A headnote from us: These days we are locating the people and projects we come across on our Roadmap. These contributions from Miki Kashtan are easily, and centrally located: she is speaking to point four, “Practice personhood” in the inner circle of the map — a ringside seat!
by Miki Kashtan
New to this blog? Read Miki’s Introduction to this series ‘All -in: fully committing to a life of nonviolence’ before getting started. Check in every other week on Mondays for a new commitment and practice for daily living. If you feel called, please comment on posts and engage with one another.
Risking my Significance:
Even when I am full of doubt, I want to offer myself in full to the world. If I find myself thinking that I am not important or that my actions are of no significance, I want to seek support to come back to my knowledge that my presence and my gifts matter.
Were you told, growing up, that you don’t really matter? Or were you ridiculed and laughed at for bringing yourself forward? Do you now find it unbearable to offer yourself to the world unless you know beyond any shred of doubt that what you have to offer will be well received? Because of this common legacy, taking the true risk of showing up fully with implicit inner trust without knowing that we are welcome, is likely a lifelong stretch.
So, why would we want to do it?
For me, it’s because of honoring life in all its forms, including each of our unique ways of being human; it’s because when we are aware that our actions have an effect on others, and honor our part in the sacredness of life, we are less likely to do harm.
What would it be like to throw yourself into the world in your fullness, to let go of whatever is holding you in place, safe and alone?
Being significant, mattering, means offering yourself, your beauty and your pain, your gifts and your challenges, the fullness of your human experience. It means recognizing that you are part of shaping what happens, everywhere you are, on any scale. It also means reclaiming your ability to celebrate and mourn, with complete abandon, the joys and pains of your life instead of hiding in isolation without ever asking for support. In these times, waiting for the perfect conditions before we step into playing an active part in life seems like a luxury. All of us are needed.
What would change in your life if you trusted that you matter? Here are some examples:
1) Make a pact with yourself to offer your ideas and gifts even when you don’t fully trust them. Make it concrete by choosing a certain number of times a day or a week that you commit to doing it.
2) Share your celebrations and mourning with people in your life. Expand and deepen with those you already do so, and add new people to the circle.
3) Reflect or journal on your experiences: how did you feel? In what way did your offering support the purpose for which you did it? How was it received? How did you respond to the way it was received? Also, track yourself over time to see if risking your significance gets easier with practice. If not, bring tenderness to whatever is holding you up from doing it with true willingness. Fully accepting that aspect of you can make it more possible that such willingness will find you over time.
About the author:
Miki Kashtan is a co-founder of Bay Area Nonviolent Communication (BayNVC). She is inspired by the role of visionary leadership in shaping a livable future, and works toward that vision by sharing the principles and practices of Nonviolent Communication through mediation, meeting facilitation, consulting, and training for organizations and for committed individuals. Miki blogs at the Fearless Heart. Her articles have appeared in Tikkun magazine (e.g.Wanting Fully Without Attachment), Waging Nonviolence (e.g. Pushing the powerful into a moral corner at India’s Barefoot College), Shareable, and elsewhere.
Update: Miki is hosting a 9 hour course on the “commitments” through NVC Academy beginning in March. There is a discount available for those who come to this course through the Metta Center, so we hope you do take advantage of this opportunity. For more information on this course visit this site.