Do We Stand a Chance?
September 2020

Dear Friend,
Just about every conversation with my sister Arnina includes much sharing about how difficult things are, the grimness of everything from weather to politics to health. Almost invariably, at one point or another, she asks me, in Hebrew, a question that literally translates into “So what is the chance?” It took me a while to find a better-sounding translation. I came up with “Do we stand a chance?” and that’s what I titled this newsletter. She’s been asking me this question, as if I know the answer, for years now, and with growing insistence.

I don’t know the answer.
More and more people are asking this question. The possibility that we may, indeed, be in “end times” is now being talked about in more and more circles. On the basic material plane, pictures of the extreme weather events in California (top) and Iowa (left) look like doomsday to me, if I even understand the meaning of that word fully enough. On the political plane, when I learned that 53% of white people in the US anticipate voting for Trump in the upcoming elections, I needed to stop what I was doing to sit with it for a moment to regain my breath. A friend in Israel regularly sends me information about assaults on Palestinians by Jewish settlers who continue to set fire to olive trees, harass Palestinian shepherds who are bringing their sheep to graze on their own land, and engage in direct physical violence against individual Palestinian people even while there are active COVID-19 infections in the region. It’s a spiritual discipline for me to keep my eyes on the news she sends without averting my gaze in horror and despair.
I posted a new article on Medium titled “Responding to Breakdown of Trust in Police: Capitalism, Racism, and Creative Compassion” which required me to look even more deeply at the role of police, and at capitalism more generally, at this time of crisis. And since I finished this article, police shot yet another Black man, Jacob Blake. A 17-year old white man, Kyle Rittenhouse, then came to a protest in response to the police shooting, himself armed with an assault rifle, and shot three people, killing two of them. I read in an Guardian article that a fundraiser to support the shooter, Kyle, “was shared more than 17,700 times by groups with more than 3.9m aggregate followers.” Still unable to digest this information, more keeps coming as the tension and violence escalate. The last thing I heard before this newsletter went into production was about hundreds of trucks of Trump supporters going to Portland, Oregon, where protests have been going on for three months, since George Floyd was killed, some of them going directly to the protests and leading to more violence. By the time you read this, what more will have happened?
And this is not all. I have been reading articles in the newish book Re-enchanting the World: Feminism and the Politics of the Commons by Silvia Federici, learning about the ruthless and continued attacks on any entity that aims to live outside the market economy, within relationships and community, or as a subsistence economy, and especially in Africa. And all these bits are only what I know. My recent blog post in the Apart and Together series, subtitled “Accepting Our Vulnerability to Consume Less” looks at how our patterns of consumption, paused slightly by the response to the pandemic, are symptomatic of all that has gotten us to these crises. The human fabric is fraying. The life support systems are falling apart. Gaia is beyond capacity.
In my recent Reckoning with Collapse open conference call, three people participated in active mourning, crying while being witnessed publicly. There was a sense of reverence, surrender, opening to mystery.

None of us knows the answer.

How do we then live? What does it mean to be human in these times? What is our task? What, if anything, could turn this around? Do we stand a chance?
In the last while, a clear picture of the magnitude of the task has found me; what it would take to shift the fundamental way that things are done. Those of us who have a picture of that shining, glorious, and astonishingly simple way of living that we know is possible (even if extremely unlikely) need to find a way to create a field with enough potency to be stronger than the patriarchal field within which we live. And the primary qualities that we need to create this alternative field are the many soft qualities that patriarchy repudiates: tenderness, vulnerability, compassion, generosity, humility, mourning. And this is not an exhaustive list.
Therein lies my own personal despair. I look at myself, for example. I have been consciously cultivating nonviolence, the foundational antidote to patriarchy, for decades now, both within and around me. And yet I still so easily lose my capacity to keep my heart open, long enough or deeply enough, when someone close to me falls into some pit of patriarchal conditioning and exits the field of togetherness. I don’t have sufficient resilience to sustain my openness, despite my commitment. Because of my own patriarchal conditioning, and despite my 20-year practice of vulnerability, I protect myself too much.
I look at the Nonviolent Global Liberation community, the most amazing and astonishing experiment I’ve ever been part of, comprised of people, every single one of whom I love and respect. All of us are committed to nonviolence, to liberation, to transcending the patriarchal legacy we came from, to courage to speak truth, to collaboration, to attending to power differences… and yet we have an ongoing conflict that hasn’t resolved in months, people regularly forget their power and follow along with things that don’t work for them, or disconnect from people or from purpose and form judgments.

This is why I join with my sister and ask: do we stand a chance?
And still, for as long as I don’t know the answer, and even if I knew that we were, indeed, in end times, I want to align with life. If we are all dying, let us die loving everyone, including ourselves and our former enemies. Let us come together behind wanting everyone to be free. Let us align means with ends as we envision a world that, against all odds, moves towards working for all of life. Let us dedicate our lives to service, to courage, to speaking truth, and to love, for as long as we are alive. Let us commit to doing what we know to do, daring for what was given to us to steward, even if we can’t know that any of it will work. Let us maintain what we can of our own aliveness. There’s no better game to play, even in crisis.
In peace and mystery,


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, including more developments within Nonviolent Global Liberation (NGL), my newly captured values being posted, significant Convergent Facilitation news, the inspiring Nonviolence News, and more.

Credits, from top: 
Extreme weather shared by friends; protest, Photo by Life Matters from Pexels; future, Photo by Markus Spiske from Pexels; field, Photo by Samuel Silitonga from Pexels; view, Photo by Marius Venter from Pexels
Our experiment in the gift paradigm...
Miki's Circle of Support
We aim to encourage the gift paradigm: a pattern of resource flow that isn’t based on individuals’ access to money. Within this, the Circle of Support acts as a baseline of steady support for Miki's choice to boldly (and so far successfully) venture more and more into operating within a gift economy. If you want to learn more about the existing paradigm, gift economy, the Circle of Support and our experimentation so far with alternative economies, we welcome you to visit the Circle of Support page on Miki’s website, or join the Circle here

With immense gratitude and awe we have seen that, despite the hardships that have come to so many in these times, hardly anyone has left the Circle. At present, we have 123 people who contribute a total of $3,967 monthly to the Circle of Support. Both are roughly two-thirds of our goal of 200 contributors and $6,000 a month.

We celebrate every choice to join or leave the circle, as we aspire to our sustainability goal. Regardless of the total amount, we seek a broad base of participation both for the stability of this work, which increases when the circle is held by many hands, and for the affirmation of significance that your participation provides.

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 conference calls, books, or other resources.

Upcoming Events
Free Teleseminars
All teleseminar times below are Pacific Time:

Facing Privilege
Sunday, September 27, 9 am - 10:30 am PT
Saturday, October 17, 1:30 pm - 3 pm PT
The Facing Privilege calls are an opportunity for people to engage on the deep questions that arise as we reflect on the topic of privilege. Info and register

Questioning Money
Saturday, September 26, 11 am - 12:30 pm PT
Saturday, October 24, 11 am - 12:30 pm PT
The Questioning Money calls are an opportunity to grapple together with all aspects, both internal and external, of global capitalism and to move toward transforming it inside and out. Info and register

Overcoming Patriarchy
Sunday, September 6, 12:30 pm - 2 pm PT
Saturday, October 10, 9 am - 10:30 am PT
The Overcoming Patriarchy calls are for conversation, exploration, and active challenging of self and other based on the commitment to see and transcend all the ways in which we have internalized patriarchal thinking, to increase our collective ability to notice and act with choice. Info and register

Reckoning with Collapse
Saturday, September 19, 11 am - 12:30 pm PT
Sunday, October 11, 11 am - 12:30 pm PT
The Reckoning with Collapse calls are an opportunity to engage with each other as we grapple with and aim to respond to the overwhelming information and grim prospects that humanity is currently facing, most immediately with the impacts of responses to the pandemic within the context of climate change, and other severe crises. Info and register
Online Offerings
Responding to the Call of Our Times
Fridays, February 7 - December 11, 2020 (45 sessions)
Noon - 2:00 pm PT
This course remains open throughout the year and is easy to enter at any time, as it's not based on a set curriculum. 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. Info and register
Making NVC Relevant to a World in Crisis
Integrating Systemic Awareness and Nonviolence into Our Teaching
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, December 15-17, 2020 (3 sessions)
10:30 am - 12 pm PT
This year, 2020, has submerged us into a new and potentially transformative set of crises. As a result, many of us who share NVC with others have been feeling a growing unease about our roles. Many wish to develop their skills beyond the setting of using NVC as a personal growth tool within the market economy, and often don't know how to do so. This course is designed to respond to this need by supporting new and seasoned NVC trainers in opening to the way systemic perspectives deepen and transform how we bring NVC to people, communities, and organizations. Info and register
The Parent Peer Leadership Program
With Ingrid Bauer and Stephanie Bachman-Mattei
October 2020 - June 2021 program
Free preview calls Aug 28, Sept 18, 25, and Oct 2
Founded by Miki's late sister and close collaborator, Inbal, and now led by Inbal's former students Ingrid Bauer and Stephanie Bachmann Mattei, the PPLP is a leadership training for sharing Nonviolent Communication with parents, teachers and youth-serving professionals. The program is structured to be long-distance in order to support participation by lay leaders throughout the world. The components of the program include regularly scheduled video conferences, weekly study suggestions, buddy relationships, and individualized tele-support. Learn more, register, or sign up for free preview calls here.
These retreats are designed to create the conditions that would allow all of us who attend to take a next step in our understanding, capacity for interdependent living, practice, service, and contribution to support the possibility of nonviolent global liberation. You can watch the 2018 Poland retreat video here.

There are no in-person NGL retreats scheduled at this time.

1st NGL Online retreat
An online NGL retreat, the first ever, is now being planned, dates TBD. If you want to be notified when we know the dates, and, especially, if you have capacity to support it with logistics, tech support, or care for registrants, please fill out this google form.

NGL Friends

The Nonviolent Global Liberation community is now open for new “NGL Friends” to join, and we already have over 100 people in that category. Friends can join many calls (there were about 12 open to friends just last month!), offer support with different tasks to the NGL Online community, contribute financially, and connect with each other for learning and mutual support. Read about NGL and see whether being an NGL friend is for you here.

Support NGL

The NGL Online community is a wild experiment in terms of use of resources. There are over 20 of us in the core teams that sustain the community. We are co-creators of a community that aims to function on a gift economy basis. When money arrives, which now is about $1,000 a month, we aim to distribute it among us based on the same principles. BayNVC has been supporting the work by covering the portion of BayNVC staff’s work within NGL Online, as well as by paying for all direct expenses. The total is close to $3,000. While we at BayNVC are completely willing to continue to support NGL, our main support is by not asking for money, and we are eager for the sustainability of those who pour countless hours over years to be able to lean on NGL for some of their sustainability instead of supporting NGL’s sustainability often at cost to themselves. Instead, If you have the capacity to do so, please donate here.
Convergent Facilitation

Huge celebration. Almost 200 people from four continents are taking the Convergent Facilitation workshop Roxy Manning and Lisa Rothman are teaching on a gift economy basis. They look forward to offering another one. We plan to provide details about it when we send the official announcement of the Highest Common Denominator book launch party.

Convergent Facilitation Weekly Coaching Calls
With experienced facilitators, based on gift economy
Are you ready to serve in this time of extraordinary potential, challenge, and change? We are now offering weekly Convergent Facilitation coaching calls to support you with practice, and providing access to training if you haven’t done it yet and know you are called to this form of service. Find out more about this project and get involved here.

Book Release Celebration
October - November 2020 | The Highest Common Denominator — Using Convergent Facilitation to Reach Breakthrough Collaborative Decisions
Miki Kashtan introduces a novel decision-making process that is designed to build trust from the very beginning, to surface concerns and address them, and to turn conflicts into dilemmas that groups feel energized to solve together.
We will soon be releasing this title and will be hosting an online celebration. We invite you to join our celebration and will be holding opportunities for questions. Stay tuned for our announcement through The Fearless Heart.
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. The first 6 packets of this material are now available here for download on a gift economy basis, with no paywall. The packets are in four categories: Learning about NVC; Overcoming Patriarchal Training; Applying NVC in the World; and Sharing NVC.

Many people are skeptical about money coming in when we provide content without a paywall. We are celebrating that this year people have downloaded 468 items in 265 orders currently giving an average $6.94 per item. The majority of the people, indeed, don’t give any money, and we rejoice in that. And one person contributed $150 for 4 of the 6 packets we currently have on offer. 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.

With the NGL Provider Apprenticeship Program starting, we anticipate completing the entire learning packet project when the first cohort finishes the program in August 2022, as each of the six trimesters of the program prompts and supports the completion of the packets relevant to the theme of that trimester.
Support for the Work
Raising Funds for Miki's Work with XR
On August 19 we started a fundraiser asking for financial contributions towards Miki’s work with Extinction Rebellion (XR). During the first couple of weeks of the fundraiser we have received nearly $8,000 in donations. This is an amazing beginning, and encouragement, towards work that is so close to Miki’s heart and vision, and we named the fundraiser in a way that describes it: Aligning Means and Ends in Extinction Rebellion.

Since October 2018 and up until this point her work for XR has been entirely pro bono. This has been increasingly unsustainable and we are asking for your help to increase the financial resources available to BayNVC. Your donation contributes to this work, BayNVC, and XR. We are immensely grateful for your support, especially in this time of global crisis.

 “[...] Miki brings me back to myself, to my heart and towards others; transforming and extending my capacity to hold tension with love. Her wisdom for the mechanics and subtle forces of convergent and integrative practice that she has so generously shared with XR, have deep effect in the organism every single day. I will be eternally grateful for the phenomena that are Miki Kashtan, the work of BayNVC and Nonviolent Global Liberation. This is work that is midwifing a paradigm shift.”

 – Councillor Skeena Rathor,
XRUK Visioning Circle Founder,
XRUK Guardianship and Visioning Circle
Participate in creating community resources...
Core Nonviolence Commitments
Core Nonviolence Commitments
Here are two ways you can contribute to our project in making rich resources available in support of nonviolence. We are completing the Core Nonviolence Commitments and have two very different ways in which you can contribute to this resource.

Images for booklet: Help us source images for each of the commitments, which are licensed for commercial use or have a creative commons license. Submit your images here, whether your own or sourced through services such as,, or other stock sites. Leslie Becknel Marx is supporting us by selecting images from what you submit and we plan to include in the booklet credit for those who submitted. Submit your images through our form here.

Commitment videos: We are creating commitment videos through attending recorded zoom calls discussing each commitment. If you are someone who has worked with the Core Nonviolence Commitments over time, would you be interested in attending one or more of these discussions?

To participate, we have an application form that will help us with organizing the discussions. Fill out the form here.

Thank you for supporting us in making these online resources and this booklet beautiful, more accessible, and woven by many hands.