My journey into a professional life reconciling conflict started from a moment of awareness that grew to a passion for more experience and application.
I trace my most meaningful “aha” moment to a time when I was a young mom. On what was going to be another ordinary day, my co-worker shared a spiritual practice of atonement with me. The idea was to go to all those you related to in a year (family, friends, co-workers, etc.) and invite them to a time of reflection and forgiveness. This new approach shifted my attention from “how do I change others” to “how do I become the agent of change in my life.” Apparently, I could affect a difference for myself and with others in my life.
One day while visiting my mother – she and I had been in conflict since I was a young child – I asked her to sit down. I wanted to say something to her about the struggles we had had over the years. I found the words and began. I soon realized that just the gentle intent and invitation changed the dynamics between us. Before I could say much else, she admitted to being frustrated with her life situation while she had been raising my siblings and me. She continued with how hard it must have been on us children and genuinely regretted that.
I was blown away.
My mother had never acknowledged how difficult our lives had been nor ever described any emotions of sadness, regret or understanding. I shared my sadness of having been her adversary and lost the closeness I deeply desired. For the first time my mother and I were connected as human beings beyond the desperation of our circumstances. From that moment, endless possibilities for connection with those I loved opened up for me.
The results were not miraculous or magic. Life has had its ups and downs. Yet, the sense of power I accessed through the conscious expression of my emotions was life-giving. I have come to realize I could trust the feelings in my body to guide me in creating the outcomes I yearned for. I have to say that the results are outstandingly satisfying.
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