January, 2020         

Once again, the words that come to me as a title for the newsletter come from Pema Chodron; it's the title of one of her books, in fact, as was the title of my last newsletter. In this past period, I got to experience in a most tangible way the power of what happens when there is no exit.

Saline Valley, California
This happened when I was in the desert, with Emma Quayle and Erin Selover. I wrote a blog post called "Liberation Lessons from the Desert: Choice, Togetherness, and Flow" about all that we learned in this intensive time we shared. I mention in that piece the way that having no exit contributed to what became possible for us. I want to say more about just that aspect here, because it seems to me one key way that we can start shifting the ways so many of us have internalized patriarchy, and capitalism in particular, within our ways of being.

Money and the Illusion of Freedomillusion
Some years ago I had a deep conversation with some friends about just the first page of an often maligned and deeply misunderstood book: Marx's Capital. What became clear through that conversation that has never left me since is that the appeal of capitalism is the illusion of freedom that money gives, both when we have it and when we don't. The core essence of this appeal is simply that if we only have money, and enough of it (which, incidentally, almost no one ever feels they have), we can be free to do what we want and, most particularly, we won't depend on anyone else to give us permission, access, or support. The existence of money and the reality of everything being so commodified also means that we have severed our relationships with true community, the one where our actual material well-being is bound up with that of others who are known to us. Why am I telling you about this? Because the tragic result of these developments is that many of us in the industrialized world, particularly those with more access to financial resources, have less capacity to stay the course in times of difficulty. We know we can leave, and we do when difficulties arise. This, for me, is part of what explains the epidemic of phenomena like "canceling" people: we no longer see staying in relationship and working things out as the default path; it's much more optional than it was even for our parents' generations. Even when people come together to form a community, group, or organization, and are excited about what they envision doing, many such groups disband, or at least lose members.

This worries me deeply, because building the kinds of communities that I believe are necessary to jump start us into a future beyond patriarchy and all its offspring, especially capitalism, requires us to have dramatically more resilience in relation to challenges with our fellow humans, especially when all of us are, in addition, suffering from individual and collective trauma that affects our capacity to respond with choice and to prioritize togetherness. Our experience in the desert, where exit was not an option given physical conditions and how much we depended on each other for food and shelter, made it abundantly clear to us that voluntarily closing exits is a key choice in the process of building relationships and communities.

From Constraints, More Togethernessconstraints
I know it's scary and not what we are used to. I myself feel the weight of that fear. While in the desert there were many times that I had an overwhelming desire to move away from my friends. And, the constraints created by the conditions we found ourselves in resulted in more love and togetherness than I ever imagined with two other people that did all kinds of things I didn't like. We worked through everything, broke through to new discoveries, expanded and deepened our agreements to care for what we learned about our limitations, and found home. This is a discipline that for us was externally driven and that I want to live by choice in future communities.

Miki, Emma and Erin with two of the wild burros in Saline Valley
As hard as my current landing has been, as challenging as vagabonding continues to be, I am elated to have made this visceral discovery with others. While Erin begins a solitary retreat in California as her first step in seeding a community where she is, Emma and I are going virtual and deep. We are working on applying what we learned in the desert to imagining what a virtual community could be like that shares resources and life decisions, and what could be its  immediate actual practical steps. We are continuing to learn and grapple with all that such a commitment brings up. By the time the next newsletter goes out in March, I anticipate being able to share with you a full description and a way to consider joining.

If we are to have a future for humanity, I more and more believe we will need to recover our evolutionary capacity, now atrophied, to collaborate with others in provisioning for all of us. This is a far cry from the "American Dream" of individuals "making it" on their own, a dream that has created massive destruction everywhere on the planet and spiritual desolation for many in the US. Here's to a bright and collaborative future of choice, togetherness, and flow, for all life.

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 my new insights from the desert in the Humility Corner, NGL celebrations, a new job opportunity, and more.

    Photos by Vance Selover
 Update on the Circle of Support updatecos
more info on COS here )
We are heartened by the response to our year-end appeal to support Miki's work. By the end of the year 8 people joined the Circle of Support for a total of $188 monthly. We also received 14 one-time gifts totaling $2,945. We are celebrating the increased stability and capacity both types of contributions bring and hoping to continue to grow the Circle throughout the year

We celebrate every choice to join or leave the circle, as we aspire to our sustainability goal of 200 donors and $6,000 per month. 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 with The Fearless Heart 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, February 9, 9 - 10:30am 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, January 12, 10:30am - noon PT
Saturday, February 22, 9 - 10:30am 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, February 1, 9:30 - 11am 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
Sunday, February 2, 1 - 2:30 PT
The Reckoning with Collapse calls are an opportunity for anyone to come engage with others who are, also, grappling with the overwhelming information and grim prospects that humanity is currently facing, most specifically with climate change, as well as a host of other severe crises. Info and register

Online at NVC Academy
Responding to the Call of Our Times 
Fridays, February 7 - December 11, 2020 (45 sessions)
Noon - 2:00pm PT
This course now begins its 4th year in February. 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

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.

In Poland
May 20-26, 2020

In Ben Lomond, California
Save the date: Aug 14-20, 2020

In Mexico, Bali and the East Coast
Dates TBD, Fall 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.  
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.

Invitation for Collaboration
Miki is working on a new book with Lisa Rothman, and they are opening it up for people to collaborate with them. Are you interested? If so, click here for more information and to let us know you are interested.

New Book from The Fearless Heart
We celebrate the release of Gina Simm's book Heart to Heart: 3 Systems for Staying Connected -  A Manual for Parents and Teachers , which is a guide to supporting children in learning how to sustain their humanity and open hearts in a world that's constantly telling them otherwise. Miki says:  "I've been encouraging Gina for years to take the step of converting her amazing work into a book accessible to others, and I am really elated to have it now available. It goes way beyond communication to create environments that actually support children in being part of shaping what unfolds."  It now features on the Fearless Heart website and is available through Gina's website Teaching from Your Heart , where you can also learn more about the book.

Project and Content Manager for Miki's Workjob
We are looking for a passionate, visionary, and self-directed individual to join Miki's team as full-time project manager of all that she holds as well as content manager (including production and editing of content) for the Fearless Heart. 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 a gift 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 for the 8 people who have joined and expanded the monthly contribution by $188. 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 "The Fearless Heart" 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.