Monday, July 31, 2006

Greetings, Friends,

I'm happy that our son Jiva is "home" with us this summer, working with International Projects at CNVC. This summer break for him from his Master's degree studies at the European University for Peace Studies seems like a win-win strategy for both Jiva and CNVC.

Today CNVC received a letter from someone asking about NVC and the current crisis in Israel and Lebanon. The task of responding ended up on Jiva's desk, and he shared it with me. Here's an excerpt of the letter and Jiva's response:

I would really like to know what people in the NVC world are thinking and
feeling about the current situation in Lebanon. Mostly what we hear in the
news is condemnation of Israel for its disproportionate use of force, which
is justifiable. I cannot help judging the Israeli government as taking
action which is unlikely to meet anyone's needs, not even their own.
Hizbollah also is being judged, because they are prepared to threaten the
security and peace of Israeli citizens to advance their cause, as well as
risking the peace and lives of Lebanese. I want to see justice for
Palestinian people, who have had to live in the most terrible conditions. I
want to see Israelis able to live in peace and not pawns in the power games
of those with various interests in the region. I want to see people able to
transcend history and tribe in order to advance the interests and needs of
all people living in the region. Demonstrating against Israel or anyone else
for that matter, does not address any of this, and is counterproductive. How
can we grow a new kind of demonstration, that is positive in intent, that
seeks to unite all who love peace and value the common humanity of all - and
which is at the same time not naive, but cognisant of the strong feelings
and complex issues involved and able to acknowledge and work with that. Who
is doing anything to advance such a cause?


Dear Concerned,

It sounds like you are really mourning what is going on in Israel and Lebanon right now. Sounds like some of the responses that you've heard in the news have stimulated some frustration, anger, and sadness, because your needs for harmony, mutuality, and peace are not being met through current strategies of diplomats and peaceworkers on all sides. I'm also hearing a deep sense of caring and compassion, and it sounds like you are really needing to contribute in ways that will be meaningful to you and to all of those affected by the current violence. Is that right? Is there anything else alive in you around this?

I also feel deep sadness as I hear stories of the escalating violence and suffering each day in the region. At times, I feel hopeless, helpless, and alone, really wishing for a world in which people were more willing to meet needs in mutually life-enriching and peaceful ways. Personally I have many friends, mainly Palestinian and Israeli, who are now surrounded by more violence than ever, and I feel very afraid and helpless as I reflect on what they are going through. I am also wanting to see new approaches to nonviolent resolution that go beyond the norms of protest, which as you said, seem counterproductive, at best, most of the time. But I feel a surge of excitement reading your email, knowing that there are others out there who are wanting to approach and develop creative, life-serving strategies for building unity, peace, and love. I want to let you know that I hear about new developments around this every day, and feel very hopeful that if we all coordinate our actions and work together, we can contribute to creating a world to which we all want to belong.

As far as I know, there is no presence of NVC in Lebanon at this time. In Israel, we have many supporters and independent trainers working to bring the skills of NVC to the region (you can find their contact information on the CNVC website). We also have many other supporters in the region, including in Palestine, Iran, and the United Arab Emirates. CNVC is also working to build relationships with other organizations committed to nonviolence and conflict resolution, and so I am very open to hearing any information about what you know is going on there. Similarly, CNVC is reaching out to people in areas that are highly affected by violence, including the Middle East, and organizing support for special sessions with Marshall devoted to social change. For example, CNVC has recently supported a small group from Iraq to come to Switzerland for NVC training. Of course, many of the people that CNVC would like to reach in these areas are not able, financially, to make the trip and participate in the trainings, so one way to contribute to those efforts is to help them cover the costs through an earmarked contribution to CNVC.

The second major project that CNVC is involved in is the global campaign for Departments of Peace. The National Director of the US campaign, Lynn McMullen, is also the head of development for CNVC, and she has been incorporating NVC by working to train everyone involved in the campaign in basic NVC skills as well as deeper NVC consciousness. This entire campaign is very exciting to me, as it presents an opportunity to address issues around the causes and roots of violence throughout the world. You can find more info on that at

You may also look on the CNVC website at the Social Change project, which includes a listserve of people interested in connecting NVC to social change. Here's the link:

Finally, on a more personal note, I am also a student in a MA program at the European University Centre for Peace Studies in Stadtschlaining, Austria. Many of my classmates are deeply involved in transforming the conflict in Israel and Lebanon, and we have all been in dialogue about what directions we would like to take our own work. I have been very vocal in pushing creative approaches to thinking about our contributions, as I share your hopelessness that protest will make any positive difference. I am happy to send you more information about organizations and groups that are working in the region, though many of them are based in Europe, Northern Africa, and the Middle East (and not N. America). Would that kind of information be helpful to you?

Finally, I encourage you to act in ways that are life-serving for you right now. If you don't see the strategies that you want to support in the world, I encourage you to create them! Talk to the people that you know, and don't know, start dialogue groups and spread awareness, bring up ideas at your own NVC practice group--I think we would all be surprised to find out just how much support there is out there.

One strategy that works for me when I'm feeling helpless or hopeless, or really any time I want to be creative, is to think about what needs are alive in me, and just hold those needs in my heart. Sometimes it helps to find a quiet place and just relax deeply for a few minutes, letting those needs settle in my heart and mind, and allowing myself the space and resources to cultivate creative strategies for meeting those needs. I've found that in my own practice, answers just tend to materialize in front of me, and new strategies seem to miraculously appear!

Would you be willing to hit reply and let me know what is alive in you as you read this? I would enjoy hearing any feelings or needs that have been stimulated. I am also very open to and interested in pursuing dialogue about how we can all contribute to this situation. Please feel free to request any more support or information.

With gratitude, respect, and peace,

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Dreaming in Giraffe

I recently received an email from someone sharing their NVC dreams, hopes and goals. She asked, "what are some of the NVC leadership dreams that some other people have?" This stimulated in me the following response:

When I let myself dream really big, I see hundreds of thousands of practice
groups in the world. Like AA, you can arrive in any city of the world, consult a guide and find a place to practice NVC in a community of support.

I see a million certified trainers (or trainers with that skill and
consciousness, regardless of affiliation with CNVC)

I also see NVC TV, movies, music, media.

I see a Criminal and Civil Justice system based on a restorative model, not a punitive model.

I see a world where ALL people's basic needs are met with relative certainty. Meeting needs is the sure path to a peaceful model of conflict revolution.

I see the opportunity to live an immersion experience, a Global NVC Training
Center where people can come and learn to integrate NVC more deeply into their lives.

I see a network of NVC Communities around the planet.

I see a network of NVC based Senior Citizen centers, tapping the consciousness
and social change potential of Baby boomers done with accumulation and ready for

I see a network of schools at all levels teaching and living NVC.

I see a vibrant and acive online community of learning, support, contribution and integration.

I see what is happening in Germany, happening everywhere! Germany leads the world in trainers per capita and getting NVC into the consciousness of Everyman. I've heard that bookshops throughout Germany prominently display the German translation of Marshall's book.

I see a network of synergy between CNVC and other like-hearted groups contributing to meeting needs.

I see us going past the tipping point of awareness of and focus on Needs.

And I see a more active presence of the NVC community in world affairs. Where is the NVC voice concerning Lebanon, Syria, and the other hot spots? Where is the NVC consciousness in the White House, the UN, in politics in general? Where is the NVC consciousness in the "Anti-War" movement?

I see Marshall receiving the Nobel Peace prize. I see Marshall or another "senior Giraffe" as the Secretary of the new US Department of Peace. I see Department of Peace as common as Miistries of War or Defense.

I see Marshall on Oprah, and Leno, and Letterman, on PBS.

And I see what is happening now continuing to grow and blossom. I'm celebrating over 200 Certified Trainers, many registered cert-candidates, and a quarter million folks touched by NVC in the past few years.

And I dream of undreamed of possibilities emerging from our connection to Needs and Request energy!

I'm looking forward to hearing other's dreams!



Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Greetings, Friends,

I'm feeling excited and pleased that my Radical Compassion: The Essence of Nonviolent Communication has "sold out." This meets my needs for contribution and support!

I will continue to accept registrations with the intent of offering another series as soon as possible.

I received a touching note from one participant today who expressed both excitement and apprehension about the class. I responded with some empathy, then some advice, which I will pass on to you. I'd like to hear if using this simple self-emapthy process meets any of your needs!


I'm guessing your apprehension is around your needs for acceptance and/or competence, is that accurate?

You can get a head start on the class by "connecting with the life" within that apprehension. If you want, take about 5 minutes and write down everything you're telling yourself about attending the class. Uncensored. You will not have to share it with anyone! This is just for you and your growth...

Then, go back and mindfully read what you have written with empathic ears, offering yourself the gift of presence, focusing on the life within the "jackal". See if you can guess what feelings and needs are "under the surface" of what you have written. For example, if I wrote, "Everybody thinks this class is going to suck, especially after they hear me talk for about 30 seconds!", I might guess that I'm feeling anxious, scared, and needing a sense of acceptance and self-acceptance. I suggest you write the feelings and needs down next to each thought. For me, connecting with feelings and needs in this way is a life-serving strategy that meets needs for self-connection, learning, emotional liberation, and growth.

When I was a baby, baby giraffe (I've just graduated to baby giraffe!), I found this a valuable tool for learning and integrating a needs-based consciousness and developing presence with myself and others. I still use it when I get so stuck that nothing else seems to help me connect with life.

I'm hopeful you find this advice useful.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Celebrating baby "giraffe-ness!".

May your needs be met with perfection!

Photo from
Photo of 4 month old Nigel by amberlion

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Greetings, Friends,

I feel happy that a couple of folks have recently joined my yahoo group, NVCLeadership! Seeing that meets my
needs for growth and connection.

When I first started an NVCLeadership yahoo group just after moving to California, it was with an intention to create an online community
focused on the practice of Nonviolent Communication. Since then, I have begun
actualizing that potential with some other strategies, including this blog (http:// my training site (http://
and my vaestro channel (
. I've also recently begun a collaboration with the NVC Academy. With all
of these "Channels" opening, I'm feeling at once exhilirated and overwhelmed.

I'd like to hear from folks connected to this blog what needs you have related to
learning, practicing and integrating NVC and what specific requests you have about how to get your needs met. Hearing
this will support me in crafting some strategies that will hopefully meet your needs (perhaps for learning, community, exploration, and connection) while meeting those needs for me along with contribution, clarity and ease. Would you be willing to respond with what you would like?

I look forward to collaborating together to find ways to make our online community a valuable
resource for all of us.



Sunday, July 09, 2006

"If you have a teenager, or if you invest in the stock market, you know very well that a complex system cannot be controlled, it can only be managed. Because responses cannot be predicted, the system can only be observed and responded to. The system may resist attempts to change its state. It may show resiliency. Or fragility. Or both.

An important feature of complex systems is that we don’t know how they work. We don’t understand them except in a general way; we simply interact with them. Whenever we think we understand them, we learn we don’t. Sometimes spectacularly."

You can read the complete speech by Michael Crichton @

I'd like to hear your response if you have one that you would enjoy sharing...

After reading the sppeech, I sense an opening within myself to more deeply question my assumptions; to endeavor to uncover the hidden ones; to forgive myself for mistakes I've made in trying to manage the complex systems in my life; and to have compassion for all of us that we share the same boat. I have an even deeper respect for our planetary system and more understanding of my relationship to it. It stimulates within me a yearning to increase my focus on human needs, as well as community and global needs. I feel safer, and paradoxically accept the risk posed just by being human on a chaotic planet.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Greetings friends,

I'm feeling excited about an upcoming opportunity to share Nonviolent Communication in the LA area. If you know anyone who may be interested in attending this workshop, would you be willing to let them know about it?



Radical Compassion: an experiential workshop in Nonviolent Communication

Sunday, July 9, 2006, Workshop
10:00 am – 4:00 pm
1420 N. Claremont Bvd Suite 204C
Claremont, CA 91711

Open to all skill levels, including those curious about NVC, beginning, intermediate, and advanced practitioners.

We will begin with an introductory practice session @ 10 am. Followed by a potluck around noon. After enjoying a meal, we will continue to learn about and practice the Nonviolent Communication process together until 4 pm.

Learn to use the Nonviolent Communication process :
- to deeply connect with your own feelings and needs;
- to honestly express your values to others in a way likely to inspire a compassionate response;
- to empathically receive the feelings and needs of others, no matter how the message may be delivered!
- to use the life-affirming power of gratitude as a fuel source for effective personal transformation, more connected relationships and life-affirming social change.

No previous experience required.

Please pre-register by calling 909-624-7770

For more information on the content of the workshop,
call Jim Manske @ 818-541-9695 or email