Miki Kashtan’s Leveraging Your Influence program is designed to integrate the three dimensions of nonviolence – love, truth, and courage – and weave them deeply into the fabric of our daily lives and beyond. It’s about sharing a radical vision and using practical tools to move toward it.
Miki has offered LYI as a Bay Area-based year-long program since 2012, and this is the last cycle she plans to lead before passing the torch to her co-facilitator, Aya Caspi. The vision and practices we explore in 2016 will draw from everything Miki has learned over the years.
The Vision: Power + Love = A New World
The vision of Leveraging Your Influence is to accelerate the transition to a nonviolent world where people collaborate to attend to everyone’s needs and to create social systems that work for all. This course is an invitation to commit to love, truth, and courage as the foundation and organizing principles of our relationships and work in the world.
When we make this commitment, we follow in the footsteps of Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr., becoming channels for nonviolent social transformation. And we start to lose our fear of being powerful, because we see how we can steward power with fierce love for all – starting with our own individual lives.
The Practice: Embodying NVC Principles Everywhere
To “leverage your influence” is to increase your ca pacity to apply this commitment in any context: home, work, organizations, institutions, and communities. The LYI program focuses on practical ways to narrow the gap between where we are and where we want to be, both individually and beyond, so we can begin to take steps towards the world of our dreams.
- We practice speaking and acting on NVC principles – combining truth with care and aiming for solutions that work for all involved – in ways that feel spontaneous, authentic, and effective, using natural language and keeping an eye on our context.
- Our meetings together become learning labs, where we use challenges emerging there in the room as opportunities to stretch beyond our ‘comfort zone’ and put principles into practice.
- We aim to broaden and deepen our influence, asking, “How can we live nonviolence so fully that all the people we meet each day are affected by its profound gifts?”
- We are invited to take heart, lean on each other, step into greater trust of self and others, and join together in what Joanna Macy calls “The Great Turning.”
Do you want to be a part of that?
Our Key Questions
This course explores questions that define a historic crossroads:
- How can we bring compassion to the immense challenges now facing the world and all of us?
- What happened to each of us that reinforces separation, scarcity, and powerlessness?
- What can we each do, where we are, to move in the direction of our vision?
- How do we reintegrate love with power?
- How can we train ourselves to stretch enough to make changes without stretching so far that we snap?
- What support will sustain us as we move away from business as usual?
- How can we care fully and passionately for others’ needs alongside our own?
- How do we learn about the power differences that divide our societies so as to respond to them with love, courage, and truth?
If you have years of experience with Nonviolent Communication, you are likely to find surprising new ways of looking at the meaning of the work. If you are entirely new, this is your opportunity to immerse yourself in principles and practices that can make all the difference to you and to life on this planet.
About the Trainers
Miki Kashtan is Lead Collaboration Consultant at the Center for Efficient Collaboration and a co-founder of Bay Area Nonviolent Communication (BayNVC). 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, consulting, 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.
Aya Caspi: As in previous years, Miki is joined by Aya Caspi, who will co-hold the program with Miki and lead the afternoon sessions. Aya is a CNVC-certified trainer whose teachings focus on supporting people’s growth and empowerment and helping them become holders of the whole.
Miki says about Aya:
Aya brings to this work a level of commitment to aligning her actions with her values that often stuns me. This is one of the cornerstones of everything we do in LYI, and seeing someone investigate so thoroughly how to apply this – to her parenting, to her own sharing of NVC with others, to what it means to be human in these times, and, most especially to how we reclaim our lost capacity for doing interdependence – is about as satisfying as it gets when mentoring an upcoming leader.
The program starts on January 9 and continues with monthly day-long sessions through December. Between sessions, we invite you to do additional individual work and to take part in buddy calls/meetings, group calls/meetings, and other activities that participants co-create.
Monthly Meeting Dates: Jan 9, Feb 14, Mar 12, Apr 17, May 15, Jun 12, July 24, Aug 28, Sep 18, Oct 9, Nov 13, Dec 18: (1 day per month, a Saturdays or Sundays, 10am – 6pm)
Structure of the day
10am-1pm: Learning and engaging with Miki on a monthly topic
1pm-2pm: Lunch break
2pm-3pm: Small group work: empathy, coaching, and Facilitation Track (see below) meetings
3pm-6pm: Practice and integration with Aya
Materials we work with: At the beginning of the year, each participant receives a handout of 200+ pages with reference materials, articles and links to blog posts, and journals and worksheets. A reading list and a monthly meeting agenda are sent before each meeting.
Although there is a general plan for each day, we put great emphasis on following the threads of the moment, using what people bring and what happens in the group in real-time for learning and growth relevant to the theme of the day.
Individuals with special interest in leading groups and organizations collaboratively – as well as those who simply want to experience an additional dimension of this course – are invited to register for the Facilitation Track. During lunchtime meetings, and for an hour afterwards, Miki shares insights about the visionary leadership that she models. This is a chance to get coaching, tips, and advice on how to balance the commitment to holding everyone’s needs with the commitment to efficient, effective, and purposeful engagement.
Facilitation Track participants often have opportunities to apply what they are learning by facilitating activities during the main sessions, leading small groups, offering support to others in the course during and in between sessions, and participating in designing the sessions. This level of involvement and service offers a way to deepen the co-creative learning experience and to practice the living interdependence of NVC.
We hope to work with a group of people who feel passionate about this vision, and who are ready to commit to doing the work necessary – within themselves and with others – to take concrete steps toward a new way of living.
We are also asking for a high degree of commitment to the program schedule. Keeping in mind that things come up in life (especially when planning 12 months in advance) we hope that if you join us you can make this program a top priority, so that only serious conflicts would prevent you from attending monthly sessions, setting up buddy calls, or completing follow-up exercises between meetings.
If you are drawn to this path, we invite you to attend the first session, January 9, before committing to the whole year. Please read on for more details.
Leveraging Your Influence operates on a semi-gift-economy basis. In a true gift economy, we would offer this program as a gift, asking nothing in return from the recipients. The semi-gift model means that we ask participants to help sustain this program by making voluntary financial contributions of any amount they choose, taking into consideration everyone’s needs – their own, other participants’, and BayNVC’s.
We have had some incredible conversations about money during LYI. We have broken the taboos and worked with the shame that so many of us have about money, and connected around the shared purpose of finding ways for everyone to participate, for BayNVC to thrive, and for this program in particular to be sustainable. We have provided complete transparency about BayNVC’s functioning and The Fearless Heart’s budget, including Miki’s personal salary. And many individuals have stepped into much more openness and honesty about money than they may have experienced anywhere else.
In 2016 we are continuing with this tradition and adding to it, moving closer to the vision of a full gift economy that Miki in particular is aiming for. This will mean even more uncoupling of giving from receiving than in previous years. We anticipate rich conversations and plan on providing more specific details in January. The crux of this experiment is that we want each person to have freedom to contribute any amount, including nothing, and we also want each person to include everyone’s needs in their decision, in keeping with the principles we are aiming to give life to.
Here’s how it all works:
- If you believe that you want to be part of this program, you fill out an application to register now, without commitment (see “Register” below).
- We ask that you contribute $400 upon registering. If you are unable to pay $400 up front, our system is set up to accept $100, though we hope you will provide a larger deposit if possible.
- If you decide not to continue with the program after January, you ask for a refund in the amount that makes sense to you, keeping at least $100 with us in support of our administration of the program.
- You decide the rest of your contribution during the program, after we have a chance to grapple with this topic together.
If you are called to join this community and have no funds at all to contribute, please get in touch (see “Contact” below) and we will talk with you with the aim of finding creative ways of including you. So far, we’ve been able to do that every year for all who contacted us.
Leveraging Your Influence is an unusual course, and we know from previous years that it’s hard to assess ahead of time whether this program’s design matches the kind of learning and growth you’re seeking. This year, we are trying to support this fit-finding process in two ways.
First, we’re offering the January session as a chance to feel for yourself what it’s like to be part of LYI before finalizing your commitment.
Second, we’re asking would-be participants to fill out an application questionnaire before registering. We aren’t looking for prerequisites of skill or experience, only for alignment between your purpose and ours.
Once you submit your thoughts, Aya will contact you to confirm your participation and complete your registration.
Questions? Please e-mail Aya, email@example.com
“I feel and see the benefits of participating in LYI and learning with Miki every single day, in the way that I relate to myself, and in the ways that I’m more empowered, loving, and a little more brave in the world. The way that Miki teaches and models visionary leadership, love and power in action, is a profound gift.” – U. L.
“There were things offered here on this retreat that I have found nowhere else and that may enable me to do things and have healing in myself, healing I have sought fruitlessly in other contexts for the better part of forty years.” – S.S.
“I love being in a community where everyone’s gifts are celebrated, where we have a chance to stretch in ways that fully bring us to life.” – R.W.
“This retreat contributed enormously to my personal growth but in a way that did not inadvertently emphasize a sense of separateness from the whole in the process. It modeled a collaborative power dynamic in its structure, ethos and teaching. And has given me great hope for the future, closure with the past – and greater ease in the present” – G.Q.
“I have become clearer about what I want and have stepped into my power to move towards my vision. I have connected with others and acquired many of the skills/resources needed.” – A.M.
“I found tremendous support in this workshop for my struggle to own my power and learn possibilities for using NVC consciousness. The activities offered for movement both emotional and physical complimented the lecture material and the demonstrations that Miki gave of how to hold everyone’s needs” – A.H.
“Pushed my comfort zone and altered my consciousness for the better! So grateful for such an enriching experience and all the profound wisdom Miki was able to convey to us. Mad some amazing new connections and looking forward to reentering the world with new tools, more love and new inspirations!” – S.M.
“I am so inspired and surprised to learn so many fine points of distinction of leadership and facilitation so unique to cultivating a nonviolent culture!” – H.H.
“Miki’s teaching and example of what’s possible for humanity offers beyond the expected, beyond the obvious to a world undiscovered that beckons us to reach for the moon.” – S.P
“What a powerful community of learning there is here to hold us in our efforts to step into true collaborative power. Thank you Miki for your facilitation and courageous leadership.” – A.S.
“I have concretized the hopes and changes NVC is making in my life. Pushing the limits of my understanding of non-violence and digging deeper and deeper to more courage and vulnerability.” – G.K. “An opportunity to rewire my heart and brain around expectations of freedom & possibility in vivo with a rare, gifted & passionate leader.” – K.W.
“Participating in LYI contributes to me in moving from feeling small (How can I ever make a difference) to, I matter; showing up makes a difference. I was born to contribute and I do.” – L.B.
“This is it! Those are the words that keep coming to mind. This is what I’ve been looking for.” – A.P.