I envision a critical mass of people around the world using Nonviolent Communication to respond to the conflicts and challenges they are facing personally and collectively, so we can work together to create a healthy, just, and sustainable world with all life of the planet.”
John Kinyon knows that conflict can be daunting — so daunting that often, we handle it unconstructively, or we avoid it altogether. But John sees conflict as an opportunity. Through Nonviolent Communication, he has devoted his life and career to furthering human connection and cooperation around the world through empathic communication.
The Mediate Your Life app is an audio guide to help you through the conflicts and challenges of your life with empathic communication. Listening to the audios, you feel better and find new insights and solutions to the difficulties you face. Experience more harmony, peace, and deeper well-being. Using this app is a way to contribute to peace and well-being in the world!
Having lived most of his life in the San Francisco Bay area of the United States, John took a 5-year hiatus from coastal living to pursue a doctorate in clinical psychology at Penn State University. There, he immersed himself in the work of humanistic psychologist Carl Rogers. “I just loved Rogers’ approach to relationships and what creates a healing, healthy and growth-filled relationship,” John reflects. Studying the work of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr., he also found himself drawn to nonviolence as an approach to social change. “I just found it such an incredibly moving, powerful way to respond to violence and conflict, and to try to create change.”
Finding Nonviolent Communication
After completing his graduate studies, he returned to the Bay area, where he struggled to find a path that connected work with relationships and nonviolence. “These two things I was really, really passionate about, and I had no idea how I was going to bring them together.”
Then, while attending a mediation conference, John’s life changed. “This guy got up and started speaking,” he recalls with a smile. “And he had puppets and he drew these diagrams of the head connecting to the heart of the other person, and I just like ... I had this literal parting of the clouds moment. Time stood still.”
That man was NVC founder, Marshall Rosenberg.
Navigating Conflict through NVC
John admits that he grew up avoiding conflict, taking on the role of “being the nice guy, the people-pleaser.” But when he married, he soon understood that he’d have to find a way to navigate conflict if he wanted his marriage to survive and thrive. Through his work with Marshall Rosenberg and NVC, he found a way to understand “the way we communicate that triggers us into the part of the brain that’s about violence, and fighting and fleeing, and all the traumas that we carry, and all the most difficult places that we can go as human beings with ourselves and each other.” John had found a way to combine his passions for empathetic communication and nonviolence. He “jumped in head first, dove into the work.” The result was a transformation.
As a Mediator
John worked closely under Marshall Rosenberg’s mentorship for more than a decade. With the help of his mentor’s guiding hand, John co-founded the Bay Area NVC organization, BayNVC, and co-created the Mediate Your Life (MYL) training program and company, rooted in the work of NVC. For more than twenty years John has developed and delivered MYL training throughout the U.S. and in countries around the world in Europe, Asia, and Australia. He facilitates a global online community and offers online and in-person training workshops, courses, and programs internationally.
John’s approach provides conversation “maps” for navigating challenges and conflicts, inner and outer, in all aspects of life. He works with individuals and organizations as a trainer, coach, and mediator, and is an author and speaker. Most recently, he entered a collaboration with a new nonprofit, the Harmonic Mediation Society. In addition to his work with individuals and the community, he is excited to help organizations navigate difficult conversations.
A Spiritual Journey
Spirituality is also a deeply important part of John’s journey. Having opened himself up to a profound spiritual experience while an undergraduate at the University of San Francisco, he has since explored and studied many of the world’s great spiritual and mystical traditions, teachers, and practices of meditation. In recent years, he has engaged more deeply and passionately in explorations of consciousness and nondual and dual mindful awareness practices, and how this integrates spirituality with science and with social change.
John has remained happily married to his wife, Schena, and they have raised their three children together. Visit John’s website to learn more about him.
“Conflict is fiery. It's intense. It's painful. It brings up every hurt and wound and trauma. It is difficult work for sure. And yet if we know, if we have these skills of NVC, if we have these maps to navigate through conflict and a structure that supports that, you can turn lead into gold. You can find the gold and the gems and the jewels of this treasure that's at the other side of the adventure of conflict.”
"For me, I frame conflict – or reframe it – as a journey that's part of life, how we face adversities and challenges and difficulties."
Links to videos/media:
- What is Empathic Communication? 2:21
- What is Mindfulness in Conversation? 4:11
- An Overview of Empathic Connection, Communication, and Community 14:31
- Holistic Approach to Health & Wellness 6:43
- The Power of Conflict 10:09
- A Talk Given to the Peace Alliance Org 1:15:17
- Interview on Commune Podcast with Jeff Krasno 1:03:02
- Interview on Awakin.org Podcast 1:32:39
- Interview on Men, Masculinity, and Mindfulness 1:02:49
Also check out the following resources by John:
- Books that John has written, co-written, or contributed to
- Mediate Your Life App
- Guided Meditations
- John’s Blog
- Conflict Resolution
- Parenting & Family