Kathleen Macferran

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.: 
CNVC IIT, Bainbridge Island Schools, Co-housing, Parent groups, Bainbridge Island coalition,WA State prisons, NVC organizations in US.
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'm celebrating the variety of people I met throughout the world and the sense of companionship I feel on this journey to create a more sustainable world. I'm very connected to the gratitude and celebration I experience in training. The work I'm currently doing is a continuation of the work I've done in the past few years. My celebration arises from the joy I have in walking side by side with others as they find new ways to grow and heal. Going into the prisons in WA and being with men and women who are hungry for NVC, is profound for me. Watching inmates hold themselves with compassion for the first time, watching what happens to them when they realize they are not alone, hearing them open to feelings and needs after years of being shut off from that, is transforming for me. I celebrate the inspiration and growth they have contributed to my life. I celebrate the total trust I now have in the healing power of NVC after watching it over and over breathe life into myself and others. I celebrate the communities around the world that I have been a part of (many through the NVC Academy, an organization I have come to cherish) that hold the same vision I have. I celebrate the networks who create and organize a space for all of us to gather and learn together. I celebrate my connection with other trainers who have enriched my life bountifully.
E. Would you share some difficult experiences you had while training this year and how you handled them?: 
I had a weekend in the women's prison that was very tense. It was the weekend of the mother's day celebration and there were fights breaking out around the prison as pain was seeking an outlet. The second day of a two day workshop which had not had the flow I usually enjoy, several of the women started saying things like, "Kathleen, you are so disrespectful, inconsiderate, think you're better than us, etc." I stayed grounded in self-empathy (really wanting my intentions seen and wanting to understand what triggered this) and gave them empathy. First I tried to confirm empathy out loud, guessing at their needs. They responded with, "Now you're trying to put words in our mouths." Then I asked what I said or did that they experienced as disrespectful. They responded with, "The way you look at us, even the way you are sitting right now." I remained confused because I couldn't distinguish anything different about the way I was sitting form how they were sitting and checking in I clearly felt love for them so wasn't sure how my eyes would reflect anything different. Fortunately, I had a colleague with me who's verbal empathy was received by the women. At break I went to the women one by one who were most upset to understand what was going on for them. One woman said, "I realized I just wanted to be like you." Another said, "I felt embarrassed when you asked if there was another approach that I might find more valuable. I wish you would have asked me that at break." One by one, I reconnected with the women. I also learned that at the beginning of the day when a fight was about to break out between two women in the workshop and I had immediately asked them to step into the hall with me while my colleague continued with the workshop (we did a beautiful mediation that lasted about 45 min), that some women in the workshop thought I was outside punishing them (that's their usual experience in the prison) even though the women came back connected. After break my partner and I checked in with the women and asked if they'd enjoy being heard for what their experience was like this weekend in the prison. They wanted that so we spent the rest of the time giving them empathy and left feeling quite connected.
F. How do you teach the spiritual basis of Nonviolent Communication in your workshops and training programs? : 
The primary way I "teach" the spiritual basis of NVC is by living it inside and outside of workshops to the best of my ability. NVC is a way for me to show up in the world, connecting with and acting from my values. The consciousness/spirituality is the first thing I introduce and/or refer to in most of my workshops. The spirituality then becomes the frame that holds the rest of the process. I return to the consciousness over and over as I'm talking about applications or specific parts of the process. I return to the spirituality repeatedly as I consider my words and actions.
G. Please describe your social change goals...: 
The primary social change agenda I have is working on myself to live in a way that inspires change for individuals and institutions. When I become clear about the changes I'd like to see and the skills I might have to contribute to that change, I act. When I act I usually find others who want to join me. I'm learning there is much an individual can do to create change. I am spending a significant part of my time with the Freedom Project (www.freedom-project.org) to help bring restorative justice to individuals, families, and the judicial system. Recent research is showing the effectiveness of Freedom Project's work in reduced recidivism, crimes and dollars spent by the state. I'm eager to see how we can use the research to work toward social change at the state and federal levels. I've also been involved in change in the educational system. Slowly, I'm gaining more interest in the community in which I live so that we may be able to create change for our youth in a broader way. I'm getting training in the restorative circle process of Dominic Barter's and am bringing that to my local community. My colleagues, cohorts and partners in the social change endeavors described above have also been NVC trainers/supporters. We live the process with each other and are inspired by the global NVC network. Our aim and goals are the same as those of CNVC-- to create and live in a world where the needs of each person are valued and met. My social change efforts were focused on bringing the transformative power of NVC into organizations and systems.
J. Please describe your efforts to create, or join, an NVC circle or organization.: 
Much of this was mentioned in the social change question. I've worked with Freedom Project for many years and focused this past year on providing staff support and guidance to keep the organization operating within NVC principles. I'm part of the NW Compassionate Communication Certified Trainers circle (though was able to attend few meetings this year due to family needs. I stayed in touch via email and phone calls). I'm part of the NVC Academy. I'm joining with those doing restorative circle work to bring that to the US. My NVC communities include Dow Gordon, Lucy Leu, Mary Mackenzie, Barb Larson, Doug Dolstad, Sura Hart, Mel Sears, Holly Eckhardt, Elana Sabajon, Liv Monroe. They are my mentors and friends. There are many others in the Freedom Project community and the NW Compassionate Communication team. I have deep gratitude to all of them for living NVC in our work and play. I have found the time invested in the NVC circles effective and meaningful.
K. Summarize participants’ evaluations, and how their feedback resulted in new learning or growth for you this past year.: 
Reading my 2009 evaluations I was struck by two things that people were grateful for: a sense of safety and clarity in the trainings that allowed people to open up and be more intimate. Some quotes from the evaluations: “You don’t see me like a criminal. You see me like a human being. We’re like a little family here now.” “This is the first time I’ve opened up in a long time.” “I myself was really closed off when first arriving in the class but this changed because I heard different ways of approaching everyday situations that I will be having to deal with not only in prison but upon release back into society.”
L. What are your current growing edges or challenges as a trainer that you will be working on in the future?: 
I continue to focus on bring more of my authenticity to each moment and not framing things according to my social training. I'm learning to slow down and allow myself to settle into the real feelings that are present and then sit with the beauty of the needs.
M. If you found opportunities to work with other trainers this year, please share the most meaningful experiences for you.: 
Freedom Project- Dow Gordon and other Freedom Project staff and volunteers. I love the partnership! NW Compass--to my beloved colleagues who watch my back and welcome me into the circle over and over again. NVC Academy- Mary Mackenzie--wow-- a true support in getting NVC into the world as well as a personal friend and support.
N. Is there anything else you would enjoy sharing with the CNVC network?: 
Yes. My deep gratitude to all those who support NVC in this world, those who spend their life energy keeping the organization running, those who train, those who support trainings, those who live in alignment with their values on a daily basis.

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