Learn compassionate communication during free workshop

What if there was a way for everyone to speak a language of understanding and foster more loving, open relationships? John Cunningham is offering a workshop to help foster compassionate communication.

What if there was a way for everyone to speak a language of understanding and foster more loving, open relationships?

This is, of course, a long-held dream for humanity, and workshop leader John Cunningham strives to get us all a little closer to that goal through compassionate communication.

Cunningham has facilitated workshops on Lopez for more than four years, teaching tools for peaceful communication. He is offering a two-day “Introduction to Compassionate Communication” at the Lopez Library on Saturday, July 26 from 6 to 9 p.m. and Sunday, July 27 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (bring a bag lunch). The workshops usually run between $50 and $60 per person, but the Lopez Library is sponsoring the event, and it is now free to everyone.

Compassionate communication, also known as nonviolent communication, was developed by Marshall Rosenberg, whose numerous books are translated and used internationally to foster peacemaking among individuals, couples, communities and nations. A Waldorf teacher, Cunningham trained in Switzerland with Rosenberg, and teaches compassionate communication throughout the world.

Cunningham’s website describes the principles of compassionate communication: “When see each other in terms of right/wrong, normal/abnormal or deserving/undeserving, we do violence to each other. As a language of understanding, it recognizes that we all are human and doing the very best that we can moment by moment. It is ‘radical compassion’ on both personal and global levels.”

Topics for the workshop include meeting one another in a new way; giving and receiving real understanding; fostering connections that enable everyone’s needs to get met; recognizing the universal humanity in every human being, whether it’s family or strangers; creating a new language based on the practice of empathy; and realizing the potential for beauty in all.

“How we speak can open or close doors, heal or hurt, create suffering or joy and ultimately determines our own happiness. This workshop will help you understand others as they want to be understood and be better understood yourself. Through simple, non-threatening group exercises, you’ll learn to create connections that enable everyone to get their needs met,” said Lorrie Harrison, who is helping organize the event.

A nonviolent communication group meets every Monday night on Lopez to learn more about personal and global peacebuilding. It is open to anyone who has read Rosenberg’s work (the Lopez Library has just purchased all of his books) or attended one of Cunningham’s training sessions. For more information, contact Lorrie at 468-2213.

To register for the workshop, please call Nikola Chopra at 468-4512 or Kate Clayton at 468-2368.