The first thing I want to do is read you a quote fromThich Nhat Hanh.
He said, “To reconcile conflicting parties, we must have the ability to understand the suffering of both sides. If we take sides, it is impossible to do the work of reconciliation, and humans want to take sides. That is why the situation gets worse and worse.
Are there people who are still available to both sides? They need not do much.
They need only do one thing, go to one side and tell all about the suffering endured by the other side and go to the other side until all about the suffering endured by this side.
That is our chance for peace. That can change the situation.”
And that is what we do with Compassionate Mediation.
We're trying to do is give each party – or if you're working with an individual, give the individual – a chance to come from their highest self, let go of their limiting beliefs, unburden pain from the past and relate from their hearts.
And then when they relate from their heart, they can talk about their
feelings that they've exiled – the hurt, the sadness, the fear – and their partner can listen to that.
Their partner can't listen to the judgments, the “you” messages. You always do this, you never do that.
And a lot of people are getting into some very bad habits of communicating. Maybe they're fighting more, maybe they're distancing more. Maybe they're doing the dance of fighting and distancing.
But now more than ever, the skill of Compassionate Mediation can be something that you can use with your current clients or future clients to teach them a new way to communicate.
Compassionate Mediation starts with compassionate communication.
And the good part about it is you're trained in therapy or coaching or helping them process their feelings.
You're also going be able to talk about the content.
If you're talking about a property division, how to talk about the property aspect or how to talk about child support or how to talk about maintenance, if there's going to be any.
You will help them through all the feelings that come up’ around these subjects.
And far too often we'll be counseling someone and they'll decide they're thinking of a divorce and they want to go to a mediator.
Or they want to hire an attorney.
I mentioned to anyone thinking of the divorce that mediation is always the best way to go, whether it's Compassionate Mediation or any other mediation because it gives them a chance to speak with each other.
But in compassionate mediation, we're teaching them away to be more self-led to compassionately communicate, to learn how to empathize, and then to talk about all the different options they have.
Another thing we're doing in Compassionate Mediation is we're talking them “off the ledge.”
And if you know what I mean, it's when an individual or couple comes into your office and they think they have to act now, they think they have to jump, they've reached the end of their rope,
They're so tired of the same old, same old that they need to make a decision and they need to make it fast.
Deep breath here.
The important thing is not what they decide, but are they deciding from their highest and best self
Because if they're not, they're just reacting. They're reacting to their own parts, they're reacting to their partner's part.
But when it happens in marriage counseling, many people don't bring it up because they think that if they're in marriage counseling, all they're there for is to make the marriage better.
And unfortunately, one or both of them may have already been considering, “What would it be like to separate, What would it be like to find somebody new? What would it be like to get out of this union?”
But because they're exiling that part of themselves, they're only showing up with a part that's trying to be invested in counseling, but they're not fully invested in counseling because they're not talking about the part that's thought about leaving.
We use Compassionate Mediation to make it safe for all parts to come in and feel welcome: The parts that are scared, the parts that are worried, the parts that are angry, the parts that feel betrayed, and the parts that think I might want to end this, what would that look like.
And that's why in one of the modules in the training, I talk about how you talk to the initiator and how you talk to the non initiator.
The initiator is the party in the couple, the one member of the couple that really would like to separate or divorce, and I tell that person that if they don't process some of the feelings that led to their desire to leave, their partner is not going to be part of this process. Their partner is going to pull out.
So then they'd be left with having to hire an attorney and file for divorce.
Their partner would have to file a response, and a year or two later, thousands of dollars later, maybe they'll get divorced.
So I tell the initiator, take the time to learn how to communicate to process the feelings that got you here.
And I tell the non-initiator, the person that doesn't want to think about a divorce, doesn't want to think about a separation may be totally obsessed with staying together – that if they don't open their minds to consider the possibility of leaving, the partner that wants to separate or divorce isn't going to stay in this process because it's going to feel too much like marriage counseling.
So they have to meet in the middle where the person who wants out talks about feelings. The person that wants to stay talks about what would it look like if I left
And you hold the space for that whole conversation and whatever topic they bring up, if they bring up money and how money is divided between the two of them, that's a subject that could go on for weeks or months.
Because when you talk about money, you have to talk about all the parts that are triggered about that conversation.
You can talk about the legacy burdens that each of them brought nto the relationship about the roles and responsibilities. You can talk about their limiting beliefs or the way they've managed, or the parts they've exiled.
And at the same time you will know enough to give them feedback about how to talk about money.
So if you're talking about property division, you list their assets and then you list their debts.
And that process can take weeks because most of all they don't have that information readily.
Sometimes it could just take a session for one party to feel as educated as the other party is, but you will have this skill set
to facilitate that conversation.