Making Life Work

with Miki Kashtan

Who This Course is For

With dedication to practice and support from others, you can begin to participate in creating the world so many of us long for, a world that honors and seeks to meet the needs of everyone, that welcomes each person’s truth, that rests on faith that solutions can be found to the most challenging problems facing us, individually and collectively.

Progress starts with your willingness to risk opening to yourself in a new way: to your deepest longings, to the hearts of those who are frighteningly “other,” to the uncertainty of life without the absolutes of “right” and “wrong,” “good” and “bad.” The more people who join you in taking the first step, the nearer this world becomes.

If you can say “yes” to any of the points below, then this course is definitely for you:

  • You know there’s more to life than the next promotion, “making it”, or having the latest gadget
  • You have a great desire to live a life of meaning and have been wondering how you can start
  • You feel a longing to have more authenticity and openness in your life, everywhere, and your efforts so far have not met your hopes
  • You are concerned about what’s happening in the world and feel overwhelmed by how little it seems you can do, starting where you are

Course Description

We all know, somewhere, that a different world is possible, a world that honors and seeks to meet the needs of everyone, that welcomes each person’s truth, that rests on faith that solutions can be found to the most challenging problems facing us, individually and collectively. In the challenging times in which we live, many of us barely dare dream of this world.

In this 6-part course, Miki Kashtan shows with astonishing clarity how, with dedication and support from others, you can begin to integrate principles and practices that move you in the direction of making this dream a reality, starting with your own life, exactly where you are.

This course invites you to risk opening to yourself in new ways, and to engage deeply with the following:

  • seeing the full humanity of each person, regardless of their actions;
  • holding with care our own actions even when we are unhappy with the results;
  • staying in dialogue until a solution is found that works for all;
  • embracing the uncertainty of life without the absolutes of “right” and “wrong,” “good” and “bad.”

In this way, you can be part of the awakening of a new consciousness embedded in all areas of life. By steeping in both the “why” and the “how,” you will learn, in addition to a new way of seeing yourself and others, new capacities to create a world that truly works for everyone. The more people who join you in taking the first step, the nearer this world becomes.

Course Curriculum

Part 1 – Needs: Making Transformation Possible

To make change without re-creating the old paradigm of separation, scarcity, and powerlessness, we need a new lens through which to see ourselves and others. As we learn to focus on a radically new awareness of human needs, we discover the possibility of more meaningful relationships and practical solutions that honor everyone.

The purpose of this session is to awaken your understanding of human needs as the root of life and to introduce practices that will allow you to change how you choose what you do and how you respond to life. You’ll learn:

  • to distinguish between needs and strategies and why that matters
  • to identify the core needs that motivate any particular action – yours or others’
  • to embrace your needs, regardless of the outcome, as a way to expand choice and freedom
  • to move beyond judgments of self and others into a compassionate and courageous way of relating

Part 2 – Choice: From Reaction to Conscious Response

Attending to the needs of everyone in a relationship or conflict rests on the ability to keep our hearts open – even when another’s words or actions are deeply upsetting to us.

The purpose of this session is to replace habitual reactions – such as anger, withdrawal, or placating others at high cost to yourself – with conscious choice about how you would like to respond in each moment. As you reclaim your power of choice, you’ll learn:

  • to identify your own reactions and how to create more inner space
  • to make full contact with your needs and the needs of others in a given situation
  • to name clearly what you want to choose given the known needs

Part 3 – Empathy: Connecting with Others without Losing Yourself

Empathy is a critical capacity that enlarges our understanding of ourselves and others and awakens compassion where there was once judgment and separation. This allows us to bridge seemingly insurmountable gaps and obstacles, and move forward together with others even in difficult circumstances.

The purpose of this session is to begin to cultivate this transformative capacity, as well as to help you connect the choice of empathy to the purpose you’re hoping to achieve. You’ll learn:

  • to find presence and resources to respond empathically
  • to bring together mind, heart, body and imagination in the service of empathic connection
  • to express empathy in both words and actions
  • to attend to your own well-being while being available to others

Part 4 – Authenticity: Expressing Truth with Care

Expressing our own simple truth is foundational to creating a world in which human connections, institutions and decision-making structures are grounded in trust and the flow of good will.

The purpose of this session is to break loose of the painful either/or about speaking truth and caring about others. You’ll learn:

  • to identify your clear intention for saying what you want to say
  • to take full ownership of your experience
  • to find the most relevant part of your experience to express that would fit the context and reach the other’s heart
  • to express your care explicitly even when you directly oppose what another wants

Part 5 – Requests: Asking for All We Want

If we want to create change – whether in our personal lives, our workplaces, or our societal institutions – we need the courage and clarity to ask for what we want so that our vision can be realized.

The purpose of this session is to help you understand and overcome the challenges that block you from making requests. Then you can ask for what you want with clarity and boldness while remaining open to dialogue. You’ll learn:

  • how the sense of mattering is related to asking
  • to support the freedom for the other to say “no”
  • to want fully without attachment
  • to tie requests to needs, and why that matters

Part 6 – Collaboration: Finding Solutions That Work for All

The practical manifestation of a consciousness that prioritizes human needs is the exciting emergence of collaboratively created, real solutions that address the needs of everyone.

The purpose of this session is to discover your own obstacles to collaboration, to open to the core principle of true collaboration (the surfacing and shared holding of everyone’s needs), and to integrate concrete practices to deepen your capacity to collaborate. You’ll learn:

  • to find the way forward from needs to solutions
  • to craft solutions by engaging in dialogue and playful search
  • to hear and say an authentic “yes” and an open-hearted “no”

Community of Practice

Though Making Life Work is a self-study course, moving through the modules stimulates questions, enthusiasm and insights which you may want to share and discuss with others. We find this work to be revolutionary, to stir up and disrupt the habitual ways we have of relating to the world and ourselves. The Community of Practice provides a place for this shared learning.

This space is an invitation to engage in community discussions evolving from our exploration of the 6 modules, to share ideas for Principle-based Teaching, and to find friends and resonance.

The self study course is based in an external social technology service, and you will be invited to sign up as you get started with the course.

The Fearless Heart

This course is a resource of The Fearless Heart, Miki Kashtan's blog and materials project.

  • Here is a link to the Making Life Work page on The Fearless Heart website, where you can read more about this project.
  • Here is a link to the The Fearless Heart website where you can find many other materials, resources, and blogs:

Your Instructor

Miki Kashtan
Miki Kashtan

Miki Kashtan is an international teacher, creator of Convergent Facilitation, and author of three books, the latest being Reweaving Our Human Fabric: Working Together to Create a Nonviolent Future. She hopes this website will offer you tools and ideas for creating a world in which all of us thrive.

Get started now!

Gift Economy

We are offering this course as a gift to all participants. We are willing, in principle, to walk away without receiving any money. It would be a hardship, and still we are completely open to it, because we are dedicated to living this way. We are also inviting each of you to move from a market-based approach to a needs-based approach for choosing how much you will give. This often results in discomfort for many people, in different ways, depending on our access to resources and depending on how far down the path of liberation from scarcity and separation we have already walked.

To operate within the paradigm of needs requires you knowing our needs, too. We have invested a great deal of resources into this project, probably more than $35,000 over a few years, and there will be ongoing costs to maintain this platform and the contents. We are a small non-profit, and we are very much hoping to at least recover these costs. Ideally, we would like this project to support our ongoing sustainability.

Even knowing this is not enough, because it is impossible to quantify it into any guideline for you individually about how much to give. What might help you is to know that if, on average, everyone who gets this course gives $25, then we would need 1,400 participants to cover the costs. If each person gives, on average, $100, then 350 participants would be enough.

It is ultimately your own choice, and this is how we want it to be. In choosing, please consider the following questions: How much do you want to support us in continuing to do this work? How much is it possible for you to give without hardship to yourself? What kind of world do you want to live in through this choice? Do all you can to ask these questions instead of the familiar one. We trust you will appreciate the process if you commit to it.

What you want to give may be more or less than what you are able to give. Please give us the lower of those two amounts. Even if this is zero.

Please note that if you are choosing to give more than $25, any amount over $25 will be tax-deductible and will support us in continuing to offer this course to anyone, even those without any access to money, and to continue to develop similar content in the future.

Thank you!