Phases of the Moon, the newsletter of the Maine NVC Network
Volume Eleven, Issue Two: NVC in the Time of Corona

Our newsletter will now be appearing occasionally, up to four times a year. Please visit our archives to explore our many previous newsletters, many of which contain practice suggestions. Our purpose is to contribute to the NVC learning of people who have taken at least an NVC Level 1 workshop, and help us stay connected as we endeavor to deepen a culture of peace within ourselves, our families and the world. We believe a Level 1 offers so many new ways of thinking that additional support for learning and integration could be helpful.

We endeavor to make each edition informative, connecting, inspiring and fun. Please let us know how the newsletter might contribute to your NVC well-being. Email: newsletter at


Feature article: Finding NVC as a Teacher

by Gina Simm

In my first year of retirement I’m doing a lot of reflecting on my years as a teacher. One of the big decisions a retired teacher has to make is whether or not to substitute teach. This in itself is a driving force for reflection. The reason I came to the answer of no is simple; it’s too stressful. Just looking back at preparing a sub plan as a teacher is stressful because it’s all about minimizing the inevitable anxiety of the kids who are counting on their beloved teacher to keep them reassured and at ease. Forget about the math lesson and it’s content. It’s about how the lesson gets executed. Teaching is more about the how than it is about the what.

It took me a while to be conscious of this phenomenon. The how, of course is way harder than the what. So, for many years, as hard as I tried and as amazing as I could be at times, I felt like a failure. That’s a bold statement but in all honesty I wasn’t happy with myself too much of the time. I would feel frustrated with the class and then upset with myself because deep down I could tell that I was missing something.

What I was missing became clearer and clearer when I started learning Nonviolent Communication. At the heart of NVC is the concept of empathy. Empathy is the opposite of problem-solving and problem-solving was what I was putting my energy into. It was behind all of the how of my teaching. I thought it was my job to problem-solve. If I could come up with a solution for the problem in front of me at any given moment, I felt like I was doing my job. If that didn’t help, I would tell myself that at least I was doing my job. What I was missing is that much of the time the people with the problem are not seeking a solution, they are seeking relief. And relief does not usually come from a solution. It comes from a listening ear. It comes from the feeling that someone cares; that someone wants to understand; that one is no longer alone with the distress. It took awhile for me to grasp this but when I did I began to experiment with it.

Sure enough, being present and really wanting to understand was a life-saver for all concerned. I couldn’t believe what a shift it was in my teaching world. A first-grader would come to me with "She hates me!" I would relax and say something like "That’s gotta hurt!" "YES!" "Let’s check in later about this. It’s a big deal." Then of course, I’d go back to whatever I needed to do in a very densely packed morning of timers, books, papers and color pencils. Checking in later rarely happened because that first grader had already received the empathy they craved.

I did many experiments with my students and the notion of giving and receiving empathy. The more NVC I learned, the more depth I created in the how of my teaching. I instituted empathy cards. I used quality children’s literature to teach the NVC skills of making requests vs. demands, shared the wonders of expressing regret, the value of appreciation and the importance of sharing power.

As an experienced teacher I crafted a model using elements from three sources: Nonviolent Communication, circles (fundamental to Responsive Classrooms and Restorative Justice) and self-empowerment (from Positive Discipline).

Ultimately, I implemented three systems to knit all that I was doing into an effective, viable, empowering learning community. Year by year my classroom turned into a place where trust, compassion and empowerment became possible and realized.

After sharing the systems with people, I was asked to write a book. It took me a while to envision the whole idea of sharing my gifts with the world and thereby making a difference in the world. Now it is all happening. The vision is realized. I wrote the book, Heart to Heart: Three Systems for Staying Connected: A Manual for Parents and Teachers, to be easily usable for classroom teachers, parents and other care-providers, guidance counselors, & anyone who wants children to be empowered to use empathy to solve the challenging situations of life.

Gina will be offering her work as an online class through the University of Maine's Hutchinson Center, June 29-July 1
FMI & Registration

Gina Simm has been an early childhood educator for over thirty years. Her background in Montessori education and children’s theater launched her into the world of public teaching, where she has spent most of her career as a first-grade teacher. Gina also taught parenting classes. Most significantly, her knowledge of Nonviolent Communication has transformed her classroom into a place where systems of the heart create a child-centered environment for moving through conflict. Gina lives in the Pioneer Valley Cohousing Community in Amherst, Massachusetts. Heart to Heart is her first book.

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Special Offerings for this time period:

Maine’s two certified NVC trainers, Leah Boyd & Peggy Smith, want to be pro-active in our care during the COVID-19 health emergency. They have taken a number of steps to offer support.
Weekly free empathy calls have been set up.
Thursday evening focuses on people who have participated in the Maine NVC Integration Program.
Friday evening focuses on people who have taken an NVC level 1.
FMI contact Leah [leah at]

They took some time to craft an NVC level 1 workshop as an online experience. In collaboration with WERU-FM Radio, they set up two free NVC level 1 workshops. Within 24 hours of initial publication, both had reached maximum capacity (18 participants). They then set up two additional free offerings, which are now also full.
A final free offering has been scheduled for June 22-25 FMI
Feedback from the first workshop shows that community, fun and deep learning can take place when skilled educators utilize the Zoom platform.

Starting in autumn, Leah & Peggy will be offering the Maine NVC Integration Program online only. Registration is now open for both offerings. Both are limited to 30 participants. details and registration.

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Upcoming Trainings

Trainings listed here are in the Maine region. If you wish to list an event, please follow our guidelines for submission. Please note that both certified and non–certified trainers, (who are willing to follow certain requirements of the Center for Nonviolent Communication), may be leading the posted trainings. Listing here does not imply endorsement by the Maine NVC Network of the trainer or the event.

Special Opportunities:

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Level 1 / Introductory Workshops

CNVC-certified trainers Peggy Smith and Leah Boyd have offered five online level 1 trainings in May and June. The first four sold out immediately. At the time of this writing, there is still room in the remaining one, which will run four consecutive afternoons, from June 22-25. Register here.

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Beginning the Journey of NVC & Empathy, with Peggy Smith, was scheduled for July 13 & 20, at the Hutchinson Center. Email Peggy [peggy at] for information as to whether this will run live or online.

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For updated listings of NVC trainings please check the website of CNVC-certified trainer Leah Boyd, Clarity Services.

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  • Monthly Empathy Circle:
    "Until we can gather physically, starting in June I’m going to offer this virtually, so people should definitely contact me beforehand." - Linda Cote-Small
    Phone 207-322-2122
    email: chezcote5 at

  • CNVC-certified trainers Peggy Smith and Leah Boyd have started two weekly online empathy calls:
    • Thursday evening focuses on people who have participated in the Maine NVC Integration Program.
    • Friday evening focuses on people who have taken an NVC level 1.
    FMI contact Leah [leah at]

  • Authentic Communication Groups
    Falmouth, ME

    with Andrea Ferrante, trainer and coach
    Two groups meet biweekly, one on alternate Wednesdays; the other on alternate Mondays.
    Authentic Communication Groups are coaching groups designed to open you up to an approach to living that offers greater peace, personal empowerment, and conscious connection to that which sustains and enriches life. / FMI

  • See also the Practice Groups page.

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  • Request from CNVC for financial support:
    COVID-19 is showing us that NVC is needed more than ever in our world.
    This letter is to ask your financial support for CNVC. Because IITs have been postponed, an important source of revenue for CNVC is temporarily unavailable.
    With the arrival of Maria Arpa as ED of CNVC, a powerful impetus has been given to a process of meaningful changes for CNVC. CNVC and ED and Staff are ready to bring on the innovation in office and administrative procedures to serve the trainers and the global network.
    To make this possible, we strive to keep the office open and implement the changes. And we also understand that most of us need support ourselves at this time. FMI
    Donate here.

  • NVC Global Festival
    LEARN from leading NVC trainers from 5 different continents.
    CONNECT with the community from all around the world.
    ADDRESS the crisis and potential of this moment in history together.
    And on top HAVE FUN And let your BODY AND HEART enjoy offerings of yoga, dance parties, story telling, art, open stage.
    All proceeds go to support the work of CNVC
    FMI & tickets

Poetry Corner

I came to learn how to hug my mother
to hold myself the way I longed for her to hold me

I came to learn how to grieve my father
to see myself the way I longed for him to see me

I came to learn how to dance with my sisters
to trust myself the way I long for them to trust me

I came to learn how to hold hands with my brother
to break my heart open the way I longed for him to break his open with me

I came to learn how to love my partner
to kiss my own face the way it scares me when she kisses mine

I did not know intimacy until we washed each other’s faces,
kneeling over a bucket of water, your fingers running droplets behind my ears,
under my eye, across my brow

I did not know how gently tears could run
how tenderly hearts could touch
how proud I am of love

Noah Bragg wrote this poem after attending Sarah Peyton’s 1 day online workshop on Anxiety & Depression. He is in his second year of the Maine NVC Integration Program. Noah is an organizer, writer, facilitator and NVC enthusiast. He lives in Portland, ME.



Do you want to receive emails about upcoming NVC trainings?
Email Leah Boyd to be added to the mailing list of Clarity Services. [leah at]


Scholarship Fund for the Maine NVC Integration Program!

By supporting a scholarship fund for the Maine NVC Integration Program, you will be helping bring together a more diverse group of people to experience this life-changing program, thus helping foster greater compassion and harmony individually and collectively. Please join us in supporting this fund in order to include individuals who otherwise would not be able to attend. Our goal is to raise $21,000. Contribute HERE


Paid Announcement

Clarity Services, LLC
Now Accepting Clients

Helping groups of people think together collaboratively and effectively. Free 30 minute initial consultation:
email: leah at


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