64 Days – Week 9

Practice Group Curriculum

Week Nine - Harvesting and Planting the Seeds of Your Future

Thoughts and Intentions for the Week

This week marks the end of our beginning. For the past 64 days we have become familiar with a new way to express ourselves and hear others. We have been shown a new way to think about judgments and feeling and needs. Perhaps we have even begun to sprout some giraffe ears of our very own. This week we will review our learning, talk about what needs you may have about learning and integration of NVC and practice appreciation and mourning.


ALL NIGHT EXERCISE #1 - As part of our celebration and initiation of our new ears, this week we are going to be aware of how we are feeling... all night. As the evening progresses, anyone in the group may raise their finger. That signals an instant check-in, where all the members of the group simply say how they are feeling... quickly. Just a feeling word, no more. The purpose of this exercise is to help us be aware of how we are feeling AND to notice how often and how intensely feelings change from moment to moment. There is also an embedded challenge of noticing when doing this (raising your finger to begin the check-in) will serve needs for the group.

Reading and Discussion

Appreciation or Praise

Many of us we’re taught thru our childhood to react to “met need experiences” (feelings) by saying things like, “nice job.” However, if we say “nice job” it doesn’t really identify a need. Right? What it identifies is a judgment that you did something nice, which is not connecting to the need itself. So the energy of that need being met doesn’t actually get distinguished in the expression of “nice job”. So if you’ve ever wondered why often times “nice job” falls short, perhaps it’s because a need wasn’t present in the awareness. In “NVC appreciation” what we’re doing is connecting to what that feeling is really when we appreciate something – what is that? When it just wells-up inside of us… because we’ve had a need met and we feel that we want to express that. A need for expression perhaps?

And so in an NVC appreciation we pay attention to what happened (the observation), how it feels and what need just got met. An NVC appreciation connects us to the very need that’s being met and the feeling that we have when that happens (which is really a profound experience when you consider that needs are how life runs through us and so it is a way to connect to the life force in us). So NVC gives us a deeper experience of life, a way to bask in it and express it… an NVC appreciation.

Discussion Questions

Have each person choose a couple of these questions. Or write each question on a piece of paper. Then each person chooses a paper or two until the papers are all gone. Break out into Diads and spend a few minutes answering the chosen questions with your partner. Switch. Then share your answers with the larger group. Try to include examples or short role plays for clarity and fun.

1) What is NVC? What is the NVC model?

2) What is the difference between "Doing Giraffe" and "Being Giraffe"?

3) Do other people cause us to get angry?

4) How are judgments and anger an expression of life?

5) What's the best thing to say when I'm angry?

6) What do I do if I have translated my judgments, do perfect NVC expression and people still react as if I'm judging them?

7) Why is it so easy to see someone's needs at one time and difficult at others?

8) Why is it so difficult to be empathic with the people I love the most?

9) How do I interact with people (or for that matter the world) when I'm the only one that knows NVC?

Exercise #2 - Coached Empathy Part II


a. NVC empathy is a process of guessing another person’s feelings. “Accuracy” is not necessary for empathy to take place. If the person does not connect with our guess, he or she will let us know and we can then make another guess based on this new information.

b. Keep yourself out of the empathy guess, making sure to connect the person’s feelings to his or her own needs, not to you, even when their feelings seem very much about you. Example: Instead of saying: “Are you frustrated at me because you want me to understand you?” you could say: “Are you frustrated because you’re needing understanding?” Keeping yourself out of the empathy guess will help both of you to remain clear about the source of feelings and give you more room to hear those feelings without either “defending” yourself or “attacking” the other person.

This exercise is designed for Triads. In this exercise, Person A will tell Person B about an interaction or situation that is alive for them. Something incomplete or stimulating. Person B responds empathically by guessing a feeling and a need. Do this for 9 minutes. Meanwhile, Person C will listen to Person B, the one making empathy guesses. Person C looks for quality of connection and discerns between empathy and non-empathy. After 9 minutes, Person C gives coaching to Person B for about 1 minute. Switch roles and repeat until everyone has a being the coach.

EXAMPLE of Empathy:

1. “I hate the way my mother speaks to me.”

Are you feeling: Sad?

Because you’re needing: Understanding?

2. "I just wish she would see things in a more realistic way."

Are you feeling: Frustrated?

Because you value: a shared reality?

3. "This has been going on for years"

Are you feeling: frustrated?

Because you’re needing: some movement?


Exercise #3 - Appreciation, Celebration and Mourning

In this exercise, we will practice sharing our feelings and needs in respect to the past 9 weeks in this group. We will share our met needs (an appreciation or celebration) and our unmet needs as an OFNR. This can be an extension or expression of the empathy circle that we've just finished.


1) Find an "empathy buddy" .

2) Visit NYCNVC.org and/or CNVC.org to find out about available resources.

3) Send an email to practicegroups@nycnvc.org letting us know what your experience of this program was.

4) Have a more wonderful life!

Optional Closing - Candles of Peace

This is a simple and powerful way to close our experience. Bring enough candles for everyone. Light a single candle a place it in the center of the circle. Then have each member of the group light their candle from the center candle and return to their seats. Read the following:

As each of us returns to our daily lives we celebrate choice,
choice to have peace and connection and to honor life.

Each of these candles has received light and energy from another.
As each candle passes and perpetuates this light, so shall we.
May you know peace, give peace, be peace.

Blow out the candles and hold a moment of silence.

For more information call (646) 201-9226 or email to practicegroups@nycnvc.org.