Power and Liberation in a Pandemic
May, 2020         

This is my first newsletter since life has turned upside down. Less than a week after the previous newsletter, Covid-19 was declared a global pandemic. For many weeks, every day saw dramatic changes in life in more and more places.
In the first several days, I found myself spiraling into a paralyzed state of despair and inaction, as if my very will to live was dwindling. Within days, through multiple conversations, my mindset shifted. I reconnected to an old insight: so long as I know what I am doing and can find purpose in how I respond to a situation, I can remain open and available to it, even when it's very difficult.
Making Visible visible
My purpose at this time then became clear: to tell stories of what else is possible, even now, and, in some ways, more so now, as the crisis makes visible both needs and pathways that have been invisible to many for a long time. For me, this meant writing, engaging with those who work on the ground, and preparing any who are open to it to serve more fully and consciously. This is what I have been doing for the past month.
I have posted two of the 9-part series I am writing. All are titled "Apart and Together." The first is subtitled Responding to Opportunity in Extreme Times. The second, subtitled Addressing Needs beyond Market Economies, speaks to the colossal failure of market economies to attend to needs, and the necessity and possibility of shifting into economic paradigms, like the gift economy and the commons, that are organized and built around needs. This situation  has been true since time immemorial, though not always. It only started when markets, states, and much of what we now call oppression came into being. Since then, some people's needs, and especially some groups' needs, systemically carry less power and therefore command less attention
and fewer resources become available to attend to them than to attend to others' needs. The pandemic makes this ever present reality more visible. One example is the very different death rate for black and brown skinned people in the US, as compared to white-skinned people. Another stark way in which this reality is being revealed is that some people cannot work from home, and therefore face two difficult options:
having to work in "essential jobs" and hence being exposed to extra health risk, or not being able to work and facing economic risks. I am planning to attend to these topics in future segments of the "Apart and Together" series. I hope you stay tuned. 

Unconditional Solidarity solidarity
In parallel, I have been asked by Extinction Rebellion (XR) UK to support them in developing a liberation-based approach to power, privilege, and leadership within the movement. Together with one of XR's core leaders, Skeena Rathor , and veteran social justice educator and trauma specialist Victor Lewis , we have begun our thinking and writing about these deep questions of liberation. What is the alternative to shaming and blaming, a habit so prevalent that it persists even within XR, despite their commitment to "no blaming and shaming" as a principle? As Victor framed it: liberation, on the human plane, means deep, universal, and unconditional solidarity as we all strive to free ourselves and each other from the horrors of patriarchy, capitalism, white supremacy, and similar systems that undermine our togetherness. I plan to explore these themes in the upcoming piece to be subtitled "Grounding in Interconnection and Solidarity."
As part of exploring these topics, I have completed a two-part piece based on my coaching of Charisse Truehart about speaking of impact across significant power differences. The piece is titled " Sharing Impact for Liberation " to speak to how naming impacts of actions across power differences is itself a form of empowerment and liberation. Liberation, though ranging from the individual to the global, includes a deep inner practice of releasing and transforming difficult messages inherited from thousands of years of patriarchy. Charisse managed to do just that, as you can see in part 2 of this essay. Walking the path of liberation has been likened to walking the "Knife's Edge" trail, with steep cliffs, often alone, requiring deep attention and commitment. In the context of sharing impact, the two sides of the edge are maintaining care for the humanity of the person with power and also stepping into the power of speaking the fullness of the impact.
My last letter ended with what now seem almost prescient words about "how we may recover in time our humility, our embeddedness within the web of life, and our capacity to be with what is, without aiming to control outcomes." The Coronavirus teaches us that we cannot control what is beyond our control; that we are all, indeed, part of one web of impacts, and that pausing, reflecting, and releasing control may be what will support us in shifting out of the mindset that got us here, individually and collectively, and into what Joanna Macy calls "the great turning:" a time when humanity will collaborate as one whole. I hope to be alive for that.

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 new developments within NGL, shifts in my web of support, and more.

Credits, from top: Covid-19 world: Raphaƫl Dunant, Gajmar (Russia and Brazil), Pharexia (Island territories) / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0);
Ouch: Circe Denyer, CC0 Public Domain; Knife edge: "knife Edge of the Shield" Jay Johnson (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)
 Update on the Circle of Support updatecos
more info on COS here )
We are immensely grateful and awed to see that, despite the hardships that have come to so many in these times, only 3 people left the circle and 6 have joined. At present, we have 108 people who contribute a total of $3,672 monthly to the Circle of Support. This is now over half of our goal of 200 contributors, and about two-thirds of our financial goal of $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 the conference calls, books, or other resources.

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

Facing Privilege
Sunday, May 31, 11 am - 12:30 pm PT
Saturday, June 27, 1 pm - 2:30 am 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
Sunday, May 10, 9 am - 10:30 am PT
Saturday, June 20, 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
Saturday, May 16, 1 pm - 2:30 pm PT
Sunday, June 7, 10 am - 11:30 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, May 2, 10 am - 11:30 am PT
Sunday, June 14, 9 am - 10:30 am 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
Parenting without Obedience:
An Introduction to Intergenerational Collaboration
With Miki Kashtan, Arnina Kashtan, and Lisa Rothman
7:30 - 9:30am PT
This course builds on the pioneering work of Inbal Kashtan, who deepened and radicalized the NVC approach to parenting started by Marshall Rosenberg. This course rests on tenderness and understanding for the challenges of creating a truly collaborative family, along with practical tools for parents about how to free themselves from their patriarchal socialization while creating a different life for their children, free of shaming and coercion, and co-creating with them households where everyone's needs matter.  Info and register
Exiting the Either/Or Trap:
Beyond Consensus vs. Command and Control
Monday, May 11
11am - 1pm PT
This session is part of an ongoing series offered by East Point Peace Academy, a sister organization with lots of friendship and purpose alignment. We are honored to be asked to take part in this series. Miki plans to share from her years of experience with decision-making processes to offer core principles and basic practices that engage all relevant stakeholders in staying on purpose, identifying what's truly important to all, and reaching decisions and breakthrough solutions that truly work for all.  Info and register
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.

Note: while dates are being given below, we don't know if any of these will actually take place. 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.

In Ben Lomond, California
Aug. 20-26, 2020
Info and register

In Mexico (in Spanish)
Save the dates: Sept. 10-16, 2020

In Bali
Save the dates: Oct. 29-Nov. 4, 2020

On the East Coast
Save the dates: Nov. 12-18, 2020

NGL Friends
If you've been hearing about Nonviolent Global Liberation and wondering how you could get involved without having to go to a retreat, there is now a pathway. Read about NGL and see if being an NGL friend is for you here.  

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.

A Personal Request for Support
My sister Arnina and I are immensely grateful and awed by the people who came forward to support us in our efforts to receive financial support to face growing challenges in caring for our 91-year old mother, including mounting costs for care that is only very partially covered by the state. These challenges are only made worse by the pandemic, as her care has become more complex. Of the $13,000 that we have as a goal for the year on our GoFundMe page, we have received $2,271. We've also received additional contributions offline, so we are now about $9,000 short for the rest of the year. We would be deeply grateful to anyone who is open to support us with this, with any amount, here.
The Fearless Heart PublicationsTFH
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.

Project Manager for Miki's Workjob
We are still searching for a passionate, visionary, and self-directed individual to join Miki's team as a project manager of all that she holds. If the idea of lending your capacity, inspiration, and gifts to supporting the realization of the deeper, more far-reaching potential of Miki's work stokes your fire and you have tons of initiative, a steady capacity to hold your own while maintaining relationship, and a deep commitment to collaboration, you taking on this role could be heaven for you, Miki, and others who support her.

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 unable to meet them without money, and people who want to contribute to the meeting of needs are also often required to have money to do so. The Circle of Support aims to support flow that isn't based on individuals' access to money. It is a baseline of steady support for Miki in boldly (and successfully) deepening and expanding her commitment to operating within a gift economy, allowing people to participate in what she offers regardless of their capacity to contribute money, and allowing people to contribute to this ongoing approach in small, manageable amounts.

We seek to reach our goal of 200 monthly donors, and to have a collective commitment of $6,000 per month, which will cover enough of the ongoing expenses associated with Miki's work to allow for expanding the gift economy approach to new areas.  We are grateful to the 108 people who contribute a total of $3,672 monthly to the Circle of Support. This is now a little over half of our goal in terms of number of contributors, and about two-thirds of our financial goal. Our largest monthly financial gift is currently $500, and our smallest is $10. We can't know which is the greater gift.

Your participation, of any degree, contributes to this vision of shared responsibility and shared meaning. We invite you to listen into your heart: If you are inspired to join the Circle, we thank you. If you are inspired to make a one-time donation, we thank you. For one-time contributions, please click here and choose " Miki's work and experiments in gift economy" as your designation. If you are inspired to tell others 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.