Marcia Christen

Language of Report: 
Year of Report: 
Share My Report With: 
General Public (Including Certified Trainers and Certification Candidates)
A. Approximately how many training days did you have this year?: 
B. Briefly list the groups and organizations you worked with this year as a trainer.: 
Washington State Correction Center for Women & Freedom Project, Sunnfield Waldorf School, JustKnow organization to promote healthy youth, University of Washington School of Nursing, University of Puget Sound Satyagraha group, Bodhi Center, NVC Family Camp, Trainer Certification Candidate Group via Kathleen Macferran, Kitsap Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, Cedars Unitarian Universalist Church.
C. Approximately how many people did you offer NVC training to this year?: 
D. What are you celebrating about your training experiences this year? What was significant for you? What touched your heart?: 
I am celebrating my increased ability to be present during trainings and create a safe container. I am celebrating the people I have had the honor to watch have "aha" moments, the tenderness, the connection. I am touched by the women in the prison and their vulnerability and huge desire to change. I am touched by one man in my class who didn't participate in exercises or sharing and later bought books for all his friends and family because he was so excited about NVC. I am also touched by hearing about how this has rippled out to children and other family members. One man told me "You have changed my life." and I took this to mean he is so thankful for NVC coming into his life and I contributed to him being able to learn something precious to him. I remember a time in the women's prison when I was playing "empathy poker" with a group of women and we were empathizing with one woman who had been a heroin addict. And it just moved me to check in with her about something and she agreed. I asked her what needs she was meeting when she used heroin? She later spread out cards to answer the question for herself and expressed great relief and awareness figuring out in her heart what was driving her behavior besides the physical addiction. I had a sense of contributing to her.
E. Would you share some difficult experiences you had while training this year and how you handled them?: 
A few things comes to mind for this year. One instance may be when a man taking my class was having a difficult time understanding and getting out of blame of others. He didn't see how NVC could really work in conflict and he expressed he was "stuck". I kept empathizing and touching into the Needs he was meeting when he wanted to tell others what they were needing. And I kept explaining in different ways, adding stories or examples to try to find something that would connect. He ended up expressing that he finally " got it" and experienced a release of his block. Often in the prison there is a lot of creating a safe container and providing an empathic space rather than "teaching" classically. It was very meaningful to have connections and empathize with the inmates who weren't experiencing choice in attending the workshops.
F. How do you teach the spiritual basis of Nonviolent Communication in your workshops and training programs? : 
This is often difficult to answer. I'm guessing I touch on the spiritual aspect of the consciousness by the words I choose to describe needs - the divine, life moving through and calling for attention, living nameste, etc. Also the experiential aspect of sharing NVC by guided meditations and exercises which help participants feel what it's like to be connected to Needs. I also touch on the key differentiations and how this supports our values. I also tell stories about my own journey as a means to give connection and resonance.
G. Please describe your social change goals...: 
I wish to continue to support people in finding ways to access their inner choice and power to be able to live in alignment with their values by sharing NVC both formally and informally. I enjoy supporting adults, teachers, and parents as ways to provide support for couples and families. I see families as the core of our society and one institution that affects us all. As families are able to be safe places to have feelings and access inner wisdom about values, I see them as essential in bringing healing and hope to this world. When children are surrounded by empathy and honest expression they begin to gain skills of resilience and empathy for themselves and others. I also will continue to support Freedom Project and bringing NVC to the prisons so that inmates can become peacemakers. I hope to expand my time this year and help to establish practice groups within the prison. I believe practice groups may be one very important piece of integrating NVC. I also hope to support a new effort to help develop staff a parent phone line for emergency empathy. I also will continue to support assessors Kathleen Macferran and Karl Stayaert with the Trainer Candidate Certification Program as a way to create communities for sharing NVC with a strong base so we "never go in alone". I also plan to continue supporting NVC Family Camp on Vashon by being staff in some capacity. I hope to expand work in family camps by co-creating a curriculum to be used in Unitarian Universalist fellowship communities with trainer Jared Finkelstein. And I hope to be a staff at the family camps they hope to offer to UU churches. I believe all of these are ways to support the mission of supporting more peace in the world, to help transform blame and judgment and conflict into opportunities for connection.
J. Please describe your efforts to create, or join, an NVC circle or organization.: 
I continue to be part of and support the Northwest Compassionate Communication Trainers Circle and the TCCP group. I would very much like to create more of an NVC community in my own community. It has been challenging to get people interested in learning NVC in my area. We have created a Restorative System to help us in the TCCP group and we are adding to the agreements. We are reviving the NW Compassionate group and are looking to increase the projects we do together and opportunities for connection. We are becoming aware it's time to revisit our mission and vision. We are challenged by the degree to which we are available to meet and in the distance we are from each other physically. Challenges continue to be how do we support each other and how do we work together to pick strategies and resources to have NVC be more well known. Our sustainability as trainers continues to be challenging for all of us in the NW Compass group, more so for some, however, still a large challenge.
K. Summarize participants’ evaluations, and how their feedback resulted in new learning or growth for you this past year.: 
I received some feedback from my class series that I could incorporate more discussion of homework so I've tried to include that. I've gotten feedback that people often really enjoy the learning they get from using the Feelings and Needs card decks, so I continue to use this strategy for practice. I've received feedback that they way that the trainers "show up" and interact with each other conveys a lot of the learning and people appreciate the care.
L. What are your current growing edges or challenges as a trainer that you will be working on in the future?: 
I have challenges "holding space" when there is a large group - I feel overwhelmed and sometimes have difficulty choosing what to do as a facilitator. I continue to work on self-empathy and connection and finding strategies to get support set up before I share. Another edge is facilitating large groups and the TCCP has been a great place to get learning with this edge. And I hope to learn from other trainers this summer.
M. If you found opportunities to work with other trainers this year, please share the most meaningful experiences for you.: 
I think my work with Kathleen Macferran in the prisons has been particularly meaningful. I learn so much from the ways she is present for herself and others. I enjoy the levels of connection that experience I with her and the inmates. I also have great learning from the debriefs and check ins we have when we go to the workshops in the prison. I have also great learning from Karl Stayeart in the Trainer Candidates Certification Program.
N. Is there anything else you would enjoy sharing with the CNVC network?: 
I so appreciate this community and all the experience and care I witness and feel. I am excited by the energy building and more trainers joining CNVC!

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