Phases of the Moon, the newsletter of the Maine NVC Network
Volume Four, Issue Three:
Anger, Guilt & Shame: Reclaiming Power and Choice,
reviewing a book by Liv Larsson

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 feature is a review of the NVC based book, Anger, Guilt & Shame: Reclaiming Power and Choice, by Liv Larsson. The book brings new energy and joy to Peggy Smith’s daily NVC practices.


In love all over again!

by Peggy Smith>, CNVC certified NVC trainer

Why is it that after 10 years of study and practice I still find myself passionately in love with NVC? Yes, I have more inner harmony. Yes, I have strategies to connect with people who I disagree with (when I remember). And still life is sometimes very hard. People don’t make sense to me. My old inner terrors still make themselves known from time to time. Inspiration to "keep on keepin' on" the NVC journey sometimes wanes.

Reading Liv Larsson’s newly translated book, Anger, Guilt & Shame: Reclaiming Power and Choice, reconnected me to a deep yearning for a true transformation of how humans relate to each other: day-to-day, moment-to-moment, individually, and in societal groups. At times this yearning is so huge and the task of helping it into the world seems so huge, I experience despair, so I bury it deeply within me.

Liv’s book grabbed me right away in the chapter, "The Myth of Domination in Our Everyday Life." She opened my eyes to the understanding that educating people for peace without offering concrete strategies for changing our thinking about good and evil can very logically lead to more violence.

She then unpacks the myths of domination and offers us a clear path for using our domination culture-based thinking to move toward partnership culture.

The following is an excerpt that inspires me.

To clarify some difference between how various systems affect our ability to manage anger, shame and guilt, I have made some comparisons below. Becoming aware of these differences may contribute to greater acceptance when we are experiencing anger, shame or guilt. What we put our attention on makes it easier or harder to deal with these feelings.

Anger, shame and guilt can be seen as signals that we have shifted our attention from the feelings within us that directly serve life, to a system based on competition, rank and domination. When we learn to recognize these signals, we gain access to valuable information about what we are currently focusing on – what we are judging as right and wrong.

Attention! Doing this division can get us caught up in ideas of right and wrong. If we do that, it will negate the purpose of doing it, so focus on the difference, rather than on trying to figure out if one is good and the other one bad.


Shame in partnership cultures
We have an innate sensitivity for others and their needs. Shame is interpreted as a sign that it might be valuable to become more aware of the other person’s needs as well as our own.
Shame in domination cultures
Shame is interpreted as a sign that we are not good enough, that we are bad, disgusting, abnormal or that we have done something wrong and are not worthy of love. Inducing shame is used to try to create change.


Anger in partnership cultures
Anger is a sign that someone has needs that have not been met. Anger gives us strength to set limits to protect what we value. Anger is not taken personally or as if there is something wrong with anyone, but as a cry for help.
Anger in domination cultures
Anger means that someone has done something wrong and should have acted differently. They should "know better" and they now deserve to be punished. Criticism expressed with anger is directed at another person or is easily perceived as a personal attack.


Guilt in partnership cultures
Instead of finding a scapegoat or deciding who is to blame, we try to consider everyone’s needs, our own and others. We explore whether there is something we want to do differently in order to meet the needs of others without giving up on our own needs.
Guilt in domination cultures
Guilt is interpreted as a sign that we should have acted differently and therefore we deserve to be punished. We blame others or ourselves in the hope that it will lead to positive changes.


To apologize in partnership cultures
We listen with empathy to another’s pain about their needs having not been met. When we realize that we have not considered the needs of others, we act to repair it.
To apologize in domination cultures
If others are not happy, we blame ourselves, feel shame and ask others to forgive us. The focus is on the person who has acted in a way we do not think was right, normal, appropriate or acceptable.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Liv then outlines an explanation of NVC concentrating on translating our connection to shame, guilt and anger. She offers perspectives that are new slants for me. By reading this book I was able to see how much of my own thinking is still shaped by my domination culture upbringing and has opened up new ways of accepting and working with these strong emotions. The later part of the book is filled with practical exercises that any NVC practitioner or practice group could use to deepen self-connection. In the April issue we will concentrate on shame and explore some of the exercises presented in this book. How empowering to use the door of shame to actually become more self-connected and therefore more available to others.

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 Practice

  1. Read Anger, Guilt & Shame: Reclaiming Power and Choice, by Liv Larrson. Order a copy here.
  2. Participate in intermediate and advanced NVC workshops; stay involved. For the sake of human transformation "Keep on keepin' on"
  3. Each day for the next week pick something that generates happiness within you, and DO IT. Even if you are physically confined, at a minimum spend some time thinking happy thoughts.

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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.

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


April 20, Peaks Island, ME
Open Communication: a day to explore how NVC builds stronger relationships

Taught by Peggy Smith / pdf icon details and registration


June 8-9, Concord, NH
Level 1: Speak Peace In A World of Conflict

Taught by Peggy Smith / pdf icon details and registration


July 29 – August 2, Belfast, ME
Sustainable Communication: Theory and Practice of Nonviolent Communication

This 3 credit university course can be taken at the undergraduate or graduate level.
Learn NVC while earning university credit. Great for re-certification too.
Taught by Peggy Smith / pdf icon details and registration


SAVE The DATES for the 2013-14 NVC Integration Program

Sept. 6-8, 2013
October 18–20, 2013
January 31–Feb. 2, 2014
April 4–6, 2014
May 30–June 1, 2014
Look for more info in next month's newsletter, or email Peggy.


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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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.



The Gift of Empathy
by Marshall Rosenberg

I want to give you the gift of empathy
And to rid myself of lifeless thought limiting what I see
It's taken me a while but I've come to see at last
How much I miss the present with eyes fogged by the past
So if I take some time before I answer you
I am clearing away my projections so your divinity can come through.

looking down a tree-lined road with fog and snow


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Celebration Corner

The second annual Bringing Mindful Speech to Life retreat happened Feb. 15–17, in Nobleboro, ME. It was a time of combining Buddhist practices of meditation and Noble Silence with the fundamental principles of NVC listening and speaking. Some who came were practicing Buddhists while others were practitioners of other faiths, totally new to NVC & Buddhism.

Read some of their feedback:

"I would strongly recommend this retreat to others. For me, the draw is that it helps one discover/experience/learn/practice ways to live in harmony and compassion with others. Being aware of how to speak, how to listen, how to take care of ourselves and how to love others in ways that bring the lover and the loved that which creates peace and builds goodness. Priceless."

"This retreat was a beautiful combination of exploration, growth, respite, community, practice and communication from the heart. I feel nourished in every part of me, and full of quiet joy. I want to remember the lightness I feel as I return to the moments of my rich, busy daily life."

"A welcome gift – educational and inspirational. I intend to invite both of my daughters to next year."

"The teaching was clear and easy to follow. I loved the humor, creativity and joy – the amazing insight and holding of each person and/or situation, whatever was needed."

"2 best words: sweet & curiosity. I mostly enjoyed being outside my comfort zone – Thank you! Rich – pregnant with possibility!"

"I wish this retreat could be longer – I would enjoy 4 days. I loved the Noble Silence. I enjoyed the balance between content and stillness."

Enthusiasm was so strong that we set the dates for the 3rd Annual Bringing Mindful Speech to Life retreat for next year. If spending time deepening your inner stillness and your outer connections appeals to you, save February 21–23, 2014, for a nurturing exploratory time in Nobleboro, ME.



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