Phases of the Moon, the newsletter of the Maine NVC Network
Volume Two, Issue Thirteen: Empathy Circles

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 Empathy Circles. Our feature is about the monthly, free, drop-in Empathy Circles hosted in the Camden area.


Monthly Empathy Circles

by Peggy Smith

December is a seasonal time of reflection and gratitude. The harvest is in and the gardens bedded down for the winter (unless you are among the growing number of people extending harvests with winter greenhouses). Gratitude is such an important part of developing needs-based consciousness.

I have been reflecting on how the Network has developed this year and experience gratitude for the diverse ways that people have stepped forward to add their talents and inspirations to nurture needs-based thinking and action in our communities. Several people have dedicated many hours to helping establish a Maine NVC Network Steering Committee – creating a brand new structure.

Others have helped by designing and printing a publicity card for the Network; volunteered as a bookkeeper; written and published our monthly newsletter; maintained our web presence; volunteered for outreach at a variety of fairs; facilitated on-going practice groups

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 January 6, 2012
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

Comments from Empathy Circle participants:

I yearn to be with a like-minded community and this circle offers just that. I'm so grateful for the people, the time, and the structure that give us the chance to be quiet and connected, to listen, respond and to share mindfully. – Theodate, Orono

Each time I have felt very nourished and supported in the group.  I was very grateful that I gave myself the gift of listening while sitting in a group of others willing to do the same. – Linda, Damariscotta

Allowing grace, allowing angst, tears, humor. Moments of refreshment. A gift given to myself and a gift each circle member gave and received together.  Glad I went. . . and will return – Pat, Brunswick

My experience of being in an Empathy Circle is that whatever I say will be held with compassion and presence. I relax and feel more comfortable in my own skin. Such a simple and powerful experience. Patricia, Camden

The December 2nd Empathy Circle co-facilitated by Theodate and Linda was an oasis of listening deeply to my feelings and looking for my needs as I shared the silences and also the explorations of others. Carolyn, Belfast

Arrive at a small well-crafted building; sit comfortably in a room of windows and views; go deeply with fellow beings into presence for about 2 hours.  Peace.  Calm.  Deep resonance. Connection with others. Grace. Lindsay, Whitefield

Silence, even among "strangers," can become comfortable, when one feels safe.  Safety in an NVC group is from shared active empathy. We choose to search for, identify, and validate the feelings of others; interactively, we receive the same offering. Sherry, Belfast

This month the Camden Empathy Circle met on my birthday and I decided to take myself there as a present to myself. Here, in addition to feeling the space to listen deeply to others and be listened to in return, I was impressed by the healing power of "silent empathy" where no words were needed. I left filled with feelings of gratitude and appreciation, aware that this experience was nourishing many of my most treasured values; including understanding, respect, compassion, and connection—I cannot imagine a better birthday gift! – Pam

This autumn a member of the Maine NVC Network created another offering by implementing a monthly, free Empathy Circle. Linda Coté-Small of Damariscotta was yearning to share the power of empathy held in community. After conferring with NVC friends, she established a monthly, open-to-all, free Empathy Circle that started in October.

This circle is held on the first Friday of each month from 10 am – 1 pm and is hosted at a quiet spacious retreat room in the Camden area. The first circle in October had two participants and by December the circle had grown to nine.

In October our newsletter focused on self-empathy. As we delve deeper into NVC, we come to find that empathy is the ground of the practice. Expanding our ability and strategies to nurture the universal need of Empathy is fundamental to grounding ourselves in needs-based consciousness. Self-Empathy is one strategy; having an Empathy Buddy is another. An empathy circle experience is a third powerful way of nourishing empathy. We come together in circle to experience being deeply "listened to" by our community. If you’ve experienced the power of having an Empathy Buddy, imagine having that magnified by the presence of many listeners.

The structure is simple. We sit in circle – the goal is to be present. Present to ourselves and present to whomever chooses to speak. The circle is started by a bell. The members bring themselves into quiet presence. When someone is moved to speak they talk in whatever way they want; it is a time of free expression. The other members of the circle listen deeply. Listen with their whole being – with no agenda – knowing that the gift of our presence is the greatest gift that can be given.

The person sharing speaks for as long as they are moved to. When they are done they may choose to end with no reflection from another or to ask for a "verbal reformulation" (NVC speak for an expression of feelings & needs). I find it most helpful if that reflection can be done as a question: "Am I hearing that you feel ______ because you value (yearn for, need) ________?"

The purpose of this reflection is for the original speaker to experience the fullness of how they were heard. It is not a time for a dialogue to develop. After the verbal reformulation the original speaker either says more into the circle or acknowledges that they are complete. The circle then moves back into the quiet of presence until another member feels moved to speak.

The need of empathy is fed by being present in such a circle, whether someone speaks or not. Sometimes parts of us that we are not conscious of can feel so supported by the energy created in a community circle that it speaks so that the whole of us can hear it. This supports inner connection and inner understanding – expanding inner freedom.

So, consider coming to the monthly Empathy Circle. All are welcome; no previous NVC experience required. Drop–ins are welcome – so come when you can.

To get directions and a copy of the Empathy Circle guidelines, please contact Linda Coté–Small: Phone 563-6712 / email

Peggy Smith is a certified NVC trainer with Open Communication. Peggy participates in the monthly Empathy Circle as often as she can.

We are grateful to Margaret Rauenhorst of Camden who is offering the space for this monthly empathy circle.


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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.

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
Waiting List only
pdf icon details / registration: pdf icon pdf format / word document


2nd Saturday of each month, March-June, 2012, Falmouth, ME
AND 3rd Sunday of each month, March-June, 2012 Belfast, ME:
Keeping Our NVC Practice Thriving:
Intermediate Immersion Group led by Peggy Smith

This once a month experience is intended for people with a minimum of 4 days
of NVC training with a certified trainer. A four month commitment is requested to
build a sense of NVC community as we delve deeper into the practices that keep
needs-based consciousness alive in us.
FMI: email Peggy


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
Living Compassion: Building Practices & Processes
An NVC workshop with Robert Gonzales

Because the workshop content will be determined by the skill level and experience of the participants,
we request that applicants have a minimum of 20 hours experience with an NVC trainer,
or have been a part of an NVC practice group for a year, or are in an NVC practice group currently.
pdf icondetails and registration
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.


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.



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golden marigold

Go In and In
by Danna Faulds

Go in and in.
Be the space
between two cells,
the vast, resounding
silence in which spirit dwells.
Be sugar dissolving on
the tongue of life.

Dive in and in,
As deep as you can dive.
Be infinite, ecstatic truth.
Be love conceived and born in union.
Be exactly what you seek,
extreme closeup of center of marigold the Beloved, singing Yes,
tasting Yes, embracing Yes,
until there is only essence;
the All of Everything
expressing through you
as you.

Go in and in and turn
away from nothing that
you find.

from Poems from the Heart of Yoga


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