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Upcoming Events

In Irvine: Compassionate Communication every Thursday 7-9pm. Newcomers and drop-ins welcome. A short topic each week, then we practice Compassionate Communications on real life situations. Led by Terry LePage at the Center for Living Peace. Register at the door; $15. For more information call 949-400-3379 or email Terry.
4/4 Empathy
4/11 Compassionate Communication and your Brain
4/18 Compassionate Feedback: Beyond Compliments or Criticisms
4/25 Setting the Stage for Connection
5/1 Choosing Compassionate Stories

In Aliso Viejo: "Compassionate Connecting" led by James Prieto. Tuesdays in March, 7 -9pm. RSVP requested.

In Santa Monica: Nonviolent Communication Practice Groups with Gail McManus: Mondays and 2nd and 4th Tuesday evenings 7:15-9pm. Newcomers welcome. Please contact Gail at 518- 653-2957,

In Long Beach:Learn & Practice NVC Series:
Thursday March 7, 21, 28, 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm. Free! Facilitator: Bellonda Bixby 714.319.4779 -or-

In Irvine: Compassionate Parenting Tools Wednesdays 10am-12pm. 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.. 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 bring young children into the classroom as needed. Ongoing during the school year.

In Pasadena: A 3-WEEK NONVIOLENT COMMUNICATION WORKSHOP with Gail McManus. March 23, April 13 and May 4, 9:30am - 12:30pm at the Anthroposophical Society, 110 Martin Alley in Pasadena. Cost: $75 ($25 per session). Negotiable in light of financial difficulty. RSVP or call 518 653-2957.

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

In Oxnard: Free NVC Conference Weekend April 13-14 with numerous presenters in Spanish and English. Pre-registration required; space is limited. See schedule here.

In Los Angeles: "Cultivating the Peace Within Us"- the Basic Alternatives to Violence Project Workshop, Tues. May 1 and Wed.May 2. Treat yourself to this workshop purely for personal growth, or make it your first step toward facilitating AVP workshops in the community, schools, and prisons. Contact Joan at or call 800-905-6765. See for info about the program.

Workshops and Groups in Santa Monica and Santa Barbara with Rodger Sorrow and Anne Walton: see for current offerings.

Request for support: NVC Academy is looking for focus group participants. Answer 3 to 5 surveys over the next 2-3 months, and receive a $50 credit toward purchases. NVC Academy has a wide variety of NVC telecourses and audio & video recordings of past courses.

Compassionate Communication and Parenting Tips

Communication Tip: Doable Requests
Do you ask for what you want? Or do you hint, or expect people to read your mind? Or just give up on getting your wants and needs met? While directness might seem rude, it is actually more compassionate than any of these other options.

Making doable requests is one of the most challenging parts of Compassionate Communication. First, express the basic human need behind your request. Then suggest something positive, concrete, present and doable that can help meet that need. That request is often the beginning of a conversation. For instance: "We have more time alone together than we have for many years. (observation) I'm longing (feeling) for some fun and adventure (needs) with that time. Would you be willing to talk with me right now about day trips we might take, or other ways to enjoy our time together? (request)

It is hard to make clear, doable, present requests. "Stop driving so crazy!" may be your first thought: a perfectly reasonable request, you believe, but hard for your friend to hear. The compassionate version might sound like: "When we drove home last night (observation) I was scared (feeling). I want to feel safe and relaxed (needs) when we're in the car. Are you willing to talk about ways that could happen? (request)" You don't have to make the driver 'wrong' to request their help for your comfort in driving.

Finally, we sometimes want someone to "love me", or "respect me." What does this look like? If the relationship is to thrive, it is worth requesting concrete, doable actions. You have little to lose, and much to gain. It takes courage and skill to make effective requests. And it saves the other party so much guessing!

Parenting Tip: "I've been thinking..."
Few parenting challenges are solved instantly. Sometimes the compassionate thing to do in the heat of the moment is to take a deep breath and bookmark the challenge, to be addressed when all are calm, rested and well fed. With school-age kids, such a conversation can begin like, "I've been thinking about how we leave the house in the morning. I wonder if we can do it so we are relaxed and happy. Will you talk with me about ideas for doing that?"

In the following discussion, don't be critical of kids' ideas. Let the brains storm. Get silly, get creative. Write your kids' ideas down- they love that! You will want to prepare some ideas in advance, especially when kids are new to this process. Be sure to talk about feelings and needs, yours and theirs, to promote connection, understanding, and the best solutions. The OFNEEDS tool will prepare you to have such a conversation, with empathy, and free of blame and demands. By making our children partners in problem solving, we give them choice and power to make a difference. And we model a better approach to interpersonal differences than demands, rewards or punishments.

Now, can you choose solutions collaboratively and not just dictate what you decide is best? Are you choosing something doable for both you and your child? How will all of you remember? Be prepared to adjust your solution if it doesn't work as you hope.

Collaborating with our kids to solve problems is wonderful connection! And good practice for building collaboration in other relationships...

Compassion is a practically acquired knowledge, like dancing. You must do it and practice diligently day by day.
-Karen Armstrong

Other resources: The International Center for Nonviolent Communication (CNVC) lists NVC practitioners, trainers, trainings, and resources. NVC World has links to NVC resources of all types.

Terry LePage, M.Div, Ph.D.
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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