The development of our curriculum is a living, dynamic, and ongoing process. Our instructors, participants, and organizational leadership reflect together on what works in their lives, and then collaborate to co-create practices and processes that will cultivate sustainable, nonviolent action.
Based on four Principles of Nonviolence, and aware of four Spheres of Experience, our curriculum generates space for organic dialogue within and between participants, supporting learning to go beyond the classroom. Below is a matrix of themes that open the space for everyone touched by Comienzos programming to increasingly develop skills and awareness for freedom, and to become a leader in his or her own way. Click on the links within each cell for examples of some of the classes we offer, and to find inspiration for your own learning, growth, and action.
|Get to know
receive with joy
||Shift from blame
|Shift from domination
|Shift from scarcity
|Shift from punishment
|| Lead from
| Lead through
empathy and honesty
| Serve your
| Allow conflict to
Self-Responsibility: Nonviolence starts with knowing ourselves, and taking responsibility for our lives and our actions. When we can understand ourselves, and can express ourselves with deeper honesty, our ability to choose compassionate action increases.
Dialogue: Everyone has something to contribute to the world, and through our interactions with each other, our eyes can be opened to new and different things. Dialogue, in this sense, means that everyone’s voice matters, and that there is space for everyone to be heard, so that we can all work together to co-create the world in which we want to live.
Service: It is important to find opportunities to take action that is aligned with our values, because when we do so, it gives us a sense that our contribution matters. By seeking to serve ourselves, our communities, and our world, we participate in a way that gives our lives meaning.
Reconciliation: Sometimes, the things that we do in our lives do not meet the needs we intend to meet, and we or those around us experience conflict. Reconciliation is a commitment to coming back together to restore connection when conflict occurs.
Individual: Our philosophy of education begins with each individual. By including practices like meditation, yoga, and tai chi chih, as well as classroom exercises aimed at building individual skills and awareness, we create a solid foundation for sustainable learning and continued growth.
Relationships: Our interpersonal relationships offer important challenges and opportunities for growth. Practicing new skills and awareness with those that we care about most, as well as those with whom we share space can help to bring our learning beyond the confines of any classroom.
Structure: We can’t always rely solely on our own inner resources, and sometimes we need support. It is important to be aware of the processes and collective strategies that are in place to guide us and help us when we slip, as well as to develop new processes and collective strategies that can be even more life-serving.
Culture: Whereas structures are often visible and overt, like a hospital intake or a court room, we are also immersed in culture that more subtly influences our behaviors, beliefs, and values. These symbolic practices and spaces, including rituals, ceremonies, art, and music, are not only important parts of ourselves, but also can be valuable resources for supporting learning, growth, and transformation.