LIFE Community


Meagan Rutherford Christchurch, Aoteaora New Zealand

No matter what I do with NVC, whether it be teaching it or practicing it, parenting with it or using it to remain as open and deeply connected as I can in my close relationships, the single most consistently powerful and effective skill that I have learned is to remain authentically, honestly, and compassionately present to whatever form of ‘life’ is showing itself in that moment.

It is Robert’s work, quality of presence, processes and deep understanding of human needs that have taught and continue to support me to do this.

So why am I committed to doing the NZ/Aust LIFE programme? Simple. I want more! More LIFE, more connection, and to discover what is possible, what can be healed and created, when a group of open hearted people take this 2 year journey together.

Bring it on!


Rachel Hannam, Brisbane Australia

Studying NVC and being a part of NVC gatherings has helped me get in touch with my heart. I studied psychology at university for years, but never learned truly what I wanted to learn there, which was how to incorporate my whole being and my deepest experience of the world into my work and my life. Then I found NVC and it resonated almost immediately. I wanted to know how to feel my feelings fully. I wanted to understand something of their source. When I found myself mimicking others’ words, I wanted to know how to make my words come to life. NVC has enabled me to speak from a sense of being in the here-and-now, but of course I still get snagged.

I know I simply cannot stop this inner work now I have started! I want to deepen and fortify my capacity to be with life just as it is in each moment, free from judgement and resistance, and this is why I am participating in the LIFE programme with Robert.

I also long to be a part of a community of people doing this same work. The support from this community will help me take the learning and the energy back out into my life, my work and into the wider world.


Tracy Adams, Maleny, SE Queensland, Australia
(with son Gabriel – and no I’m not a hobbit, he’s just very tall)

After studying and practicing  NVC for several years it was a great joy to discover Robert and his ’embodied spirituality’ approach. This was the depth and embodied approach Id been looking for!  From my experience of Robert’s work so far I know that the LIFE program will support my deep healing and lay strong foundations for my work in nonviolent social change; will support me to be able to do my inner and outer work with the authenticity, compassion, tenderness, passion and creative flow I know is possible.

Im particularly looking forward to being part or a supportive peer learning community with the LIFE program – to being part of a deeply bonded group who are supporting each others growth and learning both during and long after the LIFE program. Im absolutely delighted that it is a 2 year program – opportunity for deep learning and healing to be integrated and embodied over time.

Im looking forward to meeting you all in person, Trace

Phil Toms 2014
Phil Toms, Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand

Robert’s work is by far the deepest work I have experienced within NVC or any modality for that matter



Marie D 2014 photoMarie Delaney, Sydney, Australia

I want to do the LIFE program because I want to learn more from Robert Gonzales and I want to connect with others who are mindful of being on a deep, personal inner journey of connecting to and expressing from the heart.

My spiritual practice (which involves meditative and contemplative practices and lots of cups of tea) is the most important part of my life. I live a reasonably simple and solitary life in the hustle and bustle of Sydney and rely on my network of friends and family to feel a sense of community.

One of the other reasons I’m doing the LIFE program is because I want a wholesome  experience of living, connecting and growing within a community of like-minded people. I have enough confidence and trust in Robert Gonzales (based on my previous experience of him and how he works) to believe that when the going gets tough, there will be a helping hand(s) to assist growth, healing and connecting through the heart.

jacintaJacinta Foale, Maleny, SE Queensland, Australia

As a performing musician, I’m drawn to and excited about doing the Robert Gonzales Life Program because it helps to ground me in the wonder and poignancy of offering up songs and presence to an audience. I feel the responsibility as well as the joy and excitement about being in front of an audience and believe that it’s an opportunity or a forum in which we can influence people towards love. That capacity to influence, for me, needs to be grounded in mature emotional presence, a compassionate heart, and a playful joy. Robert’s work develops all this and more.

Carsten 3-4 ratio headshotCarsten Sundby Nielsen, travelling and teaching Compassionate Communication, currently NSW and VIC, Australia.

Robert Gonzales is the most inspiring and amazing teacher I have come across. His emphasis on heartfelt connection, listening and expressing from the heart resonates deeply with me. I feel excited joining a fantastic group of people who share these values.

In 2009 I did the one week ‘Beauty Of The Needs’ workshop with Robert Gonzales in Sydney and it is the most profound experience of Compassionate Communication I have ever had. Robert’s embodiment of compassionate communication is extraordinary and this is exactly what the LIFE program is about – LIFE is short for Living and Integrating Full Embodiment.

When I teach Compassionate Communication I find Robert Gonzales’ approach of focus on the beauty of the need and heart connection, the most transformative and connecting, and I feel much joy when I share this work. Alas I have much to learn and my communication practise and especially my embodiment in daily life is much less fluid and natural than I desire it to be, which is why the LIFE program is so important to me.

Until now the LIFE Program has only been offered in Europe and the USA. Robert Gonzales has agreed to offer it in AUS/NZ following many requests from people wanting to participate in the program, but finding repeated travel to either Europe or USA prohibitive. It is a special opportunity I for one do not want to miss out on and I sent my application the day after application forms were sent out.

I know people who have attended the LIFE program and experienced lasting changes in communication, well-being and spiritually. They loved it and warmly recommend it.

Years ago (2007?) I saw an interview with Marshal Rosenberg where he was asked if there was any other trainer who was standing out. After a bit of consideration Marshal mentioned Robert Gonzales highlighting his very special way of teaching NVC. I checked out Robert’s website and ever since I have been “hooked”. I have the deepest respect and admiration for Robert’s work.

I look forward to the LIFE program with much anticipation.

Andrew_CraneAndrew Crane, Port Macquarie, NSW, Australia

I recall a 5 day training I did with Robert with deep joy, personal meaning and humour. My standard advice to anybody serious about living from a needs based paradigm is take the opportunity to train with Robert, at least once in this lifetime. I’m yet to meet a person who having attended disagrees with this advice.

The opportunity to be deeply connected and supported by others on a two year program exploring what’s at the core of life under the guidance of someone as qualified as Robert, within the time proven structure of his Life program, excites me enormously.

I began my NVC journey about 2005. Attended an IIT with Marshall in his home town of Albuquerque (a memory I treasure) and others in Australia, California, Atlanta, Berlin, and NZ. I’ve done the yearlong Compassionate Leadership program (3 retreats per year) in the USA twice. Intergrading NVC practice into my personal and professional life is my ongoing Dharma.

Joining you on this journey would meet many needs.

 Sean KellySean Kelly, Salt Ash NSW, Australia (near Newcastle)
I am very inspired and excited by Robert’s Embodied Spirituality approach to NVC. It has definitely been a missing link in my spiritual journey so far. I have found that the focus on the living energy of needs can open up a gateway that leads to a direct experience of my authentic self, which is very still, present and alive, and able to completely accept whatever is happening. That’s where I want to live all the time!
I am very grateful to be able to take part in this LIFE program in which I can learn and practice Robert’s insightful and hugely powerful processes. I have found that although these processes can appear to be very simple, they are not easy to apply in difficult everyday situations without a lot of practice and support. I fully trust that I will receive all of the support and guidance I need from Robert and everybody else attending these trainings. I am really looking forward to meeting and getting to know so many other people who are also inspired by Robert’s teachings.

Jim_Lovell_Smith_NZJim Lovell-Smith, Christchurch, Aotearoa New Zealand

I’m looking forward to doing the LIFE course to integrate NVC more deeply and consistently into my life.  And I hope to find some lovely friends as well.




Maura DeNiro, Portland,  Oregon – LIFE Program Organising Team

My name is Maura DeNiro and I am connected to the LIFE Programme in two ways: one, I was a member of the 2012-2013 US LIFE Programme and two, I work on the administrative side of the LIFE Programme for Robert. So I have experienced the LIFE Programme from the inside and out! I’ve studied, practiced, and loved NVC since doing a weekend workshop with Marshall Rosenberg in 2005.

Going through the LIFE Programme moved NVC from my mind into my body and heart. Before studying with Robert I thought of NVC as first and foremost a conceptual/language practice (and it was a bonus if I could embody what I was saying!). After studying with Robert, I think of NVC as a body-based energetic practice.

As I practice NVC now my point of reference is “How is this living in my body? Am I open and flowing… or is there constriction somewhere?” That is the starting point and my guiding principal as I try my best to live with compassion for myself and others.

I am honored to be working with the Australian/New Zealand team to bring the LIFE Programme to this region of the world in 2015-2016. My hope is that through our combined efforts, more people will have the opportunity to learn and deepen into this precious work with Robert!

Phyllis Brzozowska PicPhylllis Brzozowska,  Portland,  Oregon – LIFE Program Organising Team

I feel so lucky to have been in Robert’s very first LIFE Class in 2006 in the US.  I joined because I wanted to deepen my knowledge and practice of NVC. The LIFE programme as completely changed my life. It’s given me very practical tools to use very day, in every situation to live with compassion for myself and others.  And, when I’m not feeling joy and compassion, how to come back to it.  My belief system has shifted entirely.

Today, I choose to live from the fullness of joy and authenticity and am so grateful to now be a part of a world wide community of people who’ve studied with Robert and are the most  amazing, supportive friends and companions on this journey.