Welcome to the Alphabet series! Every other week we will be tackling a letter of the alphabet and connecting that letter with a physical, emotional and/or spiritual ailment that impacts us individually and as a community. We will gather as many recipes, rituals, remedies and resources as we can to support the healing of these ailments. This is not by any means a comprehensive list, but a working list of possible things that can reinforce and engage healing. Please be sure to consult your doctor/practitioner/spiritual guide/intuition before using and as you use any of these therapies. We are all different and respond uniquely to various healing methods. Its important to only use what is meant for you specifically. We started of the series with A is for Anger, followed by B is for Burnout. Lets continue with the letter C. C is for Conflict.
“Peace is not the absence of conflict but the presence of creative alternatives for responding to conflict –
alternatives to passive or aggressive responses, alternatives to violence.”
“Conflict can be seen as a gift of energy, in which neither side loses and a new dance is created.”
Life is an ever expansive learning experience and dealing with conflict is an inescapable part of the ride. That’s right!!!No matter how much we try to run, hide, bend, coerce, disguise the conflict that creeps into our lives, we inevitably have to deal with it. As a former professional conflict avoider, I can tell you that there is no place that you can hide where conflict won’t find you. I mean you could hide but the outcome is not always as healthy and we end up prolonging the experience we are trying to move away from in the first place. (Un)fortunately, our past experiences with our parents, loved ones, partners, colleagues, God, have created specific habit patterns in conflict resolution. Many of us, throughout our lives, learn that our opinions don’t matter, or have been punished for expressing how we feel, so the idea of confronting someone else feels daunting. Many of us also haven’t given ourselves enough spaces to speak and hear our own truths. So when conflict arises, we have a difficult time naming what is wrong with us or confuse our feelings with someone else’s.
Luckily, the existence of conflict does not equate failure. In fact conflict is a normal part of life. If dealt with in a healthy, positive and constructive way, dealing with conflict can offer up incredible opportunities for growth and transformation within ourselves and the spaces we occupy.
POTENTIAL INGREDIENTS, WHAT CAUSES CONFLICT?
- Neglecting to nurture ourselves
- Projecting our internal issues onto the rest of the world
- Incompatibility of values, beliefs, opinions between people
- Making assumptions about someone else’s story
- Differing or unexpressed expectations
- Assuming that everyone can read your mind
- Poor communication
- Working and/or living in emotionally intense and stressful situations
- Misuse of power and privilege
- Refusing to be held accountable
- Your sense of safety being threatened
- Unresolved arguments
- Unresolved healing from past trauma
- Not knowing how to listen to or name your needs
- Cultural, societal, generational messages about conflict
- Lack of support
PHYSICAL, SPIRITUAL, EMOTIONAL MANIFESTATIONS
Given its relationship to stress, the physical, emotional and spiritual effects of conflict can be harmful.
Physically: People may experience anxiety, insomnia, headaches, back pains, rapid heartbeat, perspiration, muscle tension, nausea, loss of energy, increased hostility, mistrust. If conflict is violent, people can physically get hurt.
Emotionally: Folks may experience depression, lack of motivation, isolation, withdrawal, being re-triggered, internalized oppression, feeling helpless, decline in morale. It may also lead to psychological issues such as anorexia, bulemia, post traumatic stress disorder.
Spiritually: People may have a hard time feeling grounded in their source of power. Folks might also not feel connected to what nurtures their core.
In the workplace, conflict can manifest in high turnover rates, inability to prioritize work leading to wasted time, increased absenteeism, lack of trust, decreased sense of safety and fulfillment, burnout and stress.
RECIPES AND REMEDIES
Its important to note that the some of the following recipes and remedies won’t help you directly deal with conflict, they will only support healing the physical, spiritual, emotional manifestations of conflict in your life. Conflict resolution requires that you understand the root cause of the conflict and commit to healing how it manifests in your life in the healthiest and constructive ways possible. Below you will find a few tips that can support you in the process.
Licorice root is a powerful treatment for stress and anxiety. It contains a natural hormone alternative to cortisone, helping to normalize blood sugar levels and adrenal glands, which in turn support you in dealing with stressful situations. As a tonic, prepare one teaspoon of licorice root to one cup boiling water for 3-5 minutes. Drink tea one to two times a day to gain medicinal benefits. You can add peppermint and cinnamon for additional healing properties.
One of my favorites, Lavender, is effective at reducing irritability and anxiety and supporting relaxation. You can prepare it in many ways. For a tea, add one cup of boiling hot water to a teaspoon of herb. For insomnia and stress during nighttime, you can make an eye pillow by taking a piece of old fabric from a tshirt or scarf and filling it with lavender. You can also carry around lavender essential oil to smell for aromatic healing qualities.
Take time to understand where the source of conflict is coming from.
Practice conflict mediation techniques
- Be aware of how you feel. Be in touch with your boundaries and your needs and communicate them clearly.
- Practice non-violent communication
- Seek professional support if conflict is manifesting in violent and toxic ways.
- Identify whether the current conflict is linked to something happening in the present or linked to something from your past.
- Think about you and the other person(s) state of being during a conflict, what other factors are contributing to the conflict within yourselves and your environment.
- My Personal Movie activity from The Empowerment Manual by Starhawk. In pairs, share the answers to the following questions. Or, you can do this exercise alone, writing your reflections in a journal.
As a child, where there particular stories, movies, or fairy tales that you identified with?
If the the story of your life were a movie, a story or a fairy tale, what would it be?
Are there any people or situations in your life right now that throw you into that story?
What does the story tell you about your own sense of agency? Who holds power in your story?
Can you think of a conflict or situation that you experienced through the lens of the story? How would your perception change if you changed the story?
Are there conflicts or situations that you are presently seeing through the lens of your story? How would your perception change if you changed the story to one in which you have greater agency?
- Tools for Change Conflict Resolution Mediation Script
State the particular common mission and values which are affected by the current circumstances (what is at stake?)
When…………….(observable behavior, event) happened,
I felt………………(emotion only eg sad, angry)
Because I think the consequence is/has been…….(your evaluation of the impact on your shared mission and/or how it is contrary to your shared values. Its is good to describe what in your experience has caused you to draw this conclusion).
I know that I also contributed to the situation by……………(acknowledge how you personally contributed to the problem by what you did or neglected to do).
I value….( the positive side of the situation and/or how the person(s) makes positive contribution(s).
I would like………………………(what action or alternative policy would you like). Because I believe this would serve us by…………………………..
I will…..(what are you willing to do to contribute to resolution) so that……..(anticipated improvement that this will make in the situation.
- Connect or reconnect with a spiritual practice that nurtures you
Use this ritual from Conscious Loving: The Journey to Co-commitment by Gay Hendricks if you are stuck when dealing with conflict,
Begin by acknowledging to yourself: “I’m Stuck”. Say it over a few times in your mind. Listen to the tone of voice you are using. Whose voice is it? Yours? Your parent’s ? Someone else’s ? Where is the voice coming from? The front of your mind? Side? Back? Just notice-there are no right or wrong answers.
Now notice how you experience the feeling of stuckness in your body. Is it a pressure in your chest? A tight neck? Knot in the stomach? Queasiness? Exactly what are the sensations associated with being stuck? What do these sensations remind you of? How is this familiar? With whom are these feelings associated? At what time in your life did they first begin?
What do you need to learn from being stuck? What is the message here that you need to pay most attention to?
What do you need to do about these feelings of stuckness? Is there someone to whom you need to talk? Are there actions that need to be taken?
Who can best support you in attaining real freedom right now in your life? Who can be unflinchingly honest with you, and you with them? How can you get the support you want in becoming free?
FREE AND LOW COST RESOURCES
- Tools for Change Mediation and Conflict Resolution resources
- 5 essential steps to resolve a conflict at work
- Conflict Resolution: Resolving conflict rationally and effectively
- Conflict Resolution Skills: Build the skills that can turn conflicts into opportunities
- The New York Center For Nonviolent Communication
- Path of Intimacy 2: Conflict Resolution in the Context of Your Relations
How do you deal with conflict? Share your recipe, remedy, ritual and/or resource with us!!!