Thought Forms and How Thoughts Form – The Alchemy of Mediation

By Laura Melton Tucker, July 23rd, 2011

Listen to this entry.

A personal confession:  I let a lot of things slide before dealing with them.  For instance, on the wall going up my stairs, years of raising children have left black scuff marks.   They annoy the heck out of me.  They make the house look tired and dirty.  I haven’t repainted because I’ll have to either hire it done (expensive!) or rent scaffolding (scary!) to access the height of the second story wall.  You can’t paint part without painting all.  But I had a shift in my thinking that led me to solve the problem.  The shift came in two phases; first, on an episode of the HGTV show, “International House Hunters,” a New York tango dancer, ensconced in her new Argentinian apartment, looked into the camera and warned me to beware of Argentinian unwashable paint!  She had to repaint the entire place before moving in.  Too busy ogling her gourmet kitchen, I let her reminder that most paint is washable settle in the back of my mind.  Then came the second catalyst for my shift.  A friend and real estate agent called and asked if she could show our house to clients who think all colonials are stuffy and outdated. “They’ll see what you’ve done and it will change their minds!”  Ha.  I thought.  She hasn’t seen the inside of my house for 12 year  – not since I last updated!  (Remember, I am the one with the tired and dirty looking house.)  I reluctantly agreed, but asked for two days to throw the house into order.  I vacuumed, spritzed windows, straightened closets and yes, revisited the dreaded black scuff marks.

The threat of strangers looking at my dirty wall, mixed with the tango dancer reminding me that walls are washable was just the alchemy necessary to transform my old mindset and get me to drop to my knees, apply some elbow grease (and Comet) and restore the wall to its former pristine condition.  Why had I waited so long to deal with a problem so easily fixable? If I weren’t too sensible to buy it, I might reach for the silly bell from the office supply store that chirps when dinged, “That was easy!”

It occurs to me that my dirty wall is a lot like mediation. An old problem that feels unsolvable transforms when new information and the perspective of a stranger viewing from the outside mix together.  Most clients begin a mediation saying, “There is no hope that things are going to change.”  And then they start talking.  New information comes forward…a compromise not offered before, an expression of feelings, an admission of responsibility or an apology.  The effect of the mediator is more subtle.  The transformative model of mediation ensures that solutions come from my clients.  I am neutral.  And yet, there is measurable value for my clients sitting before an outsider – a stranger – and speaking about old problems.  They hear and say things differently when someone else is listening.  They see things differently when viewed through the eyes of another.  Whether the mediator offers encouragement with a nod or creates a sense of safety so that difficult emotions can be expressed, the conversation is changed.  Suddenly, a shift.  Old perceptions, like annoying scuffs, are wiped clean.

Motivational speaker Wayne Dyer says, “Transformation literally means going beyond your form.”  Thoughts – scuff marks – are forms.  Over time these forms can feel stuck.  The takeaway is that new information and a different perspective offer up opportunities to change our thought forms, just as mediation offers up chances to transform old ways of seeing problems into new ways of solving problems.

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