Posts Tagged ‘conflict’
I don’t know if you ski or not? I don’t anymore after a rather dramatic exit from the ski slopes in the year dot when I took out 3 ligaments in my right knee and although they were replaced twice in one year, that kind of piste is not one I venture onto any longer!
But even if you don’t ski, you’re sure to be able to bring up images of fresh snow and have feelings of total pleasure at being the first to cut a path across the virgin landscape knowing that you’re marking the ground with your own footsteps, going where no man has gone before.
Or perhaps you’d be like my daughters who hate anyone to spoil the fresh snow, they want to preserve it for posterity, or at least until it melts. They like the pristine, the unclaimed, the unsullied.
What I wanted to talk about was how may clients I get who have suddenly realised that they’ve been busy making sure that they are doing the right thing by everyone else, that they’ve done very little for themselves.
In essence they’ve stayed on piste all their lives, doing what they need to do to keep everyone else happy, making sure that they follow the footsteps laid out, they don’t make any new marks. The trouble with this is that eventually they get piste off and begin to feel like a common dogsbody, a door mat and they start to get angry.
A little problem here because they don’t know how to express themselves and they don’t know what will happen if they stop being ‘nice’. Yes that’s what they’re scared of that some folk will not think that they’re nice. They’re scared of being disliked if they stop doing everything for everybody. So, they continue to be nice, they continue to let others take advantage of their ‘gentle giving’ nature and inside they are getting frustrated, piste off and their heart is no longer in their giving.
I read this somewhere but I can’t find it to quote it properly, so this was the essence –
‘I’d rather be disliked for being me than liked for being someone else’
If you were really you and could be absolutely guaranteed that you would be liked for yourself and not the person you think you ‘should’ be, who would you be? What would you stop or start?
I watched as the group dispersed and one lady hung back, she’d been quiet during the meeting; listening, watching; it looked like she had a question to ask. I smiled encouragingly.
‘May I ask you something?’ she asked. ‘Of course, how can I help you?’
It transpired that she was married to a wonderful man and therefore not in need of mediation, but she wanted to know if she could have done anything differently at the time, 27 years ago, to have kept her first marriage alive. She’d often wondered about it, and could still get upset that she might have been too hasty. She’d learned many years later from her ex mother in law that she ‘should’ have used an iron fist in a velvet glove approach with her ex husband, that was how to deal with him.
The conversation progressed from there, and she began to understand that mediation is more common than most people realise. Mediation is used to find the best possible outcome for those with any form of conflict. Conflict can be internal – this lady still had conflicting feelings and emotions around her divorce. 27 years is a long time to hang on to it.
‘I know I shouldn’t even be thinking of it anymore as it was so long ago’ she confessed ‘but there’s a wee part of me which still wonders’.
With a few questions we quickly got to the cause of her internal conflict, and it was very quickly put to bed. She thanked me and sighed. That sigh indicated that this lady had no reason to carry this burden around with her any longer, it was now gone.
As she turned to leave, she stopped, turned round and said ‘I feel as if a great weight has been lifted from me’.
Mediation is simply a facilitating process, whether with another individual or with the parts of yourself , which cause you pain, fear or simply to clear up things which you are curious about. All it takes is being willing to want to reach an end to the issue.
Stuffing things away and pretending they don’t exist is as helpful as a chocolate teapot.
As I lay in bed last night listening to the wind in the trees, the leaves doing a frenzied dance with epic stamina (they’d been at it for a few days), I stopped thinking. I stop thinking regularly, some folk call it meditation. I used to believe that meditation had to have a purpose and that it was difficult to do because I’m not great at relaxing, but the more I’ve stopped thinking, the easier it gets to define what works for me. If it’s meditation, great, if it’s just no thought, great!
I need that time just to let go, to stop things becoming overwhelming. It doesn’t of course mean that the situation changes while I’m not thinking about it, or does it?
Situations are just that, they aren’t the things which create the stress and fear in our lives. It’s our feelings, our thoughts, our emotions which are all tied up in what we understand the situation to be saying to us. The experience we then have is our story around the problem.
While I lie in a place of ‘no thought’, I’m suspended. Time too is suspended. The situation is still going on, but it doesn’t bother me in a place of ‘no thought’.
One day I got to realising after clocking up so many no-thought airmiles, that actually I didn’t need to go there in order to be there. I could just be there all the time.
If I can suspend time and a situation by not thinking about it when I chose to deliberately, then that was also an option while I went about the rest of my daily chores and life. Imagine how wonderful that is!
Now this could get irresponsible because although you can suspend time and problems from your thoughts, there are things which you might have to change to accommodate the issue and that there are things for which you are responsible and you must take action.
You need to know what it is you want to achieve, what outcome you are looking at. You need a focus and a goal – one which you know is determined by you and is not reliant on others. This might even be as simple as ‘I want to feel happy, or at peace’. So the difference lies by taking stock of what you can do, and doing it.
When you know that you’ve taken the steps required by you, and some of them might be massive pieces of action, you have done what you can. The action required isn’t always done in one fell swoop, but starting doing one thing at a time will make a difference.
Continually ruminating and cogitating over what has happened, where you are and how unfair it all is will hold you stuck. The no-thought helps to stop that process and gives you the added oomph to start taking the steps which will pull you through.
Having someone to help you move beyond what appears to be the problem and help you get to no-thought is the first step you might consider.
I had a conversation which would have been impossible only a week ago. I felt calm, centred and grounded. I came from a place of willingness. At the other end of the phone, there was a tight voice, and as the conversation developed, it relaxed, became gentler, and the words flowed. There was space, on the line, for creating peace.
Hitting The Spot
I got to wondering about the times in our lives when nothing hits the spot. D’you find that you become disenchanted and bored with the contents of your fridge. The food you’ve been eating which once fulfilled you, is now boring. You yearn for something else, something to get your teeth into, to excite the taste buds and maybe even test your culinary skills.
I wondered then if perhaps we get bored with some of the interactions we’ve had with others and whether that affects us similarly. I know that this particular relationship is one which is too often trying, it’s monotonous in its predictability. It was time for something new. It just took a new recipe, and maybe a new shopping list of skills.
Peace … Again
Whatever it took, I’m going with the ease of today, and not resting on my laurels that it will continue unaided, it needs to be tended and nurtured. There’s much pain to undo, there’s a whole new relationship to be built, it might or might not be possible. My dearest hope and wish is that it doesn’t go back to the monotony of bitterness. If it were all up to me, I could guarantee it.
This is the challenge I have. If I’ve learned my lesson, the previous troubles should now fall away. What if the other person has lessons to learn which makes it continue? Or is it really going to be true that it won’t bother me anymore, it will be water off a duck’s back and that alone is what will create the peace? Ah, yes I think that’s it.
It’s hit the spot between the eyes, the third eye! I see it all clearly now.
Wow, this is even better than I thought at the beginning of the post and it’s nowhere near 800 words, but I’m done for today – my creation was in my conversation, live outloud writing!
I loved Status Quo but I don’t think I very often thought about the words I was singing along to. Often we don’t, especially if it’s an upbeat tune … we’re more likely to listen and remember words to love songs, or sad songs as we’re drawn to them to help find meaning in our own worlds. When we’re happy and upbeat we tend not to look inside, or even outside, for meaning but just accept the feelings of fun, peace, happiness – however you like to feel.
This last week, at the start of the 215800 challenge, I began to have old issues come up to the surface – was this the yoga, the meditation or was it just a repeat pattern? A seven year old pattern I thought I’d dealt with and put to bed to be precise. Or was this the time to go even deeper?
None of the changes and doors which I’ve shut this year have been about my family life. To date they’ve addressed – career, self belief, finances, training, knowledge, health, friends and trust – all needing a depth charger. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised that family would be added into the mix at some point.
After 4 days of handling the first issue, insult was added to injury – or perhaps more likely, because I didn’t handle the first blip well, I was given an even bigger issue on top of the first in the same context. It was only when this happened that I began to realise that it wasn’t a repeat pattern, it was a depth charged door shutting exercise.
How did it go so wrong? After all, I’m an experienced and able therapist and tend to my own needs on a very regular basis. I’m also a human being with human failings, human needs and human learnings. I say this often in my blogs. Anyone who believes they are above and beyond the realms of being tested or willing to work on themselves and able to go deeper will stop evolving and learning.
I found myself angry, very angry. I thought I was being dis-respected, controlled, belittled, judged and excluded. That’s quite a list! I was in conflict with myself too. I knew I knew better than to react and after doing some work around this, found that I was responding calmly and rationally. I was actually very proud of how I was handling the situation.
That was until the second one came along and really took the wind out of my sails! Ok, I thought, this is now a bit bigger and requires a different approach. I reached out to a friend for some help and asked what I was missing. I knew it was me that needed to change my approach, but what I couldn’t see was the lesson and without the lesson, I couldn’t change. Is that just me, or do others find that the lesson has to be learned first?
I started to ask myself ‘What’s the worst that could happen’? and then ‘What’s the best that could happen’? When you truly can’t answer the first question, you know you’ve got the result you need, or you haven’t really got a problem!
I began with, ‘I’ll be treated like this for the rest of my life, or at least for the next 4 years’. When I realised we’d already made it through 7 years, 4 years was quite easy!
I then asked if that was actually true. Had it been 7 years of this, or just specific times in the 7 years? Was it really so awful? Was I making some of it up? Was I perpetuating my myth?
That meant I could then start to concentrate on how I could make a difference to helping the best to come to fruition.
Did it really matter what I thought about this person’s attitude? Could I create more flexibility? Could I look at this as their reaction to something and not take it personally? How could I disengage and let go while continuing to care and be available? How easy would it be for me to feel at peace and for what reason was I not letting it happen?
I made the choice to disengage and be at peace within myself. To test I’d made the right choice, I was presented with a phone call yesterday with a friend who isn’t into self development and there’s always a good chance that my way is not his!
It sure wasn’t and as I found myself listening to his solutions to my problem – fight fight fight. I could feel myself shaking my head, my stomach was giving little cramping signs, and I was silently saying ‘No, no. That doesn’t fit with me and my way’. After then being criticised for being a therapist and not handling my problems, I knew for sure that the chosen solution for my peace was absolutely the right one. I smiled and said thank you. I reminded myself that as a mediator I had just been given yet another wonderful lesson to use and practice.
All conflict is internal. Whether we are facing world, community, work, school, or relationship conflict – we must first look at the conflict we have within. When we are able to find what we really want instead of conflict, we are then able to work towards that.
I’m blessed to be able to mediate with my own inner conflicts, this one took very little time once I realised what I was dealing with. Bang, another door is shut!