Authenticity and Vulnerability:  Even when I feel scared and unsure of myself, I aim to share the truth that lives in me with others while maintaining care and compassion for all.

~ Miki Kashtan, from her Core Nonviolence Commitments (I’m joining her in TODAY – 8/7/19 – in Santa Cruz to learn about her work firsthand. I’m excited!!!)


In my last newsletter, I illustrated what empathy for President Trump might look like.  It yielded a number of unmet needs our imagined giraffe President might be experiencing:  Respect for others, ease, rest, competence, understanding, being heard, and empathy.   Since then (and despite continued actions by him that I haven’t enjoyed), I have felt more open to imagine his needs as a result of giving “imagined empathy” to the President.  Did reading this exchange change how you thought about and viewed him?

In this newsletter, I intend to continue the dialogue by sharing my truth with our imagined giraffe ears-wearing Commander-in-Chief.  Near the end of last week’s conversation, Giraffe Donald asked, “Is there anything you want to share?” This questions reflects my sense that when a person has been fully heard, they are more open to hear from another person.  In contrast, when we share our truth before another person has been heard, it’s more likely that they’ll respond defensively.

It’s also important to note that empathy is not agreement.  Just by listening deeply to understand another, we don’t lose our own truth.  Here’s a great quote from the author of Strangers in Their Own Land:  Anger and Mourning on the American Right: (my most recent read, highly recommended), Arlie Russell Hochschild, on the topic: “That’s the misunderstanding, especially on the [political] left. ‘Oh, if you listen to them, that means you’ve been taken over.’ Not at all.”

Empathy from the Prez?

From last time…

New Tweets:

Okay. That was tiring. My sense is that there is so much unacknowledged pain in our President that he needs lots and lots of empathy before he can truly take in what another person says without reacting.  When we can’t see our own pain, it’s easy to express ourselves in ways that trigger others’ pain. It’s an ugly cycle that must be broken to create a world where everyone Communicates with Heart