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A New Way of Approaching Conflict Communications: Unburdening the Heart Around the Sacred Fire

Updated: May 17, 2022

There is so much war and conflict in the world that it makes my Soul ache. I believe that we are all innocent Souls, it is the conditioning and trauma that we build up throughout our lives that bring in the conflict that we see around us today. I believe that on a Soul level we all want peace and connection. I know this sounds naive and there are exceptions to every rule but on an overall scale I believe we are all inherently good, it is in trying to escape the darkness of the world that we loose ourselves. It is the unnatural things we learn in this life such as grief, shame, and hate that lead to the darkness that take over the innocent Soul and lead us down dangerous paths.

I attended a masterclass on the way different ancient civilizations did ceremonies and lived the other evening and learned something that stuck with me. It was on the way one civilization in South America handled conflict communication. Each household kept a sacred fire pit on their premises. If one person in the household had a "heavy heart" they would call a meeting and all parties would go out to the sacred fire pit, light the sacred fire, and sit around it. The party with the "heavy heart" would hold a cocoa leaf with a sacred mixture on it, take a bite, and begin to "unburden their heart." The other parties would stay absolutely quiet and attentive until the first was done speaking and passed the leaf to the next person. This would continue until all partie's hearts were lightened.

I love this for so many reasons! First of all the words conflict, argument, disagreement, or any other negative is never used. I believe that when we have a disagreement with another the true root of the problem lies within ourselves. Sure, the other may cross a boundary or trigger us in some way but it is our own trauma or shadow aspects that we have not dealt with that are the real problem.

Most people we have chosen to build our lives with aren't inherently out to get us. It's just the trauma and walls we have built up around our hearts that are the real problem. By using the words "heavy heart" these ancestors understood that the root of the problem was within ourselves and saw it as a group effort to work together to dig up the root of that problem and fix it together.

Another aspect of this ritual that I love is that they gave each person utter respect and a safe space to air their grievances without interruption. How many times have we all been in conflict communication situations that turn into yelling matches because each party is trying to get their points across louder than the other? How many hearts have been broken because of a lack of understanding of the real problems and seeing the other as the bad guy instead of a partner to work out the problems with? Why don't we start allowing the party who identifies the problem our undivided attention to express their concerns without interruption until their heart is unburdened? Wouldn't this be a much nicer way to approach such difficult situations that would lead to much greater healing and happiness?

I am a builder by nature. It is a gift that my father instilled in me. I absolutely hate waste so when something is broken I would rather find the parts worth saving and put it back together again, stronger and better than the original. I believe this is the way our ancestors viewed relationships. Instead of throwing them away once a crack appeared they looked at the strong foundations and figured out a way it could be put back together stronger and better than the original. I believe this is the practice we need to get back to. Sure, sometimes things are broken beyond repair, or sometimes people just need to move on. But aren't the relationships we build worth fighting for? Every relationship we have takes time and work, isn't it a waste if we just throw them away at the slightest crack? Doesn't it make more sense to investigate the crack and find a way to repair it?

I also read somewhere that the ancient Chinese would take a broken piece of pottery and put it back together by filling in the cracks with gold. The gold highlighted the cracks and dents that showed the beauty in putting things back together again. Isn't this the way we should heal our relationships, starting with the relationship with ourselves? When our hearts are broken wide open that is where the light gets in. Shouldn't we be proud of these wounds that lead us to a greater capacity to love instead of hiding our hearts behind stone walls and destructive anger?

Can you imagine what a different world we would live in if everyone started following these old customs? Can you imagine the healing that would wash over this broken land if we started seeing conflict and darkness as the enemy instead of our neighbor? If we started seeing our neighbors, lovers, friends, family as the warrior standing beside us fighting the darkness instead of hiding behind our walls fighting with each other?

I believe the answer lies in effective and honest communication especially when times are hard. I believe we need to get back to our sacred fires to unburden our heavy hearts hand in hand with our fellow travelers. Hand in hand versus sword to sword. It will take all of us choosing love and light to fight the darkness that is taking over but I believe we can do it with the wisdom of our wise ancestors.

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