19 February 2013

Conflict Resolution for Magickal Communities - Handout

On Friday I had the privilege of presenting at Pantheacon on the topic of Conflict Resolution for Magickal Communities.  It was an intimate workshop with as much group discussion as lecture (which I always love). I felt honored that folks who attended were primarily elders in their communities looking for ways to improve their group dynamics. I think I probably learned as much from their comments during the discussion as they did during my lecture.  It was a wonderful exchange of ideas and I hope I can continue such an important dialog next year.

One of the best things brought up by an attendee was the topic of dealing fairly with income disparity in a magickal group.  Holding public ritual, feasting, obtaining tools, ritual space, etc., all takes money and some have more to give than others.  In order to make sure everyone is able to contribute equally, although in different ways, the attendee's coven invites its members to contribute "talent, time, or treasure."  People can create objects, sing, volunteer, or give cash, all depending on their personal situation.  It's a very fair way to approach a sticky subject.

For those of you who weren't able to attend, here are the contents of my handout from that workshop.  It doesn't make perfect sense without the lecture component, so feel free to ask for clarification.

3 Tools for Conflict Resolution

Identifying positions vs. underlying interests.
• Positions are a person's assertion of opinion about what they want.
• Positions are often "my" statements. E.g. "My way is 'x'" or "I need you to do 'y'."
• Underlying interests are the needs and desires that motivate people. E.g. Safety or validation.
• Ask "why"? If there is more than one possible answer to "why do you want that?," then that is not the underlying interest - it's a position.

Check your understanding.
• If you want to be listened to, you must be willing to listen.
• Make sure you really understand what is being said - don't assume.
• Reflect back, paraphrase, and ask if you got it right.
• Restate what appear to be the most important points to the speaker, not what is important to you.

Validate and respect emotions without buying into them.
• The experience of emotion is always valid and genuine, even if the reasons they are being experienced doesn't seem to be.
• Empathize with the speaker's experience, but remain objective.
• Excessive buy-in (over identification) clouds judgment.

Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most
Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In
Dealing with People You Can’t Stand
Mediating Dangerously: The Frontiers of Conflict Resolution

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