Welcome to the New Year! For some of us, getting to January 1st brings a sigh of relief—the holidays are over and things can get back to normal. For others, it’s the New Year itself that might feel groundless: “Where am I going? What am I doing?” Of course, there are those who embrace it all without distress. However, if you are one of those who struggles with this time of year, I’d like to share an NVC practice that I think might be helpful.Read More
"I had a wonderful day at the prison." Those are my words almost every time I come home after volunteering at the Deer Ridge Correctional Institution (DRCI) in Madras. I get to see people light up with hope as they learn new skills, make a positive difference, and connect with themselves and others in a more compassionate/ nonviolent way.
Those of you who donate to the Center for Compassionate Living make the classes and the practice group possible, and your donations also support Pro-Social Communication Workgroup (PSCWG) projects. …
I'm honored to teach Communicating for Life classes at Deer Ridge Correctional Institution (DRCI) and have needs met for connection, learning, contribution, fun, and more during each class. Your donation makes these classes possible, so once in a while we highlight a few of the men’s appreciations to you, for the difference you make in their lives! …Read More
We know from Dr. Rosenberg’s work that conflict arises because there are unmet needs on the table. When conflict happens to me I instantly feel the physiological pinch of the painful negative emotions linked to these unmet needs. I do NOT like this experience. I’m pretty sure no one likes it. Both my psychological and physiological impulse is to make these feelings stop NOW.Read More
One of the men at Deer Ridge Correctional Institution talked about how he was frustrated—and kind of angry—about his knee. It hurt and it was making it difficult to do his job. He said his body used to just be there for him and now that he was older, it was not supporting him as it did when he was younger. I asked him if he had some sadness about his body losing some of its strength and resilience. “Yes!” he said…Read More
Bryn and I had an interesting talk recently about how it’s quite possible to experience negative feelings and unmet needs simply because our thinking includes assumptions, stereotypes, or expectations. Here’s my example. I recently learned that a well-known musician (whose songs I love) divorced his wife after 37 years of marriage, seemingly to date another woman. I was surprised and sad to hear this, and because I care about both of them, I wanted them to have the continued closeness that comes from being in a lifelong relationship. And, I was also angry.Read More
The weather is sunny and warm with a chance of thunderstorms this afternoon. Do I ask myself if the weather should be different? Or is the weather just the weather?
A personal weather report might sound like…Read More
It’s apparently part of our human wiring to have a strong focus on what isn’t working, and comparatively a rather weak focus on what is going well. However, it turns out that we can change this through the practice of noticing and savoring the good stuff—those moments when needs are met. Using this practice, we become aware of the wonderful feelings that arise at those moments, and this creates a delightful loop of noticing and enjoying them more often. Even more wonderful, drinking in these good moments feeds the heart, mind, and spirit by filling up our often-depleted energy reserves.
Here are some practices you can try that support growing an awareness of needs met.Read More
Recently I was asked, “How do I offer myself compassion?” Before attempting an answer, I want to acknowledge that there can be big obstacles to offering ourselves compassion. Of these, we can include the fact that our negative emotions themselves are very good at capturing our attention—so much so that it may take hours or even days to notice the fact that we’ve been suffering.Read More
At a recent practice group, the metaphor of a tennis court came up during an exploration of someone’s feelings and needs about a particular relationship. We drew a picture of a tennis court on our white board and used it to get clarity about which side of the court is ours to play in a relationship. …Read More
I am honored to teach Communicating for Life classes at Deer Ridge Correctional Institution (DRCI) and have needs met for connection, learning, contribution, fun, and more at each class. Your donations make these classes possible so I want to pass along a few of the men’s appreciations to you for the difference you make in their lives. …Read More
The other day, as my thoughts rambled along, it occurred to me that many things must have had to happen for me to be alive today. Like my parents meeting; that they married and they wanted children. Then soon after I was born I contracted encephalitis. Somehow the care I received, the expertise brought to that moment, the many prayers prayed, my own genetic makeup, and God knows how much more pulled me through. Any less might not have.
But really, aren’t there literally thousands of events that preceded my birth and many thousand more that have taken place in life my since then? …Read More
Are you feeling sad, anxious, concerned, and scared? Are you aching to be heard and seen? Are you feeling hopeless about connecting with someone who sees the world so very differently, who doesn’t seem to share your same reality? Does your heart hurt when conversation leads to disconnection and the love and caring in the relationship seems to evaporate?Read More
A couple of months ago, someone—I’ll call her Gail—asked me if I’d help her with a problem she had. As she talked about her situation, I soon realized that she was so tangled up in it, she couldn’t let go of the story long enough to sort out what she wanted. When I tried guessing what her needs might be she jumped right into judgments. “How could they hire that guy? Don’t they see what a mess he’s making?!” My inquiry only seemed to make things worse.Read More
At a recent practice group, we talked about the upcoming holidays and the mixed bag they can be for some of us. We explored what needs each of us wants to meet and we used that exercise in awareness to set our intentions for those needs.Read More
I recently attended a course called “Positive Neuroplasticity.” During the class, we discovered how to shift our thinking in order to change the way the brain operates—including its influence on our worldview. In other words, if our worldview is generally negative (which most brains tend to gravitate toward) we can, with practice, actually train our brain so that it will operate from a more positive point of view. Cool, right?Read More
Ah, Fall. It’s my favorite time of year… the cooler, crisper mornings; the spectacular red and yellow shimmer of leaves; the slant of the sun that turns things golden and soft. I am suffused with a joy that seems to reach every cell of my body. One of the great gifts of NVC for me is this being present for and letting in the wonderful that surrounds me.Read More
Inner critics arise because in the past we’ve been penalized or punished for something that others thought, or that we thought we should have or shouldn’t have done. Having been punished in the past, our brain is wired to avoid it in the future. It does this by sending us warnings, often in the form of accusations, judgments, or threats. With practice, we can alter this process by using NVC.Read More