Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Last weekend I celebrated a friend’s birthday at a house she rented and at dinner we took turns sharing something we loved about her. I talked about how this friend, no matter how busy or stressed, always took time to connect so that the people around her could actually feel that they mattered. It reminded me of a piece I wrote when I was blogging years ago (MediationSmall Talk: Continuing the Conversation) because she was in fact the same friend I referenced then, with the same positive qualities I was hoping to emulate. Four years later, she is still excellent at connecting with people in the moment–no matter the particulars surrounding that moment–and communicating to them that they matter. I, on the other hand, am still working on getting better at this in more varied settings. I am good at it in my role as a professional mediator but given my introverted and efficiency-driven nature it’s not a strength I find myself possessing in hallways, on the playground, at the neighborhood block party, or during other unplanned encounters.
A couple days following this birthday weekend, I took a walk with a mediator friend and colleague and we discussed mediators who had influenced us, as we reflected on ways in which we could continue to develop and learn professionally. We are considering starting a book group in our office. Reflecting on these two conversations, I found myself re-reading my old blog posts.
Despite being well-intentioned, my idea of writing articles for Noah Mediation Services never got off the ground. Life happened—as it often does—as my business model changed, I had a kid, experienced some complicated health matters, and a year ago returned to the steady and predictable schedule and paycheck of mediating full-time for the courts. My business still exists primarily for purposes of educating the public; I also occasionally mediate pro-bono for cases where clients may not otherwise have access to services. While my mediation job keeps me busy, as compared to juggling a business, adjunct teaching, and being with a baby full-time, I actually now have more opportunities to read and reflect (that time on the El: luxurious!).
Four years since the last post, I’ve decided to give this blog another go. I won’t make promises about how frequently I will write, but I will write and reflect and connect in the ways I know best.