A dear friend had a stroke last week and she has lost the ability to speak, at least for now. Today her body looks almost fully recovered, hiding the havoc wreaked on her brain and the long recovery period ahead of her.
As her friends form a circle of love around her, one of us next to her hospital bed every morning, afternoon, and evening, we hear again and again from her medical team that the most crucial work ahead of her is to re-form the links, the neural pathways, that were damaged by the stroke.
One of our group circulated Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor’s TED Talk about her own stroke, a video I’d seen years ago. I almost didn’t bother to watch it again because I thought I remembered enough of it. This morning, something made me open it up and sit through it.
Watching it today, my experience of Bolte Taylor’s story was entirely different than the first time I’d seen her talk. Before, I had viewed it with an intellectual interest, a curiosity about her story. Today, I viewed it with my heart wide open and raw. Before, I’d been interested in the information. Today, I was interested in the insight she’d drawn from what happened, in the gift she’d found in the midst of immense difficulty.
And so it is with conflict and resolution. Viewed as the an act of information gathering and sorting, conflict resolution becomes a dry, distasteful exercise. But viewed as a vehicle for possibility in the midst of difficulty, conflict resolution becomes an exquisite exercise in meaning making.