USING THE LENS OF RESPECT
USING THE LENS OF RESPECT
Georgia Daniels, J.D., Mediator in Pasadena
WHO HAS THE POWER IN MEDIATION?
In mediation, who has the Power to Decide? The difference between mediation and other ways to solve divorce problems is that in mediation, the clients have the power to decide all issues between them.
At Window Rock, in the Navajo Nation in Arizona, the power of erosion created this unusual view through a mountain of stone. Compare the erosion of stone with the erosion of the family through painful litigation of family matters. This kind of pain can be avoided, at best, or at least managed with sensitivity. In mediation, clients themselves have the power to cut through societal expectations to design a solution that is “just right” for them. This is the power of “self-determination.”
If you don’t know what is “just right” for you, your mediator will help you to brainstorm solutions that you can tweak to fit your needs. Leave behind that which does not fit for you. (Spoiler alert: there are a few topics that are mandatory, such as completion of honest, reliable financial disclosures for divorce, premarital agreements, or post-marital agreements). In general, you have more control over the outcome in mediation than you would in litigation. More control means more satisfaction with the outcome and more control over the cost – both financial and emotional. For more information, call 626-441-1900.
Brightly colored magical canoes glide effortlessly through dreams of harmony.
In real life, I call mediation “magical” when communication flows freely and perceptions shift. When two people who have been hurt, angry, defensive, or devious suddenly stop “talking at” each other, and shift into really listening, then amazing things become possible. Solutions that were previously unimaginable may be imagined and brought into existence.
Try it. You and your family will be glad you did.
ELDER MEDIATION – Aging parents and their changing needs can trigger all kinds of conflict among adult siblings. Mediation is forward-looking: what does Mom need now? Next year?
This vista of rooms opening off rooms in a straight line into the distance (the future?) is from Chaco Canyon, New Mexico, a national historic site and world heritage treasure.
Each family is different. When contemplating options for a family that is no longer functioning well together, there is no “One-Size-Fits-All” solution. If you are wondering what your options are, consider mediation. Mediation is an agreement-reaching process in which a neutral listener, (the mediator) facilitates conversations between people whose recent history has been problematic.
In divorce mediation, the mediator convenes the conversations and makes sure that the topics necessary for a complete divorce agreement are discussed and included in the settlement document.
In marital mediation, the mediator works with both parties, coaching them on ways to listen and communicate more effectively. Typically, the focus is on one specific issue that requires resolution so that the marriage may continue.
Just as each family is unique, the equipment shown above is unique on this planet, a prototype of an apparatus that explores variations of incredibly small particles.
When I was a child, one of my favorite stories to read to my younger brothers was about the little blue engine that saved the day for his humans, by hard work and repeating to himself, “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can, …” until he did! This summer, in Chamas, New Mexico, we encountered a steam engine that hauled us up and over the continental divide several times within six hours. It was great fun, even when the beautiful steam plume changed into a cloud of thick black smoke, and then changed back again.
How does this relate to mediation? Sometimes, the most important ingredient to a successful mediation is simply showing up, with the intention of reaching a fair agreement. Over hills, and through dales, showing up consistently, with the attitude of “I think we can, I think we can, …” will transport you to your destination: a fair and reasonable settlement that works well for everyone involved. Try it. You may be amazed. Call 626.441.1900 to schedule a free
Keep lines of communication open — Mediation cuts through the tangles.
This photo shows a communications hub in a nuclear physics lab at CalTech, where exotic experimental gear depends on solid connections, well mapped out and carefully maintained. It may look like a tangle, but actually, it gets the job done.
There may be a lesson here for the rest of us — when communication seems to get all tangled up in discord and bickering, mediation can help. Your mediator can help you to re-establish connections based on careful listening and attention in the moment.
Do you remember this?
Before you speak, THINK:
T = Is it true?
H = Is it helpful?
I = Is it inspiring?
N = Is it necessary?
K = Is it kind?
When something has gone unsaid for too long, THINK about it. Is it really too late to communicate necessary information in a way that is kind, helpful, true, even inspiring?
Flowers speak to us on many levels —
Real flowers. Paper flowers. Figurative flowers. It doesn’t much matter. When it comes to maintaining relationships, it is truly the spirit that counts. Strong families tend to share a distinctive feature: many more positive interactions (“Well done” or “Thank you”) than negative interactions. Some say that seventeen to one is the magic ratio: it takes seventeen positive affirmations to counteract the corrosive effect of one critical remark. Can you share a “flower” with a loved one right now?
Did You Know …?
Did you know that decisions about your divorce (your children, your support payments, your retirement, or any other part of your divorce) are made by judges and commissioners who are burdened with heavy caseloads due to budget cuts? Did you know that these judicial officers spend, on average, a total of only 20 minutes on your case, to hear evidence and make decisions that will affect you for the rest of your life?
There is a solution: Mediate, Don’t Litigate!
Mediation is typically quicker, more adaptable to your special circumstances, and less expensive than going to court. Mediation is the best option for the vast majority of divorcing couples. Your neutral mediator will help both of you to carefully consider your options, to reach an agreement that works for your unique situation. For more information about the benefits of mediation, visit www.georgiadaniels.com . The first consultation is free.
Does this prickly plant remind you of someone you know? Maybe someone with whom you have unfinished business? Could mediation restore balance to your relationship?
Opening a conversation in mediation is like spilling water onto parched land – amazing things can happen.
For more information about mediation, and how it might help you resolve a prickly situation, visit www.georgiadaniels.com, or call (626) 441-1900.