Greetings from Strawbale Studio

In this time of Darkness, still and cold, may we connect with creativity and peace.

winter 2014

Strawbale Studio with the Hobbit Sauna in the background. 20



“We live ourselves into a new humanity.  

Every cell in our body interwoven with the land, our home.  

Deep the roots connecting all that be. Deep life’s oldest dream, whole and free. 

Deep the memory singing in the song, And deep the love, the love that calls us on. “

from the songs of Carolyn McDade 


This has been an engaging year with a number of projects co-created with others.  Perhaps the most important “leading edge” for me this year has been studying Non-Violent Communication (Compassionate Communication).  I love the list of human needs that is suggested: play, rest, autonomy, creativity, purpose in life, sustenance, safety, protection, love, understanding, appreciation,  a warm community.  Here are 2 similar but different lists of proposed human needs:  List 1  List 2  Which list do you like best? Which of these qualities do you, or don’t you long for?  Hah. I want them all.  I just love this clear, inspiring look at our common human longings.

Needs are considered very general…a place where we can connect with others, because, they, too, have these needs, longings.  Exactly how we will get this needs met are considered “strategies”.  For example I an needing rest.  Strategies could be to take a nap, walk on the beach, pet the cat, have supper with a friend, meditate, read a book …..lots of options.  According to NVC, when our needs are getting met, we experience positive feelings like…happy, excited, zestful, thankful.  When our needs are not getting met we might feel…sadness, anger, depression, frustration.

This year a few friends have gotten together 2x a month to learn and practice.  Very challenging ~ a conscious shifting of so many ways that we have been taught to view and express things.  I do believe that how we communicate has a lot to do with whether our needs will be met ~ and also the needs of the planet & all beings, now and into the future.  This compassionate communication seeks to leave behind blame and sarcasm, attack and defend, and focusing on understanding and creating a quality connection with each other.     Yahoo !  If this is interesting to you…here is some more information

About Nonviolent Communication (NVC)    audio interview     basics      wiki article 

NVC can dramatically improve our relationships by helping us focus our attention on
1) Empathic understanding of others without compromising our own values, and
2) Expressing our real feelings and needs openly and honestly, yet without blame or criticism.

NVC delineates four components of communication:
1) Observations free of evaluations;
2) Feelings straight from the heart;
3) Needs, values and longings; and
4) Requests expressed clearly in positive action language.

Together these tools help create the kind of dialogue that can foster resolutions satisfying for everyone without painful sacrifice. Even in situations of longstanding conflict or hostility, the NVC process can open new doors to compassionate connection and action.

Learning NVC is Learning to:

  • Build relationships based on compassion and understanding
  • Accurately understand other people’s feelings and needs
  • Be assertive and negotiable at the same time
  • Break patterns of thinking that lead to anger and depression