fbpx

My Blogs

LISTEN PASSIONATELY

As my business as a mediator begins to take off and I start to get more paying clients, I am aware of how much I still have to learn. It was ever thus. The twenty-five years I spent as an actor in the UK was a constant learning curve wherein I was fortunate to learn […]

KINDNESS

I used to be a Vistage guest speaker. Vistage is an extraordinary organization spread all over the world, which sponsors small groups of businesswomen and men, corporate executives, and CEO’s who coalesce around a theme of making themselves better. Aside from mentoring each other, advising each other, and supporting each other, Vistage sends guest speakers […]

MEDIATING TWICE

In order to make a living while I am building my mediation business, I work as an adjunct professor of Acting at a local college. One of the basic but most difficult aspects of acting to be learned is the art of listening. Not just pretending to listen but actually listening tolines that you sometimes […]

GRIEF

Often, when disputants arrive in my Magnum Mediation virtual meeting room they have lost something. Whether it is money, friends, business partners, neighbors, inheritance, land, the list is endless. But the one thing they all have in common is grief. Grief over something or someone they’ve lost. The blame is usually shifted onto the other […]

The Slide

A few months ago, I mediated a family business dispute and they paidme well. I deposited the money in my business account, shifted some ofit into a tax account and just let it sit there. There is always aninternal debate on how I can best spend the money I make as a mediatorin order to […]

THE TRUTH, AND NOTHING BUT

As a mediator, I’m obligated to sit in a room, virtual or otherwise, and listen to complete strangers relate the circumstances of their dispute in ways they hope will be compelling and convincing. Occasionally they embellish those stories. Occasionally they lie. How do we, as professional neutrals, discern the truth from the…untruth? Why do we […]

LOVE IN MEDIATION

I was recently asked to mediate a family business dispute, something I’d never done before. Having previously worked as an actor, I did what any actor would have done if they had been in a similar position.

The SCMA

The Southern California Mediation Association is one of the most extraordinary organizations I’ve ever been a part of. The benefits of joining are only equal to the benefits you derive from becoming a mediator. The most important qualities a mediator has to possess are patience and generosity of spirit. Also, the ability to listen with […]

Owning The Room

A continuation high school is where students who struggle in the regular public high schools can come to make up their credits. Sounds easy but it’s tough to leave behind the habits that got you into trouble in the first place. They come to school ready to blame everyone else to such an extent that […]

MEDIATION AS ART

I’ve always believed that life is about perspective and choices. Justlike any tool, first, you have to have them, then you have to know howto use them. In mediation, the lack of at least one alternative perspective orchoice becomes evident very quickly. The parties appear, ready to dobattle, coming from their respective corners where they […]

MEDIATE THAT!

In November 2017, I had a stroke. It occurred deep in my brain and totally paralyzed my left side. I spent a week in intensive care, then six weeks in a convalescent hospital, followed by many months in a wheelchair going to physical, occupational, and speech therapy. When I got fed up using a walker […]

Bosnia (Part 1)

Back in 1994, there was a conflict in Central Europe that was reminiscent of World War II. Not to go into too much detail, hundreds of thousands of Muslims were being systematically slaughtered in the name of ethnic cleansing by Bosnian Serb militias, exactly like the 6 million Jews during the Holocaust. No Western government […]

Bosnia (Part 2)

I went back. After I returned home from my first trip to Bosnia and walked into my house, I saw my wife and infant daughter who would remind me in later years that that was the first time she had ever seen me cry (there would be many more), I was contacted by British Actor’s […]

APOLOGIES and PINK

Conflict eventually ends. Then what do you do? On Pink’s brilliant new album TRUSTFALL, is a duet she sings with Chris Stapleton entitled Just Say I’m Sorry, an affecting and beautiful song about, you guessed it, apologizing. The chorus goes like this: Everybody wants to be The one who’s right Everybody wants the last word […]

SIFTING THROUGH THE TEARS

Last week, while co-mediating a complicated landlord-tenant dispute, we watched a woman who had been treated appallingly by a property management company find her power. We could not provide her with any legal advice and didn’t. Eventually, after caucusing with both parties, we re-assembled in the main virtual room. But when this diminutive, disabled woman […]

MISCONCEPTIONS

The little white girl looked very sweet. I was a substitute teacher in a 3rd grade San Bernardino classroom, and she was sitting in the first row. I turned towards the blackboard, but something made me turn around and check what was going on behind me. There she was smiling innocently, but I couldn’t shake […]

What’s Luck Got to do With it? (Part 1)

Let Magnum Mediation resolve your conflicts confidentially, inexpensively, comprehensively, and virtually. 2 articles March 15, 2023 Somebody I don’t like suggested I become a mediator. I had just retired from 13 years of teaching English in a high-conflict continuation high school in southern California, and she just blurted it out. Even offered to pay my […]

What’s Luck Got to do With it? (Part 2)

The best way to play Scrabble is to make sure you have a high turnover of letters. That way you stand the best chance of making a better word. When I was an actor, as long as I kept getting auditions, I increased my chances of getting a job. Starting out as a mediator, I […]

What’s Luck Got to do With it? (Part 3)

Conflict has been a large part of my professional life since retiring as an actor. I spent 13 years as a teacher in a continuation high school where high school students who have fallen behind in credits come to make up those credits and graduate. When arguments or fights were imminent, I would take them […]

What’s Luck Got to do With it? (Part 4)

I can’t say I was a great actor or even a good one. I have to leave that to other people. But I worked. Stage, Film, TV, Commercials, Radio. Twenty-five years of getting paid to pretend to be other people. Since the essence of drama is conflict, many of the people I played were in […]

What’s Luck Got to do With it? (Part 5)

Last week I wrote about a mediation in which it became apparent that the Respondent was, according to the Petitioner, schizophrenic. Neither I nor the Petitioner were qualified to make that diagnosis and it wasn’t until the Respondent began claiming that the Petitioner was making her house shake at all hours and that was the […]

INTERNATIONAL, BUT LOCAL

I was recently asked to be a volunteer mediator for the University of Southern California Program on Mediation Advocacy. It was an invigorating experience, working on a seven-party environmental dispute. I had never worked with those numbers before and never conducted a mediation on an environmental dispute. In fact, I had only recently retired as […]