A man was riding his Harley...

A man was riding his Harley along a California beach when suddenly the sky clouded above his head and, in a booming voice, the Lord said,"Because you have tried to be faithful to me in all ways, I will grant you one wish."

The biker pulled over and said,"Build a bridge to Hawaii so I can ride over anytime I want."

The Lord said,"Your request is materialistic, think of the enormous challenges for that kind of undertaking; the supports required to reach the bottom of the Pacific and the concrete and steel it would take! It will nearly exaust several natural resources. I can do it, but it is hard for me to justify your desire for worldly things. Take a little more time and think of something that could possibly help mankind."

The biker thought about it for a long time. Finally, he said,"Lord, I wish that I and all men could understand women; I want to know how she feels inside, what she's thinking when she gives me the silent treatment, why she cries, what she means when she says nothing is wrong, and how I can make a woman truly happy."

The Lord replied, "You want two lanes or four on that bridge?"

Using the Four Agreements to Resolve Conflict

The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz gives a few significant tools for moving past conflict in any arena. The book is about four habits you can adopt that improve your life in general. Use the agreements to put myself in the right frame of mind before heading into the lion's den:

1. Be impeccable with your word.

Words have immeasurable power, so use them with care. Say only what you mean, and remember your opinion isn’t fact. Silence is better than saying something you’ll regret.

2. Don’t take anything personally.

Here I’ll quote the book, “Nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves.” That guy honking at you just spilled scalding coffee all over his lap, the boss screaming at you is going through a divorce. Their stuff has nothing to do with your stuff, and assuming you’re the root cause of someone’s behavior is not only self-centered, it’s also a big waste of energy.

3. Don’t make assumptions.

You can spend hours generating theories about why someone did something, or you can just ask. When someone lashes or does something unexpected, save time by seeking clarification.

4. Do your best.

Do the best you can with the conflict in front of you, and you won’t need to waste brain power on self-judgements or regrets.

When I can keep these guidelines in mind, I’m almost always able to diffuse a situation. Other benefits:

  • Resolution comes more quickly because you ask for clarification instead of jumping to conclusions.
  • You reduce time lost to stress because you don’t feel personally responsible for the other person’s anxiety or anger.
  • Initial conflict often turns into a productive conversation and leads to a deeper relationship, because you come from a more compassionate place.
  • You ideally come away without regrets, having resolved the situation instead of escalating it.

A National Epidemic...

"If anything characterizes the 21st century, it’s our inability to restrain ourselves for the benefit of other people," said James Katz, director of the Center for Mobile Communication Studies at Rutgers University.

"The cellphone talker thinks his rights go above that of people around him, and the jammer thinks his are the more important rights."

...from a discussion on the rise of mobile and fixed cell phone jammers.

The meditation word for today is...courtesy