So much conflict is about what happened and the pain of the past. So much workplace conflict resolution is about what will happen from here forward. It’s unfortunate that we so highly value the past and the future at the expense of the present.
The present moment is, after all, the only time over which we truly have dominion. And attending to the richness of the present moment means we don’t miss the gems that build healthy business partnerships and professional relationships at work.
Folk singer and all-around-wonderful-human Christine Kane tells this story of Present Moment Awareness:
She talked about living her life in a state of presence. She said that in December, she focused not on her many goals, but on her present moment awareness. During the month, when she was with her husband and kids, she was “really with them.” Rather than worrying about what had to be done next, she just gave them her full attention. She was more in her body and less in her head.
As she told me about it, her lips slanted into a very cute smile. She added that, even though nothing particularly special “happened” that month, out of nowhere, her husband said, “Wow. This was a really good month, wasn’t it? We had a really good month together.” She knew without a doubt that his feeling came from the fact that she had fully been present to him.
We both marveled at how that works. True attention simply works magic.
I wonder what could happen if, next time you’re in a moment of tension with someone at work or home, you consciously chose to be “really with them” instead of replaying past crimes and painting a picture of the future you want. What kind of magic might happen?
And if you’re a fellow mediator reading this, I wonder how your mediations would be different if you let go of your plan and focused your attention on the present moment, each word you choose being born from the words your client said not moments before?