About Possibility Mediation
Mediation is generally defined as a means of resolving disputes outside of the judicial system by voluntary participation in negotiations, structured by agreement of the parties and usually conducted under the guidance and supervision of a trained intermediary, the mediator. (Definition from: Merriam-Webster dictionary)
Traditional Mediation generally follows a certain procedure where the ground rules framing the boundaries of mediation are established,
parties detail their stories, the issues of the dispute are identified, options are developed, solutions are discussed and analyzed, adjusted and refined, and the agreement is recorded in writing. Traditional mediation can be a very effective tool to resolve dispute and empower the parties involved to find their own solution instead of referring to a court for a ruling. At the same time, traditional mediation mainly takes a mind-focused approach and remains in the context of the current system.
Possibility Mediation takes a different approach. Rather than remaining in the limited assumptions of the current problem space, a Possibility Mediator takes all stakeholders and the current circumstances into a space originating within a different context. The context of Possibility Mediation is radical responsibility. This can change everything.
Conflict is an energy source for creativity, innovation and transformation.
Vulnerability and curiosity are two magic ingredients for transforming conflict into creativity.
Demonstration video #1: Clinton Callahan and Anne-Chloe Destremau hold space for working partners
Demonstration video #2: Julia Neumann and Hannah Abouzahrah hold space for a couple
It is all about negotiating relationships and possibilities.
This can involve two or more individuals
This will mostly involve a group of people
This can involve two or more individuals and is work-related
This can involve two or more parties
Did you ever deal with children arguing over a toy? What children do pretty quickly when they don’t get what they want, is turn to the next available authority in the room: their mum, their dad, the kindergarten teacher. Then arguments follow arguments on why they had the toy first, on why the other shouldn’t have it, on how they deserve to have it. It’s amazing how early they pick up on the necessity to come up with a clever argument. They get really creative and throw in a tantrum, tears, and they might even start hitting each other.
It is not an empowering situation. None of these children really learns to take responsibility. They learn to turn to an authority for final judgment.
These children eventually age, and even when they’re officially considered “adults”, the pattern continues. They keep battling over that which is precious to them. That is what ends up in court. The judge becomes the authority to determine who’s right, and every country has an elaborate system in place to lay down the rules of this game.
Do you see the parallel? In the current societal systems worldwide, children in grown up bodies keep fighting over their toys, and the majority of them didn’t learn how to create a more sustainable, empowering way of dealing with each other. Early on, people learn to give away their authority, and they continue to do so until their last breath.
Authority is an energetic substance inside of you. It is your birth right. It is inherent in any living creature. Noone can take away your authority. You can give it away though.
When we look again at the fighting over toys, it’s clear that children first try out their own authority in an unconscious manner, trying to over-power the other, and when that doesn’t get them the desired result, they turn to an outward authority.
It’s the same with adults in classical litigation: First, you might try to argue and over-power the other to get your desired result. A damage payment, ownership over a property, reduction in rent cost, increase in rent cost, child care, assets in divorce proceedings, payments from your business partner, etc., the list continues endlessly. When your attempts to get what you want fail, you find yourself a lawyer and off you go to the State’s court system. You turn to an outward authority. You give away your own.
“But that’s not wrong?!?”
I’m not saying it is. This isn’t about right or wrong. This is an enquiry into how it could be different.
Power-over and a new game
When you think of authority as something out there, or even something in you, that is connected with “power over”, you’re back in the same old game.
The thing is: You are designed to be a fully sovereign adult standing in your own authority. What I mean by that is your innate power which has nothing to do with “power over”. Your authority, perceived that way, is not even related to another person. It is yours. It is yours to keep, and it is yours to use as you are relating to the world.
No-one teaches us that. Instead, we learn to adapt, to fit in, to find the authority in the room, and some of us might strive to become the authority in the room. All we learned was to play the game of who has power over whom, and often in very subtle ways.
What does a new game look like, then?
What’s lacking across most cultures is an initiation process for people to grow into and stay in their own authority. We are lacking cultures of radically committing to each other, and even something bigger than us. What’s missing are cultures of radical responsibility and authority, with adult to adult negotiation from a place of clarity and vulnerability. The game that emerges from that is one of “winning happening” instead of “winning over”. It is something to be learned, to initiate into, to truly “grow up” into.
It’s not too late. You can learn that. You were made for that.
You can start where you are.
Keeping your authority in situations of conflict: The path to connection
Keeping your authority in situations of conflict is a scary thing to do. It means that you honour what’s really going on and you put it on the table; that you own your fear of scarcity, of poverty, of loneliness; that you are radically honest about that which you really care about; that you don’t give up on your loved ones just because you don’t know how to be in intimate relationship. It means that you stay committed to creating the world your heart knows is possible.
Possibility Mediation opens a door to keeping your authority one hundred percent. Possibility mediators facilitate a radically authentic and honest conversation about what’s really going on. They will help you own the pieces of you that you cannot see yourself, they will support you to feel your feelings and catch the wisdom of those, to discern where you are hooked by old triggers, and to say what you really want. They will help you distill the gold inherent in the conflict, and to negotiate a sustainable way forward.
Step by step, you will learn to radically relate with others, to negotiate from adult to adult, and to stay in your authority. That is the only place from which authentic connection is possible.