Living and Giving

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Today is one of the most special days I have had.

I am training to be a Community Boards mediator.

I initially wanted to go into conflict resolution on international level.  I still will. I\’m impassioned about understanding people. Our goal in life is to establish good relationships and communications….It\’s probably one of the most important steps we can take to increase peace, increase love.

But the thought came to me,

“Are you really going to just jump into the issues of Rwanda, Syria, The Congo?”

It\’s not a surprise since most of my life and career has been oriented internationally. However, there’s something about starting at base one, which is local. For me, that\’s San Francisco.

So I am at San Francisco Community Boards\’ forty-hour training for two full weekends.   Understanding mediation is both simple and complex. It\’s about allowing people to be heard both on facts and their heart.  What is their story? We all want to be heard and to be understood.


But to get that information, to bring it out of people in a natural way, is a difficult art. When done well, it is beautifully compassionate. It brings a quiet, reverent inspiration. You are getting to the heart of honoring people.

Mediation isn\’t about brokering different viewpoints.  It isn’t about making a decision for other people.  It\’s about helping them come to a decision and new understanding that is right for them.

It\’s also not about justice or about \”what\’s right.\” What might be right and acceptable for two parties might not be for you!

The mediator is a neutral presence. You provide a safe space, a container of confidentiality.   And that \”container\” led to one of the most powerful comments today: “What is one of the most powerful things in the world?\”

It\’s vulnerability.

For there, in that vulnerability, is where the strength lies. That\’s where true power is.


Vulnerability isn\’t weak.  When you are vulnerable you

Let go of your agenda

Stop feeling forceful

Remove the wall of defiance

and become

quieter       and open            and humble

and listening to yourself and listening to others

and receptive and loving and warm-

You can see the quality of the conversation starts to change, and transcend.


That\’s where the new pathway, the resolution, and the power comes. It\’s not a tyrannical power, but a gentle power. It\’s the power of a common space:

\”I\’m listening to you and I honor your story.\”

and if you really advance:

\”I\’m listening to you and I love you as a person.\”

That\’s where the healing and solution comes.   That\’s the beauty of mediation.