Phases of the Moon, the newsletter of the Maine NVC Network
Volume Two, Issue Three: Honesty

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.

The theme for this issue is Honesty. The feature explores how NVC can help us move away from expressing thoughts that often lead to disconnection to expressing our inner vulnerable state, that often leads to connection.




by Peggy Smith, CNVC certified NVC trainer

Honesty is good, right? I want others to be honest with me and I want to express honestly with others. I think.

As we learn NVC, we find "honesty" on the list of universal human needs. But we may have experiences from our past when being honest brought pain and disconnection. It can be confusing, how can "honesty" be a need and yet troublesome.

There is a key distinction in NVC between honesty that expresses our thoughts and judgments (judgmental/jackal honesty) and honesty that expresses our inner vulnerability (NVC/giraffe honesty).

In our day-to-day lives, when we refer to honesty we are usually talking about our judgments. Our honesty is usually about trying to change someone or a situation, thinking things are right or wrong, and wanting to mold things to our liking. This may sound like:

"What a kind person you are." baby sitting on floor holding a stuffed giraffe


"Good girl/boy." (expressing a praising judgment so the person will keep behaving in a way we want)


"Once again you didn’t do the dishes like you said you would, it goes to show you don’t respect or care about me." (critical expression of opinions)

This type of expression rarely leads to connection.

As we learn to express ourselves through Nonviolent Communication, we learn to share what is authentically going on within us – that is a form of honest expression that can lead to connection.

The first step is to slow down and discover what emotional reactions we are having in the moment; we are honest with ourselves about our momentary inner state. I like to call this the inner weather report. By referring to the emotional state within me as a "weather front" it reminds me that my inner states are constantly changing just as the weather outside is constantly changing. As we say here in Maine, "If you don’t like the weather, just wait a few minutes."

If you are like me, you learned long ago that some feelings were not OK. Taking on the practice of NVC is an inner invitation to reconnect with long suppressed emotions. Having compassion with yourself, inviting yourself to open up awareness of your inner weather front, can take time. Practice inner gratitude for emotions that come up, even ones that in the past you didn’t want to feel.

Why is it helpful to be aware of our emotions? Because through NVC we learn how to ride the wave of an emotion to the universal need that is the cause of the emotion. (more on this in the Golden Road of feelings)

Connecting honestly is when I express my vulnerability. The classical NVC form can help me do that. It may sound something like this:

"When you hold the door open for me,(observation) I feel delighted and touched (feelings) arising from the need of ease and gratitude (needs). I wonder how you feel hearing me say that?" (connecting request)


"When you brush your teeth when I ask you to, (observation) I feel glad (feelings) because I value harmony and good health (needs). Will you tell me what you just heard me say?" (connecting request)


"When I am ready to start cooking supper and I find dishes and pots in the sink (observation) I feel frustrated, concerned and curious (feelings) arising from the needs of ease, co-operation and harmony (needs). Would you be willing to tell me what you are hearing me say? (connecting request)

In each of these examples the focus is on honestly expressing my weather front and the need(s) that is stirring that weather.

At first, this type of honesty can sound weird and even feel scary because we have so little experience expressing in this way

The magic of NVC is that as we become more honest with ourselves, we are able to have more choice about what and how we express. In this way we honor and nourish the beautiful need of "honesty" that flows within each of us. This kind of honesty brings deeper and deeper connection within myself and with others.

Peggy Smith is co-founder of the Maine NVC Network and founder/principal trainer with Open Communication
Contact Open Communication for a presentation on NVC for your organization or business.

back to top

Suggestions for Practice:

  1. When you find yourself wanting to express praise - stop and breathe. Ask yourself, "Does that person want to hear a judgment, or would they prefer to hear what in me appreciates their behavior?"

  2. When you find yourself wanting to criticize someone (even yourself) - slow down, pause, and become aware of your breath. Ask yourself, "Is it likely to improve our connection if I give someone a piece of my mind?" Remember the NVC saying, Connection before correction! Remember that you are more likely to build connection if you express honestly about your inner weather - connecting the feelings alive in you with the needs that flow in you

  3. Try writing down a classical NVC expression - Observation, Feeling, Needs, Connecting Request - and see how your weather front is doing. Taking time to connect to the beauty of the needs is an important step to increase the likelihood of connection.

  4. Take an NVC course (such as a Level 2 or other intermediate level) that will help you practice aspects of NVC dialogue.


Crossword Puzzle

This is a fully interactive online puzzle; we will have a new one each month which relates to the issue's theme.


~ Poetry Corner ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Do you see how the days of my life fly by
How seven days pass in the blink of an eye
Do you see me?
Do you hear my heart beat as butterfly wings
Even though my lips haven't uttered a thingmonarch butterfly flying
Do you hear me?
Do you know how vulnerable I can be
When I am blinded and unable to see?
Do you know me?
I see past that which I thought I should be
To what is alive and that matters to me.
I see me.
I hear my heart whisper, a connection it seeks
And respond with sureness, though once was so weak.
I hear me.
I know my needs which once had no bearing
Deserve a voice strong enough for sharing.
I know me.


- Sherry, Oklahoma City

This poem was presented as a celebration by a participant in the 2010 Creating Workplaces Where People Thrive workshop taught by Gregg Kendrick. FMI


back to top

Next Maine NVC Network Gathering

noon – 3 pm, Maine State Library, third floor, room #307

The Maine State Library is located in the Cultural building in the State House Complex: 230 State Street, Augusta

Topics: Reviewing work of temporary steering committee and visioning on the future of the Maine NVC Network

Please RSVP so that we can assure enough seating.


back to top

Celebrations Corner

NVC at Maine Coastal Regional Re-entry Center
Craig R., currently residing in Belfast, ME

I am currently finishing a prison bid at the Maine Coastal Regional Re-Entry program in Belfast Maine. I have been involved in many programs and classes regarding cognitive behavior, substance abuse and communication skills. I have learned a lot about myself and about the things that lead people to make poor decisions.

One of the most useful skills I use everyday is communication. NVC has brought to my attention many aspects of communication that was overlooked in my life and is overlooked in most people’s lives all the time. I am now in touch with my needs. I can identify the feelings that are connected to those needs, and I am able to empathize for others more than ever before.

Being able to make these connections and to be aware of this helps me in my everyday life. It is amazing to me to see how by communicating well the end result of most interactions come out in a positive way. When they don’t, it is usually from long instilled biases and intolerance that clouds people’s judgment. I am fortunate to have these "blinders" lifted and feel comfortable identifying my feelings. It has made it easy to become a positive person in all areas of my life.

I believe this class would be of great benefit for everyone. At the very least to open people’s eyes to the fact that it is OK to feel! I am grateful for the opportunity to have these tools and encourage this class to anyone who wants to be a better listener, empathizer, parent and friend.


back to top

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.


back to top

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.

March 12-13, Norway, ME
Speaking Peace In A World of Conflict:
The Basics of NVC

Taught by Peggy Smith,
CNVC certified NVC trainer
pdf icon details and registration

March 12-13, Camden, ME
Communication in relationships with NVC

Taught by Gina Cenciose,
CNVC certified NVC trainer / FMI

March 19-20, Meadowwind in Falmouth ME
Level one of combining
Inner Relationship Focusing with NVC

Taught by Gina Cenciose / FMI

March 26-27, Bangor, ME
Building Bridges of Communication:
an introduction to NVC

This event is a fundraiser for WERU Community Radio. Taught by Peggy Smith / pdf icon details and registration

April 9-10, Falmouth ME: Level 2

details below

April 12-17, Camden, ME
Retreat on NVC and Transformation

combining NVC, Meditative Inquiry
and Inner relationship Focusing.
Taught by Gina Cenciose / FMI

May 14-15, Belfast, ME
Building Bridges of Communication:
an introduction to NVC

Taught by Peggy Smith / pdf icon details and registration

May 20 -22, Augusta, ME
Building Bridges of Communication:
the basics of NVC

Taught by Peggy Smith / FMI

June 11–12, Newburyport, MA
Building Bridges of Communication:
the basics of NVC

Taught by Peggy Smith / FMI

June 25-26, Camden, ME
Intro. to Restorative Circles

Taught by Gina Cenciose / FMI

July 9-10, Camden, ME
Empathy, Inquiry and Music

Taught by Gina Cenciose / FMI

August 8–12, Hutchinson Center, Belfast, ME
PAX 495: Sustainable Communication

NVC 3 credit course in UMaine Peace Studies Dept.
Advanced Topics in Peace & Reconciliation
Combined NVC level 1 & 2 with full 3 credits

Do you know of students home in Maine for the summer who would enjoy getting 3 credits for a week long course in NVC? Do you know of educators, counselors, social workers or health care professionals looking for credits for recertification? Please let them know about this opportunity.

Taught by Peggy Smith / pdf icon details and registration



NVC Practice Group
Announcements & News

Free Telephone Based Practice Group

Beginning March 14, 6-8 pm, and meeting the second and fourth Monday of each month for 4 months
This is an open group. Anyone who has taken at least 2 days of NVC training is welcome to join the call.
Led by Peggy Smith / FMI



April 9–10, Meadow Wind Center, Falmouth, ME
Staying In The NVC Dance: deepening our connection to nonviolent consciousness
Level 2 workshop

This experiential workshop will guide us toward

Taught by Peggy Smith / pdf icon details and registration


Home  |  Newsletter Archives