Welcome to HEN - Transforming Conflict for our Health, Environment, Negotiation

HEN is published each month by Julia Menard:
Helping the Workplace Engage - One Tough Conversation at a Time!

HEN arrives at the full moon - 
because light transforms darkness.   

Full Moon: May 24, 2013 - Year 11, Issue 5
Table of Contents:

HEALTH - Cavity Thoughts

Well, it was hard to write this article this month. Last month, I got a debilitating cold (put me on my back for days – very unlike me) – and now – one month later, I have another cold! Again, not like me. I tend to be the “kind of person” that gets colds once every few years and they tend to be mild ones.

What’s up?

I strongly believe there is a mind-body component in every illness. To what extent that component is, or how direct the links are, are up for debate. But what seems irrefutable is when we are more stressed than usual, our immune system weakens and we are more “susceptible.”

So, today, as I thought about health and what I could write about – it occurred to me to ask myself:

“What do I think is going on in my mind lately that might be contributing to a weakened mind and body?”

Immediately, it popped up! One belief about the world I made up early in life (and is a common one for many) goes something like: “The world’s not a friendly place.” Another variation is: “I’m not supported.” Or “I’m not being supported.”

Do any of you recognize this one?

Lately, I have been saying this one more than usual. My daughter’s Dad has been traveling a lot the last month and that was one stimulant for those thoughts. Also, I’ve been caught up in various activities and not “just chilling” enough. 

So, my tape started up: “I’m not supported enough.”

Of course, this flies in the face of the “truth.” I am incredibly supported. I’m supported by the myriad of things people do for me – including my daughter’s father. My daughter. My friends. My neighbours. I’m supported by the work I do, the people who hire me, the readers of this newsletter! Thank you. 

I could go on. I’m supported by having the capacity to walk, hear, see. I’m supported by living in one of the most beautiful countries in the world, in one of the most beautiful cities in that country, in one of the most beautiful spots in that city. 

Seriously! I am supported!

What is one to do when one discovers such old (reptile brain) programming?

Step one
Like any change, it always starts with shining the light of Awareness on the problem. So, ask yourself: 

“Is there something going on in my mind lately that might be taking away from my health?”  

The answer might be no. There are many things we do FOR our health that are also worth acknowledging. This question is more of a reality check. Think of it like going to the dentist – could any cavities be forming if not given some attention?

Step two
Give the “cavity thought” some attention! Think a bit more about this old belief of yours. 

As I think about the idea of NOT feeling supported – I consider its opposite - to appreciate. I want to appreciate myself and others more. Appreciating where I already am supported can grow that feeling.

Thinking more about this thought, I googled “how to feel supported” and got a few more ideas. One thing that really resonated is to turn what you don’t want into what you want to give to yourself. When I think about that thought – I realize that is at the heart of it for me: I want to feel more supported and that’s something I can give myself.

Step three
Practice. The brain is plastic, but changes happen with the extinguishing of one thought and the repetition of another. I have made a note in my calendar for the month of June – to practice this thought more: “I feel supported.”

Already I’m noticing the concept popping up everywhere. I took a break a few moments ago and was checking my email. Here’s what a friend just wrote – thanking me for an internet idea:

"It really is a brave new world out there, and we all need supportive friends and fellows willing to share information. We learn better together."

Ahh. That feels good! I feel supported – and here’s the irony. That particular comment came to me as a result of the support I gave her. Oh I love how the Universe works!

Good luck with your own health check up!  Feel free to let me know how any of this might work for you.

"I think the most important question facing humanity is, 'is the universe a friendly place?' ” 
… Albert Einstein

ENVIRONMENT - Can We Talk About Pineapples?

“Our consumer culture defines the ‘abundant life’ as one in which ‘natural resources’ are sacrificed for human profit and pleasure and ‘human resources’ are the employees who will work for the lowest wages. Both nature and poor people are means to the end of consumerism.”
… Sallie McFague

Colleague, Catherine Morris, who teaches human rights at the University of Victoria, had a facebook post recently about a human rights researcher she knows of in Thailand. Andy Hall was hired by a non-profit group, Finnwatch to interview workers who worked in a pineapple plant in Thailand.

Finnwatch is a Finnish non-profit organization that studies the responsibility of global business. They wanted field research conducted in the province of Prachuap Kiri Khan in November 2011 to assess the production circumstances of private label juices sold back in Finland.

As could be the case in many corporations, Andy and his team of researchers did find human rights violations. They created a report that they shared with authorities in Finland, EU and Thailand, as well as several labour and human rights organizations in December 2012.

Information from interviews with the workers at the pineapple factory included:
  • The employer had confiscated passports and work permits from most of the migrant workers (700 of the 800 people were migrant workers).
  • They are paid less than the local minimum wage.
  • They must work 6 days a week, and sometimes 7.
  • Working overtime was perceived by the workers to be “compulsory” and those interviewed said they work 5 – 10 hours overtime per day.
  • It was reported to be usual that overtired workers cry, fall asleep or faint in the middle of their work. They can’t leave work due to illness, for example, unless they get a signed note from their boss. Otherwise they lose the whole day’s pay.
  • The factory also fined workers for things like – if a worker spent more than 10 minutes in the toilet, half an hour’s wage was deducted.
  • They said that sometimes employees were hit due to disagreements or language barriers.
  • The temperature inside the factory was very high but there was no air conditioning. Heatstrokes and fainting were common; the factory had only two water fountains that did not have enough cold water for all, and only had six toilets for hundreds of male workers.
If that is where the story ended, that would be one thing. There are unfortunately many examples of companies that should right their illegal practices.

However, in this case, the Natural Fruit Company took Andy Hall himself to court. In Thaliand, if you “defame” a corporation, they can take you to both civil and criminal court. This means Andy Hall could personally be fined millions of dollars, and spend up to 7 years in prison per count of defamation.

Andy’s case is presently before the courts. There is a petition circulating at the moment, to have Andy’s case thrown out of court. You can sign it here.

“Please use your freedom to promote ours.” 
… Aung San Suu Ky

NEGOTIATION - Internet Peace-Making

Jarod Cohen is the "Director of Ideas" at Google, a former advisor to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and the co-author of the recently released book: The New Digital Age: Reshaping the Future of People, Nations and Business.

He has also been recognized in 2012 with the “Young Peacemaker Award” from the Seeds of Peace organization.

In a recent radio interview, Jarod was talking about the impact of the internet on autocratic regimes – governments that use power-over tactics.

The way he sees it, the internet is actually a force of peace by bringing democratic values to repressive regimes. And, he has visited a few recently. In January, he was in North Korea, in April – Myanmar.

Here’s how he sees the internet influencing peace in the world. In Myanmar, he said that although less than 1 percent of the population has access to the internet, everyone he spoke with had heard of the Internet. They also had some idea of the concept and the value system of open access to information for everyone.

Although the average persons in Myanmar do not have access to the internet, they are still influenced by what it represents. 

Cohen sees a future where the vast majority of the world's population "will come to know the internet as an idea and as a concept years before they come to experience it as a user." 

He contrasts the knowledge of the internet in Myanmar with North Korea – where most of the population is not only not linked in to the internet, but have never even heard of it. He had gone to North Korea to make “an economic” case for making the internet more accessible there. He didn’t open the doors wide, but his attempts are linked to his philosophy of how he sees spreading peace.

Here's a quote about some of his ideas in the Huffington Post:

"The 57 percent of the world's population that's living under autocracy will go from offline to online. That's going to be very confusing for the [autocratic] regimes because they're going to find that a population of 20 million people in the physical world looks like a population of 500 million people online. What dictators will try to do is replicate the laws of the physical world in cyberspace, and they're going to find that very difficult to do… So what that means is the vast majority of the world's population, the 5 billion people [that will join the internet in the next 10 years] will come to know the Internet as an idea and as a concept years before they come to experience it as a user.... The internet isn't a panacea... but the power of information, which is itself produced by these devices, ultimately gives people options and choices."

This young man gives me hope!

“The number of people who believe in stopping violence in the world is wildly greater than those that want to perpetrate it. When everybody has a smartphone, the ability for people to actually do something about violence goes up significantly.” 
… Jared Cohen


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Julia Menard, B.A., Cert. Con. Res., P.C.C.
Leadership & Conflict Coaching, Mediating, & Training

I love to inject more collaboration into the workplace! If you think I might be able to help you realize that vision - please contact me. Tell me what you need and let's see how I can best assist you!

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  • Does conflict make you break out in a sweat?
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Most people loathe conflict.  I know - I used to be one of them!

But, through years of practice, and study, and working in the field as a professional mediator, trainer and conflict coach – I’ve seen the power in conflict – both to damage and enhance relationship.
It’s all in how you approach it!

I pride myself on creating a learning experience that is relaxed, safe, and relevant. Whether it's sharing self-management tips, discussing hot button issues or describing how to bring up a tough topic, there's no shortage of conversation topics.
Most importantly, this workshop offers a practical model for how to start and sustain a collaborative conversation. It incorporates interpersonal communication concepts from Interest-based Negotiation, Non-Violent Communication, and Clear Leadership.

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“God brings men into deep waters, not to drown them, but to cleanse them”. 
… John Aughey

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