Life=Change

Is life asking you to change the story of who you are? Are you asking what’s possible? Are you yearning for sanctuary to find meaning in the changes within and around you? Mary Mackenzie and I are hosting “Life Transitions: Rediscovering the Spark Within” from Sept 15-20, 2016 in Seabeck, WA. This retreat will offer understanding of the cycle of transitions and practice developing strong skills to move through transitions with courage, strength and grace. Join us! There are a few more spots left.

To learn more about the retreat and facilities: click here

To register:

http://nvctraining.com/registration/signup/meeting-life

 

 

Craving my Cocoon

 

I’m in the neutral zone. That’s William Bridge’s term for the second phase of transition. I’m tired, confused, lethargic, and tasks that used to be simple seem complex and effortful. It hardly feels neutral in the neutral zone.

Fortunately, I’m aware that this stage of transition requires self-care and reflection. Even though my days seem less productive than they might otherwise, I know my soul is doing some important work to recreate my life and that this phase will open up into a thrilling new beginning. Knowing that and having some practices I can rely on every day will get me through this stage with grace. Spending time in my cocoon now will serve me well.

Mary Mackenzie and I were recently in Hiawatha, IA, facilitating our “Meeting Life Transitions: Rediscover the Spark Within” workshop. I was so moved by the roomful of people that arrived as strangers, but by the end of the first night were offering each other compassionate presence as they courageously shared transitions around life, death, health, work, identity, relationships, and families. We don’t have to go through these transitions alone or without guidance. There is a flow to life that we can shape and participate in.

If you’d like to explore how to navigate life transitions in a beautiful part of the world with supportive community, join Mary and me Sept 15-20, 2016 in Seabeck, WA.

Here’s a summary of the details (click here for a flyer):

  • Dates:  September 15th – 20th
  • Location: Seabeck Conference Center, just outside of Seattle on Hood Canal (we’ll be staying in the Spruce building)
  • Price: (until 6/1): $925 (single occupancy) / $800 (double occupancy).  This includes tuition, lodging, and all meals…such a sweet deal!
  • Bonus: 25 CEUs available thru CNVC for LSW, MFT, and RN

 

If you have questions about the details above, or if you’d like to chat about if and how this retreat could support you, please feel free to contact Aimee at aimee@explorecoreconnections.com.

Guest Blog by Aimee Ryan- Life Transitions

Open letter to anyone who ever has, is, or may some day go through a transition in life (that’s right human race, I’m talking to you),

 

I come to you with a special opportunity to join Kathleen Macferran and Mary Mackenzie for a 6-day experiential workshop – Life Transitions: Rediscovering the Spark Within.

 

Why is this a special opportunity?  So many reasons, but here are some of the highlights:

 

  • As the philosopher Heraclitus noted, “the only constant in life is change.”  That means that if we’re going to flow through life with even a modicum of grace and ease, we need to be able to find self-connection and groundedness in the midst of the turmoil. This retreat is aimed at supporting you on that journey and giving you the skills and tools to find your spark and that place of inner peace, regardless of outer circumstance.

 

  • Mary and Kathleen are two of the most heart-connected, authentic individuals I’ve yet to meet and I can’t stress enough what a life-changing delight it is to spend with them. What’s even better is how they balance each other, each bringing something unique, and how their different styles complement this work so beautifully.
  • Kathleen and Mary have been offering weekend workshops on this theme for the past couple years and because they’ve been getting such rave reviews, they’ve decided to go big and do a longer, more intensive workshop. I brought Mary and Kathleen to Missoula, MT for a weekend workshop on this theme last May, and participants loved it.  The people who came represented a huge range of life transitions – some working through career changes, others focusing on intimate relationships, or life purpose, or healing from physical/mental/emotional dis-ease – and each one left with a deeper sense of themselves and their process.

Here’s a little more…

 

This retreat applies Nonviolent Communication (NVC) principles and processes to understanding and working through transitions (big or small). Mary and Kathleen have found this workshop works well for those with no NVC experience as well as those who have an integrated NVC practice.

 

I hope this was enough to get you excited about joining us. If it turns out you can’t make it (you’ll be missed!), it’d be such a gift if you’d be willing to pass this info on to others who you think might enjoy attending.  

 

Here’s a little summary of the details (click here for a flyer):

 

 

 

  • Dates:  September 15th – 20th
  • Location: Seabeck Conference Center, just outside of Seattle on Hood Canal (we’ll be staying in the Spruce building)
  • Price: (until 6/1): $925 (single occupancy) / $800 (double occupancy).  This includes tuition, lodging, and all meals…such a sweet deal!
  • Bonus: 25 CEUs available thru CNVC for LSW, MFT, and RN

 

If you have questions about the details above, or if you’d like to chat about if and how this retreat could support you, please feel free to contact me at aimee@explorecoreconnections.com.

 

Much love,

Aimee

(retreat organizer and Kathleen/Mary super-fan)

 

Carrying on Marshall Rosenberg’s Legacy

10968500_10153808734601808_3423761194286852278_nI’ve been wondering what I could possibly write that would give a glimpse into the gratitude in my heart for Marshall Rosenberg’s Nonviolent Communication. I can’t find words to convey the strength of life stirring in me in the midst of sadness, gratitude and awe. Because of my time with Marshall, I see the world differently. I hear so much that is unsaid yet desperate to be heard. I have a clear sense of who I am and my purpose in the world. I have courage to do my best to make a difference, and deep compassion for myself when it doesn’t seem like enough. I wake up every day determined to carry on Marshall’s legacy of creating a world where everyone’s needs matter.

Some of Marshall’s favorite venues to share Nonviolent Communication were International Intensive Trainings (IIT), 9-day immersion experiences. I invite you to find one this year and immerse yourself in the dynamic legacy. Carry on Marshall’s work in the world. He’s passed the torch to us. Will you join me in the embodiment of this work and using it to create systems where all people can thrive? I’ll be at the next IIT April 3-12 near Portland, OR, where we’ll explore how to apply NVC to our own lives, entire communities and the world. I plan to honor Marshall by keeping the fire burning. Join me if you are moved to honor Marshall and his work in this way.

The Dance of a Connected Conversation

If communication is a dance, have you ever had the sense that you were talking with someone but:

  • Your toes were getting squashed under their heels.
  • Their posture was stiff and inflexible.
  • They were getting scandalously close to your wobbly bits? (Gasp!).
  • You just weren’t connected.

Dancers of many styles - silhouettesMaybe it was like the tango where there was a strong leader in the dance, around whom the dance seemed to turn and whirl? Maybe that was even you, once or twice 😉 Perhaps you were trying to assert yourself but the rapid, complex movements of the lead partner left it tricky to share your expression? You found yourself a little dizzy, being swept around the dance floor, lifted and spun, tracking the next move of the lead partner. (Note: its just a metaphor here, folks – tango can be beautiful, amazing, and full of both people’s expression.). The video below shows a disconnected dance duo stepping on each others feet video (for comparison & contrast with the following video).

Now compare the tango with a lead partner to “contact improvisation” dance. In this style, the partners are fully playing off of each other and there usually is no “lead partner”, although the dancers will be guiding and supporting each other at different times. Movements are fluid and intimate as bodies pass over, under and around each other. This style of dance is more of a metaphor for what we call “the flow of connection” in compassionate communication. This video demonstrates that fluidity.

Back and Forth

“The flow of connection” in a conversation has a focus on keeping both people connected to a conversation. This goes back and forth, using “connecting requests” that ask, “Could you tell me what you just heard so I can know I got my message across?” or “What comes up for you when you hear that?” To stay with the metaphor, those questions keep the dancers synced up, in step on the same dance floor. Another thing to remember is that people can stay more connected with each other if the person speaking talks in “paragraphs” rather than “chapters.” By breaking up the conversation into smaller chunks, it is easier to reflect back what is being shared. If you are listening, it can also be helpful to “interrupt,” to reflect back what that other person is sharing, initiating the flow of connection from the perspective of the “ear.” So even if the speaker knows nothing about compassionate communication and nonviolence, you as a listener can model that flow and keep yourself connected to the conversation.

Trip, Stumble and Get Impatient

Sometimes you might want to have connected conversations and other times, you might not have the energy for it. It does require an openness and detachment from outcomes – a willingness to fully leap into the conversation… in the dance. Sometimes you might want to just be the lead partner or just to follow the lead of another. Sometimes a txt msg is all u have time 4. AND as you practice (and fail) and practice (and fail some more), you will find yourself dancing in conversations with others in ways that used to be battles. Even if you are a seasoned practitioner of compassionate communication, also known as Nonviolent Communication™, watch and enjoy as your skills continue to improve and you spin into deeper connection. Are you wanting to strengthen your Nonviolent Communication practice for 4 days and nights in a beautiful retreat setting, with highly skilled trainers, a supportive community, incredible organic food and rustic natural settings? Learn more about our Blackbelt Communication Skills Retreat at Whidbey Institute, Oct 1-5, 2014.

Do I make a Difference? Shifting Anxiety to Choice

I woke up feeling vulnerable and anxious and decided to embrace and open to the sensations that were there. A flood of memories came back—years and years of teaching, conducting, parenting and the wondering if it had made any difference at all. “Are people’s lives any different? Are the horrors of the world diminished in any way by how I’ve lived?” I asked myself. “Was I so immersed in what I was doing morning to night thinking it was all so important and wasn’t able to see that all that effort didn’t mean much after all?”

 

Sinking into the sadness, some shame, disappointment, and hopelessness leads me below the turbulent waters where I notice the yearning to live a life that has meaning, that contributes to others, that makes a difference because I show up with love. I want to risk my significance based on a full-bodied sense of integrity and authenticity, not reacting to external expectations.

 

Allowing my body and heart to sink into that hunger, to give my full weight to it in the present moment, I notice another fear at the thought that some beloved people in my life may not understand or support my choices. A wave of sadness come over me thinking the consequences may be that I fall from grace or lose being held with positive regard by those I care about.

 

Breathing into the fear of loss, I relax into how much I care, how much I love others and want to deepen sacred connection. I feel relief knowing that I can choose to offer unconditional positive regard to others, no matter how they respond to me. I can create the qualities I cherish. Can I offer that acceptance and care to myself as I step more and more into my own authenticity? I’m willing to try.  Hearing my own “yes!” connects me with the flow of Life moving through me and the power of being connected to meaning and purpose. I don’t know how to answer the question “Do I make a difference?” but I do trust that living each moment with a willingness to risk my significance for the sake  of connection and love may help me live my way into the answer.

Kathleen Macferran, Certified Trainer
Strength of Connection Center for Nonviolent Communication
Office: 472 Grow Ave NW | Bainbridge Island, WA 98110
206.780.1021. Tel / Fax
Mail: PO Box 10009 | Bainbridge Island, WA 98110-0009