A way to say what I do is that I facilitate human connection and cooperation through empathic communication with ourselves and others. More deeply, my work is about consciousness and dimensions of human awareness and language, which allow for a greater effectiveness in responding to interpersonal and social-systemic difficulties and conflicts. I teach a form of empathic communication that comes out of an international body of work called Nonviolent Communication (NVC). I see empathic communication as integral to health and wellness, resolving conflicts, and humanity reaching a critical mass able to work together to respond to the enormous and existential challenges we face, and to create a healthy and sustainable world for all people and the planet.
I was born in 1967, the decade that humans impossibly flew to the moon, and the social movement for a new kind of freedom, empathy, compassion and striving for equality began amidst tremendous societal upheaval. This time was also the beginning of the great intercontinental exchange of Eastern spirituality and Western science and technology. I carry within me that revolutionary, evolutionary, and integrative energy into which I was born. As a young adult I caught fire studying the work of famed American humanistic psychologist Carl Rogers who pioneered empathic listening and relationship, and the Indian social leader Mahatma Gandhi who embodied the power of “nonviolence” that he used to liberate his country from the oppressive forces of empire and colonization. Martin Luther King, Jr. would later find inspiration in Gandhi and nonviolence to ignite the heart of the U.S. civil rights movement of the 60’s. In 1998 I met Marshall Rosenberg, a product of that struggle for social justice, equality, and a "new age" of spirituality. Marshall had created a body of work called Nonviolent Communication (NVC) and gave over four decades of his life traveling the world sharing it. I went on to work closely with him as my mentor for over a decade. He passed the torch of that liberating and transcending energy to me and others, and I have carried it forward through an international body of work and training program I co-developed with colleague Ike Lasater called Mediate Your Life, based in NVC and a triad ("3chairs") mediation model for responding to all aspects of inner and outer conflict. This work developed into what I now call Empathy & Mindfulness in Conversation. I see my communication work as an integration of consciousness, conflict resolution, and civilization/social change. I have created an online community and offer training courses, conflict coaching, mediation, speaking, public events, and authoring of books.
Get to Know John's Work
3Chairs Conversation Project
I see being in this quality of conversation — empathic conversation — as embodying our unfolding journey through the "duality" of opposing and often conflicting perspectives (two chairs) held by our capacity to experience a "nondual" awareness (third chair) of unifying wholeness and new emergent possibilities. In essence, it is conversation based in mindfulness and language of Observation, Feeling, Need, and Request. My hope is that these conversations will inspire you to engage in such conversations, and that you will inspire others.
Programs and Courses
One of the most important things I (John) have discovered in my 20+ years of work in this space, is that furthering this kind of learning works best in a learning community. Developing these skills to be able to respond to the growing challenges in our personal lives and what’s happening in the world takes time and lots of practice and support. So, I’ve created an Empathy & Mindfulness in Conversation online community (hosted on a platform called Mighty Networks), as well as levels of weekly and monthly live-session online courses to support you in skill development and help you build empathic community.
On my YouTube Channel there are a variety of videos which cover topics from finding connection during conflict, having difficult conversations with ourselves and others, as well as foundational tools to practice empathy and mindfulness in our day to day lives.
Reaching Critical Mass
What came first were the words “critical mass,” in the sense of a tipping point. I had heard and said those words before, but this time they came with a new force. Then came the words, “in time to avoid the catastrophic and existential threats we face.” I’ve had this thought as well many times, and have written and spoken often about it. What felt different was the way these two ideas came together in my mind. But a critical mass of what exactly?
Across the Aisle
I believe the way we reduce these tensions is through shifting from trying to convince each other out of what seem to be misinformed or even delusional beliefs to seeing if we can hear and understand each other. What is key is to let go of seeking agreement on this level, while still remaining grounded in our own sense of reality.
The Hero/Heroine’s Journey in Communication
Civilizations, as with all forms of life, go through cycles of rise and fall, birth and death. There is so much suffering, loss, and death in this world. Can I be fully present with it without turning away, without closing my heart in self-protection? Panic sometimes grips me in the middle of the night with its strong hand, awakening me with a jolt, the darkness closing in around me.
For any questions about John's work or booking, please email firstname.lastname@example.org