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.: 
IIT, prison inmates, families, parents, CNVC trainer candidates, Unitarian Universalist Church, general public, teachers, schools, business professionals, social workers.
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?: 
Just thinking about all the experiences I’ve had brings tears. I find it hard to believe that I get to do this work with my life energy. The celebration and gratitude is overwhelming. Much of my celebration has to do with the depth, challenge and community building that I have experienced in trainings. I am finding that as my skills and willingness grow, the challenges brought to me are more significant as well. I navigate pain and chaos with greater clarity and flexibility now than I used to. As I write, memories of work with inmates and role playing them connecting with family members they’ve hurt or have been hurt by come to mind (one role play I was the inmate talking to his brother whose daughters I had sexually assaulted for years), as well as the impact the role play had on the rest of the room and being willing to hold and process that level of pain compassionately. Another memory that stands out is the June IIT with Marshall, Valentina, and Raj Gill. The pain of individuals in that large group was significant. Being present to that from morning to night while creating a container that invited co-creation from the participants was rewarding. The transformation for many was profound and I remain in connection with many of them as we work toward a more peaceful world. Another memory is from a 6 day retreat Karl Steyaert and I held. On the second day, one participant disclosed (in a surprising way) a history of rape. There were some men in the room who had been incarcerated for sex crimes. It was very intense for the participants and incredibly beautiful how the healing unfolded. Holding the space with Karl was profound as I completely trusted that both of us were able and willing to be with whatever level of pain emerged. My work as an assessor for CNVC has been very moving. What’s emerging for me is a commitment to be an advocate for NVC community globally. I consider myself an advocate for our global trainer community, CNVC and candidates. Inviting candidates to work within community; go to their learning edges; meet each other with honesty, empathy and authenticity; and build strong personal support networks, has been extremely rewarding. I’m excited by the level of passion and skill that I find in the candidates and am humbled to have them joining us in living and sharing NVC consciousness.
E. Would you share some difficult experiences you had while training this year and how you handled them?: 
One five-day basic training I remember well offered me a challenge as I was processing internal triggering around some core issues while holding group space. I was working with a new and very dear colleague for the first time and our week included triggering each other. I completely trusted his capacity and my capacity to live and share NVC with integrity, so we stayed in honest, compassionate connection as the waves of shame and contraction came and went. There were times when I would check in with him when I was triggered about his capacity to hold the group in those moments so I could go inward and get clarity through self-connection. He would do the same. I stayed really connected to my intention to serve the group by living the process. I learned quite a bit about myself and was so grateful that living the process was the pathway to connection. It seemed to me that I was living in two simultaneous, parallel workshops—one on sharing NVC in which the participants commented daily on what a strong and complementary team my colleague and I made, and the other workshop was an intense rollercoaster of relationship development where trusting conflict led to connection. One of the IIT’s also gave me much growth through challenge. There were 52 participants with a wide variety of experience and skill in NVC. By the second day, many were expressing unmet needs around ways they would learn best. By putting out a proposal that invited co-creation and following through, I was able (along with my dear colleague Raj Gill) to support a shift in the structure that created more trust and ease for the participants. I also created many opportunities throughout each day to check in to find out what needs were met/unmet as we learned together. At the same IIT, self-care was tricky for me as I chose to joyfully work from 8 AM-10 PM each day to support participants. The IIT support staff was struggling with their own conflict, so Raj and I were carefully tending to and holding the overall container. Each day I made sure I had my own touchstones for self-connection in place (meditation, music, walks, outside support via phone/email, rememberings) and that Raj and I were connected and supportive of one another. As the IIT started to settle into a flow, I was able to check in with the staff, Raj and participants about taking some self-care time to connect with a trainer in the area (missing 3 of the 4 sessions one day). I was so renewed upon my return and checked in with participants as to how that had impacted them. They were all very supportive and glad I had modeled self-care. That was a relief. I also found out that through a misunderstanding of how I was caring for myself, one of the staff was uncomfortable and it affected the trust he/she had in me. I went into deep mourning that my action was not supportive to his/her care and that trust with someone I cared so much about was impacted. I also mourned a core wound for me around a thought that if I take care of myself it will be at someone else’s expense. I offered my mourning to that staff person in the best way I knew, and continue to hold with empathy all that was stirred up for him/her. With tenderness I continue to hold myself with compassion for the beauty of the self-care and how I long for all of us to find ways of renewing our energy for this work I cherish.
F. How do you teach the spiritual basis of Nonviolent Communication in your workshops and training programs? : 
The way I share 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. I also frame NVC as an integration of 5 elements: consciousness/spirituality (the most important of the 5), language, thinking, communication and use of power. The spirituality is then seen as the core of the process.
G. Please describe your social change goals...: 
I’d like to co-create a world where the needs of all people are met. As a part of that I’m investing my time and resources in the areas of personal transformation, restorative justice, building global NVC community, and sharing NVC. In the realm of restorative justice, I continue to work with the Freedom Project (www.freedom-project.org). I led a one year training with Freedom Project volunteers to prepare them to lead workshops inside the men’s and women’s prisons. A few of those volunteers are working toward CNVC certification (one has become certified). I also went inside to lead trainings and mentor trainers. As Freedom Project was going through significant organizational changes, I joined the board to be part of the co-creation of the new organizational structure. Another restorative justice modality I’ve been integrating in my work is Dominic Barter’s Restorative Circles. I’ve been working in my own city of Bainbridge Island to bring this work to schools and the community. In the fall of 2010, I was joined by a team of supporters, including Karl Steyaert and Eric Bowers, to create “Restorative Bainbridge.” We are working with the leadership class at Eagle Harbor High School to help them design a restorative system to deal with conflict. Restorative Circles is part of that. We are also working with the Bainbridge Island police department, a local church, and the general community offering introductions and facilitators for circles. In addition to the Bainbridge project, I’ve been sharing RC related sessions in my travels as I do NVC and facilitation work. I see the assessment work I do for CNVC as building our global NVC community and a significant part of social change. As an advocate for the candidates, CNVC and for CNVC trainers around the world, I’m investing all the heart and skill I can toward creating sustainable community that embodies NVC and is a resource for all people on the planet. I can see already how many people are touched by the work of the candidates and am excited to have them as part of our family. I continue to share NVC in schools, organizations, businesses, families, government organizations and with individuals. My interest is in how do we apply NVC in these various areas so that our lives/systems are transformed. Finally, I continue to hold dear my path to personal growth and transformation. I’m grateful to my close friends and colleagues who join me on this path and hold me accountable. As I grow and change, so does the capacity I have to support transformation in my world. My 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. I see the work I am doing now as laying the foundation for larger, systemic change in the future.
J. Please describe your efforts to create, or join, an NVC circle or organization.: 
I am part of the Freedom Project, Northwest Compassionate Communication, CNVC education services committee, and Restorative Bainbridge. I deeply value being part of these communities as they offer me partners in co-creation, vision, support, hope and inspiration. My Freedom Project community includes Dow Gordon, Lucy Leu, Holly Eckhardt and Donna Kramer. Knowing they are all involved in supporting workshops inside prisons, training FP trainers or holding the large picture of transformation gives me great relief and energy to keep going. I’m also starting conversations on larger systems transformations in the correctional field with Fred Sly, Raj Gill and Karl Steyaert. Other trainers involved in NCC include Barb Larson, Doug Dolstad, Sura Hart, Mel Sears, Elana Sabajon, Liv Monroe, Karl Steyaert, Holly Eckhardt and Eric Bowers. I have deep gratitude to all of them for living NVC in our work and play. Trainers with whom I’ve been partnering in offering trainings include Mary Mackenzie, Raj Gill and Karl Steyaert. I fully celebrate the level of skill, depth, vulnerability and love I experience in working with them and the support for personal growth and learning that they contribute to. My Restorative Circle colleagues include Karl Steyaert and Eric Bowers.
K. Summarize participants’ evaluations, and how their feedback resulted in new learning or growth for you this past year.: 
From evaluations: “I am so glad that you were there this weekend because you lit my fire for purpose and making a huge difference in the world. Your vision of prisons as healing places has me bubbling with joy and relief. I see it so clearly and know it can happen and it is the answer to that black spot on my map, the black spot of prisons and humans being traumatized more and more. Prisons as places for people to go for healing!!! That is the answer. You are so inspiring. “ “I really related to the style that I experienced in your trainings at the IIT in June this year. I experienced this simple matter-of-fact succinctness from you that I also found to be surprisingly warm and sweet. I say “surprisingly,” because I don’t always expect to see those qualities together, but that was my experience of you. It provided me with a sense of ease and contributed to my eagerness to learn from you.” “I want you to know that I so appreciated your clear teaching of the NVC method, and I think it is no coincidence that I had my heart blown open in a session of yours. The integral space you hold when teaching is supportive for everyone's inner work to get this NVC consciousness.” “***underlying theme i experienced in all of this is shared power, equality and care***” My learning from the evaluations: I think what was the hardest to grasp in 2010 evaluations was the level of gratitude given to me. What I want to know is whether or not the way I show up to share NVC has a lasting impact on the lives of others. To have been given feedback sometimes months after a training about how NVC was shaping the lives of people in wonderful ways was so rewarding. I have such gratitude to Marshall for having that impact on my life. I want to effectively share that with others. I also learned that part of the impact I had on others came through the power of vulnerability. Willingness to be vulnerable has opened many doors to growth and learning for participants and myself.
L. What are your current growing edges or challenges as a trainer that you will be working on in the future?: 
I have many, many growing edges and challenges. I’m excited to have so many areas for learning, experimentation and growth. A couple of the main ones I chose to focus on for 2010 were vulnerability and grieving. I consciously chose to practice more vulnerability both in groups and in personal relationships. The results have been powerful for me in seeing that the places that scare me in some way also open doors for me to be seen more fully and invite others to be vulnerable as well. The level of intimacy and connection I experience is very gratifying. My grieving process has shifted to less resistance and an allowing of whatever emotions arise to be fully experienced. The grieving seems more nurturing, natural and fluid now. A few other edges that I’ve seen shifts in include an increased willingness to be with conflict, working with a wider variety of learning styles, learning to invite more co-creation, and getting more clarity on what/who to say yes to that brings ease in my collaboration style.
M. If you found opportunities to work with other trainers this year, please share the most meaningful experiences for you.: 
I notice warmth and tenderness flooding through me just reading the question. My colleagues are shining lights for me- friends, companions, and compassionate teachers. I savor the richness of the relationships I have with each of them. Several notable partnerships for me this year: 1) Marshall & Valentina Rosenberg, Margo Pair, Rita Herzog and the CNVC assessors world wide. What a rich journey this has been to explore the agony and joy of building sustainable NVC community world-wide, to dream into ways of passing on this work with integrity grounded in the consciousness and underlying principles. I’m grateful for the willingness to prototype new ideas and to look closely at what is supportive to building community and what is not. It means so much to me to be part of a team with so much passion for this work and I’m humbled by the task of preserving/revitalizing this work for generations to come. 2) Karl Steyaert- in many ways I’ve found a heart that resonates deeply with mine. I’ve valued the hunger for learning and integration of deeply held principles that we share. We’ve offered several multi-day trainings together. I value the complete trust I have in Karl to show up with honesty and integrity, as well as his ability and willingness to embrace pain/conflict. When working together I have complete confidence in the richness he brings. It has been fun to explore learning edges and experiment with a variety of learning styles and modalities. We support each other weekly which keeps our connection strong, and I believe, shows up in the work we do together. I have gratitude for the expansive partnership. 3) Raj Gill- though we’ve been connected via Freedom Project and Lucy Leu for several years, I was fortunate to work along side Raj at an IIT this year. I found her to be rock solid in her ability to move with the tides and to stay connected with herself in the midst of many requests and needs. I really value Raj’s willingness to be honest and vulnerable. My trust in her is great and I celebrate the way she has integrated NVC into her life and the passion with which she shares it. I appreciate the sweet friendship we have developed. 4) Mary Mackenzie- I continue to enjoy and learn from Mary. We traditionally do a couple multi-day trainings a year together as well as work together via the NVC Academy. She brings a sense of “realness” to the work in a way that I value—NVC shows up in the large and small details of Mary’s life in profound ways. I love her humor and the flow I experience in working with her. I’m so grateful for her care and wise counsel. 5) Donna Kramer- Donna and I work together at the Freedom Project. Certified in June, I’ve delighted in Donna’s joy and enthusiasm to embrace this work herself as well as her ability to share this work with clarity and acceptance. I’m super grateful for her willingness to take on a big role in the prison work and to mentor other volunteers who want to learn to share NVC. I’m enjoying our blossoming friendship. 6) Eric Bowers- we have been working together in (along with Karl Steyaert) to bring Restorative Circles to Bainbridge Island. I love Eric’s passion for this work, his commitment to shared power, his willingness to live on the edge for what he believes in. 7) Northwest Compassionate Communication team – Doug Dolstad, Barb Larson, Sura Hart, Mel Sears, Holly Eckhardt, Liv Larson, Dow Gordon, Elana Sabajon, Karl Steyaert, Eric Bowers. Deep gratitude for creating a community where I can give and receive support, acceptance, growth, and joy.
N. Is there anything else you would enjoy sharing with the CNVC network?: 
I’m grateful for the companionship. I trust what we can do when we are connected. I trust what is possible when we are willing to take personal responsibility and go past our perceived edges. Thanks for joining me there. I have so much gratitude for CNVC staff who do mega amounts of work with few resources.

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