Non-partisan peacemaking (and other skills for 2020)

As we reach the halfway point of 2020, I want to share some skills that can support us all over the next 6 months.

First, a true story: The last month or so I was planning a great escape to Europe for the rest of the year – to avoid the election in the US, the senseless killings, civil unrest, unhinged drama and violent images on social media/TV.

Then this happened…

An Awareness Moment: I was in self-preservation – a critter brain reaction.

We often want to “leave/flee/avoid/put our head in the sand” rather than “do the work.”

Question for you: What are you trying to “leave/flee/avoid in this current moment?

2020 is a year of “hard truths” and “hard looks in the mirror.”

The global quarantine, or what I call the great universal PAUSE, forced us to slow down.

The series of recent murders of black people in the US and the protests and civil unrest that followed is a symptom of reconciliation work that was avoided a century ago.

We can no longer put our head in the sand. We can’t move forward until we “do the work.”

So what does this “work” look like? (Hint: it ain’t easy!)

I invite you to develop these skills over the coming weeks for us to ‘overcome turmoil together’:

  1. Non-partisan peacemaking. Peace is the only sustainable answer. As a certified restorative justice mediator (some of my most meaningful work), I support meaningful dialogue to come to a peaceful agreement that includes reparations. Honing your peacemaking and deescalation skills is important in this season.
  2. Mercy over harm. Harm shows up in many ways: the most egregious being murder, explicit racism, venomous slurs, public outings, embarrassment, etc. Harm is a spectrum. Ask yourself, “By my words or actions, am I choosing to harm this person?” Mercy is the work, which includes calling people forth in private, rather than out in public.
  3. Slow to judgement, quick to listening. Slow down to listen. Empathetic listening skills are crucial. Listening can slow down our critter brain to snap judgements and decision making. Listening supports in humanizing the other person, and creating common ground.

These are only a few steps in the gradual climb. Choosing “easy” got us where we are. We need to take the long road that requires mental, emotional and spiritual work.

Will you join me?

Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself. – Rumi

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