NVC USA Meeting 25 Sept 2005

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Inaugural gathering for NVC USA Project Sunday, Sept 25 - 3:30-5:30 Pacific ; 6:30-8:30 Eastern

Rick Smith taking notes.

Attended by

  • Kit Miller - CA, facilitator
  • Mary Mackenzie - AZ
  • Margarita Mac - MN
  • Meta Hough - OR
  • John Abbe - CA
  • Rick Smith - CA scribe

Missed by: Jane Conner, Judi Lardner, Rodger Sorrow, John Kinyon, ? - others


  • History / Vision / Strategy
  • What is Community?
  • Oakland conference for US trainers - June 30 - July 2 (aka Compassion In Action)
  • 800 Empathy Line for people affected by Katrina/Rita
  • Sociocracy and CNVC
  • Next Meetings - Sun Oct 30 & Sun Nov 13, 3:30p Pacific / 6:30p Eastern


Kit inspired 5AM after last November election: CNVC has projects all over the world, but not US? Over the course of the next few months, talking with Marshall, Gary Baran, and people at BayNVC, she came up with this.


  • Support the creation of new groups and growth of existing groups
  • avoid re-inventing
    • how to organize
    • how decisions get made
  • Supporting groups when they get into conflict to see that conflict is part of the normal process


Oakland conference for US trainers (more later)

Comment Summary


  • Like the ideas
  • Would like to be collaborating on new ideas. What works and what would do differently based on experience, both for trainings and in NVC communities
  • creating community among trainers
  • been trying to create something and it is not working
  • want to get support from community
  • reluctant to respond (email lists) when there was something to contribute
  • wanting more connection with other trainers in the



  • how to maintain communication? working in geographically distributed areas
  • electronic means: bulletin boards, etc?


  • Notice a difference when even a little connection between people has been made, like meeting once at a gathering.


  • Likes what was presented
  • Struggling to put together community - in conflict stage now
  • Quality of help is low in non-trainer list
  • Email is not preferred means of working
  • Put together 6 page mediation package
  • how to get help or make available to others?


  • Just starting to build networks

What is Community?

Summary: "Community" relates somehow to people's longings. Leads people to miss what is there. Using "network" may help in recognizing what is there rather than trigger awareness of what is not.

Comment Summary


  • Love the question
  • Individuals answer different; though answers share values or qualities


  • Distinction between community and network - think of community with a depth of connection, frequent personal contact, involved in each other's lives.


  • 3 types:
    • 1. living in same place together
    • 2. 501(3c) - work together on some shared something
    • 3. live in same town (little in common)


  • Thoughts about community based on people's longings leads people to miss what is there. Using "network" may help in recognizing what is there.
  • There are different circles of closeness celebrated for what is there


  • Question I receive often - Is it possible to stay connected and get something done? So much time is spent in group giving empathy, some people stop contributing. (I have experienced that it is indeed possible to have both.)


  • Lack of shared purpose or clarity in a group?
  • Blurriness between empathy and work done? So people drop out?

(some discussion - nothing resolved - left as pitfall to be noted)


  • Are there groups out there that work well together?


  • Yes, experience with groups working well

Oakland conference for US trainers - June 30 - July 2 (aka Compassion In Action)

Mills College - http://www.mills.edu/maps/

Looking to co-create a US gathering of trainers

  • Meet face to face
  • Want to get a broad geographic base as opposed to bay area
  • Begin to put word out
  • Location picked to be accessible and affordable
    • Easy to get to from airport
  • Include roundtable discussions on what worked well and not
  • Put together recommendations for new groups
    • issues around money
    • managing conflict
  • Other common interests discussions, such as
    • education initiatives
    • restorative justice
    • NVC & research
    • Prisons
    • NVC & money, scholarship
  • 2 by 2 - ask people to come in twos, so they have someone to stay connected with about what they got when they go home
  • Use Open Space - Gina Lawrie (not sure of name) will help

Comment Summary


  • Celebration for support of BayNVC; meet needs for support and ease. BayNVC supported through providing money for the deposit, willingness / web resource to handle registration.
  • Encourage 2 by 2 participation for mutual support of another
  • Encourage diverse participation and geographical representation
  • Hoop free access to scholarship or support


  • Like organizing towards affordable: people stay with local NVC folks - helps lower price and increase community

Mary: excited - need for connection


  • like the idea / hard to get there
  • Make list of issues which gets in peoples way, such as the difference between Marshall's attitude about money culture attitude about money differ


Kit and John - work backwards from end point to today to come up with timeline. Mail it out a few weeks before next meeting.



  • Don't have numbers , but Mills college is cost affective.
  • What is the conference fee? Originally it was room and board
  • Added sliding scale to support other costs of this process
  • technical/admin/web (???)

Scholarship summary

Mary: Support from CNVC?


  • Consider local community supporting / doing fund raising. We can provide some support on how to do that
    • Bernie Glassman - peacemaker circle; have to get at least 7 people to support attending; Creates buy in and support from the local community
    • If a local community raises more than is needed, to consider donating that to the pot for broader community support

Mary: the scholarship program - a dialog / nvc dance around distributing money

Kit: Experience is these are not short conversations. If someone is willing to hold it, that's fine. Concerned that it can be a lot of time/energy

800 Empathy line

Idea from conversation between Miki Kashtan and Kit. Seeing disparate impact - mourning, wanting to support people

Mary: liked it - could be part of CNVC training practice for new trainers

Margarita: will customers know what empathy is? What would people expect?

Kit: probably call it "emotional support" instead of empathy.

Mary: more juice for something like this inside the network

John: hearing 2 things: 800 emergency line and within network.

Kit: table this group organizing 800 for south

note to carry forward - energy to support this within group

(Also see Teleclasses)


CNVC is looking into a variety of organizational changes. One of the strategies for governance which fits with NVC is Sociocracy.

Comment Summary


  • this group would be participating in what comes up?
  • Have interest in shared circles not only up but across circles such as technology

General: do we want to function as a circle? Who is willing to check in with CNVC? Mary volunteered and has emailed summary

Next meeting

Agreement was reached by the people in attendance. People not in attendance and interested in participating, please respond with feedback on how well these dates work.

Sun Oct 30 3:30 Pacific - 6:30 Eastern (We believe this is the first day of standard time, so make note of what that means to your local time zone)

Marshall will be coming to SF in the coming week: Kit may not be as present as she'd like to be. (indeed, we ended up cancelling this meeting)

Sun Nov 13 3:30 Pacific 6:30 Eastern

Kit and John intend to send out a timeline a few weeks prior to next meeting.


Kit - would love rotating the facilitator and scribe roles

Mary - liked the ideas presented; currently a struggle to connect to the community

Meta - size of this group is small - hard to stay observer; pulled away from intent to observe

Margarita - meets needs for support and community

John (something Rick missed)

Rick - excited for opportunity to be here; sad for being far away from home

Kit - glad for voices of children in the background at someone's house