As questions of how to navigate the rocky terrains of power and privilege become ever more pressing, we wanted to tap into the liberation-for-all lens that Miki Kashtan brings to these topics.
NVC Academy reached out to Miki and we asked if she would be available to have an open dialogue on this topic. Although more than fully booked, Miki said yes, because, as she said it, “I love teaching NVC and I want to support the NVC Academy.”
In this question-and-answer style session, Miki will answer your questions about how we can create systemic agreements and pathways that attend to the impacts of both the larger systems of power and privilege, and the internalized patriarchal conditioning of all of us within our groups and organizations.
One deeply tragic impact of patriarchy is that everyone, regardless of how much power we actually have, has been socialized to see power through the lens of scarcity, separation, and powerlessness. This both influences how we act and how we interpret others’ actions, keeping us divided and powerless. Time and again, even after mobilizing towards vision, deeply entrenched systemic patterns in the area of how we relate to power persist and decrease capacity in all areas.
For example, when we are in positions of less power, or come from marginalized social locations, we may experience the following patterns:
- Fear of unwanted consequences or consequences due to the power of others in the situation
- Habits of automatically accepting the decisions and opinions of those with more power
- Habits of rebelling against, mistrusting, and challenging the actions of those with more power
- Habits of giving up or not taking ourselves seriously and hence not applying our full intelligence and heart
Simultaneously, when we are in positions of more power, or come from social locations that carry privilege, we may experience other patterns, including:
- Difficulty anticipating how our actions could be interpreted by those with less power
- Difficulty seeing our impact on others and hearing about it when it’s named
- Habits of experiencing leadership as a license and even as a duty to tell others what to do
- Isolation from others and acting without support
Wherever you are on the power map of the world, and however much power you have within any community or organization that you are part of, Miki is ready to engage with you with curiosity and humility.
We are particularly excited that her focus in this session is systemic and not individual: What is it that a group or organization that wants to attend to and even at times transform these patterns can do at the level of pathways to concrete agreements? Miki has no answers, only pathways for thinking. Her own journey, along with others she is working with, remains incomplete while committed to a deeper and deeper willingness to look at what arises as we aim to liberate all of us, without exceptions.
Here are some of the questions that are currently active within the conversations Miki is engaged in with others to increase collective capacity to attend to these challenges:
- What can we do to grow our capacity to lean into trust and tenderness when conflicts in these areas arise, and what can be done systemically to anchor these possibilities?
- How do we anchor our vision of liberation for all in the flow of resources, information, and feedback?
- When decisions need to be made to change the flow, how can we make them in ways that make visible everyone’s needs; the impacts on all; and the resources that are often hidden because of power differences?
- How do we set up conflict systems that are able to attend to loss of trust sufficiently so that at least some of the time it can be restored, and, regardless, learning can happen?
In preparation and to support focus within the sessions, Miki asks that everyone planning to attend read pages 29-33 of her Organizational Systems Overview Learning Packet, which is available without a paywall. She is planning to take questions only within this area of focus.