Eva talks to London based Kate Beales, a mediator and participatory artist, about how open posture and stories can help to be better friends and neighbors.
We sat on the ground at the National Theatre in London, where Kate leads learning workshops. Appropriately enough, Kate mentioned physicality and posture.
“I am really interested in how people can remain open to receiving ideas that are different. We spend so much of our lives building up our opinion and our way of seeing and doing things and then being a resistant to anybody stepping in and changing that. I think there are things we can do physically to remain open in our bodies and our minds. I have been practising taking feedback from this open position, I am not going to curl up and cringe away from it. It is a way of saying – I am open and receptive to those ideas. And maybe I will not agree with those ideas, it does not make me a pushover, but it also means I will not be on my guard even before I have heard anything.” And then Kate leads Eva to stand up and try it herself! (Quote from 1:40)
Later on Kate shared stories from recent mediation experience. A classical example: the couple downstairs complains about the loud music from upstairs, and the couple upstairs thinks their music was not loud. What happens next? Kate as the mediator listens to the music and … cannot hear anything. However, she respects the two truths, And there is a happy ending to the story … (listen at 20:30 if you want to hear more.)
Eva talks to family therapist, coach and improv theatre practioner Amy Goldfarb about how being curious about the other and not being always right can lead to better conversations. Whether it concerns a married couple or neighbors arguing about Donald Trump. (Sorry for the quality of the recording – Eva’s first attempt to use recording on Skype).
“Once we really start to disagree with each other, then the conversation ends. And that’s in fact where it should be starting. I think that the problem is, an internal problem in the individual, and that is a desire and I dare say even a deep need to be right. And not because they’re ignorant or unkind or selfish or nothing like that. I think that it is our desire as children to belong to the community. And particularly to belong in our families and even particularly to be loved and cherished in the eyes of your primary caregiver, usually our mother, sometimes our father. We would do anything to stay connected to them. A I think in our early experiences we learn that being right guarantees us a place at the table or at the heart of the mother. And I know that I’m being a little dramatic to go all the way back, but I think this need to be right is the center of the problem.”