November, 2018

Since this newsletter was last sent, Brazil has joined the growing list of countries ele cting far-right heads-of state, with Jair Bolsonaro, a pro-torture and pro-military dictatorship president, publicly committing to exiting the Paris accord and undoing  regulations on deforestation of the Amazon forest, the largest remaining bit of our  planetary lungs. At about the same time, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate  Cha nge released its report on 1.5C degrees of global warming, where the authors  (multiple ones from multiple countries, checking about 6,000 pieces of scientific  evidence) conclude that " We have 12 years to limit climate change catastrophe ." And just as we've been getting this newsletter ready to send, the deadliest fires in at least a century are raging in California, affecting air quality all over the state, and reminding us of what may lie ahead. 

What chance is there for humanity at such a time, when we are poised to do the very opposite of what's needed? Can anything still be done to turn the tide that is inexorably leading us on a path of unprecedented devastation that's hard to even imagine? Since every single previous civilization/empire collapsed, is the only option available to us to watch as everything we love disintegrates? Are we deluding ourselves thinking that nonviolence has any role to play in this world?

The role of nonviolence roleofnv
Nonviolence, as far as I gather from my readings and experience, has existed for as long as humans have; there's nothing new about it. Prior to the patriarchal turn against life, and in pockets within it, nonviolence has been the norm in terms of how humans relate to each other, their communities, and the larger web of life. Nonviolence, in such contexts, including countless families and communities across the globe, is simply the basic capacity to collaborate for a shared purpose and with care for all.

What I imagine is newer, perhaps only since Gandhi, is nonviolen ce actively used in the struggle with violence, by people raised in patriarchal cultures. Nonviolent mobilization relies on the basic faith that all violence, all oppre ssion, all forms of domination are enacted by human beings who are not aligned with their own deepest essence and values. If and when enough people, with enough conviction, love, and courage mobilize to stand up and engage nonviolently with th ose who wield violence, things turn around. We now know the data: it takes about 3.5% of the population to be mobilized and interconnected to provide enough counterfo rce for the specific violence they are standing up against to dissolve and for  very difficult goals such as regime change or liberation from occupation to succeed. Granted that changing the very patriarchal structures that lead to violence being a n ongoing phenomenon in human affairs is a much, much larger goal, on a quite different scale. And, still I wonder. Is this something that humanity can make happen? What would happen if we manage to mobilize a quarter billion people to stand up, together, not only against this or that dictator? What if we actually manage to stand up, all of us, for a world in which needs are, once again, at the center of all activity? It's not impossible. And it's immensely challenging to imagine it.

What can we do? whatcanwedo
And until then? What can each of us do? Is there any meaning to our individual or community-based actions? Some people believe that if enough of us simply embrace a radical enough consciousness shift and engage nonviolently and collaboratively with our fellow humans and life around us, we can turn around the tide even without global mobilization for nonviolent resistance. Whether or not this is true, we have our lives to live amidst all the uncertainty, without knowing what will happen. Those lives, every single one of them, every single hour of them, matter. Re-learning the capacity to collaborate, finding ways to activate our atrophied collaboration muscles, both provides more meaning and sweetness in our lives and gives us a way to create ripples of unknown magnitude.

For those who are attracted to this idea, one thing we clearly need to re-learn is how to engage with others in the ever-changing landscape of our lives, when every moment may make a previous agreement no longer tenable. How do we then communicate about it? Is it possible to always find a way forward that works for all? In my recent blog post, I examine how we can become ever more collaborative and actively interdependent in our interactions around agreements. Might this be of meaning to you? And for a wider-ranging exploration of themes related to social change and collaboration, you may be interested in the Nonviolent Global Liberation community's new Youtube channel, on which you can find videos of me speaking on these themes in English and Spanish.

I take immense solace from seeing how much the willingness to engage with reality is growing, everywhere I go. Just two years ago I was getting a lot of pushback on the idea that human extinction is on the menu at all, let alone possibly in our lifetime. And now, the question is hanging everywhere: what are we to do? Maybe we will figure it out, collectively, and maybe not. From within the unknowing, let us commit, together, to choosing our next moment based on the deepest clarity of purpose and values that we have access to, with the most honest assessment of our capacity and the reality we face. Whatever then happens, we will know that we did what we could in every moment. This is how I hope to live and die.

in peace and hope,


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 learning about a promising new social movement and my recent trip out East.

Image credit: Top: UN Intergovernmental panel on climate change - CC License, Photo by LinnBJ, via Flickr.jpg; 2nd and 3rd: London, Nov 17, 2018, Extinction Rebellion Civil Disobedience Action.
Circle of Support

We acknowledge, and want to transcend, the pattern of linking the meeting of needs to money, both in the sense that people who have needs are often required to have money in order to meet them, and people who want to contribute to the meeting of needs are often required to have money to do so. The  Circle of Support  is an intervention in this habit. It is our baseline of steady support for Miki's role in boldly (and successfully) venturing into a gift economy, with our blessing. It is a joyful leap towards offering this work as a gift to anyone who seeks it, with no "strings attached."  See more info below
Living is complicated. At times I make choices that cause some harms because they alleviate other harms. (e.g. I drive my gas-powered car to do anti-oppressive theater with young people, or I fly to attend a Nonviolent Global Liberation retreat). A lot of the time I don't want to know these contradictions and I become defensive, engage denial, or experience paralysis. To stay alive to my values means being painfully reminded of the incongruence between my idea of ethics and many of my actions; a pain that stems from violating my deep connection to others and old wisdom that knows the possibility of living in the service of life. But to stay alive to my values also means pursuing this possibility.

To me, a key to holding life's complexity is remembering that I am not alone in it, and that ethics are not a matter of doing what's possible in a perfect world, but of doing what's possible in this one. I know we can and do shift the dynamics of our social system towards right relation, and that this shift must be measured IN relation to where we are. When I can open my heart to beauty and grief, I know that though I may not find the perfect path, movement towards life is always a good compass. From this orientation I can see, feel, and think more clearly, and I find myself walking towards collective liberation.

As part of my path I support BayNVC's fundraising. As we set our sights on a gift economy, all of us on staff live the reality that our current economy demands we use money for many aspects of our work: digital infrastructure for conference calls, food and lodging at events, printing books, and paying wages so we can afford access to the many basic needs still only available through capitalist ventures (e.g. rent, health insurance). We also grieve that while BayNVC prioritizes a vision of meeting needs without an exchange orientation, and does joyfully offer so many services as gifts, there are numerous events we don't have the resources to offer without financial cost, such as the upcoming BayNVC Immersion Program.

So, in staying alive to our values, one challenge we wrestle with is how to live in capitalism while looking beyond it, and how to make an invitation to financial co-responsibility that remains an earnest request, not a veiled demand. A key aspect of this learning is trusting that, as we collectively move away from an exchange system and develop the skills to give and receive with increasing ease, we build our capacity to do the work, together. So, when I say you are not alone in facing complex choices, I mean we are not alone. I thank you for walking with me, and with us at BayNVC.

With appreciation,


elizaBeth Simpson is the Resource Coordinator for BayNVC. She is also a consultant and facilitator, and coordinates the We Wanna Woke Community Justice Choir. You're invited to contact her for any reason at:
Free Teleseminars events
On the Fearless Heart calls you can engage with Miki and others about her latest blog post, " Interdependence in Action: How to Change Agreements with Care" earlier posts, or other topics of interest. Info and Register

Facing Privilege
Monday, December 3, 5 - 6:30pm
Sunday, December 16, 9:30 - 11am
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

Principle-Based Teaching Coaching Calls
Tuesday December 4, 6:30 - 8pm
The Principle-Based-Teaching calls are designed for people who have been integrating NVC for a while, who are now sharing NVC with others in various forms, and would like to engage with others and with Miki in deepening our collective capacity to bring NVC to the world in this particular way.  Info and Register

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

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
Online at NVC Academy
It's Not Just Me: Bringing a Systemic Lens to Individual Healing
December 17, 18, and 20, 2018
10:30am - 12:00pm PT 
Human suffering and challenges often have their source in the social systems in which we live. The question is: how can we use this knowledge in ways that support healing? Join Miki for this powerful three-day online intensive and find out. Info and register
Responding to the Call of Our Times
Fridays, February 1 - December 13, 2019 (46 sessions)
Noon - 2:00pm PT 
Registration now open for the third year of this course. 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. This course remains open throughout the year and is easy to enter at any time, as it's not based on a set curriculum. Info and register
Awakin Call
Vulnerability: Shedding Excess, and Communicating Our Needs
December 15, 9am PST
Miki will be the guest speaker on this free weekly interview series and community podcast that highlights the outer work and inner journeys of individuals who are transforming our world in large and small ways.  Info and register
Collaboration in the Workplace
At Impact Hub in Oakland
January 14, 21, 28, 10am-4pm
Learn tools to create genuine collaboration across lines of authority, across departments, across cultural and class differences within your teams. Info and register
Convergent Facilitation
In Oakland with Miki Kashtan and Roxy Manning
March 9-10, with optional deepening day March 11
If you work with groups that struggle to make decisions or collaborate effectively, this workshop is for you. Convergent Facilitation taps into a group's shared
purpose and leads to decisions that everyone truly supports - without
sacrificing productivity and forward momentum. If you have experience in Convergent Facilitation and would like to receive information about our train-the-trainer track, let us know here
Empowering Palestinian Women
5-day in person session for this ongoing project
March 28-April 1
Open to Palestinian women living in Palestine or Israel. If interested in participating, email Amal Hadweh at  if you are interested in participating, or know someone who could benefit from this opportunity to develop leadership capacity.  Read more about this project here.
Mobilizing for Nonviolent Global Liberation
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.

In Warsaw, Poland
May 9-15, 2019

In Ben Lomond, California
Aug 15 - 21, 2019
Other people's events
Events by former students of Miki's who follow a similar path to hers in sharing NVC:

Living Peace Retreat with Oren Jay Sofer and Roxy Manning
February 15th - 20th, 2019
This residential retreat delves into NVC as an embodied practice for transforming our lives, relationships and world. Each day at the retreat includes teaching sessions, practice in smaller groups, empathy groups, participant-led offerings of arts and movement, and time for rest and enjoying the outdoors. The retreat curriculum is designed to meet the specific needs and interests of participants, including flexible workshops focused on skill-building in a range of contexts. Info and Register

BayNVC Immersion Program with Roxy Manning and Oren Jay Sofer
March - October, 2019 program
An 8-month training program consisting of one weekend intensive per month and ongoing opportunities for practice and connection to a lively learning community. BIP supports participants to deepen their understanding and embodiment of key principles and applications of Nonviolent Communication. (Participation in the Living Peace Retreat is recommended but not required).
Tikkun New Website
I've been a writer for Tikkun Magazine since 2002. I deeply appreciate the complex and loving framework that Tikkun brings to the world, never settling for simplified versions of us and them, always challenging all of us to see a bigger picture of a spiritual orientation grounded in a vision so aligned with what I support with my work. Tikkun is embarking on a new phase - expanding their website, integrating more fully their analysis with activism, reaching out to a larger audience, and maintaining their nuanced intellectual analysis. Please visit their new website, and consider subscribing to the magazine.

Nonviolence Now Campaign
The Gandhi Institute and a few other nonviolence organizations got a grant for creating a campaign promoting nonviolence around the world. The campaign started October 2nd, Gandhi's birthday, and is gaining momentum as more people hear about it. Check it out here
Special Requestsspecialrequests
Write a review of one of Miki's books
If you've read one of Miki's books, will you support it reaching a larger audience by writing a book review on Amazon or Goodreads? Ideally we'd like at least 20 reviews on each site. And why not buy one of Miki's books as a holiday gift? Especially the little one, as it was designed to live on coffee tables or in people's bathrooms, for little spurts of reading and inspiration. 
We acknowledge, and want to transcend, the pattern of linking the meeting of needs to money, both in the sense that people who have needs are often required to have money in order to meet them, and people who want to contribute to the meeting of needs are often required to have money to do so. The Circle of Support is an intervention in this habit. It is our baseline of steady support for Miki's role in boldly (and successfully) venturing into a gift economy, with our blessing. It is a joyful leap towards offering this work as a gift to anyone who seeks it, with no "strings attached." 

By the end of 2018 we seek to reach our goal of 200 monthly donors, and to have a collective commitment of $6,000 per month, which will cover the financial expense of The Fearless Heart. We are grateful to be able to say that we now have 96 participants contributing $3389.66 each month. We offer a special thank you to the person who joined since the last newsletter. Our largest monthly financial gift is currently $500, and our smallest is $10. We can't know which is the greater gift. Both are cherished.

Your participation, of any degree, contributes to this vision of shared responsibility and shared meaning. We invite you to listen into your role: If you are inspired to join the Circle, we thank you. If you are you inspired to make a one-time donation, we thank you. If you are inspired to spread the news about this work and why you value it (e.g. forward this email), we thank you. This is our collective work. We are grateful for your part in it.

Join the  Circle of Support now.

Note: If you would like to make a donation smaller than $10, please send a check written out to TFH/BayNVC, and sent to BayNVC, PO Box 22872, Oakland, CA 94609.