• Tree In Water
  • Beach Break
  • Blue Mountains
  • Beach Bird
  • Field 01
  • Cloudy Mountains

Posts Tagged ‘NVC Consciousness’

mary-mackenzie-150I’m in Hawaii for three weeks offering a variety of trainings.  Nearly every day I express my gratitude that I get to do work that I love so much, in a place that is so beautiful to me, and to work with people whom I love.  Ahhh.

There have been many moments that I have thought, “remember this for the blog, Mary,” but have been distracted by all the beauty and joy and snorkeling and hiking with friends.  So, this morning, I will write about one thing and I hope to write again tomorrow.

I was in the second day of a 4-day retreat and I noticed that I felt uncomfortable with one of the participants and my inner chatter was saying, “He’s not satisfied with the workshop” and “He’s smirking” and “I actually have no idea what’s going on with him!”  I became aware of my jackal howling at the lunch break.

Does your jackal howl in your ear for a while before you notice her?  Sometimes, mine howls for a while before I become aware of her.  I believe this is because it is so familiar to have judgmental or critical thoughts.  NVC is teaching me how to become more aware of my jackal inner voice and to respond to her much more quickly, rather than be complacent in my judgments.

mary-mackenzie-150Yesterday I boarded a flight from Phoenix, Arizona to Oahu, Hawaii.  It was to be a 6.5 hour flight.  I had taken special care to reserve a window seat.  Upon boarding, I realized that I was seated in the middle seat, in the middle of the plane.  I was so frustrated and annoyed!   6.5 hours in the middle seat!

So, I was getting myself settled in my seat with an undercurrent of grumpy judgementalism.  The first thing that happened was a man in the row behind me offered to hold my tea while I got myself settled.  Next the man sitting to the left of me offered to hold my tea while I buckled my seatbelt.  Next, the man sitting to the right of me offered me the Phoenix newspaper that he had just finished.  This all transpired while I was grumbling internally, empathizing with myself, feeling worried about how uncomfortable I’m going to be for the next 6.5 hours, blaming airport employees for my miserable situation, etc.

Within 10 minutes, well before the plane started moving, I remembered that if I continue on this course, I will ensure that my flight is utterly miserable.  So, I took a deep breath, began empathizing with myself in earnest (not just enjoying the jackal show!), and began to shift my attitude.  Then, I napped for about 30 minutes because I realized (through self empathy) that the biggest obstacle for me was only getting 4 hours of sleep the night before.

mary-mackenzie-150I leave this afternoon for a 1.5 week training trip.  I’m leading a weekend retreat this weekend in Arizona and then leave for Washington State Tuesday to lead a 4-day retreat, followed by time with my elderly Dad.

I have noticed that whenever I am getting ready to leave for a trip, I feel a lot of stress and it would be easy for me to express myself in a grumpy or disconnected way.

Yesterday, I had a long list of things I wanted to get done and my phone rang way more often than usual, a couple people stopped in to see me at my office unexpectedly, and many of the things I was trying to complete weren’t getting done as easily as I’d hoped.  So, by 2:00pm I was starting to really experience the pressure of it and my jackals began to howl.

This is all so familiar to me.  Yet another time when if I choose to believe my jackals that I can’t get everything done, that people are interrupting me, or that there’s just too much…, I could fall into a heap of overwhelm and despair.

I could feel myself heading down this path and so I chose to give myself empathy several times in the day by saying or thinking to myself, “Ugh.  I would really enjoy more ease and flow.”  Followed by a few deep breaths and then reminding myself how much time I have before leaving.

mary-mackenzie-150I’ve been studying Michael Brown’s Presence Process and recently read this portion of his book, The Presence Process P. 260.  I love how clear this is:

He’s talking about choosing to live in presence on a daily basis and he says, “For example, when we are paying for our groceries we are either focusing on the stuff that we are purchasing or we are focusing on the cashier who is ringing up the items for us.  We are either fretting about the prices of the products in front of us or we are greeting the cashier warmly.  We are either worrying about whether we have got all the right things for the dinner we need to prepare or we are asking the cashier how his or her weekend was.  We are either opening the gap by focusing on the stuff in it, or closing the gap (to connection) by acknowledging the Presence on the other side of it.  It is this simple.  It is this obvious.  It is this easy.”

There was a moment when I was in a phone store and I opened my mouth and said something to the clerk that truly demonstrated that I wasn’t connected to his humanness.  In that moment I thought “So, you think it’s okay to NOT live your NVC principles because you’re frustrated and because you don’t know him and probably won’t ever see him again?  How is that living in integrity?”

In that moment, I made a decision to be committed to living my NVC values no matter.  Well, the truth is I do miss the mark sometimes as everyone does, but not nearly as often.  My intention stays firm, to live my values no matter what.  If I miss the mark, I give myself and other people empathy.

The daily living in my values is an ongoing commitment, moment to moment.

How about you.  What intention are you living?

mary-mackenzie-150Bringing Presence, Joy and Creativity To Your Relationships and Life
A Women’s NVC 4-Day Intermediate* NVC Vacation Retreat
Mary Mackenzie

August 4 – 7, 2010        Lake Arrowhead, California

When: Wednesday, August 4 to Saturday, August 7, 2010

Where: Peaceful Pines, Lake Arrowhead, California

“Creating Abundance In Love and Life”
is a unique opportunity to blend life-changing learning, vacation play, and relaxation time along the lakeside beauty of a National Forest.

A renowned leader in compassionate change, Mary Mackenzie, M.A., is Executive Director, Flagstaff Center for Compassionate Communication, Co-founder NVC Academy, CNVC Certified Trainer, Mediator and Author.

“Creating Abundance in Love and Life” is designed to facilitate deep growth and freedom from “scarcity thinking” that can get in the way of experiencing all that is possible.

If we trust in the Universe that there are infinite strategies available to us for having our needs met, we can be in the energy to receive and connect with others. Relationships, life and finances can shift – allowing for greater presence, joy, and creativity.

mary-mackenzie-150I’m sitting here staring at my computer wondering what to write.  The thing that is most alive in me right now is too embarrassing to write about, I say to myself.  “Pick something less revealing.”  Unfortunately, nothing has come to mind after staring at the computer for 10 minutes so here goes, warts and all.

I met with a dear group of friends for our monthly book club meeting this Saturday.  I got VERY triggered, my jackals were howling in my brain and finally I left rather abruptly.   During the 2 hour gathering I had tried self-empathy and I made a few requests that weren’t well connected to needs and one could even argue about whether they were clear, doable requests, but the point is I made an attempt at shifting the situation and my experience of it.  To no avail, though.  I left shut down and in tears.

mary-mackenzie-150Attend this 4-Day NVC Workshop in Bainbridge Island, Washington

Empathy as a Way of Being:
Four Transformative Days of Learning to Live a More Compassionate Life

An in-person NVC Academy Workshop in Bainbridge Island, Washingtonwith CNVC Certified Trainers Mary Mackenzie and Kathleen Macferran
Wednesday, April 28, 1:00-6:00 pm through Saturday, May 1 at 12:00 noon

Fee:  $350 (meals and lodging not included and managed by each individual)

Empathy As a Way of Being is designed for intermediate or advanced NVC practitioners who want to deepen their empathic presence.

Atttend this workshop and:

  • Take your empathy skills to the next level
  • Increase your self-compassion
  • Deepen your own persona healing
  • Find out what prevents you from giving empathy and learn ways to maintain your presence
  • Enhance your skills for empathic connection
  • Explore street empathy for natural flow in your connections

Requested experience level: Significant facility using NVC in your daily life.  Completed at least 20 or more hours of NVC training.

More information and registration


mary-mackenzie-150Yesterday was April Fool’s Day.  This is a day when people play tricks on each other.   My mother enjoyed playing little tricks on people so April Fool’s Day was one of her favorite holidays.  One year when I was a little girl we were at the dinner table on April Fool’s Day when Mom said to my father, “John, did you notice anything unusual today?”  “No” he said.  “ANYTHING DIFFERENT ABOUT YOUR UNDERWEAR TODAY?” “Oh!  Yes, I thought I had put them on backward and so I just dealt with it.”  My mother was disappointed.  Apparently, she had sewn the fly in his boxers shut the night before.  My father had noticed a dilemma but had assumed he put his boxers on backwards and so just adjusted to it for the rest of the day.  We all thought that was hilarious.

This funny little story has been running through my head for the last two days.  This morning I realized that I often respond to things as my father did.  If something goes wrong, I assume it was my fault in some way and I adjust to the current circumstances.

I recently got a letter from the IRS which stated that a mistake had been made in my 2008 taxes.  I was certain I’d made a mistake.  So, I took my letter to my accountant, apologizing.  The mistake was his, actually, and not mine at all.  I left his office elated even though I owed the IRS more money.

Why is this?  Why do I (and my father and so many people) assume that we are wrong?  Or even that anyone has to be wrong?

I think it’s a core belief that we aren’t good enough, or that we’re not worthwhile.  Each time we believe this old, outdated thought, we negate our true self, our beautiful, spiritual self that has value and purpose just because we are breathing.

I’m taking a deep breath just writing this now.  I remember watching my mother hang on to life, frail as a rail, unable to feed herself, or even talk but she had breath, precious, life-giving breath.  I realized then that as long as we breathe we are spiritual beings with value.

I’d like to remember this more often.  It’s so easy to get hung up on thinking I’m supposed to do something, be better, or create an improved model of myself.  Today I want to remember that I am already good enough and this present moment is all that matters.  When I remember this, there’s no need for right/wrong thinking.


mary-mackenzie-150Two days ago I decided to take the day off.  My allergies are flaring and I have been longing for time alone in my house.  My housemate decided to take the day off too.   The previous Monday the same thing happened.  So, for two weeks I have been trying to carve out some alone time in my house without success, and becoming more desperate for it as a result.

At first I felt annoyed and even mad that she didn’t go to work.  My jackal thoughts went something like, “ARGH!  What will it take for me to have alone time in my house?!?  There’s simply not enough room for me under these circumstances!”

Then, I got sad and started to mourn my lack of space and peace.  I could also connect with overwhelm and wanting ease.

I cried for about 10 minutes, just letting the feelings go, not trying to control them, justify them or even understand them.  I just let them flow as I connected to my needs for space, choice, and peace.

Then, a calm fell over me when I thought, “Well, how much space do you want?  What specific amount of time would support you today?”  I realized that I had a class starting at 4:00 pm that day.  It was 11:30 am right now, so what I really wanted was 4.5 hours of alone time in my house.

Suddenly, the situation didn’t seem so enormous and with this clarity I left my room and said to her, “You know I’m pretty desperate to have alone time and the last two times I’ve tried to do that you had a day off too.  Being alone helps me rejuvenate and renew and I’m pretty depleted right now.  I’m not trying to get away from you; I truly just need alone time for my own renewal.  Would you be willing to leave the house until 4:00 pm today?”

She pondered it for a minute, trying to figure out how she could do that and how it would impact her life.  Then she said, “Okay.”

The next day we talked about it.  She said she had been unclear about how she wanted to spend her day when I approached her.  She had work she wanted to do but had been telling herself that she should take the day off.  In the end, my request helped her clarify that she really wanted to go to work that day, and take another day off when she wasn’t so pressured with deadlines.

In the old days I probably wouldn’t have asked her to leave the house for a few hours because I would have been stuck in scarcity thinking which tells me that one of us will lose.  And if I think one of us will lose, I would usually choose to leave my need unmet.  Today, simply by giving myself a few minutes of self empathy, I realized the depth of my need and a specific request that I could make.  I was prepared for her to say no, or to negotiate the specifics of my request until we found a way for both our needs to be valued.  By making the request, I opened the door for both of our needs to matter and to be met.

When I unilaterally decide to not ask for what I want, I am living in scarcity and thus demonstrate that my needs don’t matter. When I take the time to empathize with my needs and then make a clear request, I am living in abundance, and creating the possibility that all our needs matter.

Had I not made my request, I believe I would have spent the day agitated, overwhelmed and judgmental, and stuck in thinking that there’s not enough space in the house for me. As it turns out, I spent the day with my phones turned off, reading, watching a movie, napping with my cat, and not leaving the house until my class at 4:00 pm.  I felt rejuvenated, satisfied, and full of love for my housemate.

mary-mackenzie-150I’m excited about starting my blog.  I’ve thought long and hard about what I wanted the content to be.  Finally, I decided that the mundane task of living NVC on a daily basis complete with all the foibles, missed opportunities for connection, downright blatant jackal voices, and the continual re-commitment to living NVC is where I wanted to put my focus.  I am passionate about the value of focusing on self, not at the exclusion of others, but rather as an acknowledgment that the best chance I have of living in a peaceful world is if I live peacefully myself.  I am no longer excited about social change outside myself.  I know that if I am successful at living peacefully, I create peace.

I was recently listening to NPR (National Public Radio) and a story came up about a pediatrician in the United States who had been molesting children for decades.  At the time of the report over 130 children (now adults) had come forward with complaints.  I literally groaned out loud, turned off the radio and then started praying.  I thought, “Bless all the children involved.  Bless their families.  Bless every person or animal who they have ever interacted with or with whom they will ever interact.  Bless the pediatrician.  Bless the pediatrician’s family…”

As the impact of one person’s actions began to take shape I cried hard as the overwhelm of it took hold.

Then, after crying hard for a few minutes, I felt an internal shift.  Suddenly, I was filled with hope, love and gratitude because I started going through the same process with regard to our world’s collective growth of consciousness.  Then I started to think, “Thank you for every single person who has ever been affected or will ever be affected by my growing consciousness, and every individual person in the world’s growing consciousness…”

I realized that we can feel utterly overwhelmed with the state of our world and negate our own power in shifting it.  And when we negate our power, we forget how profoundly important it is to focus on “being” the presence in the world we want.

This is no small task.  I believe it requires daily, sometimes moment-by-moment focus and commitment, taking responsibility for our part in any pain or violence in our world, and consciously shifting our course as a result.

So, on this day, I commit my blog to this small, simple topic of living in peace and integrity in my own life, thus supporting whatever sphere of influence I have, knowing that it is enough. My focus will be on living in NVC and presence to expand the peace I experience (and the peace I demonstrate) in my world.

Peace to whomever reads this,

Mary Mackenzie, Flagstaff, Arizona