“I think the seat of nonviolent communication is a different picture of human nature.
Everything that we do is an attempt to meet basic needs that we all have…. and if you accept that premise, and you accept that in a natural state of choice and togetherness we are in the flow, and the flow includes constant giving and receiving all the time.”
Miki Kashtan has been integrating, sharing and developing nonviolent communication over the last few decades, working with groups and conflicts across the world. Her vision for a world where everyone’s needs matter, her experiments with creating community within gift economy, her detailed clear resources, and her ideas for pathways to a brighter future constantly inspire me, and especially in these times.
Here are a few quotes from Miki pulled from the resources listed below which have recently inspired me…
“When we are in the natural state, we are in flow of giving and receiving, constantly looking at, what are the needs that are there, what are the resources that are there, what are the impacts that would happen if we move things around this way or that way, and continually adapting and readjusting where resources are flowing. I believe that this is how all life works, not with conscious choice.“
“Life is the constant rearranging of everything, through an integration of all the volitions. And if you accept that everything has its own volition that doesn’t look like human volition. Everything alive has its own volition.
So if you’ve come out of that, then the whole thing falls apart, the whole choice togetherness and flow falls apart, and then you are stuck in a place where you can’t put your needs on the table, because it’s too vulnerable, so you put on the table principles and should’s and what is right and what is wrong etc; you can’t put impacts on you on the table because it’s too vulnerable, so you put blame and shame on the table; you cant put what are true available resources on the table so you put on the table principles of whats fair, who deserves what, how do we control resources.
So we are stuck in this place where we can’t easily flow all the time because of all these obstacles – the should’s, the blame, the shame, the deserve, the diagnosis, the control… all of that interferes with the natural flow, the togetherness and choice.“
“We want to know what are the needs that everyone involved has, and be able to accurately identify our needs separately from what we think everybody else should be doing. When I try to develop needs literacy I offer four basic needs to start from, if you don’t know what your need is, ask yourself if it’s one of these four…
Is the need physical, for physical sustenance, physical safety?
Is it in the arena of freedom?
Is it in the arena of connection?
Is it in the arena of meaning?
Every human need that ever existed will be in one of those four basic groups.
And then once all the needs are on the table, we need to know what is going on in terms of how are we going to address this… and this is where the resources will start moving from place to place. At the end of the individual piece that would need to be actual requests that are concrete on the material plane that involve me and or the other person mobilising resources to attend to the needs that have been named.
So this is why you will find almost every person who studied non violent communication talking about observations, feelings, needs and requests. And that’s kind of like a practice template. And for me, there’s a real concern about divorcing the practice template from the deeper meaning within which it operates and making it the whole… I was worried that people will think okay now I have to talk a certain way, which a lot of people think is – no it isn’t, it’s about redirecting your attention to what’s necessary to patch up the foundational disconnection that we live in.”
For more on Miki’s vision, alternative models of governance and resource flow, and possible pathways to transition, check the resources below…
- Miki’s ‘Fearless Heart’ website (full of amazing content, articles, videos, resources)
- Miki on Accidental Gods podcast
- Apart and Together blog series