‘Speaking in the way that makes the other person listen”
2015 was the year in which I introduced Conscious Contracting in the Netherlands and it was the year of my ‘coming out’ as a holistic lawyer, too.
I expressed what had been on my mind for a while. Quite exciting but great fun! I wanted to speak in a way that the other person is able to hear; that is to articulate the matter at hand in a way that the other person can really understand me.
In October I gave a masterclass with US attorney Kim Wright. Kim is the author of the bestseller “Lawyers as Peacemakers’. Participants were enthusiastic and rated the masterclass with a big 8!
I also gave a few lectures on Conscious Contracting, i.e. on the occasion of the departure of Marjan van der List, member of the training staff in the General Council. The General Council manages the Dutch Bar Association.
And I organized an evening for ‘individual line up’ (systematic work) for a group of lawyers, judges and court clerks from the University of Amsterdam. For many participants, this was an eye-opener. Preparation work can broaden one’s view as professionals and lets you utilize the wisdom of your subconscious. I plan to continue to integrate this work in my practice, as well as in the guidance and coaching of lawyers.
Conscious contracting in practice
This past year I have drawn up more and more Conscious Contracts. For example during the transfer of the Institute for Transformational Psychology (ITP) Robert Stamboliev gave the baton over to “his” ITP, a former student and colleague Ruud Zuurman. I guided both men through this process in order to arrive at a Conscious Contract.
Robert and Ruud: “Instead of everyone having their own lawyer to negotiate, we have saved time and money by Digna facilitating our process, which enables us to create a ‘genuine’ legal document in plain language, fully reflecting both our values and intentions”.
For Flint Theatre, Events and Conferences in the city of Amersfoort, I have written a new version of the Conscious Bearer Contract. Bearers (sponsors) of the Flint support the Flint dream like an experience and help (for example by paying a financial contribution per year) to realise this dream.
It has become a contract in a common, unifying language which reflects the enthusiasm, joy and values of the Flint team. It is now a showpiece for Flint, instead of a formal and incomprehensible drafted legal document.
Plans for 2016
Giving a master class for Conscious Contracting with Kim Wright will become an annual event. This masterclass will take place in the second half of 2016 at Dialogue in Bussum.
In addition I will give a master class on another innovative development: Visual Contracting. Together with artist/ lawyer Susanne van der Meer (living and working in the United States), we introduce ‘Conscious Contracting and Visual Contracting’. Lawyers, mediators and entrepreneurs learn how to visually simplify complex legal information in a contract.
Why using visuals in a contract? Because they are compact and clear, often much clearer than a lot of words. Visual thinking activates another stream of thought which results in arriving at a different level of thinking.
Using visualization provides clarity. It is instantly made clear what a particular document is about. A good infographic can quickly summarize a ten-page document. Working with visuals in our information overloaded society makes it immediately much more effective.
I would very much like to apply mediation in areas in which it is not yet common practice. For example: in environmental planning disputes. My belief is that mediation can bring much benefit since many rulings of the (administrative) court are not easily soluble. I really believe in the potential of mediation.
Sending each other lengthy letters full of arguments and on top of that eventually going to court is something we should aim to avoid. It takes endless time and deteriorates relationships. Mediation enables one to get much further while maintaining, or even strengthening, the relationships.
And it works! Sometimes I come across cases in which the parties do not see a way out after all the endless litigation and negotiating. With mediation, however, you will be able to overcome these kind of problems, because you get to talk about the real issues on a deeper level.
“As you start to walk on your way, the way appears.”
– Rumi –
Listening and hearing that is often the key to proper treatment, handling and resolution
Unfortunately, I regularly encounter the perception that mediation is “something soft’. I think this is nonsense. Often one associates mediation with divorces and personal problems only. In addition, it is thought that it does not appear sufficiently forceful when you say: “This opponent is difficult, let’s now carefully listen to him”. And, yet, it is that listening and hearing that is often the key to proper treatment, handling and resolution.
This video is a source of encouragement and I like to share it. Click it and skip the advertising.
Question time about Conscious Contracting
Once a month I will hold a question- and answer session about Conscious Contracting. Have you already attended a masterclass and wish to debate the use of Conscious Contracts further, or is this a totally new concept that you want to get acquainted with?
Check with our office for our next Question Time about Conscious Contracting!