Monday, October 6, 2014

Mondays and Mindfulness and Conflict

Happy Monday. I generally wake on Mondays glad. No Monday, Monday can't trust that day. This morning, Henry and I woke an hour later because school started an hour later. The sun came through the dining room windows and lit on my yellow coffee cup so beautifully that I had to take a picture, felt grateful -- not in the way that is all the rage, that we're supposed to be -- but simply. Thank you, I thought, for this yellow cup, for that sun, for this day.

This weekend I went to a lovely party for a dear friend's birthday. A group of women sat outside by her pool, drank wine and laughed and talked and ate delicious food. At one point in our dinner, a few of us got into what wasn't so much a fight but rather a conflict about what's happening in the world, specifically in the Middle East -- in Israel, in particular. Yikes, right? Who in their right mind gets involved in such conflicts over dinner? Good friends can -- and do -- but it's still difficult. Voices were raised. Emotions were high and visible. My heart beat fast, especially when I was told, You're wrong! I won't go into the particulars, because that isn't my point on this sunny yellow coffee cup radiant Monday morning. We all paddled around the pool, even after the dinner and the disagreements and the emotion. All is well.

This morning, though, I began to listen to this video linked by Tricycle Magazine and was so struck by it -- by the synchronicity of getting the link in my inbox so soon after the uncomfortable conflict:

A Zen Approach to Conflict

If you have twenty minutes and are interested, I encourage you to listen to the video. The teacher, Diane Musho Hamilton, describes "three typical responses to disagreement, which correspond with Buddhism's three poisons: greed, aversion, and delusion. By learning to identify our patterns of slinking away from or escalating disputes, we take the first step toward transforming tense relationships into vibrant connections." If you practice mindfulness, it will be especially illuminating. This first "lesson" outlined not only the different and general ways we deal with conflict but suggests we begin to be mindful of how we respond when conflict happens. It's the first of a series, and I think I'm going to benefit a lot from listening to all of them. I was thinking it could help me move forward with nearly everything that I engage in -- not just my relationships with friends and family, but what happens when I interact with the systems of care for Sophie, and the ongoing fears I have as I vaccinate my sons, which currently rank up there as the most closely aligned body/mind issues I have experienced. I'm interested to hear what ya'll think.


  1. I too woke up wistful, feeling like I've been weathering a big storm and yet grateful to be here now. Thank you for sharing this today, Elizabeth. xo

  2. I'm glad for what you said about gratitude, and yours being authentic/organic. Maybe even grateful for it? And you know I want to get tapped into this whole mindfulness thing. I appreciate the link.

  3. Thank you so much for sharing this! It was perfect timing for me to see this video, too, and I can't wait for the subsequent ones.

    Love that photo!

  4. Thank you for this, Elizabeth. I am trying to be more mindful, to replace anxiety and reactivity with attention and acceptance. The link is wonderful.

  5. for me it has been very liberating to become aware of my patterns. Without judgment, just becoming aware. My favorite teacher is Tara Brach. Her teachings and guided meditations offer many a peaceful pause in my life.

  6. I'm glad that you found that piece from Tricycle. The news these days is so hard on each one of us - our hearts and our psyches. Because of the Artist's Way, I'm noticing synchronicity more, and it is a beautiful thing - it encourages me each time, and I'm seeing it more often. I hope you see more of it, as well.

  7. I will definitely give it a listen! It sounds interesting and useful.

    I avoid all conversation about Israel on principle -- which is a shame, because having a real discussion about a difficult topic can sometimes be illuminating. But it's just too fraught and people get so emotional.

  8. Help with conflict resolution is exactly what I need right now. Thanks for the link.

  9. Thank you so much, Elizabeth. This is just what I need at the moment/lifetime.



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