Sunday, April 11, 2010

Jazz, Synchronicity and Mediation

I attended an outstanding ABA Dispute Resolution Conference in San Francisco last week. There, I heard and saw a wonderful demonstration of a concept called "Synchronicity" by Margaret Aaron and Dwight Golann during a presentation they called "Clientology". They talked about concepts we mediators call "mirroring and modelling" to meet the clients where they are and gently guide them to a place where reasoned decisions can be made about emotional conflict. They talked about delivering bad news with appropriate gravitas, and using the level and tone in our voices, our hands and even our bodies' posture for more than speech.

Today, I enjoyed a terrific jazz concert featuring a high school friend of my son's, Shana Bush, and a trio of musicians (some still in College) performing updated versions of tunes from the 1920's to 1940's. It struck me that the synchronicity I learned is a metaphor for improvisational jazz. The musicians play off one another, hit highs and lows, have a conversation amongst them which, if you're lucky, also touches the audience deeply, movingly, personally. It has the potential of uplifting or evoking the lonely, dark places we try to guard against.

So it is that in my next mediation, I shall take with me the melodies of Shana's jazz with the lessons of clientology. And perhaps with "Angel Eyes" I will accomplish more for my clients than the lyric goes: "All or Nothing at All".

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