09.B Testimonials

Bill Filler

I find it very valuable that people are taking time for the design. All these questions have  focused on what are some core values that i have for the training. I came to the conclusion that 

Those are the two things that I feel that are just core to the training.

― Bill Filler

Michelle Clrke

The main thing that came up on this training we just had, was this idea of the practice being simple, but not easy. It takes practicing one simple skill, like ten thousand times, like to really get some mastery.  I was reflecting, that on each circle, I feel like I'm inching forward, like what Graham described, this steady progress.

I feel like I'm a different person comes in and an hour and a half later something shifts and a slightly different person comes out the other side. What that looks like is either my perspective has broadened, my perspective has pivoted, or my perspective has deepened.  

It's always new and there's always this novelty. Each time it's like I'm repeating the same time thing over and over, but each time it's new and I'm learning something new, I'm growing, I'm feeling this, broadening of the heart and connection and friendship and community.

I'm celebrating that gift that people are talking about.  It's really sweet, really grateful for it.

― Michelle Clarke

Timothy Regan

I'm really inspired today; really I just want to call out war culture.  War culture!  And as opposed to war itself; like war itself, okay in very limited circumstances, yeah we need protective use of force, but war culture is a crock of shit, if you ask me. War culture is domination, manipulation, control, demands, taking what we want, you know dominating others, all about survival and domination.

This work around empathy, counters that because war culture destroys life. It's culture I'm talking about, the way we treat ourselves even, internalized culture. So war culture, domination culture, we're, we're working to create a space outside of that, and to reconnect relationship.  War culture obliterates relationship and well-being of life so I'd rather be fully alive. Empathy turns towards life, it does and so I'm glad we're doing it.

I'm also really realizing today that empathy itself, receiving empathy, and when it lands and we have that feeling of being fully heard this returns energy, the free flow of energy and information into the human nervous system. Returns that free flow of energy and information to the human nervous system and when this happens here's what returns: energy, clear perception, creativity, empathy for others, play flexibility, responsiveness instead of reactivity and enjoyment of life. So what are the benefits? That's (just) a partial list of what empathy does for humans and me and I'm really enjoying practicing that.

I want to say that and one last thing; I also want to honor and respect readiness because Bill's saying - yeah we need to practice it, put ourselves in the seat until we're ready to go out and do it on ourselves. No [I mean] with others, from ourselves. And so when Evelyn said/talked about readiness, I'm like yeah! We trust our readiness and we're here to mutually support each other and practice until we're ready, at our own pace.  So I really, really honor and respect that too. And this is a place to practice anyway that's me today, thank you.

― Timothy Regan

Graham Berends

My basic thought is that I've been offered a gift and that's participating in this little learning environment. And the kind of thing that I'm discovering is that there are lots of threads where I'm building up, or inching up, my skills, my competence, my confidence as well; and this will naturally evolve into me doing something similar.  

The other thought was that I come from a world of being a perfectionist, so in other words (and we talked about this in the group) we're always postponing, always have to learn more, and always have to learn more; but the need for perfection is also declining. And so there's a kind of crossover point somewhere in the near future. But I really am enjoying what I'm learning here and there's so many small little things which all build up into an overall picture; but I am feeling good and confident, so thank you very much. 

― Graham Berends

 Selene Aitken

I want to say from this particular training (and I think the whole topic today has put me in a very emotional space) that having something happen to two connected members of the group, in a small group, was a very powerful experience.

I  noticed how much we cared and kind of came around Kian and Leslie. It's very touching to me how that happened and how much care and respect we felt; and how I felt you in the center of this circle. So that effect has affected me a lot in this particular circle.  

I agree with everything that's been said, this is a rich gift and opportunity; and I'm thankful for myself to finally say I’m going to click on this “thing about the empathy circles” and I've heard about the empathy tents. I had asked some fellow trainers in NVC: “Hey you want to learn about the empathy tents?” and somebody laughed at me. What I did was I got pissed off and that friendship hasn't fully recovered yet.  I was so upset then that what I did was shut down for myself;  so now I'm really thankful that I've opened up again to this experience and I'm complete.

― Selene Aitken

Erin Kirwin

I learned that floating was a really valuable experience which means I was able to join when I couldn't do the whole time together. I guess because I'm thinking of it now it’s like exercising the heart's empathy muscle, you know.  Any opportunity that I can put on my schedule to do that, especially with what Kian said about the knowledge and experience that's here and being able to do that and gain so much from that is really great. I think it's a lot about just keeping with it and I want to and to keep practicing it. 

In this last circle, I'm really thinking about how it affects not only society, but also my own personal experiences; and what skills I want my kids to have going forward. Those were just some of the random thoughts but I tried to put that together here to express them.  And much gratitude for everybody for accepting me in this circle   

― Erin Kirwin

Adelina Sora

I'm grateful for the experience itself. It's been an amazing road so far and I'm definitely going to take the training once again because I'm not feeling like I have reached everything or learned everything that I want to know. This is something that we were discussing today in the training that I'm having this feeling of wanting to know more and more. I think that I just touched the tip of the iceberg and there's so much more to learn about this. I'm just curious to know more and to bring (and to take it) to other people as well and just let them know how it feels to feel heard.

― Adelina Sora


It's sort of mind-boggling to me - you used the word seed - just how many roots and sprouts have come from this experience in life. Starting with me and Kian working out intimate relationships, family relationships, community experiences; to the point that I think one of the next things for me (or maybe for me and Kian) given our situation here post tornado, putting out (we have a local online forum) an invitation for people to come together in a story empathy/circle hybrid. People being able to share stories of home but in a topic in an “empathy circle” fashion. I don't know that I even have words for how much this experience has really gotten into our bones.

― Leslie


I really appreciate  having a second go around with this. I feel like I'm not so focused how do I just do this.  I can really feel feel like I can go deeper and focus more on on actually connecting with the people that I'm working with.  I've really appreciated that. 

― Kian

Cat Spence

I always like different things about the training.  For me, I'm growing all the time and I just feel like, I'm very young, but I'm also like, no, no, I'm gonna do this. It's like learning by doing.

I really appreciate everyone's having the kind of access to all this knowledge and experience is really really beneficial to me. And then obviously being able to apply it and then see the confidence over time and just keep going. You just keep seeing it growing all the time. You can see it in front of your face quite quickly. So I really appreciate that. Thanks everyone.

― Cat Spence

Edwin Rutsch

I appreciate the experiential, relational learning. It's like we're learning together, not “Hey this is a lecture - this is about empathy!”  It never sticks with me anyway but it's really coming together; co-learning, co-creating and learning from everyone.

I really appreciate that: like today with the topic that Cat brought up. It was so rich, the learning and growth; I was so touched by some of the things that came up. . .  I see this as . . . a seed of a plant that's  growing to kind of nurture really to build that more empathic culture. I’m  just really grateful for everyone taking part and kind of trying to nurture this . . . way of being.

― Edwin Rutsch

Evelyn Riera

One reason for joining I had mentioned was that I was very lonely. So I think it's really helped me to reconnect with the world after this COVID.  I mean, it's not over yet, but that was a big thing.

 And I've done other things. I mean, it hasn't just been this group but that helped me along you know how to structure things and I had one meeting a week and empathy Buddy Call and this.  So I've been able to also reach out in other ways. Um, I think the empathy circle work has helped me to listen to myself and understand what I think is really important and what I value. So a big chunk of self empathy, I guess, in this language.  I was able to exercise or rediscover my old facilitation muscle that I still can do it, and I still like it, and I enjoy it, and it's the greatest thing in the world, for me. That's that's what I that's how I would summarize it.

― Evelyn Riera

Janos Deak

 I think this is a self learning about myself. And also the learner really nice and simple, simple method for this. And our circle speak about the community building, communication and leadership. This is why I'm here because I don't have quiet good skills. So that's why maybe I'm here to improve in these kind of skills, soft skills

Lou Zweier

A learning for me from this, which I get reinforced pretty much every time we do the training, is the power.  Well, first off, just recognizing that people come into the training at different places, and they learn at different paces. And that part of creating a culture of empathy is holding everyone together, and accepting everyone where they are, and helping them to take the next steps along whatever path they're taking, and having a structure that's loosely held, allows for that. I think that is a way in which we embody a culture of empathy, which is a really beautiful thing in the training.

 I also went want to make a comment that's related to what Timothy said, about war culture. So I'm familiar with Kenneth Boulding, defining kind of three ways to use power in relationships. 

One way is threat power, which is, you know, do what do what I asked you to do, or you're going to be sorry, that you didn't. So, you know, threatening someone in some way. 

Another is transactional power, which is to say, if you do this for me, I'll do this for you. It creates more of a relationship, but you know, it's still pretty just transactional. 

Third is integrative where you say, I want to understand you, and I want you to understand me. And then let's figure out how to do what works for both of us. That's integrated power. And yeah, so I just wanted to kind of articulate those three ways of looking at it, as opposed to just war power.  

Lou Zweier