Photo by Kiarash Mansouri on Unsplash
I recently had the opportunity to speak with more than 50 mediators, arbitrators, and attorneys about the type of mediation I practice, which is known as “transformative mediation.” This approach recognizes that humans are social animals, and the way we relate to others matters to us.
Photo by my very own self
I have two houseplants, Aloe and Matilda, who I have miraculously kept alive for close to three years now. And I've noticed that, even though they’re sitting right next to each other, Aloe grows toward my west-facing windows, while Matilda grows toward my north-facing windows. Actually, a few of Matilda's many stems, which curve in various ways, seem to be getting light from both windows, with each leaf at a slightly different angle.
Photo by Tim Meyer on Unsplash
When I was about 12 years old, a neighbor kid ("Bart") offered me a ride on the back of his moped. Bart told me there was only one thing I needed to remember - when he leaned into a turn, I needed to lean with him. Sure, I said. No problem.
But when the time came, did I lean with Bart, into the turn? No, I did not. In fact, I leaned away from Bart. Even though I remembered the rule, every bone in my body screamed, Oh heck no! If I lean with Bart, we’ll both be leaning toward the ground, and surely we’ll crash, right?
Photo by Nick Page on Unsplash
Today I tried to rescue a spider. He was sitting at the bottom of my kitchen sink, seemingly unable to crawl up the side to get out. So I took a flyer that was nearby, and a special insect-catching contraption (which really only works on flat surfaces), and approached the spider from different angles. The spider fell onto the flyer, and then promptly fell off - right into the entrance of the garbage disposal.
Photo by Ross Sokolovski on Unsplash
Several years ago, my then-boyfriend (“Ben”) and I used to hang out with Ben’s friends (“Steve and Maureen”) pretty regularly. I loved hanging out with Steve and Maureen, but every time we got together, Steve and I would just end up arguing about something.
We both enjoyed debating, but our debates always got heated, and mysteriously our respective partners didn’t enjoy that so much. So finally Ben told me that if I kept fighting with Steve, we weren’t going to be able to hang out with Steve and Maureen anymore.
Photo by Vladislav Babienko on Unsplash
SELF-DETERMINATION VERSUS PROTECTION: A FALSE CHOICE?
“Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety” - Ben Franklin
Political debates have long raged about the role of the state, and the correct balance to be struck in its duty to guard both the liberty and safety of its citizens. People tend to view both as desirable, but assume that each comes at a cost to the other. Debates generally revolve around which of the two values to prioritize, and what costs to tolerate.
Photo by Gift Habeshaw on Unsplash
SETTLEMENTS ARE LIKE SEX
Many mediators say their goals are the parties’ goals. According to these mediators, if the parties begin mediation saying they hope to reach an agreement, then it’s the mediator’s job to get them there. But what does it mean to hope for an agreement? Does it mean any agreement, by any means?
In my view, hearing someone say they hope to reach an agreement is like hearing someone say they hope to have sex. If you heard such a thing, would you assume the who and the how did not matter?
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