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Karl Steyaert

Language of Report: 
English
Year of Report: 
2011
Share My Report With: 
General Public (Including Certified Trainers and Certification Candidates)
A. Approximately how many training days did you have this year?: 
50
B. Briefly list the groups and organizations you worked with this year as a trainer.: 
A Path of Compassion and Empowerment (a year-long leadership program I co-led with Kathleen Macferran), Freedom Project, Seattle Children's Hospital, Center for Spiritual Living, Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage, Sandhill Community, Eagle Harbor High School
C. Approximately how many people did you offer NVC training to this year?: 
150
D. What are you celebrating about your training experiences this year? What was significant for you? What touched your heart?: 
I am greatly celebrating launching A Path of Compassion & Empowerment (PCE), as I have long dreamed of co-creating a long-term, in-depth transformational learning community program based in NVC consciousness yet drawing on a variety of methodologies. I am so pleased with the depth of learning which participants spoke of, the degree of co-leadership and empowerment which I experienced in the community, and the sheer joy and aliveness of each of the four 5 day retreats we had over the course of the year. I am grateful for my collaboration with fellow CNVC trainer Kathleen Macferran, both in co-holding PCE, as well as in co-facilitating a variety of other NVC and Restorative Circle events. I particularly appreciate Kathleen's support as a colleague, dedication to shared learning, and willingness to engage through challenge. I am also celebrating having greatly expanded my engagement with larger mainstream institutions such as Seattle Children's Hospital. Both the opportunity to have a larger systemic impact, as well as the stretch and learning of this experience, have been profoundly meaningful to me. Overall, I am so deeply grateful for the personal transformation which continued exploration of NVC consciousness offers me. Even as I have found myself moving in and out of periods of inner darkness and light, the journey continues to deepen and sweeten, and for this I am profoundly thankful, and at times in awe.
E. Would you share some difficult experiences you had while training this year and how you handled them?: 
The most difficult challenges I experienced related to my work with PCE, the year-long learning community. Specifically, I was greatly stretched with the attempt to balance or integrate shared leadership and clear direction. While some participants in the program hungered for shared power and decision-making, as well as a more emergent or amorphous structure and process, others expressed a desire for more clear and consistent structure, and unilateral leadership. I found myself spending a great deal of time attempting to listen empathically to people expressing either of these two perspectives. Dialoguing about this tension in person at our four retreats seemed to be very connecting and generally led to a sense of everyone's needs being held with care.
F. How do you teach the spiritual basis of Nonviolent Communication in your workshops and training programs? : 
I primarily seek to share the spiritual basis of NVC through embodiment and facilitating experiential learning. 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. In addition, in 2011, I launched A Path of Compassion & Empowerment, a year-long learning community program that integrates NVC and supports participants to: 1) connect and act upon their moment-to-moment authenticity and personal life purpose, while holding others with care; 2) develop their capacity for and active contribution to projects which are in service to peace, justice, and/or sustainability on Earth. 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.: 
Being based in Seattle, Washington, I am grateful to enjoy a relatively extensive NVC community, as well as rich opportunities to engage and contribute to NVC and Restorative Circle work here. I am deeply grateful for the care and spirit of collaboration and goodwill in the NVC community here, which includes a monthly Certified Trainer circle, as well as numerous informal connections and celebrations. In addition, I particularly celebrate regular collaboration and exchange of mutual support with fellow trainer Kathleen Macferran.
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The Center for Nonviolent Communication
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