About Vika

 

(Click here for a list of some of Vika’s clients.)

 

 

Vika Miller, MA  is a visionary, educator, speaker, and relationship alchemist who’s been reconnecting people to their authentic values and power — and to each other — for more than 30 years.

Although Thriving Life has been a lifelong vision for her, it had a long gestation.  While doing her graduate work in Economic Development and Social Policy at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey Institute, at age 24 Vika was invited to join a solopreneur as an (at that time very low-tech) IT specialist and statistician.

Three years later, at 27, Vika became Vice President of Operations for that behavioral healthcare evaluation consulting firm, directing all company functions except marketing and accounting. The company then grew from 3 to more than 35 employees, serving more than 300 programs for over 70 clients nationwide.  Her tenure came to a close when the company was sold to its largest client. (Vika declined the offer to work for that corporation.)

Vika also served as a partner in a Minneapolis, MN consulting firm specializing in collaboration facilitation of multi-sector partnerships among health and human service organizations.  In that role she facilitated the Minnesota Head Start Association’s strategic planning process for 3 consecutive biennia, and guided two statewide associations in resolving a 13-year-old conflict, resulting in an effective political alliance between them that immediately generated significant increased state funding to key programs.

When Vika first encountered Nonviolent/Compassionate Communication (NVC) in the late 90s, she recognized that it provided key missing elements that needed to reside at the foundation of every aspect of her personal and professional life.

Vika has been integrating her unique “Thriving Life” approach to NVC into her work for more than 20 years, has taught NVC to residents at Oregon State Penitentiary and Columbia River Correctional Institution, and has been delighted to integrate the latest findings in Relational Neuroscience and Attachment Theory into her offerings, creating a remarkably effective curriculum that’s been celebrated by experts across many fields.

She’s proud to be a former Executive Director of the Oregon Prison Project.

Vika’s down-to-earth work creates immediate, dramatic results, and is available through her videos and blogs, interactive seminars and practice groups, relationship coaching, and business development and culture change consulting.

You can connect with Vika in Portland, OR; Oakland, CA; and Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN, as well as online, and nationally and internationally by request.

Vika teaches with a delightful mix of warmth, authenticity, compassion, playfulness, passion, and clarity.

 

 

A PERSONAL NOTE FROM VIKA:

Since I was a little girl I’ve had this unshakable, deep sense of what’s possible for our connection with ourselves, with others, and with Life Itself (God, Goddess, Universe, The Force — however you call It). I’ve Known in my bones that it’s our birthright to thrive and experience joy, to play and explore and create together in ways that feel wonderful … and that my job was to learn how to do “my part” to create and sustain that.  

But by age 6 I felt so confused, because that wasn’t how things were going. People seemed mean and miserable and inexplicably unaware of the pain they were causing each other. They didn’t seem to get that nobody was really trying to hurt anybody, they were just in pain, themselves. It was like I got dropped off on the wrong planet or something; I couldn’t understand why nobody else could see these things.

By the time I was 12 things weren’t going any better. Finally in desperation and determination I decided to use myself as my own sort of human laboratory. It seemed if I told myself the truth about everything, even the “bad” stuff about me, maybe I’d be able to figure out what was going on, and figure out what ‘my part’ was, that I needed to do in order to be happy.

It felt essential to stay connected to what I loved and valued most, to feel my feelings, and to pay close attention to what I was doing and to what that created. I found that if I looked inside myself for anything I was doing that could be contributing to the things “out there” that didn’t feel good to me, then I wasn’t dependent on what other people did, to be happy. I could be in charge of my own happiness, because I could always find something that I could do differently, that made my life or relationships work better.

On my journey I encountered some great teachers in gems like Notes on Love and Courage (Hugh Prather), The Road Less Traveled (Scott Peck), Further Along the Road Less Traveled (Scott Peck, audiobook), the Course in Miracles, Conversations with God (Neale Donald Walsch), the Coaches Training Institute coach training, Landmark Education, Abraham-Hicks, and Byron Katie.  But it wasn’t until I came across Compassionate/Nonviolent Communication (NVC) that lightning finally struck. 

Learning that my feelings were giving me feedback and guidance about what ‘meets my life-needs’ changed everything. Feel “good”? Life-needs are being met? Feel “bad”? Life-needs aren’t being met.

When feelings are guides, none of them are “bad.” All of them are pointing toward Life. Toward thriving.

Understanding that feelings are illuminating life-needs, and life-needs are pathways to thriving was the missing piece in my understanding of what real happiness is, and how we can reliably, consistently create it.

In my 20s a beloved partner once told me, “You don’t know how to be happy.”  And you know what?  He was absolutely right. 

When I put NVC and thriving together, that wasn’t true any more. At last I understood exactly how to be happy.

Because thriving is the only game in town (why else would any living thing do anything?), and it’s thriving that creates the feeling of happiness

After all, who would ever want to pursue happiness?  We all want to BE truly happy, as part of our everyday life, right?

Ever since I was a little child I’ve known in my bones that happiness — THRIVING — is our birthright.

 

In 2013, thanks to Sarah Peyton, I was thunderstruck by the discoveries emerging from use of the functional MRI in Relational Neuroscience research. When these groundbreaking new understandings are integrated with NVC and Attachment Theory, we can finally truly understand:

  • why we so often lose our capacities for curiosity, compassion, and/or empathy (why we can’t “do NVC”) when we’re upset
  • what “stress” really is, and why it’s so dangerous for our health and relationships (the American Medical Association recognizes “stress” as the #1 cause of disease and death in Americans)
  • what’s going on when we say and do things we genuinely regret (even as we look on in dismay, unable to stop ourselves)
  • why compassionate, authentic, resonant community is essential for our well-being
  • what we can do to finally dissolve the upsets and reactivity that wreak so much havoc on our relationships, health, security, and happiness … and find our way back to calm, peace, attuned connection, FUN and PLAY, and genuine fulfillment

Thanks to the gifts of NVC, Relational Neuroscience, and Attachment Theory, and to the seemingly limitless compassion of one of my earliest and dearest NVC teachers and friends — Joe Mitchell (Portland, Oregon) — in the past dozen years I’ve learned to have genuine compassion for myself, and how to be at home with my own humanity — my own ‘warts and farts and ugly, crazy parts’.

This has freed me to begin to live with a quality of transparency and authenticity that has become the doorway to everything that I have ever hoped for as a human being, in Life and in my connection with others.

Living this way has created a profoundly safe space for me and others in this Thriving Life community. We share a deep, lived commitment to radical awareness, compassion, and accountability — again and again giving up making ourselves and each other “bad or wrong” while also owning and tending to what we have created.  When we live together this way, it finally becomes possible for us to fully meet, acknowledge, and tend to every part of our beautiful, broken, boundless humanity, and rest in the embrace of our own and each other’s open, available hearts.

Broken like bread, rather than broken like glass.

In the resonant, compassionate space we create together, informed by our best wisdom about how ‘being human’ and relationships actually work, we at last become able to (re)discover what’s most deeply true for us, regain our life-enhancing personal power, and learn how to take dramatically effective, peculiarly effortless actions — actions that actually do meet our life-needs, create and sustain our abundant thriving, and bring genuine, lasting happiness into our lives and our relationships.

Everything we’ve ever dreamed of in Life and in Connection really IS possible.

I hope you’ll come share the journey and the joy with me and our Thriving Life community.

Welcome home,

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Photo by Monica Miles (www.monicamiles.com)

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