conflict resolution


The Importance of Raising Awareness

Forrest S. Mosten

One week a year, we all have the opportunity to heighten our awareness about the possibilities that mediation offers us personally, in our relationships, our work life, our communities, and in broader national and world issues.

Conflict From Within:   One of our local peacemaking heroes, Joel Edleman, authored a book over twenty years ago, The Tao of Negotiation. Edleman’s theme is that conflict resolution starts within each of us. By “noting” our own internal distress rather than “reacting,” we can each mindfully utilize Buddhist principles to link mediation and meditation.

Relationships:  The irony of conflict is that it impacts us most often and is most damaging in the relationships that mean the most to us—the ones we can afford least to lose.   During this week, we can think about our family and friendships that may be at risk and take a “baby step” toward self-accountability, strengthening the bonds or the possibility of reconciliation.

Community: We are not so different from our tribes and clans that precede us. We need connection for survival, be it financial or emotional. The absence of virulent conflict is not peace. During this week we might consider a proactive or healing step that we can take toward our neighbors or members of other important communities in our lives.

National and World Conflicts:  As the world shrinks, the difficulties erupting in other continents touch us all—more quickly and deeply than we could ever imagine.  Rather than becoming enraged partisans fueled by divisive media, we can use this week to explore the good and needs of all sides of intractable conflicts in an effort to better understand them and attempt to search for even partial solutions to ease suffering.

Forrest (Woody) Mosten is SCMA Lowry Lecturer (twice) and Millen-Cloke Peacemaker of the Year. Woody teaches mediation and Lawyer as Peacemaker at the UCLA School of Law and has been in private mediation family law practice since 1979. Woody can be reached at


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