A Holiday Survival Guide for Difficult Conversations
Nice to see you again good to see you. Thanks for coming in. Have you try and get you on the show along. Yeah i'm pleased. I'm really pleased that you were able to get to new york city for this as you know fascinated by your work and we're going to dive into it. Can i start with your meditation career. And i'd love to hear how. I i also i think you also do Gone which i don't know much about. Yeah so i'd love to learn about both of those things. Well i started to gung meditation practice twenty years ago and two thousand two thousand the year. Two thousand so. I'm a practitioner. I'm not an expert. I'm not a teacher. Never written about it. But i had a good friend who was into it then had a master who taught locally in the twin cities and just decided to try it in mostly because i was interested in reducing stress in my life and i i loved it and i started out twenty minutes a day. I started out with the video of the master doing the moves. And so i just sort of watch and follow him. Then a weaned and my way off. The video started with twenty minutes and now i do forty minutes every morning. So i'm i don't really know what it is. Well it's Chinese spiritual and healing practice. So it's five thousand years old and it combines a breathing and gentle movements and there's a the theory behind it that i'm you know i'm not sure i'm into the theory so much but energy in the body as she that's right as a source of healing so the master studied with as a healer and i'm not into that as much as i meant to just deep relaxation breathing and gentle movements and it just calms me and centers. Me and i tend to have sometimes creative ideas during. Are you telling me that. The life of marriage counselor stressful well. I'm an academic. And i do a lot of community engagement work and i live a fairly intense life and that includes my clinical specialty couples on the brink of divorce. You know so. I'm like an intensive care physician. So all of that can add up to a fairly intense life and this meditation practice just grounds me and i felt at every day grateful to be alive. Well how does it ripple out to the rest of your life. Well a lot of the work. I do both with couples and also my work with As we'll get into my work with better angels where we deal with conservatives and liberals who are at odds with each other did you notice that A lot of it is for me is about. How do i manage myself in the face of conflicting people and conflicting agendas where the stakes are high. And so the meditation practice adds into my therapist training to do what we call them. The jargon phrase emotional self regulation and centeredness in the face of difficult interpersonal situations. I've watched you at work. I went to the national was the first better angels. National conference watched you do your thing and you're aecom dude at least on the outside. yeah well when. I'm in my work in my modem. Actually come inside to. Because i'm doing. This is what we're here to do folks so let's do and let me help you engage each other. Let's talk about the better angels. Just give me some background on how the group got started. Remember the two thousand sixteen presidential election vaguely. Yeah a lot of people. Remember that one about ten days after that election to long term colleagues of mine who had worked on marriage and family issues one in new yorker david blakenhorn upper east side of manhattan. The other david lapped southwest. Ohio south lebanon ohio universes apart in terms of how people there felt about the election. They were on the phone together. Howard new yorkers doing only ensuite new york upper east side manhattan gloom and doom of funeral and in ohio hope and change and they decided on the spur of the moment to get together. Ten hillary clinton voters and ten tunnel drunk voters for a weekend in southwest ohio in december. To see if any of the gaps could be bridged and then they called me. And i said oh. That's pretty brave. What we thinking of doing with them and they said they didn't know they thought i could figure that part out if they recruited the people and i remember sitting at my home desk hoping i was not free that weekend. You know kind of looking at my calendar. Oh darn you know having engagement. But in fact i was so i said let's go for it so we had people Twenty folks from that part of the country from south west ohio for friday night all day saturday and sunday afternoon thirteen hours and it was a remarkable experience.