May 16, 2015



This newsletter is the first one that is entirely dedicated to telling you about how my gift experiment is going and announces only events that are offered as a gift. That in itself is a huge gift already - that there are enough of them and enough of an experiment to write about. My loose intention is to alternate the focus of the newsletter every other month.


More and more, I am learning just how far what I am trying to create is from the habitual way of dealing with money. It makes it vividly clear to me that I am asking for a lot from people in engaging in this experiment, and, also, that the road to a world of collaborative sharing of resources takes us also deeply into our own consciousness, each of us; not only into designing systems and processes that invite a more collaborative framework.


Not too long ago I read a critical analysis of the US political system that drove home to me even more than ever that everything in our current system - including, in particular, our economic structures, our electoral processes, and the system of checks and balances - are completely based on the unexamined assumption that every single one of us is wired to only care about our own interests or those of our family or group, narrowly defined. Our systems are neither grounded in nor do they invite behavior that emerges from caring for others and the whole.


I am now convinced that each of us carries this assumption within us as part of our implicit view of human nature. Views of human nature are not just philosophical ideas; they are also guides to action - they tell us what to trust or not, how to relate or not, and what actions to take or not based on who we are with, what the nature of the relationship is, and what we believe about ourselves, the other person, and therefore what's possible in this interaction.


This is what those of us who are aiming to shift towards a gift economy are up against.


The gift economy is based on the assumption that human beings will gravitate towards collaborative stewarding of resources held in common. 


Gift economies vary in their specifics. For example, some passionate advocates of gift economies believe in a 100% focus on giving and cultivating faith that resources to sustain the givers will arise through the natural flow of life. Others, like myself, believe in the power of asking for needed resources to provide sufficient information within the overall system to direct resources accurately to where they are needed. Either way, the core element of gift economies is an uncoupling of giving from receiving.


This uncoupling is exceedingly challenging for a modern consciousness, raised in an exchange-based economy, to settle into. I see this challenge during my in-person gifted events. My intention is for these events, which have drawn, so far, 95 and 130 people, respectively, to be 100% pure gifts, sustained by the Circle of Support. Unconditional giving from me to workshop participants and unconditional giving from circle members, who are mostly a separate group of people, to me. Unconditional receiving by workshop participants and unconditional receiving by me. I am jubilant about how different this model is from business as usual, and I am also so conscious of how challenging it is. 


Were I to open up to receiving money at the event, I do not trust that those giving it would truly participate in the unconditional receiving I am trying to encourage. So I simply say "no" to any money offered there.


Several hundred people have so far availed themselves of the gifts I am providing. I hope many more will join as the experiments continue. Below In this newsletter you will find information about both in-person and phone-based opportunities to participate.


A few dozen people have so far joined the Circle of Support which makes possible the free offer of some events. My long term goal continues to be offering all of my public events as gifts sustained by regular monthly contributors to the Circle of Support. My goal for this year is to increase the total monthly contribution to the Circle of Support from the $1,535 that it is now to $2,500 per month by the end of December. If I reach that goal, it is my intention to offer the West Coast Leveraging Your Influence program next year as a pure gift instead of a semi-gift (more on that next time I send this newsletter). Please consider joining. The people who are part of the circle have expressed immense joy at knowing they are supporting such a bold and unusual experiment.


You can find out more about my upcoming gifted offerings below. You can also read my latest blog post about my reflections on life in Israel based on my recent visit there, called Flying Home from Home. Lastly, click here to read the happenings since I left for my almost two-months of travel in Europe and Israel, including what I did in Europe, my writing, work I did in Israel, an addition to BayNVC's staff, and some upcoming celebrations. This and more, here.


I am finishing this newsletter during a week in between two trips. As hectic as this sounds, I am sitting here with a sense of immense gratitude. Life never stops or becomes predictable. I am feeling expansive in this moment, aware of being in a period where some new and unexpected opportunities are opening up for the unfolding of sharing these gifts where people are ready for them. I know it won't last; nothing does. I am savoring it while it's here. 


In hope and peace,


Miki Kashtan


Images: all from flickr unaltered on CC license, from top: Life is Sharing by Alan Levine. Give and share by Denise Carbonell.  Invest in Sharing by Jonathan McIntosh (found painted on the sidewalk in New York City in 2007.) 


Facing Privilege Conference Calls 
Thursday, June 11, 10:00-11:30am PT
Saturday July 18, 4:00-5:30pm PT

A series of free monthly calls at different times to accommodate a variety of people. These calls will provide an opportunity for people to engage with themselves and with others on the deep questions that arise as we reflect on the question of privilege. Register here.


The Fearless Heart 
Monthly calls. The next two are:
Sunday, June 21, 10:30am-12:00pm PT
Monday, June 22, 5:30pm-7:00pm PT

Join Miki and other readers of her blog to discuss whatever she has been writing about there. The Fearless Heart blends theory, deep spiritual wisdom, vulnerable sharing of personal insights and experiences, radical vision, and practical tips for everyday living. This series is free.  More info here.

Sunday August 30, 10:00am-5:00pm 
The Humanist Hall, Oakland

When we do manage to ask for what we want, we rarely tell people why it's important to us, and we often make demands out of fear of hearing a "no." The focus of this workshop is on learning how to ask for what we want, remain open to "no", and maintain the connection with the other. Save the date for Miki's next FREE daylong workshop. Registration will open in June.  


 Read Miki's Books
Reweaving Our Human Fabric  


Imagine: A future world in which we all value people and life and participate in a flow of generosity. 

In her new bookMiki weaves together vivid social science fiction stories that bring that world to life with compelling nonfiction about how to get there. 


Read three of the stories for free, starting here!


Start a book reading group and give copies to the group. OK, you do have to buy them first, but at 40% off for 5 or more from us

Request for support
IT person for PC laptop support
Miki writes: I am in need of technical support on a small, ongoing basis. It would need to be someone who is very knowledgeable about PC laptops, truly knows the ins and outs of the system and how to configure it and troubleshoot odd phenomena. That person may also be asked to do various other techy things in support of other functions within BayNVC. If you have such skills and are open to offering them at a reduced rate, please contact