nonviolent communication-empathy (NVC)
Book Review, Self-Care

Learning NVC: The best decision I almost didn’t made

“All that has been integrated into NVC [Nonviolent Communication]  has been known for centuries about consciousness, language, communication skills, and use of power that enable us to maintain a perspective of empathy for ourselves and others, even under trying conditions.” — Marshall B. Rosenberg, Phd

nonviolent communication-empathy (NVC)

Would NVC really be useful for me?

I was like most people the first time I heard about NVC. I heard, “Nonviolent Communication,” and thought, “That’s nice… for you.” Most people figure they’re (mostly) not violent, so why bother spending time learning how to be communicate nonviolently? And like most people, I passed on it the first time a friend invited me along to her practice group. It wasn’t until I moved a thousand miles from anyone I knew, and had ‘nothing better’ to do with my time, did I decide to go to my first practice group in Taos, NM. Nine years later, I realize learning NVC was the best decision I almost didn’t make– for my peace of mind, my health, and for my relationships and interactions with any and all human beings. It’s now one of the techniques I recommend to patients most regularly — that’s how big of an impact its had on my life.

How does practicing NVC help?

Increased Peace of Mind

Probably the biggest insight I’ve gained from Nonviolent Communication, also known as Compassionate Communication, is the understanding that everything we do, and everything we feel, is a reflection of our needs being or not being met. That means there is no [true] emotion that is too ‘unreasonable.’ There is no action too ‘egregious,’ or person too ‘evil’ for either. With no perceived demons, there can be peace of mind. In today’s political climate, holding this perspective is an invaluable tool for staying present, open and engaged.

Increased Wellbeing

Over the years I’ve been practicing, I think the biggest paradigm shift for me was to learn that in NVC: Having needs doesn’t make someone ‘needy.’ What if how you felt really mattered, and was perfectly acceptable? You got it. What if you simply needed what you needed, and that was OK? You got it. What if, out of this understanding, you could come to care for yourself — for what you really needed — without shame, guilt, or fear? You got it! Talk about a huge weight lifted! Nonviolent Communication is such a gift to one’s own wellbeing precisely because it separates our needs from our strategies [to get those needs met]. That means, you don’t have to change how you or someone else feels or needs to be able to be healthy and happy. Instead by listening to what we need, we can seek out the supportive conditions to our health and wellbeing. Mind-blowing, I know!

Heartfelt Connection

Once we’ve learned how to be open to the seemingly ‘unacceptable’ within ourselves and our world, the ultimate goal of Nonviolent Communication is to be able to connect with others from the heart. Could you imagine what the world would be like if everyone knew, and treated one another in such a way, that “everyone’s voice matters, and what is alive for each is sacred“? It’s no surprise NVC is used all around the world to settle everything from domestic to political disputes. It’s practiced by all types of folks in prisons, schools, health care, law, and social services.

Don’t let the name fool you

The biggest hurdle to Nonviolent Communication tends to be the name. Once you realize it’s not really about communication at all – but about how we connect with ourselves and others, you realize there is no self talk, no small talk, or conflict in which NVC doesn’t apply. There are few tools so vastly impactful!

Want to get started?

Awesome! Check out the Center for Nonviolent Communication‘s website. For a brief introduction to the work, I encourage you to read John Cunningham’s booklet, “Compassionate Communication and Empathy’s Awakening.” For anyone interested in self study, I’d recommend getting both founder Marshall Rosenberg’s book, Nonviolent Communication, and the accompanying workbook by Lucy Leu. For folks in Seattle interested to practice in a group setting, I’ll be leading a workshop covering the first eight chapters of Marshall Rosenberg’s book come March. I would love to see you there! I encourage you to register early as there are limited seats.


Creating-Money: Attracting Abundance
Book Review, Energy Work, Self-Care

Book Review: “Creating Money, Attracting Abundance”

“To the spirit of abundance
that is in each of you.
May you recognize your greatness,
discover your path,
and make the contribution you came to make.”
–Orin and DaBen

Creating Money: Attracting Abundance

What a most excellent book!– That’s why I’m having folks read it this January for the 30-Day Abundance Intensive! This one comes from Sanaya Roman and Duane Packer, channelers of Orin and DaBen. The copy I have is 247 pages, full of instruction, affirmations, reflection points, and play exercises. The dedication at the beginning pretty much sums it all up: This book isn’t about ‘getting rich,’ it’s about discovering your path– finding what you have to offer this world, and welcoming support on all levels to meet that mission.

What makes it so great?

It’s based on the Law of Attraction.

“You can effectively draw things to you whether or not you know the specific form, amount, or appearance of the items you want.” p28

Creating Money: Attracting Abundance is an easy introduction into working with the Law of Attraction. (You might have heard of “The Secret”? That’s another illustration of how to work with the Law of Attraction.) The Law of Attraction states “that which is like unto itself is drawn,” and suggests that our thoughts and emotions formulate the vibration to which all resonant things respond. In other words, ‘I draw to my experience that which resonates with my thoughts and emotions.’

It doesn’t confuse quantity with quality.

“View money and things not as something to create to fill a lack, but as tools to help you more fully express yourself and realize your potential.” pp18-19

Every word you speak and every thought you think is an affirmation for your future//
I often hear people criticize the Law of Attraction because of their introduction to it through other means, claiming the idea of “attracting abundance” is materialistic. Orin and DaBen make it clear that working with the Law of Attraction isn’t about getting more of something [physical]–whether that’s money, a car, house or whatever. The process is about self-expression, realization, and ultimately about serving humanity through our being and sharing what we love.

It’s very hands-on, completely manageable.

The exercises provided in the book are straightforward and imaginative, helpful for both more right-brained and left-brained folks. Each chapter ends with either a multi-part playsheet prompting reflection and imagination or exercise. Playsheets address everything from “Coming Out of Survival,” and “Discovering Your Life’s Work,” to “Clarity and Harmony,” for example.  Meanwhile exercises help you learn to relax, focus, visualize, magnetize, and energize what you are welcoming into your life. There’s no major leap of faith required — it’s just a sure and steady effort welcomed towards shifting your vibration and intention onto what really matters: Your heart’s calling.

Want support?

Come join us — let’s support each other through this process of letting go of what no longer serves us! This January, we’ll do a 30-day intensive, taking the bull by the horns! I know you deserve the very best in life. Are you ready to accept nothing less? Declare it so!

To enroll, register online. Deposits are due Dec. 19th.

Healing Spices to Boost Health and Beat Disease
Book Review, Chinese Herbs & Supplements, Self-Care

Healing Spices: How to Use Spices to Boost Health and Beat Disease

Healing Spices to Boost Health and Beat Disease

Food is our first medicine

Ever wonder why they serve ginger with sushi? Not only does ginger warm the belly–a good balance for all that cold, raw fish about to go into the stomach–but it also helps prevent toxicity (in this case, seafood toxicity). Helpful, right? Knowing that before you head to the sushi restaurant might even be more helpful!

Healing spices

Spices are a universal gift to our health, as they taste great and are easy to obtain. Chinese medicine makes use of a number of them; meanwhile Western medicine continues to deepen their understanding of the vast benefits that come with choosing the right herb/spice for one’s constitution and condition.

A few years ago a book came out highlighting the hidden benefits of your spice rack, “Healing Spices: How to Use 50 Everyday and Exotic Spices to Boost Health and Beat Disease.” It’s quite beautiful and a nice addition to Paul Pitchford’s excellent book on nutrition and Chinese medicine, “Healing with Whole Foods.” Even better, the book is even available through the public library.

Get to know your herbs and spices

See below for a starter list of spices and their studied effects within Western medicine, as cited and published on Huffington Post. In Chinese medicine, we use a few of these regularly for additional health benefits; for these medicinals I’ve included the Chinese medicine name below the English.


As always, food is medicine; too much of one thing isn’t always a good thing. Before you start changing your diet, be sure to discuss your plan with a healthcare professional to avoid herb-drug interactions or other unwanted side effects.


Looks Like

Potential Health Benefits*


Healing Spices: Allspice
  • may help combat prostate cancer
Healing Spices: Cinnamon
  • lowers LDL (“bad”) cholesterol
  • reduces proliferation of leukemia and lymphoma cancer cells
  • may help to alleviate tremors and poor mobility in Parkinson’s disease
Healing Spices: Nutmeg
  • relieves symptoms of depression


  • high in antioxidants
  • essential oil of oregano was found to kill drug-resistant strains of Staphylococcus aureus

Pepper, Black

胡椒 (Hu Jiao)

  • manganese and copper content supports metabolism and maintain bone health
  • peperine was found to halt, and even reverse, fatty liver disease in mice


Healing Spices: Rosemary
  • carnosic acid content protects retinas from degeneration (may help to prevent or halt age-related macular degeneration)


Healing Spices: Sage
  • may increase cognitive performance in Alzheimer’s disease
Healing Spices: Turmeric
  • reduces tenderness and swelling in arthritic joints

* Studies cited on Huffington Post article, “8 Herbs And Spices That Fight Off Disease.” A reminder: The information presented on this web site is not intended to take the place of your personal physician’s advice and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Drama of the Gifted Child: Oversensitivity, aggression, depression and perfectionism
Book Review, Self-Care

Struggle with oversensitivity, aggression, depression, and/or perfectionism?

I recently came across this book, The Drama of the Gifted Child: The Search for True Self by Alice Miller. It was originally published under the title, “Prisoners of Childhood.” I was struck by the name and curious to learn more. It didn’t take long until this book knocked my socks off.

Narcissism versus Narcissist

Miller explains children have the need to go through a period of narcissism as a stage in development before they will develop “spontaneous pleasure in sharing and giving” (viii). If this process is disturbed, as with an insecure parent or other individual closest to the child, the child learns to respond to the insecurity intuitively. Eventually and inevitably, the child ends up equating this responsibility with his/her own security.

Grandiosity and Depression

“In fact grandiosity [i.e. being and needing admiration; needing to excel brilliantly] is the defense against depression, and depression is the defense against the real pain over the loss of the self.” (38)

In learning to tend to the feelings of another without the equal opportunity to experience one’s own jealousy, envy, anger, loneliness, impotence, or anxiety, Miller explains a child begins to identify with a false self — the self that is praised for its achievements. It’s not before long fantasies of grandiosity and/or depression set in as these children try to earn their worth in the world through what they do as opposed to finding worth in who they are inherently.

One of the quotes from Miller’s patients I found most moving came from a forty-year-old woman after experiencing a long depressive phase:

Nevertheless, for the first time I find life really worth living. Perhaps this is because, for the first time, I have the feeling that I am really living my own life. …I can understand my suicidal ideas better now, especially those I had in my youth — it seemed pointless to carry on because in a way I had always been living a life that wasn’t mine, that I didn’t want, and that I was ready to throw away. (58)

How powerful, to realize that which we’ve been striving for [i.e. the false self] is unattainable, undesirable and unnecessary!

If this pattern sounds familiar to you in your life, you might consider learning more by reading Miller’s work and discussing with a therapist. Reiki/energy work is a good way to work with and release underlying emotional patterns as well.

Awareness is the first step to any change; and there is no time that is too late to see clearly. Fear not — Whenever you get there, you’ve arrived right on time!

May you be well,