Health, Environment, Negotiation

Welcome to HEN - promoting compassion -
for self (Health), our Environment, and each other (Negotiation).

HEN is published each month by Menard Coaching, Mediating & Training:
Helping Leaders Engage - One Tough Conversation at a Time!

HEN arrives at the full moon - the apex of the beauty of darkness in light.   
Full Moon: May 5, 2012 - Year 10, Issue 5
Table of Contents:

1. HEALTH: Quiet Inner Springs

“All the unhappiness of men arises from one single fact, that they cannot stay quietly in their own room.”  … Blaise Pascal
I was talking with someone recently about their health and noticed myself say that there seems to be deep healing that arises from being alone with ourselves. 
Trying to articulate what I mean by that is more of the challenge. I know that place, and perhaps you do to. It is a place, firstly, of being truly alone – not checking our emails or even alone reading.
I mean that kind of alone where we sit WITH ourselves and BE with ourselves. You could call it mediation. Sometimes journaling might be involved. Or perhaps a walk in the woods with ourselves, the birds, and the wind.
It is in those moments, that we have the opportunity to touch a vast expanse inside – which, I believe, healing actually springs from. 
Pascal is also quoted as saying:

“We have a secret instinct, a remnant of the greatness of our original nature, which teaches that happiness in reality consists only in rest, and not in being stirred up.”
I have experienced this rest in many contexts, but most notably while receiving Reiki treatments. I have studied Reiki for a few years, and although I have my Master Level Reiki, I still am a beginner in this area. What I know for sure, however, is when I am on the table, relaxing and trusting the person (or persons) who are laying on their hands, I can connect with a deep sense of relaxation.
In those moments, although others are “companioning” with me – they expect nothing of me. I am allowed to close my eyes, focus in on my own inner silence, and rest. The others are there as silent, non-judgmental witnesses to my inner unfolding.
That is the rest that restores. That is what I mean by being alone with oneself.
My belief is we need to give ourselves (and each other!) permission to take time out to be alone with ourselves in this way for extended periods of time – regularly. By extended periods of time, I mean a day, two days, or even three days – to give ourselves the chance to slow down and hear what our inner world wants us to hear. 
And, the place we are trying to get to – is that still point that starts from the inside. That point of calm, solitude, and pleasure really – in the act of being alive.
There was a you tube link going around facebook recently, that really captures that feeling place. Of course, it would be a newborn baby that could most easily model that place of complete rest and being completely in the moment. In case you haven’t seen this video, it is a bath given by a trained baby bath specialist (I kid you not!) – giving a newborn a “therapeutic” bath. Click here to see the video.
See if you can remember that place in you!

“Inside myself is a place where I live all alone, and that’s where you renew your springs that never dry up.”  … Pearl S. Buck."

2. ENVIRONMENT: Opening to Gardens

“I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers."  … Claude Monet
There is a beautiful garden here in Victoria called Abkhazi Gardens – named after the Prince and Princess who lives here until their deaths in the late 1980’s - early 1990’s.
My daughter has been volunteering in the lovely tea house that is there now - in the former living room of the Abkhazi’s so I had an excuse to be there early recently to drop her off.
I wandered the gardens myself in the early morning, with no one else around.
The experience was exquisite. I hadn’t really “taken in” the gardens until that morning, although I had seen the gardens a few times before and even walked the gardens. 
This morning, with no one else around and allowing myself to slow down, the experience was markedly different. I really saw the true beauty of the flowers, the trees, the light, the rocks – even the mosquitoes seemed to be doing a divine dance in front of one of the babbling brooks.
I took that feeling with me when I left the gardens. I had been affected by the place – by the rocks and flowers and trees. I believe I’d also been affected by the people who had originally tended to the garden and put so much energy into the garden. 
I left realizing that if we look closely at something – anything really – a whole universe of beauty can open up and be revealed.
That is a lesson I hope to carry forward! To truly listen and take in what gardens, flowers, trees, and the whole of nature want us to know!
The story of the Abkhazis’ lives can be found here.

"If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly our whole life would change."...Buddha 

3. NEGOTIATION: The Top Five Blocks to Connection

“Only through our connectedness to others can we really know and enhance the self. And only through working on the self can we begin to enhance our connectedness to others.”   … Harriet Goldhor Lerner
Bronnie Ware, a palliative care nurse in Australia, recently released a book entitled The Top Five Regrets of the Dying. The book is based on her experiences listening to many people in their last stages of life and noticing the themes that emerged. Her book is based on a short blog post she did of the same title – with the top 5 themes being:

  1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected.
  2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.
  3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
  4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
  5. I wish that I had let myself be happier. 
It is noteworthy that most of the regrets are related to relationships and the quality of them. In addition, a recent local article quoted another end-of-life specialist and
researcher, Dr. Kelli Stajduhar from the University of Victoria’s Centre of Aging, listing a 6th regret not covered by Ware. Dr. Stajduhar adds the regret for having let anger get in
the way of maintaining quality family relationships.
In my work with conflict, both personally and professionally as a mediator and conflict coach, I would say what touches my heart the most is the way so many of us want to connect more deeply, but can’t seem to.
Here is my impromptu list of the
Top 5 Blocks to Connection that I’ve seen getting in our way of keeping relationships intimate, vibrant, and connected:
  1. Blaming the other person for our feelings, instead of naming our feelings and expressing our deepest needs stimulating that feeling. 
  2. Not listening to the other person with an open heart (or with “Giraffe Ears” as Marshall Rosenberg calls it). I’ve noticed the times I’ve chosen to NOT hear the blame and instead hear the feelings and the tender needs underneath the feelings, I’ve single-handedly re-established connection.
  3. Pushing our own solution to solve a problem between people. This happened in a relationship I know of recently. Instead of the individuals sitting down and discussing what the feelings and deeper needs of each were, one person showed up with a solution in mind and imposed that solution to “solve the problem.” No consultation or negotiation. Done!
  4. Confusing a solution with a need. It is helpful to separate our needs from the way we get those needs met. We all have “universal needs” (think Maslow) which are non-negotiable. How we get those needs met is negotiable. A universal need might be for belonging, love, or connection. If I want you to DO something, that’s our idea for how to get our need met and should be open for discussion. We might be able to name a feeling and maybe even a need – but then create blocks by expecting our own solution to be the only way to meet our need – even when the other person says your way doesn’t work for them! Even more subtle is when we disguise our demand as a request!
  5. Shutting down our heart towards the other. I can’t quite explain this one as it involves that eternally mysterious place – our heart – but I’ve noticed people who have conflict between them become numb to each other. It’s a type of ice, really, as I’ve also seen that ice thaw if the connection is re-established. Through this, I’ve come to believe that the caring didn’t disappear, though it might seem so to the conscious mind. So when we are in the thaw period (the ice age!), it is easy to forget that we truly do care for the other person deeply. 
That brings us full circle back to the regrets of the dying. When we are dying, I expect many layers of toughness and ice melt away. We are at our most vulnerable. We can probably see the most clearly and the most directly from our hearts. 
We remember what is most important: our friends, our family, those in our lives who have touched us and who we have touched. Our connections.
Who do you want to remember that you do love today?
“The unique personality which is the real life in me, I can not gain unless I search for the real life, the spiritual quality, in others. I am myself spiritually dead unless I reach out to the fine quality dormant in others. For it is only with the god enthroned in the innermost shrine of the other, that the god hidden in me, will consent to appear.”  … Felix Adler

4. SERVICES: Making Tough Conversations Great!

1) WORKSHOP:  Making Tough Conversations Great!
Available for organizations in Victoria, B.C. in 1/2 day or full day formats.
  • Does conflict make you break out in a sweat?
  • When it doesn’t go well, can you feel a tension so thick you can cut it with a knife?
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!

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.

Topics include:

  • Getting Out of Your Own Way
  • Separating Fact from Fiction
  • Linking Feelings to Needs
2) E-COURSE: Making Tough Conversations Great!
10 week self-study course with Facebook Group Community
COST: $95 (+HST)

If you are not located in Victoria and would still like to learn more about making tough conversations great, check out this e-course which is delivered directly to your in-box every week for 10 weeks.
If you’ve got some knowledge of how to make a tough conversation great and are looking for a refresher, this course is for you as well!
Just like the face-to-face workshops, the topics in this e-course include:
  • Focusing on your Best Intentions for your Tough Conversation
  • Leading with Observations (Separating Fact from Fiction)
  • Linking feelings to Needs
  • Converting resistance (Winning Yourself a Hearing!)
  • Deferring solutions to the end 
Each week, you will receive a new lesson via email.  Each lesson is short and to the point  - with reflective questions and meaningful actions each week.
There is also a private online coaching group, where you can ask me questions, engage in discussions, share your struggles, and celebrate your successes!
To get going on this course, just email me and ask, or register online.
Some of my favourite clients are managers and other people-oriented leaders who value relationships highly and have figured out if they put attention into their
relationships, they will get big dividends out!
In fact, managers spend 25 percent to 40 percent of their time attempting to resolve conflict (Washington Business Journal) - yet most leaders receive minimal - or no - training on how to resolve conflicts collaboratively.
If you'd like to enrich some of your relationships at work - whether with peers, clients, or your own boss, consider coaching.  I would love to support you in strengthening your key relationships at work.

If you would like to set up a time to talk about your needs in this area, just email me with "Coaching" in the subject line.

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Julia Menard, B.A., Cert. Con. Res., P.C.C.
Leadership & Conflict Coaching, Mediating, & Training
"To see a world
In a grain of sand
and heaven in a wildflower.
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
and eternity in an hour.”  
                 … William Blake 


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