You say either and I say either.  You say neither and I say neither. Either, either, neither, neither.  Let’s call the whole thing off.


"Let's Call the Whole Thing Off" was a song written by George and Ira Gershwin in 1937; originally sung by Fred Astaire and later made even more popular with Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald who sang the roles of a husband and wife, nattering at one another the way lovers often do.  And for the simplest of reasons, like “neither/neither” or “either/either” they are willing to “call the whole thing off,” by throwing out the baby with the bathwater.


However, the song continues - to where the couple realizes “Hey wait a second!”  “I love you!”  “I need you!” In the end, the refrain is not, “Let’s call the whole thing off.”  Rather, the song concludes with, “Let’s call the calling off off.”  “Let’s call the calling off off.”  What conflict resolution is truly all about.  Calling the calling off off. 


Conflict resolution comes when we return to the peace talks; when we return to the bargaining tables; when we return to our dining room tables and we look into the eyes of our beloved and say, “Let’s call the calling off, off." 


Conflict resolution requires courage and commitment - making time when there is none.  Returning time after time after time, year after year after year, changing the face of skepticism into integrity, of doubt into hope, of dreams into reality.


Conflict resolution and commitment are the stuff of which a character is made.


When I first saw the Resolving Conflict Module performed some years ago, the presentation was given in a 1930's fashion.  The Resolving Conflict Module focused on resolving conflict between big businesses rather than one-on-one relationships between people.  With conflict on the rise as it is today, I see the need to upgrade this module, bring it into present time and take a look at conflict resolution for our intimate relationships and use conflict resolution between the sexes as our foil and our focus. 


I have an entire Resolving Conflict seminar.  Please contact me for this presentation.  In the meantime, here are some highlights:


1)      Men think differently than women

2)      There can be 2 right answers.

3)      First - step back, breath, gain a new perspective.

4)      Reaction, Reflection, Resound.


When we change how we look at things, what we look at changes.  Patanjali – Saint and Mystic over 3000 years ago.  We have the power to change how we look at things.


The Toastmasters module title lists as “Resolving Conflict.” But the focus is inaccurate.  We are not here to focus on the conflict.  We are here to focus on the Resolution.  Conflict comes in as many forms as there are types of people.  The tools of resolution, however, are the same.  My Resolving Conflict seminar focuses on the resolution - not the conflict; gaining tools to help resolve any conflict.  If all I had was a hammer, I would treat everything like a nail.  I would bang on things here. I would bang on things there. 


My seminar is presented in three sections:


1)     Prior to conflict.

2)     During conflict.

3)     Aftermath of conflict.




Like storm clouds upon the horizon, we can see and feel the conflict ahead of us.  Some of us feel it on the physical. There is a physical sensation in the belly, a heart-rate increase, sweaty palms. Dry mouth.  Flight or fight syndrome.  Take a sec and discover - what are your symptoms? 


In order to put the brakes on before your upset, you need to HALT.


HALT is an anagram for Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired.  Whenever we are any one of these, or combination thereof, we are headed for trouble.  Let’s take a look at them now.


Hungry.  When I am hungry, I cannot think to good purpose.  My blood sugars are low.  I am angry. I am cranky.  What comes up for me is an archetype I like to call, “The Vile Bitch Upstairs.”  The Vile Bitch Upstairs has a blue steel whine which usually starts the ball rolling toward conflict.  Once I have had a nourishing bite to eat, a swig of juice, my thought processes are catapulted to a higher plane.


Angry.  What is anger anyway?  Anger comes from fear of not getting what we want or losing something we already have.  But were we to dig a little deeper we would also discover our anger comes from a kind of grief. “I’m not seen.”  “I’m not heard.”  “I’m not understood.”  “I’m misunderstood.”  “You don’t get me.”


One of the many reasons for the success of the movie Avatar is the repeated line: “I see you.”  I see you.  I see you.  We all want to be seen. We all want to be heard. We all want to be understood.


Lonely.  Loneliness, the Lakota Indians say, is the one emotion we all feel the same.  Loneliness we feel the same.  When I say I am lonely, you know what I am talking about.  When you say you are lonely, I know what you are talking about.  Unlike happiness or sadness. We feel happiness and sadness to varying degrees.  Not so with loneliness.


The Lakota people go on to say the only remedy for Loneliness is the human touch.  The human touch. With the human touch is found the Presence of God.  One of the many reasons for the success of Toastmasters through the years is the human touch. The sense of community.   While we may not touch one another through our hands, we touch one another through our stories; through our sharing and working together on projects; through our listening and our undivided attention toward our speakers.  We touch one another through looking into one another’s eyes, and saying, “I see you.”  “I get you.” 


Tired.  When we are tired, again we can think to no good purpose.  When we are tired, we should lie down and take a nap.  “Sleep” or “Rest” cannot be bought at the local Safeway.  Rest is a gift we give ourselves.  We take things way too personally when we are tired.


If it’s after 10 o’clock and you want to send that e-mail – don’t.


If it’s after 10 o’clock and you think it’s a good idea to pick up the phone and tell someone off, it is not. Always wait until the morning after a good night’s rest before making contact.


Let’s take a quick look at relationships here.  The first kind of relationship is Acquaintanceship. 


Acquaintanceship  Acquaintanceships are usually found in the office and our community meetings.  “Hello.” “Good-bye.”  “Have a nice day.”  Passing relationships.


Next, we have Friendship.


Friendships come in four varieties. 


The First Type of Friendship is when the activity takes precedence

In this type of Friendship, the activity runs the relationships.  You like Clint Eastwood movies.  I like Clint Eastwood movies. We go to see Clint Eastwood movies. If you’d like to spend time together doing something else, I’ll move on to find another person to take in a Clint Eastwood movie.  I’m available for the movies.  Not the person.


The Second Type of Friendship is when the person is primary and the activity is secondary. I’m there to catch up with you over coffee I’m there to see a friend.  The activity wouldn’t matter.


The Third Type of Friendship Includes Sex.  These kinds of Friendships could be entitled, “Friends with Benefits.”  “Friends with Benefits.” 


The Fourth Type of Friendship is the Committed Relationship.  The Committed Relationship, where we agree to see only each other and to be committed to only you and you to me.  Commitments are made to one another.  Reliance is built with one another. 


In olden days this was formalized into what used to be called Marriage.


The problem between the sexes is when one or the other partner gets confused between “Friends With Benefits” and “Commitment.”   Often women think they are in a committed relationship when they are not.  Women seek security on a visceral level, stemming from the Reptilian Brain to seek a safe haven to raise their young. 


When they have sex, the sexual experience for women is a chemical change matching the sensation of nursing a baby.  The same euphoria takes place.  This is one of the hooks for women when they have sex with a guy, is they get plugged in on a lot of levels making it very difficult to unhook. 


Men are not built that way.  They seek freedom.


How To End A Conflict


A working technique I use is to drop the hot topic with an agreement to return to it later.  More often than not, we don’t. The topic is not relevant and moves to the back of the bus and is eventually forgotten.


Another technique I ask myself is “How important is this really?”  “Who will care about this 200 years from now?”    These questions help to defray the fires of conflict.


One of the ways to unhook from the Right/Wrong Good/Bad teeter-totter is to ask ourselves, “Would I rather be right or happy?”   Sometimes, we want to be RIGHT!  But if we take a moment to pause - and take a breath – we might feel differently.


Apologies should be specific.  Any one can say, "I'm sorry."  Take this a step deeper and acknowledge what character trait was ignited to cause the conflict in the first place.  My most recent example was to apologize for the tone in my voice which caused the listener to become defensive. Not what was said but how I said it was the clearest way to see in the listener's eyes I understood my part in the conflict; that I was sorry for the conflict; that I would do better in the future.  In the end I said, "You are my teacher so I can do better next time."  


3/4 of our globe is at war right now. Our world is heating up with conflict.  With conflict on the rise, we experience global warming, causing the oceans and seas to rise with the melting of our ice caps. As the seas rise, more and more weight is placed on the plates of our planet, causing earthquakes, tsunamis and other disasters.


Let a person in ahead you.  The person behind you does the same.  A positive domino effect ensues.


One act of kindness raises the endorphin level of the receiver of the kindness. But did you know that the person who gives the act of kindness also gets an endorphin raise?  One act of kindness makes both people feel wonderful.  Now the story gets better!  Did you also know that anyone watching an act of kindness also gets an endorphin rush?  The act of kindness has a centrifugal force, ever extending into the Universe.


To conclude with an age-old hymn:


Let there be peace on earth

And let it begin with me.

To take each moment

And live each moment

In peace eternally.


Let there be peace on earth

And let it begin with me.


Let Peace Begin With Us!