“War is the result of the avoidance of healthy conflict.” – Martín Prechtel


Conflict is natural, just as fire is natural. We can cook with it, see with it, or it can burn our house down.

Conflict is often thought of as an inconvenience (at best) or a destructive force (at worst). However, conflict can serve an important purpose: to bring into evidence precious information, healing and transformation that would otherwise be suppressed or exiled.

Forest fires provide helpful teaching. Many indigenous peoples, such as the Nyungar Aboriginal people of Southwest Australia, understand the difference between "hot fires" and "cool fires"
, and their interrelationship. Occasionally, small and large forest fires are necessary for forests to stay healthy, grow, and regenerate their vitality and biodiversity; deadening underbrush is cleared away allowing more sunlight to reach the forest floor, nutrients from decaying plant matter are returned to the soil through the ashes instead of staying stuck in the old vegetation, and pioneer species like jack pine, even rely on fires to spread their seeds. Their cones remain dormant until a fire melts the resin causing the cones to open and the seeds to fall out and germinate.

Relationships (friendships, families, businesses, marriages, communities, etc) are like forests. Our relationships need conflict in order to grow, deepen, and maintain their creativity and fertility. And if we suppress or avoid conflict, either the relationships will stagnate and die, or a large-scale destructive eruption will take place.

What if all "true" conflict has within it the seed of a new way of being? Can we choose to see such conflicts not merely as obstacles to be overcome so we can get on with our more profitable endeavors? Can we instead experience conflict as sacred invitations for deep inquiry, creativity and healing, and just as much the nutritious marrow of intimacy and Life?

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