We’re happy to announce our latest article on relationship conflict resolution has been published on Ezine. click through to read:
Resolve Conflict With Love and Peace Through Mediation
We’re happy to announce our latest article on relationship conflict resolution has been published on Ezine. click through to read:
Resolve Conflict With Love and Peace Through Mediation
I spoke a lot in my first post about turning to Christ in times of pain in your marriage or through divorce or post divorce. I begged all of you Christians to give your pain to Christ because my faith tells me so firmly and clearly that He will transform the pain. My faith in Christ assures me that as long as I cling to Him, I will move forward; that as long as I trust in Him, things will work out according to the Father’s best laid plans for me. Like a good father, Our Father in Heaven knows what is best for me.
What I did not say and should have said is that faith is not magic. You do not have faith and then “poof” all your worries are gone; all your anxieties eased; all your problems solved. Not at all. Instead, my faith keeps me focused on the Man Christ who endured so much for love of us. It keeps me wondering how He did that and where that love comes from and through that wonder on Him, through that fascination with Him that is grounded in a deep love for Him, I make it through my life. Otherwise, I tell you solemnly, without exaggeration, I would be hooked on pills, promiscuous, unstable and well… I try not to think further than that.
Heather King is an amazing writer. She has a blog, here, that is well worth the read. Check out her NPR “All Things Considered” stories too. Anyway – she talks about what faith does do for people:
“But the interesting thing about belief is that it doesn’t make you act better than other people, doesn’t make you appear more together, doesn’t advance you in the eyes of the world, doesn’t relieve your terrible fears and terrible shortcomings.
What does faith do? It helps you to bear the almost unbearable tension of being a mortal human being without cracking. It helps you to bear your fears, your neuroses, your anxieties, your rage, your lusts, your loneliness, so that you don’t lose your mind, or start swilling Night Train, or embark on a life spent watching internet porn. If you are very far along the path, it may begin to help you refrain from taking the agony of bearing the tension out on other people. It leads you, or has anyway led me, to ponder the sort of Man Christ was. A Man who, nailed to the Cross, could still be focused not on his own suffering, but on the suffering of the rest of the world. A Man who, in the throes of death, turned to the Repentant Thief beside him with the reassurance: ‘This day you shall be with me in Paradise.’ [Luke 23: 43]”
Bringing this back to Hope in Divorce, I again reiterate that turning to your faith and immersing in it is key to sustaining yourself, you children, your spouse in times of marital crisis and even the pain of divorce. One person’s faith can move mountains and one thing is for certain, while your anxieties may not magically go away, while the pain, loneliness, anger does not just disintegrate, there are moments of peace that can grow into bigger moments the more you release and give all of it to Christ. The more you take control of yourself…hard control…and give all the hurt to Christ to be put up on that Cross…the more you will begin to feel moments of peace that do surpass all understanding. That means fighting yourself. That means resisting wallowing in the pain, swirling it around and looking to solve it yourself, or handle it yourself or dissect it yourself. Give it to Him and move on in His love.
As has been stated many times previously, Mediation is an alternative form of dispute resolution. Although this concept has been around for some time there remains in our world today the very real need for people to find a better way of resolving conflict – big or small – within their own lives. There is an unrest in the world, a lack of peace. This unrest, in part, comes from the way people relate to eachother. Love is the only true, never fail, solution to human relationships and love has a very real place in resolving conflict through mediation and facilitation.
Mediation and facilitation, by definition, assume that those who choose to engage in it, are implicitly and explicitly demonstrating to their fellow man respect and dignity. They are clearly sending the message to others involved that they care – and care enough to access their own compassion, understanding, listening skills and core belief that it is better for people to resolve their own disputes than to have resolution imposed upon them. By this attitude alone, they begin a healing process for both themselves and the others involved that once begun, can transform the participants in such a way as to open new alternatives and solutions to the dispute.. Life is not always about getting our way – that is infantile and then that means there is no peace until we get our way which often is not the case. Knowing, however, that in choosing to mediate you are opening the door to a healing process that starts even when the parties are still at odds, gives peace a chance to come into the parties and affect the process in a positive way.
Loving one another is not easy and sometimes seems impossible. Each of us is not always lovable and many times quite unlovable. But true love has little do with any of that. Love is, to quote a favorite evangelist of mine, Robert Barron, the willing of the good of the other. It is not bound in emotion or feeling. It is a conscious decision, painful or not, to will the good of the other. When we choose to love, actively love, we are willing ourselves to do good to the other – that does not mean we are willing simply to do anything for them. We are looking out for their best and making our decisions to help them reach that. That does not always feel good for them. But true love does not always feel good because it is not based in feelings. But when we love others with true love we simultaneously will good to ourselves not only because we can sometimes change the dynamic of the relationship by transforming the heart and mind of the other but we also bring a peace to ourselves that cannot be found otherwise – especially not in our emotions.
That peace is truly a remarkable experience. I believe that people think they cannot achieve real peace here on earth. But we can and it is grounded in true love. Once tasted, that peace is the ultimate catalyst that continues to push us on in loving those who may not be worth loving and who may continue to remain untransformed. Once that peace is experienced, our fellow man begins to appear differently to us. The flaws that were so enormous do not seem so enormous anymore because we begin to see the flaws in all men. We begin to see mankind as merely human and that we are all merely human and capable, depending on the right set of circumstances, of things we would never dream we could do. That peace raises us on the self-actualization scale and we grow and it affects and changes our own lives and those around us.
Mediation can bring people peace and can open them to knowing how to keep that peace or re-access it. Just deciding to mediate is the start of willing the good for the other – and yourself – and so importantly, any children, and the start of showing your fellow man true love where maybe it has not been shown previously. Continuing through the mediation process allows you as a person to climb the ladder of self awareness, exercise your ability to love your fellow man and potentially solve and/or put a new face on a dispute or conflict you were facing. By dealing with your fellow man with true love, and through a mediative process in all conflict, conflict is not so scary anymore. That doesn’t mean it won’t be a big pain sometimes, That is life. But by relying on love, real love, you take control of the conflict and make it the small piece in the equation and you make Yourself and Other the important pieces which puts the emphasis in the right places!
It is the Christmas Season, my friends. As Christians we wait with longing hearts for the ultimate peace-bringer, Jesus Christ our Lord, the One who with much pain and suffering showed us all True Love through His own death. Let us rejoice and await His birth each day remembering that our job is to imitate His love for us with each other.
The New York Times did a wonderful obituary on Theodore H. Kheel – a true master of the Mediation profession.
Rest in peace Mr. Kheel and thanks for your wonderful work as an arbitrator/labor mediator extraordinaire! You leave a great legacy for the profession.
I love this quote:
“The essence of mediation is getting information,” Mr. Kheel once told The New Yorker. “The dirtiest question you can ask in bargaining is ‘What will you settle for?’ If you ask that question, you ought to resign, but that’s the question you must have an answer to. You get it by asking every question except that. What’s left over is the answer.”
Now this is what I call great advice. I can’t tell you how many times I was in a mediation while practicing law and this is the first question that comes out from the mediator in private caucus. I tell you, I knew I was on my own in getting anything done that day! Maybe I should be thankful because I remember thinking every time that happened to me that I should give mediation a try.
I have within my soul faculties. My memory tells me who I am. My intellect tells me what I am. And my will tells me what I shall be. You must watch your memory and control it because it feeds your intellect, which in turn influences your will.
Self control is a necessary but unpopular quality. It is usually associated with negativity in our culture because it can mean denying oneself things one wants or what feels good. We can run our lives by what “feels good” and satisfy our senses and emotions but that completely excludes our intellect and will. Putting our intellect and will into play requires self control in several areas.
First, we cannot permit the past to rule us – especially the reliving of the past which is that endless rehashing to the point where it affects you at the deepest level. That is different in kind than recalling things that will help us live better in the present moment. For instance, the drug addict who knows from previous experience he or she cannot use at all is both necessary and helpful. However, it is wholly different when we continuously live in a moment that is already gone forever. Then we are, in effect, denying the present moment that is the true reality. Focusing on the past – whether it is a good memory or a bad one – and allowing it to take over moment by moment in the present warps the present. We are not, then, LIVING any longer because everything that we are in the moment is shaped by moments that are done and over. For instance, I cannot possibly finish a marathon because when I ran it before I couldn’t finish it. I cannot do well in math because as a kid I never did well in math. Now you have defined yourself concretely and there is no present – there is no chance for change – there is no room for intellect or will.
We also make the mistake of looking into the future and living with the anxiety of moments that have not yet come and giving up the beauty of the moment right now. Oh my, when I practiced law I suffered so much with living in the future. Future hearings, trials, motions due, etc. weighed on me so heavily they literally choked the present out of me. For several years I lived solely for tomorrow. I lived all the anxiety of the future in a capsule. It made me sick physically, empty spiritually, and mean, nervous, and unhappy.
People tell me that you have to face reality! But reality is living moment by moment now with a knowledge of the future but not a doomed reality. It reminds me of my aunt who is an internist and often she is telling someone they have cancer and she must deal with the issue of life expectancy. She tells them, however, that medical research says that two months is may be what the research says however, you are alive right now. You have a choice. You can live each day with the knowledge and use your will and intellect to live every moment to the fullest or you can die everyday.
During my practice as an attorney I watched people in heated disputes carrying baggage from the past or being weighed down by a future that had not yet happened to the point that these attitudes literally drove the dispute. Part of the mediation/facilitation process for us is to get people into the present moment and to get people to become conscious of their own will and intellect in the present moment. It is empowering. It changes people’s way of thinking and leads them to more productive thinking. It also changes how they relate to each other and often progress can be made. With their minds open and focused on the present moment and living each moment instead of the entire future or some rehashed past event that is eating them alive, they become masters of their lives and solvers of their own problems in ways they did not think could happen.
For the Christian, living in the present is fundamental to problem solving and life itself! We are expected to live in the moment, on the “faith” level. We are expected to know and believe that God is in that moment with us and that with Him all things are possible.
Remember the story in the Bible of the apostles and Jesus being on a boat in a terrible storm with waves crashing and breaking causing the boat to seem like it would tip over? Jesus noticed how frightened the apostles were. The Lord said, “Why are you so frightened, you men of little faith?” (Matt. 8:26). They were so afraid because they began to live on a memory level. Their previous experience told them that this type of storm would sink the ship. But what about God who is there in the present moment? Peter comes over and says, “Master, do you not care? We are going down!” (Mark 4:38). This attitude causes us to lose out on one of the most important aspects of our Christianity.
As Christians, we look past our own will even to the will of God and the strength of God and the belief that He can perform miracles even where, perhaps, our memory tells us that this situation is impossible. I love being a Christian because that faith which I draw on as much as possible and for which I pray for an increase of every day, is key to movement for me and key to me living in the present. With that belief I can let go of the past and know that each moment is new and in each moment is a chance for a different result.
I do not worry about the past or the future because the now is all that matters. I release anxiety because after prayer and appropriate effort I give the rest to Him and TRUST that His result is the best for me at that moment. I do not always understand. I am not always emotionally happy with the result. But when I am able to sustain this attitude I have a peace that truly surpasses all understanding. And I find that I am using my faculties – my memory, my will and my intellect to their fullest.
The present moment equals a new sheet of paper all the time. Stop scribbling the same miserable thing on it. Stop scribbling the future that did not happen yet on it . Start scribbling your right now on it and see what happens. It takes courage my friends to live that way. I find that courage in Christ my Saviour. Where do you get yours?
This article was adapted from Mother’s Theresa’s Chapter on Living in the Present Moment from the book, Mother Angelica’s Little Book of Life Lessons and Everyday Spirituality cited above. She is insightful and funny and spot on so much of the time.
We have blabbed on and on about the importance of families coming together to discuss long term care planning for their parents. Another important topic for families that has not been addressed is talking about family money. This topic is definitely applicable to so many families and is often a deep source of resentment, bitterness and rivalry.
While talking about money has long been taboo, not discussing what you have — particularly when you have a lot, or if your children think you do — is not going to make the problem go away. In most cases, advisers and psychologists say, it just makes things worse.
“The major problems happen when money is not talked about,” said Eric Dammann, a psychoanalyst in New York City. “They’ll set up this whole estate plan, but won’t talk to the kids about it. Then Mom and Dad die and there’s a reading of the will and it’s a surprise.”
Not only can it be a surprise but it can result in devastating effects on sibling relationships and continue long term parental resentment. My mother always tells me that money is a tool; it should not be the master. When it is not discussed, it is not as if the children do not know it exists. They do and its importance grows and it does become a master. A hidden master. Discussing it is the grown up thing to do and at the very least, discussion shines the light on this hidden issue and everyone knows where they stand. That is always the first step in dealing with any type conflict – bringing it out. Seniors, unilaterally making the decisions is within your right, of course, but does not alleviate the tensions growing among those you love. You do not have to relinquish authority but you can include your family in a discussion about why you want to make the choices you are making with money. Perhaps you may even hear something that alters your “plan.” It is all about open-heartedness and love of family.
Please realize that good mediation and/or facilitation will help you with strategies to approaching this type discussion. Further, a good mediator/facilitator can often really help resolve underlying family and emotional conflict regarding money that perhaps has been going one for a long time. Or, if the conflict cannot be resolved, mediation may open the doors of communication enough to find some middle ground where all parties can at least continue on in peace and respect and dignity knowing that they were there and heard and acknowledged when this plan was made. This is far better than force feeding some “lesson” to a child about money that they will never learn because they are too steeped in resentment.
The population in America is shifting as baby boomers age and the “sandwich” generation is feeling more and more pressure to take care of aging parents while raising children at the same time.
Increased lifespan (a good thing!) combined with the latest medical advances may mean that adult children could spend 10 to 15 years or more as caregivers for an elderly parent or even two parents! Furthermore, it may be simultaneous or even consecutive, which creates a difficult and lengthy burden on adult children. Also, consider the likely scenario that grandparents may be living as well! Adult children (primarily women) may be responsible for three generations of care-giving for many, many years.
This begs the question: who takes care of the caregivers?
It’s a fact that countless families are being torn apart trying to navigate through the complexities of caring for an aging parent or even two aging parents. Often that duty falls on one son or daughter because other siblings live too far away, are too deeply involved in family conflict, or have stepped aside because they just cannot see a “role” for themselves in the picture as presented. This leaves the one son or daughter to handle their own family, job, and life in addition to dealing with their parent(s)’ medical concerns, transportation needs, quality of life issues, and basic daily life requirements. One person cannot do this alone. It depletes their energy and finances, threatens their performance at work, stresses their relationships with family and children and eventually can lead to the onset of depression, anxiety, guilt, and a host of other psychological issues that can wreak havoc in their life.
Sanchez and Baietto was started, in part, to help families plan before crisis enters the picture. We believe the family is the best first point of contact and our goal is to help the family develop a workable long term care plan for their loved one. Caregivers have no time and therefore develop no plan. What starts out one way can quickly become a much bigger responsibility than what a son or daughter who is caregiving ever envisioned. By that time, however, the son or daughter is trapped in a schedule that gives him or her no chance to plan. Pile on top of that a difficult financial situation and that caregiver feels isolated and unable to even contemplate whether he or she can afford any resources out there.
Our goal is to meet with the entire family including the parent(s) or other senior, if possible, spouses, children and important outside family members who have played a large part in the family dynamic. We know that intra-family conflict gets in the way of planning. Our conflict resolution services work well to help families acknowledge and deal with conflict so that it stops being an obstacle. We are skilled facilitators and we focus on bringing dignity and respect to each member of the family so all involved feel respected, heard and understood. This goes a long way in helping families move past conflict.
Once past conflict, we discuss with the family the aging process and the common issues that occur during this time period. We help prepare them to know what the near future and long term future may hold, how quickly decline can set in, and help them understand what kinds of things must be considered and executed both promptly and over time. Parents or other loved ones have a sense of empowerment knowing they are part of the process and their wishes are going to be valued and abided by in the best possible way. By including everyone, letting everyone speak, and contribute to the process, we dignify the process, give it value, and empower the family to assign themselves roles and duties in the care and management of the situation.
As to resources, we are a wealth of information in the tri-county area in which we work. We are plugged into resources that are available both privately and non-privately, such as non-profit, church and other religious resources. We understand medicare and medicaid and what is available and how they can be used. Care managers, home health service, food and transportation needs are all within our scope of resources. We have access to important professionals needed perhaps to plan wills, powers of attorney, living wills, consider tax planning, etc. We have a sophisticated loop of services that becomes available to our clients through us including those clients who have a seriously stressed financial picture.
In these situations family unity is key. A family coming together to show love, compassion, understanding, and enough care to know that spending some time now to think about these matters will help down the road to prevent crisis is invaluable. For more information about us, please visit our website at www.tampamediations.com.
Ever seen a cute older couple walking hand in hand and think to yourself, “I hope I can be that happy with my spouse at that age.”
As this article discusses, age and years together is not necessarily a safeguard from divorce. You have to work at your marriage in all stages of life.
By: Laura Petherbridge
Author of When “I Do” Becomes “I Don’t”
Marriage is a sacred union between a man and a woman. When couples enter into this union, they do so because they love each other so much they cannot imagine living life without that person. The word of God says, “the two shall become one.” This is why we know each other from the inside out. We know how to show that person love and know what buttons to press to make them angry. That’s the reason many couples feel such passion and rage toward their spouse.
So what happens when one or both parties in the marriage want out. What happens next? For many the death of a marriage is like the death of a part of themselves. Divorce is no easy thing. No one comes into a marriage thinking that they will divorce. In a society where divorce is all too common, most people think that it will be easier than what it really is. The connection developed with a spouse is not simply broken when a divorce decree is finalized. Healing must take place.
The attached article discusses the pain of divorce and the process of healing
Author: Laura Petherbridge, When “I Do” Becomes “I Don’t”
Since I was old enough to understand my sexuality I have always been simply dumbfounded by the fact that when a man and woman have sex they can generate life. I know…I know…you think I am being dramatic …all animals can do it and some sea animals do it by themselves. Notwithstanding these facts, I see myself differently than animals. I view human life as unique thus far in history and as a result, that little me can create life is overwhelming to me. I do not take it for granted and am ever so thankful for the ability to do so. I respect life and the creation of life like few other things in my world. This is not a condemnation about anything…just my own judgment about the beauty, the awesomeness, the wonder of human life.
Brenda Baietto featured in the new book: