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Urban Empathy

True Life Adventures of Compassion on the Streets of New York

No other city can boast as many super heroes as New York---Superman, Batman, and Spiderman all play out their larger-than-life adventures in the Big Apple.

Yet what happens when the action figure genre is applied to a different kind of risk and adventure---every day interactions between New Yorkers?

And rather than using physical force or finesse---like Superman and Spiderman---it's communication skills to the rescue?

In action-figure format, Urban Empathy, is a series of vignettes making use of Nonviolent Communication in everyday situations in New York.


"I've been studying Nonviolent Communication (NVC) for three years, I just picked up a copy of Urban Empathy after an NVC workshop, and I LOVE it! It's hilarious, and it's deeply touching; I laughed, I cried. Seeing examples from real-life encounters - the author carefully wrote down what she recalled, verbatim, immediately after each encounter, and then put it in this graphic novel - has been eye-opening. I've re-read all of it several times. I especially love the shower curtain story (hysterical!), and "In the Shadow of Ghandi".

For In the Shadow of Ghandi, I was especially touched by the artist's treatment of the man's face, as it is transformed from angry and even scary-looking in the beginning (when he's angry), toward a much different treatment (once he's been understood), in the end. I confess, somehow that final image in particular moves me deeply, the humanity of it.

In my efforts to incorporate NVC into my life, as someone who is very interested in language, I at times have struggled with getting past being fixated on the language of NVC, and just getting into the heart-based moment. Reading and re-reading Urban Empathy has helped impress upon me that it is the intention in the moment that is much more important than the "precision" of the words themselves.

I have also found it reassuring, in that the author demonstrates it is possible to "fail" at using NVC at any given moment, and then make tremendous use of the occasion as a learning opportunity.

At times I've found it difficult to express what I value so deeply about NVC, and I am thrilled to have this little treasure to share with folks who are new to it. The personal-experience-as-graphic-novel approach really brings the ideas of NVC to life.

For folks who are new to NVC: I would recommend reading Marshall Rosenberg's Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life, concurrently with Urban Empathy." - Jennifer Schoerke, Amazon Customer Review

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