The definitive guide to learning effective skills for engaging in open and honest conversations about divisive issues from three professional mediators.
When a conversation takes a turn into the sometimes uncomfortable and often contentious topics of race, religion, gender, sexuality, and politics, it can be difficult to know what to say or how to respond to someone you disagree with. Compassionate Conversations empowers us to transform these conversations into opportunities to bridge divides and mend relationships by providing the basic set of conflict resolution skills we need to be successful, including listening, reframing, and dealing with strong emotions. Addressing the long history of injury and pain for marginalized groups, the authors explore topics like social privilege, power dynamics, and, political correctness allowing us to be more mindful in our conversations. Each chapter contains practices and reflection questions to help readers feel more prepared to talk through polarizing issues, ultimately encouraging us to take risks, to understand and recognize our deep commonalities, to be willing to make mistakes, and to become more intimate with expressing our truths, as well as listening to those of others.
About the Author
DIANE MUSHO HAMILTON is an award-winning professional mediator, author, and teacher of Zen meditation. She is the Executive Director of Two Arrows Zen, a practice in Utah, and cofounder of the Integral Facilitator, a training program oriented to personal development and advanced facilitator skills. She is the author of Everything Is Workable and The Zen of You and Me. Find out more at dianemushohamilton.com.
GABRIEL MENEGALE WILSON is a leadership coach, organizational change consultant, and peace-builder with a specialty in diversity and inclusion efforts. He is a certified integral facilitator and an associate for Delta Developmental, a leadership and organizational development consultancy.
KIMBERLY MYOSAI LOH is a conflict resolution and negotiation specialist, leadership coach and co-author of Compassionate Conversations. She works with conscious leaders and teams to up-level their human relationships and transform conflicts into creative opportunities for growth. Devoted to the values of clarity and compassion, her past work includes peacebuilding and mediation research and advocacy for the United Nations, international NGOs and universities, and international arbitration and litigation work as a lawyer in London and Singapore. Find out more at kimberlyloh.com.
“This book is a must-read at a time when we absolutely need more successful strategies for navigating conflict and difference. Using specific practices, personal experience, and the core teaching of compassion, the authors lead the reader to a place of transformative engagement. It is an invaluable contribution to evolving our approach to difficult conversations.”—Jules Shuzen Harris, author of Zen beyond Mindfulness
“In Compassionate Conversations, Diane Hamilton, Gabriel Wilson and Kimberly Loh have offered us a potent gift that can transform our approach to difficult conversations about the things that matter. Humble, clear, and heart-warming, the authors draw on modern neuroscience, developmental psychology, and personal stories from decades of professional experience to weave together an innovative, nuanced, and practical exploration of our humanity. This book is a must-read for anyone interested in bringing spirituality to the realm of meaningful conversation and social transformation.”—Oren Jay Sofer, author of Say What You Mean
“Compassionate Conversations is extraordinary in that it not only addresses the fundamental issues involved in current public debates, it does so using a framework that can actually unite and integrate the various parties in the fractured culture wars. This book shares a series of incredibly useful skills to help you advance genuinely compassionate conversations and find a way to make room for all the parties that are engaged in conflict.”—Ken Wilber, author of A Brief History of Everything
“The world today needs this book. It’s a deeply worthy exploration of differences and identity with perspectives and skills that you and I can learn and practice for life-affirming communication and inclusion. The authors skillfully engage their unique cultural, ethnic, and spiritual perspectives to confront the perplexing questions of how we, as individuals and as a society, can have wise and compassionate conversations. Truly an exciting book for our times.”—Wendy Egyoku Nakao, Zen Center of Los Angeles
“There is a depth of wisdom and practice in this book that makes it unique and necessary. It grounds the conversation in Zen wisdom of who we fundamentally are and how we can claim that awareness as we engage in the challenges of being together in deep conversations. It brings this wisdom to our current divisive challenges of intolerance and conflict, including political correctness, social privilege, inclusion, and identity politics. For its clarity and bravery, its deep and practical guidance, its gentleness and fierceness, I wholeheartedly recommend this book.”—Margaret Wheatley, author of Leadership and the New Science and Who Do We Choose to Be?
“Any reader will gain insight from this helpful guide to communication and conflict resolution.”—Publishers Weekly