberg is receiving a Bridge of Peace Award from the Global Village Foundation in Los Angeles just before he arrives in the Bay Area next week.
Presenting the award to Dr. Rosenberg will be Michael Nagler, founder of the Peace and Conflict Studies Center at UC Berkeley.
Following the award ceremony, Marshall Rosenberg will make a rare visit to the San Francisco Bay Area to present workshops open to the general public, March 28th through April 2nd.

International Peacemaker Marshall Rosenberg is receiving a Bridge of Peace Award from the Global Village Foundation in Los Angeles just before he arrives in the Bay Area next week.

Presenting the award to Dr. Rosenberg will be Michael Nagler, founder of the Peace and Conflict Studies Center at the University of California, Berkeley, and author of Is There No Other Way? The Search for a Nonviolent Future.

Following the award ceremony, Marshall Rosenberg will make a rare visit to the San Francisco Bay Area to present workshops open to the general public, March 28th through April 2nd.

"No army is able to prevent terrorists from poisoning our streams or fouling the air. We are getting to a point where our best protection is to communicate with the people we're most afraid of."
- Marshall Rosenberg

Dr. Rosenberg will be leading workshops on overcoming prejudice, healing emotional pain, and improving relationships.

These workshops will take place March 28-31 in Oakland at the Lake Merritt United Methodist Church, 1330 Lakeshore Avenue, and April 1-2 in San Francisco at the Women's Building, 3543 18th Street.

Through Dr. Rosenberg's work, thousands around the world have found new avenues to peace--within their families and communities, in schools, prisons, and between warring factions in some of the most violent places on earth.

Rwanda, Nigeria, Burundi, Croatia, Serbia, Russia, Ireland, Thailand, Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan, Israel, and Palestine are examples of countries where Dr. Rosenberg's nonviolent communication (NVC) is taught.

"We have lived traumatic moments over and over again--moments of fear and panic, incomprehension, frustrations, disappointment, and injustice of all sorts, with no hope of escape--which made it even worse. The NVC process offers us a peaceful alternative for ending this interminable Rwandan conflict."
- Theodore Nyilidandi, Rwandan Dept. of Foreign Affairs; Kigali, Rwanda

This event is sponsored by Bay Area Nonviolent Communication (BayNVC) a nonprofit organization in Oakland which offers ongoing classes in Dr. Rosenberg's nonviolent communication process throughout the Bay Area.

BayNVC also facilitates programs such as the Restorative Justice Project at San Quentin and other area prisons and jails, and the global Peaceful Families, Peaceful World Project, supporting families in living with compassion and connection.

All contributions go toward furthering Dr. Rosenberg's work. Online registration is available at

SOURCE OF MARSHALL ROSENBERG QUOTE IN THIS NEWS RELEASE (article discussing Restorative Justice; gives a good introduction to Marshall Rosenberg)




"Marshall Rosenberg provides us with the most effective tools to foster health and relationships. Nonviolent communication connects soul to soul . . . It is the missing element in what we do."
- Deepak Chopra, author, Ageless Body and Timeless Mind

To read more about what Deepak Chopra has said about Marshall Rosenberg:

Article republished from

Monday, March 20, 2006

Greetings, Friends,
As you may have heard, CNVC is moving toward adopting a sociocratic governance model, which relies on sociocratic circles to make many decisions. If you would like to help create the New Mexico circle, would you be willing to reply with the best dates for you for a 4 hour meeting in April or May?
I am predicting that creating a circle will meet needs of inclusion, community, connection, and be a powerful impetus for creating social change in New Mexico.
I would like to host and facilitate a meeting at my house in Albuquerque with the aim of creating a circle and electing a representative to CNVC, although we can make provisions to include folks on a conference call or internet connection as well. I will inform readers of the various yahoo groups and my blog about the time and date of the initial meeting. In order to meet a need for inclusion, If you know of other NVC leaders who are not connected to any of the lists noted below, would you be willing to inform them of my requests?

PS the Albuquerque IIT continues to fill quickly. If you intend to come, I suggest you apply soon.
PPS for more information on sociocracy, see:


Wednesday, March 15, 2006

It's Official!

According to the Tico Times, Oscar Arias has been declared the winner in Costa Rica's recent Presidential election. President Arias is a friend of the Peace Army of Costa Rica and familiar with NVC. His presidency offers an extraordinary window of opportunity to bring peace to the forefront of discussion among the people of the planet. I'd like you to consider how you can use Arias' election to further the cause of peace and social justice in your neighborhood, as well as support the Peace Army and the Center for Nonviolent Communication in our continuing efforts to promote the values of peaceful resolution of conflict and attention to basic human needs as a strategy to contribute to peace.

Oscar Arias Declared Costa Rica's New President
On starting a Practice Group...and some feedback and celebration
reprinted with Mary Ann's permission

Hi Jim,

Questions: I meant to ask you when I saw you on 3/11,
but forgot in the thick of the workshop: what is the
minimum number of members that you would suggest for
starting a practice group? Including me, there are now
5 potential members for a Santa Monica/WLA practice
group that would meet on the weekend, or at times
other than the Wednesday eve group.

Jim: Five is a luxury! I have heard of practice groups from 2-20. My experience tells me that 6-8 offers an ideal range. Having 100% attendance each week by all participants is unlikely, so a few more is better than a few less...

I thought it a good idea to have all the members meet with you
together once we commit to the process. Is that what
you would suggest?

Jim: Sounds like fun! I wonder if we could have a potluck followed by about 90-120 minutes of "meeting" time...

Comments: I also wanted to tell you: the insult I
brought to the practice group you facilitated at Wild
Oats in Santa Monica was a parking lot issue. I don't
recall whether I told the group that, but that was
exactly the situation. I didn't get a love note on my
car, I got reamed by another yoga student, a defender
of parking lot justice as represented by those
sometimes extremely narrowly drawn white lines. What
ever happened to the positive view of doing things
"outside of the box"? :-P

Jim: I'm smiling as I read this...meets my need for empathy and understanding, as well as compassion and humor! Sounds like your love note was more like a singing telegram! (I am guessing "reaming" means he/she spoke in a voice louder than you enjoyed and projected an intensity of emotional energy outside of your tolerance zone in that moment, yes?)

More workshop feedback: BTW because the workshop felt
so special and alive to me, I would have appreciated,
and request for the future, a 10 min break before the
closing check-in/comments, so that basic bathroom
needs don't get in the way of fully being present and
savoring the experience. It could even be done in
contemplative silence, but that was just an
afterthought I had now. I appreciated the freedom to
take care of my own needs throughout the workshop, but
wanted more ceremony around the closing.

Jim: I feel grateful hearing this feedback. Seems like it could work as part of the written feedback process. Something like, "As you're working on your feedback, feel free to check with your body and address any needs it might have before we move into our closing process..." What do you think?

I learned a lot during and since the workshop through
paying attention to my thoughts, recognizing the needs
underneath, and responding more compassionately to
them (me), and to others, even in my own mind as I
replay various scenes. If your April Radical
Compassion is on the weekend, I plan to attend.

Jim: I love hearing your expression of integration! And I feel happy hearing you want to play and learn some more on April Fool's Day, Saturday April 1!

Enjoy your time in ABQ.

Jim: I will endeavor to...

Namaste to you and to Jori,
Sat nam


Monday, March 13, 2006

Dear Jim and Jori,

I read your article with great interest and the impact of introducing NVC into your mediation.

I’m originally from London but recently emigrated to Toronto, Canada and in the process of re-defining my career to reflect my passion for bringing about change in human behaviour. Self-improvement and accelerated learning techniques and tools fill me with excitement.

This past summer I obtained my NLP Practitioner Certification and this weekend I will take a foundation course in NVC.

I have a question regarding NLP/NVC... how, specifically, have you integrated both in your mediation? Did you complete NLP certification prior to mediation work? What were your thoughts on how NLP would assist you/business? Without NVC would your relationships (personal/business) be as rewarding? What tips would you give for successful use of NLP/NVC? (in business context)

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Warm regards,

Hi, Claudia-Mara,

Your question about integration is complicated. I had been studying NLP for more than a decade before becoming a mediator, so I came to mediation with NLP in my bones. I would say that at first, I integrated mediation into NLP, mostly by understanding modeling, "the map is not the territory", "Systemic thinking", and "positive intention", as well as the importance of being capable of moving through "position", ie first position, second position, etc. Robert Dilts was my main teacher.
NVC, clarified the positive intention piece like a bright light bulb illuminating my heart and mind. The "aha" that our needs motivate every behavior. NVC also creates a structure and focus that supports the mediation process by cultivating connection between me and the participants, me and my co-mediator and between the participants. NVC also supports me in remaining open to outcome and clear on the power of needs to inform strategies of resolution.

As for the rewarding question, I do not know how to answer that one. Sounds like you are hungry to create more meaning and connection?

As for tips, I would recommend the daily practice of NVC, bringing the process and the consciousness to every activity. Keep returning to the fundamental question of NVC...what is the need that is present in this moment? For you? For the other? For the system? As we connect with the need and its inherent beauty through a process of celebration (gratitude and mourning), our consciousness will naturally be guided to requests/strategies in the service of those needs.

I wonder how you feel reading this?


Note: Permission was obtained from the letter writer before including it here in this blog!

Friday, March 10, 2006

I feel deeply saddened by the death of Tom Fox.

Another apparently senseless death in a worthless war.


CPT Release: We Mourn the Loss of Tom Fox

10 March 2006
     In grief we tremble before God who wraps us with compassion. The death of our beloved colleague and friend pierces us with pain. Tom Fox’s body was found in Baghdad yesterday.
     Christian Peacemaker Teams extends our deep and heartfelt condolences to the family and community of Tom Fox, with whom we have traveled so closely in these days of crisis.
     We mourn the loss of Tom Fox who combined a lightness of spirit, a firm opposition to all oppression, and the recognition of God in everyone.
     We renew our plea for the safe release of Harmeet Sooden, Jim Loney and Norman Kember. Each of our teammates has responded to Jesus’ prophetic call to live out a nonviolent alternative to the cycle of violence and revenge......[MORE]
Contact: Dr. Doug Pritchard, CPT Co-Director 416-423-5525 (Canada)
               and Rev. Carol Rose, CPT Co-Director
               Kryss Chupp, 773-277-0253 (USA)
Tom Fox reflection: "Why are we here?" written the day before the abduction
CPT Iraq Statement of Conviction signed by Tom Fox in March 2005

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

The Gospel According to James

Almost 30 years ago, I received a bachelor's degree in Mass Communication from the Henry Grady School of Journalism at the University of Georgia. I am grateful for that education, for it helped me develop some critical thinking skills that continue to serve me today when it comes to filtering the messages I receive through the media.

I remember thinking then that the news seemed so "negative", focusing on crime, despair, war, pillage, conflict and strife. Back then, you really had to dig to find some "good news".

Well, now in the 21st century, data mining is easy. With the help of I can receive inspiring stories based on whatever keywords I'd like. Links to the news stories from media outlets and blogs around the planet arrive effortlessly in my inbox each day.

I'd like to share some of this good news with you today, and hear from you if this meets your needs!



From the Chicago Tribune: Free Registration Required: Firms gain edge with sustainable products


2005: A Tipping Point for Sustainability?

Basic Human Needs:

UN Assembly President hails Nobel peace laureates’ support for Human Rights Council

And finally, can anyone help me understand what needs of our President are motivating his decision to "Say No to Mediation in Kasmir"?

Monday, March 06, 2006

Greetings, Friends,

We've been in California for 2 months now.  Wow, that sounds odd to my ears!  My mind wants to say, "No way have you been there for 2 months!," yet a simple look at the calendar confirms the observation.  I feel surprised!

I'm looking at this period of time as a "second lap", and my intention is to integrate and act upon what I learned in my first lap.

One of my favorite phrases from Colombian NVC trainer Jorge Rubio is "Advocate for your Universe!"  What this means to me is to stay in touch with my needs on an ongoing basis, then when I am in touch with an unmet need, to enter into "request energy", opening myself to connect with ways I can meet the unmet need, right now.

One of my mournings from my first lap was a sense of loneliness and longing for connection, specifically with male friends.  Back in Albuquerque I often meet that need through playing disc golf with my friend, River.  I haven't found anyone yet in LA who likes to play disc golf, but my friend Gary enjoys walking in the park.  Playing disc golf is an elaborate walk in the park.  Walking with Gary meets almost all of the same needs (there is a way that disc golf also meets a need for fun, so I remain open as to how to include that need more deeply).  

So, the other day when I noticed this feeling and need emerge, I called Gary and about an hour later, we were enjoying a wonderful walk in La Crescenta park.

So, my intention is to stay connected with myself, with ever-increasing awareness, and to open myself to ways to meet my emerging needs, right now.

i feel curious to hear how you feel reading that.  Feel free to post a comment, as that would meet my need for connection and understanding...

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Greetings, friends,

The webcast has just concluded and I'm feeling inspired to hear of how NVC is being used for restorative justice in Brazil, Senegal, Seattle, Santa Cruz, and San Quentin. I am happy and deeply grateful that NVC work continues in our local jail, thanks to the efforts of Peter Ennen, Steve Tumolo, and Michael Polera. If you know of ways NVC is being used for restorative justice in New Mexico, or anywhere else, I'd love to hear about it!


You can catch the webcast at your convenience:

Webcast: NVC and Restorative Justice

Friday, March 03, 2006

Nobel Peace Prize winner Oscar Arias is to become Costa Rica's president for the second time, after his rival in a close-fought election conceded defeat.