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, Reweaving Our Human Fabric: Working together to Create a Nonviolent Future (2015) explores the practices and systems needed for a collaborative society. She is also the author of 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.

“Miki, I really admire the way you are able to be so present in the moment and are able to respond so well to what you see and sense. Just watching you in action makes this course worthwhile to me." 
               —S.G., Litchfield, Connecticut, USA

”Miki's workshop was exceptional in giving an overview of the work, while calmly meeting the emotional challenges everyone brought to the table.”
              —Class participant

Website: BayNVC

Unless we change our collective ways on the planet, we will one day exceed the earth’s carrying capacity. We can only address the planet's very real limits of physical resources at the level of social organization. To operate empathically is to adjust our collective social order and patterns so that resources are more widely available and everyone's needs are met no matter what their output, income, power, circumstances, etc. Can we envision a future where the system is infused with this level of empathy, before it's too late?
What would happen if you considered that time is a concept, and that it doesn't rule your life? What would it mean to make all choices based on needs and not on time? Do you obey the external rhythm of the clock over and above the internal rhythm of your life energy? This is an invitation into more responsibility, awareness, honesty, choice and freedom.
When we are transparent about our concerns, brainstorm solutions together, and look towards making a decision with the other person, we can increase understanding, partnership, and mutual support. This invites people to work on the same issue from the same direction, collaboratively seek solutions, and tap a deeper wisdom. In the end, the future survival of our species depends on this kind of active interdependence.
We can dream and wait for the day to do things differently, or we can continually take steps towards the future of our dreams as though it were here now. The future will not be significantly different from the present if we all act as if change is not possible or only possible after it's already happened. Instead, we can immediately consider everything we do as the possible seed of change beyond our wildest dreams and vision.
Our world trains us to think in terms of providing for everyone’s needs because they deserve it, earned it, or they possess the resources -- it's fair, socially just, supports equality or because people have rights. Instead, can we step outside this worldview to look at providing for everyone’s needs because those needs exist -- can we hold this basic reverence for life? Are we able to have a needs-based dialogue when such a reframe could alienate those who live in the worldview of earn/deserve?
How much money to pay? And how much money to ask for? The supply and demand logic basically say that we ask for the most that “the market can absorb” and pay “the least that we can get away with.” We can instead, we can engage in experiments that focus on connecting to and satisfying needs. We can also engage with our varying degrees of access to resources within the existing economy and consider how we want to make choices about resources, especially when we have access to power.

Do you want to increase your capacity to identify and connect with feelings and needs?  Would you like to enhance your ability to translate judgments? Join Miki for this deep dive into feelings and needs.

When a participant's sister reveals the Ku Klux Klan broke into her home and dragged her towards a burning cross, it challenges her commitment to nonviolence. Miki shares a practice that, even in extreme polarization, connects freedom and healing in us all. Listen.

Excerpted from Miki's course Responding to the Call of Our Times in 2017.

A big part of why receiving feedback is so challenging is because so few people around us know how to give feedback untainted with criticism, judgment, or our personal upset. But, if we wait for others to offer us usable, digestible, manageable feedback, we will not likely receive sufficient feedback for our growth and learning. Instead, we can grow in our capacity to fish the pearl that’s buried within. Here are three specific suggestions for how.
We're in difficult times - possibly at the brink of extinction. What can we do in response? Some nonlinear steps: A.) Notice what isn't working; B.) Mourn so that we can move "towards" from an expanded space inside; C.) Analyze to bring a fuller understanding of what's happening and what's needed; D.) Reframe our inner and outer narratives; E.) Discern what we can contribute; F.) Care; and G.) Bring in support for more resilience and creativity.
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