Leo Sofer

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?: 
20
B. Briefly list the groups and organizations you worked with this year as a trainer.: 
The general public, the Findhorn Foundation
C. Approximately how many people did you offer NVC training to this year?: 
60
D. What are you celebrating about your training experiences this year? What was significant for you? What touched your heart?: 
I am very pleased with the introductory weekends that I ran this year. It seemed to me that I finally had a sense of speaking with authority, ownership, when sharing NVC in these contexts. I guess what I did was speak more from my experience of using the process than relaying what Marshall or other trainers have said about it. In this way I was able to offer what I believe was a deeper and more satisfying experience to participants.
E. Would you share some difficult experiences you had while training this year and how you handled them?: 
In my ongoing quest to find a way of sharing NVC that is congruent with the actual principles of NVC themselves, I ran an evening course this year called "The Art of Transparency", in Stroud where I now live. I had run a course with the same name in Findhorn, where I used to live, last year. This was a bumpy experience. My approach was to set up a space, taking up the bulk of the 2 hours that the group had together, in which I would not offer direction, but the group would organise itself. Thus the present moment, and our relationships within it would be the focus for us. My attempt here was to find a way of being together that reflected NVC principles. I find it increasingly incongruous to be teaching NVC in a conventional teaching relationship, and all the assumptions that go with it, without challenging those assumptions, or at least shining a light on them. That was my attempt here. In that "empty space" as I named it, some people woke up, became very alert and said things like "we're doing it now! we're really practicing NVC right now!" whereas others seemed to withdraw and become unengaged. Others spoke of wanting more "structure". I found the whole thing totally fascinating, but as the weeks progressed with this evening course (10 weeks) I found myself increasingly uncomfortable with noticing the struggles of certain people, especially those who seemed to want more clearly focussed learning experiences. Eventually the group found a way of working with this "non structure" which was actually quite structured, they came to an agreement about how to manage this space that involved a round of people naming what they wanted to do. I guess it worked to bring out those who had withdrawn, and created more inclusion. But, although now I felt at ease with most people's sense of comfort with what we were doing, I also mourned the loss of the unknown. My learning continues....
F. How do you teach the spiritual basis of Nonviolent Communication in your workshops and training programs? : 
I light a candle in the centre of a cirlce of cards, each with four need-words on them. I speak of needs as expressions of the divine energy that moves everything in the universe. I often quote Rumi's "love dogs" wherein he speaks of the longing itself being the connection we are seeking, "your pure sadness... is the sacred cup". I quote Emily Cadie's on desire "desire for a thing is the thing itself in incipiency"
G. Please describe your social change goals...: 
As I've stated in previous reports the bulk of the energy in me that arises to change the world, is expressed in my storytelling work. See www.storiesofthejourneyhome.com and www.palaceofstories.com. Through these two sites, for adults and for children respectively, I am seeking to create a whole body of work that expresses a spirituality of compassion and interconnectedness, through stories. I see this as a labour of cultural change and I am passionate and determined to bring into our culture stories that reflect these spiritual values. I do not see myself as an "nvc storyteller", but rather NVC is the context in which i wish to live, and in which I learn how to manifest this spirituality in my own life. Essentially both NVC and my stories speak of the same place.
J. Please describe your efforts to create, or join, an NVC circle or organization.: 
Ongoing efforts to create a network of practitioners in the Stroud area. I have met with two other trainers regularly for mutual support and supervison. I have plans for a camp for adults and children involving other trainers and colleagues...
K. Summarize participants’ evaluations, and how their feedback resulted in new learning or growth for you this past year.: 
I've described some of the feedback I've received in my evening course, above, and this has been full of learning for me. I've received very positive feedback for my introductory weekends, and this has been part of the satisfaction I have felt in them.
L. What are your current growing edges or challenges as a trainer that you will be working on in the future?: 
I am still looking to work with "The art of transparency", not just in the weekend workshop format that I plan on persuing, but in every training context I am in. I feel a growing allergy in me to being "in role" or in a heirarchical position regarding participants, and want to keep exploring that. What does it take to fully model this work, while taking care that you don't freak people out? How to invite people into the spirit of NVC without getting overly focussed on the dogma?I love how teaching NVC is such a wonderful and hugely exacting challenge as regards integrity: can I stay real, honest, in connection as I share this thing that's all about being real, honest, connected?
M. If you found opportunities to work with other trainers this year, please share the most meaningful experiences for you.: 
I love how working with Dominic Barter and Kit Miller on the Findhorn Intensive Training, as we do each summer now, supports me in the above learning. I especially enjoy the deeper level of connection we enjoyed this year, and of mutual collaboration. I hope we are moving towards a new kind of event altogether, less a training and more an experience of living the in the spirit of nonviolence.
N. Is there anything else you would enjoy sharing with the CNVC network?: 
I will be sharing more about storytelling work with the trainers list. I'm hoping that these stories will be a resource for trainers wishing to share the spirit and intentions behind NVC, with others in new ways.
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Leo's annual report 2009

Thank you Leo, reading this has given me some inspiration and food for thought, especially the parts about sharing NVC without taking a hierarchical role.
Clare Palmer Phone: 07954 385847 Skype: palmer_clare Email: clarepalmer [at] btinternet [dot] com Clareconnecttolife [at] gmail [dot] com Website Connect to Life Clare is a certified trainer with the international Center for Nonviolent Communication (CNVC).

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