• Dorothy Vaandering

At this time... (3) A conversation with myself

Updated: May 20

"At This Time..." - A Blog Series (Pt 3)

I came to rje about 15 years ago when I was struggling as a parent to engage more authentically with my two teenage sons as well as when I was confused and hurt in a work situation in which it became obvious that my perspectives were not welcome and I finally made the difficult decision to leave a job I loved. The details of this origin story would take too long to share, but I begin with it because I want you to know that when I came to understand some of the key principles and practices of restorative justice, my life changed. No, it did not get easier and I still had to live through each reality, but through these I began to engage with each situation in a way that moved things forward in a good way so that my inner tensions relaxed and the fear of conflict I often felt, dissipated (at least slightly).

As home relationships and work tensions are paramount at this time I continue to rely on the restorative justice framework to guide my thinking and actions. I am convinced that because it is a way of thinking/being that is grounded in honouring each other’s worth and interconnectedness that you, too, might find it helpful, and maybe even transformative.

The invitation: Restorative justice practices include a framework of questions that can be used in any situation—peaceful, challenging, or conflictual—to help us see more clearly what is going on and then respond to it appropriately. They need to be posed first to ourselves so we can deconstruct what is happening—in this way we honour ourselves, an aspect that is often overlooked. In time, only when we learn to shift our own thinking, when we’ve learned how to honour our own worth, we can then also pose these questions with those we are in relationship with.

Pick ONE situation that you are currently in that is creating some challenge for you. Have a conversation with yourself (go for a walk and talk, write in a journal, lock yourself in the bathroom for 5 min) and ask yourself:

That’s it.

Honour yourself as worthy enough to have a conversation with yourself where you listen deeply. Practice every day, as often as you find it to be helpful.

Feel free to find a way to meet the needs you identify.

But perhaps for now, just talk to yourself.

Come back in a day or two for a follow-up invitation in the next blog post.