„Conflict is the beginning of Consciousness“ –
said Mary Esther Harding, a jungian analyst in the first half of the 20th century.
The tag line for this blog is promoting mindful communication, extension, partner-to-partner dialog, growth through „the eye of conflict“. And the articles and insights you will see in these newsletters will treat conflict as an opportunity for meeting each other and oneself here and now, for learning, for re-connection and insight, a challenege to get out, beyond of the comfort zone, and a chance to become more conscious or ‘awake’ to how we respond to conflict.
Conflict gets a bad press when the real cause of our suffering is our response to conflict when it is not directed towards the creation of learning, connection, insight.
When we train mediators and conflict coaches we include an exercise called „4-word build“ where we ask participants to explore the words they associate with the word ‘conflict’. Often the outcomes from the group’s exploration will be a set of words that could be described as ‘negative’, but occasionally words such as ‘opportunity’ or ‘challenge’ or ‘change’ or ‘healthy’ or „ah, aha“ will arise because one or more of the participants have not had a negative association / connotation with the word and idea of conflict. They may, in fact, see it as a useful event, a ‘fertile soil’ for the growth of new, refined, improved ways of doing things or seeing things or of relating to another person.
Our mediation and conflict coaching services are structured and practised in a way that takes this perspective of conflict as the starting point for supporting any individual(s) involved in a difficult relationship, communication breakdown, disagreement, dispute or other form of unresolved conflict in finding more effective ways of responding.
Conflict is indeed the beginning of consciousness. Without it transformation cannot happen, the very new things cannot drill out. And because change is inevitable, conflict is inevitable. The means through which the change occurs (in our minds) can be painful, or creative and invigorating, or both. But by itself it is a neutral happening. With an openness to see conflict as an opportunity rather than something to be resisted or avoided, it will be painful less often and gifting, inspiring more and more.
And I do wish you BeYoutiFul day with another insightful quotation from Dorothy Thompson (a journalist and broadcaster, also, like Harding from the first half of the 20th Century):
„Peace is not the absence of conflict, but the presence of creative alternatives for responding to conflict.“