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Spirituality Essay:

The Pause That Refreshes...    ( May 2005 )

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No life is free from conflict. The interfacing of different egos, agendas, and lifestyles creates inevitable friction with others. Though we'd all like smooth, hassle-free relationships, likely we know they're impossible . . . and, ideally, we see conflicts in their positive vein: opportunities for growth and understanding of others who see things differently, variety in our life, and, of course, new challenges for creating love in our lives.

Sometimes "problem situations" just arrive - unexpectedly . . . someone cutting you off in line, for example. But often we're in control of the timing . . . a problem with a bill, or someone who's slighted you, and fixing is in order.

When dealing with these, I've benefited from taking a timeout before beginning the solution process. A one or two minute silence or meditation to center, to feel myself and the other person, to let go of my ego (as much as possible) and open myself to what their needs are is helpful.

But more valuably, I visualize how I want the ending to be: a solution that works for both - and a stronger connection between us. Ideas to get there - what to say - start appearing, and a peace about the whole thing replaces my tension and anxiety.

Ahh, conflict . . . not unsurprising fodder for spiritual growth.

This is one in a series of essays on spirituality by Rick Childs, lay leader of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of the Mendocino Coast. You may want to:
Read more Spirituality Essays
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