Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Resurrection?

res·ur·rect (rz-rkt) v. res·ur·rect·ed, res·ur·rect·ing, res·ur·rects v.tr. 1. To bring back to life; raise from the dead. 2. To bring back into practice, notice, or use. v.intr. To rise from the dead; return to life.

Yes, this could fit. I just didn't want to offend anybody's religious sensibilities. As you can see, it's been over 3 years since my last entry on this blog, and that was only to announce its death. How strange that I would breathe some life into it today, when up until this morning I had forgotten it even existed. Then again, maybe this isn't strange at all, and is simply all part of a process or development I am not as yet fully aware of. You see, quite by chance (Ha! Is anything really by chance?) I enrolled in a Counselling Skills Certificate Program at the community college where I teach English, and three weeks into my first of four courses, it seems my former mediator self is being reawakened. It's wonderful, as I feel I am on the verge of blending my mediation training with my new counselling knowledge. Of course this might be a bit premature, but it seems to me there is some significance to the fact that today's journal entry on my counselling blog lead me back here to my mediator postings. Stay tuned, and let's see what happens...

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Moribundity

moribund |ˈmôrəˌbənd; ˈmär-|
adjective
(of a person) at the point of death.
• (of a thing) in terminal decline; lacking vitality or vigor : the moribund commercial property market.
DERIVATIVES
moribundity |ˌmôrəˈbəndətē; ˌmär-| |ˈmɔrəˈbəndədi| |-ˈbʌndɪti| noun
ORIGIN early 18th cent.: from Latin moribundus, from mori ‘to die.’

Yup! That definition seems to fit. I had hopes for Glanville Mediation Services, but perhaps not the drive needed to make it happen. I'm back volunteering for the Youth Justice Committee at West Scarborough, now that the Adult Justice Committee program has been put to rest. So yes, still keeping my hand in, but no incentive to give this the time and effort it requires. Maybe this will turn into a retirement project, but for now, teaching college ESL classes is what pays the bills. That reminds me- I have to prepare for Monday's classes now.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Stymied!

Today I received the latest Canadian Arbitration and Mediation Journal, and with it, what is probably my final renewal notice for membership in the ADR Institute of Ontario, Inc. The fee for 2009 comes to $267.75 with GST, and includes membership in the ADR Institute of Canada. I'll be honest here; print journals such as the aforementioned seem outdated and almost irrelevant when almost everything pertaining to mediation can be found on the internet, for free. Like so many other specialty journals, this one seems to compliment the insiders who contribute articles and provides space for advertisers to sell their services, but I seriously question the value of continuing to publish print copies when all of it could instead be made available on the ADR web site. I wonder how much of my $255 fee goes towards such waste.

Of course insiders, those who earn a good living through mediation and arbitration and who have a vested interest in keeping their names in print, would strongly disagree, I'm sure. My perspective, as someone who believes wholeheartedly in the process of mediation but who will probably never earn a penny at it, may seem rather distorted. Yes, the fact that I can not afford the $267.75 to maintain my membership is galling - I'm out of the club now, and my dreams of being a 'real' (i.e. able to earn money) mediator seem further away than ever. I joined the ADR with the hope I could earn Chartered Mediator status, but soon found out that would cost a further $500 to apply, plus the costs of insurance, as well as needing to show what percentage of my mediations were paid (zero as a volunteer).

So yes, I've soured on institutions and will let my membership expire, unnoticed, as I am not in the game. I will hopefully return to volunteering my services where I can be of help, mainly in victim offender, youth justice and community mediations. This is what I believed in from the start, and is where I belong. The money can stay where it's always been, with the lawyers.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Work in Progress

New Years Day, 2009. Exactly one year ago today I was sitting on this same sofa, with Corner Gas on the TV, this same MacBook on my lap, creating an entry to this blog. I was full of enthusiasm then, and believed the blog would help me move closer towards my goal of earning an income as a mediator. That didn't happen, and as you can see, the project tapered off as I settled at volunteering my services with a local community centre. It isn't that I've given up on the dream of mediating as a professional, but I am more realistic now about the possibilities. Stay tuned as I explore the options ahead of me…

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Whither Goest Thou?

That's a question I've been asking myself a lot lately, with a touch of sadness. Just a few weeks ago I was thrilled to place my order for Tammy Lenski's new book, Making Mediation You Day Job. It was exactly the kind of book I'd been hoping to find, a guide that would help lift me from my current state of mediation inertia. However, I've only glanced through it and for the time being have reluctantly set it aside. I know it will be a great source of ideas and inspiration when the time is right, but it seems to me that the time is not right, and I will have to focus on more practical ways of earning a living. Without making a substantial commitment in time and money, there is no way I will build a practice that will support my family. Instead, I will fall back on how I've earned a living for much of my adult life- as a teacher.

This is not a bad thing; I love teaching. I have programs lined up through until the fall, and therefore have little time left over to invest in mediating. I will of course continue to volunteer my services in the Adult Justice Committee, and still find this is an excellent learning experience, and in most cases, very satisfying. I enjoy the extra training our team of volunteers receives for this pilot program, most recently a two day workshop on Multicultural Competence in Mediation Training, put on by Conflict Mediation Services of Downsview. I enjoy very much working with co-mediators, comparing styles, planning how to approach new cases, etc. I also plan to attend as many workshops put on by the ADR Institute, such as the upcoming session on Restorative Justice. In short, I am not giving up on Mediation, I am only postponing any immediate hopes of mediating for a living.

I have no idea what I'll be writing a year from now, but I'm optimistic there will be clear signs of progress and further growth, as a person, as a mediator, and as a professional. Stay tuned...

Monday, March 3, 2008

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Bridging the Gap

I have a picture on my home office door - the cover of one of my old Dicks 'n Janes zines actually - which has my head attached to a muscular Mel Gibson in the role of Braveheart. The caption at the bottom reads 'Gotta Keep 'em Separated', taken from the hit song of the same title by The Offspring. (Isn't the internet amazing - click here and you can hear it too!). At the time I believed it was very important to keep the publisher of this irreverent and politically incorrect zine (worldwide circulation 50, from 1984-2003) far apart from the businessman whose Japanese clients might not approve of the liberal references to politics, pot and poetry. (sorry, but I’m a product of the 60s). I was very cautious about who I mailed copies to, and limited the readership to friends, and friends of friends, with just one stipulation: no jerks. (for example, the idiot who tossed hatchets at trees and poured kerosene on our annual Mother’s Day campfire).

My point? Well, today I find myself in a similar situation, trying to keep the Scarborough Dude (oops - now the cat’s out of the bag), host of the Dicksnjanes Podcast (no hyperlink, yet) at bay from Ken, the mild mannered mediator. The ‘dude,’ as his small but loyal fan base calls him, loves to swear loudly and voice strongly worded opinions on religion, politics, parenthood, education and everything in between. If the dots were ever connected (it shouldn't be hard now), this character could surely wreak havoc on my reputation as a fair and unbiased mediator. Gotta keep ’em separated, no?

That’s what I’ve been telling myself anyway - keep your wild and crazy hobby persona far from your budding identity as a professional in the field of mediation. But is that split between the various expressions of oneself really necessary? When I read books such as Bringing Peace Into the Room: How the Personal Qualities of the Mediator Impact the Process of Conflict Resolution by Daniel Bowling and David Hoffman, I get a sense that real mediators who are at one with their inner selves are more effective in their professional roles, and more likely to win the trust of clients. And so slowly, cautiously, and within the protective confines of this blog, I begin to bridge the gap.

"Monkeys are superior to men in this: when a money looks into a mirror, he sees a monkey." – Malcolm de Chazal
or if you prefer...
"We have to dare to be ourselves, however frightening or strange that self may prove to be." – May Sarton