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Old 11-07-2009, 12:01 PM   #37
Kevin Leavitt
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Location: Olympia, Washington
Join Date: Jul 2002
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Re: The Martial Art of Difficult Conversations


Sorry I missed your post the other day, did not mean to ignore it.

Mark wrote:

. Give them the options of either conversing as adults to resolve the problem (which includes listening) or if they want to keep screaming like children (don't use those words), then law enforcement will be called.
That is one way of dealing with it for sure. That is, you set the guidelines and parameters and dictate the terms of the "fight".

Again, I understand that we are simply dissecting this at great detail for the sake of study, so I just want to let everyone know to keep that in mind.

My comments/thoughts on this are this:

Well, it can also be one sided....that is I think you have to be careful with the mentality "you either act like an adult, or we are not talking."

You did a couple of drew a line in the sand, and you called them a child. You in one cut of the sword called invalidated their emotions, called them a child, and dictated the terms that are the one that is in charge, holds all the cards, and they have none unless they want to meet you on your field of battle.

That is not necessarily a bad strategy and is one that I agree with in some situations that require immediate establishment of power and authority.

It is, however, dependent upon a couple of things. One, that you do indeed possess this kind of power...and that they will never have it. Two, that the "relationship" is temporary, as I don't believe this type of strategy to be "sustainable" over a long period of time, without patching things up. With a situation dealing with a neighbor like this, assuming that you want to maintain a good relationship with them, I think it much more skillfull to take the "empathetic" approach the article used, than to follow the strategy you propose.

Now, that said, there are certainly people out there that are unreasonable and that they will walk all over you if you take this approach to. So Agreed, I think there is a time or place for everything and if this is happening and you are not too concerned with this neighbor, then your approach is a very good one, as it does not require you to "Nuke" them, nor for you to get emotionally charged either.

Mark wrote:

? The author reinforced the neighbor's ideas that other people's property can be used without permission. I don't care how "understanding" the author believed himself to be, what he did was entirely and completely wrong. There are ways of being "understanding" that do not imprint or reinforce bad ideologies.
I believe that the author really wanted the neighbor to use their spot. I think permission was implied based on their relationship. So, I don't believe the author sees what the neighbor did as being unreasonable based on their relationship. I think he sees the situation more as a bummer that it ended up this way.

He mentions something that I find interesting..." made the best decision, based on the situation and information that he had at the time."

So, I believe this is very, very important to not miss. One, in validates that he does not think he did anything wrong, however, he still feels empathetic and wishes that he would have had more information, time etc. If so, the assumption I am making is that he may have decided to park further away, double parked etc.

I think this is also in line of thinking with a police officer pulling the trigger. I think most feel justified in their actions, but still wish they would have had more info, more time, etc...that their might have been room for another solution.

This is no small point in the practice of budo. No small point at all. I like to talk about OODA. In our practice what we are really trying to do is EXPAND our ability to make decisions and act on the in a most efficient manner, based on the observations and orientations that we have. The more "intel" we have, the better choices we can make AND the more room AND "time" we have to make them.

(time is in quotes, as we really don't get more time as it is a constant, but our processing speed relative to the events increases giving the perception of more time.)

Off tangent a little...sorry, but I think alot of this hinges on your perspective of what was reasonable entitlement/implication of use.

So, with that said, I certainly respect your perspective and course of Action Mark.

Mark Wrote:

The author apologized for their actions, which reinforced the neighbor's ideas that she was right to use someone else's driveway without permission or notice. Apologizing also signifies that the author believes what he did was wrong and what the neighbor did was right. Would you want to fight a court battle over paying the towing fees where the fact that you apologized is evidence? You stated by apology that you believed that what you did was wrong. Good luck in court with that. Best lawyer wins, but you lose no matter what.
Well I think there are skillfull and yet still very geniune ways to appologize and still not yield your position and remain strong. Buddhist vignettes and stories are choke full of compassionate strength.

Stories such as "I am sorry great deer that I must kill you, but you body will go to help a greater cause". (funny coming from a vegetarian I know!).

I think the ultimate skill for a warrior is to be able to have compassion for his enemy, understand his position, and still not hesitate to pull the trigger the moment that it must be done.

My hope is that one day, mankind can transcend the need to do that, but until then, I think the middle way is a good way to go.

So, I am sorry this has caused you such pain, and I was a part of it, does not mean the same thing is "I was wrong in towing your car.". to me at least.

I think this is one of the key tenants we want to achieve in our practice of budo. The ability to be strong and yielding at the same time. Compassion.

Mark Wrote:

Another thing that was reinforced was that screaming and throwing a fit works. She got her apology from the author. Through yelling and throwing a fit, the author "understood" her position and apologized for his actions. Nowhere in this whole incident did the neighbor ever learn the lesson that you don't use other people's property without permission. The author didn't learn the lesson that you don't reinforce bad ideologies, but try to teach people where they went wrong and how not to repeat that mistake.
Now I understand that this article is most likely a article of fiction....and is very textbook or "kata" in nature.

But, I disagree. I don't think the neigbor got away with anything really. One without a conscience might have....there are clueless idiots out there that simply need to be hit over the head as that is all they really are gonna I am with you...let these guys have it. However, a true authentic friendship...I think not.

I think in this case the neighbor went away understanding the true nature of the situaiton. Her feelings were validated as being legtimate and valuable as a human being. She also began to empathize how the person who had their car towed must have felt coming home and finding a strange car in their spot. No one is happy about the situation, but I think they end the situation with the ability to move on and try again another day.

Mark wrote:

When you do something wrong, you're supposed to learn from your mistake. And people should be there helping you to learn if you can't do that yourself. None of that happened in this scenario. No one learned anything.
I think they did learn alot. But learn is the wrong word. The communicated and empathized, so what they learned was that each of them is a human and shit just happens in life sometimes.

Conversely, with your strategy, I believe that what possibly could have been "learned" is that my good neigbhbor who says they are a giving and caring person is really not authentic....he really does not mean that I can depend on him in time of great need...that in the face of my distress and time of need will tell me to not act like a child, and hide behind norms and rules and that our relationship will always be based on him being in control and dictating the terms.

Of course, this is extreme...but I think it drives at the core of what is really being leaned at a karmic or unconscious level...which is where alot of learning/reflexes take place without us really ever understanding this is what is going on.

I do agree though...that their are alot of people out there Mark, that can't necessarily take a subtle hint and are not really concerned with friendship and humanity...and those people..well they are the ones that you need to fricking hit between the eyes to get them to understand what you mean."

I think before you do this though, that if at all possible to try to use a more skillful approach.

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