OPEN DOOR COMMUNCATION November/December 2012 E-News

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Upcoming Events

In Irvine: Compassionate Communication every Thursday 7-9pm. Drop-ins welcome. A short topic each week, then we apply a variety of activities (floor cards, role plays, dialogs and more) to real life situations. Led by Terry LePage at the Center for Living Peace, 4139 Campus Drive, across from UCI, between Lee's and Focus Dance. Request $15 or what you can contribute. Register at the door. For more information call 949-400-3379 or email Terry.

11/8 - Basics: Feelings: Reading the Signals
11/15 - Basics: Connecting through Universal Human Needs
11/22 - No Meeting: Happy Thanksgiving!
11/29 - Guest Facilitator
12/6 - Guest Facilitator
12/20 - Expressing Gratitude
12/27: No Class - Happy Holidays!

In Santa Monica: Nonviolent Communication Practice Groups with Gail McManus: Monday and Wednesday evenings 7:15-9pm. Newcomers welcome. Please contact Gail at 518- 653-2957,

In Irvine: Compassionate Parenting Tools Wednesdays 10am-12pm. 11/28: discussion of real world situation. 1/16: new 10-week series starts. Learn ways to handle strong emotions, foster connection and cooperation, and parent without punishing, shaming, or bribing. Drop-ins welcome. Led by certified parent educators Terry LePage, Tova Pusl and Monika Larsen at the Center for Living Peace, 4139 Campus Drive. Download the flyer here. For more information call 949-400-3379 or email Terry. Check out the FAQ and the class schedule too. $25 per class; sliding fee scale available upon request. Quality child care included. You may register at the door, but reserve child care by Tuesday noon. This class will be ongoing during the school year but check for holiday breaks.

Parenting Matters Teleconference: January 24-28 intensive, but you can lsiten to recordings later- at home and on your schedule. . Awesome guest speakers include Dan Siegel and Lawrence Cohen.

Parenting Classes around Southern California including weeknights, and Saturdays, in Spanish and English, are available from Echo Parenting and Education.

Workshops and Groups in Santa Monica and Santa Barbara with Rodger Sorrow and Anne Walton: see

Other resources: NVC Academy has a wide variety of NVC telecourses and audio & video recordings of past courses. NVC World has links to NVC resources of all types.

Compassionate Communication and Parenting Tips

Communication Tip: Inspiring Gratitude
As we enter the season of Thanksgiving, I invite you to practice gratitude. You can do more than just say, "Thank you." You can express the feelings you have about what someone has done and been for you, and the needs they have met. This approach not only fosters gratitude and appreciation, it gives others concrete feedback about how their actions contributed to making your life wonderful.

"Thank you for returning my call, and really listening to what I said." "Thank you for sending that check. I was relieved from a lot of worry when I got it." "Thank you for your smile. It brightens my day."

In the compassionate paradigm, we do not keep score of favors given and returned. Instead we give to meet our own needs: for compassion, contribution, and connection, among others. Yet we enjoy knowing how our gifts have been received and appreciated. We like receiving gratitude too!

Parenting Tip: Saying "Thank You" to Your Child.
Some parents believe they shouldn't say "thank you" to children for doing things they "should" do anyway. I want us to model caring and consideration to our kids by using "thank you" often. Especially when what your child has done has been difficult for them, acknowledging their effort offers the encouragement and support that every child needs.

Research shows that school-age children can accomplish more when they are not labeled "good" or "bad," "smart" or "slow," but instead understand that their effort can produce a good result, and that they will learn and grow through that effort, whatever the result. Instead of "Good job!" (which none of us parents can fully remove from our habitual responses) you can say, "That looks like it was a lot of work. I'm glad you finished it. Thank you! Did you like how it turned out?" And then we get to practice listening...

Extra: Holiday Rituals
Holdiay rituals can meet needs for fun, adventure, meaning, participation, connection, and predictability. They can also stimulate overwhelm and resentment. Plan ahead so you can choose the rituals that best meet the needs of you and your loved ones. Kids, especially, may cherish certain rituals that we take for granted. If you find yourself feeling grumpy about a holiday ritual, can it be simplified or let go? Can other people take responsibility for it? Will your attitude about that holiday letter transform when you picture the smile on Aunt Polly's face on seeing your family's pictures? Maybe you want to teach her to Skype instead? Again, Happy Holidays!

Believe it or not-- and I know that most people do not--
violence has declined over long stretches of time,
and today we may be living
in the most peaceable era in our species' existence.
Steven Pinker, "The Better Angels of Our Nature"

Terry LePage
Open Door Communication

Mission of Open Door Communication
To share Compassionate Communication and related life-serving tools with people from all walks of life in Southern California by:
1. Offering workshops, mediation, and coaching,
2. Establishing practice groups and mentoring resource people to multiply impact, and
3. Facilitating supportive relationships among practitioners.

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