I’m here in Phoenix at an Association for Conflict Resolution conference. Since I don’t know anyone here, I was determined to try to overcome my natural shyness in situations like this and TALK to people. Right away, I discovered that mediators are nice people :) I’ve never been to a conference before where so many people just in the lobby, elevator and standing in the checkout line would make eye contact, smile, and talk to you – actually engaging in meaningful conversation with people they don’t even know with apparent interest. Since mediators are naturally curious about other people (or we couldn’t do our jobs), that may explain some of it.
In any case, it bolstered my resolve and I’ve been practicing all day, talking to anyone who appears accessible and interesting. There was a dinner and dancing party out in a local park, and that gave me lots of chances. It was a warm Phoenix night, which in itself was enough to make me want to stay out in it. One memorable visual image was from my hotel room on the 19th floor, of the full moon hanging over downtown Phoenix in late afternoon, with the red hills ringing the city behind. I’m sorry I don’t have a photo to share with you (when I left I couldn’t think of a reason I would need my camera…).
This morning I had a session on metaphors and their value in mediation. All kinds of metaphors – verbal, visual, kinetic, even musical. Then later in the day I was watching a group of people dancing to YMCA (which totally dates us) – and they ALL knew the YMCA move. It was pretty hilarious to watch. There was one lone man out there, probably from another country, who was looking around in bewilderment ;D Now THAT was a cultural metaphor if I ever saw one – for what, I’m not entirely sure.
So that’s what I’m up to this week! Brrr… my room feels cold at 72 after the Phoenix night.