Phases of the Moon, the newsletter of the Maine NVC Network
Volume Four, Issue One: NVC and Parenting

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 NVC and Parenting. Our guest contributor, Stephanie Bachmann Mattei, Ph.D., is a CNVC certified NVC trainer who explores the benefits of NVC on a moment-by-moment basis with her family. Her passion for NVC & mindfulness-based neuroscience motivated her to create The Parenting Matters Teleconference beginning in January, 2013.


Soul-Searching and Motherhood

by Stephanie Bachmann Mattei, Ph.D., CNVC certified NVC trainer

When we become parents, we implicitly embark on an unanticipated and amazing journey of self-discovery. Parenting can actually be the way to some of the greatest breakthroughs in life.

If I take a good look at my journey of motherhood, I become more and more aware of the inner transformation that has been taking place within my being.

If I were to describe in a few words my personality B.C. (Before Children), I would have to recognize that my head had always ruled me more than my heart. I was always more inclined to be fair-minded rather than empathic. I always wished for myself more clarity of reason rather than strength of compassion. I concerned myself with what was actual, rather than what was possible. I tended to be more firm than gentle. And I judged it worse to be unjust rather than merciless.

This, until I became a mother.a mother holding a child in her arms silhouetted against the background of a river and sunset

I now realize that, since I became a mother, day after day, I have been empowered to develop other characteristics. In fact, now I find myself honestly valuing the heart more than the head, and compassion more than fairness.

The example of a drop of water is coming to mind. A little drop of water, going unnoticed to most, can nonetheless produce, over time, a cavity in a stone. Constancy and time are the components that allow for change.

So, what compares to this little drop of water in my life?

The awareness that my children are their own beings, yet, we are deeply and unconditionally interconnected. My mission as a mother is, thus, to help them unfold their unique qualities and develop their talents at their best. My purpose is to foster their self-empowerment in order for them to manifest their potential and to live what to them is a meaningful life.

And, paradoxically, attending to that requires that I do not forget myself: helping them unfold their unique qualities and develop their talents entails supporting myself in staying true to my authenticity, unfolding my own unique qualities and developing the talents that have been given to me.

Supporting my children in fully becoming themselves is intertwined with my own unfolding. And the latter is actually supported by their being part of my life.

The subtle, yet life-transforming shift in my value system has been actually made possible by keeping myself open to the invitation/challenge to be as present as I can to myself and to my kids, at each given moment. The commitment to remain open entails a willingness to be moved and transformed by my children's presence and lives.

My three children helped me clarify my own parenting philosophy, which then gave me the courage to follow my heart in mothering them. Even if this meant to choose a style of parenting that was and still is socially counter-current or different from the way my husband and I were parented. The cultural gap manifested itself around attachment styles, night time strategies, inter-generational consideration and respect, relational and social behaviors, and the like. All were and still are approached with an understanding of discipline as influential guidance, not top-down control.

Understanding that discipline is intertwined with a deep respect of the child’s personality, with mindful forethought of the age and stage of the child, and with gentle acceptance of the child’s capabilities, made my inner transformation possible.

It is through readings, workshops, retreats, mentoring and lots of empathy that I have learned to value myself and my need-based limits, without underplaying gentleness, sensitivity and care for my children’s feelings and needs.

Children see the world with different eyes than ours. What seems legitimate to us parents may very well seem unfair to them. And what appears reasonable to them may appear quite foolish to us! I have come to understand and appreciate that, when conflicts arise, what bridges the gap between parents and kids is indeed empathy and compassion. And a deep trust that we matter to each other.

From such a place, my husband and I are enabled to lovingly guide our children; our way of relating to them is firmly rooted in the intention to convey the unshakable security of compassion and the warmth of an appreciative, caring and reassuring heart.

For me, the job of parenting actually lies in our capacity to see beyond actual facts and behold the potentials. It is a balanced act of encouraging our children without pushing them, to respect their limits without limiting them, to draw the best out of them without putting conditions on our love.

My totally dependent and needy babies at my breast enabled me to really taste the flavor of an empathic and compassionate heart and helped me realize how nurturing eye contact, tone of voice, and touch can be.

My daily endeavors in the job of parenting are teaching me that we all fall short of our values at times. And this realization humbles me. My children's readiness to forgive, time and again, my mistakes and limitations enlightens me on how powerful compassion is in our fragile, yet paradoxically powerful, human relationships.

Nonviolent Communication has been a crucial contribution to my life as a person, spouse and mother. It has helped me extend the closeness I experienced during the early years of my children's lives by nourishing the attachment, the trust, and the care for one another based on the awareness and experience of interdependence.

Stephanie Bachmann Mattei, Ph.D., is the mother of three self-educated children (biological and adopted). Stephanie is a certified trainer with the Center for Nonviolent Communication, and is passionate to share her understanding of NVC as a process to empower oneself and others to celebrate the humanity in one’s own being, and to encounter the humanity in the other person. She is a co-sponsor (with the NVC Academy) of the upcoming Parenting Matters Teleconference Parenting is Stephanie’s niche. Stephanie loves connecting NVC with mindfulness-based neuroscience to support self-understanding, healing and wholeness.  FMI

Suggestions for Further Practice

  1. Stephanie cordially invites you to join her at The Parenting Matters Teleconference sponsored by her and the NVC Academy. Dr. Daniel Siegel will be the key note speaker sharing about the latest cutting-edge information on brain science and parenting. The upcoming virtual conference is packed with world-renowned parenting speakers, who will offer us practical tips for parenting from our hearts. FMI and Registration

  2. Read Connection Parenting, by Pam Leo. While not specifically an NVC book, this practical, gentle and parent-loving book presents NVC as a life-enhancing process that aids our parenting. Phases of the Moon newsletter editors found it a touching and powerful book for re-parenting parts of ourselves as well as working with young people.

  3. For the next 3 days, every time you notice you feel annoyance arising in you, STOP. Ask yourself what need is triggered in you right now. Then guess what need might be alive in the other person. If you can't stop in that moment, reflect on the experience when you have a few moments to yourself, within 24 hours of the experience. There is nothing "to do" about what happened; rather, it is a commitment to exploring needs on a moment-to-moment basis.

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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.

Six Week Level 1 Course
Beginning Wednesday, January 16, 2013, Camden, ME
Growing Peace Within Me and the World

Taught by Peggy Smith / pdf icon 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
Taught by Peggy Smith / pdf icon details and registration


January 26, 2013, Unity ME
Everyday Empathy: a journey of understanding and love

Offered by Peggy Smith / pdf icon details and registration


February 15-17, 2013, Nobleboro, ME
Bringing Mindful Speech To Life

Second annual weekend of mindfulness with Peggy Smith and Theodate Lawlor,
Members of Thich Nhat Hanh's Tiep Hien Order
pdf icon details and registration


March 23-24, 2013, Belfast, ME
Building Bridges of Communication: the basics of NVC

This Level 1 workshop is a fundraiser for WERU Community radio
Taught by Peggy Smith / pdf icon details and registration


April 6-7, 2013, Falmouth, ME
Level 2

Taught by Peggy Smith / pdf icon details and registration


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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 322-2122 / 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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two children climbing a small apple tree

No Argument
by Thich Nhat Hanh

When you grow a tree,
if it does not grow well,
you don’t blame the tree.
You look into the reasons it is not doing well.

It may need fertilizer,
or more water,
or less sun.

You never blame the tree,
yet we blame our son.
If we know how to take care of him,
he will grow well,
like a tree.
Blaming has no effect at all.

Never blame,
never try to persuade using reason and arguments.
They never lead to any positive effect.
That is my experience.
No argument,
no reasoning,
no blame,
just understanding.

If you understand,
and you show that you understand,
you can love,
and the situation will change.

from Being Peace


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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