An Instruction Manual for and About Dissenters

All of the tips I present here are based on what I have learned on my way to being able to survive, and often even thrive, as a “professional” outlier in the world.

Who Makes the Tough Calls in a Collaborative Organization?

"Do we have to involve everyone in every decision for it to be collaborative? ... Because if we do, I'm quitting my job." I hear different versions of this question all the time.

What Will We Do if Trump Is the Next President?

In response to the intensity of hatred and separation that I see coming from Trump and his supporters, I want to find a way to meet them in an entirely different way.

Strengthening Collaboration Through Encouraging Dissent

The first time I heard that groups thrive on dissent, I didn’t like the idea. This assumption didn’t change overnight. It was a slow process of seeing, again and again...

Experiments in Gift Economy, Part 2

I look at how experimenting with the full gift economy can only take place from a position of privilege, and what we can do to continue these experiments sustainably.

Experiments in Gift Economy (Part I)

We have been trained to mistrust anything offered freely... When I envision a full, global, functioning gift economy, I see an enormous and endless flow of generosity.

Crisscrossing Layers of Privilege

Why is it so much easier for so many people to say that they are "fortunate" than to say they are "privileged"?

Starting a New Year: Why I Embrace Discomfort

My freedom depends on my willingness to step outside my comfort zone – the habits and beliefs that have been ingrained in me through socialization and trauma.

NVC, Christianity, and Notions of Right and Wrong

Why would anyone want to leave behind notions of right and wrong when they exist in most versions of most religions as well as in other moral systems? Here are some reasons.

The Uneven Distribution of Violence and News

Which violence counts? It is as if the entire world is complicit in some unconscious belief that violence in some parts of the world is unavoidable, part of life, and therefore not important, and only some parts of the world, those that have managed to export violence elsewhere, those are the parts of the world about whose rare acts of violence news media speak.

Attending to Inner Conflict

When we have urges to do things that we know are not in our best interest, how can we engage within ourselves to find the freedom to attend to what IS in our best interest? When we have an idea about what we should do, and yet act differently, what meaning can we make of it?

What It Takes to Support a Conscious Disruptor

In a world in which exchange is the norm, letting go of any accounting, giving as much as I can, and asking for all I want, are radical acts. Every step of the way, I have encountered people who tell me what I am trying to do isn’t possible.

The Noncontroversial Essence: Bringing People Together

I explained to them that this - the finding of agreements on principles in the midst of disagreements on positions - was what we would do on the day we came together... This agreement at the heart of disagreement is based on identifying what I call the "noncontroversial essence."

Father, Daughter, and House: A Dialogue

In this post Miki Kashtan asks: How do we speak our truth authentically, and do it with care for the other person, letting them know how much we care? In this detailed example she helps a woman connect with her father over a difficult issue.

Honesty, Transparency, and Power

How far can we go in the direction of full honesty and still be protected within the shield surrounding our vulnerability? What do we gain – or lose – by stepping into more vulnerability?

Flying Home From Home (Part 2)

During the Combatants For Peace event, families from both sides speak their grief and tell their stories of loss, in all the wars, translated into Hebrew, Arabic, and English. Knowing that despite fierce and vicious criticism of this alternative ceremony there are more and more people who attend feeds my hope that there may yet be a collaborative future.

Flying Home from Home (Part 1)

In the eyes of many people in the US, Israel is, primarily, a local superpower that is making the lives of Palestinians a grinding daily misery. Only a marginal minority of Israeli Jews have a similar awareness

Moving Toward Collaboration: Lessons From the Field

It’s never failed to happen that people wake up and take note when I mention the basic set of questions the answer to which comprises a decision-making system: Who makes which decisions? Who provides input? Who hears about it? How and when are the decisions made?

Bethlehem: A Subjective Travelogue

My love of the capacity of the human spirit to transcend all odds soared as I munched on a traditional oven-baked lamb dish. Across from me sat one of Holy Land Trust’s core team members, telling me bits of his story of opening up to the vision that fuels the organization. As hard as it was to be there, it was also a tiny slice of what’s humanly possible.

Collaboration, Willingness, and Leadership

Certainly, those of us who want to put collaboration at the center of how we function are swimming upstream. What’s most needed, in my mind, is the empowerment of all to be able to express their needs and perspectives and, simultaneously, be interested in the needs and perspectives of others and in finding a solution that works for all.

Abundance, Inequality, Needs, and Privilege

I am immensely curious to understand the obstacles to having gift economy experiences be the norm rather than the exception. In this post, I am writing about one piece of this huge puzzle that fell into place for me: why the idea of “deserving” might have come into existence, and how it’s related to the difficulties in establishing gifting and collaboration.

Reflections on Collaborative Leadership

I continue to have complete conviction that change is possible, and to keep coming back to the same conclusion: what can get us to a new level of functioning as a species, where we can channel our enormous power to create and participate instead of consume and destroy, must include learning to collaborate with each other and within systems.

The Circle of Care, the Circle of Trust, and Nonviolence

As soon as we declare any one person or group not deserving of care, we instantly leave the world of nonviolence. It's all in the difference between believing that anyone is beyond the pale and believing everyone is included even while knowing that we cannot necessarily live into it.

Engaging With Privilege: A Personal Journey

If you want to cut to the chase in this post, go straight to the section called Talking about Race with Love. That’s where you will find the concrete lessons I have derived, especially about how a group that’s engaged in conversations about privilege without signing on to having them, can do so with love.

Responding to Violence with Love for All

In my position of privilege, I can write whatever I want about Ferguson, and I don’t risk losing a job, alienating people who can make my life miserable, or possibly even more imminent physical risks to my body. In this particular case I want to name, explicitly, that this piece is written for a white audience: I am offering one idea about what we, as white people, can do.

Why Personal Liberation Alone Won’t Be Enough

Many of us like to believe that individual transformation, if enough people engage in it, is enough. Others believe that if those in positions of power are reached, either through their own transformation or through mass nonviolent resistance, then change will take place. I don’t quite see how any of them will bring about structural change.

The Exacting Discipline of Choosing Based on Needs

I want to start with marveling at how far we are, collectively, from taking our needs seriously and making them a priority. Instead, we have been trained to view our needs as a sign of weakness or dependence, and as something bottomless that cannot be controlled.

The Canary as Leader

Although I couldn’t figure out how to move towards the kind of community I would most dearly want to have, with people living close by and being involved in each other’s lives, I did take one small step as the Shiva was winding down. I set up a weekly call with a small group of people who happened to be here at that time.

Loss, Empty Space, and Community

"The period of sitting Shiva, the Jewish custom of gathering community for seven days after someone dies, is over. I am now ready to slowly emerge into the next phase of my life, and writing about this period is a small step in that direction."

Leadership, Separation, and Vulnerability: Snippets

It is a myth that says only some of us can lead, and everyone else must only follow, not think for themselves, not participate in shaping a collective future, from the personal to the global. And yes, if everyone were this empowered, we would have to restructure our social and political arrangements, and that’s precisely what I believe is needed for our species to survive.