Today, I am celebrating the first post on this blog and I thought a good first topic to discuss is the name I have given my mediation practice. I call my practice Family Tree Mediation because, to me, the metaphor of the Family Tree expresses many values and beliefs that I think make mediation an extremely valuable tool for getting the most out of our lives:
Striving for Organic Self-Development
First, the Family Tree image reflects the positive growth of each of our lives through all of life’s changing seasons. As we grow older, the strength, peace and grace we embody are a reflection of our authenticity, integrity, and self-awareness. Mediation is a process that provides the opportunity for navigating deeply painful conflicts with all of these desirable qualities so that you feel yourself growing stronger, more peaceful and more graceful no matter what challenges you face.
Managing Essential Relationships
Second, the Family Tree diagram of relationships calls attention to the fact that the people connected to us through close family bonds remain powerful presences in our lives no matter how these relationships may change or where our paths may lead. Therefore, we are wise to treat these relationships thoughtfully if we do not want to experience the unpredictable and stormy nature of untended conflict. Conflicts of interest and perspective are inevitable parts of life, but they do not have to be destructive experiences. When the mediation process is employed well, I believe these inevitable conflicts ultimately make the Family Tree even more fruitful.
Maintaining a Strong and Open Heart
Third, the Family Tree expression refers to the relationships that are the closest to our heart: our loves, our children, our parents, our siblings, all those who have more experience than anyone else of the continuity of who we are from childhood to old age. Investing in our ability to hold ourselves positively amid the myriad variations of family relationships -- no matter what strains and changes such relationships involve -- is to me a doorway to health and happiness. As a mediator, I strive keep this doorway open for families so that they can honor each other’s autonomy, find empowerment to pursue their own deepest interests, and so find peace in their differences and appreciation for the good things shared together. In this way, even unlooked for changes may occur in the structure of its relationships and still the family will retain its strength among all its individuals and as a whole.