I was inspired for the name of my firm during my training in conscious contracting®. The conscious contracting process starts with an in-depth discussion of values. To get us started our trainer put up a long list of values but there was one that immediately jumped out at me
It jumped out for 2 reasons. First, as a singer and musician the word harmony conjures images of my favorite songs. Glorious sounds that are so vivid I can see them in my mind. The second reason it jumped out is that the beauty of harmony is that it isn’t uniform. Harmony and uniformity are opposites. The beauty of harmony in music is that it gives us the power to weave different sounds and elements together to create a something that is bigger than the individual notes. This musical tapestry is not unraveled by the presence of dissonance. Rather, we find our attention drawn to a new dimension we hadn’t considered before as we journey on our path to resolution.
This definition of harmony reflects how I work with people. We must start by meeting people where they are and take the time to understand their part in the larger composition. By putting people first, we honor the dignity that is inherent in each of us. When we are not heard, or we feel our dignity has been injured by the action (or inaction) of others we resist, and this resistance results in conflict. Real resolution of conflict is about healing and empowerment, not submission and control.
My practice focuses on three main areas, collaborative practice, mediation, and conscious contracts ®. I work with families going through divorce, families trying to care for elderly relatives, and businesses and organizations that want to create a different kind of culture for their employees and customers. The common thread that runs through all my work is that there is a relationship to be maintained beyond the current disagreement. When that is the case then we need to focus on time and energy on a solution for the present and the creation of a new plan that will help us do better going forward. We need a deeper understanding between the people involved, not blame and shame. When we work in a space of creation that makes that deeper dive into what makes us tick possible, we learn that what is most personal is also what is most universal. That common ground is our best starting point to compose a new future.
Kristen Boldt is an integrative attorney, mediator, and peacemaker in Des Moines, Iowa. For more information visit www.harmonylawdsm.com