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Repairing the World and Repairing Ourselves

September 29, 2014

As a mediator, I always find inspiration in this time of year.

We are now in the the Days of Awe (Yamim Noraim), the days between Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year) and Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement).

Traditionally, this is a period of turning inward, engaging in self reflection, figuring out what went wrong and determining how to make things right.

With sufficient self exploration and nerve, our teachings encourage us to apologize to, and to seek forgiveness from, those we have hurt, knowingly or unknowingly, intentionally or unintentionally.

In this way, we can repair relationships. In this way, perhaps we repair the world around us.

A prayer at the beginning of Yom Kippur called Kol Nidre also declares null and void any promises we make for the future that, for whatever reason, we are unable to fulfill notwithstanding our good intentions.

Maybe the prayer looks back in time too, to declare null and void any promises we previously made that were unfulfilled notwithstanding our good intentions at the time.

Thus, in this way, we are also permitted to forgive ourselves, and thus to repair ourselves.

Certainly, for most practitioners, mediation’s goal is to resolve disputes, specifically litigated claims, and to settle cases.

Sometimes there is more to mediation than simply finding a way to end a lawsuit.

There are opportunities in mediation to repair the world and to repair ourselves.

Sometimes in mediation people can go deeper into the underlying emotional turmoil of the dispute to find ways to resolve the larger, the internalized intimate human conflicts that led to the dispute in the first place.

Some believe that the causes of conflict are deep within the people themselves.

Occasionally, when the participants in mediation allow for it, I have seen people think deeply about the circumstances and their feelings which have led to the conflict.

Sometimes, I have seen people apologize and seek (and receive or grant) forgiveness.

This is how they use the opportunity given in mediation to repair the world around them, and to repair themselves.

It takes a special time and place for this to happen, and a willingness to go beyond the dollars and cents of resolution, to reach inward for reconciliation, renewal, and peace.

It is not unlike the thoughtful moments of these days of Awe.


David I. Karp is a full time mediator of real estate and business disputes in Southern California, with a business website at , who, consistent with the them of this piece, takes this opportunity also to apologize for whatever he has done or not done that has hurt another person and to seek forgiveness from him or her.


From → Mediation

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