Phases of the Moon, the newsletter of the Maine NVC Network
Volume Two, Issue Twelve: Finding the Gold in Conflict

Our newsletter appears once a month around the time of the new moon. Our purpose is to contribute to the NVC learning of people who have taken at least an NVC Level 1 workshop, and help us stay connected as we endeavor to deepen a culture of peace within ourselves, our families and the world. We believe a Level 1 offers so many new ways of thinking that additional support for learning and integration could be helpful.

We endeavor to make each edition informative, connecting, inspiring and fun. Please let us know how the newsletter might contribute to your NVC well-being.

This month's theme is Finding the Gold in Conflict and is contributed by Sura Hart - co-creator of the No-Fault Zone® Game and co-author of three NVC based books for parents and schools. The newsletter team is thrilled that Sura took time to make this contribution especially for our community.


Thanksgiving snow on tree still laden with fruit

Invitation to a
Monthly Empathy Circle

You are invited to participate in a monthly empathy circle. We will gather the first Friday of each month.

The next circle will be
10am-1pm on December 2

at The Start Center, 37 Start Rd, Camden

You are welcome to come when you can.

FMI or to sign up, contact Linda:
Phone 563-6712 / email


Go for the Gold in Conflict: Occupy The No-Fault Zone®

by Sura Hart

The holidays are here again! For many this means more time with family, which can be lots of fun. It can also be stressful, sprinkled with conflict. This can therefore be a great time to practice a positive, welcoming response to conflict, and mine the gold that every conflict holds.

If this seems far-fetched to you, more fantasy than possibility, you’re not alone. Most people are afraid of conflict, dissatisfied with the way they handle conflict, and anxious even thinking about it.

The fact is that most of us don’t know what to do with conflict. Past experiences have led us to believe that conflict is dangerous, and that engaging with it will make things worse. With this belief, it makes sense to try to avoid conflict, sweep it under the rug, change the subject. However, trying to avoid conflict does not make it go away. Most often, feelings intensify, resentments build and the same or bigger conflict resurfaces.

The good news is that we can change the way we think about and work with conflict so that it informs instead of inflames. We can use the principles of NVC and "go for the gold" by discovering the life-serving needs at the core of every conflict. In the process, we can forge stronger bonds of trust and understanding in our families and in all our relations.

If you don’t like how you have handled conflict in the past, becoming aware of your habitual responses is a place to begin the change.

Change your game: from the Blame Game to The No-Fault Game

One habitual response to conflict that predictably inflames and perpetuates conflict is finding fault and blaming.

When someone says to you, "It’s your fault," how do you feel? Do you want to move towards that person? Or do you tend to defend, attack or run away?

How do you feel when you’re the one blaming others? Do your jaws clench, stomach tighten? Next time you hear yourself blaming someone, notice how your body reacts. Your body will tell you what game you’re playing.

You can shift from blaming, by noticing that it is happening, and taking a break from what’s going on in your head. Take some deep breaths, letting your jaw, stomach, shoulders relax.

Then, you can try switching your focus from fault-finding and blaming, to looking through a no-fault lens, to see the life energy within the conflict.

A no-fault lens is supported by the Nonviolent Communication® premise that all behavior is motivated by vital human needs. Needs that are frequently present in conflict are: understanding, respect, safety, trust, consideration, support, autonomy, and play. Looking through the no-fault lens, you can see more clearly what is most important to you and to others.

What does this look like?

When I’m frustrated finding myself doing the housework alone, I can make a choice to play the blame game: Blame the others, as "lazy" or "inconsiderate" when they are doing something other than helping around the house. See how that feels, and where it leads.

Or I can choose to play the No-Fault Game? Notice any judgments, breathe, and connect with the Needs stirring in me: help, support, companionship. Then, I can guess the needs they might be meeting: maybe it’s play, autonomy, or understanding my needs?

When I look through the no-fault lens, I feel care and compassion for myself and for others. I also often have new interest in finding solutions that work for everyone.

These five practices will help you create an internal No-Fault Zone®:

Here is how these practices can apply to the example of finding yourself cleaning the house while other family members are relaxing.

If you take up these practices, I predict they will be game-changing for you, and will lead you to the gold at the core of conflict. They will also strengthen your capacity to listen, understand and find creative win-win solutions. And they could even make this winter holiday the most fun yet!

For added fun and support in playing the No-Fault Game, check out The No-Fault Zone® Game, a colorful board game designed to guide players through conversations and conflicts to the goal of connection and understanding.

Sura Hart is a certified trainer with the international Center for Nonviolent Communication, co-author of 3 NVC based books: Respectful Parents – Respectful Kids; The Compassionate Classroom; and The No-Fault Classroom. Sura is also a principle trainer for the Teach For Life NVC Educator’s Institute, a fabulous 5-day educators' summer institute, in 2012 hosted in both Washington State and San Francisco. FMI: 805-698-3332 Sura is also co-director of The No-Fault Zone®.

Further Practice

  1. Bring the No-Fault Zone® Game Board into your couple-ship, family, school or community group.

  2. During the next month take a few minutes near the end of your day to reflect on any conflicts that happened. Record in a sentence or two what the conflict was. More important reflect & record your inner attitude about conflict. Invite yourself to be curious about your inner beliefs about conflict. Do you have inner fears, opinions, or judgments about conflict itself?

Coming to know our internal belief structure can help us shift and grow, coming to experience that conflict can truly be an experience that can help me know myself and the other person more deeply.

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Upcoming Trainings

Trainings listed here are in the Maine region. If you wish to list an event, please follow our guidelines for submission. Please note that both certified and non-certified trainers, (who are willing to follow certain requirements of the Center for Nonviolent Communication), may be leading the posted trainings. Listing here does not imply endorsement by the Maine NVC Network of the trainer or the event.


Sept. thru Dec., Belfast and Falmouth, ME
Intermediate Immersion Group with Peggy Smith, certified NVC trainer

Pre-requisite a minimum of 4 days of NVC training with a certified NVC trainer.
3rd Saturday of each month in Falmouth: details / pdf icon REGISTRATION
3rd Sunday of each month in Belfast: details / pdf icon REGISTRATION
9:00 – 1:00 each session
Taught by Peggy Smith, certified NVC trainer


December 2, 2011, South Portland, ME
Fundraising Event for Women, Work & Community

This 1-day overview of NVC will give people an insight into the power that NVC offers.
Facilitated by Peggy Smith, certified NVC trainer
pdf icon details and registration


December 10-11, 2011, Falmouth, ME
Foundations of Open Communication:
An Introduction to the Basics of Nonviolent Communication®

A Level 1 workshop with Peggy Smith, certified NVC trainer
pdf icon details and registration


January 14, 2012, Falmouth, ME
Everyday Empathy

Spend a day embracing the joys of Empathy, bringing it alive for yourself.
Facilitated by Peggy Smith, certified NVC trainer
pdf icon details and registration


January 20-22, 2012, Winslow, ME
Bringing Mindful Speech To Life

A residential weekend of mindfulness meditation and NVC,
facilitated by Peggy Smith and Theodate Lawlor,
NVC practitioners and lay members of Thich Nhat Hanh’s Tiep Hien Order
pdf icon details / registration: pdf icon pdf format / word document


March 3-4, 2012, Bangor, ME
Building Bridges of Communication: Introduction to Nonviolent Communication®

Fundraiser for WERU Community Radio
taught by Peggy Smith, certified NVC trainer
pdf icon details and registration


April 7-8, 2012, Bangor, ME
Expanding Open Communication

Sat., April 7: Transforming Power Dynamics in Relationships
Sun., April 8: The Art of NVC Dialogue
You may register for either or both of these days. Together they constitute a Level 2 training.
offered by Peggy Smith
pdf icon details and registration


May 4-7, 2012, Bar Harbor, ME
Save the dates for another Intermediate/Advanced NVC event with Robert Gonzales

details and registration appearing soon on the Maine NVC Network website
and in next month's newsletter. Last year this event sold out.





Do you want to receive emails about upcoming NVC trainings and other NVC events in and near Maine?

Join the Maine NVC Network
Yahoo Group

The group is moderated and is only used for announcements of regional workshops and other Maine NVC Network events. Inclusion in list serve announcements does not imply endorsement by the Network.



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Call for Volunteers

The health of the Network depends on the joyful efforts of all who yearn to bring nonviolent consciousness to our region.
To learn more, email our volunteer coordinator.



This short (4:50 minute) video connects needs-based consciousness (meaning, intimacy, creativity, community, purpose, love, interdependence) to the Occupy Movement.

After watching this please consider sharing your reaction with the newsletter team. email


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