Finding True North

Are you looking for True North during these times of unprecedented change? Is your inner landscape searching for solid ground? With so much change in my inner and outer worlds, I’m surviving by taking time to listen to my heart and from that place walking with integrity to the best of my ability. My friend and colleague, Mary Mackenzie, and I will be exploring how to find strength and courage in a turbulent world Sept 8-10, 2017, in a lovely CA retreat center. Join us to discover what matters most to you and how your next steps can help you get there. More information: http://nvctraining.com/media/_2017/KM-MM/LT/index.retreat.html

 

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.

Why Bother doing a TEDx Talk?

Kathleen speaking at TEDxRainierHere is Kathleen’s 2nd TEDx talk, The Power of Listening, as a part of the larger Livestream video of the entire event plus other TED video content. Her introduction begins at 1:12:46 and she begins speaking at 1:13:20. We will post the solo talk video when it becomes available.  Scott Karman was a part of the production team. Below is Scott’s post about why we do this in the first place, reposted with his permission. TEDx is an unpaid experience for the presenters.

 

Reflections on TEDxRainier
By Scott Karman

Along the way, in the eleven months of planning for TEDxRainier 2014, I experienced a particularly special moment during one of the speaker rehearsals. Kathleen Macfarren, a speaker with an elegant talk on deep listening, paused for a moment to ask us, “Why do you do this?” I chuckled as it was the very question that I had asked myself on my drive to the rehearsal. One by one, we all gave our answers. Bo Roth who was responsible for helping the speakers develop their talks said, “It’s all about the people.” Anna Boynton, a masterful speaker coach, said, “It’s all about the people.” Co-curators Phil Klein and Elizabeth Coppinger agreed. We all agreed. TEDxRainier is a unique labor of love where we get to meet, work with, and connect with amazing people doing amazing things. As a team, we have the pleasure of growing friendships through collaboration. There is a lot of laughter, some tears, and of course, some heated moments–all parts of creating something larger than ourselves.

Then, I think about the many teams that come together to make the event happen. The people that live behind the curtains of the stage that you will never see. “Why do we do this?” TEDxRainier is an opportunity for us to do our very best work without the constraints of timelines and budgets. It is a show where we get to decide what happens and how it is going to be accomplished. Kris Monro, of Milligan Events, was the glue that kept us all on track while providing her expertise on the attendee experience. The Tri-Digital team brought the live stream program to those who watched virtually. The camera work on the big screen or your screen at home was skillfully orchestrated by the Dapper crew. The presentations were the collective creations between the speakers and our Silver Fox designers. The entire auditorium experience was the result of the collaboration of all of these teams, including the amazing McCaw Hall staff. So why do we do it? This is what we love to do and we love putting on shows for our dear attendees.

And finally, during a particularly stressful event planning moment, I had posed the question to myself. “Why do I do this?” The answer came as a surprise to me.

It comes down to lifetime goals and dreams. You see, in college, my parents were not pleased with my decision to major in painting. One night, on the WSU campus, my mother asked me with concern, “What do you want to do with your life?” In my youthful and passionate naïveté, I responded that I either wanted to be an artist or the President of the United States. Well, as I grew up a bit, that evolved into wanting to be a teacher who leads and lets the creative process guide the way. Both ideas are applicable to anywhere my inspirations take me. And there I was, Saturday morning pacing my house at 3 AM, waiting for McCaw Hall to open so we could get the show started. I asked, “Why do I do this (to myself)?” A burst of adrenalin came over me and a huge smile stretched across my face. The answer is that I am doing exactly what I set out to do. This whole thing is a realization of lifetime goals and dreams.

 

Learning This Stuff is Life or Death For Me

skeletonIn 2009,  my colleague, Sura Hart, and I were leading an Empathy workshop for men in a WA State prison. As I entered the workshop, I was surprised to see an inmate, Dan (not his real name), who had participated in a Freedom Project workshop I had co-led with another colleague, Doug Dolstad, four years ago at the same facility. I hadn’t seen him since.

Seeing Dan, I remembered a moment at that first workshop when he responded to some grumbling in the group about what he was doing by saying, “I know I’m taking up a lot of time here, but learning this stuff is life or death for me.” The whole room went silent as we soaked in the truth of those words for all of us. Dan was transferred out of state for three years and had recently returned. I was moved by what seemed to me a profound change in his energy and skills at the recent workshop. He set a tone of courageously looking at “skeletons in the closet,” inviting the whole group to participate in his learning and understanding. His example encouraged others to do the same. 

Encountering the enormity of the violence around me can be overwhelming, but I find renewed energy when I focus on creating safe corners, places of sanctuary in the midst of a larger backdrop. Science and history seem to support the idea that small changes in behavior have the power to affect living systems and organizations in profound ways. Be the change you wish to see and savor new life unfolding.

To experience the kind of presence these men gave to one another is to walk on sacred ground. If we can create that sacred space inside prisons, we can create it anywhere. What corner of your life do you want to turn into a place of hope and healing? What support would you like to make that happen?

Still glowing from the prison TEDx Event

It has been a week since the TEDx event at Monroe Correctional Complex and I’m still glowing. I’m inspired by the many ways we have to support healing already and I’m hopeful that we can grow that support exponentially to embrace more of the prison system. One of the many highlights was a conversation between and inmate and officer in the green room as the three of us were waiting for our turn to speak. They were talking about inmate-staff relations. The officer talked about how he sees his job not just to contain, but to encourage. He talked about how he tried to get those in solitary to at least laugh once a day, because he wanted them to have that human connection that comes through humor. He told a story of how he was really hard on an inmate once, much more so than other inmates, and when that inmate was being released, he pulled him into an interview room and said he wanted to tell him why he had been so hard on him. The inmate’s crime was similar to the one that had killed one of the officer’s family members. The officer was encouraging the soon to be released inmate that he could do well one the outside, that he had a lot to give, that he could make it. The two of them ended up in tears and their relationship healed.

        

  

 

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