I was born John McLain Chamberlin, IV into a military family in 1947. We moved 17 times in my youth, living throughout the Southern states, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Germany and Ireland by the time I was 18. This taught me about the diversity of human experience; and never to assume I understood another person, which has led to many amazing conversations.
As a boy, I earned the rank of Eagle in the Boy Scouts, was editor of a school newspaper while living in Germany. I spent a school year in Mungret College near Limerick, Ireland.
In high school, I enjoyed participating in The National Forensic League, which has the mission of empowering students to become effective communicators, ethical individuals, critical thinkers, and leaders in a democratic society. I had a blast winning medals in debate, congress and extemporaneous speaking.
After high school, I decided to become a Jesuit priest, that is, until I realized I could not live without the company of women.
Fascinated with communication I studied playwriting in College at Spring Hill College in Mobile, Alabama, and later at the University of South Florida. I paid for my education by working and winning tuition scholarships.
I was in the process of enlisting into the Army when I read two newspapers published by Quakers who had traveled to Vietnam. I “dropped out” and moved to Washington State, joining an alternative culture in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains with my wife and two children. While there, I worked with Cascadian Farms, an early organic farm, and helped organize a coop preschool and a food coop while fighting forest fires and planting trees. I discovered the joys of nature, collaboration, and team building.
When my son began school, I became a teacher at the Bellingham Coop School, the source of some of my happiest working memories because I seemed to always know what to do. I observed how learning is a natural process and integral to childhood, and treating children as people made for a great teaching experience.
The growing needs of my family led me into business, working for 10 years as a salesperson in Insurance, Real Estate, and Financial Planning, including three years with Merrill Lynch. There I learned how people make decisions and how to communicate with an economy of words.
After the stock market collapse in 1987, I began a career in Information Systems. My first personal computer was a Kapro and preceded the advent of the IBM PC. I worked as an Information Systems supervisor for a British Petroleum refinery in Northwest Washington, where my major task was to work with the staff to streamline workflow and provide systems to avoid duplicate efforts, eliminate drudgery, and maximize production. I did this primarily through using people skills to overcome resistance to change and create the trust required for a collaborative environment by ensuring everyone’s needs were considered. I became an expert in groupware using Lotus Notes, which led to working as a consultant for companies including Citibank, Simmons, and Associated Grocers. Here I learned how to gather and consolidate complex data into manageable information.
In 1998, I started i-Commerce Solutions, a website development company, and have built over 80 websites using all the skills I have developed over the years.
That year I attended a workshop given by Dr. Marshall Rosenberg, Ph.D., the creator of Nonviolent Communication and founder of the Center of Nonviolent Communication. He spoke as if he had the same spiritual beliefs I did. I realized the way I spoke rarely reflected those beliefs. I was immediately convinced his communication method was a powerful tool for peace.
I decided to devote more than my spare time and skills to promoting NVC by volunteering with the Puget Sound Network of Compassionate Communication. Besides building a website and database, I served on the Core Team and the Coordinating Committee. This gave me access to over 400 hours of workshops by Marshall during his annual visits to Washington State. Thousands of hours of meetings on the Coordinating Counsel for The Puget Sound Network of Compassionate Communications honed my skills in NVC. I found NVC to be a powerful process for developing self-awareness, enhancing intimate relationships, conflict resolution, and general peace-making.
After living through this process for three years, I studied workshop facilitation skills, including Accelerated Learning; I started teaching NVC in 2004. This is the most meaningful work I have done, and I intend to do it as long as I live.
My company, LifeServing™, provides training and counseling using Nonviolent Communications. This is a groundbreaking communication method with many sub-topics. It assumes enriching life is the most satisfying motivation for our efforts at interpersonal communication. Rather than being motivated by fear, guilt, blame, or shame, we can learn new ways of thinking and new shared language. It emphasizes taking personal responsibility for choices. Improving the quality of relationships is a primary outcome.
I support people to gently perceive the core of any unworkable communication habits. I open my workshops and private sessions by establishing a tone of respect and care. Unique healing dynamics arise spontaneously in the presence of a supportive, heartfelt group process. Listening without judgment or criticism, I then help people understand their unique communication needs and the barriers to their fulfillment. With growing clarity, people are able to learn new tools for preventing conflict and disconnection. Time, opportunity, and motivation open up to explore the depths of their own needs and the depth of their compassion.
If you know of something else to make life more wonderful than this activity, let me know.
In 2007 I moved from Seattle to Vermont, where I taught NVC throughout New England until July of 2016. While there, I developed six additional prepared workshops and held a number of advanced workshops, where participants set the agenda at the beginning of the workshop. This way, co-learners are empowered to learn and practice methods chosen by the group by consensus. Agenda-by-consensus can work with businesses, church groups, and activists.
In 2008, I was very happy to contribute to CNVC as a remote worker. I assumed the duties of the Information Technology Coordinator for the Center for Nonviolent communication, based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. This experience has put me in touch with NVC Trainers all around the world, keeping me abreast of the evolution of NVC globally.
In 2016 I moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico. On the way, I visited my son and watched his promotion to Lieutenant Colonel of the United States Air Force. His US Army family is very proud of him.
In August of 2017, I experienced the 12th stage of Burnout Syndrome. This was, at first, an utter breakdown of my cognitive abilities. I now consider it a breakthrough as I was able to watch my rebuilding and correct errors of perception I made along the way.
After a difficult, brief period of homelessness, my son purchased a house for me. I am now, in many ways, happier and more loving towards myself. My spiritual growth has been quite remarkable to me.
I am now upgrading my training to be more activity-based and games-based. This allows Cultural Creatives to discover for themselves the principles I learned from Marshall Rosenberg and other trainers-facilitators continuing the evolution of NVC.
Now my life is all about contributing to peace by practicing, promoting, and sharing
LifeServing Communication™ experiencing fun, fulfillment, and joy.