Conflict-19: from Covid to Conflict
July 2022

Dear Friend,
I sometimes think of this newsletter as a slow-motion suspense story in which people wonder what will happen next to us. Our pattern of encountering obstacles and discovering valuable learning (turning straw into gold) has continued with our relatively recent arrival in Portugal as we plan, yet again, our next departure.
Within the first couple of weeks of being here, we extended the time in this house to the end of July, hoping that within that time we would find a new place to live for the rest of the year. Instead, we discovered that there was no pathway for us to stay here for the year for multiple reasons. We are now in the process of making plans to be in Scotland for a year starting some time in August. Big change. Again. We thought we would be able to buy a van here to support our next journey. Instead, we discovered that won’t work, and we will need to ship our things to our next destination. Again. 
And, in parallel with that, and despite having very clear and conscious Covid protocols, three of us got Covid. How I didn’t remains a mystery for me for which I am immensely grateful. Instead of getting Covid, I was the one standing on my feet and caring for the ones who were sick, since the only other person who didn’t get it had a knee injury that was worse than my own hip injury. I did more dishwashing in those few days than in the entire prior two years since, in our capacity-based, needs-based resource flow, we don’t go by equality or fairness, and everyone is united in having me do as little household work as possible so I could do as much of the writing that is in me that is within capacity. It’s not for nothing that I was going to name this newsletter “Why Unfairness Works” before Covid came, things eventually broke down, and the focus of the newsletter became what it is now. 
It was also within this same overall logic within which we operate that it was entirely obvious to me that it made complete sense for me to stretch beyond what my capacity actually was. And it was low with all the writing; all the many due dates and intensities; all my responsibilities; my hip injury; my mysteriously swollen ankle that, indeed, didn’t like at all standing on my feet for so many days; the BayNVC transition for which I am a key person in tracking and holding; and everything else I am holding.
When the second and then third people went into isolation, which included both of our drivers, I even ended up walking 25 minutes each way to the supermarket for shopping on a really hot day. Thankfully, I didn’t do that alone, as we had a visitor here, Selene Aswell, who was with us in Portugal a year ago. She also made a big batch of soup that was our lunch for three days. And then it was Eddy and me, for days on end.
The first several days were physically grueling. I nonetheless felt happy, aligned, and very connected with Eddy who sat on the couch with his leg up given his injury, doing as much as could possibly be done while sitting. It got us into a bond of co-holding. In the mornings, during our current daily logistical/practical meeting, all of us got on Zoom within the same house, the Covid ones being foggy and weak, and attended to one thing after another that were part of all the other challenges. In between everything, I still managed to do little spurts of writing. For the first time ever in my life, I imagine I might have experienced a small and short version of what it might be like to be a housewife. 
And then something happened. It started with realizing that in their state – weak, foggy, and isolated, each in a room, on the 2nd floor of this house – there was just about nothing those with Covid could do to support me. That was entirely fine with me and part of what stretching into this role was. However, there was something they could do to support me; two things to be precise. Both were things they could do to support me, specifically, in supporting them. One was to create a flow of communication with me, so that when I needed to know something from them, I wouldn’t need to wait an unpredictably long time, since going to knock on their doors was exposure for me, could wake up someone who was resting, and involved going up the stairs which would aggravate my hip injury. When I communicated that to them, that one was mostly worked out for the duration of the ordeal. 
The other one was astonishingly difficult to make happen and days to understand. I asked that they put their dishes outside their door as soon as a meal or a drink was over so that Emma, who was the first to get sick and thus, also, the first to become less contagious, could bring them down and I could wash them within my flow, whenever I was ready to do it and to make the next batch of drinks or food for them. No reminder was enough to make it happen. Even after Emma knocked on doors to ask for and remind, some dishes were still kept in. In one of our morning meetings, as it was revealed that, indeed, it was done with conscious awareness of not doing what I asked, I started crying loudly. My crying intensified into a wail, a kind I rarely do, when I learned that the reason was some form of separation that took this form: “I will take care of my needs by myself and not be a burden.” I know this is entirely commonplace, and yet, within the context of our life, where we function in such collective intimacy, it was wrenching for me. I cried and cried, saying that when they didn’t give me their needs in their fullness, I couldn’t exercise my creative engineering magic to attend to all the needs, and it ended up being more work for me, not less. Erin then reflected back to me that my wail sounded like it came from Gaia, mother earth herself, crying out that when we hide our needs behind money, she can’t care for all of them.
This was one of those straw to gold moments I mentioned in the last newsletter: out of our immense difficulties and my own suffering, a piece of significant wisdom emerged. Not that we didn’t know it before; it simply became viscerally clear: the more needs are known, the better the solutions are that we come up with. This is a life principle, entirely at odds with capitalist patriarchal functioning. And it’s now more integrated, even if only within me. 
Before this happened, I came up with a temporary purpose for us which the Covid ones literally couldn’t think about, so it was left dangling only within me: “To discover within the current difficulties every bit of systemic wisdom that can support our togetherness.” When this clarity about putting our needs on the table arose, and with the deep mourning I had just done, I thought we were done. 
And then it just got worse and worse. People kept exiting togetherness into separation, which is the hardest thing for me to live with in an intimate setting, while I was progressively more depleted because of the immense physical and emotional exertion of caring for everyone. When they all came out and still didn’t manage to orient towards me, and in the context of there already being impacts on me from before that had not been attended to for months, and when it wasn’t possible to talk about it and co-hold the grief of low capacity, I ended up doing what I called “going on strike” and was later reframed by a friend into a “generosity fast.” It’s a fast because unconditional generosity is such a flow for me, that the strike was painful rather than a relief. Days later, when we called a mourning circle with support from friends and colleagues that hold our project with us, Emma was able to name what was happening. With me on strike, she noted, the true capacity of the field, without what I bring into it, is revealed. She concluded her mourning by saying that this gives us an indication of what it might be like after I die, and how far from ready we are for that. 
That was when Emma and Eddy started mobilizing to care for the conflict arising from the lack of holding of the capacity gaps and the impacts within the field, mostly, though not only, on me. As of the writing of this, which is weeks before it goes out, the field is still fraught. Impacts are still happening, and a pathway to care for them has not been found. And I am suffering a whole lot less nonetheless, because of two reasons. One is the straw to gold: we are learning so much. A year ago, during another conflict with a person who was only with us, in the end, for a few weeks, we developed a conflict engagement system that is based, entirely, on capacity as the main ingredient. And now we are getting to experiment with it. We have been working on a conflict narrative that brings us into togetherness by supporting all of us in pointing in the same direction. And we are creating a conflict statement for others who are outside us instead of keeping our conflict as a “secret” as is so often done. We believe that transparency increases trust and connection. We learned from all this that having a conflict narrative in place makes the creation of a conflict statement much easier, because the togetherness is already there. Here, for anyone who wants to see it, is a link to our current conflict statement, which may be different by the time the newsletter goes out. 
The other is that even as the impacts have spilled and there is anguish in the field; and even as there are pockets of very painful separation and mistrust; and even as the possibility remains that we might not have capacity to bridge all the gaps and might not find a way to all stay together, despite all of our love and shared purpose; on another level we are holding all of this with astonishing togetherness and some high-level trust. As soon as Emma and Eddy managed to create the structures to hold everything and were able to bring our information flow to where we are all in the loop, I no longer feel so crushingly alone. That purpose I created that no one could engage with is now amended and holds us for these difficult weeks until hopefully, after dispersing for some weeks, we gather in Scotland for a year of regeneration and capacity building:
To engage, investigate, and mourn the gap and nurture pockets of capacity that attend to our larger purpose as we surrender to life to discover within the current difficulties every bit of systemic wisdom that can support our togetherness and seed capacity for engaging globally.

While all this was going on, Menaka Neotia joined us from India, bringing with her depth of commitment, beauty of soul, and strength to engage with the dynamics within us and with the larger global patterns we want to transform and that her presence makes more tangible. For this moment, while writing this, I feel peaceful, grief-stricken, and determined. Our work, the precious seed given to us by life to care for, continues. 
In service to life,


P.S. If you want to hear more of what’s been happening in the last couple of months, click here for both work and personal celebrations and mournings.

Picture credits: To-Do list image by Leslie Becknell Marx; Positive covid test image by Superbass CC4.0 via Wikimedia Commons; Woman with tissues photo by Andrew Lozovyi from depositphotos dot com; Gaia goddess image by Amber Avalona, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons; After Covid photo by our pod, delayed shot
Miki's Upcoming Events
Online at NVC Academy
Responding to the Call of Our Times
Fridays, February 4 - December 19, 2022 (45 sessions)
Noon - 2:00 pm PT

The 6th year of this course continues and deepens every week as more people within the group spontaneously step into their own leadership, even within the session. The experiment of shifting to the gift economy brought over 350 people to the course, about 60% more than have registered last year. We know that many of them would not have been able to attend otherwise. The course remains open for the whole year. Watch the video as several people share what this has meant to them. There is deep magic in the community that forms, too, as people mobilize to change lives within and around them. Whether you are an "official" leader or not, this ongoing program will support you in freeing yourself to fully step into leadership in all aspects of your life and work, and play your part in making life work for everyone. As our social systems unravel, this is more timely than ever. Even as so many more people registered this year, the total income generated, a substantial amount of what sustains both the NVC Academy and BayNVC, is still below what we received last year. We are calling on all who can to give here what can be given without stretching or resentment, even if you are not joining the course. Info and register
Facing Life as One: Restoring Our Individual and Collective Capacity for Choice, Togetherness, and Flow
Sundays, August 7 to September 11 (six sessions)
7:30-9:30am PT (local time here)
First session free, the rest on a gift economy basis

All over the world, we live in difficult conditions. Very few of us are thriving, including those with significant access to resources. Especially then, we have been taught to look for security instead of community. Settle for convenience instead of joy. Strive for success instead of purpose. Seek fun instead of reverence. Lean on money instead of freedom. Earn our way instead of knowing that we matter. And aim to control instead of trusting the unfolding. It’s time to reweave humanity back into the flow of life. This six-week course is designed to support a significant step in the direction of empowerment, individual and collective liberation, and the possibility of community outside of scarcity and separation. Info and register
Monthly Coaching Calls for Activists
Nonviolent Activism for Liberation
Sunday, July 10, 9 am - 10:30 am PT
No call in August
Sunday, September 11, 10 am - 11:30 am PT

The Nonviolent Activism for Liberation calls are to support activists in empowering themselves within their groups and movements to increase capacity to align means with ends so as to transform cultures of burnout, conflict, mistrust, blaming and shaming into environments of solidarity, trust, experimentation, and increased capacity to move towards the possibility of a livable future. Info and register
Our experiment in the gift paradigm...
Miki's Circle of Support
The Circle of Support is a central part of Miki’s commitment to participate in the movement to restore the maternal gift economy: a pattern of resource flow that is based on needs and capacity; not on individuals’ access to money. The Circle of Support acts as a baseline of steady support as more and more of what Miki does in the world is offered without any paywall or exchange. If you want to learn more about gift economy, the Circle of Support, and our experimentations so far with alternative economies, we welcome you to our Circle of Support page on Miki’s website, or join the Circle here

In the last while, quite a number of people have left. I mostly don't know why people leave. At present, we have 88 people who contribute a total of $2981 monthly to the Circle of Support. That's about 75% of what it was only a few months ago. That's a considerable difference that is having an impact on our functioning. Given that the number and the monthly amount were quite steady for a long time, even through the pandemic, and they have just started going down, in significant numbers, in the last few months, I am left wondering about what is causing this decline. Is it a response to BayNVC's upcoming closure? Is it that the level of experimentation we are engaging with is more radical than people signed up for when choosing to support me? Last month I had a lovely meeting with some of the people who have been supporting me in this way, with a lot of depth and meaningful interactions. I was very touched to hear this, and am holding with mourning and mystery the co-existence of so much inspiration combined with a decline in support for the work I am doing. I can only do what I always aim to do: surrender into acceptance, mourning, and trust in life.

Is it your turn to cycle in? If so, please take a moment to do so now. If this isn't your moment to make a financial contribution, please consider telling the people in your life about your experiences of engaging with Miki’s work by forwarding information about her events, books, or other resources.

Join the Circle of Support, or read more about it on Miki’s website »
Other People's Events
Free Community Screening and Discussion
The Third Harmony
Smith Rafael Film Center
San Rafael, California
Saturday, July 16, 7:00 pm

Michael Nagler, founder and president of the Metta Center for Nonviolence, will present a special screening of his film about the power, and yet-unexplored potential, of nonviolence as a force for realizing greater security, justice and social unity.

Miki says: "Michael and Stephanie's work is a beacon of inspiration for me. Their understanding of nonviolence deeply feeds my soul. I hope many people go to this event and let their spirits soar."

Joining Nagler in discussion will be producer/narrator Stephanie Van Hook, executive director of the Metta Center for Nonviolence, and the film’s composer, Jim Schuyler. (US 2020) 45 min. plus discussion. Info and tickets
Hard Conversations
with Victor Lee Lewis and Patti Digh
Alarmed by the racial terror attack in Buffalo, NY and the surge in mass shootings in the US, Victor and Patti are relaunching their Hard Conversations anti-racism learning communities this July. If you aspire to understand and do something about racism, I have known Victor for over 30 years and see him as a rare person who keeps bringing our awareness to the goal of liberation for all and to deep solidarity. I have learned much that I know about liberation from him. I hope many people take this step and join these learning communities. No one is turned away for lack of funds.

Hard Conversations: A Deep Dive Into Racism and Its Undoing.
Live seminars by Zoom, Tuesdays 3-4:30 ET (12-1:30 PT), July 19 - Aug 16

Hard Conversations: Whiteness, Race, and Social Justice.
Live seminars by Zoom, Wednesdays 3-4:30 ET (12-1:30 PT), July 20 - Aug 17
Conflict Engagement Coaching Calls
with Mariam Gafforio

Repressive conflict patterns in the dominant culture and low capacity for integrative conflict responses mean that we are likely to experience intense, often escalating conflict at many scales: interpersonal, organizational, and systemic. On previous calls, we have talked about addressing harm outside of criminal legal systems, internalized conflict avoidance, giving and receiving feedback with care, what we can do when polarized "culture war" conflicts show up in smaller contexts, and much, much more. Register to join us, and bring any dilemmas or questions you have about conflict for coaching and co-thinking from Mariam.
NVC for Liberation:
Next Series on Togetherness
with Kevin Dancelme and Verene Nicolas, and Menaka Neotia
Save the dates: Wednesdays, October 19 - November 9
9am-noon UK time / 10:00-13:00 CET
13:30-16:30pm IST / 10pm - 1am NZ
Timing is not ideal to attend live for US audiences; recordings will be made available.
NVC is rarely taught as a practice of liberation from the legacy of patriarchy, capitalism, racism and all other authority-based structures. This group of people from NGL are now offering this 4-part introduction to NVC, anchoring it in a systemic framework that supports people in making it a practical pathway to dismantle the inner structures that condition war and militarism, impacts on climate and the destruction of ecosystems, social inequality and all other forms of control and command.
Convergent Facilitation

The world is hungry for people with skills to guide diverse groups and stakeholders toward decisions that everyone can wholeheartedly embrace. Are you called to support others with collaborative decisions? See what we have coming up.

Celebration: The New CF Learning Community (LC) Holding Team
After 2 years of growing leadership capacity and sharing time and wisdom, Roni and Lisa, founders of the CF Learning Community (LC), have chosen to step off the CF LC leadership team.

They will continue to nourish the CF community in creative ways while serving as a source of inspiration for the new configuration of the CF LC Holding Team.

Our New CF LC Holding Team: Menaka, Fabian, Marcela, Morenike. Menaka continues to hold history and leadership of CF LC with Fabian, while Marcela has stepped in to support co-creation of the CF community.

Framing for Integration: CF Skills Course
What could you make possible if you told a different story? 

Humans are constantly engaging in collective meaning-making. We tell each other stories about what is happening to create a shared reality. These stories hold the power to shift everyone's focus and create new openings. 

When we want to bring people together around a shared purpose, we can frame or reframe any situation with stories that invite more choice, connection, and integration. When we facilitate, these stories create a foundation for making decisions that care for everyone's needs.
In this course, Roni will support you in developing framing awareness and skills. You'll learn to discern what story to tell when, notice different stories in the space and inside you, identify the underlying purpose and beliefs, reframe without discounting or disagreeing with the previous frame, and shift internalised stories that do not serve you or others.
Dates And Times
3rd Sundays at 3pm UTC starting June 2022
2022 June 19th, July 17th, Aug 21st, Sept 18th, Oct 16th from 3-4:30pm UTC
2022 Nov 20th, Dec 18th, 2023 Jan 22nd from 4-5:30pm UTC
You can check your time zone here.
Register by July 17th at the Convergent Facilitation website to attend live and/or watch recordings.

If you post on Facebook, we'd appreciate you sharing this CF Skills Course Event Page there to help our CF Courses reach more people.

If you have any questions and/or need any support with the Framing for Integration course please email the workshop support team.

Let's shift the stories of humanity from the library of fear to the library of love!
More ways to learn about CF:

Invitation to step into gift economy
All CF Coaches offer their workshops within a gift economy model to help move our society toward a needs-based distribution of resources. This offering is a gift, and you are invited to contribute to our learning community’s sustainability so we can continue doing this work. We invite you to contribute an amount that feels generous and financially sustainable for you. If you are not able to contribute any amount, please choose zero. It is totally OK to attend without paying anything. If you can contribute more, you will make the offerings more sustainable and more accessible to people who are not able to contribute as much. We also welcome and appreciate any financial support you want to offer as a gift, unrelated to any specific offerings you may participate in.
Nonviolent Global Liberation
One of the foundations of our work within the Nonviolent Global Liberation community (NGL) is an unwavering trust that a different way of living is entirely possible. Instead of living in scarcity, separation, and powerlessness, we see the possibility of living in flow, togetherness, and choice. Not in the sky, not in an afterlife, and not somewhere else: here, now, with each other, in ever widening circles.

Monthly Introductions with Miki

We are inviting everyone to taste from this vision in an ongoing series of monthly introductions to this framework, each with a different focus. They are generally on the third Sunday of every month, with a rotating time scheme designed to work for multiple time zones over time. 

These events are also fundraisers for NGL. 

From Scarcity to Generosity: Discovering the Power of Gifting 
Sunday, July 17, 2022
11am-2pm PT / 6-9pm UTC (local time here)

Giving unconditionally, the essence of generosity, is built into our species’ way of being by dint of having young ones that are dependent on others’ unilateral giving for the longest of any species. We’ve had thousands of years of accumulation instead of sharing resources; of exchange instead of unconditional giving and unconditional receiving; and thinking who deserves what instead of orienting to needs. This event is a small step in the direction of reclaiming aliveness through the joy of giving.  Info and register

Living in Integrity to Support Transparency
Sunday, August 21, 2022
2-5am PT / 9am-noon UTC (local time here)

As babies and very young children, we let everyone who is open to hearing from us know everything about ourselves and express total curiosity about everything around us. Over the course of life, through patriarchal socialization, we create a division within us between what we show and what we hide. Many of us live double lives. This event aims to support us all to find ways to speak about all that we are accustomed to hiding so that we can come closer to living in flow with ourselves and others.

Save the dates for upcoming events
From Avoidance or Judgment to Giving Feedback that Supports Learning
Sunday, September 18, 8-11am PT / 3-6pm UTC (local time here)

Transforming Judgments as Liberation from Suffering
Sunday, October 16, 2022, 5-8am PT / 12-3pm UTC (local time here)

Liberation for All: Bringing Tenderness to Conversations about Power and Privilege
Sunday, November 20, 2022, 11am-2pm PT / 7-10pm UTC (local time here)

Needs, Impacts, and Resources: Making Decisions that Care for More of Us
Sunday, December 18, 2022, 2-5am PT / 10am-1pm UTC (local time here)
NGL Friends

NGL doesn’t currently have any in-person events. All of our work is online at present. Every month we have more “NGL Friends” joining. We’ve just reached 255 people in that category. Friends are welcome to join coaching calls, conversations with guests, and team meetings. They also offer support with different tasks to the NGL Online community, contribute financially, and connect with each other for learning and mutual support. We’ve often heard from people that just watching how we run our meetings is offering them a lot of learning and inspiration. 

Sabrina (NGL member, from Germany), Fox (NGL friend and apprentice, from Ireland) and Yanae (NGL friend, from Hong Kong) are the NGL Welcome Crew which has the purpose of creating a bridge to ease prospective and new NGL Friends’ experience of landing within NGL. They run regular Welcoming Sessions where new NGL Friends can meet each other and ask any questions they might have. 

The upcoming Welcome Sessions are planned for:

To find out more, or if you are experiencing difficulty with the sign-up process and need support, contact them at
Read about NGL and see whether being an NGL Friend is for you here.
The Fearless Heart Publications
Learning Packets
Miki worked for years with her sister Inbal Kashtan to develop learning materials about NVC, and has continued to develop new materials after Inbal's death. We now have a total of 34 packets available for download. We are seeing the end of this project approaching, with 10 of them left to complete. We have three new ones for this newsletter, and a few with minor revisions. Miki is still on track to complete the entire set by December 2022. When they are done, we intend to send everyone who’s ever gotten any of them a revised version of what they have downloaded before, and to do that annually. 

The new packets this time are:

Mobilizing toward Vision (a significant revision and expansion)

All packets are available on a gift basis, with no paywall.

Many people are skeptical about money coming in when we provide content without a paywall. Our experience is a resounding affirmation that there is enough care and enough trust to begin to re-create flow. We are celebrating that so far this year people downloaded 989 items in 468 orders, giving an average $5.64 per item. Of these, 269 people didn't give any money, and we rejoice in that. One person contributed $115 for just one packet. This is the transitional world we want to live in, for as long as money exists: access for everyone regardless of how much money they have, supported by those who have the capacity to give more.

Visit the learning packets page here.
Reweaving Our Human Fabric: Working Together to Create a Nonviolent Future

Imagine: A future world in which we all value people and life and participate in a flow of generosity. A world where sharing our gifts and the mundane tasks of life are both done with wholehearted willingness, free of coercion. A world where attending to everyone’s needs is the organizing principle.

Miki Kashtan weaves together vivid social science fiction stories that bring that world to life with compelling nonfiction about how to get there.

“Her matter-of-fact style in the stories makes what for most people is unimaginable seem what it should be – the norm.”
– Michael Nagler, peace scholar and author, The Nonviolence Handbook

For ways to access this book, visit Reweaving Our Human Fabric.
Making Life Work - Online Self-Study Course

In the challenging times in which we live, many of us barely dare dream of a world that honors and seeks to meet the needs of everyone. This self-paced self-study course was born from that dream and it is available without a paywall, on a gift economy basis.

Created by Miki, the course integrates principles and practices that can move you in the direction of making this dream a reality, starting with your own life, exactly where you are. Both people new to NVC and those with extensive experience have appreciated this program. Learn at your own pace, with optional built-in support from others, as part of a vibrant online community practice now numbering 554.

Sign up for the course or learn more here.