About Tewa Holloway cyt

Relationship: I first learned the practice of empathy twenty-nine years ago from my beloved husband, Jivan, who had learned it in the form of silent co-listening. We would each take a turn being silently present in a space of loving acceptance (or the closest we could come to it!) as the other shared their deepest heart. At first, I found it amazingly difficult as I noticed that, after his sharing for ten minutes, I hadn't heard anything beyond the first sentence or two! I had spent the rest of the time formulating my response, whether it was advice, criticism, correction, consolation, one-upping, sharing my own experience and on and on.... and I had thought I was a 'conscious' person!

Presence: As I learned to let go of my mind and just Be, the depth of connection between us grew and I fell in love with that space of open Presence. I was also amazed at how, what I had considered big 'problems' that needed to be 'fixed', would frequently simply dissolve in this Presence. At other times, when some form of resolution was needed, it was so much easier to process once we had first taken the time to listen to one another from the heart.

Parenting: When our son was 7 and our daughter was 2, I was struggling with how to live the love and compassion I so deeply valued with my children, especially when we did not see eye to eye! I needed a step-by-step method, a life raft, for when I was low on energy, frazzled and baffled as to how to be an effective parent, while still honoring our flow. 

NVC! A miracle happened for me when I attended my first Nonviolent Communication weekend workshop (aka Compassionate Communication, or NVC, as developed by Marshall Rosenberg PhD) on Kauai with Christa Morf in 2003. This was a turning point in my life. I was ecstatic! Finally, I had learned practical tools that I could use in the moment, and on a daily basis with our children, to live the love I longed for. I also realized it would be a journey with extensive practice,  dedication and commitment to truly embody the new awareness I had learned. The magic was that it gave me the skills to stay connected with myself and our children through many very trying times! 

Practice: I dove in deeply, studying and practicing daily. I co-founded a practice group that continued to meet for 13 years, and also helped to bring  Christa back to Kauai every month that year to teach, participating in every three-day workshop. I went on to attend multiple trainings with various facilitators, week-long residential retreats, an NVC Family Camp and a ten-day NVC International Intensive Training with Marshall himself.

Part of what I found to be the most transformational work to re-wire old habits of thought and reaction, was reading his book, 'Nonviolent Communication - A Language of Life', along with doing every single exercise (twice over a period of two years!) in the 'Nonviolent Communication Companion Workbook' by Lucy Leu.

Sharing the Gift: Over the next few years I continued to share NVC, first in Kauai and then in Auroville, India, where we lived for three years. I formed more practice groups and began teaching Introductory and Deepening workshops, and longer Intensive trainings as well as Facilitator trainings. I have taught adults privately, by phone and in workshops, children and teens in schools, and in homeschool settings. I have coached and counseled couples and individuals, and taught parents and teachers.

Additional Practices: Since I was 16 and read 'Be Here Now' by Ram Dass and 'Zen and the Art of Seeing' by Frederick Franke, I have been embracing awareness practices. Others include Vipassana as taught by S.N.Goenka, The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz, The Presence Process as developed by Michael Brown, Practicing the Power of Now as shared by Ekhart Tolle, The Work by Byron Katie, Conscious Leadership Skills based on the work of the Hendricks Institute, Emotional Intelligence as defined by Daniel Goleman and an ongoing daily gratitude practice that literally keeps me sane at times!

I believe that a strong moment-to-moment awareness practice is vital to practicing non-violence and living compassionately. Being barefoot on earth every day is another core practice for me to stay grounded, and connected to the radiant energy of this radiant earth. In 2022 I completed a 200-hour Yoga Alliance certified teacher training, becoming a certified yoga teacher and wellness coach, deepening my learning and practice in both of these spheres, where I had previously been largely self-taught.

Ongoing: This journey has been, and continues to be a learning curve, a re-wiring of ancient habits and patterns of judgement, of using disconnect as a survival strategy, of defaulting to power-over, and right/wrong thinking. It took years for these old habits to be gradually re-framed into power-with thinking, choosing connection as the new default, and for the judgments to loosen their grip. The new software (as my first NVC teacher Christa, called it) is still being installed, and in the midst of extreme tension, I still temporarily slip back to old patterns at times. I can now fully relate to what Marshall Rosenberg once said at a workshop I attended, when asked if he is now forever free of his judgmental thoughts? He laughed and said not at all. The difference now, he said, is how little time he spends with those thoughts, compared to how much time he used to spend with them!

Transition: I truly believe that the biggest contributing factor in the strength and beauty of my relationship with my husband was that we took the time to practice empathic listening, every day, for the first many years of our marriage.

We went through a huge transition between 2018-2020.  I was in my menopasual composting (rich, messy and transformative) along with my Chiron return... a wild ride that has included some depression that has been deeply humbling.  Our children, now adults, have been out on their own for a while. My sweet beloved of 29 years has been right by my side. I am beyond grateful for his presence and unconditional love through this time.

At first it was super challenging, as we were both thrust into this initiation much deeper than we expected. By staying true to our processes, both individually and together, we have re-stabilized, making peace with this transformation ... and along with our other awareness practices, empathy & NVC consciousness continues to be an incredible life raft, helping us navigate some insanely uncomfortable moments, while guiding us inside and out to stay true and return to compassionate connection and deep love.

My deepest gratitude goes out to Marshall Rosenberg, may he rest in Peace, for asking the questions and sharing the answers he found with so many, giving us a profound and effective tool with which to reshape our perception, bringing forth ever-deeper compassion. 

Wishing you all the best all ways ~ Tewa


About Jivan francis hertzog m.s.

Click here to see my Music bio

Youth: During my youth, singing and nature were my primary self-healing practices. They both helped me get through a sometimes difficult and traumatic upbringing. In college, I chose to major in Psychology in the hope of being able to help others who were struggling and suffering. Throughout those years, I continued to sing and play the drums in various bands. Afterwards, I went on to earn my Master's Degree in Psychology at Villanova University. During that time, and for several years after graduating I worked a variety of jobs in the mental health field, including resident life, juvenile delinquent centers, inpatient and outpatient psychiatric settings, milieu therapy, group homes, all the while engaging in therapy as a patient myself, to deep dive into my own healing processes.

Yoga, Empathy & Freeing Your Healing Voice: I became disillusioned with the western psychiatric approach to mental health, took a year off to travel and find myself, and eventually signed up for a 3-month spiritual lifestyle training program at Kripalu Ashram and Yoga Center in western Massachussetts. I felt so revitalized and inspired that I stayed on at the ashram after the program had ended, and joined the yoga community as a monastic. I resonated deeply with the yogic approach to health and well-being: unity of mind/body/spirit. In addition to yoga asana, pranayama, meditation, and karma yoga practices, one of the most powerful tools that I learned was the practice of colistening: being fully present for another without interrupting. 

We took turns in pairs as well as in support group settings.  Years later I realized that this practice of giving empathy was the foundation of NVC (Nonviolent Communication) as taught by Marshall Rosenberg.  Whereas my training as a mental health worker taught me to look for problems, the yogic approach taught me to see the Divine in all, to be fully present in loving awareness.  It was during my stay at Kripalu that I created my Freeing Your Healing Voice Playshops, to assist others in breaking through their fears around singing, and exploring the wondrous powers of the yoga of singing.  While there, I was introduced to and became deeply passionate about kirtan, the group singing of healing mantras.

Marriage: After about a year at the ashram, my teacher informed me that I had received what I had come for, and that it was time for me to leave the ashram to go live in nature, and let nature be my teacher. This felt right to me, and shortly thereafter I connected deeply with Tewa and we decided to travel together to Costa Rica. My yoga teacher also suggested to commit to Tewa in marriage as sadhana partners in the yoga of relationship.  We got married after just two months of first meeting, and headed to the beaches and jungle of Costa Rica.  We sang together, practiced yoga, meditation, breath work, and co-listening on a regular basis. 

Children and NVC: Our son was home-birthed in a hut in the jungle by the beach.  A couple of years later we moved to the island of Kauai. Our daughter was born at home there, surrounded by giant coconut trees, with the beach just down the road.  As our children grew up, I realized that I needed guidance to parent in the way that was aligned with my values. I began studying Nonviolent Communication (Compassionate Communication) as taught by Marshall Rosenberg PhD. I had resonated deeply with Rogerian psychology in my earlier studies, and found this was an elegant, sophisticated and effective iteration of that approach.

Teaching: It was just what I needed for my own healing and for helping others in their healing journeys. It has been a powerful tool both for Tewa and I as a couple, as well as for us individually. After learning and practicing this process, I began facilitating and teaching it to others. I am grateful and honored to have discovered this gift. In the spirit of love and compassion and with great joy I offer it to you as well: listening from the heart in a sacred space of loving presence, trusting in your journey, and helping you find the beauty of your needs and values. Blessed be, Jivan

Please visit www.cnvc.org to learn more about NVC and it's founder, Marshall Rosenberg PhD.

Click here to book a session with Jivan or Tewa.