Wrenching Anguish, Defiant Joy, and
Liberation for All
It's hard to know where to start with this one. I have no reason to believe things are going to get better. These last few weeks exposed to me, more than ever before, the depth and persistence of systems and associated mindsets that result in an ongoing assault on the lives of Black and brown people around our planet.
More and more I see, and then speak about, how much this is so. And I feel the tension in me of holding it without collapsing into judgment, paralysis, or numbness. How to keep my own heart open and open and open and open to more and more and more, to hold it all without losing faith, without losing love, without losing vision?
The Path of Nonviolence
In these days, my deepest longing is for companionship on the path of nonviolence. I feel my limits - one small human body trying to contain so much suffering, and remain open. I need the support of my comrades. I think of myself as having "signed on the dotted line" of nonviolence. There is no going back, no matter what happens. Nonviolence is not for the convenient times, not a fair weather endeavor. Nonviolence is precisely for these times, for when hope seems so distant, hatred so present, collapse so imminent. Nonviolence is about courage. About love. About truth. Not about passivity.
I feel immensely the weight of responsibility that comes with aiming to hold a picture of liberation for all within a fractured world. This responsibility is not a "should" that I would want to release myself from. Rather, I experience it as a sacred call to action that I want more and more people to accept. In my writing, in how I teach, in every moment I am conscious of anything, I see myself inviting others to hear the call and respond to it.
In my recent two posts, for example, I notice myself taking more and more risks in what I am willing to say, even if it means losing some people. In the third part of my "Apart and Together" series about the Coronavirus, the one subtitled "
Grounding in Interconnection and Solidarity
," I speak about what I hold and see. And in my more recent one "
King's Two Messages: The Power of Soul Force in Times of Social Unrest
," I plunge even more deeply into the unrelenting horror. And I didn't include, in either piece, my recent discovery that lynching continues in the US, even now, and is growing. And there's only so much talking about it that I can do with friends and colleagues. And thus the grief about where we collectively are often remains unmetabolized.
Mourning and companionship are my main sources of comfort, of nourishment for my soul. Then I hear about people such as Patrick Hutchinson, whose story you can hear about
: he carried a white, right-wing anti-protestor to safety at considerable risk to himself during a Black Lives Matter protest in London. And then I remember I am not alone in the knowledge that another world remains possible.
Black Women's Voices
As part of all this, I want to highlight two Black women, one a dear friend, the other an author and speaker previously unknown to me. First,
recently wrote two articles. One is "
How Can Nonviolent Communication (NVC) Be Helpful in These Transformative Times?
" And the other is "
Empathic, Powerful Responses to Covid-19 Inequities
." Both articles fill a gap in the way NVC has been thought about, showing how it can be used in difficult moments in service to transformation and solidarity. Second,
was recorded making a seven-minute speech that's been one of the most powerful I've listened to, perhaps in my entire life. It's called "
How Can We Win?
" and it's a brief and wrenching window into the deep roots of racism, and why calling anything "looting" is problematic. If you've never listened or read anything about the history of racism in the US, you may as well start with this one. I hope you will learn, through her presentation, why equal treatment isn't and can't be. Unless we reckon with the legacy and the systems that perpetuate what we currently have, and create massive shifts, any attempts to create equality are more likely than not to reproduce the huge gap in life experiences that we already have. Watch it. I can't come close to her power in making it clear.
If you are white, find all of this utterly overwhelming, and are looking for a gentle entry point, I have one for you. A blog post by John Bell seems to me like an antidote to the harshness towards white people that I see in many places. I found the language accessible, heart-centered, and inviting. It's called "
Freedom and Energy from Healing Our White Racism
Joy Against All Odds
And now for the joy. My friend, Victor Lewis, about whom I have spoken before, has taught me an expression I hadn't known before: "Don't let the devil steal your joy." The devil, in the tradition that Victor comes from, refers to the white masters. Joy was one of the core elements that got generations of Africans and their descendants to survive the unspeakable, unimaginable horrors of enslavement, physical brutality, humiliation, and major assaults on their basic humanity. Defiant joy, joy against all odds. If ever those of us who weren't blessed to have come from this ancestry fully embrace the magical and beautiful humanity of our Black brothers and sisters, one of the benefits we may get is joy beyond what most of us know. I leave this with two examples. One a song actually titled "
Don't Let the Devil Steal Your Joy
," a recording from 1983 by Rev. Isaac Douglas and his choir. The other, a version of what has come to be known as the Black National Anthem, otherwise called "
Lift Every Voice and Sing
" that displays the uplifting lyrics against the background of what Black history in the US has been. This is from 2009, sung by the Balm in Gilead. If joy was available then, let us never forget that it is available to embrace, in all conditions, as
part of liberation for all of us, none left behind.
In peace and hope,
P.S. If you want to hear more of what's been happening in the last couple of months, click
for both work and personal celebrations and mournings, including more developments within Nonviolent Global Liberation (NGL), new articles and recordings, and more.
Credits, from top:
La tua Verita solleve anche la Polvere by Rita M. licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Happy Martin Luther King Day by Darwin Bell licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0
David Jones Media
Photo by Edward Eyer from Pexels
We are immensely grateful and awed to see that, despite the hardships that have come to so many in these times, only 4 people left the circle and 7 have joined. At present, we hav
e 114 people who contribute a total of
monthly to the Circle of Support. This is now over half of our goal of 200 contributors, and about two-thirds of our financial goal of $6,000 a month.
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.
All teleseminar times below are Pacific Time:
Sunday, July 26, 11 am - 12:30 pm PT
Saturday, August 29, 9 am - 10:30 am PT
Saturday, July 25, 1 pm - 2:30 pm PT
Sunday, August 30, 12 pm - 1:30 pm PT
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
Sunday, July 12, 9:30 am - 11 am PT
Saturday, August 8, 11 am - 12:30 pm PT
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
Saturday, July 18, 11 am - 12:30 pm PT
Sunday, August 16, 1 pm - 2:30 pm PT
Reckoning with Collapse
calls are an opportunity to engage with each other as we grapple with and aim to respond to the overwhelming information and grim prospects that humanity is currently facing, most immediately with the impacts of responses to the pandemic within the context of climate change, and other severe crises.
Info and register
Responding to the Call of Our Times
Fridays, February 7 - December 11, 2020 (45 sessions)
This course remains open throughout the year and is easy to enter at any time, as it's not based on a set curriculum. 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.
Info and register
Parenting without Obedience:
An Introduction to Intergenerational Collaboration
With Miki Kashtan, Arnina Kashtan, and Lisa Rothman
Sundays, July 19 - August 16, 2020 (5 sessions)
7:30 - 9:30am PT
This course builds on the pioneering work of Inbal Kashtan, who deepened and radicalized the NVC approach to parenting started by Marshall Rosenberg. This course rests on tenderness and understanding for the challenges of creating a truly collaborative family, along with practical tools for parents about how to free themselves from their patriarchal socialization while creating a different life for their children, free of shaming and coercion, and co-creating with them households where everyone's needs matter.
Info and register
The Compass: An Integrative Roadmap Towards
Personal, Familial and Social Liberation
The Compass is Arnina Kashtan's unique methodology which synthesizes practices from Nonviolent Communication, The Work of Byron Katie, and Inner Child work with Arnina's own discoveries and tools to support you in moving beyond old patterns of guilt, shame, anger, and fear...into freedom and an untapped celebration of who you really are.
Register here for Arnina's FREE introductory webinar, Saturday, July 11, 2020, 11:00am - 12:30pm PT
The Compass Event Page
for information about her upcoming online course, November 2020 - July 2021.
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
Note: while dates are being given below, we don't know if any of these will actually take place.
1st NGL Online retreat
An online NGL retreat, the first ever, is now being planned, dates TBD. If you want to be notified when we know the dates, and, especially, if you have capacity to support it with logistics, tech support, or care for registrants, please fill out this google
Latin America (in Spanish)
Save the dates: Sept. 10-16, 2020 - ONLINE!
Save the dates: Oct. 29-Nov. 4, 2020
On the East Coast
Save the dates: Nov. 12-18, 2020
The Nonviolent Global Liberation community is now open for new "NGL Friends" to join, and we already have over 100 people in that category. Friends can join many calls (there were about 12 open to friends just last month!), offer support with different tasks to the NGL Online community, contribute financially, and connect with each other for learning and mutual support. Read about NGL and see whether being an NGL friend is for you
We are delighted that Convergent Facilitation training and coaching is now available. All of them are by people who've been trained by Miki and have been colleagues of hers for years. We are also celebrating the book Miki wrote is now in production and will be coming out soon.
With Roxy Manning and Lisa Rothman, starts August 8th
An Introduction to Convergent Facilitation:
A Pathway to Efficient, Collaborative Decision
A world that works for all is possible. You can help create it! One meeting at a time. Learn Convergent Facilitation in this in depth, online workshop.
You can find out more about the workshop that starts August 8th here
Want to dip your toe in the water and learn some easy-to-implement ways to potentially save hours of unnecessary meeting time without sacrificing collaboration? You can also sign up for Roxy and Lisa's
Focused Discussion Jumpstart
, a free training that begins July 20th and consists of short pre-recorded videos based on strategies I use and a live Q & A.
Convergent Facilitation Weekly Coaching Calls
With experienced facilitators, based on gift economy
Are you ready to serve in this time of extraordinary potential, challenge, and change? We are now offering weekly Convergent Facilitation coaching calls to support you with practice, and providing access to training if you haven't done it yet and know you are called to this form of service. Find out more about this project and get involved
The Fearless Heart Publications
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.
Many people are skeptical about money coming in from providing content without a paywall. We are celebrating that this year we've had people download 350 items in 209 orders at the time of writing this, giving an average $6.68 per item. The majority of the people, indeed, don't give any money, and we rejoice in that. And one person contributed $150 for 4 of the 6 packets we currently have on offer. 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.
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 to the 114 people who contribute a total of $3,862 monthly
to the Circle of Support. This is now a little over half of our goal in terms of number of contributors, and about two-thirds of our financial goal. 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
, we thank you. If you are inspired to make a one-time donation, we thank you. For one-time contributions, please click
and choose "
Miki's work and experiments in gift economy
" 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.
Circle of Support