Spinning Straw to Gold
May 2022

Dear Friend,
The picture here is of us, the home pod I am part of, in one of the worst dips in capacity in the last number of weeks, weighed down with multiple significant impact fields within us and the usual dose of overwhelming challenges we regularly face in interfacing with the world outside us.
We shared this picture with some friends with the caption “This is what a pod in crisis looks like.” Someone who saw this picture said: “If this is what a crisis looks like, then I’m not afraid...” I would have never in my life guessed how much love, intimacy, and pure joy in each other’s presence can arise from the rigorous commitment to a purpose.
We are purpose fiends. We carry a deep reverence for the vision of possibility we steward. We long to live there, all the time. We long for everyone on the planet to experience the tangible reality of what’s possible within a field of robust trust and strong purpose. And we are constantly reminded that both within ourselves and all around us, the present reality is that we are still what I think of as a very low-capacity species. We use purpose to bridge the gap, again and again and again, when we meet our limitations and the obstacles around us.
One of those ongoing obstacles is the repeated experience of needing to do things purely for instrumental reasons. There is nothing special about us in this regard; this is the lot of all of us given the times we live in. The story I want to tell that does feel somehow special is how we found a creative way to exit that rut by obstinately building a meaningful purpose around an instrumental one.
Scene one: Emma goes to Scotland; Eddy goes to Dublin
Given that we are going to Portugal next and our intention is to be there until we find land somewhere, we decided to take our van to its annual inspection before leaving Ireland. This is why Emma went to Scotland. Eddy, meanwhile, needed a body inspection that he needs to do annually for a medical condition he has, and this meant he went to Dublin. This meant Fox and I would be on our own for several days, something which hasn’t worked well in the past and was not chosen by us, especially not in the context of being a complex field with impacts that we haven’t yet found a way to metabolize and transmute into learning and connection given the capacity we collectively have. Out of this came three purposes.
Emma: To uncover what it means to take next steps in integrating people world and non-human world. 

Eddy: To nurture my capacity to notice and engage pathways for liberation with family as I initiate the process of closing loops of this Ireland phase.

Fox and Miki: To build a shared pathway of authenticity.
I also asked the pod for a structure for us, enough agreements that would carry us, for those days. The picture here is what that structure was. Emma and Eddy thought through the structure, Emma created the wall mounting of it.
I am no longer dreading being alone with Fox, because this structure held us well. Eddy moved his relationship with his family forward. Emma conferred with the forest where she was and got some significant connection. It almost all worked out. Except for the van…
Scene two: when a van breaks down
This van has been with us for over a year. It has travelled with us (or we with it?) on multiple ferries and in any number of permutations connecting Ireland with Portugal via ferry through Spain or via road through Spain, France, and the UK. It has served as our pantry and storeroom when we have stayed in places too small for what we have been lugging around. It’s truly enormous (see picture), and it’s old. We kind of knew it was going away, and we thought we would stick with it until we got to where we land eventually. The van had a different idea. When it failed the annual test, the mechanic that looked at what needed to be fixed let Emma know that it’s not worth the fix, because it’s expensive and then something else will break down. Done.
Now comes the “fun” part: now that the van can’t go back to Ireland, how do we get Emma and the things that are in the van from Scotland to southern Ireland, where we are, and then from here to Portugal, without the van? There is no room for the blow-by-blow suspense story of how we pieced it together, a story which isn’t fully told yet at the time of writing, since the ferry crossing and drive to Portugal are still ahead of us. The part that is completed already is that Fox ended up going to Scotland in our other vehicle, the smallest model of a Volkswagen Polo into which everything in the van had to fit. This goes fully against physics. Look at the piles and piles that Emma and her friend Rosalie got out of the van. How would that ever fit within the tiny Polo? Well, it did. They managed to condense, as the final picture of Emma and Fox back here shows.
Maybe the logistical challenges were not enough, because, on top of that, Emma and Fox have interlocking patterns that activate respective limitations in each of them. How would they possibly manage to get through the two-day ordeal sane?

The answer, of course: give them a good enough purpose, and they will manage. That’s when we learned the fullness of the principle that we anticipate will now accompany us for the long haul.
As we were tinkering with the purpose, I noticed that its initial iteration was still wrapped around the instrumental, and I proposed something else, closer to liberation. This was when Emma had already been on her own, in Scotland, for days, struggling with all the mountains of logistics to work out (remember I said I won’t give the blow-by-blow, so I am counting on your imagination), on a Zoom call, while she was driving. And so she cried on the call, saying it was focused too much on liberation. That was when I got it that being able to come up with something imaginative enough requires capacity, which most of us, most of the time, don’t have given our collective low-capacity state. So we needed to shift the purpose closer to the original purely instrumental reason for this drive, and add meaning to it only as much as was within capacity.

Here's the resulting purpose: to bring us physically together with ease by leaning into entrustment, integration, vulnerability, and collective capacity.
Each of these words was chosen with care and for a specific reason, leaning on the principle I articulated as we were doing it:

For a meaningful purpose to work well in the context of an instrumental situation, it needs to be as far in the direction of the visionary and liberative as possible, and as close to the instrumental as is necessary given capacity.

Just like when Fox and I were alone together, it was critical for Emma and Fox to also have clear agreements about what they would each do when the patterns got activated. How would Emma access vulnerability? How would Fox find his way to entrusting decisions to her? How would they, together, find the way to the most human of human qualities, the capacity to integrate, when in a difficult moment?
On their way back, they had one difficult interaction. Emma found a way to speak with the fullness of her vulnerability, which meant that Fox could understand the “why” behind the “what” she was saying, and then shifted fully. Emma got to tangibly feel the power of vulnerability to influence others and got an inch closer to fluid integration with others. And they were in flow for the rest of a day of driving and being on a ferry for a total of 14 hours.

And what’s next?
We are buckling down to do the impossible and to pack all our things into a few boxes we can ship as we take the rest with us in the tiny Polo that this time will have four rather than two passengers, embarking on our next trip into the unknown, where we only have a place to stay for six weeks of the many months we imagine being there, without knowing what comes next. And the next purpose is emerging, gently, in the storm of this: we speak, again and again, of deaccumulation. Now we are actually doing it in our own little way, aligning ourselves a tiny step closer to what would be sustainable for humans on this planet, knowing the gap is still huge.
In gratitude to life,


P.S. Friends and colleagues have been wishing us “smooth travels” or some such upon hearing of our challenges. We don’t anticipate that happening, as instability and challenge are par for the course when we untether from the familiar modes of living in our modern societies. What we wish on ourselves, instead, is to continue to weather well the inevitable bumps with connection and laughter, and to remember with awe how much we learn all the time.

P.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 a grant proposal that fits no box and which I find exquisite and beautiful, two more blog posts, and more.

Picture credits: All photos provided by Miki
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 opened with a huge response to the invitation to join. The experiment of shifting to the gift has brought close to 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
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, May 8, 9 am - 10:30 am PT
Sunday, June 12, 9 am - 10:30 am PT
Sunday, July 10, 9 am - 10:30 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

The End of the Other Free Calls

As I announced in the last newsletter, I have brought to an end all the other free calls: “Facing Privilege,” “Overcoming Patriarchy,” and “Questioning Money.” In April we had a final closure in each of them where people shared with each other and with me what they have learned on the calls and how it has influenced their lives and choices. I am humbled and overwhelmed by recognizing the gift that these calls have been for so many people and for me. I am grateful to all the people who supported me and others in making them happen. I am particularly grateful to the quiet work done by Hugh and then Wilhelm to put the recordings in place, all of which can be found here. I am touched by all the people who came, many of them multiple times a month, and the amazing willingness to walk into uncomfortable territory together with others so as to nourish our collective wisdom. 
At the Resonance and Climate Series
Hosted by Sarah Peyton

What’s Mine to Do?
Vision, Action, and Mourning in the Face of Collapse
May 24, 9-10:30am PT / 4-5:30pm UTC

When my colleague and friend Sarah Peyton asked me to participate in her year-long series on resonance and climate, I was twice delighted. First, because I love the idea of bringing that lens to the shock and trauma of facing what is happening to our beloved collective home. Second, because the topic is near and dear to me, and I am hopeful that the particular focus I bring to it can support people in finding a path of engagement that is fully within capacity and attends to both the longing to contribute and the anguish of what we learn as we dip into what’s going on. 

I plan for my session to be interactive and to support people in the actual journey of finding their way to discernment. 

You can find out about this series and the many people who are invited guests here or go directly to Sarah's website for more information or to 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

With immense gratitude and awe we have seen that, despite the hardships that have come to so many in these times, people continue to join the circle while others leave. This last period, we've had several people leave and no new people. And the amount of money we are receiving monthly now is hundreds of dollars a month less than in a long long time. We are now at 100 people who contribute a total of $3,249 monthly to the Circle of Support. This moved us from being at about two thirds of our goal of $6,000 a month to being somewhat over half. We still feel blessed to have this much support at this time even as we hope to sustain ourselves more easily without dipping into our reserve.

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 events, books, or other resources.

Join the Circle of Support, or read more about it on Miki’s website »
More Ways to Support Miki

Would you like to contribute to Miki’s capacity to focus her energy on what is hers to do? We’ve gathered a list of requests for support that could help Miki in an ongoing way. If you want to offer your support, fill out this form and Menaka will be in touch!
Other People's Events
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.
Tools for Liberation NVC Series:
From Powerlessness to Reclaiming Our Power
with Kevin Dancelme and Verene Nicolas, assisted by Menaka Neotia
May 4th (recording available), continues May 11th, 18th and 25th 
9am-noon UK time / 10:00-13:00 CE time 
2:30-5:30pm India / 10pm - 1am NZ
Timing is not ideal 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. Info and register

Miki adds: “I am so excited that these colleagues are picking up where Inbal and then I left off. This is just the first of a number of events they are planning, and I am relieved to see this void being attended to.”

KPFA Radio (94.1 FM in Berkeley California) interviewed our Team!
The team were interviewed by KPFA Radio and had interesting conversations about what Nonviolent Global Liberation (NGL) means to them, where they're at in their definitions of what is 'systemic Nonviolent Communication (NVC)', 'liberation' and more. You can listen to the recording of the interview here: 
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.

CF Coaching Calls
We are celebrating our two-year anniversary of offering weekly Convergent Facilitation Coaching Calls on a topic brought by our coaches. Our first CF Coaching Call was on May 6, 2020!

We have a peer, co-created CF Practice Group that meets the first two Thursdays of each month, 9pm - 11pm UTC. The next Practice Group meeting is on Thu May 12 21:00 UTC / 2:00pm PDT. Register at the Convergent Facilitation website.

A course on reframing with Roni!
When we get stuck, we can shift what is happening and create new openings by changing the stories we tell ourselves and others. All stories hold some truth, there are no right stories. Each story supports a different purpose and underlying beliefs. We can reframe any situation by telling a story that invites more choice and connection. 

We have a new learning opportunity! CF facilitator Roni Wiener is passionate about teaching reframing, and is willing to offer 8 Sundays on this topic if enough people commit to joining. We are planning to set up this course on 3rd Sundays from June 2022-Jan 2023 at 15:00 UTC. So far we have 7 people and would love to get a “yes” from 3 more so we have at least 10 before we put things in motion. If you want to be added to the list, please email Menaka by May 13.

We ask that you take an introductory workshop or read Miki's book before you attend. Find out more about this project and get involved on the CF Coaching Calls Program page.

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. 

Aligning Means with Ends: Nonviolence for Everyday Living
Sunday, May 15, 2022 
8-11am PT / 3-6pm UTC (local time here)

We can’t sow thistle seeds and harvest fruit. The vision of a nonviolent future that’s livable for all life calls us to engage with each moment as a seed of the vision we carry. Within NGL, we ask, again and again, how we can liberate ourselves from patriarchal conditioning and rediscover what it might take for humanity to realign with life. This event is an opportunity for each of us to take another step on this journey, wherever we are. Info and register.

Reclaiming Full Choice in Responding to Life
Sunday, June 19, 2022 
5-8am PT / 12-3pm UTC (local time here)

None of us like to be told what to do. As living organisms, we all want to choose for ourselves: who we will be, what we will do, what our values will be, and how we will show up within our lives. This event is an opportunity to immerse in principles and practices of inner freedom, so we can ground our choice in needs, our own and others’, rather than fear, shame, desire for reward, habit, should thinking, or resignation. 

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

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

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

Every month we have more “NGL Friends” joining. We’ve just gone over 230 people in that category. Friends are welcome to join many calls, including 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. 

Sabrina (NGL member and apprentice, 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 welcoming-friends@nglcommunity.org
Read about NGL and see whether being an NGL Friend is for you here.

Support NGL's Gift Economy

The NGL Online community is a wild experiment in terms of use of resources of all kinds. In terms of financial resources, we pull together all money that comes in from any source and distribute it in a collective process every four months. At present, we are fully dependent on support from those who feel inspired about our work and what we are learning and sharing. We are committed to never “charging” for anything we do, offering it all on a gift basis, and reaching for support where we need it. There were 21 individuals who made requests this time, of which there are two full shared risk pods. Each person received an average of $444 per month for the coming period. A number of people who contribute many hours every week gave money in addition. And, for the first time, we set aside $3,000 for an emergency fund, for active community members to access if the need arises over the coming months. I am rejoicing in how much we are grooving a new pathway for resources to be distributed, truly, on the basis of need. 

As we continue to prepare for BayNVC’s closure, we are seeing a growing need for more support with many more practical needs without BayNVC’s backing. We are about to face many new questions arising from trying to invent new forms, outside existing legal forms that are not supportive of gift flows. We ask for your support and hope you will choose to give us whatever you can without overstretching or resentment.

If you have the capacity to do so, please donate here.
Reweaving Humanity Commons #1

Two months ago, this newsletter announced the land search project and the vision of a web of communities around the world connected to the image of reweaving humanity into one interdependent pod. We are actively looking for land, especially in regions where people are engaged in restoring and deepening the practices of the commons, aiming to find land this year and settle on it next year. Five of us are currently committed to getting on the land when it becomes available. 

We have a website, we are motivated and excited, and we are putting our life energy into this project. Most of our work has still been internal: organizing our structures and ways of functioning, and doing the work of teasing out what living in shared risk means in the areas of making decisions together about life choices, sharing the material resources of life, and exiting the exchange logic altogether. 

We are inviting support in three ways:
  • People to offer their support with skills, presence, and doing tasks from time to time
  • Proposals and leads for land that would fit our criteria
  • Financial gifts to complement the seed money we have of $240,000, which in most places we are looking, is not enough for what people ask for selling land. Here’s the link to give us money. 

We are growing as a group in our capacity to live the principles we are looking to co-create in this project. We are already applying them now, in our own functioning, and we are co-holding and supporting each other in this process. We are seeing what we are doing as applied research in the field of nonviolence within the maternal gift economy paradigm.

Curious to learn more? Visit our website, or email general-enquiries-rwh@nglcommunity.org.
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 14 of them left to complete. We have two 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:

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 669 items in 306 orders, giving an average $5.79 per item. Of these, 189 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.
The Highest Common Denominator

What if you could bring together any group of people to find solutions that are creative, satisfying, work for everyone, and actually get implemented?

In 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.

For options about how to access the book, including the possibility of an electronic version on a gift-economy basis, visit The Highest Common Denominator.

You can also view videos from the book launch here.
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 519.

Sign up for the course or learn more here.