Phases of the Moon, the newsletter of the Maine NVC Network
Volume Three, Issue Four: Caring For Our Relationships

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 Caring For Our Relationships. We have a book review for the feature and a celebration sharing that supports the use of NVC to strengthen our relationships.


Relationships: Freedom Without Distance, Connection Without Control

a book review by Peggy Smith, CNVC certified NVC trainer

"I love relationships. It fascinates me to look at what connects people and what makes it possible for love to grow. However, I’m also doubtful that our learned approach to relationships can ever give us what we dream of."

So begins a 65 page NVC based book, Relationships: Freedom Without Distance – Connection Without Control, by CNVC certified trainer, Liv Larsson. This book recently translated from Swedish, has become my current, "carry-around" NVC book.

Ms. Larsson continues by asking:

What relationships are important to you?
What are you doing today to care for them?
Most of us regularly inspect "the health" of our car. If we forget to, we miss a chance to protect not only our car but also people from accidents. In order to create the relationships you desire it is useful to at least once a year; carry out a "check-up" on your most important relationships. Take the time to do any "repair work" or "adjustments" that may prevent "accidents".

This book lays out an eight-step process to assess the current state of any relationship from a needs-based perspective. While the tool was developed with an intimate relationship in mind, I think it could be easily adjusted to apply to parent-child, meaningful friendship or co-worker relationships.

We are invited to explore what core beliefs we are holding in a relationship. One of my particular favorites: "If you love me you will understand me and can hear my good intentions, even if I criticize you."

Our cultural belief that there is a Mr. or Mrs. "Right" can be like living with a ticking bomb. When the honeymoon period is over and regular life unfolds, we may start focusing on whether or not the person is the "right" one. There is a tendency to trade in a less than perfect model for a newer ‘upgrade.’

Our unrealistic expectations can often make it difficult for us to see what we can do to maintain love and closeness." Ms. Larsson writes. This book outlines a way for each of us to self-connect through needs-based thinking. This self-connection through needs also helps us guess what needs are being nurtured for the other, and guessing what needs they are yearning to nurture through our relationship.

Later, we are invited to develop concrete do-able requests to nurture the relationship as it is – to help it grow in the direction that we believe will nurture us. Knowing that all relationships are ever changing – we get to be pro-active in whether they change in a way that leads to less --- or more – connection.

This book is a practical self-assessment guide (that then can be shared with your partner) to provide more choices – more likelihood – that a relationship will deepen through empowerment. It can even help us see clearly when we are kidding ourselves about the future possibilities of some relationships and let them go from the beauty of needs.

While there is a quick overview of NVC, I wonder how effective it would be for people without an NVC background. I think this is a great asset to people who already know NVC, and who want to keep their relationships thriving. You can order here:

The author, Liv Larsson, will be coming to the USA for the New York Intensive, where she will teach about relationships and mediation from an NVC perspective.

N.B. The copy I received had a number of typographical errors. The author is revising. Current copies may be error free. The content is worth looking past any errors.

Peggy Smith, CNVC certified trainer, is part of the Phases of the Moon newsletter production team.

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Suggestions for Further Practice

  1. Read Relationships for yourself.

  2. Consider taking an NVC course in the next 3 months.

  3. Page 69 of Relationships suggests trying the following for 2 weeks:
    1. Ask as often as possible. "What can I do to enrich your life?"
    2. Ask for appreciation when you need it.
    3. Express appreciation and gratitude you feel.
    4. Transform labels and diagnoses into observations, feelings, needs and requests.
    5. Transform unspoken expectations to preferences.
    6. Take responsibility for your need for love being met.
    7. Ask for what you want, and if you get a no, ask for something else that can meet the same needs or ask for the same thing of someone else.
    8. Remind yourself that a no is a yes to something else. Take "no" as an invitation to further dialogue and a reminder that there is a chance to meet more needs by continuing to connect.


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.

May 4-7, 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.


May 26-27, South Portland, ME
Building Bridges of Connection:
NVC as a practical tool to bring Mindful Speech to all relationships (Level 1)

offered by Peggy Smith / pdf icon details and registration


June 2-3, Bangor, ME
Expanding Open Communication

Sat., June 2: Transforming Power Dynamics in Relationships
Sun., June 3: 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
Please note that the dates for this workshop have been changed, from April to June.


August 6–10, Belfast, ME
Sustainable Communication: The Theory & Practice of Nonviolent Communication

3 credit course through the Peace & Reconciliation Department of the University of Maine.
taught by Peggy Smith / pdf icon details


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8 Months of Deepening NVC Consciousness:
the Maine NVC Integration Program
Opening My Heart—Opening Communication
An Intermediate NVC Experience

Five Themed Retreats spread over an 8 month period,
September 2012 to May 2013

11 days of direct instruction with Certified NVC Trainer Peggy Smith and NVC Mediation Program graduate Leah Boyd

Between retreats learning community includes:

Move NVC from a concept to practical integration while staying close to home.

Early Registration Bonus: register by May 28 and receive 2 hours additional free individual empathy or coaching from the trainers.

details and registration

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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
at The Start Center, 37 Start Rd, Camden

You are welcome to come when you can.

FMI contact Linda:
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.


The Maine NVC Network held a Fun Day and Gathering of Community on April 7 at Meadow Wind, Falmouth.

Read about it here.

Call for Volunteers

The health of the Network depends on the joyful efforts of all who yearn to bring nonviolent consciousness to our region.
We are particularly looking for someone who would enjoy increasing our online social networking (e.g. Facebook, Meetup, etc.) To learn more, email our volunteer coordinator.



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Please take a few minutes to answer our very brief survey in order to help us better serve, you, our readers and network members. Thank You!
Online survey here


Celebrations Corner

Sometimes when I’ve been wondering just how to contact my feelings and deeper needs when a situation has brought me to a melt down, I am beginning to be able to remember a way of getting some clarity. My teacher Robert Gonzales has passed on this way to me. I know I am triggered when I’m thrown into confusion, or feeling distanced, or shut down. What has happened that allowed such a disrupting inner reaction? It’s my life alienating (jackal) thoughts yet again!

Robert has suggested noticing the trigger, just the plain observation. For example, she said, "No, I’m not doing that." Then notice the many thoughts that erupt and not those that connect and enable us to work through to a place of understanding. So just write down the trigger, just the simple event, and the thoughts one by one, all of them.

Then read this aloud: the trigger, followed by all the thoughts one by one; read them with feeling. Maybe do this a few times. Then, and this is the kicker for me, say, "I’m telling myself," before each thought. And suddenly there is a space within that allows the feelings to present as well as the needs underneath, and the deep longing for the need/quality, which right now isn’t being met. How wonderful to connect to the needs.

Without this spaciousness and clarity all of it is a muddle for me and my NVC just falls away. I find this simple technique a tool in my NVC box that has brought me into touch with the beauty of the needs within me.

Submitted by Sandy Haggett, Bar Harbor, ME. Sandy & her husband, Burt, are the organizers for the next Robert Gonzales workshop in Maine, May 4 – 7. pdf icon details and registration

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