Karl Steyaert

Language of Report: 
English
Year of Report: 
2009
Share My Report With: 
General Public (Including Certified Trainers and Certification Candidates)
A. Approximately how many training days did you have this year?: 
14
B. Briefly list the groups and organizations you worked with this year as a trainer.: 
Living Routes (India), Sandhi Institute (Sri Lanka), Findhorn Community (Scotland, UK)
C. Approximately how many people did you offer NVC training to this year?: 
70
D. What are you celebrating about your training experiences this year? What was significant for you? What touched your heart?: 
In 2009 a real highlight was spending 3 weeks in Sri Lanka to support the Sandhi Institute in sharing NVC with various non-profit organizations and university student groups. I am celebrating how deeply heart-connected I felt with the people of Sri Lanka as they struggled with civil war and an atmosphere which I experienced as frequently tense with the threat of physical violence. I remember university students telling me of their regular fear of being killed for not attending certain rallies, I remember a Tamil student looking wide-eyed as I expressed my regret for not having a Tamil interpreter as well as a Sinhalese interpreter, and I remember the big smiles and “thank you!” all the students gave me as I said goodbye. I am so grateful for the openness and great kindness expressed to me during my time there, and also for the opportunity to learn with the people there how NVC might support them in feeling more peace and well-being within themselves and in the world around them.
E. Would you share some difficult experiences you had while training this year and how you handled them?: 
When sharing NVC with a group of university students in Sri Lanka, one young man said “Why are you laughing at us?” I was quite astonished and concerned when I heard him say this, initially wondering what he was referring to. Then I realized that I had been smiling broadly at times when I heard what many of the students were saying in response to the explorations we were doing together. I took a deep breath when I took in his words and what I perceived as his anger with me. I allowed my body to relax as I looked at him and imagined his desire for respect. I expressed that my smiles had been pleasure with the openness, understanding, and connection I was hearing and feeling among us in the class. I expressed my concern that my smiles may have come across in another way. He then expressed pain about trying his best to speak English and wanting it understood that his skills were not very good. Realizing his pain was related to a desire for acceptance and appreciation for his English skills, I connected with him further, eventually expressing my own regret at not speaking his language at all, and honestly appreciating both his efforts and ability. Within 5 minutes the group had deepened to a much more “real” connection, having navigated our first “real” conflict together.
F. How do you teach the spiritual basis of Nonviolent Communication in your workshops and training programs? : 
As they are the means that I most trust, I primarily share the spiritual basis of NVC through demonstration/embodiment and creating experiential learning experiences. Through my words, actions, and attitude, I try to embody values such as: empathic presence, compassion, authenticity, respect for the sacredness of all life, transparency, celebration of life, joyful service, power-sharing, and non-attachment to outcome. To offer some examples, my practices include offering people authentic appreciations as they arise, expressing my vulnerability when I sense it will serve connection and learning to do so, making collaborative decisions through open dialogue, and offering trainings as a gift. I also strive to create learning experiences that illuminate these values, as well as offering people a first hand experience of various understandings, including the transformational effect of empathic presence, the universality of human needs, the freedom offered by non-attachment to strategy, etc. In addition, I often reinforce this experiential learning through shared reflection, allowing underlying concepts to be made clear.
G. Please describe your social change goals...: 
I am excited about catalyzing cultural shifts and co-creating transformational communities within which people experience interdependence with all life, and support for their full aliveness, authenticity, and development. This passion takes many forms, including: co-creating intentional communities informed by NVC, Restorative Circles, Dynamic Governance (Sociocracy/Holacracy), and other forms of life-serving consciousness and tools; supporting existing communities and other organizations to integrate life-serving values, and the above-listed forms of consciousness and tools if they so choose; offering multi-day trainings that explicitly invite a high degree of co-creation, typically using an Open Space Technology format; offering all trainings and other services that I organize personally on a gift economy basis; supporting communities to create Restorative Systems and facilitating Restorative Circles, which integrate NVC consciousness and skills; and mentoring people to find their path of passionate contribution in the world. My long-range dream is of a world of interdependent human communities that are ecologically and socially sustainable, interwoven with thriving non-human communities of life. Specifically, I envision a world where: all people receive modeling of, and formal and informal education in, living “interdependence,” through embodied training is approaches such as NVC and Restorative Circles, as well as other forms of emotional intelligence, group process, and conflict transformation; people know their neighbors; the majority of food and goods are produced locally and organically; and energy is clean and renewable. Furthermore, in this world, local communities support all people in meeting their needs for health, nourishment, and shelter; education consists of people receiving support as they explore the gifts they are most passionate about; children are “raised by” the community; people walk or bicycle easily to work; non-human life forms thrive in protected wilderness areas; products are designed to be highly durable, non-toxic and reusable; creativity and play are woven into all life paths and forms of livelihood; mind, body and spirit are all valued as an integrated whole; and a nested holarchy of double-linked governing circles from local to global politics make consent-based decisions about ecological, political, and economic policy. As I review the vision, mission and aim of CNVC, I see the practices and vision I describe above as directly mirroring the larger purpose of CNVC, and I am grateful to have such companionship on this path!
J. Please describe your efforts to create, or join, an NVC circle or organization.: 
I spent the first half of 2009 traveling across Asia and Europe, and therefore was primarily remotely connected to my various world-wide NVC network of friends through email and Skype phone conversations. During the second half of 2009, however, I was based at the Findhorn Community in Scotland, UK, and I enjoyed reconnecting to the NVC community there. I formed a practice circle at my home, hosted a Restorative Circle practice group, and enjoyed offering NVC training in collaboration with Fabiola Fuentes, the other NVC trainer in the area.
K. Summarize participants’ evaluations, and how their feedback resulted in new learning or growth for you this past year.: 
Evaluations I receive generally describe celebration of learning and inspiration, and particularly emphasize appreciation for: 1) walking the talk by embodying compassion and empathy; and 2) playful, experiential learning opportunities. The feedback I received which most clearly expressed pain spoke of a desire for more mutuality, such that participants’ own understanding of NVC might have been more invited in the course of the training. As a result of this feedback, I have explored ways to share NVC that elicit participants learning from their own experience and sharing the insight they are gaining, as well as simply looking for ways to remember that all people in the room have access to the essential wisdom underlying NVC, even if I hope to contribute my own understanding and experience as well.
L. What are your current growing edges or challenges as a trainer that you will be working on in the future?: 
The challenge I am most working with as a trainer at this time is to integrate more seamlessly: 1) clear presentation of the NVC model, with 2) an organic embodiment of NVC consciousness. While I recognize that I am able to do this to some degree, I would like to cultivate a more fluid way of being as I present the form itself. I see practice as perhaps the most key thing that will contribute to this fluidity, but I see other steps I can take as well. I am also gathering personal stories and ways of sharing the NVC model that emerge directly from my life and heart, and which therefore support me in being more fully authentic as I present this work.
M. If you found opportunities to work with other trainers this year, please share the most meaningful experiences for you.: 
Two particular experiences of collaborating with other trainers stand out as particularly meaningful for me from 2009. First was a three-week training visit to Sri Lanka in February, with the companionship of Shantigarbha, as we both supported Jeyanthy Siva and the Sandhi Institute. I had the opportunity to offer a training alongside Jeyanthy, and it was a deeply meaningful learning experience and inspiration for me to participate in peace work within a country experiencing a 25 year-old civil war. I sensed the life and death urgency of the situation for many of the participants, and the deep commitment and care that Jeyanthy has to the work and her home. I also appreciated Jeyanthy’s trust as we dove into first collaborating on a training “on the fly”, with little time for preparation or coordination. Thank you, Jeyanthy and Shantigarbha! Another highlight was in getting to know and work with Fabiola Fuentes in Scotland. I so appreciated both the very distinct styles of being and sharing NVC which we have, and how we found graceful ways to blend our approaches in the spirit of collaboration and shared learning. I also was grateful for the inspiration which I get from Fabiola’s sharing about her work with NVC with displaced communities in Columbia. I deeply appreciate her commitment to living interdependence in this way. Thank you, Fabi!
N. Is there anything else you would enjoy sharing with the CNVC network?: 
Thank you for your shared commitment to creating a world that works for all!
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