Notes from Call #1: Conference calls to talk about Process for a New Future

Dear all,

I was so delighted to be with you, each of you who joined the first call about the Process for a New Future [on April 15, 2014].  Thank you for offering your time, your presence, and your honesty and curiosity!

Bob Wentworth was presenting this call, supported by Eva Ebenhoeh (translation), Pan Vera (technical support) and myself, Elin Searfoss (note scribbling). At our peak, we were about 20 people on the call, spanning several continents, from Germany, Austria, France, and other European countries, to Brazil, to North America, and possibly beyond (I was not able to capture each country)!

I have re-worked my rough notes, as a wrap-up for those who were on the call, and also as information to those of you who weren’t present. I am hoping this can contribute to flow between the calls, as well. I wonder if anyone would be interested in supporting translation?

Please note that this is not a transcript, but my best effort to convey the information as clearly and smoothly as I can.


Q: Do I need to do anything to start the Synanim process on my part?

Bob: Right now we are looking at another 4-8 weeks before we begin the Synanim part of this process. There are a number of technical tasks that need to happen before it is ready to launch, along with additional materials needing to be written up, and the scheduling of session times. The plan is to have a coordinator for the Synanim process in English, German, French, and in any other languages requested, and this still needs to be finalized.


Q: Bob, I notice that you’ve spent a lot of time and energy answering questions in the google group, and I worry how long you can keep that level of energy up?

Bob: Yes, I’ve been putting in quite a bit of time and hope to find more time for self care some time soon. At the same time it is both exciting and important to me to have these conversations with people. We have spent a very long time getting to the stage to make this announcement. Now that we have made it, the most critical thing is to build a broad base of understanding and excitement, or at least willingness, to participate in the process. So I would much rather be writing long emails than not have anyone care about the process or be engaged with it. Also, some of the things I’ve said in my emails, I have been sure needed to be said for some time. Now I’m guessing there’s less need to say these things again and again, and we might get to a point where the discussion might shift to something else. For now, it is limited how many people are involved in supporting this process, Dominic [Barter] and I have been very involved, Elin [Searfoss] and Pan [Vera] are also providing support in the background, and Eva [Ebenhoeh, present on this call] and many others are supporting translation. It’s a big process, and we are looking forward to more people joining the support team to bring us forward.


Q: What is the overall context of this process?

Bob: My sense is that in this network of people who care about NVC, some have been quite involved and affected by CNVC over the years, and some people are newer to the community or have been less involved by CNVC. Those how have had significant experiences may be in a different place about how they think and feel about CNVC. CNVC has existed since 1984, so it has been around for 30 years. CNVC has done a number of things over the years, supporting Marshall in traveling around the world and teaching NVC, especially through the format of 9 day International Intensive Trainings, running a certification program, operating a bookstore, and acting as a centralized place that people could come to and learn about NVC. At the same time, while CNVC has performed some functions, especially supporting Marshall, people have longed for much more from CNVC. For example, some have longed for an organization that would support them in bringing this work to the world, in forming community, and in supporting clarity on what would be life serving in what they themselves could do to support the movement as a whole. Many times people have brought an initiative to CNVC on how things could be improved, and while I haven’t been there through all this history, over and over again people have been bitterly disappointed. People have asked for changes, and not only did the changes not happened, but there was also not a satisfying conversation about why nothing is happening. There is pain and frustration and hopelessness among some of those who have brought their heart most fully to support something wonderful happening in the CNVC community. When a little over 2 years ago, Marshall and his wife retired from the CNVC board, many of us thought that this time, when Marshall was no longer at the center of the organization, this would be an opportunity for something new to happen. At this time, we would like to offer a process to collectively come up with what we think would serve us, and what would help us manifest Marshall’s vision for the world and our elaborations on that vision. Find out what type of organization would support us, if it existed.  Once we have named what this looks like, I want us to create that. This isn’t about how to change/fix CNVC, or make minor changes. It’s about going back to the basic question – what do we want, what do we think can serve what we would like to see for the world, and then we look at what we have, and how we can transition it to what we want.

Q: How can people be part of this process?

A: In this phase, certainly one part is by participating in forums like this, and on the discussion list (google group), and also through supporting translation. Related to that, the first phase of the process will be done using Synanim, where we have interactions online where we collectively answer questions and write a statement of what we want. At the moment, we are set up to do this in English, German, and French. We are quite open and interested in conducting it in other languages, where there is a large enough interested community to participate in the process. If it was to happen in other languages, we would need partnership in the logistical and technical aspects, to help us get the system functioning in your language, and to invite participation.

What would help most at this stage, is building critical mass of people who are willing to and excited about participating in the process once it launches. Spreading the word among people who care about NVC and how we organize together, could help us come to a place where there is enough participation in this process, to inspire trust and sense that what comes out represents the longings of the community as a whole. The Synanim process can hold thousands of people

About 150 people joined the google group for this process so far, but I’m guessing there’s a significant number of people who have a significant place in the NVC community who may not be engaged yet. Talking to your friends and colleagues, finding out what is going on for them around this process, to support them in making an informed choice about participating, that would be very supportive in this stage.


Q: How can a community support the process? (Paula Rossi indicated that the Austrian community would like to support, as a community.)

Bob: I’m enjoying sitting with the question because it’s clear to me that we can do so much more when we are acting collectively rather than individuals, so I want that to be part of our consciousness. I am thrilled that there are communities that have the capacity to respond to something like this…

One thing could be to organize in some way to ensure that interested members of the community are aware of the process.

I could imagine that you may want to have discussions within your community, possibly even in-person meetings, where you could talk about thoughts, concerns, excitement about the process, and what you are longing for from the global NVC community, how you’d like to contribute to the global community, what you wish for it to look like. I don’t mean coming to fixed ideas, though. I would still like us to go into the conversation with a beginner’s mind, totally open to possibilities, but it can be helpful to have  had conversations about what we are wanting, what are the fixed ideas that might be getting in the way of fresh thinking.

One concern is that people have had so much pain with CNVC that they might be stuck in a place of reacting to this pain, wanting the total opposite of what CNVC has been so far. If there are processes to mourn, grieve, about how the past was not what we wanted, if communities all over the world did grieving processes, I could not think of anything more supportive.

Q: How do we get an idea about communities around the world?

Bob: You can look on the website, under organizations…

Pan: Also, if you are part of an organization that is not listed on the website, please email webmaster [at] cnvc [dot] org for support to be listed, as a way to organize.

Q: The documents are very big – is there anything shorter in the pipeline?

Bob: I hope we might be able to produce over the next week or two, a shorter document that would summarize the process, that might support some people who had trouble taking in the documents so far.

Q: What is your request of people on the call – what are you hoping the call will do?

Bob: Thank you for asking! My intention at this stage, is to reach for shared understanding of the process, and to both learn myself if there is anything I should know that would help me better support the process, and also to support participants in understanding the process in a way that supports you in knowing how you personally would like to relate to the process and support and engage, it if it is alive for you to support and engage with it.

End words, Kiu shared a yearning to make a collective plan on how to support reaching and involving more people, maybe have a collective plan to make that happen, or someone could share their experience of what worked, in regard to including and involving more people.

Sending each of you warm wishes, and much gratitude for your participation in this. I am so eager to walk with you all, to discover what is most life serving for us all, and to move into a space where our community wisdom, passion, and life drives the movement. I can't wait to see what this looks like.

With love,

Elin Searfoss

Your rating: None Average: 5 (3 votes)

The Center for Nonviolent Communication
9301 Indian School Rd NE Suite 204
Albuquerque, NM 87112-2861 USA
Tel: +1.505.244.4041 | Fax: +1.505.247.0414 | US Only: 800 255 7696

NEW fundraising opportunity for US residents.