Another creative application of mindfulness in daily life: The “miracle of mindfulness” seems to apply to just about everything—including the way we communicate with each other. At work, in school, in families, in intimate relationships: any situation in which you need to convey something or have something conveyed to you.
A highly visible author: Oren teaches his communication method in the San Francisco Bay Area, where he lives, but also across the United States, particularly in Insight Meditation venues, where he is especially well connected.
What is nonviolent communication (NVC)? It’s a modality developed by the late Marshall Rosenberg in the 1960s—and he’s the figure most closely related to it and author of the first major book on it, Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life. It posits that we resort to violent solutions only when other avenues to communication aren’t available. It continues to be taught and practiced in the US and throughout the world.
Timely, to say the least: Oren’s proven methods for creating honest and effective communication are urgently needed tools for everyone trying to hear and be heard effectively in today’s charged political climate.
“Unconscious patterns of communication create separation not only in our personal lives, they also perpetuate patterns of misunderstanding and violence that pervade our world. With clarity and great insight, Oren Jay Sofer offers teachings and practices that train us to speak and listen with presence, courage, and an open heart.”—Tara Brach, author of Radical Acceptance and True Refuge
“Oren Jay Sofer offers us a brilliant intertwining of focused presence and artful engagement. Our work, family, and any other relationships will benefit from his guidance.”—Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence and Altered Traits
“Full of practical exercises that develop powerful communication and mindfulness skills, this timely and engaging book shows us how caring, curiosity, and connection can transform people’s lives, even in the face of aggression.”—Susan Kaiser Greenland, author of Mindful Games and The Mindful Child
“By the time we reach adulthood, most of us have learned to operate through such deeply engrained patterns of language and behavior that virtually all of our communication involves projection, assumption, and bias. No wonder we often feel so cut off and all alone! Mr. Sofer deftly weaves together his mindfulness practice and principles of Nonviolent Communication to help us learn how to find one another again. This is a powerful guidebook to thinking, speaking, and listening with authenticity and care. Bravo!”—Sharon Salzberg, author of Real Happiness and Real Love
“This tremendous book addresses one of the biggest challenges in any relationship: how to combine heart with strength, compassion with assertiveness. Written with great warmth and clarity, it brings together well-researched principles, effective tools and suggestions, powerful experiential practices, and many examples. It is down-to-earth and completely accessible while also being so deep, even profound. If I had just one book to recommend about interpersonal communication, it would be this one.”—Rick Hanson, Ph.D., author of Resilient: How to Grow an Unshakable Core of Calm, Strength, and Happiness
“Oren Jay Sofer’s first book, Say What You Mean, is a helpful guide for speaking wisely and with love. It offers terrific tools and understandings that are critical to the art of communicating clearly and from the heart.”—Jack Kornfield, author of No Time Like the Present and Bringing Home the Dharma
“Meeting the enormous challenges of living in these times calls for an integration of inner practices of mindfulness with outer practices of communicating with honesty, vulnerability, strength, care, and empathy. Oren shows us a way to do just that.”—Miki Kashtan, Certified Nonviolent Communication Trainer and author of Spinning Threads of Radical Aliveness
“Oren Jay Sofer’s eloquent book Say What You Mean could just as well be titled Living What You Mean. Going beyond the surface level of communication, he describes our relational journey together in its inherent connections with how we behave, how we express, perceive, and meet the needs of ourselves and others, how we engage with difference and even conflict, how we negotiate love and anger—in sum, how to fully live this complex life. Sofer gives essential frameworks, perspectives, and skills for our shared humanity.”—Larry Yang, Buddhist teacher and author of Awakening Together: The Spiritual Practice of Inclusivity and Community
“Words have tremendous power—both to harm, and to heal. In Say What You Mean, Oren shares a 3-part process for communicating with mindfulness, clarity, and compassion, and creating more connection and understanding in our relationships. In these times of turbulence and conflict, we need this more than ever before.”—Chris Kresser, M.S., L.Ac , New York Times best-selling author of The Paleo Cure and Unconventional Medicine
“Detailed, thorough, and practical, Say What You Mean shines light on the ability of good communication to bring more compassion, kindness, and wisdom to our relationships.”—Foreword Reviews (starred review)
“Through discussion and example, and supported by reflections and practices to ground the teaching, [Oren Jay Sofer] helps us explore our own habituated styles of not just communication, but of viewing the world, and how this impacts how we speak to one another, and, importantly, how we listen.”—Mindful Magazine
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