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Thursday
Jul212005

First NVC Mediation: Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly

The first time we used NVC in a mediation was within a few days of our first encountering Marshall and NVC in a training for mediators in 2000.   We were mediating a case in metro court between 2 people who were recently divorced.  The hate and hurt in the room was palpable. I was committed to responding with empathy and honesty and not particularly fluent in expressing feelings and needs.  We certainly slowed things down as we struggled to find the words that would bring the focus back to observations, feelings, needs, and requests rather than the acrimonious judgments of blame and criticism that abounded about each other after many years of unhappiness and distrust in their marriage and business together.  We mediated for 4 hours and they decided to come back for another session as well.  We walked out of the first session scratching our heads, surprised they were willing to come back despite our struggles to express ourselves and their seeming lack of connection with each other.

A few years later we received a book in the mail entitled STOP Don't Marry That Younger Man, a woman's story of pain in a marriage and business and her travails through the courts.  (The title was particularly amusing since Jim is 8 years younger than I am and we continue to be glad to be married since 1979.)  Near the end of the book was a sheet of paper expressing appreciation and an indication to read the marked page:
    "There's a bright spot in this city's metropolitan court system (a different court than Krassly's court) that bears mentioning – two really fine court appointed mediators.  Their names are Jim and Jori and they are my nominees for a Nobel Peace Prize.
    "When I was frustrated at every turn in Krassley's family court, I turned to the metro court for help and by a stroke of luck got Rollie into that court's mediation system.  Jim and Jori were able to get Rollie out of the clutches of Mary Red for nearly two days and they were extremely skilled at getting to the crux of the matter.  I was forced to take a hard look at circumstances.  Rollie was forced to squarely face the issues.  He couldn't go tattling to Mary Red.  For a short time it seemed as though Rollie would make headway.  Sadly, that didn't happen, but 'll always be grateful to Jim and Jori."

This was particularly amazing that needs were met since we were such "baby giraffes".  As many, including Marshall Rosenberg, have said:  "Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly."

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