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Miki Kashtan

Miki Kashtan

CNVC Certified Trainer, author and co-founder of Bay Area Nonviolent Communication (BayNVC) and the North America NVC Leadership Program, from Oakland, California, USA

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.

 

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to talking about power and privilege. Context, purpose, who is present and why all play a part in how you can orient to these conversations. In this video, Miki describes the deep considerations she makes when discussing this topic with others and in her leadership training.

Whether privileged or not, its not easy to see the humanity of others in different social locations, especially if their actions have unwanted impacts and have left behind our humanity. Aiming for “both sides hearing each other” empathically, and to focus on effect rather than intent when we have more privilege, may theoretically lead to liberation. Yet, in practice it can reinforce rather than transcend power differences -- unless there's specific ways to focus attention and choice. Here, its important to transform expectations into working with willingness, and within our own terms and timetable.

The word "privilege" signifies the benefit to the person having it, and the relationship between that person’s benefit and others' lack of benefit. When privileged, there are incentives to not see this interdependent link. For instance, it's easier for the wealthy to think of the poverty of many and the wealth of some are unrelated. If the wealthy want to keep wealth they would need to continue with approaches rooted in this separation.

Whether we have more or less power and privilege, anything without liberation for all is within patriarchal separation, and will continue cycles of oppression. To liberate ourselves and one another we need to increase our collective capacity through developing related knowledge, skills, research; build an understanding of patriarchal roots; confront lovingly; co-hold dilemmas about privilege; co-shape outcomes; etc.

The human species is trained and habituated towards separation. This model encourages humans to either give up on their needs or fight for their needs. In this short video, Miki shares how increasing capacity shifts habits of separation and supports holding of all needs.

When we have privilege, we can have access to resources resulting from legal or social norms related to membership in a group -- independent of any (in)action, awareness of the disparity, the potential benefits to us, or the costs to others. Unhelpful ways of engaging with privilege are: denial/invisibility, guilt/shame, defensiveness, and entitlement. Helpful ways of engaging are: owning privilege, learning about privilege, opening to feedback, and stewarding privilege for benefit of all. To be helpful we need to engage with necessary (rather than unnecessary) discomfort.

Learn to speak NVC using your own voice and increase ease and flow in all your personal and professional conversations. This 7-session telecourse recording with renowned trainer Miki Kashtan is designed to help you integrate NVC into all aspects of your life by gaining fluency in your practice of NVC and by embodying the principles regardless of the words you use. This course is based on intensive practice and coaching with real-life examples from participants’ lives.

  • Discover what is yours to do in response to our global crises
  • Weave nonviolence more deeply into how you live and lead
  • Receive ongoing support in how to be effective and alive while pursuing your highest goals
  • Increase your capacity to face and mourn current reality as a source of greater choice and energy
  • Be a part of transforming the legacy of scarcity, separation, and powerlessness into a livable future
One NVC principle is "stimulus vs cause" - one may be the stimulus but never the cause of another's feelings. When we're upset this principle can help us express pain without blame. However, when others are upset it's easy to slip into blaming them using this principle. Instead, we can hear their pain with care and heartfelt mourning - without guilt nor defensiveness, and whether or not we agree. All this is important if we're sincerely applying compassion. Read on for more.

What can you do to increase your capacity to trust? How can you channel energy toward togetherness rather than towards mistrusting people? In this video, Miki opens an inquiry about trust in life, trusting the way that life unfolds, trusting that life will take care of itself. Sufficient consistent togetherness is the primary optimal condition needed to transform the groove of mistrust and create a different way of being in life.

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