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Compassion for Yourself: A One Day Workshop in Self-Empathy (Portland, OR)

You take a moment to check in with yourself and you are met with a chorus of conflicting voices.  How do you navigate this inner landscape and find your way to a sense of peace and clarity?  In this series you will learn a concrete framework and set of skills to meet your experience in a way that opens the door to compassion and wise discernment. 
Internal conflict and external stressors leave you feeling depleted and confused.  You need a new way through.  You have likely given a lot to others and are ready to give some gifts to yourself.  It's difficult to know what you really need and how you thrive, especially when social conditioning exhorts you to maintain an external focus. 

In facing difficult situations or even your own high standards, you can sometimes have an inner committee of thoughts and feelings pulling you different directions.  Trying to make sense of it can be tiring work.  You need a break from internal processing that goes in circles and self-analysis that leaves you feeling disconnected.

LaShelle, your teaching of the nvc wisdom is easily digested and easily grasped - - - and essential for transforming our lives... i love your work and thank u
Michelle from Australia

In this one day workshop you will learn to make sense of your internal world with a simple and direct framework that also enables you to meet yourself with compassion.  You will practice identifying your feelings and needs and committing to effective action.  In the framework of Nonviolent Communication (NVC), this is called self-empathy.

Self-empathy is a subtle skill that teaches compassionate witnessing of your experience (mindfulness). Learning self-empathy isn't about affirmations or trying to talk yourself out of your feelings. It's about identifying disconnecting thoughts, beliefs, habits, and old stories, and finding the way to your heart's longing.

As you learn the skill of self-empathy it gets easier to translate self-critical thoughts and judgments of others into feelings and needs and the actions to meet needs.  Over time, you find that you don't take things so personally and that you have more confidence in meeting difficult situations.

Join us for this one day workshop and learn and practice coming into compassionate relationship with yourself.  Need more information before you sign up?  Keep scrolling down for workshop content.


First Half of the Morning:
  We will begin by naming and defining the foundational elements that make self-empathy practice accessible.  These elements are:

  • Inner Compassionate Witness:  This means having a “you” that can step back from your experience and notice what’s happening with gentleness.
  • Commitment/Intention:  the practice of choosing moment by moment to pursue truth, joy, love, & well-being.
  • Information:   How does your heartbodymind actually work? 
  • Self-study:  How do you thrive?  How do you block nourishment?  Recognizing feelings and needs, & recognizing patterns. 
  • Skills:  Learn to practice an inner dialogue structure.  Learn to name feelings, and needs, and make specific requests.
  • Practice:  Maintain consistent engagement in that which supports your thriving.
  • Fluid Access to Core Truths:  This means that you are able to easily articulate the core truths that contribute a thriving life.

Cultivating Your Compassionate Witness 

I will guide you in an experiential exercise to help reveal subtle patterns of reactive thought.  You will practice residing in your compassionate witness and then translating reactive patterns into feelings, needs, and requests.

Second Half of the Morning:  Giving and Receiving Empathy for Reactive "Selves"

Demonstration:  With a volunteer I will demonstrate what a compassionate internal dialogue can look like and sound like.  I will then set up a structured exercise that will make it easier to meet your reactive "selves".

First Half of the Afternoon:

Facing Others' Reactivity and Staying Centered

We will now turn our attention toward external situations that trigger reactivity and how to stay connected to yourself in those difficult situations.  We will start by naming common triggers.  In addition to the self-empathy skills you have been practicing, I will demonstrate some ways that make it easier to access those skills when someone is in front of you and you feel pressure to respond.

Second Half of the Afternoon:

Responding to Shame, Guilt, Anger, and Depression

Shame, guilt, anger, and depression are important alarm feelings.  They indicate that a certain kind of thinking is happening for you.  Specifically, with shame, you are having some version of a thought that you are a bad person.  With guilt you are having some version of a thought that you should or shouldn't have behaved in a particular way.  For anger you are having some version of a thought that others or life should or shouldn't be as it is.  For depression, you are having some version of a thought that you should or shouldn't have certain feelings and needs.  These feelings only arise in relationship to a cherished need or value, so it's essential to be able to turn towards these feelings and connect with the life giving energy underneath.

For practice with the four alarms you can choose to work through an exercise on your own or with a partner.

Appreciation/Celebration and Responding to the Inner Committee

An important part of creating a consistent compassionate inner dialogue is the practice of noticing when needs are met.  This means giving as much reflection and attention to yourself when you are thriving as when you are struggling.  You will practice three different formats for appreciating and celebrating yourself.

At the end of the class, we will do a closing circle and talk about next steps in your practice.

We will take an hour lunch.  

Do you need to know more before deciding whether to join us or not?  Please give me a call or send an email with any questions you have.  I am happy to talk with you.

CANCELLATION POLICY:  to meet needs for inclusion, security, and predictability refunds are only given if requested 72 hours before the start of the course, so please discern carefully.


9:30am - 5:30pm, December 16, 2017
Friends Meeting House
4312 SE Stark, Portland OR 97215
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$80.00   Register Online
CANCELLATION POLICY:  to meet needs for inclusion, security, and predictability refunds are only given if requested 72 hours before the start of the course, so please discern carefully.