Welcome! This work is about learning practical skills of empathic communication for responding effectively to the most difficult and painful conflicts and disconnections of our human lives. The work for me is also about the spiritual path and journey from the suffering of an illusory separate self to the unconditioned happiness and peace of experiencing nondual consciousness — connection with the wholeness, unity, and oneness of Life. It is journeying through the depths of our humanness, experiencing as fully as we can our joys, sorrows and vulnerability, doing our best to follow the truth of our heart and soul, what truly brings us alive and nourishes and enriches us.
This work is also about the integration of spirituality and the evolution of consciousness with evolving understandings of science, neuroscience, and human conflict: how our brain, body, and mind react to perceived danger and threat, and the functioning of thought and emotion.
On this path there is learning the ability to connect empathically with others and ourselves, however difficult the behavior or the situation, and to work together to respond to the challenges we face. There are universal distinctions of mindfulness, language, and emotional intelligence that are at the core of our shared humanity. There are practical skills for developing empathic presence and for speaking, listening and acting from this place. There are conversation “maps” I call them for navigating challenges and conflicts in all aspects of life, inner and outer. These distinctions, skills, and maps bring us back to our natural compassion and kindness, to the place of joy in giving and receiving, contributing to one another’s well being, our human capacity for cooperation, mutual love, support, and care. It’s about building empathic communities of learning, practice, and support, and actively engaging in the social-political systems in which we live.
The body of work I have co-created is called Mediate Your Life, which is based in the international work of Compassionate Communication (Nonviolent Communication, NVC). You can receive personal coaching from me or attend my in person or online trainings to learn these skills and abilities for yourself and your own life. My bigger hope and invitation to you, however, is that you will also want to learn how to provide empathic communication coaching and mediation to others, helping people in the world experience greater happiness and well being and respond effectively and creatively to life’s difficulties, and to the dangers and challenges that all of humanity now faces. Now is the time. I hope you will be part of the global movement to create more empathic connection and collaboration.
I envision the skills and practices of empathic communication to be recognized in the cultural mainstream as an integral part of health, wellness and optimal functioning. The rapidly growing health movement is not only about science-based approaches to diet and exercise, but also includes things like yoga, mindfulness/meditation, compassion, emotional and social intelligence, and positive psychology, as well as new paradigm organizational functioning. These health practices are being shown to contribute to more optimal and effective human functioning and well being. Ultimately, I see empathic communication, and being part of empathic communities, as foundational to these health practices and part of humanity’s evolution toward responding together to the challenges we face and creating a healthy and sustainable world.
Options for Learning and Receiving Support
See Navigation Menu in upper right corner of this page for other info
Books on the Mediate Your Life (MYL) approach that I have co-authored:
What is empathic connection?
I like to talk about empathic connection in two ways. One is that it is experiencing the universality of our shared humanity in a way that holds the richness, beauty, and depth of our individuality and uniqueness in the larger context of connection to community, society, the world, life. It is also our connection to nature and natural rhythms, and the play and dance and music of life joyous celebration and the heartbreak of grief and loss. The other way I define empathic connection is that it is giving and receiving from the natural joy of contributing to one another's well being. It is acting from the heart, from honesty and compassion and courage. There are skills of language and attention that deepen and strengthen our natural capacity for this connection, and that bring us back to connection when we lose it, when we get triggered into the Fight-Flight-Freeze part of the brain (fear, anger, hurt, shame, depression). When we are in this kind of connection we function and work together at our best.
A fiercer and deeper understanding of connection for me is that it is an ongoing conversation integrating dualities such as heart and mind, imagination and rationality, the spiritual and the scientific, the sacred and the secular, the conscious and the unconscious; and deeper still it is integrating the most beautiful and difficult aspects of human nature and reality — kindness and cruelty, love and suffering. These conversations take courage and vulnerability, and deep listening. I see them as healing and reconciling, making whole and healthy, our experience of conflicting dualities, the right and left hemispheres of our physiology and social-political worlds, our reptilian-survival and mammalian-relational evolutionary inheritance. Conflict can lead to new synthesis and integration at a higher level. There is power in conflict to transform and open us to new possibilities and emergent solutions. The practices of empathic conversation with ourselves and others, and the support of empathic community around us, build our capacity for resilience, resourcefulness and creativity, and are an integral component of health and wellness, including healthy work life and organizational functioning.
Research and Learning Resources
See links below to info and research on empathy, compassion, mindfulness, emotional and social intelligence, and positive psychology. Growing empirical evidence shows that these practices lead to increased mental, emotional, and physical well being and functioning, better relationships, and organizational benefits such as enhanced creativity, performance, productivity, and teamwork.
The Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (CCARE) at Stanford School of Medicine, Self-Compassion, Positive Psychology Center, Greater Good Science Center, The Center for HealthyMinds, The Center for Mindfulness, Emotional and Social Intelligence — Daniel Goleman, Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, Brene Brown.
Within the challenges and conflicts in our lives, there is an energy that can propel us to the next level of well being, growth, and new possibilities. With the tools of empathic communication we can transform the power of conflict to create the life, relationships, and work we want, and contribute to the world we envision, one conversation at a time.
I envision a world in which we human beings are working together to respond to the challenges we face, and creating a peaceful, healthy, and sustainable world.
— john kinyon