Category Archives: Restorative Circles

When you work with some, ask them how do they ‘fight’?

If I want anyone to work with me and see if they are the right fit for our organisation, I would want to know and understand how do they respond when conflicts have happens in their community/organisation in the past. A willingness to engage and understand each other and stretching your self in such moments makes it possible for the communities or organisations to thrive. A much more appreciable thing for me would be if some one also works towards creating systems for challenging conversation and addressing conflicts in their group.
I say this as I see conflict as a natural thing and those who deny this natural part of their self at individual or organisation level are in some illusions and are doomed for creating personal and collective disasters.
I have been facing some of these situations at our organisation, Ahimsagram as I didn’t make agreements on ways of dealing with conflicts when people joined Ahimsagram or as partners and ended up with some who want to hide or block when there is a conflict.

Of course our learning about dealing with conflicts in our society is very limited. A big challenge is also having safe spaces for conflicts to emerge in them and that is some thing that has to happen at a systemic level in any group of people who come together to  create some thing.

Below is a Mural on a wall in Mission Street in San Francisco. Glad to see such deep wisdom displayed on the walls by the artists there. IMG_2134.jpg


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Filed under Community Building, Conflict Transformation, Mediation, Nonviolent Communication(NVC), NVC, Restorative Circles, Uncategorized

Looking for support to join the International Intensive Training(IIT) of Nonviolent Communicaton(NVC) in Srilanka. 

Dear Friends, There is an IIT happening from July 26 to August 4, 2017, in Srilanka and I intend to join it. The learning from here will deepen my understanding of NVC and support me in my work on sharing NVC back home. I have been offering NVC and this time I just want to go in a place where I can focus on my deepening of NVC. To know more about the program see

I am writing this to seek financial support of Rs 43,000 (670 US$) to Join it and would like to share why being here is important for me. This would cover my travel and contribution for the program. I am sharing my expense sheet  for transparency,   If you need any clarification please write to me at

This IIT is  special for me not just for the trainers who are coming but I have a sense of connection with the Srilanka NVC community as I have been there twice to offer NVC trainings and I would be knowing a lot of people coming for the IIT. I would like people in this subcontinent to make alliance and support each other. See more about my sharing in Srilanka at, and


Sharing NVC with Ben, Ramanusha, Fazal, Sivantha and Priya

I also appreciate the work of Jim and Jory, especially their Matrix about ‘Pathways to Liberation’. I have grown a lot in my nvc practice after seeing this work. I have heard a lot about them and would like to spend time with them.

I have learnt a lot from Katherine, especially on engaging with power and moving away from power over to power with. I have also learnt valuable work from her on healing old pain and have offered it to support other people.

I also feel connected to Ramanusha, as we have offered NVC trainings together where she was a co trainer and translation support and we share the vision of bringing NVC to people from all sections of the society and those in conflict situation. I have lot to learn from her on this kind of work as she is experienced with sharing NVC in areas of conflict.

srilanka group

Sharing NVC at farm, hosted by Trudy and Sion. 

Sabine, is also coming, who is working on community supported certification processes, which is also my interest as I have been working on challenges that arise from degrees and certification while want to create more wholesome ways for evaluating  the knowledge, skills and integrity of people who share NVC and the way they do it. Besides I have shared platform with her and co-facilitated Restorative Circles.

We also have Dunia Hategekimana from Rwanda. I see that I would like to understand how he sees the context of his regions and how it impacts his ways of sharing and practicing NVC and its form. I see a sense of shared past with Africa, and this is the first time I would be meeting a person from Africa and of colour who is a certified NVC trainer and would like to know about his challenges.

I would also like to share with the people there about the work that Ahimsagram is doing in India and want to invite people to be with us. Besides, we are also offering a training with Miki Kashtan in Jan 2018 on Transforming Organisations Through Collaborative Processes, and I would like to share about the offering so they can understand better in order to make an informed choice about joining us. This will also deepen the learning of NVC in this region and build stronger bonds.


Once you transfer the money or want to transfer it, please write to me at my mail id

You could transfer the money through Paytm at +91-9486083163 or

to my bank account here:

Acct Holder: Shammi Nanda, 

Bank & Branch Name: ICICI Bank, Johari Bazaar, Jaipur

Acc No.: 031501000505


PAN Card No.: ACTPN8435D

Looking forward to the needed support from those who have a shared vision with me and would like to see it flourish and would like to contribute to make it happen.
Shammi Nanda

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Filed under Community Building, Conflict Transformation, Gift Culture, Nonviolent Communication(NVC), NVC, Restorative Circles, Uncategorized

The Circles and other stuff at Embercombe!

Every morning, after the breakfast,  the Embercombe community gets together near the Dining Yurt for a connecting circle. Some one makes a fire and people huddle close to each other as people are sitting in their thick jackets and caps to keep themselves warm. There is a silence as vapours come out of the mouth when people breathe a, some people are quietly watching the fire as we hear the crackling sounds of the fire and  see smoke coming out to add to the mist. As we sit in silence for some time and I notice my breathing slows down, one person begins to speak whats alive in them and there starts the circle of check in. Everyone has the space to speak and when the circle is over then people begin to talk about the jobs for the day and move on with their respective engagements. I enjoyed this slow getting into the day with the spaciousness to connect to ourselves.


The kitchen as active each day with Yara making breads and others making lunch with Alexendra.  


They make their own breads of all kind, spelt, wheat, etc. Yara also made an amazing Lasagne with Pumpkin slices instead of refined four. They make sure their is options for the vegans also. Alexandra who is the incharge of the kitchen makes space for volunteers to do their own experimentation. The kitchen also has a great sense of co-responsibility where people just come to help each other.

Mick, Roman and others are making mud building and more construction is going on.


Some are working on the permaculture garden, some are repairing a tractor, Fiona is taking care of the Ponies or being with the kids. Every day there are visitors from some place or the other.


Narmia is hosting a basket making workshop for the last few days, She is now planning to go to Scotland to learn how to make coffins with willow, which was a traditional practice in some parts.


They have friends weekends where people come from other cities for a day to get a break from their city life and to connect with the land.

They also have a CSA basket and Dan, who is on the food growing team is passionate about his work.  There are many people who make this community happen and I am glad that there is a space where people in the region can come and connect with land and simple living. 

Once a week home schoolers come to spend the time there and connect with the community. I also shared  two days of NVC with them and made  some deep connections.I also shared Restorative Circles there for three days and we set up a Restorative System there. I enjoyed the communities desire to look at interpersonal relationships and their desire to work with decision making processes there. I am grateful to be having the opportunity to connect with the Embercombe Community in Devon, UK. I am hoping to visit them again some time…

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Filed under Community Building, Conscious Kitchen, Natural Farming, Nonviolent Communication(NVC), Restorative Circles, Sustainable Living

Compassionate Living Retreat : 16 to 20th Jan, 2015, Swaraj University, Udaipur

How would it look like to live in a community where people try to express their feelings very honestly while holding care and empathy for the others, where all the voices in the community matter, where empathy is available in abundance, where we feel fully safe to share our vulnerabilities, and where beauty of the need is seen and felt behind every action.

We invite those who hold this dream and want to try to make it happen, to come to our Compassionate Living Retreat at Swaraj University, Udaipur. It is largely based on the works on Nonviolent Communication (NVC) of Marshall Rosenberg. NVC is a way of being that supports our connection to ‘life energy’ believed to be present in all beings. It encourages us to find resources both internal and external, enough to take care of each person’s needs to live in peace, harmony and joy.

About the workshop:
It will be a living and learning retreat, where our time will be divided by spending some on structured learning and then applying it in our day to day life while we are with each other for the five days. We could also be working in the kitchen garden, cooking our meals, cleaning the place and having lighter moments together.

It’s an opportunity to live as a community, where we will also practice different modalities of decision making and conflict transformation available to us. If everyone consents we will also set up a Restorative System within our retreat community, whereby people can call Restorative Circles to bring up any conflicts that happen during our time there. We will also at times use Sociocracy to make decisions where all voices collaborate to create decisions. And as Dominic Barter says “The closer I am to conflict, the safer I am”, we would, considering the naturalness in a conflict, create support and be containers for holding conflicts…. read more

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Filed under Community Building, Conflict Transformation, Conscious Kitchen, Gift Culture, Natural Farming, Nonviolent Communication(NVC), Restorative Circles, Sociocracy, Sustainable Living

On ‘Ministry of Compassion’…

Public Dialogue on the consequences of formation of Telangana and the division of the state of Andhra Pradesh.
People listening to each other in pairs to get to the bottom of the story…
Since the division of the stated there have been conversations in public and not so public spaces and each of them seem to be taking people further apart. So, as me and Tara, the host of Our Sacred Space were talking about lack of inter community dialogues, especially when there is any pain in and around Hyderabad .
Since the formation of the states people are being categorized into settlers, migrants, original inhabitants, those who are there since 1974 etc and that will have implication on their lives. Besides there is pain and blame also which is often expressed in attacks and which makes it difficult for any one to listen to it. So we decided to open up the space for listening whatever people had to say, without asking them to dilute their words but we listened to the message under them and made the others hear. When we had this dialogue which was supported by me, very soon we came to taking responsibility and understanding the large systemic issues or on how as individuals we can bring the connection between people and also change the spaces where we live in with specific actions.
I believe unless we have public dialogues in bigger or smaller group of the pain we had in this country in our history will always remain sore. The wounds may seem to have healed but moment you touch them the pain is triggered and it creates more violence. Some times the violence is hidden but comes out in other forms and there is of course the lack of trust and deeper connection between different communities. For example, we have never mourned the partition, or the pain from the caste issues, the 1984 anti sikh riots, the so many communal riots. However we are trying to fix them in a top down way or in a retributive space without bringing the people closer or without having spaces in where the pain of all the people concerned can be heard…we have not even had compromises which are nothing much in comparison to deep reconciliation.
Interestingly NVC and Restorative Circles are two process that I believe are very advanced ways of dealing with such past intercommunity issues and they can create containers to hold these dialogues in a meaningful way which can transform our world for the better.
I want to focus more on this and I hope we have groups formed from withing the community which will support, mediate and hold these dialogues. Its also inspired by the ‘Shanti Sena’ that Gandhi and Vinoba Bhave proposed. I believe we need to have a Ministry of Compassion whose job is to work towards this end…a very intangible but significant one, that is peace and harmony, which impacts our lives in very tangible ways if we don’t have it.
So when I riot happens there is a rapid action force present there, either from outside or from the community which it there to support the communities and create dialogues spaces. Or when a rape happens the people go the homes of all the concerned people, whether is the ones who were the authors of the crime or those who were receivers as they both need compassion.
Hoping we will see such things in our country in our life time. This ministry does not need to belong to any one country but it will be beyond the idea of nations but will exist every where.

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Filed under Conflict Transformation, Mediation, Nonviolent Communication(NVC), Reflections and Learnings on NVC, Restorative Circles

What happens when I begin to see my conflicts as a Gift?

I have heard Dominic Barter while talking of Restorative Circles, says – “Unraveling the gift of conflict”. I have been holding on to this idea since then and try to see how I can do it. Often I have seen that when I went deep into the conflict in meaningful way with the other person we were able to understand and empathise with each and in the end would often get some solution which worked for all. We learned about each other and built greater understanding, felt more connected and even grew in the end. That was the GIFT. But that was only after it was done with but while the conflict was at its peak there was pain and fear and even a desire to run away from conflcit. Thoughts like why did I or he create a mess and looking for some one to be responsible for it, were present in me.
Learning to work with our conflicts in Srilanka
Off late I am able to live with this idea that the conflict that I am going though is going to turn out to be a gift and am more certain and hopeful on that. When I notice that I believe this, then I stop blaming myself or some one else for it, and I believe that I am going to soon discover the gift. When I do that it allows me in the present moment to focus on the areas where small saplings of gift are emerging and that takes the fear and pain away. As a result, I can even be in the conflict without experiencing too much blame and shame drama. I am now not consumed by the conflcit, in other words its not me or some one else that is the conflict instead it’s how we see the world and want at that moment is the conflict. Since I don’t blame any one its easy for me to just be there even when people have moved away from each other or even if I believe or experience pain, mine or others’. I can do this because I know this is the time of some thing ripening or rather composting and some unwanted gases and reactions will happen but I am more at ease with that now as I know that in the end we will get a nice manure and also am able to acknowledge and some times empathise with that pain, that too without feeling blamed or responsible for it.
Reflecting during and NVC workshop in Srilanka…
I recently said some thing in a group, which I believe, could have triggered some people. This time I am not even so much in pain form the disconnect that happened, as I believe that there was a larger purpose in my sharing my discomfort as we will now go deeper into the issue and I will also hear some different perspectives which I don’t know and some one else will also hear some cool stuff from me and together we will create some thing new. This itself has given me peace and I would want more and more of us to be able to sit with the conflict and but of course create containers to safely hear everyone’s concerns or pain.
Practicing to Listen at an NVC workshop in Srilanka
This idea of seeing conflict as a gift has given me a different perspective and sense of power and freedom and I want everyone to experience it. I believe this freedom comes from safe ways of expression where people are heard in the way they want to be heard. I believe if we can do that, our conflicts will begin to turn into gifts guiding us as a community which side we need to go as we co-evolve.

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Filed under Community Building, Conflict Transformation, Nonviolent Communication(NVC), Restorative Circles

Do You Want to have a Conflict Composter in Your Community?


We are creating a Restorative System at the Back-to-the-land Unconference to be held in Chennai on July 12-13th, 2014.>

A BTTL Meeting Prep Meeting in progress.
Conflict Transformation is like composting, if you dont know how to manage waste which is a natural part of any system then you end up creating toxic stuff and polluting your eco-system. There will be toxic, gases, rotting, some times even explosions and fire and in the end you get leechet water which pollutes the ground water also. If you know how to compost you can even use the gases to cook your food, see the waste as food for other animals which will convert it into rich manure which can nourish the soil and bring more life to your world. DSC00681
The Art of Composting
So you may be an eco sensitive community and have compost toilets but if you dont have some kind of conflict composter…you will have lot of shit around you, gossiping, rumours, blaming, avoiding, breakdowns, fights and even some times the community can also come to an end. So I recommend to any one forming a community to work on creating a conflict composter.
Separating different kinds of waste is very important, like allowing judgments to come out so we can go deeper into whats important for people.
So we have learnt from our bitter experiences in the past where we did not have any system and after every event that we organsied some people stopped talking to some one as they had painful conflicts without any support or a composter.
Its a Conflict Transformation System. We had two sessions to train some people who want to be facilitators, on the first day of the event we will take some time to introduce the system.
Setting up a Restorative System means that we create a certain set of agreements regarding use of Restorative Circle(RC) process in our community. It will support us in holding circle’s to go into conflict or any other challenging situation which needs deep listening and understanding in the community. Any one in the community is equally empowered to call a circle during the preparation of the event, at the event itself and after the event too.DSC00703
Even Toothbrushes have to be separated and in them the rubber and plastic is to be seggregated again…the process is simple but not easy.
RC is a process of conflict transformation developed by Dominic Barter and his colleagues while they were working with the youth groups in the slums in Brazil. It’s a process which allows us to engage with conflicts in safe space and attempts to transform them into a meaningful opportunity for the community to grow and evolve further. For some of us conflict is just a space where there are different needs and often when we cant hear each other, more so when we are triggered. This is some thing which makes our conflicts painful.
Making a space for listening is like allowing oxygen to go inside the compost pile.
Incidentally the RC process is not just meant for conflicts but it could also be used to get clarity on issues which could be potentially charged for the community and which could therefore make it difficult for them to listen to each other.
According to Dominic conflict is not just natural but also necessary. Some of us along with him believe that conflict is as much natural part of our lives as eating or sleeping is, though unfortunately in our day to day lives we don’t allocate time, space and energy to work with them. So when they happen we want to either ignore them or put them under carpet or rush through them by using existing ‘power over’ structures and hierarchies to take the decisions which often leave some people with the feeling that they were unheard. This often creates resentments in the groups and leads to people walking out or eventually breakdown of organization, groups or even movements.
During creating this years BTTL, we are offering this process to all the members of the community, wherein, if any one of us is disturbed by some thing and would like to bring it up to the members of the community and work on it, group of facilitators will be there to support them in doing Restorative Circles for it.
Since for lot of us it’s a new process we will be making efforts to create opportunity for those interested in knowing more about it. We would be offering a one day sharing on RC process with Shammi so we can understand the process and begin to learn facilitation of these circles.DSC00693
An overview of the Process
Pre Cirlce: The Pre Circle is the first step of the RC process. Its purpose is to identify the act that is being brought to the Circle and to understand its meaning by connecting to the underlying values. During this time, the facilitator will review process with each participant and ask for their consent to go ahead.DSC00618
Listening people as they want to be heard is important in a circle.
Circle: During the Circle each person has the chance to speak and be heard by using a guided dialogue process.
After reaching mutual understanding, the participants move towards self responsibility by expressing what they were trying to achieve when they acted a certain way. This establishes a depth of connection that lays the groundwork for jointly finding actions that restore balance.
Listening so we could be moved by it.
Post Circle: The purpose of the Post Circle is to find out how satisfied, the participants are with the implementation of the action plan. Is there reason to celebrate together or do we need to seek new actions?
Restorative Circles is a community process. It trusts the wisdom of community and has the potential to restore connection. RC invites us into a ‘power with’ paradigm in which we communicate at eye level. The focus is on hearing and understanding each other while the result stays open.
You can know more about it at
In case you want to set up some organic matter composting systems or Conflict Transformation Systems please write to me at
The Pictures of waste managament are from Kurudampalayam Panchayat in Coimbtore in Tamil Nadu in India. Its called sustainable and Integrated Waste Management.

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Filed under Community Building, Conflict Transformation, Natural Farming, Restorative Circles, Sustainable Living