NGL Principles

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. We increase our capacity to function in line with our vision by using practices that support us to realign with trust in life when we notice ourselves slipping into patterns of scarcity, separation, and powerlessness.

          2. When only that happens which is within wholehearted willingness and we leave voids instead of forcing anything to happen, we open to the mystery of life’s unfolding and realign with flow.

          3. We deepen our capacity to relate to mystery by anchoring 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.

          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. Releasing attachment to outcome softens constriction within us and increases our capacity to trust mystery and to function beyond predict and control mechanisms.

          7. We create optimal conditions for experimenting outside the patriarchal field by establishing teams with sufficient trust within them that they can focus on purpose without needing to put significant energy into attending to conflict that arises from the intensity of the mistrust field within patriarchal conditioning.


… as surrendering to the limitations of our individual and collective capacity, opening to the unknown without forcing anything

8. Acknowledging and tenderly holding together our individual and collective capacity limitations accelerates our liberation by bringing us closer and reducing the amount of energy that goes into hiding or fighting our limitations.

9. Mourning the gaps we find between our capacity and the commitments that arise from our vision releases energy and increases our capacity to move softly towards closing the gaps in all ways we know.

10. Engaging consciously and tenderly in capacity-building when challenges arise moves us from survival mode and putting out fires into preparing for the long haul of our work.

11. Focusing on collective capacity when individual capacity is strained allows creativity to emerge and subverts ingrained patterns of self-sufficiency.

12. Actively seeking feedback from and offering feedback to people with different viewpoints shifts our attachment to thinking that we know and supports us in being able to accurately assess collective capacity.

13. When 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, we are more likely to connect across differences and increase both our own learning and our capacity to reach others.


… 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

14. We increase empowerment and entrustment, and thus collective capacity, by distributing responsibility for sensing and attending to needs as they emerge, without waiting for permission or request from anyone.


15. We actively challenge and shift internalized patriarchy by asking for support whenever we notice a self-sufficiency or separation pattern in relation to our needs, limitations, or liberation edges.


16. We nurture alignment with our vision by making transparent all information about the actions we take and the decisions we make that are relevant to our values and purpose.

17. 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.


18. 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.


… 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

19. We anchor purpose and values behaviorally to support our focus on experiments with truth that bridge gaps between our vision and present reality.

20. When we engage in integrating internal and systemic transformation we make our work congruent, we anchor our teaching in practice, and we ground our understanding of systems within our experience.

21. Maintaining the generative tension inherent in focusing on both radical vision and practical applicability makes our work relevant rather than simply idealistic.

22. When we accurately assess our capacity, without overstretching, we can work out solutions and take bold action based on optimizing how to move available resources to known needs, with the fewest known unwanted impacts.

23. We speak truth with care for self and others to build the foundation necessary for the rigorous practices of individual and collective liberation.

24. Having ongoing usable feedback built into every aspect of our learning and functioning supports progressive iteration towards more alignment with purpose and values.

25. Engaging with conflict in full, within capacity, and with support, makes visible the gaps in capacity in ourselves and in others and creates pathways to learning and liberation.

26. When we create the material conditions for collective untethering from patriarchy, we gain insight into the patriarchal field that feeds into experimenting with and discovering new pathways to liberation.


… 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

27. 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.


28. When we fully take in the care that others have for us and give to others with full abandon, we increase our collective capacity to restore the web of interdependence that binds us together with all of life.


29. By approaching conflict as information for learning about individual and collective limitations and about closing systemic gaps, we turn it into a pathway for liberation that is fully consistent with attending to purpose.

30. When we orient with curiosity to divergences in the field and co-hold dilemmas in times of challenge, we create sufficient togetherness to activate collective wisdom and find integrative solutions.

31. Focusing on collective capacity rather than individual capacity, especially in times of conflict, counters harsh judgments and brings us closer to each other in compassion for our limits.


32. Integrating task orientation with relationship orientation serves as a deep counter-narrative to the patriarchal focus on doing and to the oppositional stance of prioritizing relationship above doing and increases collective capacity to maintain togetherness.


33. Co-holding the discernment about how to apply principles that are within areas of divergence can support the softening of the field and bring us closer to embodying the principles together.


34. We collaborate in design and decision-making in ways that care for resource availability and capacity as a sustainable path to expanding the field of wisdom.


35. When we attend to the relational field before delivering feedback, we care for the collective gap in capacity to ground in our mattering and increase the chances that people will take in feedback as information about our collective field and capacity.


36. When we ground ourselves in reverence for our own life, self-love, and trust in our own mattering, we more easily find the courage necessary to walk towards togetherness and full giving even when others are oriented differently.


…as an orientation of serving life, bringing tenderness to engaging with power differences, and coalescing our collective capacity

37. By integrating the paradox of collaborative leadership (neither directing others nor shying away from taking a stand as leaders) we grow our muscles for conscious choice about leadership and use of power.

38. Given the particular collective low capacity within humanity about leadership and power differences, having rigorous agreements to anchor our liberation perspective in relation to leadership supports us collectively in pulling forwards from patriarchal conditioning towards vision without requiring any individual to function beyond capacity.

39. Having rigorous, visionary, and gentle systemic agreements in terms of how to offer support and orient to leadership in the following three overlapping areas brings to the table everyone’s power regardless of their social location or structural position.

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

40. Having as much flexibility as possible to support flow and creativity and as much structure as necessary to attend to purpose and stay within capacity, gives us room for experimentation with sufficient support and anchoring to increase capacity over time.


41. Being able to connect the what and the why gives us strength to take initiative without waiting for others to figure it out and give us tasks.


42. Including ourselves as part of the whole that we care for helps us bring our full humanity into our leadership and eliminates the either/or between caring for others and ourselves.

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

44. Embracing gratitude as caring for the source of what we receive and the energy it took to give to us and to others enables us to support leaders in a regenerative way.

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

Nonviolent Global Liberation Community