Family Tree Mediation





When the letter came on the last day of February, I had a foreboding.  I’d noticed a certain energy around the building where Family Tree Mediation has had its office for the past six years, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it.  To begin with, the owner had put in a putting green in a little courtyard space near the rear of the building.  Why not? I supposed.  The space wasn’t really being used.  Maybe the landlord, whose offices occupied the bottom floor, was an avid golfer?  But then there were the new fences and the trellis constructed across the back wall facing the parking lot.  As I came and went, in the morning and the evening, these details didn’t really register in my thoughts, but subconsciously there was definitely a whisper.

And then the envelope with the 90-days eviction notice inside on the door of every office on the upper floor.  The space was being converted for a single tenant start-up.  It’s a familiar Silicon Valley story.

We, people in general, or, heck, me-- I get rooted in my life and being uprooted, for me, feels dismaying.  In case you haven’t checked lately, the commercial real estate market in Palo Alto and Menlo Park is no picnic.  I’d had it good in my old office.  I now understood just how good.  I looked at a lot of depressing places at four and five times my old rent and a lot of them involved investment beyond just higher rent. Even the wonderful place I found after a month of searching, and a stressful episode or two in contemplation of other contracts, even this new, affordable, exciting prospect required just such an investment, not just financially, but of imagination, time, elbow grease, and judgment, risk assessment. 

When I got the eviction notice, I had a foreboding of all this.  A storm of sorts was about to hit, and I was in for a good month or two, possibly more, of hard work steering my business to a new home, while still seeing a full client load and making sure their needs were well met.

But I got very good advice from people I rely on for that type of thing, and it was this: See it as a positive.  And I really embraced that advice and now that I’m settled,Bernie Crowds copy typing at my desk, looking out my large windows across a newly appointed office, I definitely feel that that eviction notice was absolutely a positive.  Yes, I’ve got higher rent, but my vision for my business has expanded with my new space and a fresh energy accompanies me as I walk to my office each morning!  Yes, one of the great aspects of my new location is that it is close enough to home that I can walk to work.

Chalk this down to one of those life experiences where the thing happening to you is not welcome, but turns out to be the very best medicine for your life.  I would probably have stayed in my old location for as long as they let me.  I would have been comfortable with its limited space, smaller windows, and décor that never really expressed myself, and my vision of my business would have remained to scale.  But, thankfully, life intervened and caused me to grow.  There were some growing pains, some anxiety and inconvenience, but sooner than I anticipated, I was feeling a new sense of thriving that awakened me to an awareness that this change was really something I very much needed. 

In my practice, I often see this story unfold that I now am living through.  The story of an unwelcome intervention from life causing an uprooting of old settled foundations and the stirring up of anxiety, stress, inconvenience, and pain of all kinds.  But this is only the setting of the story, because the plot is all about how these people I get to work with find the capacity to embrace the uprooting as a positive, throw themselves forward into growth, even in the midst of very difficult challenges, and ultimately find themselves in a new place of thriving from which they conclude that this intervention was exactly what was needed.

This isn’t everyone’s story, but it’s a good story to know, so that you can ask yourself: Is there a chance in the moment of all this upset, not only that I can see it as a positive, but also that when I get through it all, I may find myself understanding it was indeed the thing that I really needed, the thing that helped me find a bigger, more satisfying space for everything in my heart?

At Family Tree Mediation, my goal, no matter what your story is, is to use constructive communication, principled analysis, and creative insight to help you, your family, and those important to you, each find that bigger, more satisfying space for everything in your heart.