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Body-Wisdom for Mediators: Maintain Connection in Conflicts

Under the pressure of conflict, the impulse to “check out” is immense. The circumstances are uncomfortable. We wish we were home, somewhere else. Any distraction will do. Yesterday, tomorrow, a dream or a wish. How do we ever stay present? pay attention?

The first clue is knowing to what? So, what’s going on in this job that’s interesting? productive and effective? Give “thinking” a rest for a moment; too challenging under the circumstances, and there’s a more fertile focus for our challenged attention. A focus that’s actually easier, once we find permission, value and relevance: a focus that will nourish, if not evoke heathy relevant thinking from a refreshed brain.

Identify embodied predispositions to pressure. They are what’s present; what’s up, what’s going on. The common ones are few in number, simple to see, they carry a wealth of potentially valuable information. But don’t bend your mind about it; feel it. They are in your body, and in the bodies of each person before you. To feel your own, the place to begin is to drop attention into your body weight, the weight of your head, then your torso, each of which has a center of gravity. Notice inclining forward or back, right or left. Notice breath, its movements and its constraints.

Each center, including your belly has wisdom for your thirsty brain, each can speak of your embodied predispositions, and give you clues about the others before you. Look past the “pressure” for a moment. Notice your body’s response to pressure; that’s more helpful, because as soon as you get it, it can change. Do you feel caved-in? pushing back? freezing up, or getting rigid? That’s the big three. We all have our favorite, and can often find them all in different situations.

As you become more aware of your own embodied response, you’ll find it hold clue to understanding the patterns of others. It’s not what the conflict is about, but it is what fuels the conflict. When attention is brought here, energy will follow, and transformation becomes possible. It could rile things up and it might with your leadership settle things down, where parties may find space for more listening, more compassion, perhaps agreements and resolution.

Want to be a leader in bringing more embodied wisdom into conflicted communications? contains a free download which begins with a YouTube on the Mission of Somatics to transform our environment through greater self awareness, and then overviews a ten lesson online course in emotional aikido. The Courses Page contains a paper on nonviolent communication and aikido, and the course contains a collection of aiki-wisdom, photos, instructional videos and poetry. It’s a fun read, and it’s very good for you.


Jerry Green

Jerry A. Green graduated from University of California, Berkeley and received his J.D. from Boalt Law School. He defended holistic health practitioners in court and published and lectured on the health care contract. He specializes in medical and health care licensing and scope of practice matters, is a special consultant… MORE >

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