September 12, 2015
A number of years ago I read a quote from Gandhi that really drove home to me how deep the commitment goes. Here are his words (changed for US-English spelling and gender inclusivity, and replacing two no-longer-used words with contemporary alternatives):
"Just as one must learn the art of killing in the training for violence, so one must learn the art of dying in the training for non-violence. Violence does not mean emancipation from fear, but discovering the means of combating the cause of fear. Non-violence, on the other hand, has no cause for fear. Devotees [votaries] of non-violence have to cultivate the capacity for sacrifice of the highest type in order to be free from fear. They do not mind [reck not] if they should lose their land, their wealth, their life. Those who have not overcome all fear cannot practice
ahimsa to perfection." 
Gandhi, All Men Are Brothers, p.110. ( The original is here, bottom of p.2.)
I have been reading this passage, quoting it, and thinking about it for quite a number of years. At first, I thought it extreme; too extreme, in fact, to serve any practical purpose for those, like me, who are working on the everyday nonviolence "campaign." Then something fell into place: the two words "to perfection" are key to understanding this form of training. 
What I now believe is that anywhere where we allow fear to drive our response we are not truly able to respond in a fully nonviolent way. Why? Because nonviolence can only emerge from full choice, which, most literally, resides in another part of the brain than the fight/flight/freeze system that is activated by fear. This is part of why I regularly teach workshops on inner freedom, which I see as the capacity to choose our response to life based on what we truly want rather than from a reactive place.
This is also why I always include courage as one of the three pillars of nonviolence, along with love and truth. Simply put, in order to speak truth with love, we need enormous courage. I was already on the path of vulnerability for years by the time I found this quote from Gandhi, and it helped me situate my practice in a larger frame that has given it even more meaning and has given me more motivation to continue to go in the opposite direction from the habitual protection that was my way of being for many years.
For many years, I applied this practice only in the context of personal and work relationships. I have come to a place now, on this path, where it no longer takes courage to be vulnerable, to speak the unprotected truth that lives inside me, except on rare occasions. In the more recent past, I have taken on new risks, growing my willingness (fairly high to begin with) to speak uncomfortable truths, to name what I see, to challenge the business-as-usual norms.
About two years ago, a set of conversations with an African-American woman I hold in high esteem challenged me to take new leaps in speaking about privilege in all its forms. I am including the topic more and more when I teach, regardless of what the topic is. Tragic events in the US have pushed me further, and I have committed to supporting others in learning to face their own privilege. Still, I stayed silent about the persistent conflict continuing to rage where I come from, in the Israel-Palestine field. I no longer am. Following my visit in Israel this past April, I wrote, for the first time, on topics that I had previously chosen to keep to myself. I can easily own it was fear. And I celebrate that it is no longer with me. In my most recent blog post, Empathy and Privilege in an Interdependent World, I am choosing to speak fully. In the course of the editing, I have been challenged by readers from both ends of the tightrope I am walking on, which, to me, includes always holding everyone's humanity in full.
I am excited to discover more capacity for choice in the midst of so much pain and hardship. It allows me greater confidence in the joyful project of inviting others into altering their relationship with fear. One of the playgrounds in which I experiment with this most fully is my Leveraging Your Influence offerings (more on that below). I am so excited about the possibilities that are unfolding with this growing clarity I have, that I decided to dedicate my next free workshop to this topic. It's called Leveraging Your Influence - Power + Love = A New World, and it's on November 8th. I very much hope many of you will choose to come and see for yourselves what your life could be if you chose to live it from within and take it as far as you can.
This is only one of the many things I am looking forward to in the coming months. You can read about them below - the Convergent Facilitation workshop, the newly scheduled workshop for people working with individuals who want to learn my methods, the upcoming Leveraging Your Influence retreat in the East Coast, and more.
You can also click here to read the happenings in the last month, including celebration of supporters, recent developments in my work, and more.
Next year, I hope to be able to offer the West Coast Leveraging Your Influence program as a pure gift. That will happen if the total monthly contribution to the Circle of Support increases from the $1,560 that it is now to my goal of $2,500 per month by the end of December. Please consider joining.
The last few days have been particularly hard for me. Last Sunday was the first anniversary of my sister Inbal's death. My other sister, Arnina, has been stuck in Europe with fairly intractable visa issues, and may not make it at all this year. I am grieving alone instead of with her and community (we canceled, for now, the anniversary gathering we had planned for that day). What sustains me in these times is the people who love me and nurture me personally; the amazing team assembled at BayNVC that is becoming more and more and more of an island of the future I want to live in; and the deep conviction that the work I am doing is meaningful and is part of what can help us turn the tide. I am looking forward to your companionship on the journey there. 
In hope and peace,
Miki Kashtan

Credits: "Gandhi 1929" by Vyankappa Kaushik (1890-1988), Counsic Brothers - (PEMG1929505003).  Brain image: By National Institutes of Health. 
Both licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons. 
Korean tightrope walker: "high wire" by hojusaram, Flickr, (CC BY-SA 2.0).
  In-Person Workshops and Retreat
Convergent Facilitation 
October 2-4, 2015, 10:00am - 5:00pm, San Francisco, CA

This is the process that enabled highly polarized politicians, lawyers and activists to come to agreement on new child custody legislation in MN. Every organization, and especially those with big issues and divergent views to resolve, and especially if they are short of time to resolve them, can benefit enormously from this process. 

The workshop is divided into two parts:
Day 1: Introduction to Convergent Facilitation - Open to all
Days 2 and 3: Building facilitation skills for transparency, efficiency and growing trust at every stage of the process - For those who have taken Day 1 or a previous Convergent Facilitation workshop

Information on the event, cost and financial aid, and registration. 
Leveraging Your Influence Retreat in New York State
Retreat Track: Friday, Oct 23 - Wednesday, Oct 28
Facilitation Track: Friday, Oct 23 - Thursday, Oct 29

The vision of Leveraging Your Influence is to accelerate the transition to a world where everyone's needs matter, by empowering individuals and groups to actively integrate three aspects of nonviolence - love, truth, and courage - into the fabric of our daily lives as the foundation and organizing principles of our relationships and work in the world. To 'leverage your influence' is to significantly increase your capacity to bring love, truth, and courage to any context: at home, work, in organizations, institutions and communities. Register here.
The Big Shift: Tools for facilitating personal liberation
November 7, 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
East Bay, CA. Location TBD.

If you work one-on-one with people - as coach, mentor, therapist, or otherwise - this workshop might just catapult your practice to a new level. Come learn from Miki as she shares tools of her trade in this rarely presented workshop. Register here.
Facing Privilege Conference Calls 
Friday, September 18, 4:00pm - 5:30pm

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 three are:
Sunday, Sept 13, 10:30am - 12:00pm PT
Thursday, Sept 17, 5:30pm-7:00pm PT
Monday, Oct 19, 12:00pm-1:30pm 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. Register once for all the seminars.
Collaboration in the Workplace 
Fridays, October 30, 2015 - May 6, 2016
12:00-2:00pm Pacific Time

Throughout this powerful 16-week telecourse with NVCA, Miki will accompany you as you move towards adding more collaboration and meaningful engagement to your days - wherever you work, in whichever position. Register at NVCA.

FREE PREVIEW: The Inside Job of Collaboration
Friday, October 9, 2015 * 12:30-1:45pm PDT. Register here.

A Leveraging Your Influence free workshop
Sunday, November 8, 10:00am-5:00pm 
The Humanist Hall, Oakland
Register here.

  Arnina Kashtan Workshop
Beyond Anger, Fear, Guilt & Shame - The Compass to Reliving Your True Self   
An in-depth 2-day intensive workshop by Arnina Kashtan
September 26-27

Miki's sister Arnina, presents this workshop on one of her rare visits from Israel. After years of deep exploration into Nonviolent Communication (NVC) and The Work of Byron Katie, Arnina has created her own process, called The Compass, which includes major elements from these modalities, Inner Child work, and much more. This workshop will be based on The Compass.