Be reminded that 1 month ago I suffered a fracture of my foot and chipped two bones in my ankle. I am still wearing a non-weight bearing boot and still managed to conduct no less than 8 hearings since the accident. Although I am uncomfortable, I am in no real pain and my bones are healing as they are expected to. Still, it was excruciatingly hard for me to summon up genuine sympathy for the Plaintiff--whose injuries, by comparison to mine, were minor and long ago!
At times like these, I need to remind myself that my perspective can never be substituted for the parties in the dispute. I am engaged to facilitate the analysis--but in the end, the decisions, the risks, the rewards are all in the hands of the disputants. In Yoga, there is a position of balance that mimics a tree (See inset). At times of great conflict, it's useful to have such a position to resort to--a kind of momentary "time out" to re-gain that perspective and re-focus on the dispute at hand. Mediators sometimes call this technique "going to the balcony"--a visual of taking yourself out of the dispute to re-gain that "birds eye view". I'm not sure I accomplished that in this hearing, but it's a good reminder that even a person with a broken foot needs, occasionally, to balance on one leg.
What techniques do you engage to keep yourself balanced in the negotiation--or is it okay to lean on one side or the other in these circumstances?