Phases of the Moon, the newsletter of the Maine NVC Network
Volume Nine, Issue Six:
A Network Update, and a personal story about
the transformative powers of NVC and Family Constellations work

Our newsletter will now be appearing quarterly. 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

This issue’s feature article is a contribution from Amanda Blaine, a graduate of the Maine NVC Network Integration Program. In her article, she references processes that are used in that program (core beliefs) and in Sarah Peyton's work (family constellations). The integration program is an annual offering that runs from Sept-June. Sarah Peyton has been offering her workshops her in Maine for several years in March, and will be here again in March 2019. See Upcoming trainings, below, for more info about these opportunities.


Why I Think I’m Beautiful

by Amanda Blaine

Recently my friend and colleague was taking photos of me for our website. She kept saying, "Wow, you look so beautiful!"

I agreed.

"Yes," I said, "I do look beautiful!" And I told her how grateful I was to look at a picture of myself and like it.

This was new for me. It used to be that I would cringe and actually feel embarrassed when I saw an image of myself. "What changed?" she asked.

Relatively early in my Nonviolent Communication learning journey, I was in a workshop about "Transforming Core Beliefs." Even though I was terrified, I volunteered to be the demo. I was 100% committed to doing whatever it took to integrate nonviolent consciousness.

I was sweating profusely and flushing as I sat in front of a group of about 10 people, explaining how ugly I thought I was. I wasn’t sure how this was going to work. While I knew this was a core belief (i.e. some very deep-seated judgment of myself that kept me from my full expression in the world), it just seemed so patently true that I questioned whether this would work for the demo.

Everyone laughed. The facilitator pointed out that this was exactly what made it a core belief–that I really really believed it!

I was ashamed that I thought of myself as ugly.

I was ashamed on two levels. First, I was ashamed to be an ugly woman in a culture that values a woman based on her looks.

And second, I was even more ashamed to buy into that cultural belief that being beautiful mattered. As someone dedicated so wholeheartedly to social change, I was ashamed to care about how I looked. I was ashamed to care about something so shallow when my public beliefs, and my life choices, were in service of collective liberation.

The trainer asked me where I had gotten this belief. I wasn’t sure – and I didn’t fully understand the question. Didn’t I have this belief because it was just – well – true??

I did know, however, that I couldn’t think of a single time in my entire life that my parents had called me beautiful.

Later, a friend who was present in the workshop, and is also Jewish, said she thought that this might have been a Jewish cultural quirk, that my parents were so focused on making sure that I saw myself as powerful and smart and educated that they were reticent to comment on my looks.

That may be, but after being present to hundreds of family constellations as both a participant and as a facilitator, I have a different understanding.

When I shift my perspective and I see myself from behind, with my parents behind me, and step behind them to where my grandmother, Nanny Dorothy, and my grandfather, Armin, and my grandparents Leon and Helen, are standing, and then step back again behind them to where my great-grandparents Moishe and Esther Schechter and Max and Helene Boroschek, Isadore and Manya Kassel and Molly and Abraham Goldstein all stand, it’s so obvious.

Grandma Helen with her brother and Great Grandparents Isadore and Manya I see how life literally flowed from them to me. I see the incredible struggles they faced: loss of homeland, loss of family, nearly dying in death camps, starting over without language and without community in a new country.

And I see the miraculous serendipity of my birth and my life. I see what it must be like for them, or what it would be like for them if they were alive—the profound and earthshaking love they would have for me, and the overwhelming force of their desire for me to thrive.

I see how from where they stand, I am a beautiful and miraculous result of their lives, the current of life that they carried through their struggles, in some cases, just barely making it, and made new and fresh and vigorous in me.

When I look at myself from this larger systemic perspective, I am also struck by my beauty.

I think of the many years I thought of myself as ugly and am saddened – this is a way that I was profoundly disrespecting my ancestors. It was a way that I was saying No to the life they gave me. If I saw myself as ugly, I was calling them ugly too, because I came from them.

It wasn’t until I was in a workshop with constellation master trainer Sarah Peyton that I even had the thought that my father had a grandfather. I had followed Sarah’s instructions and set up a line of people representing the men behind me. First I placed someone for my father, standing right behind me, and then I placed someone for each generation of men behind him.

Seeing the man behind my father’s father sent a jolt through me. My father had a grandfather! This basic biological certainty, as it applied to my dad, had never entered my conscious awareness. This man was killed half a lifetime before my father was born; he was not part of his life and even less a part of mine. The thought of his existence, of there being a particular and nameable human who had been this person, astonished me.

I think this is why I thought I was ugly. The circle of people who would have been reflecting my beauty back to me had been clearcut. Since that core belief workshop many years ago, I have recovered many memories of my parents expressing appreciation for me and my beauty.

It’s not that they had never expressed these things, it’s that the context for me to be able to take them in was absent. The circle of people celebrating all of us was too small. We were like lone saplings in a clearcut field, facing the storms of life without the strong forest around us.

You may or may not have genocidal traumas in your family’s recent past like mine does, but I’m almost certain that, unless you are from extremely unusual circumstances for this day and age, you don’t have to go too far back to encounter known or unknown clearcuts like mine, generations in your family where the young people were cut off from the elders and had to begin life anew, carrying the life by themselves, without the robust ecosystem of a multi-generation and closely knit human extended family.

My grandmother Dorothy is the only surviving grandparent I have. She is 92 and I recently traveled very last minute, on the generosity of a client of mine, to see her in the wake of a stroke she survived.

I had never seen her so withdrawn. She hardly lit up on seeing my brother and me—the first time in my entire life I when I’d been received by her so wanly. I knew from this that she was struggling. I was nearly overcome with tears several times during our visit.

She spoke very little. Almost the only thing she said was, "I love you."

I knew that was true, and I wasn’t surprised that those were some of the few words she had. The last time I spoke to her on the phone before her stroke, she said to me, "You wouldn’t believe how much I love you."

I cried. I knew it was true: I knew that she loved me so much and I knew also that I couldn’t believe it.

I knew that her love for me, a grandparent’s love for a child, is something much stronger than belief.

It’s a natural order, a law of the natural universe. The same way a tree reaches for the sun, a grandparent’s love flows to their grandchild.

I am certain that she’s been saying this to me my whole life, and it’s only recently that I’ve heard it. I’m grateful that my experiences with Nonviolent Communication and family constellations have allowed me to take in this love and be nourished by it before I lost all of my grandparents.

I notice that I started out talking about beauty and ended up talking about love. The beauty I see in myself is the beauty of being beloved, of being the love and life force of my ancestors manifest in the world. I’m not sure where one ends and the other begins. Accepting the life force and love means acknowledging my beauty.

Try it. See what happens when you think of your own grandparents and great-grandparents. If pain comes up for you when you think of them, if you experienced abuse or difficulty (you would not be alone in this), go back another generation.

Keep going back until you can look forward down the generations and see sweet you up there, the amazing miracle that you are, a unique and beautiful expression of life, the living pulse of profound complexity and wonder that made it from those people against the greatest odds to continue in you.

Amanda Blaine used to live and teach middle school in Maine. She is a graduate of the Maine NVC Integration Program. She now lives in Washington State and teaches NVC on the web. Amanda supports change makers to respond effectively to the challenges of our times. She frequently offers live webinars and online courses drawing on Nonviolent Communication, family constellations, and Holacracy, among other modalities. You can reach her by email: ablaine at Find out more here.

Maine NVC Network update
by Peggy Smith

Dear readers and energetic supporters of the Maine NVC Network, It’s been a while since we sent out a newsletter. Have you missed us?

I’d like to fill you in on what’s happening. Since Leah Boyd and I created Clarity Services in order to extend the benefits of NVC to wider and wider circles of people, life has been busy. We worked with a business consultant to develop and fine tune our message.

We entered a working relationship with certified NVC trainer Gregg Kendrick, who lives in Virginia and specializes in bringing NVC to workplaces. We have a regular phone meeting where we support each other as we unfold the work. Gregg has developed a whole series of live online classes that are dynamic and interactive. He is focusing his work on people with structural power within an organization/business through what he terms Conscious Leadership.

The Maine Integration Program continues to thrive, this year we have 26 participants and two assistance. Rebecca Stevenson has supported the program for three years now, and Penthea Burns for two.

I want to celebrate the Integration offering which began ten years ago as a collaboration between Gina Cenciose & myself. There are few long term NVC study programs in North America. I think ours is a gem. This year’s group includes participants living in four different states.

Leah & I have been dreaming for several years about supporting new people in developing capacities for sharing NVC with others. And this month, December 2018 we will begin that program which we call Training Future Trainers (TFT). This opportunity is available to people who have completed the Integration Program or something equivalent and want to focus on actually sharing NVC with others.

Leah continues to expand her offerings of NVC-based mediation and group facilitation. The word of her skill is spreading. We have a growing number of businesses seeking training, coaching and facilitating.

In August, we offered our first full NVC level 1 training for the professional staff of a school district along with interested community members. We incorporated much of the trauma recovery work we have been learning from Sarah Peyton.

And Sarah Peyton will return to Maine by popular request this March to do a three-day trauma workshop and one-day Family Constellations event.

There is a group of trainers in Australia using the Courageous Communication curriculum and getting support from me. I truly believe NVC is growing steadily in Maine. This autumn I was feeling more than a bit overwhelmed with all the directions and possibilities. Leah, Betsy (our web-person extrodinaire) and I talked about shutting down the Maine NVC Network website & newsletter. Instead we have decided to keep the website up and shifting the newsletter to a quarterly schedule – once a season.

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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.

Special Opportunities:

March 17-20, 2019, Northport, ME
The Neuroscience of Trauma and Addiction (3/17-19) and
Family Constellations in Action (3/20)
CNVC-certified trainer Sarah Peyton returns to Midcoast Maine
to offer her powerful and unique blend of neuroscience and NVC.
Details: ACES & Addiction Recovery (3/17-19)
Family Constellations (3/20)
Registration Deadline is March 10.
Online Registration here.
Mail-in Registration Form here.
If you work for an organization that needs an invoice submitted
before they will pay for your participation, please contact Leah for how to proceed:
leah at / (877) 833-1372
Thank you.

began in September 2018.

For information about the 2019-20 program,
please check Clarity Services during summer of 2019.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Level 1:

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Also please check the website of CNVC-certified trainer Leah Boyd for upcoming events and workshops: Clarity Services


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  • Monthly Empathy Circle:
    Belfast, ME
    Second Friday of each month, 10am-1pm
    (formerly first Friday)
    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. / FMI

  • See also the Practice Groups page.


Special Announcements

  • Scholarship Fund for the Maine NVC Integration Program! By supporting a scholarship fund for the Maine NVC Integration Program, you will be helping bring together a more diverse group of people to experience this life-changing program, thus helping foster greater compassion and harmony individually and collectively. Please join us in supporting this fund in order to include individuals who otherwise would not be able to attend. Our goal is to raise $21,000. Contribute HERE

  • Maine NVC Network is looking for someone who enjoys Facebook AND NVC to take on responsibility for keeping our FB presence alive and active through interesting postings, and other possibilities. If you are interested in contributing to the community in this way please contact peggy at

Visit our Facebook page:
Nonviolent Communication, Mindfullness, Empathy and Presence

Maine NVC Network is looking for someone who enjoys Facebook AND NVC to take on responsibility for keeping our FB presence alive and active through interesting postings, and other possibilities. If you are interested in contributing to the community in this way please contact
peggy at


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.


Paid Announcement

Clarity Services, LLC
Now Accepting Clients

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



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