Praise for Reweaving Our Human Fabric: Working together to Create a Nonviolent Future
It’s remarkable just to scroll quickly down and find out who is endorsing Miki’s book: expert and well-known authors and activists in the fields of nonviolent social change and spiritual transformation, urban farmers and business managers, a judge and a law professor, a seminary student and a visionary film maker. And don’t miss the writer who disagreed with a major element of the book and was invited by Miki to write a “qualified endorsement” explaining the disagreement. [Return to the book’s main page].
This brave and brilliant book brings me fresh insights into how to be a more effective and happier agent of change. Here Miki Kashtan shows me how the radical interdependence of all things, a worldview long central to my own life and work, can be expressed in more grounded and practical ways for social as well as personal transformation. I am particularly grateful for her stories from the future, showing ordinary people practicing the principles she teaches. In Miki I find a marvelous and rare use of the moral imagination.
— Joanna Macy, teacher-activist and author, Coming Back to Life: The Updated Guide to the Work That Reconnects
Reweaving is one of those books that is feeling out the contours of the transition that is in front of us, written by someone at the forefront of an essential aspect of that transition: the social technologies of nonviolent conflict resolution, the healing of a centuries-old legacy of humiliation, violence, and oppression. I have two favorite parts of the book. The first describes the “Myths of Power-with” — really edgy stuff, given the near-universal acceptance in “conscious” circles of naive concepts of non-hierarchy, radical inclusivity, leaderlessness, and so on. I also enjoyed the vignettes from the future that offer a vivid, practicable glimpse of what an ecological, nonviolent society could be. Some of those stories felt quite real to me, a prevision of what is to come. Obviously, this book arises from decades of practice. I hope that the learnings Miki Kashtan describes in this book spread — especially to any community that I am a part of!
— Charles Eisenstein, author, The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible, Sacred Economics, and The Ascent of Humanity.
Miki Kashtan lays out guidelines for engaging in spiritual preparation and creating constructive alternatives to the current system that nonviolent movements can apply to successfully transform our world. She describes the complex questions raised in the course of nonviolent movements, provides tools with which to approach them, and is admirably honest in admitting when she doesn’t have the answers. I have no doubt that if nonviolent movements adopted the insights contained in this volume, the world would be a better place for all.
–Erica Chenoweth, PhD, co-author of Why Civil Resistance Works, Associate Professor at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies, University of Denver
Miki Kashtan brings decades of patient, committed work to bear in this stunningly clear and honest book about how we can live now into the peaceful, respectful, everyone-counts future we want. It’s not an easy book. You have to look at yourself and the ways your best social change efforts may have foundered. But the clarity itself is healing and inspires me, at least, to bring a stronger heart and will to my own work.
— Vicki Robin, co-author of Your Money or Your Life, author of Blessing the Hands that Feed Us
In Reweaving Our Human Fabric, Miki Kashtan’s vulnerable, visionary wisdom embraces in a fresh and compelling way the fullness of what it means to be human – especially in today’s struggling world – and what the world could be like if we made it fully human. In the midst of my own swings between engagement and despair, I read Miki’s book and experienced an opening into a radically new perspective filled with tools and possibilities for both well-being and transformation. She demonstrates that empathic attention to human needs is a potent force to bring meaning, peace, and justice into our lives and our collective destiny. I have never read a vision of possibility at once so intimate, articulate, wise, and immediately useful – a raw and powerful innovation in the lineage of Gandhi and Martin Luther King, a gift to us all.
— Tom Atlee, founder, The Co-Intelligence Institute, author, The Tao of Democracy
Miki Kashtan’s work is prophetic, passionate, precisely argued, and original. She is an authentic voice with a great deal to contribute to our urgent contemporary discussion on how to change our world. Read her.
— Andrew Harvey, author of The Hope: a Guide to Sacred Activism
In Reweaving Our Human Fabric, Miki Kashtan gives us engaging, practical instruction in accessing our inner awareness and relearning how to cooperate with each other. This will be indispensable in helping humanity let go of its consumerist fantasies, free-market fundamentalism and blind faith in economic growth. Can we rediscover the glories of the commons and the art of commoning? With great insight into the human condition, history and political realities, Kashtan show how nonviolent social transformation is not only possible, but immensely appealing.
— David Bollier,activist and scholar of the commons, author, Think Like a Commoner
My work sometimes involves bringing together unlikely partners. In those times, I find the insights I’ve discovered in this book foundational for successful and transformative collaborations. I dream about placing this book in the hands of every leader, so they can be nourished by the vision and the radically new tools that Miki provides.
— Cindy Mercer, Co-Founder Planet Heritage Foundation
Reweaving Our Human Fabric provides a potent dose of grounded idealism. It will help you to vision the world that is possible, and to take practical steps in the here and now that will add joy to your life and beauty to your planet. Miki has spent decades helping thousands of people bring their reality closer to their dreams. With Reweaving Our Human Fabric, she distills her top insights. At once touchingly hopeful and urgently engaging, this is a message to treasure – and to put into action.
— Ocean Robbins, CEO, The Food Revolution Network, co-author, Voices of the Food Revolution,
Miki has the ability to make things simple, without being simplistic.
Reweaving Our Human Fabric is a demonstration of the clarity of thought and openness of heart that Miki brings to every chapter of this book. It contains not only insights, but also her pathways to those insights, making Reweaving Our Human Fabric a roadmap to the world we can live in.
As I was reading her manuscript, I realized that some of my own ideas about how to approach our common future came into focus clearer. Which leads to the highest praise I can offer a fellow societal transformationist: her thinking changed mine.
— Shariff Abdullah, author, Creating a World That Works for All
Reweaving Our Human Fabric is one of the most engaging books I have read in a long time. It deals with practical real-life challenges and opportunities of building a world which meets the needs of all, is democratic and supports peaceful change and resolution of conflicts. Miki Kashtan shares her vision of how we can together create a more liveable future for all.
You can learn from Miki Kashtan’s decades of experience using nonviolent communication to address everything from personal conflicts to the challenge of group dynamics, and organizations working collaboratively to build a world of peace and justice where every person matters. This book contains lots of good insights for social change activists and all who want to grow and become more effective in their lives and work. Very highly recommended.
— David Hartsough , Director, PEACEWORKERS, co-founder, Nonviolent Peaceforce and author of Waging Peace: Global Adventures of a Life-long Activist
I experienced an energizing hope arise in me as I read Reweaving our Human Fabric, Miki Kashtan’s inspiring contemplations on how together, we can build a nonviolent world. Overflowing with concepts coming from her years of experience as a peace ambassador, this book contains a wealth of information designed to raise conscious awareness of how history repeating itself will serve us no longer. Anyone interested in social change, education, management, world peace, or humanity in general will come away with a fresh perspective.
–– Teresa Speakman, Communication Studies professor at Ohio University and compassionate communication consultant for organizations and individuals.
In Reweaving Our Human Fabric, Kashtan seems to go straight to the “big” questions I ask myself during moments of doubt and wonder. How do I live with integrity while making an impact on the web of life around me? Is “being the change I want to see” enough to shift the structural and interpersonal barriers alive and well in the world? Where do I put my energy as a parent, agency leader, romantic partner, community member, writer, sister, mentor?
Using wisdom gleaned from teachers such as Gandhi and MLK, and honed in her own work for social change in organizations and intimate relationships, Kashtan offers possibilities for moving forward, stepping into our power, becoming unstuck, and leading from within.
She also takes on dearly held misconceptions that bog down social justice movements, offering her own take on hierarchies, collaboration, the power of mindful leadership and the mindlessness of leader-less power.
Finally, Kashtan peeks into the future, weaving together the most innovative and effective ideas and practices of today, including Barter’s Restorative Circles and Rosenberg’s needs’ based interdependent living, to shine a beam in the darkness that is both hopeful and resonant with possibility.
— Elaine Shpungin, Ph.D., Director, UIUC Psychological Services Center, Psychology Today Blogger
When Miki Kashtan asked me to write an endorsement for Reweaving Our Human Fabric, I told her that there is much in her book I agree with and think is important. I mentioned her egalitarian values; her extension of Nonviolent Communication principles into social, economic and political realms; her grappling with issues of power sharing and leadership; the serious attention she gives to Gandhi’s teachings and practice; and her wonderful stories that make her ideas palpable and very human. For all that, I regretfully told her that I could not with integrity endorse Reweaving because of one major area of disagreement. Miki believes that the future is radically uncertain, and that despite grave threats from climate change and resource depletion, we can still build a thriving society organized around human needs, even if we don’t know how to get from here to there. I believe we have reached the point where climate catastrophe is all but certain, and if there are any remaining chances to avert catastrophe, we will need to make enormous changes in a very few years involving emissions reductions, drastically reduced consumption, and above all land restoration through holistic management. With deep sadness, I told Miki that I think a book which portrays a thriving future without addressing very specific issues of climate and resources, and without recognizing how far we have already gone down the path of global catastrophe, is holding out false hopes. Then Miki did an amazing thing. She invited me to write a qualified endorsement, stating what I think is valuable about her book but also my reservations. This simple extraordinary act speaks volumes about Miki’s living, breathing commitment to connection through dialogue based on mutual regard and the Gandhian principle that we all hold a piece of the truth. Miki Kashtan inspires us find our best selves, and she leads in the best possible way – through example.
— Steven Wineman, Ed.D., is a mental health worker, writer, parent, activist for nonviolent social change, and survivor of childhood trauma. He is the author of The Politics of Human Services and Power-Under: Trauma and Nonviolent Social Change
From the deepest center of our hearts out to the radius of our communities and world, Miki’s masterful work and teaching provide grounded concepts and tools to create soul-nourishing transformation on the planet. Reweaving Our Human Fabric offers many profound and practical insights for anyone looking to move forward in life with compassion and courage, yearning for more fulfilled relationships with self and others, as well as being a positive and effective change-maker for nonviolent social justice. It’s a deep activism that is a prescription for this moment.
— Matthew Albracht, Executive Vice President, Director of Programs and Communications, The Peace Alliance
Reweaving Our Human Fabric is a fantastic book for those versed in nonviolence as well as those new to the strategy and way of life. Strategic yet principled. Visionary yet pragmatic. Practical yet philosophical. From historical examples of nonviolent movements to fictional visions of what our future could be, from the personal to the global, this book provides a complete and holistic view of the nonviolent philosophy.
— Kazu Haga, Kingian Nonviolence trainer based in Oakland, California. He conducts regular trainings with youth, incarcerated populations and activists.
If you want social change and your motto, like mine, is “Be the change you wish to see in the world”, Reweaving Our Human Fabric by Miki Kashtan will take you much further. I want to say this is “a must read book” even though I was taught not to use “must” in my NVC trainings! I am forever grateful to Miki Kashtan for putting this book and Spinning Threads of Radical Aliveness together for us to join the great journey of co-creating a world where everyone’s needs are considered with love and care.
— Yumi Kikuchi, author/environmental health advocate, co-founder Fukushima Kids Hawaii
Never have I been so challenged and so compelled by one piece of writing. Miki conjures a parade of thoughtforms that have existed in the shadows of my intuition, for as long as I can remember. Miki takes the intimate risk of summoning these and connecting them to action, to life itself. As I read, I experienced chills, tears and many sighs, as well as moments when I had to put down the book and bask in the glow of the shared reality. Her vision calls me to action, in my business, and in my relationships, with a balance of power and love. The courage of her thinking is an irresistible invitation to dream on a global-sized canvas.
— Sarah Belzile, CEO, Phoenix Coffee Company
In this book, Miki Kashtan blows the lid off of Nonviolent Communication as a personal development resource, expanding its potential to transform the larger systems and norms that govern our world. Kashtan’s perspective on leadership and hierarchy was like a breath of fresh air. This book directly addressed my greatest challenges with some NVC environments, where I wanted more decisive leadership, clear structure and connection to the purpose of the group. Thank you, Miki, for debunking the myths about power and NVC.
— Lorraine Aguilar, Chief Engagement Officer, Working Harmony, Inc.
This is a very big book. Miki Kashtan weaves her deep wisdom about personal transformation, interpersonal dialogue , and political change into a path to the future we all want–where everyone’s needs matter and no one is coerced. And best of all, her stories bring that future to life. Having seen Miki in action now for many months, I believe it can be done!
— Bruce Peterson, presiding judge of Hennepin County, Minnesota, Drug Court, Co-Parent Court, and Homelessness Court
As a divinity student at a Christian seminary, I am always looking for new paths to enhance my spirituality. Miki Kashtan’s life work offers that path, for those already engaged in spiritual practice and those who are seekers. Miki’s unique vision for a world in which the fullness of the human experience, from the depths of grief and fear to the heights of joy, is sought and celebrated. With gentleness, acceptance, and creativity, Miki teaches us how to let go of the judgments which separate us, and embrace instead the beauty of the human condition in all its exquisite rawness and poignancy. This book is an inspirational guide, a love letter to a world in need.
— Karen Murphy, Jesuit Volunteer Corps 2009-10; currently M.Div. student, Andover Newton Theological School, MA.
In “Reweaving our Human Fabric” Miki Kashtan shares her path to addressing the big problems of life. She goes straight ahead in the spirit of empathy and nonviolence, assertive in a pursuit of what feels right. She is always seeking a creative conclusion that everyone supports. … Well, not quite always. … In this book she is also a researcher reporting on herself, noticing how she sometimes deviates from her ideals. She values inclusion and collaboration but may find herself acting unilaterally … or noticing that collaboration doesn’t always work. She is courageous in exploring these wrinkles in life’s processes, yet is always pursuing the highest values. She says, “I walk directly toward emotional discomfort again and again so as to create true freedom in myself to live as I want.” This book is honest. And I’m more honest with myself for having read it.
— Jim Rough, author of Society’s Breakthrough! Releasing Essential Wisdom and Virtue in All the People; Founder and President, Dynamic Facilitation Associates
In Reweaving Our Human Fabric: Working Together to Create A Nonviolent Future, Miki Kashtan makes herself present as a moral force calling upon us as readers to imagine and then bring into being a vision of the world that as she says is not yet possible, one that would overcome the legacy of separation, scarcity, and powerlessness that currently impoverishes our collective existence.
Insisting that our past conceptions of social change have been flawed by their failure to grasp the extent to which we have each internalized the system that we have longed to transform, Miki offers deep yet pragmatic approaches to creating new forms of group life in which love can transform the inwardness of our group existence—offering strategies that reconcile power and leadership with true mutuality and collaboration.
Her attention to fostering a sense of “willingness” in a group over the mere passive assignments of roles and functions, and the priority she gives to creating a sense of “mattering” within every group process over the mere functionality of achieving particular outcomes are visionary in their effort to give a true transformative subjectivity to the group’s emergence. This is a book that squarely addresses how to bring into being the lived experience of the positive social change that we all long for but often despair of creating.
— Peter Gabel, law professor, therapist, author of The Bank Teller and Other Essays on the Politics of Meaning, editor-at-large of Tikkun
I’m as inspired as always by Miki Kashtan’s words and work. Nurtured and curious about exploring ways to living together after reading her sharp book. It opens doors to new ways of thinking. I love to get more questions than answers after reading a book as it keeps me alert and open.
— Liv Larsson, mediator and author of A Helping Hand as well as Anger, Guilt and Shame Reclaiming Power and Choice.
Miki Kashtan paints a vivid picture of how and why a future of nonviolence for the world can unfold. Bold, stimulating and educational, her vision in “Reweaving our Human Fabric” leaves me thinking more deeply about the systemic changes needed and our individual roles in this to create a world that can serve more needs. A must-read for anyone interested in accelerating social change and social justice.
— Marie R. Miyashiro, author of The Empathy Factor and co-author with Marshall Rosenberg of “Integrated Clarity: Energizing How We Talk and What We Talk About in Organizations” in The Change Handbook, 2nd Edition
Miki takes us on a journey to discover how practical and powerful nonviolence is, and how it all starts with deliberate communication. If you are interested in lasting transformation, in ways to build a future you want amidst the reality of difficulties and obstacles, and on a planet blessed by the miracle of life and love, Miki’s oeuvre will give you both the insights and the juice to become the next Gandhi.
— Mathis Wackernagel, Ph.D., President, Global Footprint Network
What Miki Kashtan has written in Reweaving Our Human Fabric is to me of profound importance for humanity. Even though many will say it is naive and wishful thinking, I would argue that this kind of wishful thinking is exactly what we need in the world today. After all, it is not impossible. We are already collaborating and using a gift economy in many instances.
I read the stories and the last part about principles and systems first. They were catchy and easy reads for me. The first, and longest part about communication, collaboration, willingness, decision making, conflict resolution, consciousness transformation, leadership, power-with hierarchies and meeting needs was very eye opening and interesting.
There’s a movement in the world now that could benefit tremendously from this book, as becoming aware of these tools, systems and elements will bridge the gap that I see between the high tech oriented and the low-tech oriented. For example, the Venus Project has a lot of good thoughts and ideas, but very little, if anything, of what Miki writes here is mentioned by them. Technical solutions are well and good, but they don’t help unless you understand humans, their communication and their feelings and true needs.
At the same time, as Miki well understands, technology and technical solutions can also help meeting needs, solve communication problems, resolve conflict and so on.
What Kashtan so eloquently point out, though, is that no matter our technological level, no matter our governance structure, and no matter our currency or lack of such, we will always have the potential for misunderstandings and conflicts about resources, land or needs, and your mediating tools will always be needed. We can’t just rely on technology and cybernated decision making. The things she points out are what I’ve been missing all along from the other parts of a new world movement.
— Harald Sandø, creator of the movie Waking Up
This book is an incredibly valuable resource for anyone wanting to truly create lasting change!
With teachings on sharing power, case studies, a lens through which to see the gifts in conflict, and stories of innovation and interdependence; Miki simultaneously draws you toward and illumines the path of inner and outer liberation – without claiming to have all of the answers.
Finishing this book, we each feel inspired and more empowered to step deeper into our roles in the restructuring of this global system – from an impersonal corporate profit driven machine to a system which attends to needs, human and nonhuman – starting locally.
— Pancho Ramos and Adelaja Simon, Canticle Farm, Oakland, CA