Principles and Practices of Learning about, Integrating, Applying, and Sharing NVC from a Systemic Perspective

The following map represents work undertaken by Inbal Kashtan and Miki Kashtan starting in 2001, and continued by Miki following Inbal’s death, with more and more engagement with others over time, primary among them being Emma Quayle, Verene Nicolas, and Arnina Kashtan. The work to complete it continues and once completed, it is estimated that the total length of the packets will reach about 1,200 pages. Currently, 283 pages are available for download in 11 packets, and new packets will be added as they become ready. The current estimate is that project will be complete by August 2022, and updated every 4 months.

For now, only the hyperlinked ones are available.

These packets are available to anyone on a gift economy basis. They are offered to anyone who wants them, without any expectation or requirement of money coming to us. We are participating, in this way, in re-seeding the flow of generosity in the world instead of continuing to uphold the exchange economy.

We are inviting you to ask yourself whether you too would like to step into this flow. It’s impossible to quantify the amount of labor that has gone into creating the packets, nor would we ever want to ask for money in exchange for that labor. Rather than acknowledgement of work put in, we ask: do you have a willingness to contribute money to us? This would mean that Miki, in particular, can support BayNVC’s sustainability with less intensity in terms of her working conditions: either by doing fewer working hours, and/or by having more capacity to hire support and reduce her workload that way. The net benefit will be taking less time to complete the remaining 27 packets that are described below.

We recognize this is unusual and challenging for many people. For that reason, if you just want ease, when you click on a particular packet, you will find an amount with the description of each packet that we trust would support our sustainability sufficiently over time. The choice of that amount is intuitive, and not directly a function of the number of pages or the amount of labor that has gone into the packet being here and available.

We are hoping that many people will avail themselves of these packets freely, without giving us anything, and that many more will be moved by this experiment to give us much more than these somewhat arbitrary amounts.

Please consider your needs and ours, and read the above text to help you think through what you are able and willing to give.

Any amount given will support BayNVC’s sustainability and Miki’s ability to complete this work and bring it to the world now and into the future.

Using these packets in your own coaching, practice groups, etc.

Would you like to know more about using these packets and our materials as you share this work with others? This is an important way NVC becomes more accessible in the world, and we have some requests that will help us to keep making these resources available. Please read here.


Restoring Choice: Socialization, Liberation, and Integration

Within the internal realm, the NGL framework focuses is based on liberation from the effects of socialization and the trauma of 7,000 years of patriarchy and its offspring systems (e.g. capitalism, slavery, white supremacy, the oppression of children, and more). This includes an ongoing commitment to transcend either/or dualities into an integrated whole (e.g. process and results; theory and practice; vision and practicality; collaboration and efficiency) as a core orientation within NGL. This section of the packets is based on an integration of the NGL approach and the Compass approach developed by Arnina Kashtan.

Social structures and socialization (17 pages) – This packet provides a systemic context for understanding the way that patriarchal societies reproduce themselves through socialization. This includes an overview of how social systems operate; how collective messages reinforce them; how families serve as the carriers of the process; and how the brain functions within this. This packet also includes a basic description of the patterns, beliefs, and attachments that we form as a result, which explains, with great compassion, how most of us, most of the time, end up supporting the social structures that we are born into. In addition, this packet includes a look at how dividing us into groups with more and less power ends up reducing choice for everyone, and what we can begin to do to grapple with where we do and don’t have privilege.

Liberation from socialization (16 pages) – This packet begins with an understanding of internalized patriarchy, how it affects us, and what we can do to free ourselves from the resulting deep patterning. Viewing internalized patriarchy as trauma invites us to look at specific tools to take on this task.

Restoring Choice Using NVC (38 pages) – This packet looks at what NVC principles and practices can support us to restore choice. Beginning with looking at how focusing on the basic four components of NVC practice (observations, feelings, needs, and requests) can each enhance choice, the packet reviews core practices for inner freedom and offers additional practices such as journaling, and support structures such as liberation buddies so as to anchor our commitment to liberation in a world that doesn’t support it.

Working with individuals for liberation (29 pages) – This packet offers tools, perspectives, and practices in support of those whose work in the world is in support of others’ liberation: the building blocks of how to support purpose-based healing; systemic approaches to healing; and supporting others’ relationships to align fully with liberation.

Supporting the next generation – This packet is a minuscule version of one of the most significant projects facing humanity at this time: how to support the continued existence of humanity as a species exemplifying the biology of love by creating the conditions for at least some children to live their lives in a context of full awareness of their needs, including for multi-age community, choice, and meaning. It includes information about the maternal gift economy as our deepest species makeup and a path still available to us in how to engage with children; how to make decisions collaboratively with children; and how to create alternatives to schooling that can support everyone in learning and sharing knowledge freely.

Purpose and Values: Collaborative Organizational Systems, Agreements, and Seeding the Future

The NGL approach recognizes purpose as a key entryway into transforming individual and collective ways of being. As it applies to groups, communities, organizations, and movements, this approach focuses on creating systems that align with purpose and values as a way to support capacity instead of slipping into patriarchal training and norms.

Mobilizing toward Vision  (20 pages) – This packet documents all the steps necessary, both for individuals and organizations, to orient toward vision, map current reality, derive values and purpose to anchor internal and external movement toward vision, identify a theory of change, and create agreements and systems to make tangible and support movement toward the vision. It is based on years of learning and application in the field by multiple people.

Collaboration Principles and Practices – This packet takes a deep and wide look at what collaboration entails and how we can overcome the challenges that our patriarchal conditioning creates for us when we aim to restore our evolutionary capacity for collaboration. This applies both to collaboration in any context as well as as collaboration within the context of a shared purpose.

Organizational Collaboration Primer (11 pages) – This packet contains basic information for anyone interested in creating more collaboration in an organizational context. This ranges from a full introduction to organizational systems to a basic description of what interpersonal collaboration looks like within an organizational context.

Organizational Systems and Collaboration – This packet is an in-depth exploration of organizational systems and their relationship with collaboration, including detailed descriptions of each system and how to align them with purpose, values, and collaborative principles.

Organizational Collaboration Tools for Individuals and Teams – This packet takes organizational collaboration to the individual and team level, and includes tools ranging from worksheets for preparing for a difficult conversation to meeting structure templates and more.

Collaborative Decision-Making Primer – This packet contains basic information about how to set up a decision-making system and what approaches to decision-making within an organization are most consistent with the goal of collaboration.

Principles and Practices of Transparent Information Flow  – This packet contains both pointers to some information tools that support collaboration as well as key questions and methods that support the process of choosing and implementing information platforms.

Feedback without Criticism (26 pages) – This packet is a thorough introduction to everything needed to set up a feedback system designed for ongoing learning and improvement in how to work towards purpose in line with values and in progressively improving relationships. It includes both the systemic steps and the interpersonal skills for giving and receiving useful feedback.

Conflict Systems Primer – This packet is a basic introduction to understanding conflict at the systemic level, what it means to create a system for conflict as distinct from how to individually engage with conflicts, and some support in setting up a conflict system that explicitly and concretely challenges the avoidant and then punitive approach to conflict.

Using NVC in Organizational Consulting  – This packet is designed for organizational consultants who are interested in using the five system, purpose and values alignment approach to organizational consulting.

Restoring Togetherness: Interdependence, Dialogue, and Collaboration

Restoring togetherness goes against the basic form of functioning that patriarchy has established based on separation and control. It puts at the center needs and interdependence in establishing collaboration. Given the depth of separation, the practices of interdependence require a high degree of commitment and support structures.

From Conflict to Dilemma – This packet is an intensive introduction to the art of needs choreography and dialogue. It provides theory, principles, and practices for creating togetherness with others, even in difficult circumstances, as the foundation for address challenges of all kinds. It is premised on the understanding that, within capacity, any of us can hold the whole in dialogue, put our own needs on the table, hold others’ needs empathically, and guide everyone towards a path that works for all.

Connecting across Differences – As difficult as dialogue generally is, it becomes even more difficult in the face of differences of all kinds. This packet provides basic principles and guidelines for how to approach such situations with humility, grace, and compassion. The variety of differences that this packet touches on are cross-cultural situations involving different cues and norms about relationships; differences in worldview that make almost everything we say charged; differences in purpose which require heavy lifting to bridge across the implications for prioritizing needs; differences in values that can easily lead to judgments; and differences in power which make putting everyone’s needs on the table and looking at impacts and resources together exceedingly difficult.

Transcending Separation – This packet includes both theory and practices in relation to transcending our collective disconnection from each other and the larger web of interdependence. The theoretical areas of focus are on interdependence and notions of self-sufficiency and lack of mattering. The core focus of the practices is to restore connection and learn the art of dialogue and collaboration.

Scarcity, Separation, and Powerlessness: Patriarchy, History, and Economics

This module is the most intellectually dense and provides vital anchor points in understanding why we focus on patriarchy and systems, and how to bring sufficient tenderness to this legacy that we can begin to move anywhere without recreating it all the time.

Theoretical Framework about Patriarchy – This packet contains an introduction to a particular framework about patriarchy: what does the word mean, and why was it chosen rather than other options? How is it affecting us and why is it useful to focus on it? How patriarchy emerged, and why scarcity, separation, and powerlessness are so pivotal to focus on transcending.

Annotated Bibliography – This packet includes a list of readings: books, articles, and blog posts from Miki that serve as a deep dive into this field, organized by topic, with a very short introduction to each piece named.

Restoring Flow: Nonviolence, Systemic Change, the Commons, and the Gift Economy

Our understanding of nonviolence spans the entire range from the most internal (seeing NVC and nonviolence more generally as a spiritual practice) to the most global (a detailed picture of a fully collaborative global governance design).

Embracing Nonviolence as an Orientation to Life – This packet includes a basic introduction to the core principles of nonviolence as Gandhi and Martin Luther King practiced it and offered it to the world. It also includes materials about the relationship between NVC and nonviolence, as well as the framework of using needs, impacts, and resources as a fundamental approach to all decision making. It concludes with bringing in compassion for the difficulty of the journey by delineating the difference between commitment and capacity, and how often the latter lags behind the former.

Transcending Scarcity – This packet includes both theory and practices in relation to transcending our collective loss of trust in life and flow. The theoretical areas of focus are on money, notions of deserve, accumulation, exchange, and more aspects of scarcity consciousness. The core focus of the practices is to restore generosity and flow.

Resource-Flow Principles and Practices – This packet addresses, in basic form, a host of questions that relate to resource flow, including collaborative budgeting, need-based financial agreements, co-created role definitions, and more.

Creating Shared-Risk Communities – This packet provides tools, frameworks, and templates for how to approach the transformative task of creating a shared risk community. It includes different elements of risk ranging from life decisions to material resources; ways of discerning how far to go along which dimension of shared risk; and much that is gleaned from previous experiments in creating such communities.

Core Nonviolence Commitments (44 pages) – This packet is a thorough introduction to 34 core commitments that, between them, form one way of understanding what a commitment to nonviolence means for an individual living in a violent, patriarchal world. Each commitment is presented in a 500-word, one-page deep description that includes a specific practice. The packet also includes an introduction to the commitments and suggested ways of using them. (Jan 2021 note: we anticipate a revised edition of this packet, fully designed and with images, by early March. Feel free to come back here then and download the next version again.)

Nonviolence in Action – This packet contains a thorough introduction to both theory and practices about how to apply nonviolence, and specific NVC practices, in the context of social activism. It spans the whole gamut from the inner shift towards nonviolence all the way to designing campaigns that fully embrace nonviolence.

Caring for the Whole: Facilitation and Leadership

Collaborative leadership and group facilitation are based on reweaving the fabric of togetherness through an ongoing recommitment to caring for the whole, beyond self, beyond this or that specific group. Given how deeply committed to control patriarchy is, this focus requires rigorous relearning about how to use power with others instead of over others or rejecting power and leadership altogether, as many committed to transformation tend to do.

Leadership as a Way of Life (16 pages) – This packet includes both theory and practices to prepare for the transition from focusing primarily on individual integration to taking on an orientation to life as leadership, caring for the whole and serving life through the quality of our being and through bringing our skills and consciousness to bear on how we engage with our environment, leaning on feminism and nonviolence as sources of inspiration for the depth of transformation of both caring and leadership.

Principles and Practices for Collaborative Leadership (9 pages) – This packet engages provides support in navigating the transition from collaboration and leadership existing as challenges to each other and into integrating principles of collaboration and leadership, especially in terms of the shift towards using power with others when collaborating across power differences.

Nonviolent Facilitation as a Path to the Future (22 pages) – This packet includes many principles and practices for how to facilitate in alignment with the paradigm of nonviolence, which essentially means bringing courage, truth, and love to facilitation. This includes how to focus on purpose in each moment to guide choices; how to choose when and how to be transparent, and about what; how to track what unfolds in the group moment by moment; and how to use the full range of our humanity, own our power, and make decisions about process while leaving content mostly to the group. The packet also includes support for co-facilitation, facilitating from the sidelines, and engaging with challenges in groups.

Convergent Facilitation Primer (34 pages) – This packet is a basic introduction to Convergent Facilitation for anyone who works with groups, without any prior knowledge of group facilitation.

Learning, Integrating, Applying, and Sharing NVC

NVC Basics

NVC Basics  (25 pages) – Want to understand the basics of what Nonviolent Communication looks like and how you can begin your own practice? This is the one for you.

Deepening NVC Expression – What does it actually mean to express what is in us to other people? How do we know what to express, for what purpose, and how? This is what this packet explores.

Requests, “Yes”, and “No”  – So many of us have been trained not to ask for anything that we rarely know how to ask, what to ask for, what to do when someone says “no”, and how to respond to other people’s requests of us. All this, in this packet.

Deepening Empathy Skills – This packet is a thorough exposition of everything you ever wanted to know about empathy: why we do it, when to do it, how it changes in different contexts, and so much more. Also included is a segment about how you can increase your own capacity to receive empathy from others.

Self Empathy and Self-Connection – The basic foundation of any new practice is the quality of connection that we can generated within ourselves. This packet contains both information and a host of practices that can help you get deeper into the inner experience that NVC supports.

Integrating NVC

NVC Theory –This one is the nerdy packet. It’s designed for those who truly love ideas and want to understand the bits and pieces of what makes NVC what it is.

NVC as a Path of Liberation – This packet includes an introduction to why the choice of “nonviolent” in the name of the practice; understanding the impact of the patriarchal paradigm of scarcity, separation, and powerlessness; and how NVC can be used as a set of principles and practices to support us in restoring choice, togetherness, and flow

Deepening NVC Practice – This packet is for people who have already been exposed to Nonviolent Communication and are seeking to take their practice to a deeper lever, with more understanding, more compassion for self and other, more capacity for choice, and more.

Naturalizing the Language of NVC (10 pages) – If you are like many people, you like the idea of what NVC makes possible, and are worried that using a formula can interfere with the results. This packet walks you through many practices and ideas for how to stay authentic, in high integrity, and committed without turning off other people.

Applying NVC in the World

Introduction to applying NVC in the World – This packet includes basic information about the variety of ways that NVC can be used in the world, with basic pointers about each of them: leadership, engaging with children, working with individuals, working with groups, working within and supporting organizations, nonviolence and social change, and liberation from social oppression. It contains pointers to other packets and references to additional materials

Sharing NVC

Principle-Based Teaching  (78 pages) – This packet contains information needed to approach the sharing of NVC explicitly with others from a perspective of principles. This means that all practices and specific forms are rooted in an understanding of why they are done, linking it to the specific experiences and challenges of the people who are learning about NVC. It is designed to be used by people who have already had deep integration of NVC and significant experience with applying NVC in the world first, before sharing it with others.

Practical Aspects of Sharing NVC – This packet contains a host of tips, bits of theory, and activities that can support the sharing of NVC with others. It’s based on years of running the BayNVC Leadership Program.

Inner Work for NVC Trainers – This packet includes an introduction to what it means to live as an NVC trainer, beyond simply knowing how to teach. It includes both reference materials as well as a major collection of journals and reflection questions to solidify the inner commitments that such a life entails.

Activities for Training NVC Trainers – This packet contains descriptions of some of the activities used in the BayNVC Leadership Program in support of training NVC trainers. It’s designed primarily for those who run NVC leadership programs, and not to be used with people who are learning about NVC.

Power, Privilege, and Liberation

Power and Privilege –  This packet is a deep introduction to an approach to the study of power and privilege from a perspective that incorporates love, NVC principles and practices, and a core understanding of the enormous challenges that entrenched and semi-invisible power differences bring to us.