Bruce is on the radio!

Dear Friends,

I have been invited by Debra Moffitt of Unity Radio to share NVC at 10am Eastern Daylight Time (8am Mountain Daylight Time) on Tuesday, April 4. I hope you will join us as we discuss the dance of feelings and needs. I expect that the spiritual side of NVC will be featured, since Unity Radio is oriented toward spiritual topics. At least I hope so. It should be a lot of fun, regardless of the emphasis.

You can find the program at Wish me luck!

Bruce&Sophia CampbellBruce is on the radio!

The Castle – Part II

Castello Scozzese

We build castles and we feel safe and comfortable within them. Sometimes we don’t even know that we live in a castle, or that there is a place that is outside our castle. Needless to say, living in this castle has some costs. We find ourselves attracted to another human being, but at the same, we fear getting too close. We find ourselves getting angry, really angry, without understanding why, but knowing at some inner level that the person we were angry at did not cause our anger. We want friends, but discover that no one really measures up. We find ourselves without meaningful connections to our world.

I encountered costs of living in my castle that were pretty high. After 8 years of marriage, my first wife suddenly left. I was totally confused by this at the time, but more recently I have seen that she had emotional needs, for support and intimacy, in particular, of which I was totally unaware. Her leaving was the only strategy she could see to get those needs attended to.

In recent years, I have discovered that both of my children felt very lonely when they were young. I can only wonder whether, had I been more available to them and more understanding of their needs when they were small children, they would have been less deeply wounded. Again, it wasn’t that I did not want to be present for them, I simple did not know the skills.

If we are lucky, we realize that these patterns come from living in our castle. So we begin to think about leaving. But in order to leave, we have to pass through that fire at the gate; we have to shed our protections and expose ourselves to the world. And yes, once through the fire, we open ourselves to further wounds, pain and hurt. But we also open ourselves to the possibility of becoming the person we truly want to be, of getting in touch with our true values and of experiencing the kind of intimate connection that we all desire above all else.

I am able to leave my castle behind (on most days, anyway) through my awareness of Compassionate Communication. Marshall Rosenberg, the founder of Compassionate Communication, teaches us that each person’s feelings and needs are neither good nor bad. We experience empathy when we connect in a heart-felt way with our own feelings and needs. Empathy for myself gives me the courage confront my world, dangerous as it may be, in a spirit of acceptance and joy. A resonant awareness of the feelings and needs of others allows me to form deep and meaningful connections.

Losses like mine can never fully be made good. Still, I can celebrate that I have begun to learn what it takes to come out of my castle, to leap through the flames and begin to live in a world where I can develop real, deep relationships with other people (not the pseudo, superficial relationships I had in the past). I overflow with gratitude for this gift.

Bruce&Sophia CampbellThe Castle – Part II

The Castle – Part I

When I was young, I didn’t need a castle. I was joyful and spontaneous, carefree in a secure world. But slowly, subtlely, I learned that the world can be a dangerous place, and that I might need protection. I learned that there were rules and that I had to know when to behave “appropriately”, a pretty big word for a five-year old. I learned that the bully next door could treat me with cruelty and that not even my parents could protect me. I learned that no matter what I did, how good I was, I could not get my father to say “I love you” to me. I learned to feel inadequate and ashamed of not being good enough.

These are the ways I accumulated my wounding, leading to the lesson that I could depend on no one but myself to keep me safe. This happens in different ways for each of us. Some of us suffer physical or emotional abuse. Others experience physical or emotional abandonment. Whatever the source, nearly everyone comes into adulthood with a wound. And our wounding brings with it a sense of vulnerability, meaning that we have to protect ourselves from the possibility of further hurt and pain.

And so we build castles to protect our vulnerability. The walls of each personal castle are made up of different materials. For one person, the walls might be made of anger. When that person’s vulnerability is threatened, he or she reacts with anger for protection from further pain. Another’s walls might be made of withdrawal, silence or rejection. Other possible materials include insults, sarcasm, jokes, evasiveness or just talking constantly.

I built my own castle when I was around 11 years old, and I stayed securely inside for over 50 years. My walls were anger (which I used to control people), withdrawal (where I felt safe) and knowing lots of stuff (I studied 70 or 80 hours a week in college). These walls replaced the protection that I did not get from my parents and allowed me to live my life without confronting my sense of inadequacy and shame.

Life is pretty good inside the castle. We feel safe. We can let people in and best of all, we can control them. If a person we have admitted transgresses, up go the walls and I can banish him or her to the outside. And just to be sure that we stay safe, we build a huge fire at the only gate to the castle. This fire represents our vulnerability and it serves to remind us that outside the castle is a place that is not safe.

So we have safety, but we purchase it at great cost. We have always to be on guard, always evaluating who we can let in and who must be kept outside. There is no room for us to be who we truly are; in my case, that joyful, carefree, fully alive little boy. And most importantly, there is no room for real connection with other people, real love and intimacy. Because connection, that one thing that all human beings crave, requires us to be vulnerable, to show our true selves to the world.

If you would like to get passionate about Making Your Life More Wonderful, check out this link to register for our next workshop.
Making Life More Wonderful


Bruce&Sophia CampbellThe Castle – Part I

Creating Peace


Creating Peace

“If we are to reach real peace in this world and if we are to carry on a real war against war, we shall have to begin with children; and if they will grow up in their natural innocence, we won’t have to struggle.  We won’t have to pass fruitless idle resolutions, but we shall go from love to love and peace to peace; until at last all the corners of the world are covered with that peace and love for which consciously or unconsciously the whole world is hungering.”  Mahatma Gandhi

Bruce&Sophia CampbellCreating Peace

How We Meet Anger

Read a new article that Sophia has written for “The Independent”, published in St George, Utah in the August issue. The article is about how we meet anger.
“Behind anger, there is a vision or longing for what we want. That longing arises from a need, held in the heart, that is not being met or even recognized.”

I took a nap with my grandaughter the other day and I woke up early and tip toed out of the room. She came out an hour later. She had her fists on her hips and shelooked at me with sleepy eyes that were squinted and angry looking. She stuck her tounge out at me. Before I learned NVC, I would have said; “How dare you stick out your tongue at Grandma! That is not nice!
This time I met her with compassion and curiosity. I said, “Are you feeling angry at Grandma because you wanted me to stay with you in the bed till you woke up?” She gave me a resounding, “Yes!” Then her body relaxed. Her hands dropped, her face cleared and she asked for a snack. That was so awesome to see how fast the anger energy dissipated by simply meeting her anger with compassion and curiosity.

Angry Girl

Bruce&Sophia CampbellHow We Meet Anger