I was born 1947 in an Italian neighborhood, which was turning into a black one, within view of the Statue of Liberty. My Dad was a mortar gunner in Patton's 4th Armored Division. His experiences in combat and of course his own childhood prior to it, made violence a major theme in my childhood. Fighting was glorified, anger and violence were modeled, and dogmatic theology was promulgated. In '69 I went to Europe where I spent 3 years.
I took a Masters in Philosophy at the Sorbonne, University of Paris, and at the same time, most of another in French Lit. at New York University in Paris. I trained in karate, eventually reaching 3rd degree black belt, became fluent in French and conversational in Italian. I spent the next 10 years in Asia where I had some significant realizations. The most important happened in Daramsala, where I was taking teachings at the Tibetan Buddhist Library.
I read J Krishnamurti and realized that my fundamental modus operandi in life, which was based on physical and intellectual domination, would never get me where I wanted to go. In fact, most of my thinking was actually a form of suffering. That blew my mind. The way out of this suffering is the process of choiceless observation, which has been my main practice since that time in ‘74. Living in Rajneesh’s (aka Osho’s) commune in Poona, India, and later in Oregon, afforded me a place to test out this model of inquiry and make many other experiments. In those years I learned about the interface of meditation and sexuality, about power, jealousy, conflict, how to celebrate everything including death, and had my deepest experiences of letting go and unconditional love, not to mention punching cows and riding horses!
I moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico in 1985 and spent a lot of time in what I could call mens work which was essentially reclaiming parts of myself that I had pushed back into the shadow, things like fear, shame and grief. Anger was a kind of cap on the well of these deep painful emotions and beliefs. Sitting in mens circles helped me get more clarity about how I was holding all this together and at what price. I went back to school again in 1994 for an M.A. in Counseling Psychology. I wanted more meaning in my life and saw psychotherapy as a way to contribute to others in the context of right livelihood.
In 1995 I listened to a recording of Marshall Rosenberg on anger, which again blew my mind. He taught me that I alone am the cause of my anger, and everything else I feel. This insight helped me integrate my default emotion, which had been eating my lunch for over 50 years. NVC has also given me a very succinct way of playing/working with myself and my clients on the path to getting free of conditioning, a way that interfaces so harmoniously with the other practices I had explored and continue to explore like Vipassanna, martial arts, dance (especially Tango), and enJoying the Wilderness with both my gaited horses.
I love working with couples, individuals and groups in the role of NVC trainer or psychotherapist. Check out the podcast, From the Dao of Domination to the Dao of Dance. What's more fun than getting free of conditioning? Getting free together. Cheers, Jack
“From the womb we are fed a stories about what has value. I call our prevalent story the Dao of Domination and it is filled with blame, shoulds, stinkin’ thinkin’, punishment and other kinds of suffering. NVC, A Language of Life, tells a different story, one akin to a dance which has only two steps “please” and “thank you”. To learn NVC is to escape from the Dao of Domination to the Dao of Dance.”
- Conflict Transformation
- Counseling and Therapy
- Family and Interpersonal Relationships
- Spirituality and Inner Work