September, 2018

With this newsletter, it's now seven years since I started sending my own newsletters and sharing with those who read them what I've been up to. I just looked at that issue - August 2011 - and reflected on how much has changed for me and for BayNVC since then. I had just finished the first draft of what became my two big books, a process which changed me from focusing primarily on teaching NVC workshops and on the leadership program to a conscious and deliberate focus on systems, organizations, and collaboration.

Celebrating and Mourning Inbal inbal3
It's also already four years since my sister Inbal died. Her life and work continue to feed and inspire many. The program she created, the Parent Peer Leadership Program, continues, supporting new generations of parents, each year, to shift to a collaborative approach to parenting and to learn how to support others in doing the same. Her videos, articles, and CD continue to inspire people. No day goes by without noticing her absence: her wise and often unexpected ways of responding; her gentle and uncompromising spirit; her love of life that showed up in her smile and laughter; and her close companionship on the journey to learn and share with others how life can be made to work for all of us.

BayNVC almost collapsed in 2012, and is now strong and healthy, with a new and vibrant team, where all of us are working together with clarity about what we are supporting and why. All but one of us were at the recent Mobilizing for Global Liberation retreat (and the missing one was due to difficult personal circumstances), where we bonded even further in support of an emerging movement of people now on four continents aching to find meaningful ways of responding to the enormously challenging times in which we live. (You can read more about us below.)

Convergent Facilitation, barely born and not yet with a name at that time, has now been used and taught around the world, including in contentious situations where stakeholders who previously barely talked with each other successfully worked out solutions that work for all of them. A manuscript is now ready and I am in the active process of looking for a publisher. And over 220 people are now registered for the first ever online version of the course.

The approach I developed for how to share NVC in the world, what I call Principle-Based Teaching, is now known by many around the world, and now many more people are sharing NVC using this approach. I regularly hear from others how much easier it is for people to learn NVC and get excited about it when they focus on the "why" of NVC alongside the "how."

More than anything, these years have seen a major shift in the way we handle resources that brings me to more and more alignment with my core vision and values. More and more of the work is offered on a gift economy basis, and every month I have five or six calls that are entirely gifted, without any possibility of "paying" for them. The uncoupling of giving and receiving, core to the shift into the flow of gifting, continues to unfold in ways that exceed my imagination, as those who give and those who receive are so often not even the same people.

All these shifts and changes - and there are many more - have taken place within the context of a rapidly changing world. In these years, the level of polarization and hate has increased around the world alongside the deepening reality of global warming and its implications. As more and more of us recognize that a major systemic shift is needed to make the world work for all of us, or even for the continued existence of humanity, it's less and less clear how such a change could come about. Rather than aiming to understand how to create change, I am more and more in acceptance that such change may not be possible. What is ever clearer to me is that, whatever else is in our future, for as long as there are humans on the planet, knowing how to collaborate continues to be essential and that those of us actively learning about this need to be ready to share what we know, if and as this knowledge is recognized as necessary and thus welcomed by more people, communities, organizations, and even governments. In my recent blog post I look into what conditions can make collaboration work better.  

In these really difficult times, taking pleasure in working together with others, celebrating the gains and learning from the challenges, and allowing ourselves to mourn sufficiently the gap between our vibrant vision and the conditions within which we operate may just be the right cocktail that will sustain us through the unknown of what's ahead. May you find ways to create such communities for all the work you do today.      

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 recent visit to Mexico and the rapid, exciting developments within NGL.
Circle of Support

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 required to have money in order to meet them, and people who want to contribute to the meeting of needs are often required to have money to do so. The  Circle of Support  is an intervention in this habit. It is our baseline of steady support for Miki's role in boldly (and successfully) venturing into a gift economy, with our blessing. It is a joyful leap towards offering this work as a gift to anyone who seeks it, with no "strings attached."  See more info below
My own journey with nonviolent communication has been a complicated one. Initially, I learned NVC as a communications tool and my understanding of it was limited to the well know construct of OFNR (Observations, Feelings, Needs, Request).  Even with that limited understanding, I had a felt sense that I was introduced to something special. A new way of communicating that helped me to align my intention of creating connection and demonstrating care with practical information.

There have been many struggles along the way, most of them linked to the identities I own and those given to me and to my own longing to connect these principles to understanding the world and through a lens that isn't of the Global North. There have been times of heartache and also much healing.  Through those struggles, some of which are mine, some that have been shared by others, opportunities have emerged to stand in choice and step towards leadership by amplifying voices of people whose experience and concerns are on margins of society and at times, the NVC community.

One of those moments has led to a wonderful development at BayNVC. After meeting with the staff team and making a request through our Modified Advice Process, BayNVC has now dedicated $25,000 for a diversity fund. The fund is still unnamed and projects that it will support are to be decided and still, there is no doubt that it will be a game changer as this designation will allow people of colour, LGBT folks, people who are differently abled and many others a means to be supported realising their visions of supporting the communities and causes they care about through principles and tools of nonviolence and NVC.

As the picture of the fund and its uses gets clearer more will be shared.  Have a contribution? Lend your voice by supporting the shape of this vision by contacting me.

Be Well,


P. Leonie Smith supports the design and implementation of programs at BayNVC and its consultant project Center for Efficient Collaboration. You can reach her at 510.433.0700 x 217 or via email at
Free Teleseminarsevents
On the Fearless Heart calls you can engage with Miki and others about her latest blog post, " Increasing Prospects for Collaboration Even Before Starting" earlier posts, or other topics of interest. Info and Register

Facing Privilege
Monday, September 17, 5 - 6:30pm
Saturday, October 13, 4:30 - 6pm
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

Principle-Based Teaching Coaching Calls
Monday, October 15, 5 - 6:30pm
The Principle-Based-Teaching calls are designed for people who have been integrating NVC for a while, who are now sharing NVC with others in various forms, and would like to engage with others and with Miki in deepening our collective capacity to bring NVC to the world in this particular way.  Info and Register

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

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
Online at NVC Academy
Responding to the Call of Our Times
Fridays, February 2 - December 7, 2018 
(44 sessions)
Noon - 2:00pm PT
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. Note: Registration cost is now lowered!   Info and register
Convergent Facilitation: A Path to Efficient, Collaborative Decision Making
Sunday, August 12 - September 23, 2018 
(5 sessions)
7:30 - 9:30am PT (early so many countries can join live)
The first ever on-line course on Convergent Facilitation!  Info and register
It's Not Just Me: Bringing a Systemic Lens to Individual Healing
December 17, 18, and 20, 2018
10:30am - 12:00pm PT 
Human suffering and challenges often have their source in the social system in which we live. The question is: how can we use this knowledge in ways that support healing? Join Miki for this powerful three-day intensive and find out. Info and register
Mobilizing for Nonviolent Global Liberation
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.

In Poland
Save the date
May 6 - 12, 2019

In California
Save the date
Aug 15 - 21, 2019
Working for transformation without recreating the past
Workshop for change agents: 
"Imagine a future world in which we all value people and life and participate in the flow of generosity... A world where attending to everyone's needs is the organizing principle." - Miki. If you are inspired by Miki's style of visionary leadership, and want to integrate these principles in your life and community, you are invited to join Miki for this event. 

This workshop combines practices to support embracing nonviolence in thought, word, and deed; methods for making decisions that work for everyone; dialogue skills to bridge differences; tools for understanding and engaging with your own and others' power and privilege; and models for visionary organizations and leadership.

At the Rowe Center in Massachusetts (residential)
Oct 26-28
(under the title Reweaving Our Human Fabric)
This may be Miki's last Working for Transformation event.
Collaboration in the Workplace: One Thought, One Conversation, One Meeting at a Time
November 2 and 3 (Registration closes October 26)
Ithaca, NY
If you are working with anyone on any project - from social change work to a workplace initiative to making your family function for everyone's benefit -you are likely to leave this workshop with specific, practical tools and approaches for establishing an environment that supports collaboration for a shared purpose. 
Save the Dates
Save the dates for these upcoming events in the Bay Area and look for a special announcement coming soon with more details.

Dominic Barter
October 5 evening, October 6 and 7, daylong

Arnina Kashtan
October 13 and 14

Sarah Peyton
November 10 and 11
CNVC's New Future Process
Invitation to Join
The Implementation Council of the CNVC New Future Process invites you to join the global NVC-O Community to participate in building the future of this community. There are just 3 steps to join. Why join? -Experience the satisfaction and inspiration of a shared Vision, Purpose, and Mission generated by hundreds of us; -Support and shape the continuing evolution of CNVC into our new international organisation NVC-O; - Access resources being developed to find collaborators, students, teachers, project partners, support and resources in your language, and more!  3 steps to join

Announcement and Invitation to Contribute
At the recent NGL retreat, we received more money from participants than the retreat support team asked for our aggregate sustainability needs. We used some of this money to attend to needs of some participants beyond the support team as we learned what it took for them to be able to attend, and $6,000 to support the Implementation Council of the New Future Plan for CNVC. BayNVC is now acting as fiscal sponsor for the New Future Process, and we are opening a new fund for anyone who wants to contribute to the Implementation Council's ability to do its work with sufficient resources. If you want to contribute to the radical new vision of organization and community that the New Future Plan is based on, you are welcome to do so by clicking here and selecting "New Future Process - CNVC" as your designation. 
Other people's events
Events by former students of Miki's who follow a similar path to hers in sharing NVC:

8-class on-line series: NVC Lab with Aya Caspi
September 26 - December 19, select Wednesdays, noon - 1:30pm PT
This class is designed to help participants implement the principles of NVC into daily living, working with live situations emerging from members of the group, and offering powerful coaching on how to embody an NVC response. Info and register

The Parent Peer Leadership Program with Ingrid Bauer and Stephanie Mattei, founded by Inbal Kashtan
Free preview call Oct 5 for the
October 2018 - June 2019 program, Aptos, CA
The PPLP is structured as a long-distance program in order to support participation by lay leaders throughout the world. The components of the program include regularly scheduled video conferences, weekly study suggestions, buddy relationships, and individualized tele-support.  Learn more, register, or sign up for the free preview call here

Nonviolent Transformation through Body and Movement
In Poland, in English
A four-part series, two remaining, one of which is led by a former student of Miki's, exploring how body-based practices can support nonviolent social change in ourselves, in our relationships and in the world.  Info and register
Film Screening
Wrestling Ghosts: One Young Mother's Journey of Recovery
By Ana Joanes, inspired by the work of Inbal Kashtan
September 29 and 30, Bay Area

When Miki's beloved sister Inbal wrote Parenting from Your Heart, which continues to inspire parents with its vision and tenderness, she didn't know it would lead Ana Joanes to create Wrestling Ghosts, a personal and emotional documentary about childhood trauma and healing. Ana dedicated the movie to her memory. The two Bay Area shows are with Q&A of filmmaker and cast. Learn more here
Special Requests: Practical Ways to Support Miki's Work
Write a review of one of her books
If you've read one of Miki's books, will you support it reaching a larger audience by writing a book review on Amazon or Goodreads? Ideally we'd like at least 20 reviews on each site. 

And why not buy one of Miki's books as a gift to a friend? Especially the little one, as it was designed to live on coffee tables or in people's bathrooms, for little spurts of reading and inspiration. 

Find a recording of a radio interview Jan 16, 2017
Do you have a recording of Miki's KGO interview, "How You Can Truthfully Impact CHANGE, Even Through Opposition!", aired on January 16, 2017? The link we had stopped working, as KGO has changed their web platform and lost many recordings in the process. We would still like to be able to share it with people and are hoping we can find a recording of it somewhere.
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 required to have money in order to meet them, and people who want to contribute to the meeting of needs are often required to have money to do so. The Circle of Support is an intervention in this habit. It is our baseline of steady support for Miki's role in boldly (and successfully) venturing into a gift economy, with our blessing. It is a joyful leap towards offering this work as a gift to anyone who seeks it, with no "strings attached." 

By the end of 2018 we seek to reach our goal of 200 monthly donors, and to have a collective commitment of $6,000 per month, which will cover the financial expense of The Fearless Heart. We are grateful to be able to say that we now have 99 participants contributing $3259.66 each month. We offer a special thank you to the person who joined since the last newsletter. Our largest monthly financial gift is currently $500, and our smallest is $10. We can't know which is the greater gift. Both are cherished.

Your participation, of any degree, contributes to this vision of shared responsibility and shared meaning. We invite you to listen into your role: If you are inspired to join the Circle, we thank you. If you are you inspired to make a one-time donation, we thank you. If you are inspired to spread the news 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.

Note: If you would like to make a donation smaller than $10, please send a check written out to TFH/BayNVC, and sent to BayNVC, PO Box 22872, Oakland, CA 94609.