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.