Contextual Work points to ways of breaking down roadblocks between people. These barriers limit the healing and richness of truth, trust, and fair consideration.
For over 50 years, groups of people have collaborated to illuminate, simplify and clarify the complexities of Contextual Work.
Our Community in Dialogue bands together to help deconstruct the roadblocks between people. That is, to help unravel tangled relationships regardless of circumstance (e.g., family, work, school).
I thought it was just me against him. What? After my divorce I saw five different therapists. I never wanted to bring my former husband in. No one challenged me. I might have learned something if we were in the room together. Why? I thought it was just me against him. How? Everyone has a side that counts. What was his?
I thought my wife and I were a united front. What? My daughter and I are both musicians. My daughter gets in the car and turns on the jazz station. My wife, her stepmother, objects to loud music. I ask my daughter to turn it off. It doesn’t occur to me to back up my daughter over my wife. Why? That’s what my parents did. What is the alternative? My wife and I could not have a child of our own. Is she mourning? I try to compensate her loss. My daughter is 26 and my only child. And my wife gets testy when she doesn’t feel backed up. So I fall silent. How? Inclusion: Everyone deserves to be heard. There is relief to be found in each party’s voice.
Now the tables turn. What? I had a heart attack. Cutting back work and earnings became necessary. Now I am in need financially. Both of my grown children say, “Dad if you need financial help, ask us. We just don’t want you to be stressed about not having enough.” I am very uncomfortable asking them. Why? I feel a failure as a father if I take from them. I am supposed to care for myself and for them. Then I am supposed to pass an inheritance to them. How? Consider their gain in giving to me. They are grateful and want to give back. I gave to them in their need as children and young adults. Now they want to give to me in my need. In this way receiving is giving. What do I owe? What do I deserve? What is fair?
Contextual Work is a road map. Underneath most spoken words are layers of unspoken meaning. Contextual work points a way to peeling back these layers for the sake of freeing people to deepen their capacity for speaking with candor; deepening trust; healing wounds. Contextual work takes courage.
To illustrate… layer upon layer:
“Let’s talk about it later,” may express an intense wish to defer the ugliness of words flying between us:
- Sides are taken.
- There is silence between us.
- Is our silence a pause? Kara is orchestrating her father-in-law’s funeral. Sam calls from vacation. Jody is immersed in work. I am adjusting to living alone. These occupy our attention.
- Is this cold silence containing rage that wants revenge?
- Is it a waiting for strength and willingness to engage?
- Jody feels cut out, excluded.
- The silence is broken briefly. Jody visits me in my new place. She says it is beautiful. She and Kara greet each other.
- Indirectly Jody’s visit softens the flow of ugliness between us.
We begin to absorb and reflect. We feel the impact of each other’s words. Then…illumination. Suddenly, new thoughts form. New words tumble out. We find courage to go forward:
- To refine our words and ask each other to do the same
- To help each other make ourselves clear
- To temper violent reactions
- To be fair
- To become safe for each other
- To deepen trust between us
- To hear our ancestors’ voices in our words; surfacing hidden loyalties
- To break free of chronic silence, blame, and resignation
- To risk the initiative to re-build linkages, regardless of outcome
- To repair intended and unintended injuries
- To mend collateral damage for ourselves and future generations
- To lend each other courage
Discover what Contextual Work points to in your relationships:
- Only each and all of us can answer why our voices count
- Or what is fair
- Or what it means to consider consequences for each other
- And, who deserves consideration
** We Invite You To Engage **
Community in Dialogue: Barbara R. Krasner PhD, Douglas W. Schoeninger, PhD, Karen K. Allen MBA, Rachel Joyce MPA, Russ Parker DDiv, Ernest Szoke JD
Blog Site: Spoken-Here-Heard-There.com
Contact Us: Trustcounts1@Gmail.Com