Whenever one takes on as a goal the development of a new capacity or ability, one takes with it the awareness that this mastery will require practice. We will have to practice if we are going to become masters at conflict resolution.

There are many things you can do to improve your wellbeing. All require a regular practice of specific activities. Here we focus on some practices which will greatly improve your ability to name, address, and resolve the conflicts which arise in your life.

see also, Disciplines

There are many personal growth disciplines which will help you improve the quality of your life. The ten presented here are certainly not the full list of disciplines you will want to have in your own life. We are not, for example, going to talk about the discipline of being clear about your diet. What we eat is crucial to our wellbeing. I hope you are paying attention to the things that make you sick and not eating them. You should likewise be getting regular exercise composed of both weight training and aerobic exercise in alternating periods within the week. You should be engaged in a meditation practice. I recommend you be part of a faith community or some community that has clear shared values and is acting on behalf of the larger community.

This book is primarily about the mechanics of conflict resolution. It is not a workbook. But for you to understand the mechanics you will have to have a feel for how they might be applied. As I stated in the Introduction, I will be offering a companion to this book in which I will focus on the practical application with references to the mechanics. In this book we are looking at the mechanics with references to the practices which support them.

So that you may get a feel for what is possible for you, I will introduce to you ten disciplines which I have found to be very helpful in mastering the skills of Creative Conflict Resolution. You will find in hard to make sense of what I am saying if you do not have a personal experience of what I am talking about. For this reason it is essential that you at least try each of these disciplines. Indeed it is only with persistent effort that you will find the benefits that they promise.

In the book, Living Deeply[1], the authors share their discovery that all personal growth disciplines have what they call the "four essential elements of transformative practice." Let's look at these four elements in the discipline of learning to hit a baseball with a bat.

Intention: All practices or disciplines have a quality of intentionality. We enter into them with an intention to have some quality of our lives be different. If we do not actively will that change, we won't change.

It is my intention to meet the incoming baseball with the broadest part of the bat just a few inches from the end of the bat. I want to propel the ball over the head of the pitcher and between the second baseman and the shortstop so that it falls shy of the center fielder and I can get on base.

Attention: We will have to pay attention...close attention...attending to things we haven't noticed before. We will not create transformation in our lives without focusing.

I have to remember to see the ball all the way to the bat and not begin to look at where I want it to go or at the pitcher. It is just me and the ball. But I also want to note that it may not come in as a strike so I don't want to commit to hit it unless it is in or close to the strike zone.

Repetition: Getting it right once is not going to be the end of it. We will have to do it over and over and over. We will have continue to do it until it becomes second nature...to where it becomes not just something we are doing but an aspect of who we are.

I will not hit the ball the first time I swing at it. I will have to practice my swing and practice watching the ball and attempt to hit it several thousand times before I really come to competence. Hitting the ball is ultimately an act of luck, but one's luck improves the more one practices.

Guidance: We will not know best how to do this all on our own. We have to ask for help and then accept the guidance we are offered. Others have gone before and learned some things which will make this more easily available to us if we simply open ourselves to their guidance. But there is another source of guidance which comes from within. We have an inner knowing which can also guide us.

The coach told me to choke up a bit and remember to keep my weight on my back foot and swing level. The coach knows how to hit a ball and if I listen to him I will do better. But I also need to listen to myself. I can't think through whether this is a strike, I have to simply know. I don't have time to think about it but must cultivate an inner knowing which will guide me.

So batting a baseball is a discipline and it is a collection of disciplines. I have simplified the process here for the sake of the example, but a professional ball player can tell you that you can't hit a left handed pitcher the way you hit a right handed one. We can break this larger practice into sub-practices, all of which we must master if we wish to gain competence at batting a baseball.

In just this manner mastering Creative Conflict Resolution is a discipline and it is a set of sub-disciplines. The ten which I will discuss in this book range from very simple to quite complex. They are all aimed at helping you become a CR master. In the largest sense then Creative Conflict Resolution is a discipline which has these four elements.

Intention: It is our intention to respond to the circumstances of our lives in a manner which creates what we need (as opposed to what we want) and to trust that when we do so, with no expectation that others will change, we will not only create what we need but also create the circumstances in which others will get what they need.

Attention: We will note whatever it is that bothers us, as it is those irritations which alert us to the fact that we are not getting what we need. We will pay attention to how our behavior affects others so we can be certain that we are creating the outcomes we desire. And we will pay attention to how others' behavior affects us so that we can fully appreciate how we are constructed by our relationship to the world around us.

Repetition: Recognizing that the world continually arises for us in ways we don't like, and noticing that there are patterns of conflict which arise for us, we will select those patterns which bother us the most or which appear most frequently to practice on such that we can know clearly what it is that happens, how we are affected, what we need, and what we can do to construct what we need. We will welcome each opportunity to refine our skills at Creative Conflict Resolution.

Guidance: This book is intended to provide the external guidance--a map for the territory of the conflicts we all encounter. But there is an internal guide we will learn to listen to. It is the core of our being, our true Self, which ultimately can confirm whether what we are doing will construct what we and all of creation need.

[1] By Schlitz, Vieten, and Amorok. See the bibliography for the full reference.

No TrackBacks

TrackBack URL: http://www.creativeconflictresolution.org/JustConflict/mt-tb.cgi/83

Leave a comment

Recent Entries

Interview on BeliefNet
In interview with me about the book has just been posted on BeliefNet. You can check in out at http://blog.beliefnet.com/lessonsfromarecoveringdoormat/2010/06/resolving-conflict.html#preview…
Review of the book on Dad of Divas
We just got a new review posted.  Much of it is the press release we issued so be sure to…
Alternatives to Grounding
I have been working on an article for parents of teens entitled "Alternatives to Grounding."  It isn't finished but here…