Transformative Education

Find our voices, speak our truth, walk our talk

Empathic Mediation in the Classroom

 Our empathy-based programs help teachers and students examine their beliefs surrounding conflict in the classroom and co-create positive learning environments where they can openly discuss ideas, share experiences, and find solutions to common contextual problems. 

Throughout our programs, the fundamental and recurring notion is that fully utilizing our bodies is the essential ingredient for learning and creatively leading our own lives.

Participants of all ages will learn to:

  • Stay centered and connected during difficult conversations
  • Establish healthy boundaries that promote a powerful inclusivity
  • Learn to transform anger into life lessons   
  • Make requests that produce mutually beneficial results
  • Take decisive actions that align with classroom values
  • Identify and manage moods, self-organize, be self-motivated,       
  • Learn to give and receive support, appreciate diversity, cultivate community

Our training programs will benefit the school as a whole by:

  • Bringing new skills to the student body that inspires involvement and investment.
  • Identifying and shifting the communication that blocks connection, and transforming it into resources that deepen the experience of Community.
  • Helping to align the school with its own vision of community, compassion and whole student participation

Developing a Centered Presence

Center is a state of unity in which effective action; emotional balance, mental alertness and spiritual vision are in harmonious balance. When were centered, our actions are coherent with all that we care about.

Our programs begin with the claim that learning is the ability to take actions that were previously unavailable to us. Next, we offer a new interpretation of the body that is fundamental to learning how to learn. To say we learn through our bodies and that learning is assessed by our ability to take new action is somewhat startling at first. Trained in the rationalistic tradition to value theoretical knowledge we’re predisposed to think of learning as something that happens in the mind. Because this model of education has historically produced tremendous advances in science and technology, it’s understandable that we consider learning to be about accumulating information. Developing a centered presence expands attention to your entire body. By remembering that your body is involved in every act of thinking, feeling and responding, you are empowering your inherent capacity to resist the pull of habit and access your true source of wisdom and power.

Working With Stress and Overwhelms

The amount of focus and responsibility put on students, teachers, and faculty for results and outcomes can be stressful, demanding and overwhelming. In all of our trainings we place an emphasis on creating a safe space to learn about ourselves, that honors diversity and grows trust.   In challenging moments our bodies automatically contract around old emotional hurts and traumas. These deep and learned protection mechanisms have long guarded our precious selves.  In these moments it becomes exceedingly difficult to be empathic because empathy is an expansive, physical state.

How can we transmit trust if our body says one thing and our words say another?

Reconnecting to the deeper currents below our reactions opens us to our own unique gifts to the world. It takes creative, deliberate, and inspired practice over time to transform old habits into such resources.  Our programs emphasize ways of such deep practice.

It is hard to change something if you are unaware of it. It is important to become aware of 6 domains: thinking, feeling, linguistics, movement, posture, and attention. All are connected. What happens in one affects another. Working with them together speeds the process of changing habits. Individual and interactive evaluative processes help students become aware of their own cultural and historical reflexive and automatic behaviors. Choice enters where there was previously only unexamined reaction. This allows for more effective collaboration and cooperation. All this together unfolds a process where each student chooses deliberate practices that help him or her cultivate natural strengths and talents on the road to becoming whom it is they wish to become.

To that end the teaching/practices/exercises all contain the following three elements:

  • A trained attention- We train our attention like we train a muscle to become stronger.
  • A centered presence – We develop an expanded awareness of self and what is communicated beyond words
  • Purposeful intrinsic motivation— we pay attention to what we are doing and why we are doing it.

Becoming Life Long Learners

LS programs offer a unique blend of mind/body practices to awaken empathic faculties for attuning word and action to the kind of deeper motivations that enliven relationships and livelihoods. Our approach supports the teacher as learner by focusing on specific skills and dispositions teachers need to stay balanced and centered to nurture themselves and their students. Teachers that are lifelong learners inspire students and associates to be accountable and do their best. Whole-self learning offers students the opportunity to craft a vision from what they care about.


Our comprehensive, ongoing programs help students to learn to manage themselves with care in the face of conflict and stressful situations. Regular group and solution sessions build the student’s capacity to offer and receive the type of critical assessments that we all need to grow and to see ourselves more clearly. Throughout the year we present a number of principles, examples, discourse and age-appropriate practices for students to viscerally explore different qualities of character and moral fiber such as courage, vision, trustworthiness, self-control, honesty, justice, dignity, and integrity.

Embodied Learning program sets in place skills for developing healthy identities within a diverse school community. Over time and practice these skills become a self-sustaining part of the school’s culture. Students fully engage challenges that come up as they face the questions of adolescence, teacher and parental relationships, peer conflicts, diversity, racism, bullying and moral dilemmas. Trust and community develop along the way.

By means of individual/partner/group conversations for reflection and action, creative explorations, contemplative time, performance, selected readings, journaling, cooperative trust-building games, exercises, stories, and some good fun, students will learn to more authentically live with purpose while engaging deeply with others.

What People Say:

“For me, this work is a direct way of cultivating the intrinsic trust I’ve been seeking. This unified somatic internal consensus among body- mind-spirit that David has been honing is NVC in motion for me. It’s opening up a piece of the empathic field that has been out of my reach… one that includes other people & my body, so I’m not afraid of being afraid. So I can start to be free.”

~Shana Deane,  Teacher

“The community, the setting, the transparency of all, the chance to practice!  It is a great way to have hope about the more heated and wounded relationships.”                                                                                                                          

~Kathy Buys,   Psychologist

“David is one of those rare teachers who tune in completely to his audience. You feel heard, seen and  empowered through his work and that is a great gift.  His skill as an Aikido master blends forcefully with his creative program of Somatic Consensus.  You leave with a deep awareness of your own embodied habits, and exciting new skills to help you return to center, stay neutral in crisis, and lead with your heart.  I can’t recommend him and his workshops highly enough.”

–Jane Falkner,  Therapist, and  Coach

“You create a beautiful container. I have a strong feeling that what we did here this weekend will expand itself in the weeks ahead.  These are seeds planted in my body that I believe will keep sprouting. ”

~Kirsten Elfandahl, Executive Director of Freedom Project

“I am grateful for the time we spent together in the Cowichan and I know it has helped to give me a strong foundation to stand on as I enter this new journey as a mentor.”

~Jason Roberts,   school teacher

“David – I think you bring great expertise, experience and energy to the group. I love how you mix-up stories, explanations, practical physical practice, demonstrations and group work. I think that your passion for this work is infectious and creates a great energy. I also love the sense of safety and openness that you created with the group.”

~Angela Walkley,  Life Coach

“David created and held a space that enabled honesty, authenticity, learning, and realization. What I enjoyed most was (is) the feeling of love that I’m left with and the gift of self-awareness that I’ve been supported in realizing.”

~Emily C. teacher


“I was breath-taken by some of the examples he brought, and filled with hope connecting to the possibilities of teaching NVC through these examples. I was also very impressed with David’s presence and ease as a facilitator. It seems that more and more NVC practitioners are including the body in their work; David has his own unique way of doing that and I just hope that as many people as possible could access his work.”

–François Beausoleil, CNVC Certified Trainer

From College and High School Students:

The workshop helped me to connect down to my deepest self in a fun and practical way.  It is full of heart, love, play, and authenticity. Thoroughly awesome in all sense of the word!

–Chloe Brown-College Student

“Refreshing and inspiring…this workshop provided me with challenges and ways to search through my internal difficulties.  I felt safe to do this for many hours at a time.  I am inspired to shift out of some of my destructive habits.”

–Forrest Postler

“I learned tools to work in my body and engage myself….mind heart and body together. It’s really a place where it is safe to explore deep and real communication.”

–Jason Leher

My favorite thing about this workshop was how safe of a space we held collectively for such depth in our learning. We went deep into ourselves, our patterns our histories and our fears, and just having space where this is welcomed shifted my whole life. This opening up to the mystery is overflowing now and filling up so many spaces where it had been missing.


What hit me most about these workshops has been the incredible community and individual people it’s introduced me to. These are people dedicated to being strong, vulnerable, honest, true, and pure. It’s been a very visceral experience of love and acceptance for me. The one retreat that I’ve been o to Wiseacres remains one of an incredible experience for e because of what and how I felt there. I am realizing I can’t put it into words, but it was very special to me. Thank you. Here is a place to be free. Being around and with you, two and everyone else is a learning experience for me. Thank you for your tenderness, gentleness, your excellence, and your music.


I appreciate the stillness and confidence I have gained. This workshop has helped me realize my power and trust in my intuition. It helped me to give myself space and time to explore myself. I am a fast mover/talker/doer and this work has helped me to feel comfortable in giving myself time-helped me remember and truly feel that I deserve this time and space. Your humor and lightness helped me to feel comfortable going into the deep and dark. Taking this and ourselves seriously-but not too seriously. I have mounds of gratitude and love for you both and this dojo.


It was wonderful to be here because it helped me learn skills and remember why my community of friends is so meaningful to me. I felt safe to just relax and find my ground.


I wanted to thank you again for all you shared. I learned so much from you that can be applied in the moment when I am triggered.

Debra S. -Junior


“I liked the games where we had to move out of the way of the stick and I learned that it wasn’t how ready I was, or how much I tried to move faster, it was more that I was able to move with the other person if I relaxed and felt like we were together.  That was amazing to see.”

~Sophie,  age 10

“I liked the idea that things can be less confusing and less dangerous when you move towards the source of a fight, instead of away.”

~Dylan,  age 9

“I liked how we learned to make a bubble and include others in it and included nature too.”

~Thomas, age 7

“I liked learning that when you’re with someone and caring that if they are attacking,  you can pretty much know what they are going to do before they do it.”

~Devin, age 12

“I was surprised to learn that holding my muscles tight are less powerful than when I am relaxed and feeling what I love.”

~Sage W, age 9

“I liked learning how to walk in a way that I can relate to every thing around me.”

~Annie, age 8

“I was surprised to learn that holding my muscles tight are less powerful than when I am relaxed and feeling what I love.”

~Susie, age 9

“I liked learning Aikido moves the best.”

~Mark, age 7

“I liked learning how much better things work when I am relaxed.

When I am relaxed, I can focus better and move better in scary times.”

~David, age 10