The Ongo Book

I am inspired to share CNVC Certified Trainers Jesse Wiens and Catherine Cadden‘s kickstarter project “The Ongo Book – Embody Wisdom and Compassion in Everyday Life” with you all. And here is why:

I met Jesse at my first NVC workshop in 2010. Many of you who have heard me speak on NVC have heard this story of my first interactions with Jesse and this workshop but I’ll recap for those of you who have not.

During the workshop I was doing a “NVC dance” activity with another participant. I got frustrated with the activity (but really I was venting my frustration in life) and Jesse came over to me. He offered deep compassionate presence (empathy) and empathy guesses to my frustration in a way that I had never experienced before. In this transformative space, my anger quickly evaporated to grief and I wept.

After connecting with what was alive in me for a while and having this huge acknowledgement and energy release, I started feeling really guilty that I was “hording all the time” with the NVC trainer – that the other participant was missing out. I was also feeling a bit embarrassed that I was crying so openly in the midst of so many people at the workshop.

I shared this out loud to Jesse and the other participant and to my surprise, the other participant shared how meaningful witnessing my and Jesse’s interaction was, and how much she was longing for the men in her life that she cared about to express their emotions in a connected manner. And then Jesse shared his gratitude for me crying. I was shocked – these other people were benefiting from me sharing my vulnerability, my needs weren’t just a burden to them. This was when I experientially learned what I already conceptually learned, the NVC belief that life can be mutually beneficial and win-win, that it doesn’t have to be one person winning and other losing.

I have wept nearly every time I have thought about this story and I am weeping now. I am weeping out of care, gratitude, and celebration for that experience with Jesse, for seeing first hand that there is another way to communicate than I had been trained to communicate in this culture, an extremely connecting and meaningful way to interact. And I weep out of honor, presence, and mourning for my need to be understood and heard, a need that was so fully spoken to in that moment and a need that was so rarely spoken to before that moment.

Shortly thereafter I attended another NVC retreat at Jesse & Catherine’s home, where I met Catherine. I have so much respect and gratitude for Jesse & Catherine and all that they are bringing to this world. When I saw their kickstarter book, I was inspired to share their project with you all because I believe there are so many of us longing for what this book offers, and I’m longing to contribute to you, to them, and to the flourishing of compassionate understanding. I invite you to watch the short video about their project found at the top of this page.