Posts filed under ‘Conscious Books’

BLISSfix Book Review Part 1 – NVC: A Language of Life By: Marshall Rosenberg, Ph.D.

I remember loving this book, but as I picked it back up yesterday, it swept me off my feet once again.  The following excerpt summed up some really important pieces of the puzzle of why this teaching touches me in the way that it does… I’ll explain a bit more after you read the following.  enjoy!  It’s delicious.

Forward by Arun Gandhi Taken from pg xiii-xv

As a person of color, growing up in apartheid South Africa in the 1940s was not something anyone relished.  Especially not if you were brutally reminded of your skin color every moment of every day.  To be beaten up at the age of ten by white youths because they consider you too black and then by black youths because they consider you too white is a humiliating experience that would drive anyone to vengeful violence.

I was so outraged that my parents decided to take me to India and leave me for some time with Grandfather, the legendary M.K. Gandhi, so that I could learn from him how to deal with the anger, the frustration, the discrimination, and the humiliation that violent color prejudice can evoke in you.  In the eighteen months I learned more than I anticipated…

We often don’t acknowledge our violence because we are ignorant about it; we assume we are not violent because our vision of violence is one of fighting, killing, beating, and wars – the types of things average individuals don’t do.

To bring this home to me, Grandfather made me draw a family tree of violence using the same principals as for a genealogical tree.  His argument was that I would have a better appreciation of nonviolence if I understood and acknowledged the violence that exists in the world.  He assisted me every evening to analyze the day’s happenings – everything that I had experience, read about, saw or did to others – and put them down on the tree as either under “physical, ” if it was violence where physical force was used, or under “passive,” if it was the type of violence where the hurt was more emotional.

Within a few months I covered one wall in my room with acts of “passive” violence which Grandfather described as being more insideous than “physical” violence.  He the explained that passive violence ultimately generated anger in the victim who, as an individual or as a member of a collective, responded violently.  In other words, it is passive violence that fuels the fire of physical violence.  It is because we don’t understand or appreciate this that each peace has been temporary.  How can we extinguish a fire if we don’t first cut off the fuel that ignites the inferno?…

… As Grandfather would say, unless “we become the change we wish to see in the world,” no change will ever take place.  We are all, unfortunately, waiting for the other person to change first…

… We often hear people say: This world is ruthless, and if you want to survive you must become ruthless too.  I humbly disagree.

This world is what we have made of it.  If it is ruthless today it is because we have made it ruthless by our attitudes.  If we can change ourselves we can change the world, and changing ourselves beings with changing our language and methods of communication.  I highly recommend reading this book and applying the Nonviolent Communication process it teaches.  It is a significant first step toward changing our communication and creating a compassionate world.

– Arun Gandhi

Ok, so 1) i’m just loving day dreaming about what it would have been like to have Mahatma Gandhi as my grandfather and get one-on-one training with him… how freaking amazing would that be?!!

And 2) this and other parts of this book woke me up to the truth that my passive agressive comments are what lead to physical violence toward me.  It could be one slight comment to the wrong person at the wrong time, or it could be months of backhanded, manipulative comments, before the person that i’m directing them to finally can’t take anymore and feels compelled to lash out at me to get me to stop and hear their needs.  (I’m really thinking of many situations I got myself into as a teenager… with girlfriends, with my parents, etc.)  Oh, what a gift it would have been to have been trained in this before middle school!  whew!  Would have missed some emotional scars there… but honestly, having witnessed this teaching now, I can see through the falsehood of all of those painful experiences and they don’t hurt in the slightest anymore… I only feel love for all the people who were involved, and what a gift that is, as well. 🙂

And then I think another vital part of that (3) was that until I woke up and realized that I was part of the problem… ie. I was attracting the attacking by subtling attacking in the first place through passive aggressive behavior… until I figured that out… I was impotent to do anything about it.  Once I accepted responsibility, I then had the power to see it differently.  I was no longer the victim, I was the perpertrator and I could change my actions, my thoughts and the way I saw the past, and the way I react in the future.  But i had to see it first.  And I think Mahatma Gandhi made that clear to his grandson when he taught him that  “[he] would have a better appreciation of nonviolence if [he] understood and acknowledged the violence that exists in the world. “

And last, but certainly not least… 4) I’ve always loved Ganhi’s quote, ‘we must be the change we wish to see in the world’ and i enjoyed being reminded of it here in this example.  It’s by practicing these principles and applying them that I begin to change my experience and the experience of all the people around me…  and hopefully they will enjoy my shift toward being more straightforward, clear, compassionate and truly seeking to understand their needs, desires and requests.   And just by changing my sphere… they will feel peace too… and perhaps spread it to their sphere… and with 6 degrees of separation growing smaller by the minute with the help of Facebook, Twitter, etc… then I marvel at how quickly starting in my own back yard could help loads and loads of people.

If any of this appeals to you, I highly recommend this book and the free event on Friday, Jan 15th, 2010.

– Review continues here –


January 7, 2010 at 9:00 am Leave a comment

BLISSfix Book Review – “Don’t Be Nice, Be Real” by Kelly Bryson

Don’t Be Nice, Be Real  by Kelly Bryson

It’s only fitting that I should start here in my 14 days of blogging on Compassionate Communication (aka NonViolent Communication or NVC), as this is where it began for me.  I had had a series of events in my life that had revealed several truths:  1) my pleasing nature wasn’t pleasing anyone  and driving me insane in the process and 2) I had been living the life of a pleaser for so long, I didn’t know how to function peacefully without it.  It was as if I was operating on the belief that I could either try to read everyone’s minds and attempt to make them happy and work overtime to give them what they wanted, or I could stand up for what I wanted and be a Bitch.  Why is it that my upbringing gave me only two archetypes as a woman… pushover or bitch?  And to be completely honest, bitch wasn’t working for me.  I wasn’t even being an aggressive bitch, but I was finding all sorts of physical and verbal conflict just by stating my opinion firmly.

It was clear I needed to do something to learn how to operate out of my old pleaser paradigm.  My first thought was to look into martial arts, so I could at least defend myself against an attacker should my words come to that.  But that didn’t feel quite right either… I didn’t believe in enemies, and I was honestly shocked that I was attracting so many just by having an opinion.   And I love that whenever I ask an earnest question from my heart, an answer always arrives… and that’s what happened when I visited COLORS Center for Spiritual Living in Charlotte for the first time and found this book in their bookstore.

It was like a light bulb went on and I thought, “Oh, a third option… nice, bitch and REAL!” 🙂

So here’s my review: I cannot speak for the entire book, as I only read half of it, because I only read books as long as they are serving me and then I move onto the next that is calling my name.  However I will speak fondly of what I did read.  Chapter 1, entitled Don’t Pay the Price of Being Nice, is covered in my pencil scratch and notes from the multiple levels of which it resonated with what I was searching for.  A way to end my cycle of being nice, only to fail those around me and myself.  He talked about how as children we are trained in school and by our parents to conform to the needs of others (namely adults) through punishment, reward and peer pressure and that this training causes many of us to be ‘other-directed’ the rest of our lives.  Bryson does a great job of pulling quotes from experts in the fields of psychology and the human potential movement and blending them seamlessly with his own thoughts and points.   As I read this first chapter I could feel how angry Bryson is that we have evolved this direction, which made me want to raise my sword and scream “FREEDOM,” too.  Although, sometimes I felt his anger clouded his vision and he would make loose points that I didn’t fully agree with, which then seemed to invalidate some of his stronger points.  My favorite thing about Bryson’s writing is his ability to bring humor into play with his well researched passion for a new way of being.  Truly, it might be the most entertaining book I’ve read in the self-help category.  It’s full of one-liners, puns, play-on-words, and comedic relief.  I scored 100% on his list of “you might be a ‘nice’neck if!”

I also really appreciate how many examples Bryson provides when teaching his concepts of NVC, because in each one I’m able to relate to the different characters and imagine myself in their shoes and sense how the situation can be changed through my compassionate responses.

In the end, the reason I stopped reading is because Bryson is an imperfect teacher.  His passionate anger and ability to make fun of these topics can sometimes seem as if he’s missing his own point.  Once Bryson had helped me see the error in my ways, I was ready for a teacher that could not only tell me about the way things “should” be, but also model it for me in every word and action.  I also felt guilty every time I judged him for it, and felt like I wasn’t living the compassion either.

In summary:

+ Bryson is humorous, a talented writer, and passionate about the topic, and the book is well-researched, full of great examples and thorough.

– Bryson in some ways fails to live what he teaches, and although 95% of his points are valid, it’s the 5% where he stretches a bit that cause the entire argument to weaken.

All in all, I would highly recommend this book to others, especially those who feel they might be a ‘Nice’neck! 🙂

MORE REVIEWS of Don’t Be Nice Be Real By Kelly Bryson: Amazon’s Customer Reviews


REMEMBER Just 13 Days until the Charlotte Peace Rising Event

Friday, Jan 15th, 7pm

email to ensure you have a seat!

January 2, 2010 at 5:50 pm 1 comment

A new year… A new commitment to compassion.

This year, my main resolution is to master living compassionately. To see all things through the eyes of love.  I think this also means living without fear, in the sense that I see that there is nothing to defend against.  I want to deeply understand, see and believe that “all there is, is love.”  I want my words and actions to be peaceful, loving and compassionate.  And I want my thoughts toward myself and others to be equally peaceful and focused on love, peace, ease, gratitude, appreciation, and joy.  In other words… I see living compassionately as a sure step to living blissfully.

My first attempt in bringing this about is practice.  Practice make progress.  This past year I read multiple books on compassionate communication (aka Non-Violent Communication) and saw some major progress in the way I relate with my husband, friends, and family.  I was also really encouraged by the level of insight I gained in understanding my own needs and ending my habits of self-sabotage.  (a blog entry in itself)  However, the room for improvement is vast.

So to make major progress this year, I would truly love to meet with a local Non-Violent Communication (NVC) practice group regularly.  I first had this desire last June and was saddened to realized the closest regularly meeting practice group was in Chapel Hill, NC, a good 2.5 hrs away.  So, I contacted the leader of, Catherine Cadden, author of Peaceable Revolution Through Education, and asked for her help.

The great news…  da…da… daaaa….

She’s coming to speak here in Charlotte on Friday, Jan. 15th, 2010 at our studio!  The event is free to the public and will showcase videos of her work.  It’s only 2 hrs long and the talk begins at 7pm, doors open at 6:30pm.  Please pre-register by emailing me  at so we can ensure you have a place to sit! 🙂

On Saturday, those who feel called to learn more will be invited to our home for a vegetarian potluck and full day workshop.  This workshop will teach us in depth practices for changing the way we communicate our needs and desires to others, increasing our chances for peace and ease in our relationships.

My hope is that by bringing ZeNVC here, that several people in attendance will be inspired to form a regularly meeting practice group in Charlotte.

As of today, this is just 14 days away, so I plan to blog about NVC for the next 14 days to give it a little hype and help people understand what it is… so they can see if they want to come.

I’m excited and hopeful about this event and my resolution.

RESOLUTION TIP: check out as a way to keep track and receive support with your life goals.  I love how this site focuses on the positive and helps you align with your goal vibrationally.  Very nice! 🙂

January 2, 2010 at 1:46 am 1 comment


I love you because…. I had the honor of meeting the creator of this beautiful project today at a bookstore in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco.  The photo below was the first to draw me in.  I was delighted to see 3 more prints on display.  And even more delighted to realize he has a book full of these beautiful expressions of love.  Follow the links to get your BLISSfix with these truly beautiful messages.  Enjoy!

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July 31, 2009 at 6:41 pm Leave a comment

BLISSfix loves “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz

5113EKMQHKL._SS500_Yesterday, as Sean and I took in some of the most beautiful scenery on highway 40 winding through Colorado, we listened to the Unabridged Audiobook of “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz, read by Peter Coyote.  As usual the words were exactly what I was wanting and needing to hear.  I had been entreating God/the Universe to help me recommit to all that I had learned and resonated with in the book “NonViolent Communication” by Marshal Rosenburg and here came this book completely in alignment with all the NVC teachings.  The book contains wisdom from biblical references as well as ancient Toltec (Native American) traditions.  Below I state the agreements I have made with myself based on the four in the book.

Agreement 1. Be Impeccable with My Word. I commit to speak with integrity, being careful to use my word only for the upliftment of myself and others through truth and love.

Agreement 2.  Be Immune to the Opinions and Actions of Others. (This one I have altered slightly from the version of the book because I choose to speak in positives) I acknowledge that the words and actions of others are from their perception of reality and have nothing to do with me as an individual.  I allow them their opinion and process and compassionately related to their human needs.  I powerfully select what I choose to believe for myself even when others are expressing beliefs I would prefer to release.  I am in control of what I choose to believe.

Agreement 3.  Ask Compassionate Questions and Compassionately Speak my Truth. (This one I have altered slightly from the version of the book because I choose to speak in positives) I honor my intuition and at the same time I seek total understanding of others needs through asking compassionate questions.  I honor myself by asking myself compassionate questions about my true feelings, needs and desires.  Once I am clear on my needs and wants, I confidently, consciously and compassionately express my truth and make requests to get my needs met.

Agreement 4.  I always do my Best! (This one I have altered slightly from the version of the book because I wanted to claim it for myself) My best is different in any given moment… for instance, my best when I’m just coming off a spiritual retreat compared to my best after a long day of challenging work will be different.  I accept myself at all times and at all stages and simply commit to doing my best at any given moment.  If I catch myself ‘shaming’ myself for not being better, I will stop, and simply remind myself that under the circumstances, that was my best, and in this consciousness, I have the ability to change now and start anew.  I embrace myself reminding myself that it is ok to make mistakes and it is joyful to consciously overcome them.

I’m so grateful for having found this book.  I bought it many years ago and accidentally listened to a brief excerpt while working out the other morning.  I knew immediately that it resonated now more than ever before and the timing of rediscovering it was perfect.   Enjoy the following links and a video that contains images similar to the ones we witnessed yesterday while driving and words from the book.

Sites related to The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz:

July 13, 2009 at 5:21 pm 1 comment

BLISSfix LOVES “The Soul of Money”

Picture 2Last night as I settled down into bed, I decided to start a new book, The Soul of Money by Lynne Twist, which I had borrowed from the public library.  When I casually opened it, it opened to Chapter 5: Money is Like Water.  I’m always eager to follow ‘signs’ so I decided to start right were my fingers had landed.  The message here was 100% BLISSfix approved, asking the reader to be more conscious of the energy behind the money they spend and receive.  In her example, a CEO of a major US Company uncaringly donates $50,000 to her organization The Hunger Project as a PR move and on the very same day she receives a heartfelt $50 from a woman in Harlem who was grateful to give her all that she had to “do the most good for the most people.”  That night Lynne wrote a letter to the CEO and returned the $50,000 check, stating that they should contribute to a cause they were passionate about.  You absolutely must read the entire story for yourself, as it’s the kind to give goose bumps, or Godbumps as I call them. 🙂  She also shares a story about wanting to shower her granddaughter in presents, but after listening to her son’s wishes, she decides to be more conscious with her purchases… considering the practices of the companies she’s buying from and the consequences of supporting companies who exploit child labor or allow toxic dye to be used in their fabrics.  This is all about bringing consciousness into your life in a very applicable way.  Receiving money from people who give it with love and a sense of connected community, and giving money to people who have a sense of love, consciousness and connected community.   The more we support those conscious, loving companies, the more they thrive and the more consciousness is being raised on this planet.  I love it!

One quote from the book that I loved and had heard at least 2 other times this week in other words follows below:

“We can use this grand resource of money to affirm those companies whose products and people support the well-being of our children and our communities, or we can get caught up in spending to get more simply because we can, and find ourselves accumulating things that eventually only burden us with excess, clutter our homes and end up in a landfill.”

It was specifically the word ‘clutter’ that has reached my awareness multiple times this week all in relation to unnecessary accumulation of stuff.  It made me want to consider how simply I might be able to live without my stuff.

We’ve cut quite a bit of spending with the economic slow-down, but I’ve continued to attract free stuff that clutters my home and my mind.  It’s difficult to maintain a clean, orderly home with all the junk I have.

In the South, people would say, “I get it honest” as my mom has the same condition.  Piles of related stuff is about as orderly as either of our houses become.

I remember a line from the Meg Ryan movie “French Kiss” where her future sister-in-law claims that she will never own a home because, as she put it, ‘you start out thinking you own the house and then it ends up owning you.”  I see that in my own life in so many ways, from the depreciating assets of new cars, to equipment that breaks and needs repairing, to clothing that I can’t release but don’t have room for, to the $2000 hypo allergenic dog we bought who then needed $800 dog training, and regular vet visits and special $30/bag dog food, and toys, and hair cuts, and a college education while I’m at it. 🙂  We’ve since dropped most of that, but the point is, when we buy something, it is generally because we expect it to make our lives easier, or more enjoyable.  However, quite often, one purchase necessitates another and the thing that we purchased to bring us joy or make life easier comes with a learning curve, or complications, or falls apart sooner than we’d hoped.  I’m not suggesting that commerce is bad… quite the contrary… commerce can be wonderful and is a necessary part of life… what I am suggesting is that the more conscious we are with our purchasing power, the more satisfied we will be in the short and long term.
Whether we have a lot of money or just a little, as long as we are aware of how our incoming and outgoing money aligns with our values and our sense of purpose in life, we will fill fulfilled.  And if we choose to use or receive money in ways that goes against our belief and purpose we are likely to feel disappointed, even dirty.

“Money flows through all our lives, sometimes like a rushing river, and sometimes like a trickle.  When it is flowing, it can purify, cleanse, create growth, and nourish.  But when it is blocked or held too long, it can grow stagnant and toxic to those withholding or hoarding it.”  As the title of the chapter claims, money is like water in this way.

May everyone who reads this ask themselves these questions, “what is my relationship with money now… how is it entering my life and where is it going?  And am I satisfied by my current flow?  And if not, what am I willing to change to become more conscious in my spending and earning habits?”  And if these questions stump you, consider picking up this book as Lynne shares example after example of how wonderful or frustrating your life with money can be, leaving the choice of your experience up to you!

With much gratitude for discovering this book I share it here in the hopes more people will find it.

June 6, 2009 at 8:08 pm Leave a comment

BLISSfix LOVES Financial Independence!!!

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I’m loving this site! It’s based on the teachings of the book “Your Money or Your Life” by Joe Domingez & Vicki Robin.  The book is great, however from this site I was able to read the downloadable instructions and complete the exercises in 8 short hours (much shorter than reading the book, just as effective and FREE!!! – hello!) and I feel much more in control of my finances because of it.  If you’re curious about the book, there’s an excellent site related to the new release of the book that is helpful with summaries and great info… (you’ll recognize the site design!)  Enjoy the independence and the mind shift that come with it!

June 4, 2009 at 7:08 pm Leave a comment

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