On building a lifelong relationship.

May 31, 2008

I thought I would republish some words I wrote to a friend on the subject of lifelong relationship, i.e., marriage. I took out the personal bits and reworded a bit, but you’ll get the drift:

So many people go into these things (marriages) completely careless, and a lot of the time loveless, and if you have both care and love, you create so important a combination… And I’m confident that couples with those skills, over time, find that every day they feel stronger, after every fight or argument or event, after they’ve worked it out, it’s added a new brick to the relationship-building. I know I have that now, for the first time in my life… After I learned (and still learn) to let go of my own shit, to be a part of a ‘we’ and to be constantly focused on the building and investment, I really do love my partner more every day (and most fights make me realize how dumb I am at that moment). It’s still early on but I just hope we will be like this always, even as life gets more complicated and crazy…

You know your partner is right for you when s/he can serve as your mirror, and vice versa… I know if I’m being selfish or romantic or mean or clever by the way it shows in my partner’s face… and I’m pretty sure vice versa… S/he loves you, so you can trust that s/he is serving as a healthy mirror who reflects you… Sometimes, I hear myself in my partner and sometimes I hear elements of my partner coming out of my mouth… It’s such an intense thing to realize you are literally joining with another person…

It’s all a big learning experience; the trick is to love the person you’re along for the ride with – enough to lose yourself in him, let him lose yourself in you, not too much so that you don’t recognize your soul but enough that you’ve created something new between the two of you.

That’s how I see it anyway.


Making love for peace.

May 20, 2008

Hmm. We can’t always pick and choose what works… We can’t always control how conflict resolution will happen… Which is why open-mindedness is so important.

I present this:

Make love not war: Israeli adult Web site promotes reconciliation in new way

Parpar1.com shows amateur pornography only featuring Israeli Arabs and Jews.

There is one place in the Middle East where Arabs and Jews seem to be getting along quite well. It’s the Israeli Web site Parpar1.com, where amateur pornography features Arabs and Jews at each other’s throats – but only for erotic purposes.

Founded by two Tel Aviv computer professionals, the Web site has been serving up such X-rated fare as “Kosher Lesbians,” “The Rabbi’s Daughter” and “Sex Party in Jerusalem” since 2001. Parpar1 has hundreds of hours of video porn featuring amateur performers. It is a pay service that can be accessed on the Web or via mobile phone. (haaretz)


Some things just can’t be mediated.

April 28, 2008

I consider myself a realist who dabbles often in optimism. I do like to think that more often than not, a family can be transformed if all participants are willing to submit to their own self determination.

However this is the most horrific, psychotic, terrifying family situation I have ever read… ever:

Father confesses to sex dungeon horrors

The story is still developing, but it goes something like this:

Mr.F. has confessed to holding his daughter hostage for 24 years and fathering seven children by her.

A 73-year-old man has confessed to holding his daughter captive in his home cellar for nearly 24 years and fathering seven children by her, Austrian police say.

Mr. F. has confessed to imprisoning his daughter for 24 years and having seven children with her.

Austrian police spokesman Franz Polzer told CNN, the man, known as Mr. F., admitted holding his daughter hostage in a windowless cell in the basement of his home for more than two decades. (CNN)

Not surprisingly, the daughter, who is now 42-years-old, is extremely traumatized and having a difficult time talking about her ordeal.

It’s all weird because I took a final today in Ethical Dilemmas in Mediation. Aside from the fact that I rocked it, I can’t help but read this story from the point of view of what i learned concerning family mediation and the sensitive ethics involved. Obviously, here, there’s not much to do but skin this man alive.

I will point out the weird twist of fate that world-renown psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud was born in Austria. If this incredibly fucked up father had done his homework, maybe he would have realized something about himself earlier…


Turning ‘child labor’ into productive fun.

April 22, 2008

Back in February, I wrote about PlayPumps International, a water pump built like a playground toy so that while kids play they are pumping fresh water for their villages.

Well, I just found two more kids’ toys engineered for productive (and fun) “child labor”:

Hippo Water Roller:

I love this. Usually, when people (often children) from a village have to go off to collect water, they carry heavy buckets on their heads, weighing them down. Over time they end up injuring their backs and necks from the physical stress. The Hippo Water Roller is a 90-liter drum meant to be rolled along in a healthier position, with the weight shifted to the wheel of the drum. One side includes a screw-on cap for storing the water.

See-saw power:

A young product design student, Daniel Sheridan, has invented a see-saw to generate electricity when kids play on it. After volunteering in Kenya last summer, Daniel came up with this idea and designed the playground old familiar toy – the see-saw – to be a bit more productive.


Signs that a marriage will end in divorce.

April 17, 2008

I just found this article and thought it was interesting enough to share. I don’t know much about the rest of the site or what it’s worth, but there is plenty of truth in the article by Shanel Yang, a lawyer and writer:

4 Signs That A Marriage Will End In Divorce

“Experts found that there are four quick and easy, but reliable, signs that a marriage won’t last…

When all four of these signs exist, chances are very high that your marriage won’t last. And, these clues can be found in even the briefest arguments between married couples…

We can all improve our communication skills, especially when it comes to arguments. We can’t avoid all arguments, and we shouldn’t try. Relationships grow the most from conflict and healthy conflict resolution…” (source)

There have been studies done on the topic, and this article features a fairly calm and collected newlywed couple that exhibit the kinds of habits in their arguing (however brief or trivial) that tend to lead to the breakdown of relationships. And they aren’t necessarily violent, loud and dramatic habits.

I don’t want to give away the whole thing here, so this is just a summary of the four signs:

1. Defensiveness

2. Stonewalling

3. Criticising

4. Showing Contempt

There is a brief list of counseling tips at the end. Communication is the ultimate key to a quality relationship, and this would be a great place to start to get enlightened.


New Zealander prisoners and restorative justice.

April 15, 2008

A recent mediator blah… blah… blog post title caught my eye; apparently there is a demand in New Zealand for conducting restorative justice for prisoners and their victims, two-thirds of which is on the part of the prisoners.

I found this interesting – and you know what, not that surprising – after my recent visit to an Israeli prison in the center of Israel for a class trip. I’m glad I got the chance to meet prisoners face to face, so that reading this news story is way more real for me.


Coming to the end of the big bad Bar Ilan conflict.

April 9, 2008

This kind of passed by yesterday without much notice (until other people brought it up) but it was my last class at Bar Ilan. It’s possible I didn’t notice because I haven’t been to a class in two weeks; now c’mon, I had reasons for all the missed classes. Mainly that I’m so done with school. Subconsciously I was done two weeks ago.

It’s sad. I’m so not done with school, I’m so done with the Bar Ilan experience. I think I did pretty well to be positive and make the most of it. I’ve learned a lot about the field of conflict management and mediation, though a lot of it was self-taught and done through independent channels (including this blog and people I have ‘met’ through it so far).

Before I get all celebratory, I still have a lot of work to finish before I’m truly done with school: papers, a final, an internship, mediation certification. I plan for it all to be finished and handed in by the end of this summer. Then I can celebrate.