Kahn statue, Oahu, Hawaii, Chinese cemetary

Constructive Conflict

Posted by
Glyph warrior 1 CW
Hawaiian warrior petroglyph, Hawaii Island

Conflict is all around us, every day it seems to encroach on our territory. Some people seem to invite conflict, consciously or unconsciously, because they are defensive. If they’re constantly trying to defend their territory – and it takes two to tango! Someone will come along to criticize of antagonize them to enable their need to defend. Somewhere in the cosmic computer, they’re put together as the perfect match, and a conflict arises.

My personal life is pretty calm and drama-free. I am active in the metaphysical community, surprising many when they learn that I’m an attorney. (Yeah, sometimes I’m surprised, too. I never really wanted to be a lawyer, but it just sort of worked out that way.) In my work I meet many wonderful people on both sides of the issues. I’m placed squarely into conflict every day. Some are big, some are small, but they all involve someone who is hurting and someone whom they believe to be responsible. There’s usually misunderstanding and truth found on both sides of the issue, making the resolution a delicate matter.

That’s where I enter the picture. I’m the finder of fact

Tikis of Hawaiian warriors, Place of Refuge, Hawaii Island
Tikis of Hawaiian warriors, Place of Refuge, Hawaii Island

and the finder of law, rather similar to an administrative law judge. I’m not a litigator; I work in the public interest field to enforce the regulations in an objective manner. That involves conflict in some form or another, every day in every way. I don’t really want to discuss my job, though; I want to talk about the approach to conflict generally. Since it’s a large part of my waking life, I think about it a lot. (See my previous post: Counselor at Law, Not a Lawyer.) I have to say that I am not a fan of needless conflict. The trick is to know when a conflict moves a larger area of change forward.

Statue of Kwan Yin, Goddess of Compassion, Denver Art Museum
Statue of Kwan Yin, Goddess of Compassion, Denver Art Museum

Many people in the spiritual community believe that conflict is not peaceful and to be avoided. There’s a stereotype that spiritual people are forever at peace, exude love when they walk into the room, and spend all day in a prayerful state. There are many that do this, and they support the world around them in a wonderful way. I admire them, but have to face the fact that I might be another kind of spiritual person. There are the change agents, found wherever conflict thrives.

The ancient Druids were known as the spiritual leaders of their time as well as their cultural anchors as bards and poets. They served as judges to resolve conflict and gave counsel to the leaders of their time. Yes, they were priests and judges, a combination of spiritual and legal leadership which I find intriguing. They used their spiritual base to resolve conflicts large and small.

Fast-forward to the modern era. Civil rights leader Martin Luther King was both a minister and change agent. Mahatma Gandhi was a lawyer who affected great cultural and political change in a peaceful manner. These men seem so alike to me, affecting great positive change within their nations. They did not tap into their spiritual nature to ruminate and pray all day. They inspired many to evoke change for the oppressed.

Khan statue (warrior leader), Chinese Cemetary, Oahu Island, Hawaii
Khan statue (warrior leader), Chinese cemetery, Oahu Island, Hawaii

I see our spiritual community as a springboard for positive change. We never would have seen the recent change in financial laws and accountability if there hadn’t been a group willing to advocate a perspective that profit isn’t the only thing that matters. Ditto for the environmental conservation movement. It has been inspired by people who feel a driving, spiritual need to take care of the planet and all its inhabitants. We’ve moved from seeing animals as mere livestock and food sources to embracing them as valued family members. (See my previous post: Better than Katrina.)

I’m still trying to figure out where I am called to contribute in my seemingly disparate areas of interest. I’ve been given an odd talent pool and am trying to find my place as a teacher, healer, leader, and lawyer. I’m active in all these areas, and wonder how they are all going to merge someday. I feel the balance moving away from law and into areas of greater passion.

Garnet is a spiritual being having a canine experience.
Garnet is a spiritual being having a canine experience.

If you are in the Denver metropolitan area, I invite you to join me as I give a talk on the Spiritual Path of Animals, September 4, 2013. (http://www.meetup.com/Denver-Parapsychic-Student-Group/events/135151742/) There is a lot more to our companion animals than meets the eye, and I want to get a conversation started about their spiritual gifts and activities!


    1. Thanks – Garnet is an old soul, and her eyes are deep. It’s hard to photograph black eyes in a black face of fur, however, so I was proud of that photo. Daisy was born to model. Garnet – not so much. I wish you were closer, too….


  1. I remember when I used to shy away from conflict. Its not that I go after conflict, it’s that I am willing to confront if necessary. I believe confrontation can be loving and bring about a peaceful solution. Conflict resolution does not necessarily mean harsh words and a winner and a loser. It can be handled peacefully with the objective to create win-win. I love how you describe your job as a being a change agent. Because I’ve followed your blog for a while now I can see you doing that.

    This is such a good post. Thank you.


    1. Thank you, Brenda. It is hard sometimes to find the win-win. In those instances when I can’t, I try to educate more than punish. Education is non-judgmental, and that is appropriate. I appreciate your perspective. — and your wonderful blog. Your leadership ability and wisdom shows.


  2. Some very interesting, thoughtful statements. Garnet looks like she is aging. I loved the interesting description of a spiritual being having a
    canine experience. Looking at the world through the animal experience has to be an interesting adventure. We have homeless people and homeless animals. There has to be a message somewhere in that parallel. Maybe animals view people as being the personification of the animal experience. Interesting idea. Whatever God one believes in, there is a universal spirit. Who is to say what living things participate in that universal spirit and which ones don’t? That question defies an answer. Who would be so presumptious as to think they can sort existence into
    spiritual and non-spiritual life?

    Your opening statements about people who are defending themselves also invite conflict to challenge that defense is interesting. Our old school
    thought system we always described those people as having “a chip on their shoulder”. Your description of it is a more basic and general one. Very interesting. Keep up the good work.

    Question: Does everyone find their calling? Much can be accomplished in the hunt without ever getting there.



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