Spectra (noun): a show of the diversity of component elements in a wave, like colours or perspectives;
… a broad range of related values, qualities, ideas and solutions.
“We know what the stars are made of, know of their structures and their lives, only because we are able to observe and analyze their spectra. Unbroken starlight allows us to admire a star's external characteristics; its spectrum allows us to look into its very soul.”
~J.B. Kaler Professor Emeritus of Astronomy, U of Illinois
When I was in grade school, we had a weighty, large-faceted glass candy dish on the coffee table and each day I would come home after school, sit myself down in front of it and wait for the afternoon sun to enter the room. When it struck the star-like dish it sent a spectrum of colour around the walls - my own private light show and my eventual analogy for the nature of truth…and perspective.
We know that when pure colourless light hits the atmosphere, a raindrop, a dust particle, or any filter, it is refracted into its component parts or colours. Similarly, reality is broken up and seen, remembered and interpreted through each person’s filter - our experiences, histories, beliefs and interests, to reveal our own unique spectrum of ‘truths’ or perspectives.
We are getting better at realizing that we only hold a part of the spectrum of reality, understanding that by travelling around the prism, by listening, empathy, perspective-taking, or by experiencing other cultures or environments, we can glimpse into another’s hue of reality.
In communication and conflict resolution, the astronomical definition above - at once scientific and soulful - is also key. Each component and discovered part of a person’s spectrum of thought returns information to us about their deeper values and interests – their needs, wants, fears, concerns and aspirations – which reveal the true soul and essence of what is driving that person in that conflict.
This deeper level of information in turn reveals a more elegant and resourceful world of connection, complement and commonality, which then allows us to more meaningfully gather the components together toward solutions that satisfy the true and essential needs of all concerned.
Room light may have revealed the outline and shape of my inert candy dish. But the searching afternoon light revealed its true and vital components and essence…a full spectrum of colour and hue.
In my work at Spectra Mediation, I am dedicated to using the science and art of mediation, and its particular kind of searching light – asking the most illuminating questions, using the most respectful and human approaches to effectively and joyfully power meaningful conversations to get to the core and essence of each conflict and reach resourceful, informed and lasting agreements… like some new exquisite and unique pattern on the wall.
Mardi Edelstein, QMed, AccFM, MEDIATOR & CONFLICT COACH
Spectra Mediation www.spectramediation.ca 416 487-4407