In the summer of 2004 in Edgewood, at a yard sale, I found a magazine article that has, for the past few years, had a major impact on my life. The article was by a woman who had been studying Buddhism for many years and who had recently attended a workshop on NVC with Marshall Rosenberg. She was comparing Nonviolent Communication with the concept, in Buddhism, of “Right Speech.”
I was attracted to NVC Through my friendship with David Russell. I have been drawn to the idea of non-violence for many years, beginning with objecting to the Vietnam war in college and more recently to the two Iraq wars, and several military actions in between. When I learned several years ago that Dave was leading a study group on non-violent communication, I was glad for the opportunity to strengthen my connection with him, and to explore this new way of counteracting the powerful tendency to use violence to achieve our goals.
I am an active member of Waverly Presbyterian Church in Regent Square, where I met Karen Sloan and Dave Carlton. Together, we participated in a Sunday school study group of NVC, and when I learned of their strong interest he introduced them to Dave Russell. Seeing the international network of NVC practitioners take root in Pittsburgh gives me hope.
Nonviolent communication is a language-based tool which builds compassion between people, decreases the destructive effects of conflict, and increases the likelihood that all parties in conflict can have their most important needs met. Like any tool, NVC requires study to learn the skill, and practice to use it effectively. Bill is glad to be a part of the growing Compassionate Pittsburgh network.
I was introduced to NVC in 2009 when my husband, Claus Makowka, and I took a class offered by Dave Russell. As a sociologist I was interested in how the principles and practices of compassionate communication could help promote positive change in organizations and larger social systems. I’ve participated in multiple in-depth training opportunities with certified NVC trainers. I have come to appreciate that compassion for myself is basic to having trust and empathy in relation to others that is necessary to promote change. I am excited about sharing compassionate communication with others and growing a community in Pittsburgh.