I find myself saying things like, “especially now” when I talk about conflict in the world. I came of age in the 1980s, when the United States seemed to be experiencing a break from wars and violence. When my friends were called to active duty for The Persian Gulf War, it felt like a kinder, gentler war. Then came my first job interview after law school. On Long Island. On 9/11. Friends and family members went to Afghanistan and Iraq, while I began fighting in courtrooms. I started dating and moved in with a man I went to law school with. He broke up with me hours after my family finished moving us into our New York City apartment and left me paying all expenses for both of us because both of us had signed the lease. I finally developed the courage and strategy to leave that situation, just in time to meet the addict I dated off and on for eight years. With the help of Al-Anon and Landmark Worldwide, I took control of my co-dependency and broke free. Then, I was raped by a man I had once dated, while he was in town planning his wedding. All of this was before I was violently assaulted while walking home from Landmark in 2014.
As I have been piecing together my “character-building” life, discrimination and bias have fueled the deaths of homosexuals and minorities. Young girls have been gang-raped, mutilated, kidnapped, and shot on their ways to school. Soldiers and children have lost limbs to landmines. Disease, war, and natural disaster have claimed more lives than I can count, and we can’t agree on what to do about it if anything.
At age 48, maybe my life has simply stabilized to where I notice more. Every generation has had similar conflicts to resolve—and opportunities to resolve them. The world has somehow survived the Transatlantic Slave Trade, two World Wars, a Cold War, and generally more barbaric times. But especially now, I feel compelled to do something. It feels more urgent and my responsibility, which is overwhelming at times. I sit in discussions at the United Nations, wondering how many times the same things have been said, without any action and therefore, without resolution. I fear there is no resolution. Then, I remember the little girl cautiously entering her family home, scanning for signs that her unstable relative was “in a good mood” and that she could relax. It seemed those days would never end, but they did. There is always hope. And change. Which typically come through action. Not necessarily from big, dramatic action like a bloody rebellion. Sometimes, change begins with forgiveness.
My next few posts will be exploring Choice #3 from my book, DIY Conflict Resolution: Seven Choices and Five Actions of a Master: Forgive the world for having and creating conflicts. I’ll be releasing what’s still there in my conflicts with my birth circumstances, natural disasters, and hateful or hostile people. I am committed to being free from these conflicts and invite you to get free with me.
What world conflicts would you like to see resolved? Let’s work through them together. They only seem bigger than we are because we are trying to resolve them alone.
Nance L. Schick, Esq. is a New York City attorney and mediator who focuses on keeping people out of court and building their conflict resolution skills, especially in business and employment disputes. Her holistic, integrative approach to conflict resolution draws from her experience as a crime victim, human resources supervisor, minor league sports agent, and United Nations representative. She is a 2001 graduate of the State University of New York Buffalo Law School trained in Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), and International Center for Ethno-Religious Mediation (ICERM). She is also creator of the Third Ear Conflict Resolution process, author of DIY Conflict Resolution: Seven Choices and Five Actions of a Master, and an award-winning entrepreneur, who has been acknowledged by Super Lawyers (ADR, 2018), the New York Economic Development Corporation/B-Labs (Finalist, Best for NYC 2015 & 2016), U.S. Chamber of Commerce (2015 Blue Ribbon Small Business), Enterprising Women Magazine (Honorable Mention, 2014 Woman of the Year awards), and Urban Rebound NY/Count Me In (Finalist, 2013 Pitch Competition).