Stepping into Foraging Consciousness

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November 2022

Dear Admin,

In my last newsletter, I told the story of arriving here, in Scotland in August, and immediately getting embroiled in a struggle with the owners of the house. Even before that struggle fully settled, we were determined to make this into a home, even though we are here for only a few months. One of the forms this has taken is that Emma, and then also Eddy, started foraging. I have lost count of how many things she has brought back home that we have then made food or medicine from. Some of them are drying, some have become jelly, some have become tea, hawthorn ketchup is being fermented (yes, there is such a thing), frozen blackberries are being put in smoothies, and fresh wild mushrooms have become common. For me, this is utter magic that is entirely beyond reach. I have no context and no individual history to help me make sense of or participate in foraging. And even without me participating much personally, I know all of us have been changed through embarking on foraging. 

Of course I can’t know what led to the change, and I still have my theories. I think we have been tenderized by a very long period of vagabonding and experimenting in shared risk. We are less tethered to habitual ways of living within modern capitalist societies, more vulnerable, and more able to exist in interdependence. This has left us more willing to face what comes, and foraging is the icing on this odd cake. All these practices, I believe, are realigning us with our evolutionary makeup: moving, shared risk, and foraging. We move, like our ancestors, whenever the conditions necessitate it. We turn to each other when needs arise before we turn to the market. And we use whatever is available in our environment to sustain ourselves. 

All of this is on tiny microscales. We still live in human-made structures and we still long for a stable location. Our foraging brings in a minuscule amount of what we ingest. And although our shared risk is robust and deep, we are just three individuals in a sea of billions, which means that most of our material needs still depend on market mechanisms. And, nonetheless, we have been changed. Vagabonding and shared risk have been readying us for changing, and foraging most noticeably opened up and is solidifying new pathways. I think there is something to the fact that we have evolved in interdependent relationships with plants, fungi, and even the microbes that outnumber our own cells by a ratio of 10:1. Foraging, when done with a reverential attitude and with a willingness to listen, is a constant reminder of that. 

We lucked out, in this glorious autumn, to land in a place where some wildness is still present. At my urging, Emma wrote and posted a piece about how she is approaching foraging and the relationships she is forming with the many living beings she now interacts with. This is one of the lessons from foraging: everything is way more alive than we are used to believing when all food comes from supermarkets. With the addition of Eddy’s ritualized reminders, coming from his deep Soto Zen practices, of honoring the life of the food we eat at every meal, and with the daily walks I now have in this lush green environment, this is more deeply etched. And foraging is not only about food. Emma’s astonishing capacity to find materials for anything needed to make or repair something, anywhere from the bird feeder she made to the non-standard-size box she constructed to transport a folding table and computer screen, all without buying anything, is another reminder that we can relate, directly, to our environment and to each other. And even this is not all. I want to highlight three more of the lessons I see us integrating.

Humility. We cannot in any way control outcomes or think we know very much when foraging. I have often wondered how humans ever learned what is or isn’t edible and how. For example, who would ever figure out that a spiky and tough plant like artichoke would be edible (and delicious for many) when boiled for a super long time? Indigenous cultures tell us that the plants teach them. Western cultures call this being “primitive.” We, here, are aiming to go as far as we can into the actual listening. Emma, in her piece, talks precisely about hearing a clear voice that gets stronger or weaker the more she trusts it. In my extremely few forays, I could begin to sense an energetic “yes” or “no” when aiming to pick this or that leaf or flower. We don’t know. Not knowing is a life savior in difficult times. 

Adaptation. Letting go of the illusion of control, the core mechanism of action within patriarchal societies, means orienting to what is and surrendering to finding a way to make life work and be meaningful with that. This is a lesson that, unfortunately, is well known by all humans whose access to the artificial surplus that our current practices yield is limited. This means the working classes and the impoverished the world over, the women who feed whole families without money, the communities that are facing privation on large scales, the discarded people, so often darker skinned, who live within the global north. This is what “making do” means at its best: finding what pockets of sustenance, relationship, joy, and meaning can exist within whatever conditions we are in. Which, for the majority of the world’s population that is so invisible to the dominant culture and has such limited access to the material wealth few of us take for granted, usually means turning to each other and all too often means involuntary movement, ranging from constant evictions to migrating again and again for work. With Emma being from the poorest region in the UK, we also have a teacher in our midst. Our own challenges, minor as they are, have taught us adaptation. Foraging, even more so. I notice growing capacity within our weary pod in other arenas to take what life brings without trying to impose our will. 

Trust in life. Losing our trust in life through collective traumatic events beyond collective capacity to metabolize is what gave us patriarchy, and then states, markets, money, debt, and slavery, and then, later, capitalism, racism, and all that comes with it. Regaining trust in life, against all odds, is key to turning things around. Trust in life seems to come back slowly, first individually, then in small communities, and maybe one day for all of us. Foraging is a friend on this journey. We are unlikely to ever rely only on foraging, as there are simply way too many of us for the gentle practices that foraging requires. Never taking more than we need, we restore trust there will be more tomorrow. When Emma came back to pick more nettle seeds for our friend who has a thyroid condition and can benefit from them, she noticed how many new nettle plants were growing precisely because of the picking she did before. We live in relationships. When we tend to them, sufficiently, life thrives. This is a deep lesson, going full circle back to humility. We learn to surrender to life instead of controlling it, and seeing the unfolding, full of awe. We are very small in the large order of things. 

Our foraging orientation can also be used in ways that weaken us. All supermarkets, chain stores, and online advertising prey on our well-developed foraging sensibilities. This is how I understand going into a supermarket with a shopping list and coming out with many more things we didn’t really need. The delicate balance of needs and relationships is absent. What we find, all around us, is an impossible-to-contain abundance that is out of touch with the horrific impacts on life of producing, distributing, and discarding all that we consume, daily. As we walk around the aisles, we respond from what was fit for other environments, when we were foragers. We take it, because it’s there, and there’s no telling, in our cellular knowledge, whether it will ever be here again. Never mind that the overwhelming presence of everything remains there, often 24/7, in environments that are always awake, always lit up, always staffed by people who are cut off from the natural rhythms of life. When we succeed, to however small a degree, to exit the supermarket and turn to the bushes, the trees, and anything else that is still in existence wherever we are, we are turning towards life and reclaiming relationship. This, on a small and persistent scale, is what we are now doing in our pod. 

In gratitude 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, including details of how we are supported, links to new writings and recordings, and more. 

Picture credits: Mushrooms in hand, photo by Nico Benedickt on UnsplashCooking, photo by Quang Nguyen Vinh on PexelsGathered items in boxes, photo by Emma Quayle; Packaged Produce, photo by Sgroey, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

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

Liberation for All: Integrating a Power and Privilege Lens

into Basic NVC Training

With Miki Kashtan, Menaka Neotia, and Aurélia Saint-Just

Monday through Thursday, December 19-22 (four sessions)

8:30am-10:00am PT

For many years now, many people within the NVC community have grappled with how to engage with questions of power and privilege. This mini-intensive course takes on this question and covers a wide range of topics to support those who share NVC with others, and everyone else, in making sense of the social divisions in our world and how they influence all of us. Each day focuses on a different topic for a rich tapestry: Power and Liberation: Caring for All of Life Using NVC; What’s Power Got to Do with Observations, Feelings, Needs, and Requests?; Staying within Capacity: Practices for Attending to Power Differences; Talking about Power and Privilege: Matching Our Approach to the Purpose at Hand. This course is offered on a gift basis with the goal of making it accessible to all who want to attend while also being sustainable for those offering it.

Info and register

Needs and Gifting in a Post-Patriarchal World

Alice Leibowitz participated in an intense retreat I led in 2018, and based on what happened there started a project she calls “Conversations against Fascism.” I was so touched to hear this, and to see her willingness to engage with tough questions when we spoke, that I had a resounding “YES” to being interviewed for the series Finding Solid Ground in a Spiraling World: How to Be Your Clearest and Strongest Self at this Moment in History that she is hosting. Alice is a longtime activist and facilitator and she is committed to providing support for those who want to find hope and keep their sanity in the face of the rising tide of fascism in the world.

I am one of nine speakers over the course of 5 days (on November 11), and my dear friend and colleague Roxy Manning and several others will be presenting during the series as well. The interview series starts November 8 and is free. Info and register 

Monthly Coaching Calls for Activists

Nonviolent Activism for Liberation

  • Sunday, December 4th, 8:30am - 10am PT 

We will update Miki's offerings with future call dates as they become available.

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 has been 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. As BayNVC is winding down its operations as an organization, passing the name to the remaining collaborative trainers, and moving everything else to the Nonviolent Global Liberation (NGL) community, the Circle of Support is also shifting. 

After we are done with the transition, those of us who continue with NGL are planning to invite, again, regular contributions, which will not be tax-deductible. If you would still like to get a tax deduction this year, you can do so until December 31st, here. Please choose “Miki’s work and experiments in gift economy” and please make it only a one-time donation. 

Everyone who is currently part of the circle has received or is scheduled to receive instructions about how to continue to support Miki’s work and legacy. We are not inviting new people to join the circle. Instead, we are asking anyone who wants to support the work to donate directly to NGL. 

This is a moment to pause and express immense gratitude and awe for the dozens of people who have been supporting Miki’s work all these years, some for the eight years in which the Circle of Support was active. We would not be here without you. Thank you!

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 invite everyone to have a glimpse into 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.  For more information about these events, visit the NGL Intros landing page.

These events are also fundraisers for NGL. 

To support our work, you are invited to donate here.

Transforming Judgments as Liberation from Suffering

Sunday, November 20, 5-8am PT / 1-4pm UTC (local time here)

Within ourselves as individuals seeking liberation from the scarcity, separation, and powerlessness that are the building blocks of patriarchal societies, one potent entryway is the art of transforming our judgments of ourselves, each other, and whatever else we judge. 

Judgments are the building blocks of inner and outer conflict. They are storehouses of information about what matters to us, what we long for, and what interferes with our capacity to flow with life and metabolize whatever happens into new learning and increased capacity. Even if nothing ever changes around us, we can find the inner and outer resources to find a different story and release ourselves from suffering and into empathy for self and others. Info and register

Save the dates for upcoming events

Liberation for All: Bringing Tenderness to Conversations about Power and Privilege

Sunday, December 18, 2022, 11am-2pm PT / 7-10pm UTC (local time here)

Needs, Impacts, and Resources: Making Decisions that Care for More of Us

Sunday, January 15, 2023, 2-5am PT / 10am-1pm UTC (local time here)

De-accumulation as a Path of Liberation

Sunday, February 19, 2023, 8-11am PT / 4-7pm UTC (local time here)

Making the Invisible Visible: Putting All Needs and Perspectives in the Picture

Sunday, March 19, 2023, 6-9am PT / 1-4pm UTC (local time here)

Supporting Leaders with Feedback in Service to the Whole

Sunday, April 16, 2023, 11am-2pm PT / 7-10pm Lisbon / 6-9pm UTC (local time here)

From Vision to Agreements: Building Systems as a Tool for Liberation

Sunday, May 21, 2023, 2am-5am PT / 10am-1pm Lisbon / 9am-12pm UTC

(local time here)

NGL Intros Landing Page

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.

The Welcome Session has been transformed to a new Friends Integration Space & Welcoming New Friend Session, a weekly gathering with input from NGL Members or active NGLers for 10-20 minutes at each session.

It will be held weekly on Wednesdays at 12pm UTC, beginning 9th November, 2022. You can check out your local time using this time zone converter.

To find out more about joining NGL Friends, or if you are having 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 If you are called to support our work financially, even in small amounts, you can do so 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 39 packets available for download. With the setbacks in Miki’s life, there is only one new packet this time and 9 left to complete. At this point, four packets that require research and support from others will likely be incomplete by the end of the year, and Miki is still planning to complete 5 others. 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 packet this time is “Working for Transformation without Recreating the Past.”

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 2013 items in 1022 orders, giving an average $5.18 per item. Of these, 626 orders didn't involve any money given to us, 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 604.

Sign up for the course or learn more here.

Other People's Events

The Heart of Parenting Monthly Workshops

First Saturdays, beginning November 5th

8:30 - 10:00 a.m. PT (Check your time zone here.)

Arnina and Heather will also be offering monthly parenting workshops for those who wish to explore more of this learning in community over time. If interested, save the dates and sign up here to receive details later this month.

In the meantime, click here for free parenting resources.

Conflict Engagement Coaching Calls

with Mariam Gafforio

Sunday, December 18th, 8 - 10:30 a.m. PT - CANCELED

*Mariam is on sabbatical. Check the January newsletter for future call dates.*

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 Series #2:

Restoring Togetherness within a Field of Separation

with Verene Nicolas and Menaka Neotia,

with support from Kevin Dancelme and others

Wednesdays, November 2 - 23

9am-noon UK time / 10am-1pm CET

2:30pm-5:30pm IST / 10pm- 1am NZ

(Check your time zone here.)


Timing is not ideal to attend live for US audiences; recordings will be 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 offering the second part of a 3-part introduction to NVC anchored in a systemic framework. Their vision is to make NVC 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. This new series will primarily focus on how NVC can help transform isolation, conflict and separation in groups and families by moving towards togetherness and integrating our differences. 

More information on the Registration Landing Page

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.

Join our new CF community space through HYLO.


We are just starting with a new community space platform for our Convergent Facilitation community. We hope this will become a place for people to co-create their own CF learning journeys. If you are longing to deepen your CF skills, whether you took the CF Intensive or not, we encourage you to give it a try and build this new space together with us! Find out more here on our website: Convergent Facilitation - Community Space.

Framing for Integration: CF Skills Course

What could you make possible if you told a different story? 

There's still time to catch up on the recordings and join this course with Roni Wiener that started in June and runs until January 2023. Click here for more info.

Invitation to support our material needs:

To support the material needs of those who contribute in various ways to the CF learning community for January-April 2023, we estimate that we will need another $3000. If you have the willingness and capacity to give please do so here. We share our financial needs with you in this way to further uncouple giving from receiving while still being able to care for our material needs.

What we need the contributions for:

  • For us to build a CF apprenticeship program to bridge the gap between knowing some CF and being a skilled CF facilitator - you will hear more about this in 2023!
  • For CF coaches to offer regular open coaching calls (including public access to the recordings). Register at the Convergent Facilitation website.
  • For us to take care of the weekly CF Newsletter and the website to inform the community about what is being offered. You can Sign Up for our CF Newsletter to receive CF tips, updates, information about workshops, Coaching Calls, etc.