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Articles from Compassionate Leadership News


“If You Don’t Have A Dream, How You Gonna Have A Dream Come True?”

The 1950s the musical entitled “South Pacific” featured a memorable old island character who sang a song of encouragement to the young lovers with the words “you gotta have a dream – if you don’t have a dream, how you gonna have a dream come true?”

In 1963 MLK gave his now famous  “I Have a Dream” speech which is well known to all of us, and set the precedent for ending discrimination.  You may not be making a speech to 200,000 people from the Lincoln Memorial or singing a song on Broadway; however you may have a dream about the world you want to live in.   So just what is your dream?

Author Lee Carroll wrote “…each balanced human who has a positive outlook and exudes well being is able to make….even vast sweeping social change that has to start inside the mind and heart of one person at a time”.      YOU have a mind and a heart that can make a difference in the world.

We in Compassionate Leadership have witnessed the benefits and outcomes of watching people who pause in their day to think about their dream, their world - be it external or internal - and create a vision for that world.  We have watched the smiles come across faces just by thinking and imagining their world.

We have watched participants meticulously come up with a description of the role they would like to assume in their vision, and what part they would like to play.   Sometimes with ease and sometimes painstakingly, tiny steps are identified one by one as to when and where and how they might begin to realize their goals and their vision.

I’m so moved and inspired to be a part of people’s lives as they take their vision into the world.  I would like to invite you to consider joining our vision to enlarge the community of people whose intention is to connect, to care, to be considerate, and have compassion for others.

How?  First of all continue to care and be considerate and connect to yourself so that you can be compassionate with others.  Secondly join us for Taste of Compassionate Leadership, a free teleclass on the third Saturday of each month, and thirdly consider becoming a part of Compassionate Leadership by reading Rodger Sorrow’s article on “Three Ways to Join CL 12”.

As spring begins to emerge for those of us in the northern hemisphere, and we watch the buds explode on the trees, may you find compassion, caring, consideration and connection as you take your dream into the world.
------Faye Landey, for the Team


CPR for Relationships

How We Kill Our Relationships and How to Bring Them Back To Life

by Faye Landey, CL Trainer

Sometimes relationships go sour, and in the heat of the moment, it may be difficult to show up with a listening ear and a caring heart.

Let’s explore the problem from a systemic point of view rather than incident by incident.   The incidents that show up regularly from a systemically sour relationship may temporarily resolve themselves over time, but no doubt the same argument will most certainly reemerge when times again become stressful or tense.  It is easy to be calm when things are going well.   And you may find the same type of conflicts or hurts rearing their ugly head over and over.

Because we are communal beings by nature, you probably find yourself in a variety of relationships that cover a broad spectrum of your life including work, school, family, your faith based groups, and numerous other formal or informal gatherings, any one of which can go sour at any moment.

Let’s explore one possible system that you have the power to transform even though it may not seem to be the easiest at first glance.   First and foremost let’s take a look at the system of your own inner-self being.  When things go awry it is so much a part of our learned culture to blame and find fault with the external factors – it just comes automatically and like a knee jerk reaction, the words that come out are instantaneous and unconscious.    

Habitually it is easier to criticize others for the woes of the world than to examine what is going on inside of yourself.   The problem with judging others unfavorably is that the solution is rarely effective.  I tried for years to overpower or manipulate or demean others in hopes that they would act better, be nicer, work harder or just shape up!   I criticized my husband, blamed my co-workers, punished my children, and insulted the teller at the bank.  To little or no avail other than to slowly kill off the relationships.   And I felt bitter, not better.

It seemed impossible to keep my mouth shut when I knew I was right and they were wrong.  I often just wanted to help them by showing them a better or smarter way to be.  I kept trying to find a more convincing way to get them to do what I wanted.  I wondered why my friends and family were just not listening to me!  Most of the time my intention was simply “for their own good.”.    

Had I taken a closer look at my own intentions and choices, I would have known that my campaigning originated out of my own fear or anger – not their imperfections.    

Now things are different in my life.  I observe rather than criticize.  I listen rather than convince. I connect rather than correct.  I hold my own and others’ needs with compassion rather than try to fix or change.

How did I do it?  While it is still a work in progress, I have changed my own internal system by asking myself one simple question in any circumstance, “how is this going for me?”  If the answer is favorable, then I stay the path.  If I find discontent or angst or overwhelm or fear or anger or guilt rather than peace and harmony, then I look inside to find a way to re-fuel my own compassion.

Taking care of my own needs in a way that does not comprise or harm another is not as hard or complicated as I thought it would be.   A simple inventory of what needs are being met and what needs are not being met transformed my capacity to be present to others with care and compassion.   And you know what?  Changing my part in the system changed the relationship!  Those relationships got better and better and easier and easier.  I realized I was not a victim - I had choice and control of my own countenance!!  When I had a peaceful countenance, I found the capacity to be more present to others.  The other person did not have to change!  And an added benefit - I learned how to ask for what I want in a way that produces results more times than not.  Miracle?  Call it what you want, I like life and those around me now better than ever.

Want to learn more about ways to bring relationships back to life?  Join us for a free Teleclass, How we kill our relationships, and how to bring them back to life, on Saturday, February 18 at 4pm US-PT,  7pm US-ET, 11am in Sydney (on Sunday) for a Taste of Compassionate Leadership.  If you have registered before, you are already registered for all the free teleclasses.  You will receive an email 8 hours before the call with your dial-in number and pin.  If you have not previously registered, click here to register now:

Or go to Free Teleclasses on the website:  to register and  listen to previous teleclasses.


The Power of a Plan


by Jim Manske, CL Trainer

One of the cornerstones of Compassionate Leadership is the Roadmap to Compassionate Living, or Leadership Plan.  I’m continually inspired by the power of this tool to assist people in moving forward to living more fulfilling lives in alignment with their deepest values.  With the support of our Compassionate Leadership community and the coaching of our staff, participants create the clarity and motivation to achieve what is meaningful to them, for their own growth and their place in the world.

I’ve been using variations of this process for almost 40 years, and I’m confident that my life would have unfolded in a different way had I not utilized it.  The form has changed over the years, pointing out that clarity of intention and mindful attention have more importance than any specific format.  Using this process has resulted in a remarkably satisfying life doing what I most love to do, cradled in a community of compassion, wisdom and action.

The three main elements that give the Roadmap its power are Vision, Mission and Action.  Simply put, Vision refers to the end result that we would like to see manifest; Mission, the specific part we would like to play in bringing that Vision to fruition; and the Actions we take, from moment to moment, that propel us toward our Vision and fulfilling our Mission.  Each element is informed and empowered by a clear anchor in the present moment, even as one is impelled toward a more fulfilling future.  The Vision and Mission become powerful measuring sticks to clarify when the Actions we choose are in harmony with our deepest values.

My Vision is a world where people want to belong and contribute, where abundant well-being for everyone is supported by an ever-deepening awareness of all universal needs; in this world, Actions that support well-being naturally arise through connection to those needs and values.  My Mission is to contribute to manifesting this Vision by “living nonviolence”, and offering my gifts to facilitate others in learning alternatives to violence.  The Actions I take are in the realms of training, mediating, mentoring, and helping individuals, couples, communities and organizations to develop wholeheartedly.

I’m in the middle of dozens of Actions in support of this Mission, including writing this article.  My hope is that it contributes to your understanding and inspires you to take some steps to clarify your Vision, Mission, and Actions.  As you deepen your connection to your Vision and Mission, I’m confident that the Actions you take will help to bring my Vision to fruition.

Another part of my Mission is to discover and try innovative ways to support people in learning and living nonviolence.  To that end I have begun curating an online newspaper focused on “news that feeds your aspirations and inspirations”.  I feel so grateful to live in a world that supports me to offer inspiration to others with relative ease.  Its fun for me to find and post articles that I enjoy and learn from, and it magnifies the fun when others let me know how what I am doing affects them.  So, would you be willing to check out Radical Compassion and let me know what comes up for you?  I’m also eager to hear any responses to the ideas I’ve presented here about Vision, Mission and Aim.

To see the Radical Compassion online newspaper, go to:


"Come On In . . . "

By Carlene Robinson, CL11 participant, CL12 intern

My name is Carlene Robinson. I am so happy to belong to the CL Family by being a member of CL 2011 and an intern for CL12. It is from this experience I write to you. The 2012 Compassionate Leadership Team is contributing to the program with a welcome that says "Come on in and be with us......even for one retreat!"

There isn't space in this format for ALL I want to say about the Compassionate Leadership Program and the varied opportunities for growth, learning, and community it offers to the world. These needs, these important life serving needs, are translated into meaning experientially.  The offer to participate in the 2012 CL program for one retreat is but a sample of my meaningful experience where inclusiveness, flexibility, authentic expression of one's self in the moment, and space to be with what is alive is welcomed. In CL11, there were several people who participated in the program in varying degrees of retreat commitment. Each person is someone with whom today I still have a connection. Members of CL11 continue to have a community phone call once a month and those that weren't in the program for the full 8 months are as much a part of the community calls as those who completed the program in its entirety. Last year, at the International Intensive Training in Albuquerque, I met a woman who completed CL 2009. Instantly, our eyes quickened to the beat of our hearts where consciously we knew one another as family through CL! No matter where I go, when I meet someone who has belonged to this program, it's as though we know one another without asking all the cultural questions such as where are you from and what do you do. We know our hearts!! You see, the vision CL holds dear is that we get to create the world in  which we want to live. When that happens, my world then becomes larger with people who share this vision and consciousness. Any time my path crosses with someone who was welcomed into the CL program for one retreat or for the entire program, I'm immediately connected to meaning in our worlds because we share a common experience. The experience is one of family and the way I want to enjoy and contribute in a family today. The experience is one of vulnerability and authenticity where we trust one another's words and actions. The experience is one of love and support where I'm allowed to drink from the cup of community as much or as little as I want.


I believe I was made for community. Sometimes, the journey to this truth isn't easy and moves slowly. In the Compassionate Leadership Program, I experienced this truth for myself. It has been transformative and is revealed to me daily by the way I show up in the world with confidence and reassurance that I belong.  I guess that's why I want you to come and see for yourself by accepting this warm invitation to the first retreat. Whether you sample the cup of community for one retreat or for all three, you will take with you wherever you go the energy of choice-full living people making a difference in their worlds. It may be what you've been looking for all along too.

I'll see you when we get there.

My cup runneth over!



A Leap of Faith

By Patricia Bevan, CL11 Participant, CL12 Intern

In the autumn of 2010 when I reflected on my study of Nonviolent Communication, I felt so grateful that Marshall and others had brought this way of walking through life to so many people. I was excited with the growth in understanding and skill I had realized since I began my journey several years earlier. And I was longing for a guided, enduring depth and focus to my learning that I had not experienced with short classes or even a 10-day NVC International Intensive Training.

Then I saw a brochure about Compassionate Leadership 2011. Eight months of dialog, searching, and discovery with one group of people about becoming a leader using NVC! I felt thrilled! And then… a part of me became very anxious. I loved solitude. Would I want to just get the heck out of there after only a few days of the first retreat? At the same time a different part of me was reaching, longing for the depth of experience that I believed an eight-month connection with others would offer. I made a leap of faith.

The days of the first retreat were filled with sharing, discussion, practice, and reflection. I felt the joy of new learning and connections; the pain of old wounds triggered by fleeting interactions; emotional stretching that at times I found intensely unsettling. And somehow I experienced everything as if wrapped in the warmth and safety of five incredible trainers and the unconditional acceptance of everyone in the program. Yes, there were moments, sometimes very long moments, when I wanted to run, to return to the safety of the familiar. But I did not run. I did not because I also had glimpses of a deep sense of wellbeing and peace in the presence of these people.

Glimpses of these qualities were with me even in the midst of challenges -- a big one for me being a concept of leadership I had little considered. My working definition of leadership involved guiding others. Yet I was being asked to question what it meant to lead myself. My answer to this question is still growing and evolving. At its core is radical self-acceptance, as I both live and witness my life step by step; creating goals and developing strategies to embrace and support my mission as I look toward my vision of what my life and the world might be.
I struggled, sometimes desperately, throughout the eight-month program with how to lead and accept myself. I grew in awareness, understanding, and ability with each mentoring call, each group teleconference, each retreat.

I am so different now than I was before my leap of faith. I continue to struggle and to grow, to stride forward and to slip back. But I do this now with more tenderness toward myself, with a heart more open, and a vision more clear and expansive. And I do this with much more understanding of what it means to lead myself so that I can lead others.

Yet this is just the beginning of my path with Compassionate Leadership. I applied and have been accepted as an intern for CL 12. I am full of excitement and anticipation of what lies on the road ahead.

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