Miki has linked to this page from every newsletter since March 2014, to add whatever celebrations and mournings didn’t fit in the newsletter. You can get to the newsletters through the links in the first paragraph after each month’s heading below. As of Sept 2017, the years 2014-16 have been archived so go here to read them.
These celebrations, mournings and other happenings accompany Miki’s May newsletter, “Radical and Practical.”
Web of Support. This month I am celebrating the existence of people on my various calls who are mobilized to support my eventual capacity to convert some of what happens into writing. It’s not always the same people. It’s the easy presence of willingness in the larger group that I am particularly celebrating. People have stepped forward to collate and share notes, post recordings, track topics, and transcribe calls. When (not if!) I dramatically reduce my travel schedule and take on the endless task of creating articles and books from all that I have taught in these years, the materials are ready for me. They are no longer getting lost as in the past.
Sabbatical. It’s time to recognize that this year I am simply not able to maintain any semblance of the sabbatical and focus on writing that I have longed for. I still have the two days a week discipline of not scheduling meetings, and I am home little enough that these days serve mostly to keep up with my growing backlog and to do minimal writing. I am not making progress with any of the larger writing projects that I am so eagerly longing to engage with. With this, my resolve to change things is growing. Starting in 2019, I plan to focus on three regular trips a year – one to Israel and Europe, one to South America, and one to the East Coast of the US – and to add at most one more trip.
Empowering Palestinian Women Leaders. Last month, I launched, together with Amal Hadweh from Bet Jalla, Palestine, a project that we are committed to seeing continue indefinitely, with annual gatherings in person and more in between. This experience was a profound celebration for me in so many ways. You can read the impact statement that was written to the dozens of people who contributed close to $32,000 to this project. On a more personal note, the human connections that I made with so many women with such dramatically different life circumstances, women who are oppressed along so many dimensions, including the 50-year occupation of the government of the country where I was born and raised, is one of the most transcendent experiences I can remember. Several of the women are planning to come to the upcoming retreats in Poland or the US. The friendship Amal and I developed, and the shared long term vision about the powerful role Palestinian women can play in their society feed my soul whenever I think of it.
Nonviolent Global Liberation (NGL). Life continues to take its twists and turns, and the soft launch of this apprenticeship program and community now seems likely to happen by June 1, with the official public launch anticipated later this summer . One of the formats that this program includes is dedicated coaching calls to one individual or team that others can be part of for their own learning. This format allows multiple purposes to unfold, and I am excited to see how it’s already supporting people in various parts of the world. In particular, I am excited to see an entire team of consultants forming in India to work with me on a major project there, with the plan that all of the coaching I’ll offer them is designed to be done through NGL. Even before official launch, it’s already global in scope. Click here to read the description as it currently stands, and watch for a special email that announces this program when we are finally ready. The program is closely connected to the two upcoming retreats I am doing, one in Poland and one in CA, where NGL members and others are invited to come together to co-create a meaningful week of learning, collaborating, and scheming to bring about global liberation.
Jaipur Rugs. When I was in India in January, I was introduced to Nand Kishore Chaudhary, the CEO of Jaipur Rugs, a company with 36,000 weavers working from their homes to create rugs sold all over the world. NK, as he is called by everyone, is a man of vision who used to be a weaver himself decades ago before founding his company. We hit it off immediately, and have been working ever since to begin a process of fundamental transformation that is designed, eventually, to put the weavers at the helm through collaborative self-management around the company. For now, we are putting in place a pilot project with nine villages and a local consulting team made up of people who attended my trainings in India in January. This team is designed to form itself through collaborative mutual-selection so that self-management is built into how we work together as well. The design calls for this team to work with the villagers and the self-selecting project team from within the company, and to receive regular coaching from me through the structures of NGL. NK is committed to making it all transparent and documented, so that the work we do can serve as a model for other companies that want to make this kind of transition. I am deeply touched by the way so many things are coming together in this project.
Global Governance. Some of the group of us that worked on the submission that didn’t win the competition came together to explore what we might do with our entry. What emerged from it is a possibility of bringing this project to the Nonviolent Global Liberation program/community to work with. I indeed have some confidence that as the group of people that comprise the learning community emerges clearly, some will be ready to take on the quest for creating a pilot project, in some local context somewhere in the world, to experiment with the radical and practical ideas that we worked out.
Free calls. The free calls, which I started along with the Circle of Support, remain a consistent highlight in my life. I now offer five different topics, and the only reason I don’t have more is that I have other needs, too… I am already itching to add two more, and I know I can’t until I am done with travel. What most appeals to me about these calls is that the focus on learning and exploring together. I come with no agenda of my own, only responsive to the topics and longings that emerge from the group that configures itself as we come together to learn and explore. There is collective resilience and presence with the discomfort that often arises, and a growing willingness to engage more and more honestly with the personal and collective issues of our time. Please consider joining us to see for yourself what I am talking about. Click here to look at all the offerings.
Transitions. After working together for 16 months, Margo Dunlap and I reached the conclusion that more needs will be met by having Margo transition out of her role with BayNVC than through continuing, as we have done, to look for ways to create more ease, flow, and effectiveness in the current configuration. I am immensely grateful to Margo for successfully engaging at such a level of openness, courage, and care, that this entire transition is fully collaborative between us. Margo anchored the extraordinarily successful match campaign of 2017 and managed a complex transition when several people left BayNVC at about the same time last fall. I am celebrating completion, and mourning that we didn’t find a way forward that would work for enough purposes and needs.
Recent Inspirations. An Article by Charles Eisenstein about how the race to “scale up” reinforces the very mindset and culture we seek to transform. I cried on and off reading it. And an interview with Stephen Harrod Buhner who has dedicated decades to learning from and with plants. It opened a whole new world to me about life and what little we know.
The Humility Corner. Last month I mentioned that I am in ongoing conversation with a potential publisher. It has been deeply instructive to see how, each time he comes back with more questions and things for me to look at and engage with, my first reaction is total doom. Without the support of Lisa Rothman, who is holding my hand through this process, I don’t know if I would have been able to continue. I have a deep internal habit, born no doubt of trauma, to see certain forms of feedback as insurmountable obstacles that “prove” there’s not room for me in this world as it is. This is an ongoing lesson for me, and one that I welcome delving more deeply into learning about and transforming. I sense it is utterly related to some of the mystery of why what I have created isn’t getting further in the world. For that to happen, I probably need to grow my capacity to see and feel the continuity between me and everyone else.
These celebrations, mournings and other happenings accompany Miki’s March newsletter, “Stretching our imagination across differences.”
Web of Support. I am wishing to celebrate the support of more than 20 people who’ve been actively part of designing the infrastructure of the about-to-be-launched new Nonviolent Global Liberation apprenticeship program and learning community. They are from multiple countries, none of them know all of them, and since September, in multiple self-organizing teams, every aspect of this infrastructure has been attended to, mostly without my active involvement. I am beyond awe with this one.
Sabbatical. I am mostly mourning this time around in this category. The amount of travel I have this year is not providing sufficient time at home to really benefit from the discipline of having two days of unscheduled time. Also, more evening time is now taken to connect with people I am working with in Asia and, overall, I am not finding as much spaciousness as I long for to sink into writing and creating new things. I am celebrating one thing, though: I am absolutely saying “no” to new travel requests, and have even canceled one tentative plan for 2019.
Convergent Facilitation (CF). I have four celebrations here! I am in ongoing conversation with a publisher and have a positive feeling that this will lead to a contract to publish my manuscript (fully written and edited already) on the topic. It’s my first choice publisher: Berrett Koehler, whose mission mentions creating a world that works for all. The second is that I am scheduled to do the first ever online course on CF, through the NVC Academy, in the summer/fall. The third is that there are now several people in various stages of getting ready to share CF with others. I am sure to announce those events when they materialize. Lastly, I had a major opportunity to apply CF in a high-stakes situation about child labor research and policy, working with a group of people from the UN, some governments, other international agencies, and a group of academics. The result: 15 common principles and a list of 24 research questions to form an initial draft of a shared research agenda. Considering how much strife and mistrust there is in the field, this was a major milestone. Verene Nicolas from France/Scotland and Franca Onyibor from Nigeria were co-facilitators with me. I am beyond pleased to have had their wisdom, perspective, and capacity to attend to things that would have been far harder for me to do all on my own.
Visiting Korea. After being in India for two magical and difficult weeks (including pollution sickness for me, while teaching!), I confess I was looking forward to being in Korea and having more of the Global North amenities I was used to. I wasn’t expecting below-freezing temperatures and an extremely challenging cultural gap that I initially didn’t know how to bridge. For four days, I was teaching Convergent Facilitation during the day and impromptu sessions on organizational collaboration and systems in the evenings. It took three of the four days to connect fully across translation and vast cultural differences, such as me coming from an exquisitely informal and direct culture (Israel, where I am from, despite living in the US for 35 years) into a culture rife with subtle cues about hierarchy and expectations (which I understood Korea to be). And then it happened. Without bells and whistles, I gradually and then suddenly felt the barriers melt away, and there we were, a group of 50 or so human beings, all vulnerable, all full of needs we don’t really know how to express, all longing for a path forward towards a better life for all of us. I experienced it as a miracle that will stay with me for a long time.
Global Governance. The long waiting period is over. I now know that our submission to the competition put on by the Global Challenges Foundation for a model for global governance has not been chosen to be a semi-finalist. Since 2,700 other people submitted a proposal, this is entirely unsurprising, and yet it is incredibly sad. We truly believe that our model could make a huge difference. Because of that, some of us have indicated that we want to continue to work with it and see if we could get a pilot project to happen. Stay tuned. This topic is not over yet.
NVC Academy. The 10 month Responding to the Call of Our Times: A Leadership Coaching Course started in February. It remains open for the entire year, and anyone who registers gains access to the entire set of recordings. Already 120 people are signed up for it, and the joy of seeing more than 75 different names, most of them live faces, from around the world, on one call is truly exhilarating. I have two more shorter offerings coming up, the one on Convergent Facilitation in the summer/fall, and one planned again as a mini-intensive just before Christmas, in which I plan to focus how to bring systemic awareness to healing work.
Free calls. This month, I launched the new call I added: Questioning Money. People raised deep questions both about the role of money in the world and about how we make decisions about money given we live in this world and not one based on voluntary flow of resources. If you haven’t yet ever joined any of these calls, I really hope you will choose to give it a try. It’s astonishing how much of a sense of community, of shared holding of something precious, I see in these calls as people weave their own connections with each other. Especially considering they are all drop-in and constantly changing schedules to accommodate multiple continents. Click here to look at all the offerings.
Nonviolent Global Liberation. One of the principles that are core to my vision of how to create human systems that work for all of life is the principle of willingness. As it relates to work, it includes honoring our limits and capacity. We have had a planned launch date of March 1st for this new program, and it became clear that that would result in getting into work patterns that mimic the world we want to change. We celebrated recognizing it, and pushed the launch date back by one month. We are now aiming for April 1st, and so far this seems real. Click here to read the description as it currently stands, and watch for a special email that announces this program.
Twitter. I have a complex and very ambivalent, mostly negative, relationship to social media. Still, within this complexity, I have accepted a presence on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram that is managed by two volunteers. Then, one day, I realized that there’s something really fun about being able to say something of meaning, even something that challenges modern capitalism, and to do so in 140 characters or fewer. So I’ve taken, from time to time, to writing tweets and sending them to Cleona for posting. Although I am less than fully happy about being on Twitter at all, I am more than fully happy about having, now, eleven tweets. If you are curious enough, you can find it here.
The Humility Corner. This time I have a deeply meaningful celebration to share. As I was talking with Verene and Uma – the two friends, colleagues, and co-holders of the Nonviolent Global Liberation vision with me – about when and how to expand our circle of providers within the program, Verene said something about it taking years to integrate what she is learning about my work. Without losing a beat, I said: me, too; it’s taking me years to integrate the things I am learning. That’s when I got the image that captures so deeply the experience of humility I truly aim for: Verene and I are drinking from the same fountain. I am just the one excavating and articulating what I find; it’s not mine at all, what I am discovering. Then we all grapple with it, together, as we move closer to the radiant vision that calls to us.
These celebrations, mournings and other happenings accompany Miki’s January newsletter, “Why do we care about others?”
Web of Support. This time, I am celebrating the totality of the experience of having so much support, the steady stream of it that keeps coming, and the miraculous ways that the offers and the needs can coincide as much as they do. I am excited about the prospect of becoming more systematic about this with Leonie’s support, so that my own erratic memory is not the only engine driving this abundance. It’s so heartening, and I am so grateful to all who are offering various forms of support.
Sabbatical. As this new year is beginning, I am continuing to plan my gradual shift into even more focus on writing, projects, and providing the foundation for my work to outlive me. I am actively in the process of designing three two-month periods of being in the same place with my sister in 2019. Right now it’s looking like these will be in Tel Aviv, Israel, Oakland, CA, and an as-yet-to-be-decided town in Costa Rica. Can you see the enthusiasm and delight in the picture of us doing the planning with our friends in South America?
NVC Academy. Last month I led a mini-intensive course using the principle-based teaching approach for sharing NVC basics. I was very pleased in particular with the last session, when we, together, scratched our heads about how to plan an introduction. It was so clear that planning such an event is an empathic activity: if we want to create something that will be engaging for, say, teenagers, we need to be able to see the world from within their eyes. Surprisingly, it doesn’t come so easily, and we worked hard on it. Next month I am starting, again, Responding to the Call of Our Times: A Leadership Coaching Course. It’s the first time that I am redoing a program through the NVC Academy. It feels fresh because it’s generative, organic, emergent, and responsive to who’s there and what’s happening within and around us each time. I hope you join us. The first one was really an exceptional experience for all, and I am so grateful to have the NVC Academy to work with.
International Intensive Training (IIT) with a special focus on Power, Privilege, and the Body. It took the training team – Roxy Manning, Jeyanthy Siva, Sarah Peyton, Bob Wentworth, and myself – many moons to make this event happen, and much effort on the part of many people to make it possible for all who wanted to come to attend it. We had about 60 participants from 8 countries on 4 continents. We managed to take substantial steps towards our dream of integrating the needs-based, blame-free, dignity-for-all framework of NVC with a critical understanding about power and privilege, and with the science that helps make sense of how power differences affect our bodies. We emerged with several plans, including creating a version of the BayNVC Leadership Program that’s entirely for people of color, as well as enthusiasm for continuing curriculum development. The stories of people – 1/3 of them people of color from around the globe – and what this meant to them continue to nourish my resolve to persist in doing this work that so often brings loneliness with it. For once, we were surrounded by people who cheered us on, and this gives me and all of us a boost to continue.
Free calls. It’s an incredible joy to be offering six calls every month (sometimes fewer when I travel) that are available to people without any request for money. There are regularly between 25 and 40 people on these calls, with deep discussions that leave me and others wide-mouthed with awe. How can people who, often, have never even seen each other’s faces, speak with such trust and authenticity? How can it be that we keep getting to more and more core layers when it isn’t a committed group of the same people every month? There’s a core group of people who show up to as many calls as they can, and many others who come here and there. I find these calls some of my best moments of every month, for so many reasons. I am able to challenge the institution of exchange that gives value only to that which is commodified; I get to play with ideas, feelings, and often taboos, with people who want precisely what we do; and I co-create, with people who think with me, challenge themselves, each other, and me, and join with others in taking seriously the challenges of our times and responding with our full being. Click here to look at all the offerings. And click here to read about the new addition to the calls: once monthly talking about money, exchange, gifting, and whatever else arises as we face the economic underpinnings of our social structures and conditioning.
Passing my work to others. One of the celebrations from the IIT was that there were three sessions in which someone else, Roxy Manning in this case, was sharing with others work that I developed, leaving me free to focus elsewhere. Even as I write this, I know of plans for several people to share Convergent Facilitation with others, and an emerging plan for others to lead a Principle-Based Teaching workshop in Europe. And, most exciting of all, the Nonviolent Global Liberation Apprenticeship Program and Learning Community is just about ready for launching. Click here to read the description as it currently stands. 20+ people are already within the program/community working on the design and infrastructure of the program to make it launch-ready. It will literally be announced as soon as it’s ready. It’s such a delight that the very tools that the program is based on are being used to create the foundation of its own systems and infrastructure, making it a lab in itself.
The Humility Corner. Through the first few months of the process of creating a transition at BayNVC designed to pass on the leadership of the organization and its vision to Margo and Leonie, I learned something new about the dynamics of power. I now know, with much gratitude for my colleagues who engaged with me through discomfort on all our parts, that, when I am in a position of power, expressing concerns and following them with a proposal for change without first connecting with all the needs is likely to register as lack of care and as an act of power-over. As someone who teaches others about how to collaborate across power differences, I was duly humbled and decided to share this with others. I am now ever more keenly sensitized to how much emotional cost there is to the experience of not having power, and how much more is called for on the part of those of us in positions of power in order to create the conditions for true honest engagement and collaboration.
These celebrations, mournings and other happenings accompany Miki’s November newsletter, “Keeping Our Eyes and Hearts Open.”
Web of Support. This time I have a big mourning in this department, as one of my pillars of support is departing soon. Dave Belden has been with me, with BayNVC, and with the Fearless Heart since 2012. Everything I’ve published and the overwhelming majority of my blog posts have been edited by him. There hasn’t been a newsletter that hasn’t seen his loving and gentle changes and beautiful layout. The pictures he has found for my posts have repeatedly upgraded the quality and significance of my writing. More than anything, he’s been an amazing thought partner, fan, and critic. This is the end of a chapter for me, an irreplaceable gift in my life I will never forget. Rebecca, Dawn, and Leo, who are already members of the team, are stepping in, in various capacities, and I trust they will minimize the loss as much as is humanly possible.
Sabbatical. The sabbatical works when I am home. Since Sep 30th, I’ve been home for only a few days, and the incredibly delicate balance that allows me to function with little to no stress collapses very easily. While I am excited about everything I’ve been doing on the road, it’s not the same as being home and concentrating on writing and creating. This is a piece of clear mourning. The only celebration that I can come up with in this moment is that my travel days are numbered. I have a finite number of locations that I am planning to bring myself to in the coming months, after which point I’ve already committed myself to an entirely different rhythm and plan for living. I am in the process of working with a group of about 30 people on putting together the infrastructure for an ongoing apprenticeship program that I hope to launch with the new year, at which point I plan to do work in person in only a handful of locations and do all the rest of my work mostly from home. For now, I am inching my way in this direction.
Global Governance. (For those who don’t know: I have put together a group from around the world to submit an entry for the competition put on by the Global Challenges Foundation.) With this newsletter, the documents that, together, comprised the submission for this competition are now available for anyone to review. In about a month, we will find out if we are one of up to 100 entries selected as semi-finalists from among the more than 2,700 that were submitted (of over 13,000 people who registered to submit). Regardless of whether or not we are selected, we are committed to take practical steps with the ideas that informed the submission.
Responding to the Call of Our Times. The first season of this class officially closed on Sep 29th. This program surprised everyone, including me. I did not imagine how much coming together, how much shedding of constricting habits, and how much capacity for embracing vision and taking risks in life in service of that vision would happen in eight months of being together. Meanwhile, the plan for next year is already in place: instead of eight months, the program is designed to last ten months, every week. About once a month a guest speaker comes, a feature that was enthusiastically welcomed by the 2017 group, and the rest of the time it’s me and the many small faces on a screen. You can check out if this is a fit for you by visiting the course page.
International Intensive Training (IIT) in Chile. My biggest celebration of this period is the trip to South America that revolved around my sister Arnina and me participating in the first IIT in Chile. Over 70 people from all around Latin America and beyond participated in this groundbreaking event. It was an extraordinary treat to see people so eager to learn and spread the teachings, and to do it in Spanish, carrying the spirit and vision of these events as Marshall Rosenberg conceived of them. We were in a unique location that supported our work and connection with each other and with life. Our extended team included four trainers and six assistant trainers, a structure we chose to support the growth of local leaders instead of reliance on others from outside. I loved co-leading with Arnina and being immersed in the culture of Latin America, which is familiar to us from having grown up partly in Argentina and Mexico. Connections were built that we plan to sustain and nurture over time. I was exhausted and well nourished by my days there.
Team News. Our team has expanded to welcome Leonie Smith to manage our programming. Leonie and Margo are engaging in a process of thinking through deeply what’s needed and what’s possible, and what they can do to support both the organization and me in the next phases of the work. I have known Leonie for some years now as a participant in many classes and calls, and it’s a delight to work with someone who is that familiar with the work and able to represent it so much from within.
The Humility Corner. The first weekend this month I led a workshop in Rochester on the topic of Working for Transformation without Recreating the Past. Towards the end of Saturday, there was feedback from one participant which led to a full conversation on Sunday: she had felt that people who were more familiar with Nonviolent Communication and with me had more space to speak and more of my attention. As someone committed to attending to group dynamics and power differences, this was definitely surprising and somewhat uncomfortable to hear. It also wasn’t the first time to hear such input. Somehow, in the context of what I have started calling being “intentionally naïve”, I have not been tracking closely this dimension of people’s experience. With this being a workshop for change agents, we focused more on what blocked this person from speaking earlier and making requests. Still, my own lesson is about learning that even though I hold a deep commitment to everyone’s needs, I have been less aware of how people might relinquish their own care for their needs if I don’t actively and explicitly invite everyone’s participation. I hope this time, and writing about it here, will be enough for that to sink in.
These celebrations, mournings and other happenings accompany Miki’s September newsletter, “Islands of Inspiration in Dark Times.”
Web of Support
Back in December I received the notice about the Global Governance project from four different individuals. I then began to build the web of support that would take on this project with me. It was a bold move for me, because I was clear I already had a template (the governance model from Reweaving Our Human Fabric), and it was more about developing and refining it than creating from scratch.
The emerging group of people that has worked with me on this project spans continents and many countries, including people I didn’t know from before. I couldn’t possibly name all of them, though I want to single out those who’ve been the closest collaborators: Elkie Deadman from the Netherlands (originally UK); Uma Lo from the US; Franca Onyibor from Nigeria. More on the project itself below.
For now, I am just marveling at the new connections, the ways people stepped forward to offer conversation, brainstorming, feedback, feedback, feedback, technical support, and just plain companionship and encouragement. Although I was quite adamant I would finish it even if I was the only one, I am well aware it would have been an entirely different year without them.
Sabbatical. I have only celebrations this time. This summer I had two months, July and August, in which I was mostly home, without much client work or intensive teaching until late August. During this time I really got a flavor of what life post-travel is likely to become. In terms of what I have to show for it: my Convergent Facilitation manuscript is now ready along with a book proposal that is soon to be submitted to a potential publisher. The intensive work on the Global Governance project was made possible because of this spaciousness. I participated in other writing projects and materials creation. And I did it all without stress.
Global Governance. (For those who don’t know: I have put together a group from around the world to submit an entry for the competition put on by the Global Challenges Foundation.) The editing and feedback phase of the work is now complete, with feedback coming in from so many sources I cannot even count. It’s been a continual affirmation of the ideas and the audacity of our approach. We’re now in trimming, production, and graphic design mode (only two pages of illustration are allowed by the competition rules.) I am most in celebration about feedback from Ron Ngata, an NVC trainer from New Zealand who is Maori and whose feedback meant the world to me. My sense of integrity is much more solid for having had this perspective to affirm the work. Submission happens later this month, and some time next month I hope to make the documents available.
Responding to the Call of Our Times. The first season of this class is coming to a close at the end of this month. It’s been a remarkable adventure for all of us, learning and community and transformation, and much that is unexpected. It’s clear to many of us that we want to continue, and I am already in communication with the NVC Academy to see how we can turn this into a year-round class. For now, though, we are about to take a long break until February. Meanwhile, about twelve or thirteen of the participants came to the Art of Facilitation retreat in California, and we celebrated being together in the same room, not just as little squares on a screen, though it’s truly amazing how much connection and community can happen with those little squares. I hope you can join us next year, and I trust that information will be available by the next newsletter in November.
Art of Facilitation. This retreat was a long string of celebrations of so many kinds I can’t imagine I will remember all of them. I will start with the BayNVC team coming together and participating in the holding and support of the retreat. More on this in a moment. I continue with being again at Quaker Center in the Santa Cruz mountains and eating the most amazing food of Tod Nysether. Then there was the growing sense of true co-creation and learning together day by day, as participants stepped into more and more shaping, design, facilitation, and more. It was also extraordinarily demanding, as Uma Lo, who co-held the retreat with me, and I navigated the very complex territory of attending to issues of power and privilege in our midst even while learning about how to facilitate such challenges. While perhaps not everyone fully embraced the perspective we brought forward, and some people were overwhelmed for a while by how much attention is necessary in order to fully open to the light the anguish and separation that exists underneath the veneer of civility, I am still in awe and delighted. More than anything, by the last full day we had managed to cross over to what so many believe we can just decide to inhabit without doing the work first: we were mostly people together, laughing and crying and learning and being vulnerable and strong together. It was a true experience of Beloved Community. I am also satisfied with how much learning about facilitation, the topic of the retreat, happened as a result of attending to the challenges. May we all learn even more relaxedly how to meet the challenges of our time with grace and courage.
Update on Miki’s Match: As of the writing of this newsletter, we have received enough new donations to make the total match of $45,000 for the year. I am grateful to all who have contributed, from the smallest amount to the largest amount. And I am so grateful to Margo Dunlap who’s stepped into the role of managing fundraising and partnerships for an invigorating and rich collaboration in getting us here. This match was intended for the whole year, and is fulfilled by September, well before giving season. I would love to imagine that someone reading this will consider stepping in with a significant pledge joining the matching fund energy to seed the giving season. My increased capacity to do the longer term work that I’ve been engaged with this year is directly related to these funds coming in, and we have an amazing opportunity to create more capacity for the coming years. Even without a matching fund to double your contribution, any amount given, especially as a monthly contribution to the Circle of Support, directly increases this capacity.
Team News. As a continuing part of the transition into an organization that is less and less dependent on me, we are in the process of mapping out our systems, creating a better sense of team, and adding people, both to staff and to board, that will support us in doing the work we are more and more taking on. This is still in process, and more “official” news will likely come in a while. For now, what’s important to share is my deep trust in the people I am working with, my growing sense of relaxation, clarity about purpose and direction, and an experience of partnership I haven’t had since Kit Miller left in 2009. These are good times.
The Humility Corner. I am continuing to learn, in layers and layers, how much I have been expecting me to compensate for whatever wasn’t working. For example, I didn’t, in the past, create group agreements, because I was holding myself responsible for attending to everything, and thus, unconsciously, agreements weren’t necessary. How I could have not been aware of this for so many years is amazing to me. I am celebrating bringing alignment between my inner self, my organization, how I teach, and what I teach.
These celebrations, mournings and other happenings accompany Miki’s July newsletter, “Tenderness, Vulnerability, and Mourning as a Response to Patriarchy”.
Web of Support. This month I want to honor the work of two individuals who’ve taken on maintaining my social media presence.
One is Leo Proechel, who was an intern here two years ago and started, on his own initiative, to look after and enhance my Facebook page.
The other is Cleona Lira, who, a few months ago, stepped forward to offer support in managing my twitter and Instagram accounts.
To be clear: except for a very few times that I have asked Leo to post something on Facebook, and one time that I labored to create a tweet (at right) with the stringent requirement of 140 characters or fewer, they are 100% on their own. (Stay tuned for another one soon! And meanwhile you might want to follow the ones Cleona does for me.) It’s the most amazing kind of support that I can imagine, because I don’t even look at what they do. I don’t even know my password on Facebook, that’s how far I am personally from social media. And the feedback I get from others is super positive.
Sabbatical. I have both celebration and a mourning here. The celebration is that the sabbatical is yielding the very outcomes I was hoping for in terms of what I produce. In May, for example, I wrote a chapter for a book that’s coming out next year to mark the centennial of Mary Parker Follett’s The New State, and a major article that connects human evolution, patriarchy, parenting, and global warming. I am currently shopping for where a 30-page academic paper like this could be published. (If you are interested in a condensed set of ideas, I created a comparative table of before, during, and after patriarchy that you can peruse.) I am mourning that even with all that I am doing to set aside this space, more astonishing opportunities and challenges that demand my attention arise, and I remain with a plate larger than I can manage. Then I am celebrating that the infrastructure to attend to all this is coming together more and more, as you will see below. In the end, my biggest celebration of all is that I now have reliable, regular space to engage in intensive intellectual activity, which I now know beyond any shred of doubt that my organism needs in order to thrive.
Global Governance. (For those who don’t know: I have put together a group from around the world to submit an entry for the competition put on by the Global Challenges Foundation.) The work on this continues, with support and engagement from around the world. While continuing to receive and integrate feedback on the design, I have been working on the submission documents, and have one third of the submission ready in early draft form. It’s hard to imagine that a non-techy, radical, non-coercive system that aims to involve everyone on the planet will win the prize. And right now the joy of creating, and the potential of what this means are way more significant than what will happen. We are certainly committed to doing something with it regardless. If any of you reading it believe that you have unique expertise or vantage point from within which to offer feedback, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know what your specific gift could be at this time so I can send you a link. I am in particular eager to receive feedback from an indigenous perspective.
Overcoming Patriarchy. I am writing this after the 3rd call on this topic. It remains the most popular of all the free calls. I have a sense of it leaping forward with speed, urgency, and love that take my breath away while at the same time giving me renewed breath and life. The most moving thing that happened on the last call for me was that a man wanted to know how he can learn what he does to make it harder for women to speak, and four women responded to my call and are making themselves available to him for support, education, and feedback. This is a definite step towards joining together in mourning and transformation, exactly what I believe is needed to transcend the legacy of patriarchy with its focus on control and eradication of weakness. Please come join the Overcoming Patriarchy calls, offered monthly for now.
Responding to the Call of Our Times. We are now in the 2nd half of the course. With 140 people registered, and about 45 coming every week for the calls (not necessarily the same people, though some are amazingly reliable), a community of commitment is now clearly present. Between the weekly coaching that happens with me, and the occasional visits from guest speakers, I am simply in awe of how much transformation, joy, openness to grief, and stepping into power are happening. Exactly what I was hoping for, and much more. It’s really not too late to join, and the NVC Academy has just lowered the price again: you can join and get access to all the recordings since we started in February. If the cost is no barrier, there’s really no reason not to join “because it’s too late”. It isn’t, because there’s no sequence of materials, so you would have nothing to catch up with, only yourself.
Snippets from Europe. I am writing this newsletter about 10 days after returning from my annual trip to Europe. This time I was in Poland, Czechia, and Spain. What I am celebrating more than anything is that the local organizers successfully issued invitations to the world that brought into the room people who were there for reasons fully aligned with what I wanted to bring to them. As I am more and more mindful of the numbered days I have as a person in my 60s, this was pure grace. Together, we explored the nuts and bolts and many subtleties of facilitation in Poland; the spiritual and conceptual shifts necessary to work for transformation without recreating the past; and the rigorous practice of Convergent Facilitation in Spain, twice (in Spanish, too!). I am glad for having been there, and for the many seeds planted and others watered into blossom.
Update on Miki’s Match: As Margo and Rose are both on vacation, I do not have an exact number to offer. Still, I couldn’t wait for another month before you are invited to celebrate with us the magical success of our work this year. Our matching grants of $45,000, which were for the entire year, are nearly matched half-way through the year and only three months from officially being announced. We lack only a few thousand dollars more to complete what seemed near-impossible to me a few months ago. I want to acknowledge all the gifts of this year, from the match donors to the gift of Margo supporting this work; from the smaller donations of $10 each to the largest donation of $25,000 that came in last month. I am in awe. I can’t wait for Margo to be back and to discuss the possibility of inviting others to offer additional matching funds as we move into the fall and the end-of-year period. Stay tuned.
Team News. For about 8 years now I’ve been longing to find ways to step out of explicit or implicit leadership within the BayNVC team. This past two months have seen that longing materialize. During one of our weekly co-working days, at an impromptu lunch meeting, Margo and Rose took in more than ever that I am quite desperate about being involved in fewer and fewer decisions about organizational and administrative aspects of the work. They stepped forward, took charge of a complicated staff transition moment, and are now fully driving the team together. Just before they both went away and while I was in Europe, they envisioned the development of the team, and the results are materializing. They started defining a new position that they plan to announce next month: someone to lead the programmatic aspects of BayNVC, so that I can shed this responsibility, too, and focus more and more efficiently on what only I can do. Stay tuned for a job announcement coming soon. In parallel, we became clear on my own needs for support, and Rebecca Sutton, who’s been supporting my work as a personal assistant and strategic advisor behind the scenes, and who is also my housemate, is now taking more responsibility and stepping forward to manage my schedule, my to do lists, and the overall shape of my work. I am extraordinarily happy for this development.
The Humility Corner. I am adding this as a permanent section so I can track and share transparently the least glamorous aspects of my trajectory. These past two months I became aware of two elements that I now am giving more of my attention to. One is that in my zeal to take 100% responsibility for everything, I also have acted as a bit of “Prozac”, plugging holes in unsustainable ways, and thereby preventing feedback from showing up in the form of organizational chaos in several projects I’ve been involved with. The other is that I have not had a solid practice for reliably recharging myself outside of the times when I absolutely need to be “on”. The two are related: I have acted with some unconscious hubris, and it’s time for me to honor my limits more fully and attend to them with love.
These celebrations, mournings and other happenings accompanied Miki’s May newsletter.
Web of Support. It’s been a while since I’ve celebrated the quality of support I receive from Dave Belden. Dave makes it possible for me to write with abandon, because I know he will catch what needs to change when he edits everything I write. We have tremendous mutual respect and enough worldview difference that improves my writing as I wrestle with Dave’s comments to integrate his feedback without losing integrity. His support in this area has been steady for five years now, the longest relationship of its kind I’ve had. Although he works only a few hours a week, I doubt I would be able to produce as much as I do without his backing.
Sabbatical. I have both celebration and a mourning here. I am celebrating that I continue to find ways to make writing and certain projects a core priority. I am celebrating that the rest of the work I am doing these days is very much aligned with core mission, as you will see below. And I am mourning that at present, as of the writing of this newsletter, I am definitely in a moment of stress about juggling all that’s on my plate. I was really hoping for that not to be the case this year. It’s been a lot less than in the past, and, still, it’s work in progress. I treasure having this space of celebrations and mournings that serves the purpose of keeping me honest and knowing what I need to do to increase my capacity in this area.
Global Governance. (For those who don’t know: I have put together a group from around the world to submit an entry for the competition put on by the Global Challenges Foundation.) I am celebrating at this time that our design is complete. In other words: we have a draft design of a system of governance that we believe, if implemented, would be capable of attending to the major challenges facing humanity at this time and into the future. The system, in principle, can involve every person living on the planet, has innovative ways of funding itself, and has feedback and conflict resolution built into it. If any of you reading it believe that you have unique expertise or vantage point from within which to offer feedback, please write to email@example.com and let me know what your specific gift could be at this time so I can send you a link.
White Privilege Conference. Last month I co-presented with Victor Lewis at the White Privilege Conference which was held this year in Kansas City, Missouri. I had never before been in an 1,800 people strong, multicultural group of people where there was no effort needed to have a shared agreement that white privilege, and privilege more generally, are vital topics for conversation and, more importantly, action. The sense of relief about that was palpable to me even in the midst of the anguish about how massive the challenges we’re facing are. I continue to offer my twice monthly Facing Privilege calls.
Overcoming Patriarchy. After years of subsuming my feminism under my commitment to NVC, my deep concerns about patriarchy as a system that feeds all that I find troubling have recently increased. I finally decided to start holding monthly calls in this area in addition to the others I have. On May 7th, we had our first call. I am celebrating that it happened; that I was present with my nervousness about it; that some 35 people attended; that we had lively conversation on multiple topics ranging from the historical to the most practical tips about how to lead as a woman; and that the thread of clarity and presence didn’t leave me for the duration, even in a challenging moment. I am now definitely committed to having the Overcoming Patriarchy calls on a monthly basis. Come check it out.
Responding to the Call of Our Times. The joy of this course continues. Most recently, some people within the course are not satisfied with its format while most are. Instead of either having me change what I do and do something I and most don’t want, or simply respond with “too bad, this is how it is”, the group is taking on finding a solution that works better for everyone. The learning is happening in the area I most want to be effective in enhancing: people’s capacity to step into holding and caring for the whole. In case you’ve missed it, you can still join, and you will receive the recordings of all previous classes. Because this is not sequential, and there is no curriculum other than what arises, there is no reason not to join later.
Organizational Work. I still remember the first time, in 2000, of walking into an organizational setting – a company where I had worked years before – to offer something of what I’ve learned through NVC. Fast forward to this year, I experience a sweet alignment between what I most want to offer and the organizational clients I am working with this year. In all cases, the possibility of enhancing function such that all systems are supporting effective work for purpose in alignment with values is the core of what we focus on. One client in particular is a huge joy to work with, because they are taking full ownership of the process, doing their internal work with only coaching and guidance from me as needed. I feel super well used and in total integrity in all my organizational endeavors of this year.
Personal Celebration. Last month I returned from a month-long visit in Israel. Being with my sister Arnina is one long bath in ease, connection, endless fun (she’s the funniest person I know), and poignancy about the permanent loss of Inbal, our third sister. We are also learning so much about how to relate to our 88-year-old mother (Rivka Kashtan, at right, San Francisco airport, 2014), and I am celebrating navigating challenges and continuing to learn things with her and about her. I’ve not had an easy relationship with my mother, and it’s wonderful to be able to celebrate her openness to feedback and to self reflection.
These celebrations, mournings and other happenings accompany Miki’s March newsletter. The newsletter is currently going out every two months.
Web of Support. When Anna and Adriana left in the early fall, I was quite worried about how I would manage to continue my work without their support. I knew I didn’t have the budget to replace them, as 2016 was a difficult year financially. Gradually, I pieced together small bits of support from different people both paid and unpaid, and with their support, this year has been a breath of fresh air. I would never have thought that this model would work, and I am so pleased to see how well it does. Most areas in which I need support I am getting it from someone I know well. This is heavenly.
Sabbatical. A lot of people remain confused about what I mean by sabbatical. How can it be a sabbatical when I am doing so much? So I want to clarify again and to celebrate what is happening. The purpose of the sabbatical is not for me to rest. It’s for me to shift the nature and focus of what I do, to accomplish three overlapping goals: to write much more, to stay even closer to my core mission, and to be able to follow my own rhythm with far less effort and responsibility. ALL of it is happening. Writing is pouring out of me, and the more it comes, the more I want to write. There isn’t anything I have planned for this year that is a stretch in terms of effort, mission, or responsibility. And I have been keeping the focus on two days a week in which I am not accountable to anyone. I have always known that unstructured time is my most productive. Now I have twice as much as previously: two days every week. My intention is to continue in this way indefinitely. May I have the good fortune to manage to set things up to make that work.
Convergent Facilitation (CF) Celebrations. My biggest excitement in this moment regarding CF is that it is now interwoven with two other core teaching frames. It means I have a clear frame for what I am happy to teach when I go places, and it means CF is well integrated into my work with change agents and my work on collaboration in the workplace. This year I am offering CF as a standalone workshop only four times, and only one of them is in English: Chicago, Nov 11-13. One in Israel, in Hebrew: Apr 3-4, and two in Spain: Jun 23-25 in Madrid, and Jun 26-29 in Barcelona. I am also integrating it into two facilitation retreats, into a workshop in Czechia on Working for Transformation without Recreating the Past, and into the two CNVC International Intensive Trainings that I am participating in this year. Next year, CF goes to India, Japan, China, Mexico, Brazil, back to the UK and Poland, and Houston. In 2019, I am thinking of going to Colombia and to Nigeria.
Beyond that, I am beginning to pass CF to others, starting with Roxy Manning taking over teaching CF locally in Oakland, July 22, and December 11-12. If you can possibly do it, I think you’re in for a treat.
Stay tuned for details on all of these.
Convergent Facilitation (CF) Mournings. At the same time as all these celebrations, I am also mourning two things about CF. One is that despite so many promising moments and connections, there hasn’t been a second major project. I long for an opportunity to demonstrate in other contexts how much of a breakthrough CF can provide. In these times, especially, I see CF as a key process and capacity to support humanity, and without more projects, I don’t know how to make it known. The other is that the book project is taking longer than I had imagined to bring to a level of bringing it to a publisher. I hope very much to be able to offer a celebration in this next time.
Leveraging Your Influence (LYI). The first LYI event led by others is now scheduled. Aya Caspi, friend and LYI veteran, is joining together with Jihan McDonald to offer an LYI day in May. The LYI East team is surveying the people who’ve been to previous LYI events to see what and when they would offer. People in Europe are still in the early discussion time. And, overall, it’s moving forward. Without my involvement. All that’s on my plate is to support, coach, update materials, tweak the curriculum, receive feedback, and mostly focus elsewhere. I am so grateful to see this transition unfolding.
Global Governance. The group I invited has come together, and we are deeply committed to submitting an entry for the competition put on by the Global Challenges Foundation. Two of the most exciting principles we’ve come up with so far both exist in the realm of paradox which I love. One is that we want our design to allow both for divergence and convergence in group process. The other is that in order for any global governance system to work, it must work for both ends of the power spectrum: both the people with unimaginable power and those without any say must somehow be served by it and embrace it. That’s the true challenge we are facing: how to make it work for all, truly all. Working with the smaller group that’s the most committed is becoming a precious joy as we aim to use our own process in part as a way to live and demonstrate what we are designing.
New Future Process. This is likely my last celebration about NFP for a while. The two and half year process has now moved into its final phase – implementation – after all the parties that have been involved so far have accepted the plan that we created. An Implementation Council is now operating and facing the immense task of operationalizing, prioritizing, and finding ways of funding all the transitions and innovation. In keeping with my sabbatical, I have resigned from the NFP. It’s been a focus that consumed a lot of energy, and it wasn’t consistent with my new focus. I do fully anticipate joining the new organization when it reaches a stage of being joinable. If you want to follow what’s happening, you can find updates on the CNVC website.
Responding to the Call of Our Times. This year, my NVC Academy course is unlike any I’ve done before. Neither the NVC Academy nor I had any idea how it would unfold, since it was so experimental: no curriculum, no specific agenda, no careful planning. Instead, it’s me, on screen with participants, responding in real time to all the challenges everyone has in finding their best self and moving outward from their own personal lives. So far, more than 130 people have signed up to the class, and it’s the first major class I am doing on Zoom rather than Maestro, which means we all get to see each other on the screen. It’s been so joyful, I come every week with utter joy to the next class. In case you’ve missed it, you can still join, and you will receive the recordings of all previous classes.
Support for the Sabbatical. Last time I shared with you that we hired Margo Dunlap to do fundraising and development work. Margo has been on a steep learning curve: about the unusual relationships we have with supporters, about the work we do, and about my very uncommon approach to money. Our shared goal is to create a foundation for my continued ability to contribute in the ways that most utilize my vision, passion, and capacities. Over time, I want to increase my writing time and the free calls more and more, and Margo will be in touch soon. Meanwhile, I wanted to celebrate that in parallel with her coming on board, we are receiving commitments to matching grants, and thus the vision of the long term sabbatical is emerging as entirely possible. Stay tuned for more soon.
Personal Mourning. When my beloved sister Inbal died in 2014, I told all my friends that I had to have a moratorium on loved ones dying. I am grateful to have had a full two and half years before my next loss. Merijane Block (who participated in BayNVC’s Leadership Program in 2005) was a dear and close friend, a radiant lover of life and people, with wisdom and grace that nurtured all her many friends. She faced metastatic breast cancer for 26 years, losing mobility towards the end, and never losing her bright light, even when she was fully in deep discouragement about her life. I found solace in her capacity to meet me in looking at life and death unsparingly and with warmth. She died of a reaction to a medication, without the opportunity to say goodbye, surrounded by love to the end.
This month’s credits, not including the portraits: From top: 1) “Spring” by Ardu (CC BY-NC 2.0); 2) Musco Twilight XII by Phil Roeder (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0); 3) Mandels 2 by Mark Carter (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0). All 3 are from Flickr.
These celebrations, mournings and other happenings accompany Miki’s January newsletter. Miki did not send out a newsletter in October.
Web of Support. My celebration this time goes to the people who organized a last minute Convergent Facilitation training for me in Bristol, England, and then supported me while I was there. Sophie Docker took upon herself an impossible task of making this training happen with less than 2 months notice, during the holiday season, and without any assurance that there would be any income. She pulled it off and I couldn’t imagine a more proactive, flexible, and cheerful organizer. Dorota Godby opened her home to me, and took care of every little detail, including cooking all my meals with such gentle joy that I was in tears. I would go back there in a heartbeat, and, indeed, Sophie is cooking up some plans for 2018.
New development person hired. This is an unofficial welcome to Margo Dunlap who is joining the Fearless Heart team. This is the very first time in our entire existence as a non-profit starting in 2005 that we have a person entirely dedicated to fundraising and development. Stay tuned for more soon. I am super happy this is happening.
Convergent Facilitation (CF). 2016 was a big year for Convergent Facilitation. I conducted workshops in multiple locations in the US, in Europe, and in Israel. I solidified my plans for making CF outlive me, and, as part of that plan, I wrote the manuscript for the CF book. And I hired Aimee to support making these plans a reality. In 2017 we are focusing on finding a publisher for the book and on building the “tribe.” The response to CF continues to be overwhelmingly positive, and I am now in early conversations about two possible international projects that might help with putting CF on the map way more visibly.
CF in the movies… When I was in Paris, teaching CF, the team of the Big Dream, the movie being made about NVC and its social change applications, filmed a simulation of a real issue. This was about a parent-run preschool that is struggling to decide whether or not to adopt an organic standard for the meat they purchase. I felt entirely transported to another reality while the circle met and we converted one comment after another into a list of principles that everyone in the group agreed to. The person whose situation it was felt the magic, too, and was eager to take it back to the school. Although the movie is not likely to be finished for a couple of years, I am utterly pleased that this is now captured.
Leveraging Your Influence (LYI). I am celebrating that my personal involvement in LYI is complete. LYI plans are in the making for both Europe and the US, and news of this will come when they are ready. For now, I am just delighted to notice that letting go of everything was a bit scary, and now I am in full trust that this body of knowledge and practice will continue to move forward. I am even more at peace knowing that Uma Lo is going to take on managing LYI. Uma has been involved with LYI almost from the start as part of the East Coast organizing and design team, and who has been instrumental in getting me to articulate and prioritize a focus on power and privilege at LYI and beyond.
Global Governance. When four different people suggest that I submit an entry for a major prize, I know it’s time to pay attention. This prize was announced by the Global Challenges Foundation. It’s up to $5,000,000, and the invitation is to design a new global governance model to replace the UN, since the UN is inadequate to the task of attending to the major issues that humanity is facing. I think I’ve been waiting for this opportunity, without consciously knowing it, since I was five and began thinking of bringing together the leaders of all the world’s countries to convince them to stop war. I have gathered together a group of people from a number of countries to grapple with the challenge and to see what we can come up with in the very few months that are available to us. It’s coming up just as the New Future Process is winding down for me, and seems entirely aligned with where I see myself wanting to contribute. What a miracle.
Free calls. I am now beginning the 4th year of my offering free conference calls. These calls have consistently been some of my favorite ways of sharing my work with the world. There are many people who are quite regular, so that a sense of community and mutual familiarity has developed. We delve together into everything, without taboo topics, with gentleness and love towards everyone’s experience, and a fierce and loving commitment to challenge, together, our frames for making sense of our experiences and the world. I offer five free calls every month except when my travel schedule makes it impossible. Two of them are dedicated to the topic of facing privilege, which to me is one of the major ways that we can transcend many current blocks in our ability to move forward together. Two of them follow my Fearless Heart blog and related topics, and one is for people who are sharing NVC with others. I just love making these opportunities available to anyone who has access to the internet or a phone line, anywhere in the world (schedules vary to accommodate multiple time zones).
New Future Process. When a letter from the CNVC board came to the New Future Process indicating that they wanted massive changes in what we were producing before they would feel in integrity to move forward, some of us were ready to throw in the towel. After committing ourselves to meet the board with empathy, open-heartedness, curiosity, and courage, we arrived in Albuquerque for a two-day meeting that went as well as any meeting I’ve ever attended, especially when starting in conflict and mistrust. Key to the success was our small team creating a thick web of mutual support amongst us such that none of us feared being alone during the meeting. We then attended to the relationship and our respective emotional experiences before looking at content. Thus it was that when we got to actually looking at the letter, we were already fully together. We were able to find solutions to all of their concerns, and we are moving forward with their blessing. This, at this time of chaos and disintegration, is nurturing my hope that we humans can solve problems when we come together and look for practical solutions that work for all of us.
Support for the Sabbatical. I cannot truly find words for describing the experience of having more and more people step up and find ways of supporting my plans to reduce my income generating activities so I can have more focus on writing, creative projects, and pure giving. This includes a number of people who joined the Circle of Support, including a new major donor committing $500 a month, other one-time donors ranging from a few dozen to $13,000, and two donors who are committing to a very significant matching grant as soon as we launch our campaign designed to make the new focus of a sabbatical an ongoing sustainable reality. Thank you thank you to all who have faith in what I and the Fearless Heart team are doing.
For archived newsletters, celebrations and mournings from 2014 to 2016, please go to this page.