Spiritual Networks


1. Choose a mutually agreeable time when disturbances are unlikely.
2. One party describes her or his experience, using I language, talking about feelings.
  The other party actively listens, speaking only in an effort to communicate
  understanding of what the other is saying.
3. When the speaker is satisfied with being understood, roles are switched.
4. After a pause for reflection, each suggests areas of common ground that seem
  evident in what has already been said.
5. After a further pause for reflection, each offers whatever movement toward further
  common ground each is willing to make.
6. The available agreement is clarified, including the common ground at the moment,
  and the acceptance of whatever differences still remain (agree to differ).


  • One party spends time in reflection on his or her responsibility within the conflict. This involves looking at one's judgments and/or strong feelings toward the other, and identifying the roots of this reaction within one's own history. What is the pattern in terms of the other's behavior and my reactions, and where does this come from within me?
  • This party then asks the other to listen and try to understand what he or she has learned about him or herself.
  • The discloser is careful to:

a) differentiate the other's behavior and her/his feelings
b) own the pattern as it happens in the relationship
c) identify the historical roots of these feelings.

  • If the discloser feels safe and strong enough, he/she may ask for any challenging feedback about blind spots that have not been owned or explored.
  • The discloser may also request support in whatever way she/he believes the other might be helpful in her/his efforts to change the pattern.


  • Ask your partner for a good time when s/he is willing to listen and try to understand your grievance. A ready partner responds only with Active Listening.
  • Identify the grievance in terms of the other's behavior, and your feeling:

When you _______________________________ , I feel __________________.

  • Identify the meaning or source of your feeling, namely what it is that is at stake for you. For example, it may be your need for affection, your self-respect, or whatever. Explain the source of your grievance as clearly as you can, so the other can understand how you are being affected.
  • If you wish, make a clear request of the other, how you would like him or her to behave differently in the future.
  • Respond to this request only when you are clearly willing and able to follow through.


  • if one side wins, both sides lose
  • the truth is between us
  • conflict is opportunity, does not mean something is wrong



+ schedule a good time (as soon as workable to both)           
+ talk about one thing at a time                                               
+ use "I" language (speak for myself)                                               
+ specify my perspective (how I see it; the meaning I give to it)                                           
+ work at understanding you (what's so important to you?)                       
+ respect feelings (mine & yours) (what's really at stake?)                                   
+ check out my assumptions about where you're coming from                       
+ make specific requests (what I want to change)                                   
+ look for common values, beliefs, needs (acknowledge agreement)                       
+ create new "win-win" options                            
+ be willing to change                                               


-- make speeches (do all the talking)
-- make demands (tell the other what to do, how to think, feel, believe...)
-- store, dig up the past
-- mindread (I know what you're thinking before you tell me;
    I know you better than   you do)
-- namecall, put down, humiliate
-- label, diagnose (play psychologist)
-- blame ("It's all your fault...")
-- attack (try to hurt)
-- threaten
-- project my fears into you
-- close my mind before listening
-- think there is one "right" way
-- think there's only one winner
-- "Yeah, but..."

    the only way is no way

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