Vision Mobilisation

NGL’s Vision Mobilization Structure

We have lots of acronyms within NGL (itself an acronym!). One of them is that we refer to the Vision Mobilization framework, as well as the Vision Mobilization structure as “VM.” At this time, our own VM (structure) is incomplete even as our knowledge and learning about the VM (framework and application) has been growing and deepening since it became fully articulated in 2020, and many of us see the entire NGL framework as hanging from within the VM itself.

Here are the parts that we currently have. Below, more about where we are and what comes next.

Vision

A large and thriving globally interconnected group of people seeding the path towards a world in which we all value people and life and participate in a flow of generosity; a world where sharing our gifts and the mundane tasks of life are both done with wholehearted willingness, free of coercion; a world where attending to everyone’s needs is the organizing principle

A large and thriving globally interconnected group of people seeding the path towards a world in which we all value people and life and participate in a flow of generosity; a world where sharing our gifts and the mundane tasks of life are both done with wholehearted willingness, free of coercion; a world where attending to everyone’s needs is the organizing principle

In order to close the gap between current global crises and a fully interdependent way of living we start with having the clearest, most radical and far-reaching picture of where we want to go.

Within NGL, our vision has remained the same as it was when we started, though many of us feel the need to update it after all the learning we’ve had and the new capacities we have developed.

NGL Values

The gap we see around us is also within us, internalized in each of us. When any of us, as individuals or groups, want to increase capacity to do our work, we lean on our values to pull us towards vision internally.

The gap we see around us is also within us, internalized in each of us. When any of us, as individuals or groups, want to increase capacity to do our work, we lean on our values to pull us towards vision internally.

Within NGL, we went through an Advice Process (explained here) to discern these values which was completed in November 2021.

Each of the values contains within it several principles which you can see by clicking on the ‘+’ sign.

Trust in life as moving toward flow, togetherness, and choice with all we have and know to do and entrusting the outcome to the mystery of how life unfolds
      1. When we notice ourselves slipping into patterns of scarcity, separation, and powerlessness, we use practices that support us to realign with trust in life to increase our capacity to function in line with our vision. 
      2. We only do what is within wholehearted willingness and capacity and we leave voids instead of forcing anything to happen, to support us in opening to the mystery of life’s unfolding and realigning with flow.
      3. We anchor our work in ongoing celebrations related to purpose, values, and relationships, even and especially when we are in the midst of challenging circumstances or conflict to deepen our capacity to relate to mystery.
      4. We integrate reverence and play into our work and draw on our vision so we can infuse mundane tasks with a sense of purpose and care for life.  
      5. We embrace a gift-economy approach to resource generation and distribution as a fast track to liberation from scarcity, the deepest root of patriarchy, by stretching both our willingness to give unilaterally and our willingness to receive unilaterally.
      6. We orient to releasing attachment to outcome in order to soften constriction within us and to increase our capacity to trust mystery and to function beyond predict and control mechanisms.
      7. We establish teams with sufficient trust within them that they can focus on purpose without needing to put significant energy into attending to conflict to support us in creating optimal conditions for experimenting outside the patriarchal field.
      8. We prioritize the flow of material resources to maintaining vital functions as steps towards consciously restoring interdependence and the maternal gift economy.
      9. We rigorously put our needs on the table, make impacts on us visible, and offer what resources we have while honoring capacity limits, in order to strengthen our field of interdependence. 
Humility as surrendering to the limitations of our individual and collective capacity, opening to the unknown without forcing anything
      1. We acknowledge and tenderly hold together our individual and collective strengths, limitations, and capacity limits to bring us closer together, to reduce the amount of energy that goes into hiding or fighting our limitations, and to accelerate our liberation.
      2. We mourn the gaps we find between our capacity and the commitments that arise from our vision in order to release energy and to increase our capacity to move softly towards closing the gaps in all ways we know.
      3. We engage consciously and tenderly in capacity-building when challenges arise in order to move from survival mode and putting out fires into preparing for the long haul of our work.
      4. We focus on collective capacity when individual capacity is strained to allow creativity to emerge and to subvert ingrained patterns of self-sufficiency.
      5. We actively seek feedback from and offer feedback to people with different viewpoints to support us in shifting our attachment to thinking that we know and in being able to accurately assess collective capacity. 
      6. We share our wisdom and work with humility, caring for the integrity of our vision without implying that others are wrong or should agree with us, to support us in connecting across differences and in increasing our own learning and our capacity to reach others.
Courage as choosing to take action that risks our significance, in alignment with purpose and within care for the whole, even when we are in the grip of patriarchal conditioning
      1. We distribute responsibility for sensing and attending to needs as they emerge, without waiting for permission or request from anyone, in order to increase empowerment, entrustment, and collective capacity.
      2. We ask for support whenever we notice a self-sufficiency or separation pattern in relation to our needs, limitations, or liberation edges as a path to actively challenge and shift internalized patriarchy. 
      3. We make transparent all information about the actions we take and the decisions we make that are relevant to our values and purpose to nurture collective awareness of how we are continually aligning with our vision.
      4. We draw from vision and togetherness to untether from patriarchal norms and structures, release our attachment to comfort and safety, and forge new pathways for living in flow, togetherness, and choice.
      5. To strengthen our capacity to risk our significance with nonreactive discernment, we ground all our actions in purpose, liberation, and tenderness towards our own and each other’s capacity limitations.
Truth as rigorously integrating new information about needs, impacts, and resources, embracing every bit of experimentation, even when it brings discomfort, as a pathway of liberation that realigns us with life at all levels
      1. We anchor purpose and values behaviorally to support our focus on experiments with truth that bridge gaps between our vision and present reality.
      2. We engage in integrating internal and systemic transformation to make our work congruent, to anchor our teaching in practice, and to ground our understanding of systems within our experience.
      3. We maintain the generative tension inherent in focusing on both radical vision and practical applicability to make our work relevant rather than simply idealistic.
      4. We take steps to assess our capacity as accurately as possible, without overstretching, to support us in working out solutions and taking bold action based on optimizing how to move available resources to known needs with the fewest known unwanted impacts.
      5. We speak truth with care for self and others to build the foundation necessary for the rigorous practices of individual and collective liberation.
      6. We orient to building ongoing usable feedback into every aspect of our learning and functioning to support progressive iteration towards more alignment with purpose and values.
      7. We engage with conflict in full, within capacity, and with support, to make visible the gaps in capacity in ourselves and in others and create pathways to learning and liberation.  
      8. We focus on creating the material conditions for collective untethering from patriarchy, to support us in gaining insight into the patriarchal field that can feed our experimenting with and discovering new pathways to liberation.
Love as opening our hearts to everyone’s mattering, leaning into togetherness, orienting to full giving and receiving, and drawing from shared purpose in times of conflict
      1. We rely on trust in the power of shared purpose and on deep alignment with purpose and values as the ground from which togetherness and belonging emerge. 
      2. We orient to taking in the care that others have for us and giving to others with full abandon as a path to increasing our collective capacity to restore the web of interdependence that binds us together with all of life. 
      3. We approach conflict as information for learning about individual and collective limitations and about closing systemic gaps, in order to turn it into a pathway for liberation that is fully consistent with attending to purpose.
      4. We orient with curiosity to divergences in the field and to co-holding dilemmas in times of challenge to create sufficient togetherness for activating collective wisdom and finding integrative solutions.
      5. We focus on collective capacity rather than individual capacity, especially in times of conflict, to counter harsh judgments and to bring us closer to each other in compassion for our limits. 
      6. We integrate task orientation with relationship orientation rather than prioritizing either doing or connecting to increase collective capacity to maintain togetherness while attending to purpose. 
      7. We co-hold the discernment about how to apply principles that are within areas of divergence to soften the field and bring us closer to embodying the principles together.
      8. We collaborate in design and decision-making in ways that care for resource availability and capacity to keep our work sustainable while expanding the field of wisdom.
      9. We attend to the relational field before and while giving feedback to care for the collective gap in capacity to ground in our mattering and to support people to take in feedback as information about our collective field and capacity.
      10. We ground ourselves in reverence for our own life, self-love, and trust in our own mattering, to more easily find the courage necessary to walk towards togetherness and full giving even when others are oriented differently.
Leadership as an orientation of serving life, bringing tenderness to engaging with power differences, and coalescing our collective capacity

1. We accept with reverence the depth of unknownness about turning around the patriarchal field and what leadership is needed to meet that challenge in order to grow capacity to hold tenderness and care for us and others as leaders. 

2. We integrate the paradox of collaborative leadership (neither telling others what to do nor shying away from taking a stand as leaders) to grow our muscles for conscious choice about leadership and use of power.

3. We shift our orientation to see it as part of our leadership service to pull fields together and catch others’ patterns of disempowerment (such as saying yes when it’s not a full yes), to support our own and others’ capacity for acting from non-reactive discernment.

4. We engage in creating rigorous, visionary, and gentle systemic agreements for how to offer support and orient to leadership in the following three overlapping areas to bring to the table everyone’s power regardless of their social location, structural position, and internalized patriarchal conditioning.

a. Having sufficient support in place for those who have stepped into holding responsibility for something so they can stay within capacity and keep growing in their capacity to care for the whole, including attending to the impacts of their own power

b. Having sufficient support in place for everyone to be able to orient towards leaders, especially emerging leaders, in ways that encourage and challenge leaders with infinite tenderness so as to make leadership sustainable

c. Having sufficient support for those who haven’t yet stepped into leadership – overall or in a specific area – to antidote the depth of internalization we all carry and to find capacity and willingness to take active steps towards initiative and responsibility 

5. We orient to maintaining as much flexibility as possible to support flow and creativity and as much structure as necessary to attend to purpose and stay within capacity, to give us room for experimentation with sufficient support and anchoring to increase capacity over time.

6. We connect the what and the why to give us strength to take initiative without waiting for others to figure it out and give us tasks.

7. We lean into shared responsibility for the whole and attend to vital functions as part of our participation in any project to reframe leadership so it includes the material plane which reintegrates the mind/body split and reweaves interdependence. 

8. We include ourselves as part of the whole that we care for to help us bring our full humanity into our leadership and to eliminate the either/or between caring for others and caring for ourselves.

9. We orient to and seek feedback about how we are caring for needs, impacts, and shared purpose instead of focusing on goals and outcomes as a way to ground our leadership in care for life.

10. As leaders, we rely on decision-making practices that aim to hold all needs and to integrate dissent within capacity and purpose, to increase trust, creativity, and togetherness within the whole.

NGL Purpose

To integrate nonviolence into the fabric of human life through ongoing live experiments with truth focused on individual and collective liberation

To integrate nonviolence into the fabric of human life through ongoing live experiments with truth focused on individual and collective liberation

For any of us, individually or within groups, our purpose is what is ours to do in relation to the huge gap that we are perceiving; our own way of contributing to the possibility of a vision coming into reality. We aim to do no more than is ours to do, so we stay within capacity and mourn the rest. We aim to do no less, so that we are fully engaged and mobilized within capacity.

Some of us have found solace through remembering these words by poet and Vietnam veteran Ted Sexauer:

I am not responsible for the movement of the Earth
       only what I can handle
       what I can take in
       is the right amount

Within NGL, we went through an Advice Process (explained here) to discern our purpose, which was completed in June 2020.

We have significant documentation about what each part of the purpose means and what we learned from the process. You can find it here.

NGL Mission

The mission is what we do to attend to our purpose. In an advice process done in early 2024, we have distilled what we do into three elements that intertwine with each other. To see examples of what we do within each of these elements, click on the number next to the mission element, and the text will expand to include examples.

1. Engaging in conscious, active, and iterative experimentation in ways of living and functioning that restore capacity to realign humanity with life

We experiment with just about everything that is part of human life. These are conscious, live, active experiments with truth that examine specific questions in relation to where we want to learn more about how to move closer and closer to vision. Here are some examples:

 

    • Visiting family of origin. Some people want to “untwist” the patriarchal conditioning of their families, and the experiment is about that; others may want to see how they can stay in integrity when visiting their family given that untwisting is not within capacity.

    • Impact sharing. We are still continually trying things out in relation to impact sharing: How much structure do we put around the practice before it becomes rigid? Under what conditions does it make sense to do impact digestion before impact sharing? What thresholds of impacts make sense to have relative to purpose?

    • The Financial Gift Hub (FGH). The most comprehensive experiment within NGL, unfolding iteratively since NGL started. As we are aiming to prototype a global maternal gift economy, how we ask for, receive, and distribute money is an endless and astonishing experiencing of baby steps getting us to very radical outcomes. You can read more about it here.

    • Applying NGL systems within an organization. We have been doing a lot of experimenting with how we apply and how we share what we have learned: How aligned with vision would an organization need to be before bringing into it what we have developed will pull it further towards vision? How much support is needed for whoever is doing the work to prevent the work from being reabsorbed into mainstream functioning?

    • Untwisting male/female training. A growing number of people within NGL are engaging in active experimentation in relation to liberation from male training and female training. An example of an investigation is to what extent the empowerment that comes from liberation from female training can support women in being able to engage with and offer feedback to men on their male training. 
2. Caring for the web of nodes that is NGL as a whole so we can function regeneratively and coherently

We consider the work of caring for the web of nodes essential, vital, and sacred. One of our experiments since 2022 has been about that in itself: how to put the work of sustaining NGL front and center and subvert the common practice of putting at the center of resources distribution those whose contributions are visible or who generate more resources. Within NGL, we prioritize those who tend to vital functions, for example, whenever possible when distributing financial resources. While this is a major experiment, caring for the web is also an endless array of tasks, projects, things to track, relationships to sustain, and more – all done within an orientation of integrating movement towards purpose with staying within capacity. Here are some examples:

 

    • Establishing new experimentation nodes and sites. Experimentation nodes are the specific groupings of people who take on the experiments: temporary project teams, ongoing teams, individuals who take on an experiment and are supported by others, and even NGL as a whole. Experimentation sites are simply where experiments happen. There may be more than one experiment in one site and there may be more than one site where a node experiments. For example, the Mycelium Experiment is an experimentation node that includes about 15 adults and a few children with the intention of building a land-based community in the coming years. As of early 2024, this node has several experimentation sites (places in Catalunya, Germany, and Turkey).

    • Stewarding the Experiment with Truth template. Did we already say we are doing experiments all the time? We have developed a template to support any node who takes on an experiment to know what the experiment is about, what the points of experimentation are, how to assess capacity for the experiment, how to evaluate an experiment, and how to harvest and document the learning that invariably happens. This template, in itself, is work in progress and needs people to hold it, update it when new learning arises, and support people in learning to use it.

    • Holding community calls. We are an online global community spread over five continents, with dozens of very active people contributing to what we do and a few hundred that are connected to us as friends and supporters. We have several dozen teams (which are only a small fraction of our picture of what it would actually take for NGL to function optimally and tend to the very large purpose we have taken on). One of the ways we connect and share information is through periodic community calls, scheduled and held, as needed, by whichever team wants to share information with others within NGL.

    • Attending to vital functions. There is just about endless work that is necessary to keep us going as an online community. There are many examples, including doing legal research about how our radical experimentation and ways of functioning interfaces with the world as it is; tending to our technical infrastructure; and tending to our Financial Gift Hub, which includes the entire cycle of inviting people within NGL to make financial requests, asking people to gift us money, deciding how to distribute it, and tracking all the moves related to that until everyone receives the gifts that will sustain them.

    • Stewarding the NGL Vision Mobilization structure. The project to create the mission text that you are reading right now is an example of this type of activity: the mission is part of NGL’s VM, and updating it is part of stewarding the VM. At present, with the completion of this project, what we have left to complete a full and up to date version of the VM is three projects: reviewing and revising our vision, getting clear on our theory of change, and organizing all of NGL’s systems into the systems tracker that was developed in 2023.

    • Maintaining NGL’s systems. Given that we are an experimental community, very little stays the same over time. How we do feedback now is very different from how we did it early on in NGL’s life. As of early 2024, our Financial Gift Hub feels solid enough that we are beginning to organize a new gift hub that is about human capacity, addressing the deep question of how we each decide where we put our life energy in relation to the many needs that exist within NGL. This is where caring for the web of nodes can also, simultaneously, blend into a new experiment in design.
3. Applying and sharing the learning from our experiments outside NGL

Most people know us primarily through what we offer to the world. Not as many know that much of what we now offer is the fruit of all our experimentation and is, often, also experimental in nature. That said, we already have quite a bit of experience, and much of how we do the applying and sharing is already quite stable within what was previously experimental frameworks. We have modes of operating that are quite integrated and robustly held, such as doing everything within teams and not alone and offering everything we do as a gift and inviting people to gift to us. Here are some of the ways that we apply and share what we have learned through our experiments, many of which started long ago with Miki as an individual node:

 

    • Public offerings about the NGL framework. These include introductions to the NGL framework, courses in the area of NVC for Liberation, VM courses, Convergent Facilitation workshops and coaching calls, guided practice spaces, Miki’s courses within the NVC Academy, coaching calls for activists, and more.

    • Case studies about our work. As of early 2024, the only case studies that are available are about the use of Convergent Facilitation, and we are slowly working our way to having more of them available about different aspects of our work and about our experimentation.

    • Learning packets. Miki has been writing and compiling dozens of learning packets that make the results of experimentation available for anyone to learn. These include everything from the most internal processes of individual liberation to blueprints for local to global collaboration. As of early 2024, forty three packets are available and nine more are in the process of being completed.

    • Supporting organizations, communities, and individuals. Beyond specific experiments, we also do sharing and applying that are straightforward and not very experimental. We have offered what we have learned to a number of organizations, several communities, and many individuals over the years of our existence. We engage in processes such as coaching, facilitation, and training, as well as holding larger projects of system building and VM support at all these levels.

It is one of our goals for everyone and every team within NGL to engage in all three elements of our mission. Participating in the community that we have created tends to take the form of deep engagement which is also an unusual feature of how we function. We are invited to give and receive feedback, engage with conflict, participate in advice processes, and share updates in addition to all else we are doing.

Given our purpose, we function overall as one big experiment: our hope is that none of what we do replicates how things are usually done, so that we can move ever closer to our vision. At the same time, only some experiments are active at any given moment. We recognize a rhythm of  an area settling for a while into a temporary flow and being integrated, and then coming into focus again when an active experiment in that area begins. In this way, the same activity can be in one or another mission element at different times. For more information about this, click here.

The Rest of Our VM

Within our overall evolution, we only began to articulate the VM as one whole framework at the start of 2020. Adopting and adapting it to our own circumstances is a significant change. For a community of several dozen active people and about 350 more at varying levels of engagement aiming to function in a distributed way, such change is slow. It becomes even more complex when we are functioning with a few significant conflicts and divergences, valiantly aiming to find our way through them and continue to attend to our purpose with the most amount of togetherness we can co-create. We’ve simply not yet been able to fully integrate the VM into our own functioning.

Our next two pieces to focus on within the VM are revising our vision and our theory of change.

Nonviolent Global Liberation Community