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True Potential
Are You Living Your True Potential?
By Mary Mackenzie
Do you ever find yourself in the same emotional landscape over and over again? Okay, sure, the scenery and faces around you might be different, but the way you feel — a tangible sense of dissatisfaction — seems all too familiar. Could it be Deja vu?  Karma? A result of your childhood? Isn't it time to move beyond your inner judgments and start living your best life? Keep reading this article below >>  
Silent Empathy
The Power of Silent Empathy When Words Don't Work
By Rita Herzog

When I first learned about the concept of silent empathy during a workshop with Marshall Rosenberg many years ago, I didn’t know how soon I’d have the opportunity to try it out. I was visiting my daughter for four days and even though it seemed to be going well, I must have been acting in my old mother role, making comments about her life, analyzing her behavior, giving her my view on everything — and all unasked for! Keep reading this article below >>

Marshall Rosenberg
A Conversation With Marshall B. Rosenberg, Ph.D.
By Michael Mendizza

In this edited interview led by Michael Mendizza of Touch the Future Productions, Marshall candidly describes the life-changing moments that led him to discover our true compassionate nature, and the critical role language plays our ability to understand and communicate our needs. Read full interview online now >>


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“You can’t make your kids do anything. All you can do is make them wish they had. And then, they will make you wish you hadn’t made them wish they had.”

- Marshall B. Rosenberg, Ph.D.

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World-renowned author, peacemaker, and conflict resolution expert, Marshall Rosenberg, Ph.D. talks about the keys to prevent all forms of conflict and violence in this 10-minute video.


Live Your True Potential, continued

How can we live up to our true potential, a life filled with relationships and experiences that truly meet our needs, when we keep putting our focus on the outside rather than looking inward? Isn't it true, that the only common denominator in your experiences is you?

Nonviolent Communication gives you the tools to take responsibility for what you need to live your best life. This means no one else is responsible for your quality of life but you!

Check in with yourself over the course of a day. Do you find yourself blaming others for what's missing in your life? Following the five steps below will help guide you toward creating a different life experience and living up to your true potential.

Step 1: Own it!
The first step toward realizing your true potential — in relationships, in your job, and in every aspect of your life — is to own your life experiences rather than blame them on others. You can do this by translating that blame into your own feelings and needs in the moment.

Instead of saying, “my boss is so controlling. He doesn't let me take the lead on anything,” try this: “When I go to work I feel bored. I really need more stimulation and an opportunity for growth.” See the difference?

When I translate my life experiences through feelings and needs, I can discern my world without judgment. In fact, I can avoid any thoughts of good/bad or right/wrong.

This revelation may seem minor to some, but to me it represents freedom, inclusion, abundance and the very real possibility for a deeper life experience, and more meaningful relationships. Through this simple first step, you can shift your method of discerning your world.

Step 2:  Instead of Judging, Experience

Previously, my relationships were hampered by my judgments. Instead of simply experiencing my feelings and needs, I found myself constantly sizing the other person up to see where I fit.

If I thought someone knew more about a particular topic than me, I judged them as superior. If I thought I knew more about a topic than others, I thought I was better than them. This competition often led to distrust, hurt feelings and a lack of real connection with the people in my life.

As you go through your day, be conscious of how you relate to others. Do you find yourself turning to judgments to determine where you fit? If so, try to take a step back and simply experience your feelings and needs for what they are.

For example, if I'm in a conversation where someone knows more about the topic than I do, instead of judging them as intellectually superior (and myself as inferior), I can check in and experience what I'm feeling: “I'm feeling insecure right now because I'm needing acceptance and inclusion in the conversation.” Experience the feelings/needs simply for what they are, absent of judgment.

Step 3: Focus on What You Want

At one point in my life, I began to notice I spent more time than I enjoyed focusing on the negative — what was missing in my life — rather than on what I really wanted more of.

I wanted to notice my unmet needs, but focusing on what was missing made this difficult. In a sense, I was attempting to make a shift in my mental alignment.

For example, if I was talking with a friend who interrupted me, my first thought might be, “she is self-centered.” However, if I focus on what I want, rather than on what is missing, I might instead think, “I love it when I'm heard.” When you translate your judgments in this manner as often as you notice them, it creates a subtle and powerful shift.

As this shift occurred in me, for the first time in my life I noticed that the machine gun of judgments was running out of ammunition. My focus was more in alignment with my dreams, what I hope for and value, and most especially what I love.

Perhaps the most significant gift I received from aligning my focus on what I want was learning more about what it is that I love. Prior to this step, I could tell you what I didn't like and what I didn't want to do, but to commit to what I wanted often eluded me.

Step 4: Ask For It!
Creating the life experiences that meet your needs also means being able to ask for what you want. By simply focusing on what you want (rather than what you don't want), you are in better position to suggest strategies to better meet your needs.

Going back to the example earlier, let's say that you've connected to your needs and realize that you're feeling bored at work, and need stimulation and an opportunity for growth. What if you requested a meeting with your boss to express your feelings/needs, and to brainstorm opportunities together?

When you are connected to your needs, your requests will become clearer, they will be more readily received, and they will be more precise in helping meet your needs.

Step 5: Remember, Your Potential Is a Living Concept
As I became more skilled at discerning what I want, and asking for it, all my relationships improved and I became more able to live to my true potential.

What does that mean exactly and what is true potential? I used to think of it as an outcome — a static concept, something written in stone the day I was born that I was supposed to ”become.”

Now I consider it a living concept that changes with the ebb and flow of my life. When ill, my true potential might look very different than when I'm healthy. It is, in fact, less about the results of my effort and more about the consciousness I bring to my life, such as authenticity, humility, and integrity. To me, this is living to my true potential.

Mary Mackenzie is author of Peaceful Living, a CNVC certified trainer, co-founder of the NVC Academy and the Executive Director of the Flagstaff Center for Compassionate Communication, a non-profit peacemaking organization. She teaches transformational thinking, speaking, and listening skills to individuals, couples, families, and children to empower them in their relationships. She also works with organizations to facilitate organization-wide restructuring or to enhance their current processes.

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"As you go through
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of how you relate to others. Do you find yourself
turning to judgments
to determine
where you fit?

- Mary Mackenzie













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Silent Empathy, continued

Breaking Down Barriers to Connection When Words Don't Work
On the third morning we went for a long walk and stopped at a cafe. After we ordered breakfast, she looked at me and said (with much intensity), "So when are you going to stop criticizing me?" I was always taught that if I am asked a question I'm obligated to answer it. But no matter what I would have said, I knew it would quickly escalate into a prolonged argument. There was no way to win.

Just in time, I remembered what I had learned. There was another alternative — silent empathy! So I reached out silently to my daughter, and tuned in. I guessed that she was feeling frustrated and despairing, yearning for an ease of connection with me. She wanted us to be together in a new way, a different kind of mother-daughter relationship.

She took a breath, waiting for me to answer her, waiting for the start of the familiar argument. She looked puzzled for a second. Then she slowly let her breath out . . . and it was over. We started talking about something else, and had a pleasant day.

I wanted to shout, "Hey, it works!" For the first time, I was able to shift the dynamic of our relationship at that moment of impasse.

I realized that one way my daughter would reach out to me when she felt disconnected was to be provocative, to be sure she would get a response.

I had been skeptical that silent empathy could work, that the energy could flow as easily as spoken words. It was difficult for me to imagine how to communicate in silence, or to trust in that energy that can be offered by one person and received by another. I imagined that just sitting in silence in witness to someone's pain might be enough. But silent empathy is not a passive endeavor; it asks as much of me as when I am offering empathic words to another.

Since NVC is mostly about the spoken word, and practicing what to say to each other, I have not found silent empathy to be discussed or explored very often. But silent empathy is one of the many treasures that NVC has brought to my life.

Rita Hertzog has been studying and teaching Nonviolent Communication for over 20 years. As an early pioneer, she coordinated the work of CNVC from her dining room table, and has had the privilege of seeing NVC enhance people's lives in ever widening circles to five continents and 40 countries. Rita has a master's degree in teaching, and has worked as the teacher/ coordinator of an independent school, a day care director, a college instructor, and as visiting faculty of the Gestalt Institute of Cleveland. She has offered NVC training in Japan, Brazil, Mexico, and many parts of Europe, as well in the U.S. Rita continues to facilitate the work of the CNVC trainer certification team of registration coordinators and assessors.

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"I realized one way my daughter would reach
out to me when she felt disconnected was to be provocative, to be sure she would get a response."

- Rita Herzog