Four Questions to Ask Yourself Before Speaking

There is a saying in many spiritual traditions, “Only speak if you can improve upon the silence.” Personally, there are plenty of times when I’d rather simply be quiet. There’s also a time and a place to speak up—when we need to set limits, seek

How to Find Balance with the News

More and more these days I find myself dreading looking at the news or the notifications on my phone. Whether it’s a domestic shooting, a tropical storm, or the rainforest in flames, it can feel overwhelming to stay abreast of what’s happening yet impossible to

The Radical Act of Reclaiming Attention

Given all that we are facing today as a society and a species, the need to have honest conversations about things that matter is paramount. Communication skills are an essential ingredient in this arena, but I don’t think they’re sufficient. To stay balanced and clear

How to Survive the Holidays: 6 Communication Tips

For many, spending time with relatives over the holidays may be challenging. In addition to the love and care we may feel, family gatherings can bring up old hurts or expose painful differences. How many family meals have been marred by tense silence or devolved

Learning How to Listen

Listening is a cornerstone of dialogue and a powerful metaphor for spiritual practice. When we’re willing and able to listen, we open a conduit that allows connection and understanding to happen. There are so many ways to listen. We can listen to the content of what

The Skill of Love

Valentine's Day can conjure feelings of angst, loneliness, or sadness—or it may simply echo like another commercial holiday full of candy, cards, and gifts. Peering beneath the commercial veneer, we do find a wholesome value at the core of Valentine’s Day. But it’s a value

Ending the Year with Wisdom

As the calendar year draws to a close, it's natural time to reflect back and look forward. In Nonviolent Communication, we practice seeing life through the lens of human needs. Applying this awareness to our past actions and intentions is one way to develop wisdom,

Finding Our Voice, Transforming Helplessness

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” — Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. My parents tell me I was a gregarious child. “E-A-T-O-R-E-N,” they would spell aloud at the dinner table, trying to redirect the stream of questions that bubbled

When NVC Backfires

When I first learned about the concept of needs at a local communication workshop in my early 20s, I was astounded. I remember thinking, “Oh my gosh -- I have needs!” However, my ensuing attempts to use NVC with family and friends didn’t always go

Giraffe Juice: The Necessity of Joy

A workshop participant once asked Marshall Rosenberg, “There’s so much pain and suffering in the world. Where do you find the energy to keep traveling and teaching?” In response, Marshall said with a characteristically wry smile, “It’s the ‘Giraffe juice’ that keeps me going.” You probably

The Power of Presence

Of all the various things one might learn in this modern age of information, getting a handle on our communication can be one of the most rewarding and potentially transformative. Why? For two simple reasons: it is our primary medium for interfacing with other human