Empathic Conversation Facilitation & Training Resource Page

Empathy and Mindfulness in Conversation

Empathic Conversation Facilitation & Training

Resources Page

Contacting John

  • Reach out any time to me by email: john@johnkinyon.com, or text/phone 415-710-2777. Schena will schedule a time for you.
  • For more information on me, my approach, interviews, see www.johnkinyon.com

Working With the Learning Materials

First, I recommend looking over all the materials further below in Learning Resources. Then, start with reading the Choosing Peace book (pdf link in Books section) and studying these handouts [which are hyperlinked]:

MEDITATION: I also strongly recommend you start or deepen a daily meditation practice. I offer some meditation apps below, and other related resources.

Practicing Between Group Sessions

I will be encouraging you to practice as much as you can daily and weekly. "In conflict situations, we do not rise to the level of our aspirations, we fall to the level of our training."

  • Practice with yourself
  • Practice with others in the group
  • Practice with people in your life

"DESTINY always has a possessor, as in my destiny or your destiny or her destiny, it gives a sense of something we cannot avoid or something waiting for us, it is a word of storybook or mythic dimension. Destiny is hardly used in everyday conversation; it is a word that invites belief or disbelief: we reject the ordering of events by some fated, unseen force or we agree that there seems to be a greater hand than our own, working at the edges of even the most average life. But speaking of destiny not only grants us an intimation of our flaws, we sense, along with Shakespeare that what is unresolved or unspoken in human character might overwhelm the better parts of ourselves.

When we choose between these two poles, of mythic triumph or fated failure, we may miss the everyday conversational essence of destiny: our future influenced by the very way we hold the conversation of life itself; never mind any actions we might take or neglect to take. Two people, simply by looking at the future in radically different ways have completely different futures awaiting them no matter their immediate course of action. Even the same course of action, coming from a different way of shaping the conversation will result in a different outcome. We are shaped by our shaping of the world and are shaped again in turn. The way we face the world alters the face we see in the world. 

Strangely, every person always lives out their destiny no matter what they do, according to the way they shape the conversation, but that destiny may be lived out on the level of consummation or complete frustration, through experiencing a homecoming or a distant sense of exile, or more likely some gradation along the spectrum that lies between. It is still our destiny, our life, but the sense of satisfaction involved and the possibility of fulfilling its promise may depend upon a brave participation, a willingness to hazard ourselves in a difficult world, a certain form of wild generosity with our gifts; a familiarity with our own depth, our own discovered, surprising breadth and always, a long practiced and robust vulnerability equal to what any future may offer."

— David Whyte, from Consolations: The Solace, Nourishment and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words

Learning Resources


For more information about the books and ordering physical copies, click HERE.

Recorded Audio Material [click links to listen]

Meditation and Consciousness

Meditation Resources

I recommend that for at least the course of the training you commit to and begin (or extend what you already do) a daily meditation practice, even if it's only 5 minutes each day!

I highly recommend Sam Harris' Waking Up Course meditation app (mindfulness, nonduality, and neuroscience). It is subscription based, and here's a link to receive a free month: https://share.wakingup.com/d10bdc090360.

Here are some other meditation apps I recommend:

  • Headspace
  • 10% Happier
  • Insight Timer
  • Calm
  • Simple Habit

I also recommend meditation programs on Sounds True [link].

Resources Related to Mindfulness, Consciousness, and Nonduality [click on links]

  • Sam Harris' Waking Up Course meditation app
  • Diana Winston - mindfulness teacher, UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center, spectrum of awareness practices
  • Loch Kelly - mindfulness and nondual awareness teacher
  • Henry Shukman - Zen mindfulness, Koan practices
  • The Headless Way - a unique, Western-based way of accessing and practicing nondual awareness, originated by Douglas Harding, who wrote the book On Having No Head. In this tradition I recommend Richard Lang.
  • David Whyte - poet, author, speaker, the conversational nature of reality, poetry and organizations
  • Francis Weller - soul and grief work, community building
  • Tim Freke - philosophy of "unividualism," emergent/evolutionary spirituality, integrates dual and nondual mindfulness, and science and spirituality. I recommend joining Tim's International Community of Unividuals (ICU).
  • Rupert Spira - nonduality spiritual teacher

Additional Resources Related to Compassion & Trauma Work

  • Sarah Peyton, book, Your Resonant Self. NVC, trauma, and interpersonal neurobiology, neuroscience. See Sarah’s website for guided meditations and to receive other learning resources
  • Kristin Neff, Ph.D., Mindful Self-Compassion program. Book: Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself
  • Richard Schwartz and Internal Family Systems (IFS), book, Greater Than the Sum of Our Parts, and a great audio with this title from Sounds True
  • Gabor Mate - trauma and addiction, The Wisdom of Trauma docu-film
  • Stephen Porges - trauma, Polyvagal Theory
  • Thomas Huebl - trauma work, collective trauma
  • Dan Siegal, interpersonal neurobiology, neuroscience, trauma, consciousness
  • Peter Levine, pioneer in the trauma field. Developed body of work called Somatic Experiencing
  • Johann Hari - addiction, trauma, society

Suggested Homework Before and Between Group Sessions

Preparing for Session 1

I recommend starting with reading the Choosing Peace book and studying these handouts:

  • Empathic Conversation Structure & Four Questions
  • OFNR Communication Components
  • Needs and Feelings sheet
  • Feelings vs. Faux Feelings sheet

After Session 1

  • Daily meditation practice, setting aside at least 5 minutes per day to meditate
  • Daily review handouts from the OFNR & General Handouts section and use/refer to as needed
  • Daily Self-Connection Practice throughout the day [see Handouts and Recorded Audio sections]
  • Weekly in one-to-one meetings, speaking and listening/reflecting back using the 4 Questions
  • Use the 4 Questions Process in group meetings

After Session 2

  • Continue with above
  • Order a set of Feelings and Needs Cards to practice with or use the Empathy Set app, if you feel this would be helpful to you
  • Daily Self-Connection Practice, adding Intensity Practice
  • Weekly in one-to-one meetings use the Elements of Empathy/6 Minute Exercise process
  • In group meetings use the 4 Questions Process

After Session 3 and Beyond

  • Continue with above
  • Use the 3Chairs Difficult Conversations process with people in your work and personal life
  • Weekly in one-to-one and group meetings use the Need Behind the No process
  • Weekly in one-to-one and group meetings use the 3 Types of Agreements
  • Use the Healing & Reconciliation process for conversations where there is emotional hurt/pain involved.

Daily Structure for Learning and Practice

In my experience, unless you structure learning and practice into your day and week, it won't consistently happen, which is key to developing the abilities and capacities you want. Here are some suggestions from my experience:

  • Each day (I prefer mornings), set aside time to meditate, review handouts/learning materials, and plan when, what, and with whom you'll practice that day and week.
  • Look over the Needs and Feelings sheet (or use the app) and see what words particularly resonate with you at that time. Try to feel how the words feel in your body. With needs words, connect not only with how you personally want these met in your life, but also how you share these needs with every person and every being on the planet.
  • Do Self-Connection Practice (breath, body, need) as many times as you can throughout the day, even for just a few moments at a time. Add the Intensity Practice, imagining a triggering situation and practice responding in your mind (see handouts).