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Upcoming Events

In Irvine: Compassionate Communication every Thursday 7-9pm. 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.
6/6 Feelings instead of judgments; mourning instead of suffering
6/13 Debbie facilitating
6/20 Saying "No" Compassionately
6/27 Core Principles of Compassionate Communication
7/4 Attending to Needs; Holding Expectations Lightly

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

In Santa Barbara: Bellonda Bixby will be offering NVC workshops at the "Elements Gathering" July 27-August 1, a 6-day event offering sustainable living skills, lively celebrations and community among the oaks. See for details.

In Long Beach: Certified trainer Mary Mackenzie offers a variety of Communication workshops. Contact Mary Mackenzie,, 562.856.9417.

At Lake Arrowhead: "Renew and Remember You Are Sacred" - June 25-28. A retreat for women with Mary Mackenzie. Through meditation, personal inquiry, and the support of a loving community, each woman will experience nurturing, compassion, healing and renewal. Contact Mary Mackenzie,, 562.856.9417.

In Irvine: Compassionate Parenting Tools: Intensive Intro. Sunday June 9 or Sunday August 12, 1:30-4:30pm. As below, but 3 hours, without child care. Introduce your spouse, friends, or relatives to Compassionate Parenting!

In Irvine: Compassionate Parenting Tools Wednesdays July 10 through Aug. 14, 10am-12pm. Drop-ins welcome. Led by certified parent educators Tova Pusl and Monika Larsen at the Center for Living Peace.. Download the flyer here. For more information email Tova. 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. Stay tuned for summer dates.

Parenting Classes around Southern California including weeknights, and Saturdays, in Spanish and English, are available from Echo Parenting and Education. Note their Fathers' Retreat Sat. June 22, 9-4.

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

Other resources: The International Center for Nonviolent Communication (CNVC) lists NVC practitioners, certified trainers, trainings, and resources. NVC Academy offers NVC telecourses and audio and video archives. NVC World has links to NVC resources of all types.

Compassionate Communication and Parenting Tips

Communication Tip: Get Ready to Give Compassion
Sometimes we are not ready to be compassionate. Even if we manage to say the words or go through the motions, our tone and body language will communicate something less than compassion. It happens to everyone. It happens because our own needs are getting in the way of our being present for other people. We may be "Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired (HALT!)" Or we may need some compassion ourselves.

When we notice that we are not feeling compassionate and caring, we can check in to discover our own feelings and needs in the moment (self-empathy). Sometimes this little bit of self-connection is enough to recharge our compassion batteries. Or we may need some time, attention, or support to get our own needs met before we can genuinely care about others.

Do not expect to be able to give compassion at any and all times. Instead, seek honesty. Be honest about whether you are able and willing to be present for others. When you are not, use honesty to discover which of your needs are getting in the way. And be compassionate to yourself. We all need love, acceptance, understanding, hope, and choice. We can practice compassion by giving these things to ourselves.

Parenting Tip: The Long View
Is your parenting supporting your child's long-term development of competence, collaboration, kindness, persistence, wisdom, integrity, and self-care? That's a tall order, isn't it? What else would you like your child to have as an adult?

In the day-to-day struggles of parenting, we can forget that the point is not to "get them to behave" or even to "get them to be independent." Rather it is to help thme grow into adults who make choices that support their thriving. When we demand obedience or performance, children do not learn the "why," the value behind what we are asking of them, and they do not learn "intrinsic motivation," doing what serves life for its own sake instead of to avoid punishment or seek reward.

Our best tool for communicating our values is connection. When our children feel loved and understood, they often will accept and trust our values, and gradually they will learn to live them. Younger children may not yet understand values but they like to belong and copy our models, especially when we can make it fun. Grade school kids love to master things, and to know the reason why. At some ages children need autonomy: to make their own choices. Can we hold some limits while not falling into a power struggle? Can our kids get some understanding and space to practice making their own decisions?

I invite you to remember the long view. It takes the sting out of the daily struggles, and helps us parent with the end in mind. And remember that connection is the most important tool for helping your children learn your values.


"A talent for speaking differently, rather than for arguing well,
is the chief instrument of cultural change."

-Richard Rorty


Terry LePage, M.Div, Ph.D.
Open Door Communication

Mission of Open Door Communication
To share Compassionate (Nonviolent) 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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