But Nobody Can Make It Alone Out Here

And you'll ask: why doesn't his poetry
speak of dreams and leaves
and the great volcanoes of his native land?
Come and see the blood in the streets.
Come and see the blood in the streets. by P.Neruda

It was two years ago, when I was called for a business mediation among three brothers. The company was quite sucessful with a very nisch product and it reached over 4 million euro turn over within three years.

After the pre-mediation process, I was informed about my flight and my hotel, in case I would have stayed for a night. According to the agenda though, I would be there for a day and then we would decide how to proceed further.

As a mediator, I don’t like to receive many information before the first session. I rather like to hear a general information to decide, if to accept the case and if yes, then to do the necessary preparetions. If possible, I prefer a joint-session during the first meeting. Until today, this very first session has always been a joyful experience, full of observation, for me. Because, it isn’t the information, but how the conflict is expressed and explained with gestures and words, attracts me most. This process is like solving a puzzle by each word or expression.

It was a very hot summer day. When I arrived to the airport, a driver took me and brought me to the company directly. After talking to the older brother, I realized that in between the conflict got worse and the brothers refused to see each other. Among them, there was a poor secretary who was carrying written notes from one to another to keep a kind of communication for daily work.

No, Time, thou shalt not boast that I do change.
Thy pyramids built up with newer might
To me are nothing novel, nothing strange;
They are but dressings of a former sight. by W.Shakespeare

The same was valid for a conflict for me; people changed, companies and places changed. Yet each time when I started a mediation, though it seemed totally different then any other dispute before, it was the same: Somewhere, sometime, someone couldn’t ask, inform or express what he had in mind. Instead, his clever mind started judgments and ended up with conclusions.

That’s why mediation to me is a process to let people talk until there is nothing left to talk. I have neither fear of the parties having extreme emotions nor loosing the control of any process. Long ago, I discovered that communication is a way of Self reflection. If anyone tells me that I am alone, it isn’t me alone but this is how he feels me through his loneliness. So each sentence is like the poem of the poet; purely reflecting the messanger and not the listener. On the other hand, each peom is a symbol, too and like any other symbol, they are percepted by any listener in accordance to his understanding. In addition, my profession, as I see it, does not target to understand; because to understand is a logical process, but to accept the meaning of each symbol. Only through this acceptance, I become part of the poetry.

The first day, I shuttled among the brothers twice. At the end of the day, at least, all agreed about the main problems. I like to use Mind Mapping during mediation. It is a wonderful, easy method and is perfectly matching to how our brain works. I put the entire dispute on a colorful scheme on which the parties and I can, by color, easily recognize the groups; such as marketing, HR, communication, etc. Then I, under each and similiarly, add the related problems; such as lack of feedback, lack of common meetings, etc. As soon as the parties look at this colorful chart, they realize which color represent which group of dispute. I choose the most shining colors to the most difficult problems to make them somehow friendlier.

At the end of the first day, all the brothers had a colorful A3 page with all the problems they mentioned and agreed. All the three said that it was very nice to see and hear that they agreed on the problems. This stage allowed me to ask each of them, if starting with a joint session was acceptable for the next meeting. It was accepted and I prepared another agenda for the next day. The brothers, as a homework, would consider what solution for them could have been acceptable until the following morning.

Lying, thinking
Last night
How to find my soul a home
Where water is not thirsty
And bread loaf is not stone
I came up with one thing
And I don't believe I'm wrong
That nobody,
But nobody
Can make it out here alone. by M.Angelau

We started at 10.00 in the Meeting Room. I could see from their face how stressful they were. I started with a general summary of the previous day and how to proceed that day. When I asked who would like to start first, they told me it wouldn’t matter. Then I offered them to start with their options they prepared. They all agreed. I gave them post-its and let them write and hang under each problem their possible solutions. After a work of almost 30 minutes, it came out that they had very similiar options for solutions. This made me to consider: Why did they, if listing similiar problems and solutions, have a huge dispute almost refusing to see each other?

I decided to ask them about their brotherhood and directly did that. They were surprised, looked at each other as if none could decide what to do and suddenly the youngest one started to talk. The more he talked, the more the others joined the story and somehow they kept talking about the period before their father died which was until a year ago. Then the oldest brother expressed the impact of the father’s death on the family, how he felt himself responsible for everyone, how he; although refusal of the family, married to a Russian lady who had a son from previous husband, how he ignored other ideas while taking decision due to his feeling of responsibility.

In silence I watched the brothers how, from time to time, they were close to cry, how emotional they all got and how deep the being together feeling was. That was a traditional Turkish family.

After he completed his words, I kept my silence for a while, then I asked if we could drink a cup of coffee. This gave everyone a kind of relief. After another thirty minutes of general and daily talks while we had our coffee, I asked if anyone had any comment to the oldest brother. There was a short silence and the middle one said he would have been very happy if the older one shared his worries with him and he added how sorry he was for his refusal of the Russian bride. The youngest said more or less the same thing and added that he was happy to be a member of that family.

This was the beginning of the end of that mediation: We worked on the options until the lunch and after that it was relatively fast to get to an agreement.

Each mediation is a great feedback to me. Although all the disputes seem to be the same, yet the people make them different. And I realize after each time, how human we are.

These things that we support most well
have nothing to do with up,
and we do with them
out of boredom or fear or money
or cracked intelligence;
our circle and our candle of light
being small,
so small we cannot bear it,
we heave out with Idea
and lose the Center:
all wax without the wick,
and we see names that once meant
like signs into ghost towns,
and only the graves are real. by Charles Bukowski

Deniz Kite, 3rd March 2009, Ankara

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