Where are all the shoulder-advisors?

February 23, 2008

Exhausted from preaching communication for the past weeks. I’m watching, reflecting on and hearing about marriages, relationships and friendships falling apart.

I’m becoming more solidified in my thinking that no other qualities of a relationship, or a partner, matter unless you have good communication. What’s the point of all the other stuff if you can’t live on the same wavelength?

Of course, it’s one of the hardest things to achieve (seemingly) since it’s one of the biggest reasons for inter-gender game playing, slow get togethers, relationship maintenance failure, and drawn out break ups.

Sigh. I wish we all had the little angel-devil pair on our shoulders, advising us as we relation with our partners… Except just the angel, and even then, it’s a chilled-out angel with realistic expectations.


(Jewish) New Years Resolutions

September 16, 2007

Rosh Hashana – the Jewish new year – just ended, and not without a bit of prayer and reflecting on my part. I’ve come up with several resolutions I’d like to work on this year; I always love a good self-improvement challenge.

The main resolutions for myself break down as the following:

1. Taking responsibility for my own

I’m the only one to blame for my feelings of blandness lately. I’ve let laziness, skepticism and un-inspiration take over. Who can inspire me better than myself? I’ve become too comfortable with the status-quo.

2. Stepping down as Judge

I’ve been caught up in a very negative pattern of judgment lately. I was never one for being overly judgmental, and I certainly don’t think myself almighty-enough to play the role. However, I’ve realized, like in resolution #1, I’ve become too comfortable with myself and where I am in life and have repeatedly forgotten to place myself before my peers in line for judgment.

Here’s to a new year (in the Jewish calendar, that is 5768) – a year of adventure, pro-action, inspiration, and even a new path or two.

Mediation, where art thou?

July 9, 2007

Sigh. Mediation has never seemed so far away for me. I recognize I’m sounding dramatic, but, well… I guess I’m just not getting along with the program I’m enrolled in (despite it being year #2). I’m not the only one; most, if not all, students in the program are really unsatisfied (and that is a severe understatement).

I’m just not feeling support from the direction of my faculty, my professors. I always assumed professors were supposed to be beacons of intellect and inspiration; at least, they were during my Bachelors process.

The biggest danger here is not of me dropping out of school and not finishing the degree. The biggest danger is that in practice, I like my day job a lot more than my formal studies. I never thought it would happen that way, but here I am, thoroughly enjoying my job (internet marketing for a fair-sized website) and thoroughly despising my university.

The negative karma has totally thrown me off, and I’m way behind in choosing a thesis topic (for now, it’s something to do with the role of collective memory in protracted conflict). I’ve never been way behind in anything in my life, but here I am, feeling alone in my studies and very uninspired.

Sorry about all the negativity. I have been taking steps to take a turn – like seeking my own informal means of study online, through conferences, observations. I guess I was hoping getting all this out in writing would push me to work harder, with more vigor and positive energy… Starting tomorrow?

The origin of mediation.

June 24, 2007

For four years my parents have been separated, whatever that means. Well, what it means is,  after they spent a year or two trying various  marriage and rabbinical counseling options, they decided it wasn’t going to work out, and told us kids.

It’s funny how, no matter how old you are, as a child, you always wish for your parents to get back together. Even if you’re 21 and out in the world on your own. There’s always this hoping, and you know it’s silly, but still.

And then the divorce comes through. The final nail in the marriage’s coffin. In my parents case, that happens today, in Brooklyn, in the office of a rabbi. My father will hand my mother a document, called a get, and she will be ‘free’. And he will be free. And the marriage will be free to R.I.P.

In Jewish practice, that’s how divorce goes. At the end of the day, it’s in a man’s hands, for the woman cannot marry or move on until she receives that document from him, before the eyes of witnesses.

For the past four years my parents have been meeting in mediation sessions to work out the terms of their separation in a fair and cooperative way. They’ve remained friendly and cooperative, but I wouldn’t attribute that to their mediation process; I would, however, attribute my interest in a mediation career to their meditation process. Before that I had never really given mediation a thought, barely heard of it.

My parents were still friends after they announced their decision, and mediation was an extra layer of smooth sailing for the process to work out. I like to imagine what mediation could do for all kinds of other people in different situations. The couple who had it bad before the divorce started. The kids’ fiery anger towards their parents. The woman for whom a get does not come through.

So there, in my world, is the origin of mediation.

When I grow up.

December 11, 2005

I’m in love. It hit me today, like a club, like an enormous brainstorm.

I want to be a mediator.

Obviously, this was something I thought I want to do. I thought I could do. But as of today, I know: This is what I will do.

I want to help people communicate. I want to help people express themselves and understand their opponents. I want to bridge experiences and thought processes. I want to show people how to bargain, how to negotiate, how to realize their dreams to the best of their ability while realizing their disputant’s needs and dreams. I want to help people ‘take into account’. ‘Walk a mile in another’s shoes.’

I’m so in love!