Last week I attended a short but intense course on mediation. I was referred to it by a friend who thought it would be a good skill for me to have, as I manoeuvre my second half. Since I respect her opinion, I decided to go for it. The training venue – Lilian Towers – has a certain significance that told me I was meant to do this course. This was the same place I did my writing master class last year to enhance my writing skills. It did feel like a strange coincidence, that venue, like a confirmation of sorts that I am meant to do this training.
Last week my mind felt like it had been to the gym. It was stretched quite a bit. The intense training was in a whole new field and it felt like opening a door to a huge room in my house that I never knew existed. That is the beauty of being at this 40s crossroads. You get a new blank canvas to draw on. Only this time you get to choose the crayons you prefer to draw with, thanks to doing life.
As I have mentioned here before, once we take the jump into the life we have always wanted, stuff starts happening. My pal felt doing this course will enhance my speaking future and she was right. I discovered that mediation is basically helping two parties in a dispute find a win-win solution to their issue and reconcile, hence preserving and even enriching the relationship. That is all done through talking, although as a mediator, I talk less and the parties do most of the talking. My role is just to guide them through their varied emotions and thoughts to a mutually acceptable outcome.
To add onto this, upon my graduation, a few people have told me that I have the mind of a good mediator because they perceive me as sober and rational. Wow, what a compliment. As you can see folks, I’m not only learning new things, I’m learning myself all over again. This is great. I feel like an onion where one layer after another is being peeled off and each time, I discover something new. Life seems to be finally beginning at 40.
The best thing I did for myself at this stage was to put a big, red L sign on my mind where I accepted to learn and embrace new stuff. Learning (without exams) feels so good. In hindsight, being a mjuaji is a lacklustre life because you become like an airlock in a pipe and no water of knowledge can pass through. The change that this new learnings are bringing into my life is like a cool ocean breeze in the current scorching Nairobi sun.
Sheryl Sandberg puts it very well when she says, ‘We cannot change what we are not aware of, and once we are aware, we cannot help but change’.
Folks let us seek to be more self-aware so that we can change. One sure way of changing is by learning. Pick a book or do a course that’s not in your area of expertise and see what happens. I see school fees being a constant expense in my future. The only difference is that I’m enjoying paying these fees now. I’m learning for me and in the process i hope to be a more useful citizen to my beloved country.