Mediators talk about "being present" as an effective tool towards helping people we hardly know resolve very personal conflicts. It is a term borrowed from spiritual practices where meditators (not all mediators) tune into themselves in order to be more available and accessible to the rest of the world. So it was with some amusement that I found myself forced to be fully present during the last two weeks on my vacation. For the first time, I traveled overseas without a book or even a pad and pen and project. On the first day of the cruise, a fellow passenger knocked down my Kindle, causing the screen to become unreadable. All of my planned reading went dark. I chose not to bring a computer or to register for the Internet on the ship. So I was forced, to my delight, to really tune in to my family. The first week was an Aegean Sea cruise with 28 family members celebrating my parent's 65th wedding anniversary. We had both deep and light conversations and we played games. We sang and danced and dined and hiked and laughed and experienced so much together. It really made me aware of how distracting our modern technology has become--and how the key to being "fully present" may be the simple, but oh, so difficult act, of giving up the gadgets and tuning in to one another with intentionality. The second week was a visit with my sister and her family in Bern, Switzerland and then three heavenly days in Paris. We had all been to both locations before, so we had no absolute agenda. We were spontaneous and carefree. In all ways, we were practicing "being in the moment"--which is really a great chance to renew and refresh in order to lean in to every mediation with the same intentionality. Fully present. No distractions. Time to think and listen more than speak. Now that's a vacation!
Attorney Jan Frankel Schau is a highly skilled neutral, engaged in full-time dispute resolution. Following a successful career spanning two decades in litigation, she has mediated over 700 cases for satisfied clients. Ms. Schau understands the nuances of trial and settlement practice as well as client relations and balancing the needs of their representatives with the risk and expenses of trial. Those who have used Ms. Schau’s services recognize excellence in her persistence, optimism, creativity and integrity.
Ms. Schau was the President of the Southern California Mediation Association in 2007 and is recognized as among the most outstanding mediators in Southern California in the mediation of civil disputes by her peers and clients. She also serves as a Trustee of the Board of Directors of the San Fernando Valley Bar Association, and has presided as Chair of it’s Alternative Dispute Resolution Section and Litigation Section. She holds a Certificate of Advanced Skills in Negotiation from the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution of Pepperdine University as well as from the Western Law Center for Disability Rights at Loyola Law School.