Dear spiritual being,
You have a committed, regular, contemplative practice.
For years you have been meditating, doing yoga, and perhaps you've completed a 10-day Vipassana sit or a Zen retreat.
These practices work wonders for your internal world.
You enjoy self-exploration, a sense of peace and wellbeing.
But, in your relationships, you still find that you get reactive. What the hell?!
You have so much peace in those contemplative moments and you just can't seem to translate that into daily interactions...
You keep getting triggered and no matter how much you meditate, this simply doesn't seem to get resolved.
You get up from meditating and feel a deep sense of inner peace.
You go through to the kitchen to make breakfast and your partner makes a comment about the dishes not being done.
In an instant, you go from Zen master to raging bull.
Maybe you snap and say something hurtful
or maybe you just hold your tongue and walk away.
Either way, you suffer!
It's not that you have not meditated enough or that you are a bad person.
Mindfulness and meditation are really powerful techniques and yet there is no spiritual manual for how to transform your judgements, blame and criticism other than to just notice them arising and allow them to pass away.
Nice idea, but this just doesn't work when you are in the heat of the moment and face to face with the enemy (of course you have no enemies, but right then it really feels like the person in front of you is the enemy.)
YOU TRY SO HARD TO REMAIN PEACEFUL AND YET:
You feel frustrated and blame your partner for destroying your sense of stillness.
You still react in ways that you really do not like.
You blame yourself for reacting the way that you do. After all, you have been meditating for some years and you should be more compassionate by now.
You feel like a fraud because you are unable to practice what you are preaching.
You compare yourself with others and feel even worse. Imagine how Buddha, Jesus, Mohammed, or your spiritual teacher would have handled the situation.
You begin to feel hopeless - will all your hard work and hours in silence ever pay off?
Most spiritual practices will suggest that you should bring compassion and empathy into your relationships, yet none offer any clarity on exactly how to do that.
Here's our take on that...
The problem is not that you haven't meditated and practised enough to experience harmony and connection in your relationships.
The skill of meditation and practice of inner peace is simply different to the skill of communication and navigating relationships.
You've mastered the one, but this needs to be complemented with another skillset - the language of compassionate, Nonviolent Communication (NVC).
And this is a skill you can learn!
7 things that get in the way of spiritual people having healthy relationships
Do any of these sound familiar?
1. Holding others responsible for your wellbeing and happiness.
When you make others responsible for your happiness then you are more likely to be playing the blame game. In doing this you give away your power and agency.
2. Not having the skills to get past judgment & blame.
Judgements have a deeper message for us. Knowing how to translate your judgements and how to communicate these deeper messages is a key skill that is different to just watching your judgements pass by.
3. Trying to correct, advise and educate others before connecting with them.
Telling your partner that they should just let go, or that they should just accept is the kind of spiritual advice that is not always welcome when he/she is in pain and actually needs your empathy rather than your education.
4. Getting fixated on your strategies rather than the underlying needs.
When you focus on the how (strategies) rather than taking the time to connect to the why (needs) then you can easily get tunnel vision and miss the infinite number of creative solutions that consider the needs of all involved.
5. Fear of not getting what you want and unhealthy power dynamics.
Making demands for what you want out of fear that you will not get it is likely to elicit two possible responses: submission or rebellion. Do you really want your friends and family to do things because they are submitting to your dominance or not do things because they are rebelling against your dominance? Wouldn't you much rather experience equality in your relationships?
6. Fear of conflict or hurting the other's feelings if you express yourself honestly.
Keeping those small irritations to yourself inevitably leads to explosions later on. Remember that moment when you or someone you know exploded over something so small. It wasn't that small thing, but all the days/weeks/years of built-up pressure.
7. Judging yourself for being judgemental.
No amount of self-criticism will get your judgements to stop. If you want to stop judging then you need to learn to listen to what's behind the judgment and how to meet yourself and others with empathy.
So, the good news is that there is a way to have peaceful relationships and you don't need to increase your meditation hours, sign up for another retreat or move to a cave in the Himalayas!
Our Nonviolent Communication Courses will help you to transform those judgements into feelings and needs so that you can begin to express yourself authentically without hurting others. It will also give you everything you need to identify what it is that is getting in the way of your capacity to listen with empathy.
If you want that sense of inner peace in your relationships
If you had hoped that by now you would be less easily triggered and able to respond with more care and compassion.
If, no matter how hard you try to listen with empathy there always seems to come a moment when you just blow up.
If you find yourself stuck in the same active patterns of defensiveness
or, if notice that you still seem to judge, blame and criticise, and you really don't like it that you do.
Then you are in the right place because
our NVC courses will take you from judging and blaming to empathy and understanding for yourself and others.
Hi I'm Nic
I got into meditation because I really wanted to become a better person. After numerous long silent retreats and daily meditations, I still found myself being reactive and saying things that I later came to regret. Even after all my efforts, I still found myself offering advice rather than empathy to friends and family.
Things really shifted when I learned and started to apply Nonviolent Communication (NVC) in my life. Finally, I had a way that I could practice living compassionately in my relationships and not just while I was sitting quietly on my meditation cushion.
When I first came into contact with NVC, it was like a light went on and the missing puzzle piece appeared. I was so excited that I literally ran back home to tell my partner.
I have since become a certified NVC trainer and it gives me great joy to support others to bring more empathy and compassion to their day to day interactions with others.
Hi I’m Sarah
I grew up in a family where spirituality was central. I was taught to love my neighbours as myself, to be a 'good Samaritan'. Through their service, my parents modelled that, working with refugees and disadvantaged communities, opening our home to people in need.
And, I had a sense that there was still something I was missing. Yes, I could show acts of kindness, but was I doing them wholeheartedly or out of a sense of obligation? And how could I show compassion to people I disliked? What were the nuts and bolts of navigating arguments, to restoring harmony and connection?
Surely there had to be a different way to connect with each other that was more in alignment with what we learned in church? How could I live to be more like Jesus, to embody what he preached?
As I grew older, I started to experiment with other contemplative practices, attended meditation retreats and practised yoga.
Even though these practices were fulfilling for me, they were mostly about connecting to myself, to life and the Divine, and not so focused on how I show up in the world and how I interact with others.
I found it very comforting to be in silence because then I did not need to speak up for what it is that I was needing.
I have always wanted to connect with people and yet, despite my best attempts, it so often turned out in ways that led to even greater disconnection. Deep down I felt lonely.
Learning NVC helped me to see that my self-expression was actually just a way to explain thoughts and not an expression of what was really going on for me (I was hiding behind my judgments, blame and opinions). I also realised that even though I thought I was empathic, I was actually just sympathising or offering advice.
Learning NVC is more than acquiring a new language. It takes practice and a shift in mindset.
To develop this new skill, you will need...
to understand the conceptual framework of NVC.
personal practice to begin integrating this into your conversations.
a safe learning environment, giving you the opportunity to practice with others on the same journey.
Take a look at what some of our previous participants had to say
FOR THIS 6-WEEK JOURNEY AND LEARN PRACTICAL SKILLS THAT YOU CAN START TO APPLY IMMEDIATELY
BRINGING EMPATHY AND COMPASSION TO YOUR RELATIONSHIPS
Together, we will discover what is getting in the way of your ability to listen with empathy.
We will practice new ways to express yourself so that you can still speak up authentically without hurting those that you love most.
You will free yourself from judgement, blame and criticism by learning to identify your core needs and values.
You will develop the skills to ask for what you are needing without sounding needy,
pushy or demanding.
"Sarah and Nic are masterful at holding courses and truly listening in to their participants, leading to lots of AH-HA moments.
The online course has been an excellent way to learn this new connective language - once you learn it you can’t unlearn it!"
Jacqueline du Plessis
"Studying and learning from Nic and Sarah is empowering.
I feel very seen, heard and understood.
I have gained so much clarity from their insights and perspectives.
They have a gift for teaching and sharing the wisdom of NVC which they both embody."
"Sarah embodies the principles of Nonviolent Communication and this flows seamlessly into her role as a teacher.
As a student, I felt safe and challenged simultaneously.
I loved the feeling and have been inspired to learn and grow more. Thank you.”
What you will get
6 x Weekly zoom meetings of 2hr15
Facilitation by Nic or Sarah (Certified Nonviolent Communication trainers)
PDF course materials and learning resources
Opportunities to practise what you have learnt in small groups
Space to ask questions (all questions are welcome)
A certificate of completion that can go towards your own certification as an NVC practitioner/trainer
Note: This online program is designed to help you understand, explore, and express your feelings and needs in a day-to-day context.
It is, however, not designed to be a therapeutic space for deeper trauma-related work.
If you suspect that your communication challenges may be trauma-related then we recommend signing up for a therapeutic coaching session with either Nic or Sarah.
What's the Curriculum?
Getting to know one another.
Becoming aware of judgements.
How the ability to observe can shift conversations.
The living energy of needs.
Transforming conversations by shifting the focus.
from strategies to needs.
The values that connect us as humans.
The thoughts that are disguised as feelings.
Understanding where our emotions come from.
How to avoid getting stuck in emotions.
Empowering yourself by taking responsibility for your feelings.
What is empathy?
What empathy is not.
Practising listening with empathy rather than sympathy.
Becoming aware of your blockages to true empathy.
Getting in touch with the power to choose.
How you respond to a difficult message.
The 4 different ways of responding.
Asking for what you want without sounding needy.
Being clear and precise in speaking up for your needs.
Asking in a way that makes it most likely that
your needs will be met.
Closing explorations and next steps.
Choose a course and payment plan
to suit your needs
Note: All times are Brussels/Paris/Amsterdam time (CEST/CET)
This is for you if you would love to:
have harmony in all your relationships.
be able to truly listen with empathy to your loved ones.
express yourself authentically and in ways that lead to connection.
live in alignment with your values.
be someone who doesn't just talk about, but actually lives compassionately.