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Conflict Resolution Tips and Blog

The Conflict of Trust, Race and Engine Failure

Last month I was sitting on a plane that was supposed to be a direct flight from NYC to Honolulu when the pilot’s voice came on to announce that there was trouble with one of the engines and not to worry. The plan was to land in Portland and take care of the problem. The immediate problem other than the obvious was that this announcement came an hour before we would arrive in Portland. I looked at my seatmate and those around us, including flight attendants and saw worry and fear so clearly. I leaned back in my seat and decided that all I could do was trust.

I remember thinking that I trust these pilots to know what they are doing even though I have not met them. I trust that any dark and scary imaginations that my mind can conjure up cannot and will not compete with their knowledge to do what they do regularly and that is to fly this plane and land it safely. They live this and I trust that they have stories to tell from their experiences. My seatmate shares that she has flown this airline for many years and has never had this experience. So, she decided to join me in leaning in to trust.

I had just finished reading O Magazine’s issue dedicated to talking about race and my mind went immediately there. I thought about this idea of trust and its relationship to race relations. People of Color are often subjected to the day-to-day oppressive notion that someone who has no clue and has never walked in your shoes is the decided and sanctioned authority of your experience. The people outside of our experience get to say that “you are making it up,” “that doesn’t happen,” “it was mean but I don’t think it was racism” or “let’s wait until all the facts are in” and the insanely frustrating “why do you always have to play the race card?”

People of Color who are socio-economically diverse, educationally diverse from all walks of life who tell their stories of similar abuses who should be the authorities on their experiences in this country, are not believed regularly. There is little trust or there would be more change. That many of us including myself experience this among people we know, respected friends and colleagues, slowly erodes our faith that the ethnic and racial conflicts in this country will ever end.

Trust, a little word with HUGE power.

While there is an enormous amount of work to do and continuous conversations to be had, I ask us to start to look at this idea of trust and the role it plays in our relationship to one another when it comes to race and ethnicity specifically. The sad truth is that even People of Color have been poisoned by the insidious beliefs of mistrust that have been so strategically ingrained in the fiber of this country.

Can you trust that we live this life every day and our experiences are where our expertise lie? Can we fly the plane while you sit back and trust that because we live this we know about all the turbulence and bumps ahead and exactly where things are going to land?

The Sandwich – The 4 Ingredients That Make This Conflict Easier to Swallow

I’m not a fan of sandwiches, but I grew up during a time when a cartoon character became famous for his. They were called, Dagwoods and they were piled high with every kind of meat, cheese and condiment that you could imagine. This sandwich was piled high over his head. That seems to be an accurate description for the life of those in my generation and even a decade younger.

We are caretakers for our elderly parents while still raising our children, the double decker sandwich. Some of us are helping to raise grandchildren or taking care of parents and grandparents while still having to raise children, which is known as the triple decker. Either way, the common feeling I have heard expressed is “in over our heads.”

It is a lot to comprehend, schedule, manage and wrap your brain around. It can be overwhelming. This kind of lifestyle invites conflict pretty easily and sometimes unexpectedly.

When my dad was in his late seventies, he was living on his own, dating (like you wouldn’t believe), driving his own car and was very active in his church and the neighborhood. My sister and I started noticing some memory issues that we held family meetings to address, but my dad was still having a full life, including enjoying his three grandchildren. One night, he had a stomachache and we took him to the emergency room. He was immediately admitted to ICU and sedated. When he finally came out of sedation three days later, he was in full blown dementia.

In a matter of three days, all of our lives had completely changed. My sister and I were now responsible for him and all of his affairs just like that.

I have watched numerous friends and family navigate similar situations and almost drown in them. The stress, the tension and the conflicts can threaten to shatter the best relationships. So, it is important to be prepared even if you are already in this sandwich.

Here’s the four necessary ingredients for being able to digest all of this:

1. Address The Fear of What If

Yes, no one wants to deal with what if, but the truth is that on top of all the stress you already have, you will have so much more if you don’t. This means, get all of their paperwork in order now. Insurance, medical, wills and yes even funeral services. There I said it. The worst is out there. Straight talk helps. My dad was more than willing to write up his funeral service a decade before we needed it.

2. Enlist Help

You are not the only person going through this no matter how bad your story. My friend Terri V. White at ALaborofLoveElderCare.com shares that in her work, there are so many stories out there and most of them involving people not reaching out for help or reaching out when they are so exhausted they can barely function. Getting help and information is important even before this happens to you.

3. Expect Opposition

Whatever is happening in your life, you can expect your children to push back, because there is not enough of you to go around. You can expect opposition from your parents and/or grandparents, because change is scary and losing independence is humiliating.

4. Schedule In Me Time

No matter what, something has to give. Learn to say no even when it is hard. Schedule time for yourself everyday and be upfront about it. It is not selfish. It is urgent care for you. If you are not doing well, then everyone suffers.

We are living lives that are very different from our parents and if you are not there yet, then get a jump on this because you will be one day. Handling these kinds of conflicts require skills, patience and preparation, but even with that there can be enjoyment. Just like that sandwich that Dagwood prepared. He knew that on top of everything he put in it that put it over his head, the main ingredient was love.

Family conflicts can be hard to deal with. That’s why I created The Soul of Conflict: Creating Peace In The Family Series. It starts March 27th and I would love to have you join us. Invest in yourself and your family now. Go to http://soulofconflictsummit.com/yes

Are You In Touch With The Soul of Conflict in Your Work?

Coming off of an incredible week of interviews and interacting with so many of you in The Soul of Conflict Tele-Summit, I experienced a huge crash. It had been a time of taking in almost an overload of information that confirmed much and shifted even more. There is a newness to my mindset when it comes to my work and a big part of what I am experiencing is gratitude and a sense of satisfaction that so many of us are moving in the same direction.

But I did spend much of yesterday in a place of deep sadness that I later realized was the surfacing of unresolved conflict in me that extends to my work. Why do I do the work that I do? Why do you? I have heard it said that…

We are often attracted to the work that we do by a particular need within us.

Often, I have heard people express the desire to help others who have had a particular hurt that they themselves have had. Other popular reasons I am sure we each have heard are… “I want to keep people from making the same mistake I did” or “I’m doing this to stop things like this from happening to anybody else.” Both of which indicate that many of us do the work that we do because of something uncomfortable, unpleasant or just plain bad that happened in our life.

Certainly, the tremendous amount of conflict that existed in my extended family between my dad’s five sisters, sometimes my mom or dad and some of us cousins turned every family gathering (of which there were hundreds in my lifetime) into a war of hateful, nasty words, hurtful gossip, accusations and threats. It would make sense then that I would want to do the work of helping people resolve conflict. If you look at your work in the world, I suspect that you can make the connection between your childhood, teen-life or early adult experiences and how you extend yourself in service these days.

But what the summit did was allow me to dig deep into the question of whether or not I have been living my life and doing the work from the place of equating things that have happened to me with experiencing things that have happened. Stay with me here.

What I recognize about The Soul of Conflict is that if I am truly dealing with the experience then I am working it all through. That means identifying, surfacing, looking at and then doing the work of healing those old wounds left by the first part of the experience (the incident, the harm). If I label it as something that happened to me, I can convince myself that I have left it in the past without acknowledging the wound it has left within me.

To see the full experience through means acknowledging the effect it has had within me and working to feel, release and make the changes necessary to end its affect. As I reflect upon how many of us in conflict resolution work are sometimes the worst at conflict resolution in our lives, I also wonder how many of us as therapists, teachers, parents would admit that we are less than our best when it comes to using the tools of our work in our own lives, particularly during conflict.

Now is not the time for untruths. If we look into The Soul of Conflict in our lives we will find what we have left behind that needs attending to.

Award winning Author, Speaker and Top Business Coach, Pamela Slim speaks to this in this short and powerful clip from her Soul of Conflict Summit interview.

https://vimeo.com/203164412/27d65b5166

I hope you will watch it and then sign up for The Soul of Conflict Challenge where we get to the work of beginning to Heal Old Wounds.

Sign up here… http://soulofconflictsummit.com/challenge.

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The Conflict that Resides Within A Question. Are You Ready For the Answer?

How far would you go to get an answer to your one burning question?

Daryl Davis traveled to the very people that hate him. What kind of courage does it take to ask a sibling that is gravely ill to increase her pain by healing the old wounds that have created lasting conflict between the two of you? Elizabeth Lesser exhibited that kind of raw courage when she chose to become a bone marrow donor for her sister.

These are the kinds of conflict that challenge so much of what we think and believe. They push us to look at our own capacity for facing and resolving conflict.

Daryl DavisAt the young age of 10, Daryl Davis was cruelly attacked while marching in a Cub Scout parade. As the only black face in the parade, he was offensive to many white adults in the crowd and their reactions were to throw bottles, cans and whatever they could find at him. When he returned home and his parents explained racism to him, he held both disbelief and curiosity. His question, “how can you hate me when you don’t even know me,” would lead him to the depths of hatred, the Ku Klux Klan.

elizabeth-lesserElizabeth Lesser found the answer to her question a lot closer to home. When her sister was diagnosed with a life-threatening disease, Elizabeth was a match as a bone marrow donor. The painful transplant process was only half of the challenge that Elizabeth and her sister took on. The deeper and in some ways more painful journey came in asking the question, “if we are really talking about healing can we start with the old wounds of our relationship?” That kind of conflict resolution requires deep commitment to surfacing, examining and healing what is holding you back from moving forward in your relationship.

The opportunity to sit with Daryl and Elizabeth and delve into the raw, honest truth about their experiences opened the door to my own thoughts and a desire to engage in the work of learning how to live my life on the highest level possible.

I believe that the times are requiring that of each of us. We can no longer avoid the conflicts that are ripping our homes, places of businesses, communities, the nation and world apart. Learning to resolve conflict one meaningful response at a time is no longer a request, but rather a demand that our world is placing on us.

Are you ready?

Join me for the Soul of Conflict Tele-Summit: Healing Old Wounds to hear the rest of their compelling stories and so many more.

Let’s do the work of H.E.A.L.ing forward together. Go to: http://soulofconflictsummit.com.

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It’s 2017. Are You Ready for Conflict?

At this point in history there is really no escaping conflict anymore. Yes, most of us are avoiders, but we are running out of ways to avoid confronting conflict, because it is the biggest thing in our lives thanks to this election.

As a nation, we are experiencing a split like no other.

Whichever side you come down on I know you feel it. People have been cut off by friends and family. Choosing sides and taking a defensive stand is epidemic. Ultimatums, the silent treatment, defiant pronouncements, arguments, fistfights are all on the rise.

The range of emotions we are experiencing run the gamut of grief, deep sadness, shock, disgust, disappointment, shame, embarrassment, hatred, elation, relief, joy and love. Yes love. Love is still present, but we’ve got to go through conflict to truly experience it. Our hearts will be tested, right alongside our patience and our faith.

But most of all, our ability to respond to conflict rather than react will be challenged over and over again.

Are YOU ready for Conflict, because it is here? Never mind that it has always been by your side waiting.

Now, it is out in the open. No hiding, no pretense and it is no longer waiting for us to decide whether or not to take it on. It will not be silenced by the turning off of the television set or the tossing out of the newspaper or by ducking social media or your family, your neighbors, your boss or your friends.

It is coming to each and every one of us LIVE.

Are YOU ready for it?