Phases of the Moon, the newsletter of the Maine NVC Network
Volume Seven, Issue Three:

Being Heard

Our newsletter appears approximately once a month. 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. Email: newsletter at


How to be Heard— Listen !

by Peggy Smith

I have been contacted by a college radio station to do an interview on dialoguing with people you disagree with. Not family or friends – just people on the street, people in your community you are not in agreement with. I’ve been mulling it over.

Then a few days ago I received a phone call from a campaigner for a political candidate – not the person I’m supporting. The campaigner seemed to assume that I was supporting the person on whose behalf she was calling. She asked if I would like an application to apply for an absentee caucus ballot. I assured her I was all set, that in fact I had already sent in my ballot. "Oh, who are you supporting?"

I stated that I was supporting the other candidate. Her response, "Is there anything I can say that would change your mind?" I noticed my body contracting. I had no interest in hearing anything from this person.


"Well have a nice day, good-bye."

The conversation was civil and polite – but neither of us learned anything from the other. Neither of us really felt heard.

After we hung up I found myself thinking, I wish she had asked me a different question. I wish she had asked me, "Please tell me why you are supporting ________. I’d like to understand." I had a sense that if I had had a chance to express why I am so passionate about "my" candidate, I would have been more receptive to hearing from her.

Then I found my inner voice wanting to coach her on how to approach people who do not support her position. Now I have clarity about what I want to say in the upcoming radio interview.

If you want people to listen to your perspective, the first thing to do is listen, REALLY listen, to their perspective. Perhaps this seems counter-intuitive. When you model listening to people, this helps them get ready to hear you.

As NVC practitioners we know that deep listening does not mean agreement. It means we have practiced the skill of listening for the universal human needs underneath people’s opinions, statements and behaviors. If we want to generate more civility in our communities, even during the election cycle, we are called upon to put into practice the skills we have honed.

This is not to put a "should" on ourselves. That will quickly drain our energy. We may want to use time in an NVC practice group or empathy session to pre-do such an encounter. Notice when your body starts to become tight and defended by the words of a stranger.

We can pause and ask, Do I want to put my NVC skills into practice at this moment? Do I want to contribute to more tolerance and authentic harmony? Do I want to be more tolerant & connecting? If the answer is YES, than get ready to listen.

We all know how to be "right." As NVC practitioners we have skills to instead move toward connection. Recently, on the NVC Certified Trainers list, Miki Kashtan sent in a suggestion on how to guide a volatile meeting whose purpose was to let people in a part of Europe express their fears regarding the huge influx of refugees. I think her idea would be useful in interactions around political discord anywhere.

As a person expresses their fear, listen for what you think they want. Consider that what a person wants is most likely the opposite of the fear that is being expressed.

Keep guessing what they might be wanting until they say, "Yes, that is what I want." At this moment it can be connecting to say, "Thank you for letting me know."

If you have time and interest, ask, "Is there anything more?" How many times can you get to "Yes"?

After several yeses, you can ask, "would you be willing to hear from me?" If you have helped the person feel heard, it is most likely that they will now be ready to hear one thing you are wanting. It would most productive if you began by expressing the places you see commonality between what they want and what you want.

Let’s give it a try and see what happens. PLEASE let me know how it works for you. I am a student of using dialogue to change culture. I would benefit greatly from hearing your experiences.

Peggy Smith is dedicated to enhancing empathy skills within individuals and society. She is a certified trainer with the International Center for Nonviolent Communication. Peggy enjoys designing and implementing programs that support empathic thinking and communicating as part of systemic culture change.
Open Communication / Clarity Services

I find it important to stay connected to thinking that inspires and motivates me. I am inspired by the writings of peace activist, environmentalist and Buddhist teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh. On this subject he counsels:

"The most important thing is that we need to be understood. We need someone to be able to listen to us and to understand us. Then we will suffer less. But everyone is suffering and no one wants to listen. We don’t know how to express ourselves so that people can understand. Because we suffer so much, the way we express our pain hurts other people and they don’t want to listen.

"Listening is a very deep practice. . . You have to empty yourself. You have to leave space in order to listen . . . especially to people we think are our enemies – the ones we believe are making our situation worse. When you have shown your capacity for listening and understanding, the other person will begin to listen to you, and you have a chance to tell him or her of your pain . . . This is the practice of peace."

What teachings inspire you to stay connected to strengthening compassionate living? We would love to hear from you. Please email your inspiration. We are looking forward to being inspired too.

Practice Suggestion

Take time in an NVC practice group to pre-do an encounter with someone who has a different political view than yourself. Try the technique of guessing what the person is wanting at the core of their emotional statements.

Registration is now open for the 2016-17 Maine NVC Integration Program
Read what past participants have said about this life-changing course!
details & registration form

Special Offers for early registrants:

  1. The first six people to register will receive 1 FREE hour of NVC coaching/empathy from a trainer.
  2. Everyone who registers before June 1 is eligible for 2 FREE hours of NVC coaching / empathy from a trainer.

These two offers can be combined to earn 3 FREE hours of NVC coaching.

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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.

April 2-3, Bangor, ME
From Conflict to Connection, Level 1

Taught by Peggy Smith
This is a fundraiser for WERU Community Radio
details and registration


April 4 & 5, Rockland, ME
NVC will be featured in the Keynote and break-out sessions
at the Maine Counseling Association annual conference
at the Samoset Conference Center


April 28, May 5, 12, 19, Turner, ME
Clear & Compassionate Communication, Level 2

Four evening sessions, taught by Leah Boyd
FMI / registration: 207.225.3270 / MSAD 52 Adult Ed


May 23-27, Orono, ME
PAX 470: Sustainable Communication:
the theory & practice of Nonviolent Communication

3 credit University course; can also be taken for graduate credits.
Flyer, with registration info / Syllabus


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Poetry Corner:

I hold my face in my two hands.
No, I am not crying.
I hold my face in my two hands,
To keep the loneliness warm –
Two hands protecting,
Two hands nourishing,
Two hands preventing
My soul from leaving me
In anger.

– Thich Nhat Hanh

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  • Monthly Empathy Circle:
    • Belfast, ME
      Second Friday of each month, 10am-1pm (formerly first Friday)
      Open Communication office, 243 High Street, Belfast
      You are welcome to come when you can. If this is your first time coming, please contact Linda beforehand: Phone 207-322-2122 / email: chezcote5 at

    • Authentic Communication Groups
      Falmouth, ME

      with Andrea Ferrante, trainer and coach
      Two groups meet biweekly, one on alternate Wednesdays; the other on alternate Mondays.
      Authentic Communication Groups are coaching groups designed to open you up to an approach to living that offers greater peace, personal empowerment, and conscious connection to that which sustains and enriches life.

    • See also the Practice Groups page.

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Join the Maine NVC Network
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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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Nonviolent Communication, Mindfullness, Empathy and Presence







Paid Announcements

Clarity Services, LLC
Now Accepting Clients

Helping groups of people think together collaboratively and effectively
Free 30 minute initial consultation:
email: leah at


Open Communication

welcomes individuals and couples, who want NVC-based support, to meet with them at their new office in Belfast, ME
Please contact Peggy:
email: peggy at


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