Emergent Dialogue

What is Emergent Dialogue?

A contemplative process of mutual inquiry between two or more people using the skills of Focusing, Nonviolent Communication, and/or other emergent processes. The goal is to allow the unclear and the felt meaning of experience to be reported and empathically reflected by all listening parties. A topic evolves mutually by paying attention to any resonance between inner experience and the other's report. The result is intimacy and all parties learning something profoundly new.

How Does It Start?

We start by one party reporting some meaningful yet incomplete experience occurring in the present moment, all parties pausing to contact their experience with curiosity and friendliness, and then reflecting that report or sharing an emergent experience that that report stimulated. It can also start with a guided attunement, with NVC exercises, with a stimulative reading, or with a suggested theme, such as "how have you been affected by recent environmental news?". We stay in 'emergent mode' or a Focusing mode and step back from intellectual excitement.


Below is a diagram you may be interested in, crossing NVC (Nonviolent Communication) with Focusing. You may also explore my BLOG page for new postings, or request a session where I guide you through an experience of Focusing and/or NVC.

Activities during Emergent Dialogue May Include

  • Recognizing and articulating the CLEAR DOMAINS of one's perception separately as observation, feeling, need, image, thought, view, memory, gesture, aspiration, insight, habit, aversion, etc...

  • Sustaining a dialogue with the FELT SENSE.

  • INDIVIDUATING self from other.

  • Avoiding a mere EXCHANGE OF DATA, sympathizing, or analyzing/fixing.

  • Helping others to get to KNOW THEMSELVES over 'getting to know them', seeing other as possessing a 'gold mine' of wisdom and caring in the process of emerging, and supporting that emergence

  • Applying SKILLS OF PRESENCE from Focusing, Nonviolent Communication (NVC), and others.

  • Practicing EMPATHY by being grounded in the feeling and underlying needs/values of the moment.
Emergent Dialogue

Benefits of Emergent Dialogue

  • Generates felt connection and dissipates 'otherness'

  • Normalize and create support for the undercurrent of and suffering within our lives

  • Carry forward and integrate on-the-cushion meditation

  • Contribute to a shift from a worldview of separation to an experience of interbeing

  • Liberate creativite action, care, and inclusivity

Current Events

Focusing and Climate Change

Climate change is now the climate crisis. We are also facing related ecological crises of species extinction, habitat destruction, or pollution. As the forecasts and current impacts worsen, many agree that sustained corrective action is crucial. And yet, many of us are not sure how to respond. Through Focusing, we can listen to our bodily wisdom of why we might be stuck and learn what bigger role we'd like to play.

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Local Meetup Boulder - Emergent Village

Emergent Village is a vision for the practice of Emergent Dialogue, ultimately within a community of interdependence or daily sangha. Because the language and institutions of our culture are so deeply rooted in a Story of Separation, we need daily community and interdependence in order to shift how we see ourselves and the world to one of inter-being. Most of us can't do this alone. Coming back to our interconnectedness is a requirement for sustainability and social justice.

In this meetup, we 'flip' our perception and speaking, from the usual one of Evaluation to one of Emergence. In emergent dialogue, the felt meaning is kept primary while strategies and political theories are allowed but kept secondary.

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Crossing the Work-That-Reconnects" with Focusing

A brief overview of the work of Joanna Macy will be presented, including a brief experience of the Great Spiral process. Group process will be followed by a Focusing exploration in breakout sessions of 2-3 people. A group share will harvest crossings. Experienced Focusers would benefit by exposure to the Great Unraveling as a theme or issue, and those who are more WTR-centric might find that Focusing deepens and sustains their 'Work'.

Past Events

Crossing NVC With FOCUSING