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 Home | Smooth Sailing | 4 Ways To Reconcile and Rebuild A Relationship 


Smooth Sailing

"4 Ways to Reconcile and Rebuild a Relationship"
  By Maurice J. Attie, ESQ
   "I found the article 'What Men Want' fascinating. I've tried pretty much everything that the article was saying on my man and it really seems to work." -- April  

What do you do when you never get along with your partner?


If you can't get along, you're headed for a break-up. However, we usually recommend mining the gold in your relationship if you were truly in love, can truly say you built trust before sex, and had an interest and understanding of your friendship before moving in together. It is painful to separate. 


What does Reconciliation mean in the legal context? 


What the word Reconciliation meant to me fifteen years ago was a set of required procedures within the Divorce Court system designed to induce estranged married couples to patch up their relationships.  A reconciliation "success" within that system even today might mean either that the friendship and harmony between the parties have been restored, or that the parties have resigned themselves to bear the unpleasantness of the restored relationship for practical or even unhealthy emotional reasons.  The precepts of holistic legal counseling have greatly broadened my idea of what Reconciliation can mean. 

Reconciliation is not a normal feature of the adversarial system of law.  The adversarial system usually involves accusations, arguments, "spin" (meaning intentional distortion of facts and theories to accomplish specific goals), fault, blame, judgments, penalties and punishments, time and money consumption and much more.  Suffice it to say that the pain suffered by all participants in an adversarial environment, be they attorneys, clients, judges, court clerks or secretaries, can be deep and lasting.  The thought patterns of the disputing parties set the stage for the stress felt by all persons involved. 

Here would be an example: two neighbors might have a disagreement over the correct boundary line between their two properties.  Attorneys and property line experts would typically be hired, old property records would be paid for and retrieved and court filing fees would be paid.  The parties would be subjected to written questions they must answer in writing and oral cross-examination at deposition sessions. Legal secretaries pound out large quantities of documents that the attorneys spend long hours dictating. 

All of this happens because the two neighbors have not experienced a reconciliation environment where sitting down and working things out is considered the highest good. The disputants' negative thoughts permeate the entire drama.  This negativity is directed toward each party and toward each attorney.  The energy of those negative thoughts indirectly affects all of the other participants.  The disputants could have difficulty walking out of their homes for fear they might run into each other.  They also might have difficulty sleeping as a result of the stresses inherent in this type of process. 

It is the sworn duty of an attorney to zealously represent the interests of the client.  For many practicing lawyers, that means working long, hard hours on each case, and within the scope of legal ethics as the lawyer defines, scheming in every way possible to achieve the result that the client claims he or she wants.  In the case of the property line dispute example, after exhaustive demands for documents and answers to questions posed to the respective neighbors, each attorney might petition to trial court to eliminate the other party's right to a full trial. 

This is called a Motion for Summary Judgment.  It says that the law is clear one party must win this dispute, and there are no facts possible to present in a full trial that could produce a different result.  Because these Motions are rarely successful, what the lawyer has done to his and her client in most cases is raise false hopes at the client's emotional and economic expense.  Then there is the often hideous trauma and confrontation of the trial itself. After the trial is over, the lawyer for the losing party will probably raise false hopes of the client again by petitioning the trial court for a new trial.  Since those requests are also not successful most of the time, the lawyer's next step will be expending the client's money on an appeal, thus raising new false hopes.  In some cases, appeals can be prosecuted to three levels of higher courts.  Most appeals are unsuccessful. 

There are even more options available to the "zealous" attorney.  However, wherever the conventional litigation program takes the case, the final result will technically be one winner and one loser. It goes without saying that the "loser," having had his and her hopes, goals and wishes raised and dropped so many times, is devastated.  The so called "winner," on the other hand, could still have fear about running into the neighbor and might still have difficulty sleeping, because completion of the law suit does not dismiss the rancor of either party.  The holistic legal practitioner understands that the "winner" in the conventional legal context is still energetically connected to the "loser."  In other words, that system does not really have winners, not the clients, not the lawyers, not the legal staff, not the judges, etc. 

It is no wonder that attorneys who practice this form of contentious law battling statistically have high incidences of drug addiction, alcoholism, suicides, heart attacks and strokes.  Their legal secretaries, too, have very high burn-out rates.  Further, the average tenure for sitting judges in this system, from appointment or election up to voluntary retirement, gets shorter every year. 

I've practiced law since 1965.  For the first twenty-five years, I took care of legal problems for clients pretty much the way I have described. It is the way almost everyone practices law.  I saw no problem with that even after I started my path in spiritual yoga in the early 1970s.   My law practice "awakening" started in 1990.   It began with my doing some psychic research for a novel being written by a client.   Within two short years, the prospect of continuing to deal with legal issues and the justice system in the conventional way became too painful. 

A solution for me, as it has been for the other 800 members of the International Alliance of Holistic Lawyers, was to alter my perspective.  We view holistic legal counseling as an art form, rather than merely a money making profession.  It is a healing opportunity for the attorney, the legal staff, the client, the other party and attorney and all of the players related to the justice system. 

The holistic legal counselor listens intently to the issues the client presents and his and her immediate request for services.  This listening process is about getting an understanding of the client's full spectrum of needs: emotional, interpersonal, familial and communal, spiritual and physical. These GLOBAL interests are the ones that holistic legal counselor attempts to zealously represent. 

The Commitment of the members of the Alliance to themselves, to their clients and to the broader community is: 

P -- romote peaceful advocacy and holistic legal principles. 

E -- ncourage compassion, reconciliation, forgiveness and healing. 

A -- dvocate the need for a humane legal process. 

C -- ontribute to peace building at all levels. 

E -- njoy the practice of law. 


L -- isten intentionally and deeply in order to gain complete understanding. 

A -- cknowledge the opportunities in conflict. 

W -- holly honor and respect the dignity and integrity of each individual. 

A true holistic solution to healing a dispute necessarily attends to all of the physical, psychological, familial and communal, interpersonal and spiritual elements of all of the direct and indirect players.  Just like a tree has many parts that make the whole, the roots, the trunk, the branches, the leaves, a dispute also has its interrelated parts.  Attempting to heal the dis-ease in one portion will not solve the fundamental problem. 

The role of the holistic legal counselor is to help identify the "root," i.e., the core issues of the players.  These are most often hidden.  The players DEFINITELY INCLUDE the legal counselor.  He/she facilitates the shifting of the energies.  The goal is to achieve for everyone involved empowerment and conscious awareness of their personal core issues.  That is precisely why I feel that legal disputes provide unique opportunities for growth and learning experiences.  They show up for very good reasons. 

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When I take on a matter for a client, I add two paragraphs to the conventional legal Retainer Agreement: 

"A. As a client, you are responsible for the issues you have presented and the feelings you have about them. Your commitment as this matter proceeds is to remain responsible by being attentive to your feelings and reporting them to the attorney." [I usually suggest that the client maintain a book to log his and her dreams.] 

"B. As a client, you agree to have NO expectations about the results of this matter." [This is all about introspection --inner processing to find the core issues, heal them and evolve to the next level of conscious awareness.] 

Different from our more conventional practicing legal colleagues, I and other holistic legal counselors would make use of the property line example previously described, or any other dispute or conflict, by asking these type of questions: 

1. Can the core values of Higher Law be applied in this matter outside the functioning of the conventional justice system? 

2. If not, can the personal core values of clients and the supporting players (e.g., attorney, staff person, judge), be reconciled with the roles they are required to perform within the conventional justice system? 

3. Can the feelings, stated needs and desires of the parties be reconciled with the end result of the conventional or an alternative process? 

4. Can each party individually find the nugget in his and her inner being that is loved and nurtured when the OTHER PARTY gets his and her needs met? 

Our goal as holistic legal practitioners is to facilitate positive answers these questions. Reconciliation in the true and profound sense has taken place when a resounding "YES!" evolves from question #4. This is the realm where the real "winners" are found.

I've often been asked, "Why do you prefer practicing law in this manner?" My answer is that this is not a matter of preference, it is a matter of passion. Feeling the shift in consciousness of my clients and the other players is very fulfilling and gratifying for me. The pleasure I get in seeing people do the inner processing and knowing that it has touched their souls is what this work is all about for me. This is how I achieve my personal Reconciliation with the practice of law and with the justice system.


Maurice J. Attie is a holistic legal counselor. He can be reached at 10610 Kinnard Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90024, (310) 474-0346, and E-mail: mmja@juno.com.

Please note: This article is intended for entertainment purpose only. The author of this article may not be certified as a licensed psychotherapist -- please consult professional assistance as your situation dictates. _________________________________________________________

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Scott Andrews is a life coach, business consultant, and CEO/Founder of AspireNow (www.AspireNow.com), a site helping people realize their business and personal aspirations. He is a speaker and the author of numerous articles and workbooks on business success, life purpose, smooth sailing relationships, and creating abundant lifestyles. He launched the first interactive self-help program on the Net, called the AspireNow Advisor.


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