Sunday, December 28, 2008

Greetings, Friends,

I remain excited and curious to see what will unfold this year with Compassionate Leadership Training, offered in both Atlanta and Albuquerque. I feel excited anticipating the growth, learning, and community we will all co-create, and curious to see who will be inspired to join us and how what we do together will contribute to the world I'd like to live in, a world characterized by compassion, wisdom and nonviolent social transformation.

Below is a letter from one of my training partners, Kathi Aichner, inviting your consideration of our offering...



I’ve asked myself over and over the last few days, “What could I possibly say to the readers of this email which might inspire them to take a look at Compassionate Leadership?” I’ve pondered this question, realizing I want to be effective as well as contribute to the well being of others.

I want to contribute to some clarity around this program too. This program is not only for those wanting to offer NVC to others via workshops and trainings. This program certainly supports those desiring to enhance their presenting skills, yet it also embraces those seeking personal growth and self-empowerment.

As one of the facilitators of this program, I was blown away by the response to the program from those who attended this year, 2008. The phrase “life-changing” was used often in the feedback we received. You can see what 2008 participants had to say on our website, I totally believed we, the four of us, Jim and Jori Manske, Rodger Sorrow and me, had an inspiring concept for a program. My need for trust was met in abundance by the response of all who attended.

To hear brief videos from 2008 Participants click in the link below.

If you have attended an IIT or other trainings, you may remember the sense of community from that experience. Would you like to connect to that again on a long-term basis? Take a look at Compassionate Leadership, The 2008 program ended over two months ago yet numerous ‘08 participants continue to connect by teleconference call and they are in the process of planning a reunion. I encourage you to click on the link "What others are saying" on the website if you want some inspiration and more clarity around this program.

Do you find you would like to attend yet tell yourself, “There’s no way, I can’t afford it?” Sounds like there may be a need for some empathy here. I encourage you to give one of us a call.

Jori Manske – Trainer, Phone +1.505.344.1 305; Email:
Jim Manske – Trainer, Phone +1.505.344.1305; Email:
Kathi Aichner – Trainer, Phone +1.805.434.1704; Email:
Rodger Sorrow – Trainer, Phone +1.805.687.6961; Email:
Anne Walton - Organizer for '09 West, Phone +1.805.687-6961; Email:
Sherri Boles-Rogers - Organizer for '09 East, Phone +1.678.362.3889 (Cell); Email:

Blessings in Love and Light, Kathi Aichner

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Dear Ones in Our Networks,

We are requesting support for a proposal to begin a movement to increase the empathic ability of those who serve in our government. Literally 4 minutes of your time with only 5 steps to bring an idea before the Obama team that could effect the kind of change we are all hoping to see!

President Elect Barack Obama said, "I will open the doors of government and ask you to be involved in your own democracy again." has created a forum that will submit the top ten voted for proposals to the Obama team for review. Ideas for Change in America is a citizen-driven effort to identify and create momentum around the best ideas for how the Obama
Administration and Congress can turn the broad call for "change" across the country into specific policies.

We have posted a proposal named "Bridging the Empathy Gap - Yes We Can" designed to make empathy central to government functioning, tying it to Obama's repeated highlighting of empathy as a crucially needed quality. The proposal is appended at the end of this message for your review.

To make it to the 2nd round of voting on this site, we probably need to have at least 1200 votes for this idea in the coming week. If you are moved to have NVC brought to the attention of the administration, please take the steps below as soon as possible. Ideas that get a lot of votes quickly are posted as "ideas on the rise" and then have more of a chance of getting more

1. Click on:
(or go to and search for this proposal or for "empathy" if the link doesn't work)

2. Click on Vote! .that will give you a window to create an account tovote.asking for name, email, and a password. (Upper left corner of page)

3. Fill in window to create your account.

4. Return to your email to complete registration by clicking on the
link provided in the email from

5. Click on Vote again and you are complete! The "Vote" button will
have changed from blue to red and the text will say "Voted"." It will only
let you vote once for each item.

Once you have an account you can invite friends and ask them to vote as well. The site provides information on how to do that, or you can forward this.

Our hope/goal/intention is to create an overwhelming response to our proposal so it can get the attention it needs to be brought to fruition.

Thank you for giving your time in this way.

If you have specific ideas you would like to discuss, we have set up a google group that you can
join if you want

In connection for building a world of peace and understanding,

Catherine Cadden, Jori Manske, Kathleen McFerran, Miki Kashtan, Sylvia


Bridging the Empathy Gap - Yes we can!

President-Elect Barack Obama has spoken repeatedly about empathy, which he defines as "the ability to put ourselves in someone else's shoes; to see the world through those who are different from us." In his words, "And that strikes me as the most important quality that we need in America right now and around the world right now." Empathy is a value we can cultivate in our
government now.

We propose to create an inter-departmental office of empathy (or a divisionwithin a Department of Peace if one is established) that can support the closing of the empathy deficit by employing strategies such as the following:

1. Implementing specific processes and methods for making empathy central to government operations both within government and in every sector of society to support meaningful use of our resources.

2. Identifying specific offices, agencies, and individuals within government that would benefit from intensive training in empathy skills.

3. Utilizing advanced empathic facilitation as a foundation for decision-making to support efficient and productive processes in all branches of goverment.

4. Assessing the impact of government policies and decisions on the overall purpose of bridging the empathy gap.

5. Creating public forums for dialogue to create empathic connection between people across differences - political, religious, ideological, racial, class, etc. The purpose of such forums would be bridging divides in our nation.

6. Creating and proposing curriculum based on Nonviolent Communication ( to all schools for teaching empathy skills.

7. Creating an Empathy Corps - volunteers trained in empathy skills to go into conflict zones domestically and internationally to support diffusion of conflict through empathic connection.

"Empathy is a quality of character that can change the world."
- President-Elect Barack Obama

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Choice Is Ours Now

By Melissa Etheridge - The Huffington Post, Dec. 22, 2008

This is a message for my brothers and sisters who have fought so long and so hard for gay rights and liberty. We have spent a long time climbing up this mountain, looking at the impossible, changing a thousand year-old paradigm. We have asked for the right to love the human of our choice, and to be protected equally under the laws of this great country. The road at times has been so bloody, and so horrible, and so disheartening. From being blamed for 9/11 and Katrina, to hateful crimes committed against us, we are battle weary. We watched as our nation took a step in the right direction, against all odds and elected Barack Obama as our next leader. Then we were jerked back into the last century as we watched our rights taken away by prop 8 in California. Still sore and angry we felt another slap in the face as the man we helped get elected seemingly invited a gay-hater to address the world at his inauguration.

I hadn't heard of Pastor Rick Warren before all of this. When I heard the news, in its neat little sound bite form that we are so accustomed to, it painted the picture for me. This Pastor Rick must surely be one hate spouting, money grabbing, bad hair televangelist like all the others. He probably has his own gay little secret bathroom stall somewhere, you know. One more hater working up his congregation to hate the gays, comparing us to pedophiles and those who commit incest, blah blah blah. Same 'ole thing. Would I be boycotting the inauguration? Would we be marching again?

Well, I have to tell you my friends, the universe has a sense of humor and indeed works in mysterious ways. As I was winding down the promotion for my Christmas album I had one more stop last night. I'd agreed to play a song I'd written with my friend Salman Ahmed, a Sufi Muslim from Pakistan. The song is called "Ring The Bells," and it's a call for peace and unity in our world. We were going to perform our song for the Muslim Public Affairs Council, a group of Muslim Americans that tries to raise awareness in this country, and the world, about the majority of good, loving, Muslims. I was honored, considering some in the Muslim religion consider singing to be against God, while other Muslim countries have harsh penalties, even death for homosexuals. I felt it was a very brave gesture for them to make. I received a call the day before to inform me of the keynote speaker that night... Pastor Rick Warren. I was stunned. My fight or flight instinct took over, should I cancel? Then a calm voice inside me said, "Are you really about peace or not?"

I told my manager to reach out to Pastor Warren and say "In the spirit of unity I would like to talk to him." They gave him my phone number. On the day of the conference I received a call from Pastor Rick, and before I could say anything, he told me what a fan he was. He had most of my albums from the very first one. What? This didn't sound like a gay hater, much less a preacher. He explained in very thoughtful words that as a Christian he believed in equal rights for everyone. He believed every loving relationship should have equal protection. He struggled with proposition 8 because he didn't want to see marriage redefined as anything other than between a man and a woman. He said he regretted his choice of words in his video message to his congregation about proposition 8 when he mentioned pedophiles and those who commit incest. He said that in no way, is that how he thought about gays. He invited me to his church, I invited him to my home to meet my wife and kids. He told me of his wife's struggle with breast cancer just a year before mine.

When we met later that night, he entered the room with open arms and an open heart. We agreed to build bridges to the future.

Brothers and sisters the choice is ours now. We have the world's attention. We have the capability to create change, awesome change in this world, but before we change minds we must change hearts. Sure, there are plenty of hateful people who will always hold on to their bigotry like a child to a blanket. But there are also good people out there, Christian and otherwise that are beginning to listen. They don't hate us, they fear change. Maybe in our anger, as we consider marches and boycotts, perhaps we can consider stretching out our hands. Maybe instead of marching on his church, we can show up en mass and volunteer for one of the many organizations affiliated with his church that work for HIV/AIDS causes all around the world.

Maybe if they get to know us, they wont fear us.

I know, call me a dreamer, but I feel a new era is upon us.

I will be attending the inauguration with my family, and with hope in my heart. I know we are headed in the direction of marriage equality and equal protection for all families.

Happy Holidays my friends and a Happy New Year to you.

Peace on earth, goodwill toward all men and women... and everyone in-between.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Greetings, Friends,

Today I received this inspiring email from Lorna Ritchie in Berlin...

Dear NVC friends,

Today I really do have something to celebrate and share!!

We had a premiere-event in Berlin yesterday - the very first local, regional NVC-Day in Germany (or even worldwide?) in which we presented the Practice of NVC in 18 different fields of work and everyday life.

(This included nvc in corporations, nvc in family, nvc in therapy, nvc and social change, nvc and yoga, nvc with children, nvc in Kindergarten - the project "The Giraffe dream", nvc in schools, nvc in mediation, nvc in social work, nvc and self-empathy, nvc and the media).

The participants came from all different fields, some NVC-beginners, some advanced, many experts in their field of work.

Not only was the preparation phase a process of living empathy, care and fun - those who were offering workshops also enjoyed a team of supporters, who helped with the organisation of everything in the days before the event (everything means helping organising catering, decoration, all the registration documents and even cleaning facilities before and after use). The organisation surrounding the event took place with enormous ease and precision.

The Feedback has been just overwhelming - we heard so much enthusiasm from people, words like "inspiring, grateful, fulfilled, excited, moved, informative" and very often there was a request for more, more, more...

Participants came not just from Berlin but from places as far away as Hamburg (about 3 hours drive). Some of them were also very motivated to start up a regional support group near their homes and we were able to offer them support from the DACH for that.

What I celebrate most was the connection within the Berlin-NVC-Circle and all involved in the event - I was very aware of the support and appreciation for each other and this was also very visible for all our "guests/participants". This is what makes my heart sing today as it so much meets my need for an awareness of credibility within the NVC-community. We really can walk the talk!! This is my very personal and subjective report of yesterdays events and i do hope you enjoy this positive piece of news in a world full of news of strife and pain.

Sending heartfelt greetings to all of you all over the world.

Lorna Ritchie in Berlin, Germany.

p.s please feel free to forward this to anyone you think would enjoy reading it.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Greetings, Friends,

Its great to be home in Albuquerque! We've been busy planning some events and activities to share NVC here, as well as Orange County, CA, Durango, CO, and Atlanta.

I stumbled across this inspiring article today from Dallas about peer mediation. I hope you are inspired as well.



Nellsyn Elizabeth Hill of Lewisville: Resolving conflict

06:13 AM CDT on Thursday, September 18, 2008

Just before school let out in June, I was selected by the teachers and administrators at my high school to be one of the 20 participants in a summer workshop for Peer Mediation, a program dedicated to nonviolent conflict resolution. I had no idea what an important message this program had to offer not only to students, but also to teachers and families in our area.

Something we must all recognize first is that life is constantly changing. But with change comes conflict. A change in activities can lead to time-management conflicts. A change in location can lead to communication conflicts. A change in values can lead to relationship conflicts.

We cannot avoid change – or conflict.

However, Peer Mediation (or Mustang Mediation, M&Ms, at my high school) is the difference between poisonous, corrosive grudges that may breed from conflict, and healthy, productive peacemaking. It is based on the idea that "what we do not talk out, we act out." The focus is to have students help other students work out their dilemmas in a stress-free and completely confidential environment before problems become uncontrollable or hostile.

It starts by encouraging friends involved in conflict to turn in a form requesting mediation. Then they meet with two peer mediators during school to form some sort of agreement.

I believe this group is so important and beneficial because it can be applied to all areas of life: school, home, work, etc. Buddha said, "Mediation brings wisdom; lack of mediation leaves ignorance. Know well what leads you forward and what holds you back and choose the path that leads to wisdom."

Through mediation, we are able to grow as a group and as individuals by opening our minds and learning the truth about our peers' feelings and how others respond to their environment. Proverbs 18:2 says, "A fool finds no pleasure in understanding, but delights in airing his own opinions."

Another thing that Peer Mediation requires besides patience and willingness to listen is some shape of compromise. Let's face it, you can talk to someone who has hurt you about a problem you have and how you feel about it until you're blue in the face and never reach a resolution.

Lynn Johnston, author of the comic strip "For Better or For Worse," once said, "An apology is the superglue of life. It can repair just about anything." And the resolutions the disputants develop in Peer Mediation can be as simple as an apology and clearing up all misconceptions – or as serious as promising to restore lost or damaged valuables.

My hope – the hope of my fellow M&Ms and our sponsors – is to raise awareness about this type of on-campus problem-solving and to promote its growth in surrounding school districts. We are working to create a safer, more comfortable learning environment to help stop the fights and hurt feelings that cloud people's perception of high school.

And by spreading this program to other high schools and even middle schools, we can grow more patient, perceptive and emotionally stable members of society.

Nellsyn Elizabeth Hill of Lewisville is a senior at Carrollton Creekview High School and a Student Voices volunteer columnist. To respond to this column, send an e-mail to

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Greetings, friends,

I've been busy focusing on fun and connection in Maui with a parade of friends and family. Now we are in our waning days, returning to Albuquerque on Tuesday.

I received this from a colleague today and publish it here to inspire you about what is possible to create in the equation, nonviolence + creativity = ?



Dear Friends,

Sending you all my best thoughts from Palestine. I wanted to let you all know that Gunnar and I just spent 2 weeks visiting our dear friend Nafez in Hebron. We had decided, after our NVC Special Session training in February, to come here this summer and document Library On Wheels for Nonviolence and Peace, an organization that Nafez founded in 1986.
It has been a wonderful and moving experience to be here, to visit with Nafez and his beautiful family, to learn about Hebron and its' two cities, to observe and film the work of the LOWNP, its' staff and volunteers, to follow the children's summer program and to partake in different campaigns the organization is promoting:

-a "Chess campaign" in refugee camps and villages to raise awareness about the violence used by families and clans in sorting out their differences and to teach people alternative strategies as in a chess game.

-an "Eat and Drink Locally" campaign to raise the awareness of how Palestinians are fueling the economy of their occupier when they buy Israeli products rather than supporting the Palestinian economy .

- a "Reading at the Checkpoints" campaign to support regular people who are trying to get to their destinations and are often being stopped, searched and humiliated at the checkpoints. Books on topics such as nonviolence, science, history, religion, etc are provided by the taxi companies (courtesy of LOWNP) to travelers to empower them to use this time for their benefit and general culture, to help them cope with their own feelings of anger and violence towards their occupiers (soldiers and settlers at checkpoints).

My understanding of LOWNP's strategies is to inspire people here living in extremely violent conditions at times to empower themselves and to take control of their lives in nonviolent ways (these campaigns are seeds sown), to train young adults to be nonviolent leaders in their communities and to inspire, educate and train children about nonviolence and peace and how to be active members of their family and school environments.

I am very moved and inspired by the children, their interest and committment to understanding and learning nonviolence, by their sense of integrity and their desire to communicate with us and I loved the way they let us enter into their daily worlds.

I am now spending 1 month in Bethlehem teaching students English and studying Arabic myself. My approach to teaching English has been to focus on what communication is and to also share some of what I have learned in my NVC trainings and readings. Great fun!
After this I will return to Switzerland with all the footage taken in Hebron and create a short film, in sh'allah, as they say here.

Best regards,


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Greetings, Friends,

I enjoyed the reminders provided by the following quote from Carl Rogers. As you may know, Marshall Rosenberg studied with Carl at the University of Wisconsin when he was working on his Ph.D. Rogerian ideas seem to me to be foundational to NVC.

I found this today on the the NVC Education Group, courtesy of (I)An-ok:

The Fundamentals of a Center for Person-Centered Learning

(taken from the article Beyond the Watershed: And Where Now? By Carl
Rogers from the book A Way of Being)

1. Precondition. The leaders, or persons who are perceived as
authority figures in the situation, are sufficiently secure within
themselves and in their relationship to others that they experience an
essential trust in the capacity of others to think for themselves, to
learn for themselves. If this precondition exists, then the following
aspects become possible and tend to be implemented.

2. The facilitative persons share with the others – students, and
possibly also parents or community members – the responsibility for
the learning process. Curricular planning, the mode of administration,
the funding, and the policy-making are all the responsibility of the
particular group involved.

3. The facilitators provide learning resources – from within
themselves and their own experience, from books or other materials, or
from community experiences. The learners are encouraged to add
resources of which they have knowledge or in which they have
experience. The facilitators open doors to resources outside the
experience of the group.

4. The students develop their own programs of learning, individually
or in cooperation with others. Exploring their own interests, facing
this wealth of resources, they each make choices as to their own
learning directions, and they carry the responsibility for the
consequences of those choices.

5. A facilitative learning climate is provided. In meetings of the
class or of the school as a whole, an atmosphere of realness, of
caring, and of understanding listening is evident. This climate may
spring initially from the person who is the perceived leader. As the
learning process continues, it is more and more often provided by the
learners for one another. Learning from one another becomes as
important as learning from books or films or community experiences.

6. The focus of the learning center is primarily on fostering the
continuing process of learning. The content of the learning, while
significant, falls into a secondary place. Thus, a course is
successfully ended not when the students have "learned all they need
to know," but when they have made significant progress in learning how
to learn what they want to know.

7. The discipline necessary to reach the students' goals is a
self-discipline, and is recognized and accepted by the learners as
being their individual responsibilities. Self-discipline replaces
external discipline.

8. The evaluation of the extent and significance of each student's
learning is made primarily by the learner himself or herself, although
the self-evaluations may be influenced and enriched by caring feedback
from other members of the group and from the facilitator.

9. In this growth-promoting climate, the learning tends to be deeper,
proceeds at a more rapid rate, and is more pervasive in the life and
behavior of the students than learning acquired in the traditional
classroom. This comes about because the directions is self-chosen, the
learning is self-initiated, and whole persons, with feelings and
passions as well as the intellect, are invested in the process.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Greetings, Friends,

Later this fall, Jori and I will be offering an NVC mediation course on NVC Academy. Full details @

Since the class is limited to 24 folks, I urge you to sign up right away!

Here's a teaser:

"The Heart of Conflict:
Integrating NVC and Mediation"
A Telephone (Telecourse) Program with CNVC Certified Trainers Jori Manske and Jim Manske
from Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA

Dates: 6 consecutive Tuesdays from 4:00 - 6:00 PM PDT/PST beginning October 14, 2008

Join Certified Mediators and Facilitators Jori and Jim Manske in an exploration of using Nonviolent Communication in the context of Mediation and Conflict Resolution. Opportunities for practice will be woven with lessons covering the essential elements needed in order to begin to use the NVC process during conflict situations. There will be extensive coaching and feedback offered. To maximize practice opportunities, each trainer will facilitate a smaller group during portions of the program and the class size will be limited to 24 participants.

Full details @

I encourage you to join the NVC Academy!


For a complete flyer on NVC Academy in Adobe Acrobat, click here

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Reflection after a day of Facebook

This “social networking” is all new to me. I decided to try it because I'm "testing" a new browser called Flock that is a "social browser".

So far, I feel amazed at how much this is contributing to my needs for fun and connection. I've reached out to others and since joining yesterday, have managed to grow my friends list to almost 30, including a new NVC friend in Pakistan.

With Flock, you have the option of having a sidebar with all of your friends listed, including their photos. I have a sense of support and community having everyone "there" with me.

This is a lot more fun than high school! I remember so vividly the pain of comparing my “friend's list” with "popular" kids. Ouch. Now, I sense no desire to compare...instead a simple enjoyment of so many needs met with each of you in our shared history, and the ever-deepening inclination to continue these connections.

I wonder how this all lands with you?



Monday, August 11, 2008

I received this from a friend today. Watching it was a pleasure on many levels. I feel touched and inspired seeing a "homeless" person contributing so meaningfully. I feel happy seeing Santa Barbara, home to some of my favorite people on the planet. And I feel grateful that Lisa sent this to share with me.


Greetings, Friends,

I'm in beautiful Huelo, Hawaii, house-sitting for fellow CNVC trainer Christa Morf.

Compared to Albuquerque, it rains a lot here! Compared to most places on the planet, it rains a lot here! I'm guessing in the week we've been here, we have received at least 7 inches of rain.

It tends to come in short, heavy bursts. Then the sun comes out again. The flowers, trees, and shrubs love it! So do the mosquitoes.

I've decided to re-activate this blog since I'm trying out a new browser called Flock. Flock is alleged to be the latest, greatest because it is a "social browser", integrating blogs, facebook, picassa, etc.

So, I'm gonna try it out.

More later!