Untwisting the Fields: Farewell and a New Opening

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January 2023

Dear Fabian,

This is a big moment. I have known that this would be my very last newsletter from BayNVC for many months. “Last,” like “first,” only happens once, and carries some weight. What is it that I would want to say in this one last time? Is there anything I haven’t yet said, and does that even matter? And then I landed on an invitation I want to issue to everyone who’s been following my newsletter in the last while.

I start with some context. A little over a year ago, five of us from NGL (Nonviolent Global Liberation community, where acronyms somehow proliferate) were in Tamera, assisting their community in articulating and aligning with their vision. This was a month-long project that may well be the most intensive project I have ever been involved with. I absolutely loved it, and it was super hard work. I had never before understood, so viscerally and acutely, the physicality of the energy that it takes to bring people together and counter the pull of powerlessness, separation, mistrust, and the underlying sense of scarcity that is at the root of it. This counter-pull, the undoing of the distortions that live within us from thousands of years of patriarchy, takes everything I have when I do it. Somewhere along the way, the term “untwisting” came into the conversation, and it stuck. I now know the work I am doing, starting with myself and everywhere that I am, as the work of “untwisting fields.” I also know I have been doing this, in one form or another, even in small parts and without awareness of what I was doing, since I was a small child, except for about twelve years. Those were the two years in which I was, not by choice, in the Israeli army, and the ten years that it took to recover from the trauma of that. 

What it takes, first and foremost, is the willingness to speak truth with complete tenderness even when it’s uncomfortable. The willingness to step into difficult moments and respond to them instead of collapsing. The willingness to take an unpopular position without ever demonizing anyone else. And doing all this within an uncompromising and rigorously held vision of what’s possible and what’s wanted. 

The biggest joy of my life is that my attempts to create a community in which this happens rather than it being my solitary commitment are beginning to bear fruit. I want to publicly name and acknowledge the people who first stepped into holding the untwisting of fields with me, in the fullness of it, at least at the level of their commitment even if they didn’t have capacity at the time. They are Emma Quayle and Erin Selover. In 2019 the three of us went to the desert for a month and lived the intensity of this, and the glorious beauty that is present within it (see “Liberation Lessons from the Desert” for more about what we learned). Sometimes, experience defies words. I only know that what we experienced is such that I anticipate it will keep us tied to each other for life even as Erin is on a different continent. See us in the picture below.

At this point, three years later, our pod is solid at three with Eddy Quinn, Emma Quayle, and me; Vesta Kroese is joining us for at least a few months and maybe indefinitely; and three other people are in full commitment beyond the pod: Alper Süzer and Yaren Köse in Turkey (where we are heading next), and Menaka Neotia in India. And we are part of a larger project that we recently named “The NGL Mycelium Experiment” (this website is internally oriented towards NGL, so it’s a little bit like looking through a window into our lives instead of entering the house and hanging out with us) with a purpose that is entirely within the work of untwisting fields: 

to create material structures, rooted in our physical being together, that subvert normative resource flow patterns as we nurse our individual and collective liberation and raise capacity to surround the patriarchal field with love

This is what the work of untwisting fields is about. It involves personal risk, and that risk varies depending on where we are in the world. For those of us living in relative privilege in the global North, it can mean the willingness to untether from comfort in support of restoring global gift flows. For those of us living in places where fascism has already taken root, or never left, it can mean more significant risks, and sometimes the willingness to go into exile. For those of us trained to absorb impacts for the benefit of the few, it can mean the willingness to put our needs on the table and make impacts on us visible so those with access to resources can really learn, in the most visceral way, what their comforts rest on. For all of us, it means questioning everything we’ve ever been told so as to walk together towards individual and collective liberation for us and, ultimately, for all of us. 

It’s nothing short of being an attempt to build a field that is large enough to surround the patriarchal field with love. 

I am both longing for and inviting people to join with us in walking towards liberation with open eyes, knowing that the odds are against us given what is happening in the world. This is a precarious moment for me, for us in NGL, as we release the dependence on BayNVC and the many comforts that come with being associated with a non-profit in the US. Over the last number of months, many people who have been supporting my work through the Circle of Support have stopped their participation. I have been wondering if that is, in part, a response to the greater radicalization within our circles and the greater willingness to question everything, including the ideals of the Enlightenment and the sanctity of liberal democracy and the market economy. I don’t imagine I will ever know. We are determined to function with the least interaction possible with the mechanisms of state and market even as we know that there is no full exit until enough of us build thick webs of maternal gifting that care for all needs on the material plane.  

Before ending, I want to quote from the daily update of Fox Keohane, who was part of our pod for a year and is now in another section of the mycelium web that we are forming together. Fox was here for over a month as part of a gathering we had at the house we are staying in in Scotland. At peak, there were seventeen of us, including two ten-year-old girls, and just about everyone who is part of the Mycelium project. From when the first person arrived and until the last person left it lasted about six weeks. We never wanted anyone to leave. We didn’t have a single conflict, though we were close twice. When we operate within a field of trust and love, and when we have robust and clear ways of anchoring our commitments behaviorally so as not to fall into our conditioning, we can have degrees of ease and flow that I want all of humanity to experience at some point in their life now, and ultimately all the time. I know it’s possible. It’s what this love is all about. Fox’s piece was written during the gathering. 

During the conversation, Emma shared a description of what we are doing. We spoke briefly about it after and she invited me to write about it in my momento [the way Fox calls his daily updates], so here goes... I’m going to attempt to share what she was describing. She said something like this....

What we are doing is walking a tightrope to traverse The Gap from the Now to the Vision.

And that together we’re holding each other and walking this tightrope together, supporting each other as we walk it – walking it within Togetherness. And that when people fall off the tightrope due to the impacts of patriarchy we catch and hold each other as best we can. And that even then sometimes a person might fall into the abyss of the Gap and not have sufficient access to Trust and Choice to even want to be held and so they may reject our support and continue to fall. And what the Pod is doing, as they articulate blueprints for pathways to support us in liberating ourselves and others, is creating thicker ropes and more of them to support us in our journey as we traverse the Gap towards a World that Works for All. Go Emma Go!

This, then, is the invitation: Will you join us all in moving from conversations about how to do this to actually doing it? Will you join the few who are happily watering the tiny seeds that some of us are willing to be? 

In vulnerability and total surrender,


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 blog post: A Love Letter to My Brothers.” That section of the website is designed to remain as an archive. The rest of the website is designed soon to move to the new NGL website


P.P.S Former BayNVC trainers Roxy Manning and Oren Jay Sofer will continue to offer the annual Living Peace Retreat and eight-month NVC Immersion Program.

Picture credits: Untwisting image by Rochak Shukla on Freepik; Miki, Emma, Erin in desert photo by Vance Selover; Question background image by pikisuperstar on Freepik; Group in Scotland photo by Emma Quayle; Rainbow in Scotland photo by Emma Quayle

Miki's Upcoming Events

Online at NVC Academy

Responding to the Call of Our Times

Fridays, February 3 - December 8, 2023 (45 sessions)

Noon - 2:00 pm PT

The 7th year of this course is about to start! It remains open for the entire year for people to join. 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 can 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. Last year we shifted to inviting everyone to join on a gift basis. This brought us 65% more people without ultimately less revenue than the previous year, a minor miracle. Many of the people who registered gave nothing and would not have been able to attend otherwise. Info and register

You can see the details of how we function here.

Empathic Way Europe

Empathy, Expression, and Whose Needs Are on the Table

March 11, 8:00pm-9:30pm CET (Central Europe Time)

Have you ever had the experience of someone offering you empathy, and yet you experienced their energy as being elsewhere? Have you ever offered empathy to someone else because you wanted them to feel better? Has anyone ever spoken about themselves and yet you experienced deep support?

All of these are examples of a subtle layer of communication that brings more complexity to the empathy/honesty distinction that we learn in NVC workshops. This deeper layer is about where the emotional energy is flowing and whose needs are being held. Whether we say “I” or “you”, speak statements or ask questions, the power of our speech has a lot to do with what our heartmind is focused on. In this session, Miki plans to guide participants in discovering within themselves how to choose where to focus and how to carry that into words. Info and register

This session takes place as part of the Time for Empathy 2023 event in which people from various countries cooperate to offer online events connected to empathy and Nonviolent Communication (NVC). The event is online and lasts from March 5 - March 12. Our dream is to build the world based on understanding, inclusion, acceptance and dialogue.

Find out more about the entire event and register here.

Monthly Coaching Calls for Activists

Nonviolent Activism for Liberation

  • Sunday, January 8, 8:30am - 10am PT
  • Sunday, February 5, 8:30am - 10am PT
  • Sunday, March 5, 8:30am - 10am PT

These calls continue, generally intended for the 1st Sunday of the month except when obstacles arise. 

The Nonviolent Activism for Liberation calls are designed 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

Future events are posted on the NGL website and a monthly brief newsletter with all events is planned starting in February.

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. This link is closing down in the coming weeks. If it’s no longer active, please go to the NGL website and follow the new link that is coming soon. 

Needs, Impacts, and Resources:

Making Decisions that Care for More of Us

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

When we function in full trust, we often experience ease, flow, and simplicity that come from putting all needs on the table, making all impacts visible, and looking at all available resources, and then finding pathways to care for the needs with available resources and with the least unwanted impacts. When we function in the low trust environment that our current systems train us into, needs become should, impacts become blame and shame, and resources are wrapped up in who deserves what. In addition, some people’s needs are prioritized over others’, some impacts are made visible while others absorb, and resources are extracted from the many to sustain the few. 

Changing this picture systemically, especially on a large scale, is proving to be immensely difficult. And we can still take small steps wherever we are, with whomever is there, towards the vision of making decisions based on information that cares for all of us. Info and register

Save the dates for upcoming events

De-accumulation as a Path of Liberation

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)

Mediating Conflict across Power Differences

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

(local time here)

NGL Intros Landing Page

What's next for NGL

In 2022, NGL was gradually shifting what we do one bit at a time from being dependent on BayNVC for administrative support and fiscal sponsorship to doing everything within the way we function. This has been an immense project and we are now ready. All future newsletters, including events, updates, and requests, are now designed to come from NGL, not from Miki. We are hoping that we can send an update about the transition in early February.

The NEW NGL Website!

We finally have a brand new website, put together in an extremely short time with lots of love and willingness to learn. It’s not complete, and it is functional. Please come visit it. Maybe you will be able to understand, for the first time, what we are actually doing!

NGL Friends

We are inviting everyone to consider joining us as an NGL Friend. We’re continuing to grow slowly, now at 286 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.

Friends Integration Space & Welcoming New Friends Sessions

Each Wednesday at 1pm UTC

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.  They are holding a weekly gathering, within which some NGL Members or others who are active within NGL visit for 10-20 minutes each session. 

You can check out your local time using this time zone converter.

If you are having difficulty with the sign-up process and need support, you can contact them at welcoming-friends@nglcommunity.org

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. This link is closing down in the coming weeks. If it’s no longer active, please go to the NGL website and follow the new link that is coming soon.

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. Although she completed two packets last time, three more were added to the project, and now there are eight missing. This is a mourning, as she was really hoping to complete the project this year. Miki is continuing this project and updates are planned when new packets are completed. When the entire project is done, we intend to send everyone who’s ever gotten any packets a revised version of what they have downloaded before, and to do that annually. 

The two new packets are in the category “Power, Privilege, and Liberation”

Liberation for All, Part One: Understanding Liberation, Power, and Privilege

Integrating Power, Privilege, and Liberation into Sharing NVC with Others

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. This may be our last celebration, as we may not continue to track so diligently. Last year people downloaded 2,426 items in 1,240 orders, giving an average $5.09 per item. Of these, 774 order 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 629.

Sign up for the course or learn more here.