Phases of the Moon, the newsletter of the Maine NVC Network
Volume Three, Issue Ten: A New Tool for Responding in the Midst of 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 A New Tool for Responding in the Midst of Conflict. This month's feature article offers an insight into how NVC enriched the Delegation Leaders' dialogue process at Seeds of Peace International Camp during the summer of 2012. It offers us a model for responding in the midst of conflict that we could use in our own daily conflicts.

Contentsa red maple leaf on a branch of evergreen

You are SO Wrong

by Peggy Smith, CNVC certified NVC trainer

This past summer (2012) I had the privilege of working at Seeds of Peace International Camp in Otisfield, ME. Their website states their mission as: "Set on a quiet lake in the woods of Maine, the Seeds of Peace International Camp provides a neutral, supportive setting for hundreds of young leaders from regions in conflict to meet their 'enemy' face-to-face."

My job was to co-facilitate dialogue between nineteen adult educators, who accompanied the youth groups, from eight countries: Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, U.S., Jordan, Egypt, Palestine and Israel. We met for two and a half hours a day for direct dialogue. My co-facilitator was Tarek Maassarani, a non-certified NVC trainer from the Washington, D.C., area. His job back home is directing a gang reduction center.

We decided to integrate aspects of peace-making circles, NVC and art into the dialogue format. We spent a week teaching the NVC skills of listening with empathy.

Then we spent a few days sharing each country’s national narrative; and then we made a place for people to share what upset them about listening to the national narrative of the people from "the other side." This was real life pain. People are dying. Communities are being physically destroyed. Tensions were high.

Tarek Maassarani created a model for us to use when listening to a person who was very upset. It combines elements of reflective listening, (to nurture the need to be heard); with elements of personal truth (to nurture the needs of authenticity, honesty, and to be seen); and elements of NVC based empathic guessing (to nurture the needs of connection, compassion and empathy).

Each participant was invited to express their reaction to the national narratives in any way they wanted – no NVC speak requested – full emotional authenticity welcome. Then several listeners were asked to respond with this guiding outline:

In one or two sentences mirror what the speaker said. Then add, " This is/is not what I have learned. Hearing this is true for you, I am guessing it speaks to the need(s) of ______________."

It was not easy. Each listener had a deck of Needs Cards so that they could use them for support. NVC trainers were there as coaches and support.

The results were amazing. People experienced expressing to, and being heard by people who, to them, represented "the other side." The listener/responders experienced how to respond empathically, even to statements that they totally disagreed with.

This was empowering for everyone. We all realized a totally new option was open to us.

Imagine how that might be in our own communities and families. Here we are in the middle of the "election season." Tensions are there. Many people hold that they have "the truth." Yet too often our strategy for families or communities that hold different views is to just not talk to them.

How different our world would be if we could first connect with those we disagree with before trying to be heard and understood ourselves. NVC, practiced at this deep level, has the power to offer hope and connection even in the places of despair. Do you yearn for that level of self-connection? Do you want support in responding compassionately and powerfully to someone expressing your deepest fears? I will be offering an intermediate level NVC workshop January 19, 2013, to offer that support. We will integrate Tarek’s responding frame with what is real and triggering in our own lives. Come join us and live the potential of NVC.

Peggy Smith is a certified NVC trainer living in Lincolnville, ME. A co-founder of the Maine NVC Network and principle trainer with Open Communication, Peggy loves living, teaching and coaching NVC.

Suggestions for Further Practice

  • For the next week, keep a daily record of comments that people make that you disagree with. (This could be on TV or radio as well as in person.) For each observation you write, mentally rehearse the response frame shared in the feature article and add needs guesses. By practicing you are more likely to build the ability to respond in the present moment.
  • Write the response frame on an index card and carry it with you for at least a week. When you are waiting in lines or at a red light, read it over. This helps build the neural pathways in your brain.
  • If you want more support, participate in the January 19th training in Falmouth.

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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.

Oct. 27-28, Norway, ME
Connecting Across Differences: the NVC journey

Offered by Peggy Smith / pdf icon details and registration


November 3, Belfast, ME
Restorative Circles: Re-Discovering the Healing Power of Community

Presented by the Linda Cote-Small & Kristi Kirkham
details and registration


November 10, Bar Harbor, ME
Making Requests: Harvesting The Fruit of Nonviolent Communication

Offered by Peggy Smith / pdf icon details and registration


December 1-2, Falmouth, ME
Connecting Across Differences, an introduction to Nonviolent Communication

Offered by Peggy Smith / details and registration


January 19, 2013, Falmouth, ME
Connecting Through Conflict: listening and responding when we disagree

This intermediate NVC experience will enhance our ability to connect at home, work and wider community
Contact Peggy for details: email


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Invitation to
Empathy Circles

WEEKLY: Mondays 10-11:30 am, Belfast
FMI contact Marshall or Carolyn:
Phone 338-0842

MONTHLY: First Friday of each month, 10am-1pm
at The Start Center, 37 Start Rd, Camden
You are welcome to come when you can. If this is your first time coming, please contact Linda beforehand:
Phone 563-6712 / email



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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Maine NVC Integration Program

Opening My Heart – Opening Communication
An Intermediate NVC Experience

The 2012-13 Integration Program is off to a transformative start with 15 participants. People from Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Hampshire are joining Mainers in this NVC deepening intermediate experience. After our first weekend the feedback is:
"This is FAR more than I imagined."
"This is just what I was hoping for and more so!"
"The practices are so accessible and I am getting so many insights already."
"I am so grateful and looking forward to the home practice."

If you missed this program and want to integrate NVC into your daily life, plan ahead for the 2013-14 program. FMI email Peggy

still water with reflected evergreen and a few small white clouds

The Peace of Wild Things
by Wendell Berry

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.


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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