Monday, November 29, 2010

The Joy of Creative Conflict Resolution

Last week I had a boundary dispute with my neighbor at “The Property.” Initially, all sorts of negative emotions surged within me. But we faced into that which was inescapable. And we talked. And I was (prayerfully) determined to be calm, patient, empathetic and creative in seeking a solution, rejecting old strategies of winners and losers and zero sum games. Ultimately, we got it all worked out and we laughed and hugged,… and I now have a fiercely faithful, committed neighbor for life. No, I did not “cave.” We really did navigate our way to a win-win. It just took a little care, patience, and creativity. I cannot describe the thrill and joy of our achievement. (And I shutter to think of the alternatives that might have been, and the opportunity that might have been so easily squandered.)
I was reminded of this wonderful experience today when I read of the monk who asked the High Priest whether he could smoke while he prayed. The Priest was disgusted and exclaimed “Absolutely not!”
So a few days later the cleaver monk returned to the Priest and inquired whether it was okay for him to pray when he smoked.  Now that’s creative problem solving and dispute resolution!