About 25 years ago, long before I’d even heard of NVC, I was working as a Hospice Nurse in the Palliative Unit of a large hospital in Vancouver, Canada. I had many profound experiences working with the dying……….here’s one which served as a significant reminder about the power of compassion in transforming a potentially challenging situation.

I was caring for a man in his early 30s who was very close to death. His younger brother had stopped in for a visit and began asking a lot of questions about the patient’s care. He spoke in a raised voice, wanting to know why “we” weren’t doing this or that for his brother. His anger seemed like a volley directed toward me as I stood on the other side of the bed.

At other times I might have reacted to his anger by feeling defensive and trying to explain why “we weren’t doing this or that”.

But in that moment something different happened, something sacred and blessed......... I felt a sense of deep compassion wash over me and without even consciously thinking about it, I looked at him and said “You must be feeling a lot of pain about what’s occurring with your brother”.

Immediately his whole energy shifted and he began to cry.

Now that I’m familiar with NVC, I have a deeper understanding of what happened. Rather than listening to the words that were coming out of his mouth, I was able to hear what was in his heart.

It was such a profound lesson about the power of “listening” for what someone is really saying and acknowledging that.

We have the power to transform potentially volatile situations by our presence and our willingness to deeply listen to another!



When I was 3 years old, my sister was born; it was a shock to me to have this little person join our family which had, up until then, consisted of me and my parents living in a small town in Western England………….I was accustomed to having all the attention and particularly enjoyed being the “apple of my father’s eye”!

Imagine my complete dismay when my sister turned out to be seriously ill so required an enormous amount of my parent’s care, focus, time and energy. I was incredibly jealous of her and wanted her to go away. When she was 1 ½ she died. Being 4 ½ at the time, this experience had a deep impact on me which continued throughout my life.

70 years later, the Universe orchestrated an amazing healing opportunity for me…………

As you might imagine, the death of my sister led to my parents being even less available to me as they faced, and attempted to deal with, the incredible pain of that loss. 

In my 4 ½ year old mind, it was a simple cause and effect matter – I had wanted my sister to go away and she had so it must be my fault that she had died. Obviously I had to be very careful and make sure that I always looked after the needs of others and not think about myself and what I wanted!

Later, as an adult, I understood cognitively that I was not the cause of her death however the idea was deeply embedded in my wiring that somehow it was my fault that she died. I did lots of therapy about this experience and yet I still held guilt, some idea that I was responsible for her death.

Over the years, when I’d think about that period of time, I’d always see myself in a small room, perhaps 6 ft square. The walls and the inside of the door were gray, there was nothing in the room, no windows; it was unlike any room in our house. Just me in there, alone and terrified.  

Then in early 2017, I was part of the organizing team at a 9 day intensive in LA and something really profound happened…………

One of the participants at the IIT had the same name as my sister. At one of the sessions, I said something which stimulated a lot of distress for her.

After the session, I asked if there was anything she wanted to share about what had occurred. We began speaking and I quickly got how very upset she was…………..I did my best to listen to her and wasn’t able to hear her in a way that brought connection.

That night, I couldn’t sleep – I was incredibly distraught about the interchange and as I contemplated what had happened, I realized that I wasn’t able to be present with her because I had gotten stimulated into this very deep old pain. Indeed, all I could hear her saying was “I’m in pain Anne and it’s your fault” – this wasn’t actually what she was saying however I was way back in that old wound and not present to what was occurring in the moment.

The next morning at the trainer meeting, I asked for support with healing this old piece of mine. Sarah Peyton offered to be present with me.

Sarah invited me to go back into the gray room – right away I clearly saw myself as a young child, alone and terrified in this room with no windows, no comfort of any sort. In my imagination, I was fully back there.

She then asked me if there was someone who could help me come out of the room – immediately I “saw” 2 spirit guides came – a man and a woman, each took one of my hands and the woman opened the door.

What I saw then was the complete opposite of the gray room - the sun was shining, the green rolling hills of England lay before me and Elton John was sitting at his grand piano right by the door. He as playing a line from the revised version of Candle in the Wind, “and her footsteps will always fall here amongst England’s greenest hills”.

Spaciousness, light, beauty and LIFE are before me. Ah, I’m free……… from the restrains of the gray room, the old ideas and beliefs. Free to be who I am and to embrace and celebrate the fullness and beauty of life!

With deep gratitude, Anne

Anne Walton, Jan 7, 2019



Nov 3, 2018

13 years ago I went to my first NVC workshop; what a gift that was especially since the facilitator was Marshall Rosenberg!

Since that time I have contemplated needs and what they are and how to speak about them! This has been an ongoing exploration and has brought me to viewing needs as life energy which is always flowing thru us.

This life energy is always inspiring/urging/nudging us to express in ever more compassionate ways and since our nature is compassion, this brings a deep sense of fulfilment!

This nudging can come in various forms, along a variety of pathways. Recently I had such a “nudging” experience that I’m still processing………….

4 years ago a soldier who was guarding the National War Memorial in Ottawa, Canada’s capital, was shot. As shots rang out, the majority of onlookers fled; 6 people ran to assist him.

One of those people was Lawyer Barbara Winters who was headed to a meeting on Parliament Hill. When she heard the shots, she began to run — not towards safety, but towards the shots, and the wounded soldier lying at the foot of the memorial.

This past Oct 22, the 4th anniversary of that shooting, I just happened to listen to an interview of her, as she recalled the events of that day 4 years ago. 

Winters shared how she had remained with him for the last 15 minutes of his life. She spoke to him of love; "When you are dying, you need to be told how loved you are."

I was in tears throughout that interview as it deeply touched and moved me; I was inspired by her courage, wisdom and presence

It brought me to wondering about my own bravery, my own willingness to speak of love, my own willingness to live life from my heart/from my compassionate nature……….this is my growing edge right now.

I’m curious, and would love to hear, what this stirs in you?  

With much gratitude, Anne



Shifting from Judgement to Connection, Tues, July 17, 2018

Recently I met someone who expressed interest in NVC so we began speaking about it. After only a few minutes of interacting with this person, jackal evaluations of him were streaming thru my head at lightning speed and “before I knew it”, I didn’t like him!

Thanks to many years of practicing NVC, I was able to notice this - I decided to simply take a breath and see if I could shift my ideas of him. Within moments, I began having a different experience of him and by the end of our conversation I really enjoyed him.

A few days later I was at a party and saw someone I’d decided long ago that I didn’t like! I wondered to myself what would happen if I tried my “take a breath and see if I could have a different experience” approach - by the end of the evening, I’d had some really lovely deep connections with her.

How exciting to be reminded that the power to make a difference in my own life, lives within me!



Imagining how I could have responded from my heart in a challenging situation, March 31, 2018 

Recently I had one of those experiences ~ perhaps you’re familiar it ~ the “I’d love to go back and do that over again and actually access the part of my brain that knows NVC!” experience. 

Here’s the scene - I’m in the supermarket looking for Ginger Tea, just plain Ginger Tea and I’m not finding it. A clerk is restocking the shelves so I ask about plain Ginger Tea………..she offers several possibilities………Green Tea Ginger, Lemon Ginger, Chamomile Ginger. Each time I repeat that I’m searching for plain Ginger Tea!

The 3rd time I decline her offer, she says “well you can either stop being rude or look for it yourself!”……..I’m astonished and confused and what comes out of my mouth is “did you think I was being rude?”

She’s silent! The kind of “cut the air with a knife” silence my jackals are saying. I’m now triggered as well and an old program kicks in........I walk away!

It’s now 2 days later and I’m ready to consider how I might have done it differently……………..

So, what was going on with me? I was fatigued and wanting ease (in replenishing my Ginger Tea supply!)

What might have been going on with her? Maybe she’s frustrated, perhaps tired, not finding it as easy to contribute as she might have enjoyed…………just imagining that she wanted to contribute softens my heart! It is the softening in my heart that can guide what I could have said.

Suppose in the moment when she said “well you can either stop being rude or look for it yourself!” I could have taken a deep breath, accessed my resourcefulness and responded (rather than reacted).

Perhaps then what would come out of my mouth might have been something as simple as acknowledging her! How differently I would have come away from the interaction and just possibly her day would have gone a little easier as well! 

In addition, just the simple act of imagining how we might have behaved differently in a challenging situation supports the rewiring of our brains so that we're more likely to respond in a more life affirming way in the future. And that, for me, is a very reassuring, inspiring and encouraging thought! 

Anne Walton, CNVC Certified Trainer



MONDAY, NOVEMBER 27, 2017 AT 09:16PM




Over the past few years, I've had some health challenges; in 2016 I spent a total of 7 days in hospital and I'm not even a big fan of Western Medicine! "What a bummer," I'd think, "Why is this happening to me?" I'd rail at the gods! 

These experiences with my health, "forced" me to slow down and gradually (very gradually) it dawned on me that there might just be a gift to this experience!!

This slowing down brought me a greater sense of compassion for others – since one of my experiences was pain, if someone seemed “irritable”, I’d get to wondering if perhaps they were in pain as well.

After some time, I began also to have more compassion for myself. I realized my body was yearning for more spaciousness, ease and relaxation. 

Since it was also clear to me how much I love sharing NVC, how could I continue to do so AND travel a lot less, set up classes that allowed me down time in my day, in short, take better care of myself?

Then I got inspired to begin offering video conferencing classes. So, over the course of this autumn, I've been offering an NVC mentoring series for folks who wanted to deepen their practice of NVC and share it with others. 

What an incredible blessing this has been! I feel so deeply nourished by my time with my "mentees" - the depth of connection, sharing, vulnerability is delightful for me to be part of. And I get to connect NVCers with other NVCers from various parts of the planet, folks who they might not ever connect with otherwise.

These amazing benefits are inspiring me to stay on track with taking it easier, slowing down and deeply nourishing myself. I'm celebrating the strides I'm making in that direction!!

Anne Walton, CNVC Certified Trainer  



FRIDAY, AUGUST 11, 2017 AT 07:07PM




Over the past year, I've noticed how frequently I'm triggered by the man who is now the president of the United States..........I've had a very strong enemy image of him. 

From time to time I'd think how much more beneficial it would be to send him love and compassion and energetically give him empathy.  Then the jackals would say, in a sarcastic tone, "Well, that's a noble goal!" I just wasn't able (or willing?) to go there! 

I needed some major encouragement and inspiration and it came from an unexpected source...........

Recently I watched a documentary on a young Canadian man who spent 10 years in the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay. At 15, Omar Khadr was the youngest person ever to be sent there. 

One of the stories Omar shared about his time there was about a guard who was particularly cruel to him, Omar tried to imagine ways he could get even with the guard. After some contemplation, Omar realized that if this guard was causing him pain, the guard must be in pain himself! 

I was dumbstruck when I heard this...........imagine finding compassion for one's "tormentor" in circumstances of such profound duress, distress and pain! 

What a gift it was for me to hear this! If this young man, in such dire circumstances and a teenager at the time, could find it in his heart to have compassion for this man, perhaps I could find compassion in my heart!

Since then, I’ve been able to send love and compassion to the US president and to imagine being in his presence and offering him empathy. I'm not yet able to do this all the time and I'm celebrating the times that I can!

Thank you Omar for raising the bar and bringing me back to my heart!  Anne Walton, Aug 11, 2017



FRIDAY, AUGUST 19, 2016 AT 08:21AM

I notice a tingly-ness around the edges of my eyes, the warmth of the tears running down my cheeks, a bursting sensation in my chest, a fluttering in my belly – it is summer 2004 in Calgary and it’s the first time I’ve been on the CNVC website! I’m taking in what’s written there and it’s touching my heart so deeply I’m in tears. And serendipitously it was incredibly similar to something I had written a few years previously about the kind of world we’d all like to live in.

This visit to the CNVC website came 3 years after I’d first heard of NVC. Over the course of those 3 years I’d travelled, each spring, to St Petersburg, Russia to present at the annual conference on Conflict Resolution. Each year someone at the conference would say something like “Anne check out NVC, you’ve got to see this guy Marshall Rosenberg in action, he’s masterful!”

My initial reaction was “well that’s not for me, it has the word violent in the name, besides I’m not violent!” Finally after the 3rd time of hearing the message, I went home and checked it out and right then and there, I vowed to myself that I would learn and teach this process.  

Over the course of many months, I searched the website for opportunities to learn NVC and set my heart on attending a 9 day residential training in California. Since I didn’t have the thousands of dollars for tuition, accommodation and travel, I summoned up my courage and sent out an email to friends asking if they’d support me in learning NVC. With astonishing ease I raised about $1000 – exciting and validating yes, hardly sufficient for the 9 day training!

Undeterred, I checked further on the CNVC website and learned that Marshall was going to be in Ottawa that fall (2005) offering a 3 day training. Again serendipitously the cost of the air fare plus the training happened to be almost the exact amount I had raised!  I had friends and family in Ottawa and was past due for a visit; everything was coming together!

The session with Marshall brought even more joy and commitment; I was so moved and inspired to hear his stories about his work in the Middle East, in Africa or in numerous other places on the planet. And his sense of humour, what fun!

So there I was 6 months later, standing in front of 15 people offering my first NVC workshop! The only thing that gave me the guts to stand up in front of this group of participants that day was my passion for NVC and my intense desire to connect with other NVCers in Calgary!

I was grateful for the hum of the heating system and the whir of the fridge in the kitchen next door, surely these background noises would keep participants from hearing the sound of my knees knocking, my heart beating wildly and the chatter in my mind – the voices inside my head about how I was doing it all wrong were so loud I was certain they were audible from the outside! Later when I poured over the feedback forms, the lines that popped out at me were those that reflected the jackal voices in my own head! Surely the “NVC police” would be after me any day now!

That was more than 10 years ago now and my journey with learning, teaching and living NVC has brought a depth of richness and joy to my life that I could not have imagined previously. I feel so blessed and grateful to be part of this NVC community. Thank you so very much Marshall Rosenberg for your wisdom, insight and courage!

 Anne Walton, CNVC Certified Trainer


SATURDAY, JULY 9, 2016 AT 07:27PM




I love and appreciate how learning and living NVC is an ongoing process of deepening and integrating my understanding of this profound process.

Recently I’ve been contemplating requests and realizing that requests has 2 aspects to it – the asking and the receiving – I sense that for years I’ve been sort of OK with the asking part but when it came to receiving, that’s been much more challenging for me!

This challenge with receiving has really come to the fore front of my awareness this year and one way it’s been showing up is that attendance at my NVC sessions has really decreased. Given how much I love sharing NVC, I’ve found this distressing especially as it also impacts my flow of financial resources!

Recently, with the support of my NVC women’s group SAGE (Sharing Aging Gracefully and Exuberantly!), I was able to delve more deeply into this and acknowledge that I don’t value what I have to offer! On further exploration, this relates it to a life alienating belief about not being worthy of receiving love, support, money, participants attending workshops, you name it!

And I’m celebrating that shifts are taking place! This year I’ve had a number of experiences that allowed me to begin the process of opening to receiving love, support and acknowledgment, to really let it in.

One aspect of this adventure, which some of you may know, occurred in February when I spent 2 days in a hospital in California. Since the problem related to a pre-existing condition and I live in Canada, the bills which amounted to about $24,000 US were my responsibility. Given that I didn’t have even have a small percentage of that $24000 US, I spent some time just plain freaking out!!

Thanks to NVC, after a few days and lots of empathy, I thought of a strategy – I could raise the money thru crowd sourcing. A wonderful idea no doubt AND that meant I had to ask for help, YIKES!!  

It took me several weeks to muster up the courage to create a “Go Fund Me” campaign - I felt humiliated, embarrassed and vulnerable “what would people think of me??” the jackals were saying!

Finally I did it and not only did money flow, many tears flowed as well - I got to receive support in the form of love, prayers, healing energy AND money – people actually gave me money! I cried buckets full of tears just taking in that people do love and support me even financially!

I also asked the various medical organizations, which had contributed to my care, to give me a discount. As a result I got the bills down to about $4500 US and I raised enough thru Go Fund Me to fully pay the bills – what a celebration!

It would be fun to say that was the end of story…………..well there’s more on the path to receiving love, acknowledgment and appreciation……………

I’m part of the organizing team of an annual NVC conference which takes place north of LA, I usually offer some sessions and this year, at the end of one of my sessions, when some participants came up and offered me feedback, I asked them to email it to me. One person, Dan, did this very soon after the end of the conference. When I first received it, I perused it and told myself I’d get back to it “when I have the time!”

Now, 3 months later, I read it fully and cried reading what Dan had written – I have a deep sense of being “seen for who I am” and “gotten” in a really meaningful way. And everything he said, I have been able to get that about myself which is even more profound in terms of “taking it in”.

Today I saw an old Star Trek poster reminding us to “Boldly Go” – to boldly go where we have not gone before; this was Star Trek’s challenge and now it’s my challenge to you – is there something you’re longing to receive and are you willing to boldly go where you have not gone before, make a request and open yourself to receiving?

I look forward to hearing about your adventures with this!

With love and gratitude, Anne Walton



SATURDAY, JUNE 11, 2016 AT 07:55AM

In the past week I've had 2 very powerful experiences of what a difference it makes when we feel heard - the first was an interchange I had with a health care professional. In that instance I came away with a deep desire to be heard plus a sense of regret and embarrassment that I'd not been able to access my self-empowerment which may have led to me experiencing what I was yearning for! 

The other instance was in a Staples store - my attention was first directed to the sounds of very loud screams coming from within the store - I looked over and saw that a conversation was going on between the customer and what I took to be a manager. I was about to leave the store when an inner prompting encouraged me to go over and see if I could be of assistance. 

The customer had come to pick up a cell phone charger she'd left there a few days before – she had called ahead and learned that it had been found. The manager said several times it wasn’t in the safe and that he couldn’t call all staff who’d been on duty to learn where it was. Each time he said this, she became more upset – her face was flushed, she was crying and speaking at a volume much greater than her usual speaking voice.

I said I'd like to help and then for while I stayed present, witnessing what was happening and giving silent empathy.  After a few minutes, the manager walked away and directed a staff member to call 911.

At that moment another manager arrived with the cell phone charger in his hand. He’d heard her screams and come to help. This manager listened in way that gave her the space to express all that had happened, from time to time, I added in some empathy. It was amazing to the see the shift in her as we listened.

At one point the first manager came back and she immediately got more upset: crying and saying “you just stood there and stared at me, why didn’t you help?”. He left after a few moments and once again calmed down and spoke at a usual volume.

What was interesting to me is that she was still really upset with the 1st manager even though she now had the charger in her hand. She shared even more about how stressful her life has been lately; I was really touched by how much insight she had into herself and how triggered she’d gotten.

 It was such a powerful reminder to me about what a difference we can make when we really feel heard!  



Feb 4, 2014

Early this year, I marked my 71st birthday - when I turned 70, I had notice a reluctance to tell people how old I am. Previously I had freely shared my age with anyone. Now here I was in my 8th decade and clearly I was old and there wasn't much hope of me contributing in the way I imagined! 

Then I learned that Nelson Mandela was 71 when he was released from prison and look at all he accomplished in his remaining 24 years! Wow, what a paradigm shift - a completely different way to view something!

Co-incidentaly I had begun a daily forgiveness practice about a month prior to my birthday - I'm now on day 53, and each day I ask forgiveness from my children and myself, each day this stirs up so much grief that I cry and sob. Each day I release a small portion of 71 years of pain, shame and heartache and suddenly I realized that in doing so, I'm releasing myself from prison - a prison of my own creation, with the help of the society I grew up in. 

As I release myself from these decades of bonds and shackles of the past, I'm excited to be venturing out into the world - as when I was a child - full of curiousity, joy and love!



In 1998 I spent 4 months driving around Canada and the US in search of labyrinths; it was a mystical journey during which I had many blessed experiences. On my journey I walked many labyrinths and had gotten into the practice of asking for guidance about my purpose on planet earth.

Even prior to this journey, I had become quite accustomed to something I called THE VOICE which guided me in my life. When the voice suggested something, I usually resisted strenuously at first then eventually I’d surrender and generally the outcome would be much more fabulous that anything I could have imagined. THE VOICE spoke to me a lot more frequently during that journey………

By mid September, I had made my way to a spot near Kansas City, Missouri where a woman has cut a labyrinth into native prairie grasses. The labyrinth is about 200 feet in diameter with a 14’ center. Walking the labyrinth as the sun was setting enhanced the whole sense of being enveloped and cradled in the warm sweet fragrance of the grasses which were now 7-8 feet high. I had walked enough labyrinths to recognize this as an incredibly powerful one.

That night it began to rain, a downpour which continued unabated for more than 24 hours. The rain deterred me from walking during my second day’s stay. So the following morning while meditating, I was quite surprised when THE VOICE told me to go and walk the labyrinth. I objected “but I don’t have any questions to ask” to which the voice responded “there’s something you need to do on the labyrinth”. My next objection was about prairie grasses being very wet given all the rain. Needless to say the voice’s response was that it might, therefore, be wise to wear appropriate attire! I knew from past experience that “resistance is futile” so off I set wearing my water sandals and rain suit.

The prairie grass was indeed very wet. As soon as I began walking I received further instructions………I was to allow the grasses to brush against me rather than moving them out of the way. I was told that I was here on the labyrinth to do forgiveness work. Words began rolling off my tongue and I began to cry “Gerry (the father of my children), I forgive you”, “Mum I forgive you”, “Dad, I forgive you”.

At this point THE VOICE interrupted; it seemed the phrase was “______, please forgive me for all the judgements I have made of you”.  And so I made my way through the labyrinth asking all the people in my life to forgive me. Very soon I was sobbing, my body racked with the release of 50+ years worth of held in judgements, grudges and resentments. Tears were now streaming down my cheeks and then down inside my rain suit. Raindrops from the prairie grasses and the clouds overhead were now running down inside my rain suit as well. The path is long in that labyrinth; the whole way was filled with “______, please forgive me for all the judgements I have made of you”.

When I finally arrived at the center, everything shifted: my list was complete, it stopped raining, I stopped crying, the sky began to lighten.  I looked up at the alter in the center of the labyrinth; there stood a huge geode studded with hundreds of amethyst crystals. Above the geode, gently draped across it was a particularly delicate branch of prairie grass. On every lacy tendril of this prairie grass hung a drop of rain……..thousands upon thousands of droplets of water now reflecting the light. It was a vision of great beauty and I stood amazed at this image. I proclaimed aloud “that is so beautiful” and THE VOICE said “and that is what you are and your work on planet Earth is to shine all that light inside you out into the world!”

I began sobbing again in my attempt to actually take this in! Thank you VOICE I said quietly!



Earlier this year I began studying Neurobiology and got completely fascinated and enthralled by the sheer magnitude of what our brains are capable of and how malleable they are. One day in late August I read 2 things which particularly impacted me: "each time we think a thought, we create a neural pathway" and "One reason we can change our brains simply by imagining is that, from a neuroscientific point of view, imagining an act and doing it are not as different as they sound"*.

I was stunned! At that time I was feeling particularly discouraged about my life and noticed how frequently I was thinking some version of the thought "I'm not OK"! Imagine the deep groove I was creating as, over and over, I thought the same thought!

An inspiration came to me: what if I used my imagination/visualizing abilities to change old, life alienated beliefs?

For several years now, I've had a morning visualization practice so I decided to add a new dimension to my daily routine. I began "seeing" limited beliefs, represented by the neural pathway, then sending light/love to it and noticng what happened to the pathway. Typically it begins to change and transform, sometimes I see my child self beginning in a constricted posture and then moving to a much more open and alive posture.  

This in itself is amazing to me, being able to "see" my neural pathways; what's even more amazing is that very soon, within a week or so, I began to notice I was responding differently to what previously would have stimulated anger or pain inside me. I was getting triggered less frequently with less intensity and much shorter "recovery" time.

As an example, I was in Best Buy, and had an experience that was so different from the past that I cried when I came out of the store! I had gone online to search for a recording device for an iphone (I wanted a better quality sound than with the built in mike). I found a product that plugged into the phone. When I got to Best Buy, I asked the salesman if they had this product, he responded that he'd never heard of such a thing!

In the past I would have immediately gone into jackal thinking "he thinks I don't know what I'm talking about, he thinks I'm stupid, he thinks he knows better than me" etc. This time I didn't go there! I told him that I'd found it on their website but that first I'd found it on Walmart's website and suggested we look. We found it and he was really appreciative about learning something new! I was blown away by how differently I responded and that I changed my behaviour without any conscious intent.  Ah, the sweet joy of unconscious competence!

I look forward to connecting with you! Anne