Communication Skills

At La’akea, we use a number of modalities to get along together and support each other emotionally.

Here are a few articles to help you understand what we do.

Tracy Matfin’s article in Communities Magazine on Conflict in Community was published summer 2024! Here’s a link to the finished writing:

The article contains references to her journey raising her daughter Ai’ala in community as well as many other examples and references to daily life here at La’akea! 

GUT HEALTH by Dona Willoughby, former Member

Published in the Winter 2009 issue of Communities magazine – Issue #145


“When someone is triggered, they have an overwhelming emotional response and may not be rational. We practice Marshal Rosenberg’s Nonviolent Communication (NVC) at La’akea. In NVC, the Jackal is used to portray the moralistic, critical, judgmental, blaming voice many of us internalized when we were small.”

“During dinner, I make a request to receive attention from a fellow community member. He agrees. I need to decide what form of attention I want to receive. One option is Peer Counseling, in which all members of La’akea have been trained. A Peer Counseling session consists of both parties giving undivided loving presence to the other one for an allotted amount of time. Peer counselors suggest ways their clients may work on issues, but they do not give advice. I decide I want to tell my story, enjoy free-flowing conversation, and be given advice.”

Article in the Spring 2011 Communities Magazine:   Click title to read entire article

Hand in Hand, Heart to Heart: Peer Counseling in Community By Amara Karuna


“What happens when we decide to get together with some friends on a lovely piece of land, and build family and community together, and after a few months or years the rosy glow of our idealism wears off and it seems to become so much more difficult than we imagined? Why do we find ourselves arguing, feeling jealous, greedy, and uncooperative? It seems that if the others would just do it our way, and stop being so unreasonable, things would work out great!

How do we communicate what we want without being controlling? How do we stay connected when our needs seem to be conflicting with others? How do we truly share power and not be co-dependently giving in to please another? What do we do when we feel like punching the other person, or we seriously consider whether there might be some way to never speak to them again? How do we handle our attraction to someone else’s lover? Why do we find ourselves willing to back off and give up on what is important to us, just to avoid conflict?”

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