A reminder


 Nigel Singer

A conversation a few days ago with a friend reminded me about paying attention to my body and what it is telling me.

Two weeks ago my optician sent me directly to the eye hospital, do not pass GO, do not collect £200.  My comments of ‘I’m meant to be in Liverpool later tonight’ fell on unheeding ears. ‘This is a medical emergency, go now.

I went and she was right – and thank you to her - I had the operation and am in the process of recovering.

What I was mainly noticing today was that I was irritated.

Irritated that I can’t yet see clearly out of that eye, despite it being filled with oil.

Irritated that I can’t exercise.

Irritated that I have to put four different drops in my eye at various times during the day.

Irritated that my first check up is still four days away.

Irritated that it is still a bit tender.

Irritated that I have to sleep left cheek to pillow.


Looks like I am doing well in the irritated stakes.

Fortunately, there are moments when I get over this state and something more useful happens.  My friends’ nudge helped me move in this direction.

What has the operation given me?

An opportunity to appreciate sight.

To recognise my privilege as a sighted person and to think more about how difficult it is to recognise that privilege when it is my ‘normal’ state. 

A chance to slow down which has helped my hip to relax and soften.

This in turn has led to me making some clear decisions about looking after my joints in future.

To walk places, rather than cycle and to see different things as a consequence.

To think about the question ‘what have I not been looking at?’

As I pause a bit I realise that my irritation is connected to my reactions to the situation.  I have been taken away from my ‘normal’ state and I don’t like this and want it back.  As I relax, I start to get more centred and my responses start to appear, they are softer, gentler and thankfully, more useful. 

A twinkle in the eye

Posted: Category: Reflections

 Nigel Singer

How do I move through the world, what responsibility do I take for myself and others.

Whilst in hospital having an eye operation last week a particular moment stays with me.  Well in fact lots of moments stay with me but most of them had to do with surgeons, nurses and things inside my eyeball.

I had been doing a lot of waiting; for nurses, for doctors, for the surgeon.  I was calm but a bit impatient to know what was going on and when anything was going to happen, but I had a good book and was able to relax into the novel.

I was also people watching.

I saw a male nurse walk past me, I guessed that he was over 50, I could see several earrings in one of his ears and a long ponytail tucked inside his uniform.

A bit later, he walked toward me and as he went past me, he made eye contact; he didn’t quite smile but I caught his twinkle of engagement with me and I smiled at him.

Later as I think about this moment, I realise that I had received a gift, something of value and that it raises a question for me.

The gift is human to human connection, it is nothing to do with our roles (nurse, patient, doctor etc) it was just about his choosing to ‘be present’ with the people around him.

The question it raises for me is that as I seem to like and value this way of behaving, so, do I behave this way?

As I have pondered this my answer is both yes and no, sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t.  This has led me to contemplate what is going on that causes the difference.

When I am feeling internally light, not taking the world or myself too seriously, noticing things outside of me – I can twinkle.

When I am feeling heavy, serious, caught up in my ‘stuff’, the twinkle disappears.

Having both states seems inevitable – losing focus, switching off or feeling low is just part of the deal but paying attention to it feels important.

Are you twinkling today?


Training Mediators

Posted: Category: Conflict and Mediation, Training

 Nigel Singer

It’s been a few months since I last trained a group of mediators and I had almost forgotten the pleasure of this process.

People in organisations come on this sort of course because they are looking to develop their skills - they get this but they also get challenged, pushed and nudged into a different way of thinking.

Most of us, whatever our job or hierarchical level, spend much of our time as paid problem solvers.    This may be about deciding which room to clean first or whether or not to merge with a particular company.  This tendency with our tasks can overlap into how we deal with people.  Someone presents us with a problem that they have and we often try to sort it (or them) out.

We feel like we have to give answers and know the right thing or suggestion to make.

Training in interactive mediation requires a letting go of this tendency, sitting back and letting the parties deal with the situation.  It takes some time and effort – and often some discomfort in quietening our desire to ‘sort it’.

In order to become a skilled mediator we also need to have a good understanding of the mediation process and possibly more importantly, we need to be able to manage our reactions to others’ conflictual behaviour.   This requires us to look at our own relationship to conflict and our conflict history – which is not always a comfortable journey.

The pleasure of being the trainer is that of guiding people through this journey; helping them stop problem solving and to become more confident with allowing conflict to happen.

They need to become conflict enablers.  Well that’s a new thought!