What Would Jesus Say?
January 2022

Dear Friend,
I am writing this newsletter in the days approaching Christmas, the birthday of one of the most well-known Jews in history (up there with Einstein, Freud, and Marx). I have reclaimed him as part of my Jewish heritage, despite the deep tension between Jews and Christians about what his life and teachings mean. 
Jesus spoke for the power of love at a time of great empire. Regardless of what was made of him later, he was and remained a Jew, speaking to Jews, aiming to revitalize Judaism and challenge empire, not to create a new religion. And yet a new religion arose, initiated by Paul, who never met Jesus, at the end of significant faction fights within the community of followers that came after Jesus. Not long after, Christianity was adopted by the very Roman Empire that executed Jesus and became a major early known example of cultural appropriation. What started as a vision of love and liberation became an instrument of power and oppression.
While being at Tamera, one of a number of globally known visionary communities, I’ve been pondering this phenomenon of visionary beginnings leading to dilution and, in many cases, to reestablishment of power structures. Here, the founders are still alive, though aging, and many questions about how to keep the vision alive and give it material shape are precisely what we are here to support them with. My question is also very personal, as I am, myself, someone with a very large vision for humanity. I, too, want the vision and what I have learned about how to make it practical to outlive me. 
The intensity of our engagement here eventually led to a deep insight for me, which is that vision and knowledge get passed on through transmission, through teaching skills, or by being embedded in systems and agreements. The visionary communities I am aware of have mostly relied on transmission, and they are all struggling as founders have died or are aging. I see transmission as the most vulnerable to dilution and to being reabsorbed into the implicit systems of power of the very patriarchal social order which founders want to transform or at least exit. It relies way too much on exceptional individuals to receive and re-transmit the vision and the knowledge that comes with it. 
When we founded BayNVC, my sister Inbal , our colleague Julie Greene (both of whom have since died), and I started the BayNVC Leadership Program because Inbal understood that we wouldn’t be able, ourselves, to take the work and its liberatory potential far enough without having others who are also doing it. Our aim was to teach others to do what we are doing. My own aim, for a long time, and especially after Inbal died, was to make everything I do teachable, so I could pass it on. I also started writing books with the aim of leaving behind enough detailed knowledge that others could pick it up and apply it even without ever knowing me, even after I am gone. 
It was only when I fully grasped the power of explicit systems to anchor vision and increase capacity to exit the patriarchal field that I changed course, yet again. This was also motivated by understanding that the work of women often dies with them precisely because they are less likely to leave behind a community of practitioners that carry the work forward. These two realizations were what led to the Nonviolent Global Liberation community coming into being: a place where we are in interdependent relationships with each other as we experiment, learn, and apply what we learn, within and around us, rather than continuing to function as individuals. It is not surprising to me that the Vision Mobilization work was born within NGL and not before, through our combined work, not in one individual alone. 
We are now twenty centuries after Jesus died and the second temple collapsed, sending Jews into a long period of diaspora. Thinking about transmission, teaching skills, and embedding vision and knowledge in systems, I also understand, more deeply or maybe for the first time fully, how it is that we Jews survived so many centuries of persecution, as well as why having a state of our own has repeatedly been detrimental to our vision. Judaism has always been a religion of practice, not faith; of community, not individuals. Even salvation, itself not a Jewish concept, is collective, not individual.  
We are still living in times of empire, one succeeding the other through war after war. We are at a time of collapse, still, again, and more intensely. Jesus, systemic thinker that he was before that term was ever coined, lost his life work to relying primarily on transmission. I’d like to believe that if he were to come and see us, all of us, this ailing, low-capacity species with so much love, vision, and tenacity who are still trying to change the course of suicidal capitalist patriarchy, he would urge us to please, starting now, anchor love, vision, and all we know in agreements between us that will hold us in the love even as the waves of patriarchal conditioning keep arising, even as anxiety increases around the world about what comes next, even as we don’t know if we can do it.  
With tenderness and admiration for our dreams,

Miki

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 mourning the impact of how I spoke of the work in my last newsletter, two more blog posts about moving from exchange to gift, other pieces of writing, vagabonding updates, the usual crop of inspirations, and more.


Picture credits: Jesus Revolution image by jesusfreaks.fr, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons; Fading flower photo by Kulbir from Pexels; Field of flowers photo by Max Andrey from Pexels; Flowers through concrete image by schwarzweisz from Pixabay 
Miki's Upcoming Events
Free Teleseminars
All teleseminar times below are Pacific Time:

Facing Privilege
Sunday, January 16, 8:30 am - 10:00 am PT
Sunday, February 6, 8:30 am - 10:00 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

Overcoming Patriarchy
Sunday, January 30, 8:30 am - 10:00 am PT
Sunday, February 27, 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm 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

Questioning Money
Sunday, January 23, 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm PT
Sunday, February 20, 8:30 am - 10:00 am 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

Nonviolent Activism for Liberation
Sunday, January 9, 9 am - 10:30 am PT
Sunday, February 13, 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
Online at NVC Academy
Responding to the Call of Our Times
Fridays, February 4 - December 19, 2022 (45 sessions)
Noon - 2:00 pm PT

This is our 6th year, with many people coming back for their 2nd, 3rd, or even 6th 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. And, for the first time, this is now offered on a gift basis. We are all hoping that this would allow many more people to register who couldn’t otherwise, and that those who can will give more so the course will remain sustainable. Info and register

Vision Mobilization: Increasing Capacity for Organizations and Individuals Committed to Service - *RECORDINGS ONLY*
Arnina Kashtan, Emma Quayle, and Miki Kashtan 

At a time of rapid transformation and accelerating crises in the world, the three of us are joining together in offering our newest tools for the first time in a public setting. Since the last newsletter went out, we have worked with the NVC Academy to make the course financially accessible to anyone who feels called to contribute to the large vision of this work and for whom the current fee is a barrier.

The August 2021 live course filled beyond capacity, and we are now opening it if you want to participate via the recordings, with the possibility that previous course participants may be available to accompany you.

The course is designed for individuals, communities, and organizations with live demonstrations and tools for continuing the work on your own. It follows every part of the Vision Mobilization Framework, which you can learn about from the packet available here. Info and 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, a few more people have joined than left, and the totals are slightly higher than last time. At present, we have 110 people who contribute a total of $3,995 monthly to the Circle of Support. That’s over half of our goal of 200 contributors, and just under two thirds of our goal of $6,000 a month. We 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 the conference calls, books, or other resources.

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

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. Given this context, Mariam is offering open calls to support people who want coaching from and co-thinking with her about how to respond to conflicts. Info and register below.


Here’s what Miki says about this new offering: “I am beyond excited that Mariam is offering these coaching calls, and I hope hundreds of people come to them. Conflict avoidance, anywhere that it happens, sustains the status quo. Mariam's approach is practical, specific, and visionary all at once. Seeding the world with more people who have capacity and willingness to engage with conflict at a time when conflicts are increasing is one key acupuncture intervention I trust can support our collective capacity to avert disasters.”

The Compass: An integrative Roadmap Towards Personal, Familial and Collective Liberation
with Arnina Kashtan
Online Sundays, 8:00 - 10:00 am PT, November 21, 2021 - July 24, 2022
Open registration through January 31, 2022. 
…and 3 FREE Compass Workshops! :)

The Compass offers principles and practices for restoring choice from which togetherness can emerge, ultimately leading to restoring flow for all of us. 

The course explores:
  • Ways to access compassion through awareness of systemic phenomena
  • Three powers that are at the root of patriarchal conditioning and how these mediate our current capacity
  • Clear pathways to transform patterns through seven gates
  • Tools for increasing inner freedom and access to choice 

From Miki's perspective, Arnina “puts together so much — systemic perspective, compassion for trauma, deep understanding about how humans function, and more — into a comprehensive, deep, and fully accessible framework that supports dramatic shifts in the experience of being alive. I highly recommend it to anyone who has a passion for freedom.”

Intrigued? Discover more details about Arnina’s 8-month liberating learning journey, The Compass, here and enjoy the recordings of 3 Free Compass Workshops here.

Strengthen Your Commitment to Nonviolence
with Helen Adamson and Claudia Sánchez
The first 3 Thursdays of every month (except August)
January 2021 - January 2024 (34 modules of 3 sessions each)
6:00 - 8:00 pm CET (Central Europe Time)

The Core Nonviolence Commitments Learning and Support Community is an ongoing series of independent units or modules, each one designed to support participants in engaging, in community, with one of the 34 Core Nonviolence Commitments. The series is for people who want to strengthen their commitment to nonviolence and increase their ability to put it into practice in their day-to-day lives. Prior NVC experience is highly recommended.

You may register for the series at any time; once you are registered you will receive an email invitation once a month to RSVP, if you like, for the next module.

Upcoming modules:
January: Commitment #12. Discernment and Courage (January 13, 20 & 27)
February: Commitment #13. Authenticity and Vulnerability
March: Commitment #14. Availability for Feedback


Nonviolence is a way of being and living that orients, in thought, word, and deed, towards integrating love, truth, and courage in individual and collective action aimed at preserving what serves life and at challenging what doesn’t to transform itself so the human family can realign with life. -Miki Kashtan

Support Social Change Work in India
A conversation between Miki Kashtan and Manasi Saxena

Manasi inspires me every time I think of her work in India. She co-founded Living Bridges, which fosters and develops empathic development practitioners from diverse social and cultural backgrounds. In addition to their subsidized workshops in Hindi and English, Living Bridges has provided material support for grassroots community projects reaching over 20,000 people during the pandemic alone. So when Manasi asked me for an interview in support of her work, I immediately said “yes” despite the difficult timing. Here’s what she said about the interview:

“How do we transform our dreams and longings into something more concrete like a vision? How do we remain within our capacity and yet move towards integrative solutions, a true “middle path”? How do we understand ourselves within the context of the systems we live in? This conversation with Miki Kashtan was a pure joy. Miki's work with individual and collective liberation, and focus on how we can build local and global systems that can work for everyone, has been an inspiration for us, and for many people across the world.”

I want the work to flourish, and so I am hoping you will follow the links below to support it. 

The Living Bridges Conversations are part of their campaign to support changemakers to lead with empathy. Please offer what support you can here (if you’re in India) or here (for international contributors).

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.

Weekly CF Coaching Calls
We are celebrating our one-year anniversary of offering weekly Convergent Facilitation Coaching Calls. Our first call was on May 11, 2020! This program provides ongoing support from experienced facilitators on real-life challenges you encounter as you begin to use and apply Convergent Facilitation. We ask that you take an introductory workshop or read the book before you attend. Find out more about this project and get involved on the CF Coaching Calls Program page.

Seeking a Convergent Facilitation Outreach Coordinator
We are looking for someone enthusiastic, experienced, committed, and self-directed to support Convergent Facilitation by leading our outreach efforts. We want someone with a strategic vision for how to drive attendance to our workshops and generate interest in Miki’s book, the technical skills to realize that vision, and previous experience. Here are more details. If you are interested, please contact Menaka.
Nonviolent Global Liberation
NGL doesn’t currently have any upcoming retreats. All of our work is online at present, and includes many calls where you can learn as well as many opportunities to contribute to our work.
NGL Friends

Every month we have more “NGL Friends” joining. We’ve just gone over 200 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) and Fox (NGL friend and apprentice) have founded the NGL Welcome Crew with 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 ask questions and and get to know others who are also new to NGL.

The upcoming Welcome Sessions are planned for:

To find out more, or if you need support with the NGL Friend sign-up process, contact them at welcoming-friends@nglcommunity.org
Read about NGL and see whether being an NGL Friend is for you here - and while you're visiting our site, sign up for the NGL News.

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. In our last distribution circle in August, we used the same process as last time. This was the first time I wasn’t there, entrusting the well-being of BayNVC, the fiscal sponsor and parent organization of NGL, to all the others in the circle to decide about. As in all distribution circles before, the resources available to us were fewer than the total of 12 requests made. This time around, several people received the full amount of their request, everyone else received at least their minimum, and BayNVC again received less than what is long-term sustainable for us, although we are still fine for now. 

We know it’s really hard to convey in words how wild indeed the experiment is. At present there are about 40 or more of us pouring energy into NGL, many of us many hours every week. Only 12 of us have put in financial requests, independently of how much time and energy we put in, independently of how much we have been able to bring in. We are active co-creators of a community that aims to function on a gift economy basis. We are fully committed to uncoupling giving from receiving. Money related to all of NGL’s projects flows into one collective pot of money, as a strategy to increase cohesion and reduce the chances of stratification within NGL. 

Like in many other places, the pandemic has dramatically reduced the amount of money coming in without reducing the amount of work to do or sustainability needs. In particular, within BayNVC, we’ve dipped into our reserve. We now distribute money 3 times a year, based on requests for bare bones sustainability from those who really need them to stay engaged. We want to keep moving closer to our vision and dream of full resource flow based on optimizing the movement of resources towards needs based on purpose and willingness. We are eager for the sustainability of all of us who pour countless hours over years to be able to lean on NGL for some of their sustainability instead of supporting NGL’s sustainability often at cost to themselves. 

If you have the capacity to do so, please donate 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 27 packets ready after some reshuffling, of which 4 are new as of this newsletter, plus one major revision:

Principle-Based Teaching of NVC (thoroughly revised)

Upcoming additions are unclear at present, though Miki is still on track to complete the entire set by December 2022. 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 last year people downloaded 1920 items in 1216 orders, giving an average $6.78 per item. Of these, 688 people didn't give any money, and we rejoice in that. Several others each contributed $100 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 an vibrant online community practice now numbering 447.

Sign up for the course or learn more here.