It should come as no surprise to you that peace has a price tag.  Consider the negotiations between Anwar Sadat and Menachem Begin (the President of Egypt and Prime Minister of Israel, respectively) who signed one of the most famous peace treaties in history on March 26, 1979.  Although they won the Nobel Peace Prize for their hard work, Sadat was later assassinated, paying the ultimate price for entering into an unpopular treaty.    

While peace in the Middle East has been a lofty and elusive goal, peace in relationships can be more easily reached, with a much lower price tag.  In my mediation practice, I am privileged to help my clients undergo their own negotiations to arrive at peace.  Sometimes it takes them weeks or even months, and other times it happens right in front of me.  

Unless you’re negotiating on behalf of a country, the price for peace is a personal decision.  It’s a risk versus reward conversation that we have with ourselves during the thought process and hopefully, we figure it out.  My clients decide the price each will pay for peace.  In the literal sense, they have to pay out half of their retirement accounts, real estate holdings, and cash on hand in order to end their relationships.  Emotionally, they have to sacrifice spending certain holidays with their children, all in the name of ending the turmoil of their marriages.  It’s a challenge for me to watch and a joy if I can be of help. 

I must interject here that I really love what I do, and more importantly, I admire my clients.  They’ve already begun to pay the price for peace, simply by deciding to use a mediator.  If they are ready to take responsibility for their own choices, I can urge them to move forward with an open mind and a promise to do better.  

It makes no difference what has contributed to the turmoil, the angst, the tension, and the stress.  Whether it’s the break-up of your relationship, your financial situation, your job, your stepchildren, your noisy neighbors, or your in-laws, it’s up to each and every one of us to place our own personal value on what it will take to create peace out of that situation, put a price tag on it, and then start working towards the payment.

So, as another crazy, anxiety-ridden year comes to an end, I’d like to set a personal intention for 2022.  I’m going to make every effort to contribute daily to making payments on my own peace price tag, by being kinder, more generous, more helpful, and more tolerant of the people around me. I’ll pay it backward, forward, and sideways, starting right now.  Maybe you’ll consider your own price for peace and start making payments on it as well.  

I wish you a 2022 filled with optimism, good health and, of course, peace.  I am grateful to you for reading this.