Miki Kashtan is a co-founder of Bay Area Nonviolent Communication (BayNVC) and Lead Collaboration Consultant at the Center for Efficient Collaboration. Miki aims to support visionary leadership and shape a livable future using collaborative tools based on the principles of Nonviolent Communication. She shares these tools through meeting facilitation, mediation, consulting, coaching, and training for organizations and committed individuals. Her latest book, The Highest Common Denominator: Using Convergent Facilitation to Reach Breakthrough Collaborative Decisions (2021) explores the practices and systems needed for a collaborative society. She is also the author of Reweaving Our Human Fabric: Working together to Create a Nonviolent Future, Spinning Threads of Radical Aliveness: Transcending the Legacy of Separation in Our Individual Lives, and The Little Book of Courageous Living. Miki blogs at The Fearless Heart and her articles have appeared in the New York Times ("Want Teamwork? Encourage Free Speech"), Tikkun, Waging Nonviolence, Shareable, Peace and Conflict, and elsewhere. She holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from UC Berkeley.
Love keeps the thread of connection intact in times when all around us we see the human fabric becoming threadbare. When we dig deep with love into guessing what others care about that had given rise to their actions, it changes us. It brings us closer to understanding the incomprehensible -- and closer to vision, imagination, humility, curiosity, commonality, and loving action. Read on for more on applying this to people we deem "conspiracy theorists", and those who are on the other end of the political divide.
How DO we live our lives? What is an effective response to what is happening in the world? Listen in as Miki dialogs with a participant asking, "What is mine to do?", and honors the dissonance we feel when we are working to change.
Even in the pandemic the line between what’s essential for people and what is “essential” for fueling the economy, often gets confused. Capitalist market economies actively undermine attending to needs for the many and for life as a whole. Economic recovery is a mirage leading to continued collective oppression. This article explores possible ways to bring us closer to attending to our actual needs — and caring for self, others and life.
Society gives us short-sighted explanations about human nature, life and what’s (un)changeable. The coronavirus pandemic is disrupting that explanation. Our current social order upholds impoverishment, police brutality, and is leading us towards our extinction. Change begins with people mobilizing resources towards a vision that holds systemic care for all, plus engages shared risk and collective action towards that vision.
When someone expresses upset about our actions, and we focus on our intention being seen and understood (e.g. "I didn’t mean to hurt you”) it doesn't support the speaker in being heard more deeply with care. Here we'll explore this dynamic in a way that supports more clarity and the possibility of greater personal liberation. Read on for more.
If we are to transform the existing social order, and shift to a mode of liberation for all, we'll need to look at our own participation in it. This includes how much we are able to focus on keeping our hearts open; speak to impact without attributing intention; and retain a humility that includes our systemic context. Read on for "how to" when we are in a position of less power.
Human health is connected to health of ecosystems and other societies. Our wellness and liberation is found in our interconnection, kinship, reverence for life, and solidarity. Solidarity erodes through narratives, practices and policies that separate us from each other -- and this impacts societal functioning. The breakdown creates conditions for pandemic, racism, police brutality, exploitation in untold numbers, and extinction. Read on for how all is connected.
Giving feedback across a differences in culture, race, and power isn't something that we have to do -- but we can choose to do it for our own liberation, if we want. And if we choose that path, impact delivered well can invite caring for all needs and increase capacity to learn. This is the exacting, rigorous work of speaking about impact without attributing anything to the person whose actions resulted in the impact. Read on for part 1 of 2.
What do we actually mean by “use of force” and what counts as such? Here's a template that will be unpacked in this article: "Use of force is consistent with nonviolence to the extent that we use the least amount of force possible, with the most love possible, aiming at (re)creating conditions for dialogue; that we make the choice using as much nonreactive discernment as possible, with as much support for the choice as possible, and while mourning not seeing another way to respond to a situation in which vital needs are at stake except to use force". Read on for more.
Here's a brief anecdote showing how one woman was able transform a situation, where a man was about to assault or rape her. She responded in a creative way that lead them both to see each others' humanity -- navigating them both to safety. As part of her ingenuity he ended up spending the night in her house, in another room.