Talking Compassionately to Ourselves

Talking Compassionately to Ourselves

Discussion date: Thu, Feb 15, 2007 at our weekly Thursday evening practice

Dear Still Water Friends,

This Thursday, after our meditation period, Lynd Morris, a member of the Still Water MPC community and a founding member of Capitol NVC, will lead us in a Mindfulness and Nonviolent Communication practice to nourish self-awareness and self-compassion. Lynd writes:

During the winter months, the seeds within our gardens lie dormant. This is the time of year when many gardeners plan what new seeds to sow, which plants to move or remove, and where to prune when the weather becomes warmer. And, it is the rich soil forming within the gardener’s compost pile that can provide the nutrients to support new growth.

In these contemplative winter months, we can similarly attend to the gardens in our consciousness.

How do you cultivate the garden within yourself? How do you save the waste materials and turn them into compost? When you encounter a metaphoric weed within yourself, are you also able to see the flower it can become? Or do you sometimes find yourself painfully aware of having missed the mark in your thoughts, speech, or actions—disappointed in or even angry at yourself, wondering how or if you can become the person you long to be?

Mindfulness and Nonviolent Communication (NVC) are ways of connecting with our deepest values so that we can choose, with understanding and compassion, how we want to be in the world. By learning to communicate nonviolently with ourselves, we sow the seeds of compassion for all beings.

As a way of preparing for this evening, you are invited to consider this question: How do I talk to myself when I regret something I’ve said or done?

Below are related quotes from Thich Nhat Hanh, Marshall Rosenberg, and Pema Chodron. And below those is information about NVC trainings that Lynd will be offering at Crossings in the coming months, including a free introductory training on Monday, February 19th.

Warm wishes,

Mitchell Ratner
Senior Teacher

“Our consciousness is a living thing, something organic in nature. There are always waste materials and flowers in us. The gardener who is familiar with organic gardening is constantly on the alert to save the waste materials because he knows how to transform them into compost and then transform that compost into flowers and vegetables. So be grateful for your pains, be grateful for suffering–you will need them.”

From True Love,
by Thich Nhat Hanh

“We learn to hear our own deeper needs and those of others, and to identify and clearly articulate what we are wanting in a given moment. When we focus on clarifying what is being observed, felt, and needed, rather than on diagnosing and judging, we discover the depth of our own compassion. Through its emphasis on deep listening—to ourselves as well as others—NVC fosters respect, attentiveness, and empathy, and engenders a mutual desire to give from the heart. The form is simple, yet powerfully transformative.”

From Nonviolent Communication: A Language for Life by Marshall Rosenberg, Ph.D.

“Some people find the teachings I offer helpful because I encourage them to be kind to themselves–but this does not mean pampering our neurosis. The kindness that I learned from my teachers, and that I wish to convey to other people, is kindness toward all qualities of our being. The qualities that are the toughest to be kind to are the painful parts, where we feel ashamed, as if we don’t belong, as if we’ve just blown it, when things are falling apart for us. Maitri means sticking with ourselves when we don’t have anything, when we feel like a loser. And it becomes the basis for extending the same unconditional friendliness to others.

From Practicing Peace in Times of War
by Pema Chodron

NVC Workshops at Crossings with Lynd Morris

Communicating with Honesty and Compassion, Monday, February 19, 2007 (7:00 – 9:00 p.m.)

Cost: Free of charge, RSVP requested

This 2-hour training will introduce attendees to the basic principles of Nonviolent Communication (NVC), a language and consciousness of compassion developed by Marshall Rosenberg, Ph.D., that can dramatically improve all of our relationships, from personal to professional. Participants will learn to dialogue with others in a way that will increase the likelihood that everyone’s truth can be expressed and heard. No prior NVC experience needed. For information about location and to reserve space at this event, contact

Be Free Where You Are–Saturday, March 17, 2007 (10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.)

Do you wish you could bring into your relationships the harmony you find on your meditation cushion? Or have you tasted improved communication through your NVC practice but long to connect more fully with your deepest values and to experience greater peace and freedom in your life?

This workshop is for those who have attended an NVC intro and want to learn how to use NVC to develop a spiritual practice or deepen the spiritual practice they already have. We will explore a number of NVC practices for living peace and freedom in the midst of every day life. Included will be several short periods of guided and silent meditation. Attendance at this workshop is recommended for anyone wanting to participate in the NVC and mindfulness class described below.

The Heart of Mindful Communication: Deep Listening and Truthful, Loving Speech–Alternating Monday evenings, April 9-May 21 (7:15 – 9:15 p.m.)

As we increase our awareness of what is going on within and around us through the practice of mindfulness, we naturally are drawn to learning ways to communicate more compassionately. Bringing our full presence to our communications while also expressing ourselves honestly and authentically can be a challenge, especially when we find ourselves suddenly upset.

This series of 4 twice-monthly classes will present many of the ways that NVC can help us stay connected to ourselves and others, no matter who is distressed. The class will include discussion and NVC exercises, as well as short periods of guided and silent meditation. Previous NVC training is requested, attendance at the “Be Free Where You Are” workshop on March 17th is recommended.

Information about upcoming NVC events in the Metro DC area is available at

Discussion Date: Thu, Feb 15, 2007


This week
Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
Sun, May 26

Columbia Sunday Evening Practice

Mon, May 27

Silver Spring Morning Meditation

Friends in Different Places

Tue, May 28

Takoma Park Morning Meditation

Tuesday Evening Gaithersburg Group

Wed, May 29

Silver Spring Morning Meditation

Spanish-Speaking Online Practice

Still Water Kent Island

Thu, May 30

Takoma Park Morning Meditation

Fri, May 31

Silver Spring Morning Meditation

Sat, June 1

Mindful Artmaking