People in the midst of divorce are often extremely overcome with fear caused by the overwhelming change in their life. Pressure from fear of the unknown, triggered by questions such as: “How will the divorce affect the children?” “How will I survive financially?” “What will people think?” “Where will I live?” Coupled by anger and raw emotions, fear drives people to run away, looking for a place to “solve” the questions and expunge the fear. In their flight, divorcing clients regularly run to attorneys, hoping to be saved by the courts, only to find out that the situation then spirals even more out of their control, magnifying the fears, stress and trauma.
Running toward the source of the fear may be a better solution.
While reading The World Behind the World, by Michael Meade, I was reminded of an old African story told to me by a guide when I was in Kenya several years ago, called “The Lion’s Roar.” The guide’s narrative was much more colorful, but the basic story is: Older lions, although not nearly as strong as the younger lions, have an enormously loud and ferocious roar. Out on a hunt, the older lions strategically wait for the prey in the grass away from the younger, powerful lions. Even though toothless, the older lion’s enormously loud and ferocious roar sends the prey running away scared, right into the pounce—and teeth—of the younger lions. The moral of the story is that instead of following our first instinct to run away from the roar of the fear, it is better to face our fear head on.
Facing and even embracing the fear can help clients take control and navigate the situation. As Michael Meade points out, when we do not face our fears terror is given the space to grow. Mediation is a process that helps people face their fears and navigate the unknown, one step at a time. Step by step ambiguities are cleared up, solved and even transformed—and fear is released.
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