I come to teaching communication skills from a long-time deep interest and focus on nonviolence as a way of life. This early passion was ignited while reading Ghandi’s autobiography as a freshman in college. This introduction along with other influences led me into becoming a teacher in inner-city schools of Detroit in the 60s through the 80s, a facilitator of Alternatives to Violence Project workshops in prison and in the community also in the 80s, a mediator in community conflicts, a writer of a dissertation on nonviolence and a university instructor on nonviolence in the 90s, a counselor of people who had been abusive in their intimate relationships, and then a trainer of Conscious Communication and now Nonviolent Communication (NVC) workshops in the last decade to the present.
Though a social-change activist in the 60s and then in the 80s and early 90s, I later moved to put my energy and focus more on teaching communication workshops. This change came as a result of coming to realize that the personal and interpersonal arena is the place where we really learn lessons that then may have a chance to be applied effectively in larger social venues. I found that organizational efforts in global peace-making that I was involved in were often undercut or diminished by the energy drain from the group’s internal conflicts that we didn’t know how to resolve. On reflection, I believe that many of the revolutions in the world that started off with a sincere effort to improve the human condition often ended up merely repeating the same mistakes and dysfunctional patterns they were trying to replace.
I believe that it is only in transforming our right/wrong ways of thinking, as Martin Luther King would describe as a revolution of consciousness, will we possibly have an opportunity to create real change and promote true peace in the world.
The work of Marshall Rosenberg’s Nonviolent Communication program, founded in the early 70s, provides an option, a consciousness and the tools to begin this process of transformation. This work goes far beyond merely changing how one communicates; it changes how one sees the world and one’s place and function in it.
I have been teaching workshops in communication since 2002, first as Conscious Communication, then in 2007 morphing into Nonviolent Communication (internationally known as NVC). This work provides the tools for creating a world in which everyone’s needs matter. This, I believe, is foundational for creating world peace.
NVC has so contributed to making my life and that of others more wonderful that I am passionate about sharing its vision and skills to anyone who is also searching for a more powerful, effective, compassionate way of being in the world. I welcome you to join in this exploration.