Our emotions are fueled by our thoughts. Our words reveal our heart. It is difficult to control what we say and how we feel when we are in the throes of a significant battle. Yet, when we are able to share with a careful listener, the situation seems less dark, and sometimes hope emerges.
I recently went to a park and met a woman who had cancer in the last year, a son in the military who was deployed overseas, and some other significant challenges in the recent months. She began telling me her story, and before we knew it, an hour was spent and a warm exchange that eased her heart.
Mediation is not therapy, but it usually offers a therapeutic component because it encourages participants to begin the conversation and offers a safety and confidentiality. The biggest difference in mediation when compared to therapy is that mediation is a negotiated intervention into the heart of the conflict. The goal is settlement that is hopefully achieved in an expedited manner. The result is a written agreement that can be referred to in the future when tempers flare or when court enforcement is necessary, depending on the subject matter of the mediation.
People often express surprise that I enjoy my work, assuming that it is laden with stress. However, mediating for resolution in the midst of extreme conflict and major life transitions is tremendously satisfying to me. This job makes meaning of the many struggles I have personally experienced throughout my life. It is a joy to be able to think creatively about another’s situation and generate options for settlement. My greatest “win” in life is when my clients agree to an arrangement that is fair and balanced, and that meets the needs of all involved.
“There is neither happiness nor misery in the world; there is only the comparison of one state with another, nothing more. He who has felt the deepest grief is best able to experience supreme happiness. We must have felt what it is to die, that we may appreciate the enjoyments of life.”