CHOICE: a field guide for navigating the polarization of our world and living interdependently

By Kathleen Macferran and Jared Finklestein

Explore choices and philosophical perspectives that go beyond right and wrong and into the realm of interdependent relationship. Based upon the key differentiations and principles of Marshall Rosenberg’s Nonviolent Communication, this book gives you tools for investigation of the life-serving motivation in ideas that sometimes appear as opposites. When you learn to distinguish these concepts, light is shed on the life- serving purpose at both ends of a seeming continuum between ideas.

Readers are invited to apply, on a personal level, a consciousness that leads to self-responsibility, connection and collaboration.

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Jared reveals how he used one of the insights from Choice to quit smoking

Kathleen and Jared share about Choice

What Others Say About Choice

“If you are a leader who wants to develop your ability to discern and make choices that lead to results which enrich and sustain your organizational community, you will want to access “Choice” as a resource time and again.” 
~ Christine Flaherty, MHA – Healthcare Executive

“One word can open a heart, and another word can trigger a reaction that will take hours or even weeks or years to heal.
So I would happily suggest everybody that finds communication as a crucial tool in life, to read and keep re-reading this book and thus bringing more and more clarity into the way they interact with themselves, others and life itself.”
~ Robert Kržišnik, MSc. Psych., CNVC Certified trainer and mediator

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Giraffe Tales ~ Audiobook

Please visit our Music page for the Giraffe Tales Audio Book. Computer weirdness is temporarily glitching it out on this page.


Giraffe Tales
©2012 Kathleen Macferran, Strength of Connection

  • Track 1: How Giraffes Found Their Hearts (19:29)
  • Track 2: How Giraffes Got Their Ears (9:05)

Music composed by Adam Stern
Stories by Kathleen Macferran
Conductor: Kathleen Macferran
“How Giraffes Found Their Hearts” narrated by Bonnie Showers
“How Giraffes Got Their Ears” narrated by Laurence Cole
Recording and Editing by Al Swanson
Original art and graphic design by Kenneth Schrag

Rainier Chamber Winds’ Musicians:
Flute: Susan Telford
Alto flute/piccolo: Kirsten James
Oboe: Janet Putnam
Clarinet: Mary Kantor
Bassoon: Ann Kosanovic-Brown
Percussion: Beth Lenz
Trumpet: Jerry Oram
Trombone: David Ritt

Thank you to the Rainier Chamber Winds’ Board of Directors:
Julie Wieringa, Jill Skinner, Gregg Miller and Nate Glissmeyer

For my family, with love

Kathleen Macferran
Certified Trainer with the Center for Nonviolent Communication

The Stories – Illustrated Books

Kathleen— “These Giraffe Tales were written during a transition period in my life. I had been a music conductor for about 15 years and during that time had brought the world of classical music to children through concerts and a CD with folk tales set to music called “Tales Told in the Winds.” At the same time I was studying Nonviolent Communication to try and understand how to create and sustain harmony in the world in our relationships on the interpersonal and systemic levels. It seemed like the message of Nonviolent Communication could be told through children’s stories set to music, so I wanted to give it a try. My hope in writing the stories and having them set to music was an attempt to interlace two worlds I was passionate about. The CD “Giraffe Tales” is the product of that attempt. I loved the illustrations Kenneth created for the CD cover and hoped we would someday have illustrated books children could read along with as they listened to the recorded stories.

Through music and Nonviolent Communication I’ve learned specific ways of listening that supports mutual understanding across cultural, race, gender, philosophical and age differences. Empathy and world peace are interconnected. Because giraffes are one of the land animals with the largest hearts, they are sometimes referred to as symbols of Nonviolent Communication, since our hearts are where we hold the feelings and needs we most cherish. In How the Giraffe’s Got Their Ears, the giraffes find joy when they are able to hear the beautiful feelings and needs in all hearts, in other words, when they are able to empathize with each other. How Giraffe’s Found Their Hearts is a story of the importance of being connected to our own hearts so we can live from our own values and joy. Empathizing and self-connection are two of the most important qualities I lean on to bring meaning into my life.”

How Giraffes Got Their Ears

How Giraffes Got Their Ears is a fictional story about the time when Animal Maker was creating giraffes. Giraffes loved all parts of their bodies except their ears. Their ears heard so many things that it was hard to focus on what was most important to hear. Animal Maker let them try out a variety of ears, including mouse ears and elephant ears. Finally, Animal Maker made a pair of ears that giraffes loved. These special ears helped giraffes hear the beauty in all hearts, even when the beauty was hidden. Illustrated by Kenneth Schrag.

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How Giraffes Found Their Hearts

How Giraffe Found Their Hearts is a fictional story that follows the search of Jordan giraffe as she searches for something to fill the hollow, empty space in her chest. Acting on the advice of her friends in nature, Jordan tries to fill her chest with carrots, stars and pond water. After several unsatisfying attempts, Jordan hears the song of a young boy and follows the sound until she meets him. The boy helps Jordan hear the song inside herself, and in doing so, she discovers her own heart – the very thing she was searching for all along. Illustrated by Kenneth Schrag.

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Explore and listen to Kathleen’s musical offerings with the Rainier Chamber Wind Ensemble