Wednesday, March 29, 2017

White Rock Village Community Care Team Makes a Difference

The White Rock Village Community Care Team is committed to serving its community. The team consists mostly of residents who live at White Rock Village and have decided to give back to the neighborhood and community at large.

The team of volunteers wear T-shirts that read on the back “Demonstrating our care by doing our neighbor good” and they are doing just that.

Iva Bartley volunteers by facilitating the KidzLit Reading Program and teaching an art class at White Rock Village.

“I enjoy reading a story with the kids and taking their understanding of the story to another level and seeing the expression on the their faces as this happens is priceless,” she said. “When that happens you know you have been successful.”

Monday, March 07, 2016

Knitting for a Good Cause - White Rock Village Knitting Team Makes a Difference

It started off simple enough – a group of women living at White Rock Village wanted to knit hats for family and friends.

It is very helpful to receive these caps, Rebecca Drahmann, who is the Patient Services Supervisor at the El Dorado Community Health Center, said. It is nice to receive something that is hand-made. It is obviously made with love. Anything hand-made comes from the heart. It just means so much more.

The WRV knitting team has donated 1186 caps to various organizations since they started last year. 
The team has donated to Marshall Hospital, Kaiser Roseville, Mercy San Juan, the Cancer Resource Center and the Infant Parent Center in Cameron Park and plans to continue to donate to these organizations.

White Rock Village is a property of Mercy Housing in El Dorado Hills which provides affordable housing to create stable and healthy communities by developing, financing and operating affordable, program-enriched housing for families, seniors and people with special needs who lack the economic resources to access quality, safe housing opportunities.

Eddie Zacapa, the resident services coordinator at the property said, It is inspiring to watch these ladies grow the team and donate these caps to local hospitals and organizations. We all benefit when we have an opportunity to give to others.

The knitting team meets on Wednesdays and Fridays at WRV at 10 a.m. and is looking for more volunteers and more donations of yarn and fleece to make more caps and blankets. If you are interested in helping or making a donation please contact Resident Services Coordinator Eddie Zacapa at 916-941-2357.


Sunday, January 25, 2015

Doing What is Right: Bystander Intervention

Be an Active Bystander
This quote reminds me of how important it is do the right thing (that which serves life). No matter how hard it may be to do the right thing, we bring enrichment, peace, safety, care, and justice to the world when we do.

It is alarming that many times people do not do something to help others when others are in danger. Much research has been done to prove this point: that for some reason people do not help others in times of need. One famous case is the Catherine Genovese case.

To read more click here

Monday, January 12, 2015

The Compassionate Path to Change & Discovering Life Serving Strategies

CAPTION: Photo courtesy
I believe there is something inside us that calls us to live a better life; a part of us that desires to compassionately connect with us and guide us to a new way of living. This something inside is a longing to reach our full potential.

When darkness comes our way or we stumble about we can always connect with this part of us that tenderly wants to help us get back on track. In nonviolent communication we can access this part of us by putting on our giraffe ears. When we can explore our past decisions with tenderness and no judgment we enter a sacred space that is safe and without judgment - a place that we can be with our feelings, needs and deepest longings. Our giraffe ears or our compassionate presence creates emotional safety for us. It is here that we can find healing and find strategies to live a better life.

Entering the Sacred Space with Compassion
When I think of a story that demonstrates someone entering this sacred space with someone else and helping them turn their life around, I think of a story I grew up hearing at church. It is the story that consists of teachers of the religious community and scribes bringing a woman who was caught in adultery before Jesus. It is his response that resonates of love, grace and compassion.

They said unto him, "Master this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned; but what sayest thou?"

Jesus response is to stoop down and with his finger write on the ground as though he did not hear them. It was as if he was in his own element. He continued to write on the ground. Some theologians think he wrote down the sins that the accusers had done in the past on the ground. I think, regardless of what he wrote down, he was creating a sacred space.

When they continued asking Jesus what they should do Jesus says, "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her."

One by one they begin to walk away until there was only the woman and himself left present. He then says to the woman, "Woman, where are those thine accusers? Hath no man condemned thee?"

She said, "No man, Lord." And Jesus said unto her, "Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more."

Jesus enters this space with grace and compassion. There is no judgment or condemnation. He sees the potential of the woman and invites her to walk into this potential. If only we could be this tender and compassionate with ourselves.

When we realize that we, like the woman caught in adultery, make the choices we make because we are trying to meet our needs as best we can; we can hold ourselves with empathy and understanding.
We can ask ourselves what needs we were trying to meet when we made the choice and empathize with this part of us that longs for this need. After having done this we can grieve how our choice did not meet this need or the needs of others. Then we can explore and discover strategies that would honor our values and those of others.

There may be choices that we make that are tragic and have tragic consequences, but the key is to learn from these choices. If we can learn that the strategies we chose did not work and find other strategies that work more effectively to meet our needs and the needs of others we can hold everyone with care and respect.

Choosing Life Serving Strategies
Many times when we make choices that we regret we want to judge ourselves as bad or as defective. It is not that we are bad or defective. It is the strategies that are unhealthy and tragic. The strategies we have learned are not serving us and others. It is time to change those strategies and discover some that work to serve and enrich life. When we do this we live in a different world. There is a new place within us that we can go to where we can find direction and guidance to live another way. In time you will become familiar and at home with this place.

This week when you look back on choices that you wish you did not make offer yourself empathy and understanding and then think of what strategies you could have used that would have led to a different outcome where everyone's needs could have been honored.

The question, "What could I have done differently?" or better yet, "What will I do different next time?" are very important questions. These questions lead to different outcomes and different manifestations. To not have an answer to these questions means we will be more likely to rely on the old strategies that have let us down. We know where those strategies lead. That is no longer our path.

It is essential that we are very specific in what we are choosing to do; that it is a doable action. The more specific the strategy we choose the greater the likelihood that we will attain our goal. Enter the sacred space and allow life to unfold.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Batterers' Intervention Recidivism Rates Lowest Known to Date

This article was published in the Mountain Democrat and mentions the amazing zero percent recidivism that were discovered by the El Dorado County District Attorney's office. It highlights the work I did at The Center for Violence-Free Relationships. Many people have been inquiring about the results.

I developed the year-long court-approved NVC-based batterers' program and still oversee a batterer's intervention program for Life Enriching Communication in El Dorado County. If you would like more information feel free to contact me at You can also find more information on the recidivism stats and my work in this field at

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Life Enriching Organizations: Focusing on Serving Life

Many corporations focus on the end goal of making money. This can easily become what is most important to the organization. All the strategies and marketing focus primarily on bringing in more money. It may become inherent in the culture. This thinking can also be present with nonprofit organizations.

There is no doubt that money is important for both of these type of organizations. Money in the form of revenue or donations gives the organization the ability to sustain itself, attain more resources to do more good or create more products and security. The problem is when money becomes the driving force and we forget what the organization is about that we run into problems.

Every organization has something potentially that they could offer to make life better for others. It is wonderful when an organization can identify this and make this the focus without compromising this value.

Rosenberg states that when it comes to doing things for the right motivation (to serve life) in the business world "we must be concerned that our product serves life. That our motive is not to make money but to serve life." He adds, "Don't ever, ever do anything for money but request money to meet your need for meaning."

Motivation to Serve Life
When we have this balance we don't forget our mission or what we have to offer the world. We can evaluate if corporations, schools, churches and businesses are serving life or not by whether what they offer actually makes the world a better place.

If we focus more on making money than on how our product or service enriches life we get caught up in the trap that faces many organizations. The needs and values that the people and the organization have get lost and caught up in a strategy to make money. This single-minded focus means that employees are now more likely viewed as a means and ends to attaining more money for the company. Their value is determined by how productive or how much revenue they can generate.

In an nonprofit organization for example, an employee with the ability to offer quality counseling, education or service to the community may be judged not on his exceptional ability to do this so much as his ability to bring in money for the organization by providing these services. The value of the employee shifts and quality may be compromised for quantity (data, generation of money, etc.).

This can lead to employees getting a sense of being used or not being valued for their abilities and talents. The creativity, values of contributing to life and excitement that drives them may be lost and the mission and purpose of the work is not the driving motivation.

Miki Kashtan writes in her book Spinning Threads of Radical Aliveness that, "By and large we have created social systems in which human needs are routinely unmet. So to prepare us to be willing to put up with such systems we must become accustomed to tolerating unmet needs from early on. This is a major aspect of the process of socialization."

Intrinsic Motivation
When we focus on how what we are doing serves life and that becomes the focus, individuals, teams and departments are motivated intrinsically. There is research demonstrating that rewards do not work in work environments long-term because they take employees away from being motivated intrinsically. When rewards are promised or given individuals are motivated by them and not the "why."

The key is for leaders to be able to articulate the "why" behind the requests and strategies being chosen. Yet, many leaders do not have the skills to do this and instead opt for obedience and compliance with no explanation of what needs are being met by the strategies that they propose and, at times, impose.

Fear Cultures
When compliance becomes the primary focus and people are judged based upon whether or not they are compliant, a fear culture may be in the making. For example when 100% compliance becomes the focus we must now focus on what will happen when it is not attained. There is a higher likelihood that we will do what many of us have been socialized to do - use punishment and rewards to get others to do as we would like them to do. This breeds fear of punishment and competition instead of cooperation. This can suck the life out of any company.

Another Way to Inspire
Inevitably, there will be times when a goal is not reached or productivity levels are not attained. When this happens we can become curious and try to determine what is getting in the way of attaining the goals. There is usually a need or value that is not being lived out and needs attention. For instance, a team may need training or more support (staff) or volunteers to attain the goal. When we meet these needs the likelihood that the needs of the whole will be met increase.

Instead of punishing, which instills fear, we can discover what strategies can help everyone involved attain the goal. We come alongside and learn what can help employees and teams thrive with a spirit of support and encouragement.