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Bearing Witness to Suffering: Mediating in the Shadow of Pain

by Tammy Lenski
June 2015

Tammy Lenski's Conflict Zen Blog

Tammy Lenski

Philosopher Simone Weil wrote,

“Those who are unhappy have no need for anything in this world but people capable of giving them their attention. The capacity to give one’s attention to a sufferer is a very rare and difficult thing; it is almost a miracle; it is a miracle. Nearly all those who think they have this capacity do not possess it. Warmth of heart, impulsiveness, pity are not enough.”

I’ll be exploring this capacity in an upcoming workshop for the New England Association for Conflict Resolution. I’m teaming up with friend and colleague Jeanne Cleary for the following session at the annual conference:

Bearing Witness to Suffering: Mediating in the Shadow of Pain

Pain and suffering often lie beneath conflict. What of this “beneath” is our business? How do we grow our capacity to bear witness without judging or fixing and to stay with our clients wherever they are? And how can we stay in the shadow of pain without carrying its weight on our own shoulders? This workshop is will explore how relief from suffering often comes from stepping closer to it, how to attend to another’s pain without judgment and comfort without agenda, and how developing fluency with the nature of suffering can help us serve clients in profoundly transformative ways. We will also explore ideas for building self-awareness and providing self-care in the face of others’ suffering.

Biography


Dr. Tammy Lenski helps people resolve conflict in ongoing business and personal relationships and bring their "A" game to difficult conversations. Since founding her NH-based conflict resolution firm Myriaccord LLC in 1997, Tammy has worked with individuals and organizations worldwide as a master mediator, executive coach, speaker, and educator. Author of the award-winning book, Making Mediation Your Day Job, she recently received the Association for Conflict Resolution’s prestigious Mary Parker Follett award for innovative and pioneering work in her field. Her second book, The Conflict Pivot, was released in 2014.

 



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