Thursday, March 29, 2012

Some Thoughts on Good and Evil

by Miki Kashtan

Seriously, don't you wonder if anything can be written about this topic that hasn't already been said many times over? I did, too, until I encountered Nonviolent Communication while I was in graduate school pursuing a doctoral degree in sociology. I wasn't studying good and evil, at least I didn't think I was. I had no idea, at the time, that my interest in the relationship between reason and emotion was intertwined with the deepest and most perennial questions of human nature, hence with matters of good and evil which I had set aside for years.
I never liked the Medieval belief that human beings are innately evil, bad, or sinful, because I intuitively couldn't fathom why and how nature would give rise to sinful creatures. I also didn't ever find more satisfaction in the modern notions of "evil" such as the "selfish gene" evolutionary theory or the Freudian notions of an innate aggressive drive. Proponents of all such theories are hard-pressed to explain acts of true kindness, especially in the face of potential consequences, such as those who saved Jews during the Holocaust at risk to their own lives.
Like most people who balk at theories of sin, the only alternative I could come up with was to imagine human beings as being innately good. That, too, didn't fit the reality I saw. As a Jew growing up in Israel, the Holocaust was simply too vivid a memory, presenting too much evidence to the contrary to dismiss. I was left with too many unanswered questions whichever way I looked at the issues.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Postscript to Public Self-Revealing

by Miki Kashtan

Last week, I posted a very personal entry. I told about my inner process while it was still unfolding, not waiting for anything to settle so I could package it. Since the topic was vulnerability, my own path of it, I was at one and the same time being on my path and writing about it.

I got more views on this piece than just about any other previous post. I also got many comments, especially on my own blog (I am cross-posted on two other sites), and even a number of personal emails from friends and students. Overall, I was deeply nourished, by people near and far. In my state of confusion when I finished that piece, I didn’t have sufficient perspective to sense whether and how much of a contribution to others my writing on this topic would be. Now I know: it was, for many, a source of inspiration, or relief, a way to make more peace with their own humanity, or with mine, for that matter. I also received, pure and simple, expressions of love and affection, warmth, encouragement, and lots of tenderness.

I also found more to learn as I examined my responses to all that came. I got to notice what nourished me, what challenged me, what I could receive with grace, what was hard to digest, what I could let go of, and what I felt an urge to clear up.

I am human. All humans have a need to be seen for who they are. I, too, have that need. Considering how often I wasn’t seen, how often I was seen inaccurately, differently from how I see myself, I remain quite sensitive in this area.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Discovering New Frontiers on My Path

by Miki Kashtan

Over the many months of writing this blog, I have alluded often to having chosen vulnerability as a path of spiritual practice for myself, most recently when I wrote about the freedom of committing to a path. As I’ve been on this path for almost 16 years, I wasn’t expecting to be bumped back almost to the very beginning. This is precisely what happened to me over this past weekend as I was sorting out a painful reaction I had to something said about me.

In the past few weeks, I was exposed to quite a number of statements about me that took some effort to digest. I am grateful to years of practice that enabled me to go beyond old habitual ways of taking things personally. For the most part, I felt enormous tenderness toward the person who expressed these statements. Except for this one paragraph that kept spinning inside me. Every time I thought of it, I felt an inner cringe. I don’t like it when I am so preoccupied with something said about me; I feel less free, less open, less capable. I wanted to get relief, and I wanted to have more self-understanding why it was so hard to hear that under certain conditions of acute stress I was perceived as “unpleasant”. And so I brought it up in a conversation with my empathy buddy, fellow NVC trainer Francois Beausoleil.

What I got to after some poking around at the obvious, was the clearest way I’ve ever articulated one of the fundamental dilemmas of being me. The number of times people have difficulties in relation to me is quite high, and I have never been able to understand why. What I am aware of in terms of challenging behavior on my end doesn’t add up to the level of challenge people have expressed to me over the years. There’ve been times, sometimes lasting years, when I lived in debilitating despair about this. Since those days, I’ve developed a high degree of self-acceptance. I’ve also come to a place of much greater peace with the amount of pain and challenge that I experience in my life. Even so, I still experience bouts of acute pain and helplessness. What I became clear about in that conversation was that my internal response to the comprehension gap between my sense of myself and the amount of difficulty people have with me has been to believe - which I still do! - that only by being “perfect” in some elusive way in my social behavior will I be able to prevent the prevalent challenges that people have with me. This belief persists despite my knowing that “perfection” doesn’t exist; despite my knowing that it’s not in my power to affect other people’s reactions to me; and despite my deep self-acceptance. The result is that I put enormous pressure on myself in terms of how I act. During that period of stress when I was perceived as “unpleasant”, and at almost all other times, I strive to either be fully present despite the challenges in my life, or to be fully authentic about my inability to be present, and to ask for support so I can become present. What was so painful was to imagine that my stress “leaked” despite my valiant efforts to manage it with grace.

In this moment, as I am writing this, already calm about this situation, I am not surprised if this indeed happened. One of the areas of challenging behaviors on my end is precisely that I can become abrupt, even shrill in moments, when I am under a lot of stress and I am trying to make something happen. So, looking at it now, all it means is that it happened in some moments when I thought I was more present than I was. That’s only human. I can feel tender toward myself and toward others at the same time.

After my conversation with Francois, I went for a walk with a friend and shared with her my perception of the two ways that I could see myself contributing to difficulties people have with me. One is this behavior under stress, and the other is a certain kind of oblivion in terms of social wisdom, blind spots, lack of consciousness, which always surprise me when anyone points them out. They are always obvious after the fact, and I don’t catch them when they happen. I can so totally see how on the receiving end this can register as lack of care.

That was the point when the bigger surprise came. After listening to me, my friend, who’s known me for years, brought to my attention a third way in which interacting with me can be challenging. I hadn’t remembered that I often make it quite challenging for people to give me love and care unless it comes in “just so” forms which only few people ever find. While I have known this, and know where this protection originated in my childhood, I hadn’t until that day related it to my path of vulnerability. Suddenly, I saw the paradox: how could it be that after almost 16 years of being on that path it was still difficult for me to receive care in other forms than the precise ones that my organism favors? That’s when I understood that my path of vulnerability has been on my terms: I come out, by my volition, and “undefend” myself. I express myself and willingly accept consequences. This is only one side of vulnerability. I’ve not yet even begun exploring what cultivating receptive rather than volitional vulnerability would look like. I’ve had a couple of small experiences that have given me pointers to what this could be. One such experience showed me that this kind of vulnerability is about letting go of a certain kind of holding, allowing the world to “catch” me, and taking the risk that I might “fall” and there would be nothing to land on. A far greater risk to this organism than ridicule or lack of acceptance. It’s about stepping, once again and beyond infancy, into the experience of being at the mercy of others. It’s about a form of deep surrender I’ve only experienced fleetingly. Just as much as I wanted to reclaim my vulnerability when I started my path, I can almost feel the yearning to find my place, to rest in the grand scheme of things, to be part of, not so separate, not so alone.

Now, as I am wrapping up this piece, the confusion I so often have when I write about myself surfaces again. Why would anyone be interested in the intricacies of my inner life? How could this be of any meaning to anyone else? Would anyone judge me for this - as self-absorbed? Complicated? Wordy? And now I see that the journey, the new one, is beginning, because a new question arises: how can I open up to the possibility that some people may respond with love and appreciation? How can I allow myself to take it in, to enjoy it, to rest in it?

Incomplete, confused, raw, and so fully human, I place this piece and myself in your hands.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Resilience when Working for Change

by Miki Kashtan

I have often wondered why it is that there is so much strife and conflict in so many of the communities and movements I know of. This has been especially challenging to grasp when the groups I am talking about are generally committed to a vision of a peaceful world and the individuals in them aspire to personal integrity and compassion in their relationships.

I am very well aware I am not the only one wondering about this, and many have had things to say about it already. Some think of it as inevitable, part of human nature. Some think of communities as going through pre-determined phases. I find my heart sinking at these thoughts, because of my own deep sense of human dignity, and because I have so much faith in our capacity to transcend any static notion of who we are or how things must unfold.

Some others invoke centuries or millennia of practices of domination which have been passed from generation to generation through our education, through wars, through our governance and economic systems, and through the stories we tell ourselves about what it means to be human and how things should be. In this view, each of us is brought into this world and becomes part of these dynamics regardless of what, if anything, is our essential human nature. Tragic as this view is, I find it more palatable, more consistent with my own heart longings, because it leaves room for the possibility both that as individuals we can overcome our personal habits, and that as a species we might learn collectively how to create new systems, structures, and practices that will support us in interdependently engaging with others to create a world that works for all of us and the rest of the natural world.

Why We Want to Create Change
I don’t know why it took me so many years to ask the simple question I discovered today: why it is that any of us would work for change - either as personal growth or as our contribution to social transformation. Since I think of most everything through the lens of human needs, a part of the answer became immediately obvious to me: we work for change because our needs, on balance, are not met in how the world operates or in how our individual lives unfold. Anyone whose needs are mostly met is less likely to want to create change.

With this clarity came another: if our needs, on balance, are not met, that’s likely to mean that we have less resilience. Resilience, in the online English learners’ dictionary, is defined as “the ability to become strong, healthy, or successful again after something bad happens.” As a colleague once remarked, when our needs are often not met, any one experience of unmet needs can become unbearable, whereas if our needs are overall met, any one experience of unmet needs is much less significant.

The implication of this simple insight were unsettling. Could it really be that those of us who work for change are, in some ways at least, less resilient because our needs are less often met? If so, wouldn’t that be a reason why more things would appear to us as attacks, people slacking off, or the like; why more of the time we would feel afraid to say what’s on our mind because the weight of potentially not being received can be more debilitating; or why we would get angry easily when conflicts arise?

Young Haitian Soccer Players after Earthquake
Sources of Resilience
If, indeed, our lack of individual resilience is a contributing factor to the many challenges of working with others and trying to collaborate, then if we want to work for change we need to find sources of strength, activities, relationships, or other strategies that nourish our sense of well-being so that we can face situations with more presence. The possibilities are almost endless, and I would love to see a focused discussion in many circles about what can add to our resilience. To get started, here are some sources of resilience that I know have worked for me and others.

Solidarity: The experience of being in community with others who are experiencing the same hardship can be a source of immense support. Bell Hooks, among others, describes how segregation in many ways helped African Americans develop pride and resilience, because they developed an entire parallel society with many successful role models of business people, teachers etc., while integration has sapped both for many. Much would need to be explored about what conditions make this kind of togetherness supportive, and when the very issues of strife and conflict can interfere with the added resilience.

Gratitude: I have already written about how a practice of gratitude can provide immense fuel for life. After a year of consistent and daily gratitude practice, I find that I can now have immediate access to gratitude even in tough moments, and literally feel the increased resilience that arises spontaneously from tapping into gratitude.

Faith: As someone who lives without a god or higher power of any kind, I am well aware that people of faith often have much more capacity to withstand challenges and difficulties. God, or any other source of faith, is something to lean on, some profound heart assurance that a force exists that will bring about a longed-for outcome. For just one example, I imagine that for Martin Luther King, Jr. to say that the arc of history bends towards justice required faith. In the absence of a transcendent source of faith, my own relies on human dignity, on our ability to transcend circumstances, on the grandeur of our spirit. I aim to cultivate and deepen my faith, so I can lean on it more in times of great challenge, especially when I feel helpless and in despair in the face of the immensity of human cruelty or lack of care that I so often perceive in the world.

Spiritual Practice: If conflict involves temporary or longer-term loss of empathy, compassion, generosity, or care for self or others, this means that those capacities get most “tested” in those times when others (or ourselves in many cases) act in ways that don’t work for us. This has led me to recognize that we can increase our resilience by embracing a consistent spiritual practice that strengthens our ability to withstand unmet needs, so can access choice in how to respond to those difficult moments.

Vision: I wish so much that we lived, already, in the world of my dreams, a world without coercion, based on willingness and generosity, trust and sufficiency; where enough needs are met for everyone that violence becomes a thing of the past. For now, that vision in itself becomes a source of strength for me. I have found, repeatedly, that clarity of vision sustains my energy even in difficult circumstances. As I am reminded of possibility, my passion rekindles, and I find more capacity to accept the obstacles along the way.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Pushing the powerful into a moral corner at India’s Barefoot College

by Miki Kashtan

One of the challenges that nonviolent campaigns face is how to engage those in power. Whether it be the British officials, as in Gandhi’s case, or the 1 percent, as for the Occupy movement—seeing and appealing to the humanity of those whose actions we oppose is central to practicing nonviolence.

While I have known this for years, it wasn’t until a recent trip to India, where I visited an unusual school created for the poor called Barefoot College, that I learned in full just how far this principle goes and began to wonder how we might practice it in a place like North America. Read Full Article on Waging Nonviolence.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Abusive Relationships and Nonviolence

by Miki Kashtan
“If we could read the secret history of our enemies we should find in each man’s life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility.” -- Longfellow
Recently I received an email from someone I will call Julie in which she expressed her profound reservations about two of the seventeen core commitments that form the basis of the Consciousness Transformation Community and which to me describe the foundation of a consciousness of nonviolence. Here is the text of these two:
Assumption of Innocence: even when others’ actions or words make no sense to me or frighten me, I want to assume a need-based human intention behind them. If I find myself attributing ulterior motives or analyzing others’ actions, I want to seek support to ground myself in the clarity that every human action is an attempt to meet needs no different from my own.
Resolving Conflicts: even when I have many obstacles to connecting with someone, I want to make myself available to work out issues between us with support from others. If I find myself giving up on someone, I want to seek support to remember the magic of dialogue and entrust myself to the process of healing and reconciliation to restore connection.
Julie’s struggle stems from her experience of having been in an abusive relationship for years that she barely managed to leave. Her deep concern is that for her and others in similar situations focusing on the “Assumption of Innocence,” which directs attention to the needs behind the other person’s actions, can interfere with having sufficient clarity to leave. As she says: “It may seem that all you need to do is connect to your own needs and you would leave, however, it is a complicated dynamic … and sadly enough your own needs are not important enough to consider that option. Being able to see his needs behind his actions is one of the factors that kept me in that relationship.” Instead, the turning point for her was coming to an understanding that he was trying to control her, which provided her sufficient clarity to leave. She is, accordingly, left with a big worry about the safety of people in abusive relationships were they to take on practicing the commitments.
Julie’s concerns are some of the most delicate challenges to a nonviolent approach to life. In the painful intimacy of a relationship, what exactly would a nonviolent response be? Is it possible to love someone, have compassionate understanding for their choices, see their human beauty despite their harmful actions, and still make a clear choice to leave? How can we incorporate into this framework compassionate understanding of the extraordinary suffering of people like Julie which leaves them unable to stand up for their needs? When someone like Julie is potentially at risk for loss of life, as is the case in many such relationships (a risk which, when physical violence is present, often increases upon leaving), who can even begin to offer suggestions about what she could do?
And so, I tread lightly, without knowing, grateful to Julie for her willingness to examine these questions in her own life and present the dilemma so vulnerably and plainly.
Accepting Our Limitations
What first comes to mind is simply tenderness; a soft and spacious embracing of the difficulty, of the not knowing; an acceptance of human fallibility, in this case her earlier inability to attend to her own needs. Indeed, the very first commitment in the sequence is “Openness to Myself,” which I see as foundational to any path we may be on. The path towards nonviolence begins with self. It’s about noticing, without judgment or resentment, that she didn’t have sufficient internal resources and resilience to break free of this relationship on the power of self-love alone. Noticing and accepting. Noticing and accepting. Learning self-acceptance is essential for any of us that want to be able to make different choices. This also calls for tenderness toward the judgments.
Imagining a Different Response
At some point, with conscious practice, and with some grace, we might get to a place where we can truly release any internal pressure of the form “I should have known to do it back then.” Then, and only then, Julie can visualize what it would have looked like to leave her ex with both her dignity and her love for him intact. Is it humanly possible? I can certainly imagine it. Is it likely? Sadly, no. I met a woman who saved herself from being killed by a man who broke into her apartment after he killed several other women in her town. When he began to hit her she engaged with him. The kinds of things she said to him completely astonished me; I would never have thought of them. Throughout the entire episode she was shouting at him to notice who she was and to remember that she is not the one oppressing his people. She kept telling him she wanted him to be able to live and make something of his life. At different moments she asked him to stop for a while and he did. In the end he left her bruised, with some broken bones, and fully alive.
I can’t think of many of us who could have pulled this off. I don’t truly believe I would be able to. Some people find such stories intimidating or overwhelming. I still find solace and inspiration from knowing that at least one woman was able to do it. Such stories give me energy to keep going, knowing I may never get where I want to do.
Compassion with Decisive Action
Compassion is often seen as an obstacle to decisive action. The thought tends to be that if we care about something and understand their needs, we won’t take clear action to honor our own needs. I see compassion differently, as an insurance policy of sorts. When I am equipped with compassion, my actions are motivated by care for everyone’s needs. Knowing this allows me to trust that my action will not be harmful to the other person, because I hold them with care.
Julie’s insight provides a key understanding for why so many, especially women, don’t leave relationships that are harmful to them. What kept Julie in place is the combination of not taking her own needs seriously and confusing compassion for his needs with a willingness to tolerate his actions.
What I am able to imagine is having Julie, or someone else in her position, wake up to the fullness of her own humanity, to the trust that she mattered in the world, and to the realization that no amount of seeing someone’s fundamental human innocence would mean putting up with more of his harmful behavior. That Julie or others have not found a path to this response doesn’t change the in-principle possibility of it happening.
And I loop back to acceptance. I want soft tenderness for Julie, for all the women and men who have walked out of such difficult situations however they managed to do it, and for all the women and men who are still trapped within such relationships, unable to find enough self-love, or support, or clarity, to make a move.
Engaging with People who Have Harmed us
Julie’s other concern relates to the commitment to “Resolving Conflicts.” Given that her former partner’s actions and strategies have not changed since she managed to leave him, she cannot see any way to engage in dialogue with him to work out issues. “It would be like putting my hand in a pan full of boiling water,” she wrote. Just as much as she couldn’t find a way to walk away with love and open-heart towards both herself and her ex, she is not -- or not yet! -- finding a way to engage with him.
You may ask, and many do: “But why would she want to?” This is the place where nonviolence shines with its deepest spiritual implications. I believe it was Gandhi, or perhaps MLK, who said that the first person that benefits from nonviolence is the person who practices it. For as long as I have to protect myself from something in order to maintain my emotional equilibrium, I know that I haven’t fully healed.
I recognize the existence of those places in me, I understand in most cases where they came from, and I know that my first and foremost task is to tenderly embrace that this is where I am. None of us can move further than our internal capacity to stretch. I want to honor that at the same time as recognizing that where I am may not be where I ultimately want to be for my own benefit. This is not about being a virtuous person.
It is about knowing that the road to full freedom takes me through fully embracing tenderly and engaging with the person whose actions so terrify me, provided I do it in a way that assures both of our well-being. Sometimes this assurance is not feasible. In cases where physical violence has occurred, no contact may well be the only path to physical safety for both people, at least for a while, at least until there is confidence that the other person has recovered their own humanity sufficiently to not inflict harm on others. Under such circumstances, it’s only inside my heart that I want to reach out and drop the protection, make myself fully available. If I ever get there, I will become invincible, regardless of outcome.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Power, Collaboration, and Control

by Miki Kashtan
Many years ago I was embroiled in a very complex legal battle with a landlord. A big part of the challenge for me was that both the landlord and the partner I was living with at the time had been trained as lawyers, and I was quite alienated from the language and mindset of the interactions. I was female, inexperienced in landlord disputes, and with zero knowledge of the law. My partner, in addition to being a lawyer, was also male and had won a lawsuit against a previous landlord. In strategizing how to respond, we both loved the idea of challenging the power structure inherent in these differences. In our conversation, we came to a creative conclusion that we would both gain a lot of learning and stretching if we entrusted the process to me.

And then I called a meeting to discuss our options and next steps. Right away, my partner corrected my strategy and ideas several times within the first few minutes, and I became so overwhelmed and frustrated that I gave up. To his huge credit, he didn’t accept my resignation, and pushed me to engage further, so we could learn and understand what was going on. As my sense of defeat started to melt, I learned a profound lesson about power: if I was going to be empowered and entrusted, my partner would have to be willing for things to not happen the way he thought was the only right way to do it. He could not both hold the power and give it to me at the same time. He stepped back, followed me, and soon started enjoying the process. Eventually, I led us to a successful mediated outcome.

I can now look back and have tremendous compassion for his initial reaction. He knew the law; he was used to being in charge of such events; he had clear ideas about how it would all unfold; and he was a man, and hence implicitly accustomed to having women follow rather than lead. Under such circumstances, and without conscious and deliberate choice to do otherwise, I completely understand how hugely difficult it would be to sit and watch me do what must have looked to him like a potential strategic disaster.

The Urge to Control
This past week, I conducted a teleseminar called “Why Is Collaboration Difficult?” (which was recorded, in case you want to listen). One person sent me a comment about his theory of what makes collaboration so challenging, namely
what he referred to as “the attempt to control based on fear of a flawed outcome.” This is precisely what was so challenging for my then partner.

Having been in a position of less power in relation to him and subsequently finding myself in positions of power and leadership in so many places and ways, I can now see the situation from both sides. I have written before about the dilemma of having power in a piece entitled “Power and Humility.” There is no question in my mind that the willingness to risk an outcome that’s different from what we want is essential for the possibility of collaboration, despite the potential consequences. It’s not about giving up on what we want; it’s only about the willingness to consider a different outcome. That willingness is what allows us to open up to hear others, to see their point of view, to consider other possibilities, to shift at times, and to speak about what we want without insisting on it happening. All of these are fundamental building blocks of the process of collaboration.

Responding to People in Power
As much power as any of us have, true and ongoing collaboration does not depend only on our actions. I can’t imagine that any of us can sustain, indefinitely, the effort of doing all the work on our own to remove barriers to collaboration. I want to also explore the mirror obstacles that those who respond to people in power add to the mix.

I can no longer count the number of times that I have been seen through the lens of interpreting me as attempting to control others. Considering how committed I am to learning about power, to receiving feedback, to reflecting on the ways that my use of power in my small sphere of influence may adversely affect others, and to incorporating changes in my actions whenever I see possibilities for that -- I find it painfully ironic.

Even so, I am thoroughly open to the possibility that perhaps much more often than I am willing to imagine I fall into the trap of accepting others’ implicit deference to me, and thus get my way even when I have no interest in imposing it; even when I am truly open to a different outcome. I am also open to the possibility of there being other ways that I exercise power inadvertently, without seeing it.

And yet…

I imagine that I am not the only one who is thus seen. I particularly imagine that women in positions of leadership are especially prone to such perceptions, since our leadership and power are still so new and are often not accepted, fully, by either men or women.

And so, if many of us are seen this way, then, perhaps, there is something partly amiss in the seeing. I am worried about our collective ability to collaborate when so many people in power are seen as attempting to control, without at the same time receiving the compassion that I now have for my long-ago partner, or for myself in my own struggles about such instances, or for many others who exercise power in their sphere of influence, however large or small.

I don’t believe the saying that power corrupts. Coming into power does not create the fundamental desire to have things be our way; it only provides access to resources that make it possible to do so. In the process, extraordinary harm can be done to others, sometimes millions of others. Whatever our sphere of influence, and whatever our vision or personal goals, our power gives us access to extra resources, and thus can multiply both our benefit and our harm. There is no substitute for meticulous attention to the effects of our actions. I see it as an enormous challenge to come into power and live its attendant responsibility without creating harm.

At the same time, putting all the responsibility on the person in power makes it less likely that the learning, attention, and care will actually happen. A critical piece that is often overlooked is the “corrupting” effect of having power and being deprived of empathy, compassion, and understanding for the immense challenges that come with power and responsibility; having power and being seen as attempting to control without acknowledgment of the endemic urges for control shared by so many, with or without power; or having power and having people defer so successfully that the person in power sometimes has no way of knowing until the damage is done.

Unless we all do the work of transcending the endemic either/or paradigm, we will continue to miss out on the exhilarating possibilities to collaborate deeply, to engage with power and learn together, and to give and receive honest and caring feedback across power differences. Feedback will sometimes mean a personal conversation in which we let the people in power know the effects of their actions. Sometimes it will mean putting in place structures that set limits to the harming potential of people in power. And sometimes feedback takes the form of nonviolent resistance, when harm is done and no other way of providing feedback and preventing harm exists. Whichever form it takes, the function is critical for power to be a form of service and stewardship rather than an avenue for personal gain or unilateral visioning at the expense of others.

My dream in this area is that we provide a radically different legacy and understanding of power and collaboration to future generations than what we have received. In this legacy power can be increased and shared, those in power can be loved and supported and share their power with others without fear, those with less power can find more power to lovingly engage with those in power, and all of us can embrace the uncompromising commitment to make things work for all.