We Need Help, Bad: A Mediator, Arbiter, Equalizer, Referee, Healer – Anyone ― Dalai Lama!?

Angry Arguments

Angry Arguments Photo © Microsoft Clipart

I’ve been watching too much CNN/FOX television lately and got caught up
in the energies of politics.

It’s easy to do these days with so much happening in the news surrounding Washington D.C. It got me thinking about the heated issues of the U.S. debt ceiling and government shutdown and how I feel about it. 

I choose not to use my writing as a platform to rant or vent on political, religious or any other issues that would further divide. I would rather write to unite and find common ground from diverse perspectives because I know a lot of people are affected, hurt and feeling the craziness. That’s what’s sad about it all.

Some of my initial reactions from the news over the past week

  • Have you seen the headlines? It’s not just our looming U.S. debt-ceiling countdown and government shutdown, it’s a terrorist Kenya mall siege, a Civil war in Syria and the use of chemical weapons ― it’s crazy out there! Everywhere you turn; it seems as if the world has gone mad. It’s not just what we see on the news but what we deal with in our daily lives.
  • You know what it’s like. It’s overwhelming, as it comes in waves, one right after the other. Makes me wonder who’s attacking and who’s at war? Are they people or something from outer space.
  • When is it going to stop! There’s a showdown in Washington D.C. The U.S. government has come down to a gridlock over internal, government issues and time is running out on this sand dial for resolutions, where it’s especially critical with serious consequences. Debate has been going on throughout our history ― it’s the democratic way. But, this is different.
  • For months, years even, since this administration has taken office, I can’t remember when the issues have been debated so viciously and to this extent. Maybe there was a showdown like this in the 1860s’ U.S. Civil War, when our country was divided over slavery. There is so much anger and mistrust that we have turned on each other ― and it’s ugly.
  • The issues are not with hunger, terrorism or threat of nuclear war but whether we get our way or not.  No matter what side of the fence you take, all the posturing and placating comes across as an attitude and mentality of “my way or the highway”, while the little guy pays.

But, having said all of that, after my fit of “rage”, I’ve always been of the mindset that anything is possible, even in the midst of chaos and dire conflicts. That’s mainly because I believe we each carry something very dear and special within us ― a mustard seed of love.

It may seem the seed is beaten out of us, camouflaged by the chanting of hate and rifles put in the hands of 10-year olds or it just abandoned us.  But, it’s still there. It can’t be cut out no matter how deep it’s buried. It’s part of our make-up as humans. There is a basic desire to love or be loved.

While what’s playing out on a world stage in Washington D.C. is shameful, it’s possible what we’re seeing is a reflection of what’s happening within us in response to our jobs, our families and communities ― not just our country.

How willing are we to talk about our differences, when it comes to money, health, relationships, politics, faiths or philosophies (they’re all there)? Can we really enter into a discussion, if there’s a difference of opinion or do we feel we even need to? Have we, too, taken on “it’s my way or the highway” mentality?  You can see how far that gets by looking at Washington D.C.

In 2004, I attended a National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation Conference at Regis College in Denver. Around 800 people came from all over the world with diverse cultures, some from war-ravaged countries.

It was an eye-opener for me, as I had no idea anything like this was even taking place. There were many workshops and people were learning how to talk with one another, listen, debate and discuss all varying degrees of conflicts and differences.

At this conference, on the panel was William Ury, an acclaimed negotiation expert and author of “The Third Side”.  Here is an expert who has mediated situations ranging from family feuds and corporate restructuring to ethnic wars in the Middle East and the Balkans. After listening to his stories and reading his book, I became more convinced that if we’re capable of war ― we’re capable of peace.

It takes a willing heart and an ear of understanding to find common ground and get to the bottom of conflicts. Just shouting at one another with personal points of view, however valid they appear to you, only put the other on the defense. When we can’t resolve our differences among ourselves, we need help, perhaps a third side, as William Ury endorses. One, who is neutral, to moderate, keep things moving and lines of communication open.

There is a way to solve our conflicts, differences and ease hard times. It lies within each of us and we can realize it if we look for it and are willing to come together on common ground, with third-side help, if necessary.

Here’s an example,  as reported tonight by NBC News “26 Sandy Ground, Where Angels Play”, how something bad is turning into something good when we nurture that mustard seed and come together:


Pat from the ol’ kitchen table

(Note: Thank You! October 11, 2013 – Shaun Gibson at “Praying for One Day” posted my story on his site as a guest blog.)

20 thoughts on “We Need Help, Bad: A Mediator, Arbiter, Equalizer, Referee, Healer – Anyone ― Dalai Lama!?

  1. When I saw your headline, I held my breath: which side is she going to take, I asked myself. What a relief, Pat, you took the “third” position! But I should not have doubted you for a moment. You have always presented yourself as a fair person. This was an exceptional post with a different perspective. Well done! Ever thought of throwing your hat into the political arena???

    • Oh, Bev, thank you. You’re feedback means so much. I held my breath, too, as I was compelled to write this and is so far from what I like to talk about.

      It took me a long time to compose my words and get my thoughts down but I felt the urgency to add my voice with how critical the issues are that we’re facing. No, I never thought of throwing my hat into the political arena but tried my hand at facilitating talking-stick groups to talk about difficult heart-to-heart issues.

    • Hi Shaun and thank you. You’re feedback means a lot and I’d be honored if you reblogged this post.

      It was hard for me to compose and find the words that’s on my heart. I truly understand how you feel about the horror and skepticism on the outcome. It’s not far from some of my thoughts, too, but I have to hold out and not give up on the slightest possibility of hope for humanity. Otherwise, what do we have?

        • Thank you, Shaun, we humans need all the help we can get. It’s easy to get caught up in all the hype and heated energies and lose sight of ‘hope’. 🙂

  2. Oh Pat, what a wonderful post full fo hope. I listened to Ted’s talk with tears flowing…..how much difference could we all make in small ways in our own lives and then with the wider community…the symbolic path or Abraham or the real one…both have powere to heal and spread joy. Thanks again

    • Diana – you made my day! I’m so glad you took the time to view William Ury’s video on TED. His message seems so simple if we could only meet 1/2 way. Sometimes, that’s all it takes. Thank you!

  3. Pat, this is a brilliantly written article and I can tell that this is an issue burining deep within you. Over here in the UK we watch the news and see all that is going on in America and the world. Things are far from perfect here as you know. I remember when this happened before in America. I also remember when the State of California went bust and my then husband who worked for the Department of Corrections was told he would be paid in IOUs. Not pleasant.
    But, this is unlike anything before, the divide is greater than it has ever been. Everybody shouts an opinion but nobody is willing to listen.
    We have to keep up the hope in the basic good otherwise I think we would all drown. I know just what you mean about not wanting to use your blog for posts that may be seen as ‘divisive’ issues but it’s your blog after all and sometimes we just need to vent and rant and rave!
    I quietly pray for peace in the storm and thank you Pat for sharing the uplifting videos (we need that!) and also your beautiful, caring heart with us. x

    • Thank you, Sherri. You’re right about writing this post. I started on it last week and dropped it but something inside wouldn’t let me let it go. It was difficult to write and kept stirring around inside. I don’t know why.

      I normally don’t like to take on issues like this. People get enough from the media. It’s tough out there for a lot of people, as you know when you were in CA. I guess I just had to add my 2-cents worth to the pot. 🙂

  4. Great post Pat! It reminds me of the Rumi quote that says, “Out beyond right doing and wrong doing there is a field. I will meet you there.” As you say, there is always a third (or a fourth or a fifth) way to resolve everything–we all just get so fixated on one or the other–black and white. I think it also helps to have great faith in the goodness of people and the world. As Einstein said, “Do you believe the Universe is friendly?’ Coming from that perspective makes it much easier to believe that a third (or more) perspective is always for our mutual good. ~Kathy

    • Thank you, Kathy, I remember that quote from Rumi and love it. I’ve used it a few times. It speaks volumes with what’s going on these days. And Albert Einstein’s quote too. There have truly been some wise men pass through these earthly doors. Thank God they left us with their pearls of knowledge to draw from. 🙂

  5. Pingback: Guest Blog – Plain Talk and Ordinary Wisdom | Looking for reasoning to a complicated world

    • Wow! Shaun, I don’t know what to say. Thank you so much for sharing my post and I’m so happy you enjoyed the read. This is a first. I’ve never had anyone re-blog a post of mine before. That means a lot to me that others can relate to what I write and that maybe, in some small way, it can make a difference.

      I’m so glad for our connection on the internet and that I’ve gotten to know you. You’re the best, my friend! 🙂

  6. Shaun re-blogged your site. I really appreciate the William Ury video and the Sandy Ground video. I have often thought of the same principles as Mr. Ury discusses, without the Abraham trail. I knew the history just never put the two together. I am disabled, thus I cannot get out and do walks locally or even think of traveling to the Holy Land, but I would love to do something. So, it appears of recent all I can really do to help spread the good word and hope is by re-blogging to Word Press, Tumbler, and Face Book. Did it! I think I will also email Mr. Ury’s video. People know me well enough that if I email something it is not going to be religion or politics shoved down their throat, but a common sense video, or in my case, sometimes just silly videos. I don’t waste people’s time with videos which may not be applicable or respectful of the other person.
    I appreciate your blog, read some of your other stories as well. I was born in Loveland and really didn’t like hearing that it had flooded. I keep my line of news really restricted as I don’t believe much of what the talking heads have to say. I also don’t have cable or TV so my news is pick and choose from the Internet. Shaun helps a lot there.
    I subscribed and look forward to future great posts from your world. I love the theme of coming up to the kitchen table for a story. I always wanted to have that kind of life, either people coming to my table or having a great friend or family where I could do that regularly.

    • Thank you, Rene, for so much of what you said. I don’t know where to start and I’m so glad you stopped by and liked the reads and videos. William Ury was a strong influence when I met him at the conference back in 2004 where I learned how many people are out there doing this work. You just don’t hear about them but it’s happening and making a difference nonetheless. And what you’re doing makes a difference in the sharing. It doesn’t matter what the circumstance.

      I agree with you in not wanting to force my beliefs and opinions on anyone. I’ve had enough of that in my lifetime. I want to make people feel comfortable in coming here and reading (like the kitchen table). Maybe, they’ll pick up something that will make their day and give them some inspiration. It comes from the feeling I had as a kid sitting at my grandmom’s kitchen table.

      I’m looking forward to seeing you again and getting to know you. At least we have a piece of Colorado in common. You’re welcome to pull up a chair and sit at my virtual kitchen table anytime, take a load off and share a tale or two.

      • Too cool! I feel as if I have made a new friend today. Perhaps I really have even though we haven’t physically met. We are on the same page as to the world, beliefs, and the sharing thereof. I am glad to be a part of your kitchen table discussion.
        Some days my disabilities, and more recently depression, stops me from writing anything other than a few simple replies. I am also not a firm believer in the ‘write everyday school’. I believe one should write when they have something of a positive nature to share, or a topic which just needs airing. I have done some rants which were more for my own sense of getting it out of my head than for the edification of others. Sometimes the best I can seem to do is post a video which is describing me or my mood at the time. I try to keep things updated on my page, and am more than happy to share when someone comes up with some thing great, funny, or just good.
        Thanks for comments, and I look forward to many more.

        • I agree, Rene, and feel I’ve made a new friend, too. Thank you for that. I get what you’re saying about depression and sometimes not having a lot to say. I admire you for putting yourself out there, having a blog to tell your story, share other’s stories and not get down with the disabilities. It must get hard. Life gets heavy sometimes we just have to close up shop and take a break for a spell. I like what you’re doing.

          I struggle with writing and I want to have meaning to what I say. I can’t write just to make noise. When I do, sometimes it helps me clear up some things in my head and other times it takes me down memory lane. That’s when I enjoy it the most.

          Thank you for stopping by and look forward to you sitting at my kitchen table again. 🙂

  7. It is truly sad the state of affairs we are in. So many people are trying to blame the other person instead of trying to solve our problems. I pray that it doesn’t get much worse but the silver lining is hard to see right now. Thank you for your positive spin. 🙂

    • Hi Susan – thank you for stopping by and I’m glad you enjoyed the read. Yeah, this was a tough one to write. Something inside just wouldn’t let it go. I tried. I hope in some small way it will spark a light somewhere and make a difference. Can’t stop praying — can’t stop hoping! 🙂

I would love to hear from you. . .thank you for stopping by.

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