Phases of the Moon, the newsletter of the Maine NVC Network
Volume Eight, Issue Five:
The Puzzle of Our Reactive Nature

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


Reactivity: Where Does It Come From?
by Peggy Smith

It can be both baffling and amazing how complex human beings are. When I first encountered NVC, I loved the idea that so much could be understood by looking at Universal Human Needs. By using Universal Human Needs I could see my connection to anyone and anything (both living beings and "non-living things").

I have not lost my enthusiasm and love for the NVC outlook. Again and again I experience the relief and ease it brings into people’s lives. Just this week, in the closing circle of a two-day introductory workshop, a man expressed, "In these two days I learned to love myself more and hate other people less." What a gift!!

And I’m still puzzled about my own reactivity. Why does it happen? Why, at times, does it seem irrational and out of balance with the situation at hand?

These questions are getting answered as I learn more about Interpersonal Neurobiology (IPNB) and Parental Attachment Theory. When I integrate what I've learned from all three perspectives, my life and reactions make even more sense. I comprehend an even richer tapestry of what makes my human form respond to life as it does. I find I open up to wider and wider ranges of responses - more vulnerable and more authentic. I feel more inner freedom.

It is heartening to see how the effectiveness of NVC can be seen within the IPNB framework. As the function of our brain’s hemispheres become more clear to me, it is apparent how NVC helps our brains integrate in a balanced way. I have recently enjoyed reading the chapter, This is Your Brain On Emotions, within the book, Meet Me in Hard-to-Love Places: the heart and science of relationship success, by Eric Bowers. I can see how the two hemispheres of our brains work with the four components of NVC.

Our left hemisphere’s functions include:

  • Linear & literal thinking
  • Processing language – words, definitions, grammar, structure
  • Processing the familiar
  • Monitoring details
  • Tracking facts
  • Making sense of experiences, such as cause and effect
  • Problem-solving

The left hemisphere is primarily responsible for our day-to-day living – doing the things we know how to do.

Our right hemisphere’s function include:

  • Nonlinear and metaphorical thinking
  • Processing nonverbal communication
  • Processing new information
  • Big-picture thinking
  • Reading the emotional signals from the body
  • Empathy, attunement, resonance
  • Intuition, morality and implicit memory

The right hemisphere gets involved when there is new learning. It is the land of empathizing, resonating, regulating emotions and tuning into our inner experience or that of others.

When I consider the four components of NVC, I see that

  • – Observation is the realm of the left hemisphere
  • – Feelings are the realm of the right hemisphere
  • – Universal Needs are the realm of the right hemisphere
  • – Requests (problem-solving that cares for Universal Needs) are the realm of the left hemisphere.
  • How cool is that!

I find myself incorporating IPNB information into even my basic NVC teaching. It seems to help people grasp the NVC process with more ease. I find myself re-thinking all my curriculums – from Courageous Communication to the Maine NVC Integration Program – so this richness becomes more widely available.

Another aspect of my learning about reactivity involves looking into Parental Attachment Theory – more on that in a future newsletter.

back to top

To Learn More:

  • Participate in the Maine NVC Integration Program, beginning in September of this year
  • Read Meet Me In Hard-to-Love Places, by Eric Bowers / FMI
  • Learn more about the brain’s structure by watching this Ted Talk (12 minutes)
  • Be the first on your "NVC block" to read (and practice) Sarah Peyton’s new book, Your Resonant Self. You can receive a discount & free shipping by pre-ordering here.
    Use promotional code: Peyton17


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.

Registration is now OPEN for the 2017-18 program.

Program details and mail-in registration form
In alignment with our vision to share & deepen NVC consciousness with as many people as possible,
we are once again making a special offer to first-time participants in the 2017-2018 NVC Integration Program.
Special offer details & application form here


Level 1 trainings

June 2 & 3, 2017, Brunswick, ME
Communication Where Everyone Matters
with Peggy Smith, CNVC-certified trainer
Details and registration (printable pdf document)
Online registration


back to top


back to top


  • Monthly Empathy Circle:
    • Belfast, ME
      Second Friday of each month, 10am-1pm
      (formerly first Friday)
      NEW LOCATION: 25 Village Rd, 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.


back to top


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.


Tell Me a Secret

by Penthea Burns

Jackman, my biggest dog
Climbs onto my lap
Wanting to be the only one
For that moment

Tell me a secret
I whisper to this
Lanky, brown dog
He kisses my cheek
That is common knowledge
I reply
Come on, tell me a secret

"All the world is good"
He begins
"It’s just that so many
Do not know this
About themselves
Or the other"
He paused and pondered
His blocky head resting
Atop my heart

Continuing his thoughts
He concluded
"We who know
Carry the burden
To bring this lesson forward"

"When we offer love
Perhaps they will notice
The hunger for love
That lives inside
Perhaps they will recognize
The love they have to give"

Deep brown eyes
Were now looking into my own
"It’s all about the love"
Was his final reply

I paused and pondered
My thoughts resting
Within my heart
You are a wise one
I said at last
To Jackman, my biggest dog

"That is common knowledge"
He replied
"Come on, you tell me a secret"


Visit our Facebook page:

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


Home  |  Newsletter Archives