Phases of the Moon, the newsletter of the Maine NVC Network
Volume Three, Issue One: Nonviolence, Consciousness Transformation, and Community

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 Nonviolence, Consciousness Transformation, and Community. The feature article is written by Miki Kashtan, internationally accomplished NVC trainer who co-founded BayNVC and offers many intermediate & advanced NVC trainings.


Nonviolence, Consciousness Transformation, and Community

by Miki Kashtan

In October 2009 I had a pretty significant crisis of faith, what some might call a dark night of the soul. This happened after 14 years of being on two parallel and mutually transforming paths: my personal dedication to living undefendedly and working my way through fear, and my work of teaching Nonviolent Communication.

The crisis, simply put, was that I temporarily lost my faith that what I did could have a lasting effect on people’s consciousness. I knew, even in the midst of the anguish, that I was deeply privileged to touch people’s lives in significant ways on a consistent basis. I also knew that being moved and inspired was not quite the same as the choice to integrate this consciousness into daily living, into the fabric of how we make choices moment by moment, into what our lives are about.

an arched stone bridge over still water surrounded with tall trees in full leaf and a mother and child crossing the bridgeI knew I wanted company in embracing the ferocious experience of a life given to the service of consciousness transformation, internally and in the world. Against the weight of my crisis I stretched my spirit into envisioning what this truly meant and what it would take to create this full alignment. Thus was planted the seed of what became an active and vibrant community of support for consciousness transformation.

Soon I had a list of core commitments (now numbering 17; read them here) that together comprised what a consciousness of nonviolence meant to me. In writing them, I wanted to honor the paradox that I see in using the word "commitment": on the one hand, life is radically uncertain and we cannot know the future of our ability to make anything happen. On the other hand, the level of inner seriousness that "commitment" entails was important to me.

I wrote the commitments in a way that highlights and provides a constant reminder of our absolute need for support to do this work. Which is why I wanted a community, not just the commitments. I wanted a community that would extend well beyond what I had to offer in terms of experience, vision, leadership, enthusiasm, and energy. I envisioned a group of people willing to take a personal stand for truth and for love, and available to support each other in moving closer and closer to living a life of love and courage. I felt the desire to model this endeavor after Gandhi and Martin Luther King and the countless known and unknown heroes of nonviolence. This meant supporting both action and inner cultivation, as neither alone would be sufficient.

I launched the Consciousness Transformation Community, or CTC, on February 18th, 2010. The community is soon to celebrate its second anniversary, with dozens of members from 6 different countries. There are many more people who use the commitments regularly as inspiration and guidance on their path even without being members (I know there is one such group in Maine). The complex and elaborate structure I initially set up collapsed and morphed into a simple and organic structure I couldn’t possibly have thought of on my own. Now any member of the community has full access to contributing anything they want. We have several options every week to connect on the phone, most of which are led by members of the community other than myself. We have an interactive website for connection, mutual support, initiatives, and discussions of all sorts. We reflect regularly on how we work together. Anyone is invited to take responsibility for the functioning of the community and to participate in decision-making. Lastly, contributions, both to the group and to me, are done entirely on a voluntary basis, as a gift economy.

Gandhi himself had a core group of about 70 people who worked with him, who joined in his "experiments in truth" and lived together in his Ashram. I have even more conviction now that those of us who want to live a life that rests on love, courage, care, and service need each other, because we are by definition going against the grain.

I asked people to share what being part of CTC means to them, so others could have a sense of it. One person said: "Even if I will never actually meet these people in-person, it is very reassuring and encouraging for me to be reminded that there are other people out in this world who are actively committed to living their lives in a consciously nonviolent way." We need community to know we are not alone, for inspiration, for mutual support. Another said: "This community helps remind me of my commitment to nonviolence and holds me accountable to that commitment." Support sometimes takes the form of reminding us, in difficult moments, what we have committed to.

The community is now in a period of reflection and inquiry. Fewer people join the weekly phone calls, and we are exploring what we really want, where we are going, what might be our next direction. I remain deeply called to contribute beyond the community itself, and imagine that as new people join we will find our way to bring our gifts to each other and the world more fully. Our next open call is Sunday, February 26th, 12:30-2pm Eastern time, and I would be delighted to have friends from Maine join us. What is your own dream for your consciousness transformation? What is your dream of where you can contribute significantly beyond your personal sphere? You can join the call (email to get a call-in number and pin). I am celebrating what we have done, and have more faith in what is possible as a result of coming together to take a stand for nonviolence.

Suggestions for Practice

  • Watch the movie I Am by Tom Shadyac. The shift is about to hit the fan — don't miss it.
  • Read over and contemplate the CTC Core Commitments that Miki refers to in her article. For example, you might read one every day before eating breakfast for a week; then take another one for the next week. Or you might get together with a few friends once a month and read through all the Commitments, then discuss what comes alive in each of you as you do this.
  • Consider joining the Consciousness Transformation Community.
  • Practice your empathic presence and listening by volunteering for the empathy phone support line (see box below for details)

Miki Kashtan is a co-founder of Bay Area Nonviolent Communication. She is inspired by the role of visionary leadership in shaping a livable future, and works toward that vision by sharing the principles and practices of Nonviolent Communication through mediation, meeting facilitation, coaching, consulting, and training for organizations and for committed individuals. Her articles have appeared in Tikkun magazine and elsewhere.



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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.

3rd Saturday of each month, March-June, 2012, Falmouth, ME
AND 3rd Sunday of each month, March-June, 2012, Camden, 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.


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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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Greetings from the OccupyVoice
Occupy Movement NVC Support Line

Since the first week in November, several NVC practitioners have been hosting a daily conference call from 4:00-6:00 pm EST. On the call, we offer NVC-based support to those involved in, or affected by, the Occupy movement. With this letter, we are reaching out for more volunteers because we do not yet have enough NVC volunteers to keep the line staffed every day of the week. We want to be able to offer daily NVC experiences that support and contribute to the well-being of those impacted by the Occupy movement.

Facilitating a call, or coming on the call as an empathic supporter, is very rewarding. We hear this from almost everyone who joins us on the calls. The content of the calls varies from empathic support of callers in distress to celebrations, strategy sessions, and NVC training. We coach callers in ways to use language that connects rather than alienates, and empowers rather than disempowers. We also share with them NVC premises such as making clear, positively-oriented requests, protective rather than punitive use of force, and the distinction between requests and demands.

We demonstrate empathy and encourage callers to practice empathy. We often do this through role-plays that originate from actual situations they are facing at the Occupy encampments or in their working groups. These experiences are quite moving. We end up laughing or moved to tears, or both, as we hear the revelations of the callers who are realizing that there is another way to communicate; a compassionate way to communicate.

We have had callers on the line from all over the US, as well as Canada and Australia. While we are not always in agreement with all tactics utilized in some Occupies or by some occupiers, many NVC folks resonate with the goals of the occupiers and admire the democratic processes they are striving for. With police intervention now nearly complete in many Occupy encampments, the movement is experiencing a shift in focus. How it evolves remains to be seen, but we are happy knowing that people in our NVC community are taking part in this shift, bringing their vision and need for justice, nonviolence and inclusion to the conversation.

Are you interested in being involved? If enough people volunteer just two hours of time in each of the next few months, we would feel confident that we can keep the call going and reach out to more people. The world is rapidly changing and it is looking like the Occupy movement is a growing part of that change. We hope you will use your NVC skills to join in a connecting conversation.

If you would like to schedule some times to volunteer over the next few months, please contact Ronnie Hausheer

If you would like to volunteer to help with administrative tasks, please contact Suzanne Jones


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