December 10, 2013

Happy New Year: Focusing on the Virtues

During this time of year we are all invited, one way or another, to think about who we are and how we relate to others.  Sitting around a sparkling tree, lighting candles, or watching a ball drop often puts us in the mood to reflect on ourselves, our lives, and the lives of our loved ones.  The questions that arise for us during this time of year are commonplace questions year-round in any mediator’s office. What kind of person do you want to be?  How do you want to treat others?   What is more meaningful to you in the long run: money, stuff, and winning or collaboration, dignity, and kindness?  As we are immersed in the spirit of the winter holiday season, we are offered a closer look at the virtues we all treasure in ourselves and others by the expressions of love, generosity, courage, integrity, and honesty that abound.  In December we get to shout about the virtues from the rooftops and express them with flourish.

It is a good idea to take stock of our lives and our relationships with a view of figuring out not only how we can create a life that we love for ourselves, but also how we can encourage those around us to do so also. One of the underlying notions one must accept to develop a life that you love is that money and things do not make you happy.  They can disappear, they can disappoint, and even with a lot of both, it’s possible to be terribly lonely. If one accepts the notion that money doesn’t make you happy, than the only place to go to make a life you love is the virtues.  They exist, as the good deeds and warmth of the holiday season prove.  And the way you can control your happiness is to have your happiness rest in a life that allows you to express the virtues as much as possible. Bliss can come from anywhere—from being a mediator-attorney, a construction worker, a football player, a parent.  When we figure out what activities give us joy and the opportunity to express the virtues—courage, integrity, hard work, kindness, gratitude, gentleness—then we are given the opportunity to change the world one moment at a time by expressing the virtues during all our activities.

I wish everyone a joyful holiday season seated in a deep connection to the virtues.

Unmani is exceptionally gifted at mediating difficult situations.

Unmani is exceptionally gifted at mediating difficult situations.  At critical moments when the dialogues seemed about to derail, Unmani masterfully steered us back on course.  Her calming influence, insights on the legal requirements, and laser focus on the relevant issues very positively influenced the outcome of our divorce settlement and subsequent mediation qualitatively and quantitatively.  In fact, my ex-wife and I would not have the solid, congenial co-parenting relationship we have today without key conversations—including very difficult ones—we had only because it was safe to have them with Unmani present.

- Damian R.
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