Artwork for podcast Curiously Wise
The Transformative Power of Forgiveness and Compassionate Communication with Lorraine Segal
Episode 912nd April 2024 • Curiously Wise • Laurin Wittig
00:00:00 00:42:24

Share Episode


The Transformative Power of Forgiveness and Compassionate Communication with Lorraine Segal

In this episode we get curious about:

  • The transformative power of forgiveness
  • Compassionate communication and conflict resolution
  • Intercultural understanding and navigating differences
  • Building resilience and inner strength
  • Balancing feminine and masculine leadership qualities

Join host Laurin Wittig for an enlightening conversation with conflict transformation coach Lorraine Segal as we explore the transformative power of forgiveness, compassionate communication, and intercultural understanding. From personal anecdotes to professional insights, Lorraine shares valuable wisdom on navigating conflict, building resilience, and fostering balanced leadership in both the workplace and everyday life.

Learn more about our guest, Lorraine Segal:

Offering: Join her newsletter and receive her article "The High Cost of Conflict"

Book: Angels and Earthworms: An Unexpected Journey to Joy, Love, and Miracles by Lorraine Segal (contains an Amazon Affiliate link)

Website: Solutions for a Harmonious and Productive Workplace - Conflict Remedy


Ho'oponopono Information DISCLAIMER: This link takes you to a bunch of videos on YouTube about this practice. Neither Lorraine nor Laurin are promoting any of them, just offering this as a potential starting place to learn more about this amazing forgiveness practice.

Learn more about Laurin Wittig...

Bio: Laurin Wittig is an intuitive healer, spirituality mentor, founder of HeartLight Wellness and the Heartlight Women's Circles, host of the Curiously Wise: Practical Spirituality in Action podcast, and an award-winning author. Laurin is also a co-facilitator of the Triple Goddess Women’s Circle.

Heartlight Wellness: Healing the light within you!

Heartlight Wellness Website

Laurin on FB

Heartlight Joy FB Page

Laurin on IG

Sign up for Laurin's newsletter and get her gift to you: Laurin's Top Three Ways to Communicate with Your Spirit Guides (PDF download)


Audio Engineer: Sam Wittig

Music: Where the Light Is by Lemon Music Studio

Photography & Design: Asha McLaughlin/Tej Art

Copyright 2024 Laurin Wittig


Curiously Wise Podcast Interview with Lorraine Segal

Lorraine: [:

But would you be getting the most out of class?

Laurin: Hello friends, and welcome back to Curiously Wise Practical Spirituality in Action. I'm Laurin Wittig, your host, and I have a wonderful person here, as I always have wonderful people here. I love how they come and find me. Lorraine Siegel is here to talk to us about Conflict transformation. I think that's the term you use, isn't it?

Okay. [:

Lorraine: Okay, thank you so much for having me. Laurin. I'm really happy to be here. And I love the title of your podcast. Curious, curiously wise. I my name's Lorraine Siegel, as you correctly said, and I have a, my business is called Conflict Remedy. And what I do is help leaders in businesses, nonprofits, small businesses, whatever, transform conflict, you know, conflict is so challenging to deal with, and we don't get a lot of training in how to do it.

each other, and create more [:

Laurin: Gosh, there's so many different wonderful tools in there. Forgiveness jumps out at me. Harmony jumps out at me. Bring, bringing heart energy to it is, is such a lovely thing. So tell us how you came to have a spiritual aspect to your life. Let's just start way back where, when that was.

Lorraine: Well, I've been on a personal quest to connect with the divine to find forgiveness for myself and others for a very long time. And it was partly just because I felt so miserable and I wanted to feel better, and 12 step programs have been part of that, therapy's been part of it. And so when I came to the field of conflict transformation, I brought all that with me.

wasn't part of my training, but I knew it needed to be part of the work that I did.

h fun talking to each other, [:

And I'm still in the process of learning how to do it, but it is powerful when you can approach conflict from, from that heart space, that, that spiritual, I don't know, that openness, that curiosity, that, that spirituality inspires. So, so how does, how does, We, you told us a little bit about how you got here.

You, it's been a process in terms of coaching and, and 12 step programs. I've been there, done those. And, but so, so tell me how you brought this into this area in a, in a business world of conflict transformation.

e able to resolve a conflict [:

So I immediately, I was teaching a little bit at Sonoma State. University and I started having my own coaching practice and I immediately started bringing forgiveness.

Laurin: Hmm.

Lorraine: processes to it. And I worked with, you know, Christians and atheists and goddess people like myself. And so I call it prayers or affirmations, but I would give them actual homework around forgiveness.

e. I was a tenured professor [:

And I didn't. actually feel like the training that I got really helped me be the coach I wanted to be. So I started asking the goddess, goddess, what do I say now? What do I do? How can I be most of service to this client? And I would get answers and I'd say, really? You want me to say that or do that? And she'd say, huh.

So I started doing it and it worked. And then eventually I got to a point where I could talk about what I was doing and, and why it worked. And I called it Love and Tough Love and Conflict Coaching. And I wrote a I write a blog. I wrote a blog post about that. So that that was one piece of it of just that.

it sounds funny to say this [:

I mean, I listened to them a lot. I, you know, people when are wounded when they're in conflict, they feel bad. They're mad. They're sad. They feel attacked. There's so much going on that people bring from their experience. previous lives and from their experiences in whatever workplace it is. And so I deeply listen so they know I get it and I'm there with them and I want to support them.

And so once I've, you know, [:

And the, and it just illuminates things to use your term about, you know, illuminated leadership. And, the concept of story is one that keeps expanding in my work, you know, I've written about how conflict is a hero's journey because I got inspired by a workshop I went to about the hero's journey and about how it applies to conflict.

es. And sometimes they're so [:

You know, there's one for each. telling a horror story, the other one's telling a musical comedy, even. And when people start understanding that, it really changes things for them. Instead of the enemy, it's like, Oh, wow. I thought this was going on. They think this is going on. Can we meet in the middle?

Can we have a different, better kind of conversation about how to go forward of what really happened? And it's so fun and exciting and healing.

Laurin: Oh, gosh. You, you've hit like so many places that I have learned, I have been on, on my journey of forgiveness was a huge one. Perspective was a huge one. And it wasn't till I kind of combined perspective and, and the idea of forgiveness that I was able to move into forgiveness. So. And it's so powerful when you do that, because that changes the story.

mean, just that, that moving [:

Lorraine: Yes.

Laurin: changes the story.

Lorraine: Yes. And it is. And One of the reasons I knew how powerful that work is, is that, you know, I mentioned that I was in a toxic academic workplace. I, I was bullied and mobbed. And I actually wrote a, I wrote a memoir that's partly about that. That's about my journey to conflict transformation and about my experiences being bullied and mobbed.

It's called the Angels and Earthworms. An Unexpected Journey to Joy, Love, and Miracles. It looks like this. And,

Laurin: Oh, good.

ut of my office and I was so [:

I felt like my anger could burn down. The entire building and I scared myself with the intensity of my rage and I thought, this will never do. And I, I started doing forgiveness work for all the people who are my abusers, not because what they did was right, because I knew if I didn't, my soul was going to shatter into a million bitter pieces, and I wouldn't recover.

And I prayed for these people for five years until I could get myself out of there. And of course, I did all kinds of practical things and legal stuff, even, and everything. But this inner work, part of which was forgiveness, was crucial to my being able to heal and start my own business. And then to use these skills to help my clients heal.

ne of the things that I have [:

In my experience, it can be a long process, but so just simply by, by you. I don't want to say containing, but acknowledging the power of your anger, acknowledging that it was justified, you had a good reason, but that it was not something that you wanted to continue to, to exist in. And then you doing the work, a gift to everybody around you, right?

's so important for us to do [:

Lorraine: absolutely. Absolutely. We can help people maybe a little bit beyond where we are. If we really want to help people, we have to do our own work. And I know I'm still doing forgiveness work, not with them. I

Laurin: Yeah.

Lorraine: you know, They're, they're gone, pretty much, I, in my thinking, but new issues come up all the time.

I'm, I'm, I still, I say, Oh, I'm really mad at this. I, and I'm repeating it a lot. I better do some forgiveness work.

Laurin: Yeah. Forgiveness for me was something that was very hard to do because my, my ego was saying, how can I possibly forgive that person for behaving that way? And this was, this was a parent. So it's like lifelong,

Lorraine: Yes, yes,

Laurin: and I could not, I had, I had a good friend who was encouraging me to forgive.

n't. How can I forgive that? [:

And I was, I had done enough work apparently so that actually once I made the decision that I was going to be able to, I was going to learn to forgive. It happened pretty fast. For that person, I still have things I need to forgive other people or for myself as well. [00:14:00] So I think, I think I'm glomming on to forgiveness because it's such an important thing for us to learn how to do.

Lorraine: yes. And you know, I teach a whole class. about this in the context of conflict. And you know, some of the things I say is you can, you don't have to forgive until you're ready. And there's so much, I call it myth busting about forgiveness. You know, it's not about what the person deserves. It's, you don't have to have an apology first.

You you know, you don't have to be best buddies with them afterwards. It's not about saying what they did is right. It's, To be able to have a peaceful heart and I heard a new quote recently that I wrote a blog post about because I write a blog post about everything that I, that mean a lot to me was forgiveness is accepting the apology you never received.

Laurin: Yeah. Yeah.

his same college that when I [:

And Yeah, so it's yeah, and you know, there's a lot of practical aspects of conflict transformation as well, of listening and slowing things down and, but the forgiveness piece, because But It's like that assigning blame, either blame or I'm to blame, who's to blame, you know, and if we, if you can escape from the trap and look at what some of my teachers have called contribution.


Laurin: hmm.

to tango, you know, each of [:

Laurin: Yeah. So there's, there's two aspects there that, that two other things that I've learned along the way is one is that perspective that you've talked about a couple of times is having, putting myself in somebody else's shoes. And looking back at the same situation. Now I've written novels, so I'm really good at putting myself in somebody else's shoes.

ve. It's very limiting. It's [:

Lorraine: Yucky.

Laurin: And it's yucky and you give away your sovereignty.

If you're a victim of somebody else, then then I have no choice about how I feel. Right. And so that was 1 of the other big things that that that helped me get to forgiveness is is. understanding that I was putting myself in a victim mode. Nobody put me there. I just claimed that one all on my own. Probably when I was a child and I probably did it as a protection because it was a very tumultuous household.

And that's okay. As a child, that was probably the only tool I had in my toolbox

Lorraine: Survival tool.

Laurin: is survival tool. And I'm grateful to that child for figuring that out. I really am because I have had a pretty remarkable life in spite of feeling like a most of it. But it's that was, that was one of those steps when I was doing Ho'oponopono so much is I realized I am putting myself in the victim mode

Lorraine: [:

Laurin: I'm milking it for all it's worth.

Lorraine: yes. You know what I think is connected to that? To the victim and the forgiveness is, is, your relationship with making mistakes. You know, we don't get a lot of training in the fact that it's completely human to make mistakes. And I used to tell my students, you know, you could sit in class all semester and not open your mouth and say anything and not write anything and you wouldn't make any mistakes.

But would you be getting the most out of class? Oh, and so I actually I, when I was promoting my memoir this wonderful woman interviewed me for a conf it's mediate. com has a great books series. And she asked me, how did you learn to turn your mistakes into stories? And I loved that question so much.

t turning your mistakes into [:

And when we realize that we're just in very good human company, that we all make mistakes, it, it gives us a lot more breathing room to work things out, to learn, to grow, to understand ourselves and each other.

was an alcoholic and he was [:

He wanted to do it, you know, and, and so my husband said, sure, you can you don't have to pay me anything. You can just use the office. My husband was raised in a family where they're very New England. So they just, they say it like it is. I grew up in the deep South where you had to like, you know, figure out the whole story, what's going on behind the words.

So my, my dad told me one day that he was sitting there listening to my husband on the phone with somebody. And what my husband was saying was, yep, I screwed that up. I am so sorry. I will, I will get right on that and make it right. He wasn't scared about it. He didn't get defensive. He just like, yep, owned it.

d, was that it's okay to go, [:

I'll fix it.

Lorraine: That's beautiful. And you know, when you were saying that, another aspect of what I teach and I use in my coaching and my classes is about intercultural communication, because I believe the biggest source of conflict is if we're not understanding each other. Some of it has to do with stories, holding grudges, you know, all those things, but also there's real cultural differences, even between New England and the South.

Laurin: Mississippi. Yeah.

Lorraine: different countries, different cultures, we make assumptions about what people say or do and what it means that may not be at all true from their perspective. And this is something my English as a second language students taught me when I was at the college because I started realizing that.

in my office, and they would [:

And I thought they were being exquisitely polite, but it wasn't the same rules that I'm used to, and

Laurin: Right.

Lorraine: understanding that helps people who are trying to communicate across cultures as

Laurin: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. That was the same family. My, my mother in law, I used to worry because she was, she could come off a little grumpy. I loved her to death. But she'd come off a little grumpy. I knew she liked me, but sometimes it was a little, you know, a little too straightforward for me to understand. And I would go to my husband and go, what does, what does she really want me to do?

ly understood that she and I [:

Lorraine: Fine and Other Misunderstandings my wife and I used to have a lot of fights or misunderstandings because in my family, to my wife, when you say it's fine that meant perfectly okay, no problem here. In my family when we said it's fine it meant it's really not fine and I'm gonna act like it is if you passive aggressive because I can't tell you directly.

Laurin: Yeah. So, I mean, that's even just in our own basic country, it's different cultures and different ways that we're brought up to interpret what we hear.

Lorraine: we all have our own idiolect and culture, you

Laurin: Yeah. Yeah.

Lorraine: culture,

International Monetary Fund [:

Okay. I got it.

Lorraine: When I teach a class on, you know, intercultural communication and aspects of conflict, I, I I came across this wheel that has these little tiny pie wedges of all the different parts of us, like education, skin color, religion, class you know, There's about, I don't know, 30 of them. And I have my students in small groups talk about, who am I?

ause they weren't privileged.[:

Laurin: All right. So how do you bring the spirituality? Well, we've been talking about a lot about spirituality, this forgiveness and this perspective and story, which is a lovely. Sort of bridge between spirituality and, and the real world for me, particularly, it was one of my ways into understanding that there's more to us.

So when you go into a new place and you're working, you've been, or you're working with new person that you've been asked to help with the conflict. Where did you start with them?

my inner tone that that's my [:

It's not to have a theory proved right or anything. It's. To be of service and to me that's deeply spiritual because that's part of the essence of it. And then I, I deeply listen. I mean, I think listening deeply, you know, sometimes it's called active listening, compassionate listening, listening to understand divine listening whatever you call it, I believe it is a spiritual act that when you listen to truly.

understand a person, to give them space, to express their feelings when you surround it all with love, that is deeply spiritual and it starts healing. And and then I'm basically, in a way, I'm asking them to then give that gift to the person they're in conflict with to, to give them, grant them compassion.

think you know, a lot of my [:

And for me, it's a much more free flowing, you know, you've got a scaffolding, you've got tools, and then you follow the energy and listen and speak your truth. And I think all of that is spiritual.

can put in around different, [:

Lorraine: I'll, I'll tell you one other thing when I I wrote about this too, after I had done it, but when I started teaching classes, I started telling my students, this is classes for conflict transformation. I said, I have a very simple goal for this. It was a 12 week program. I wanted to change your hearts, minds, and behavior. That's it, you know. And it

Laurin: Just, just a little thing.

Lorraine: was a little, very simple, but not easy, as we say in 12 week programs, yeah. Because that's really what I want. I, I deeply believe that most conflict is inside ourselves, how, how we feel about ourselves, the story we're telling ourselves about what's going on, you know, our interpretations, all of that, and different people agree with me.

o you talk to, but it's, you [:

How can you have an effective conversation about something difficult? But those, they're more surface y, external things. They don't work without the internal change. First, and, you know, I've even had my students be impatient with me. Why are we spending all this time doing this inner stuff? I want to learn how to talk to this impossible person.

And I say, we'll get there. We'll get there. We'll get there better if you do this

d the rest of it. Yeah. It's [:

With people listening, paying attention, who can guide you, can offer tools, and then whatever it is you're trying to shift is much easier to shift. So.

Lorraine: So, yes,

Laurin: just, it's something I, I think everybody's got to do the inner work, no matter what else do the inner

dents and my clients tell me [:

And it's true because we're people. You know, were people at work or were people at home and so that a lot of the tools and understandings are very much the same.

Laurin: Yeah. So you mentioned your book, angels and earthworms. I love that title and it's a beautiful cover as a, as a book person, I have a, I have a love for great titles and beautiful covers and that's really a beautiful one. I assume that's available at, at Amazon or the usual

Lorraine: Yeah, Amazon, and it's available through independent. You can order it through any independent bookstore as well. It's available. It's an e book and a paperback. Yes. Yeah. And I, I too, I just love the cover. My wonderful cover designer and I went through like five different covers. We kept going

Laurin: Covers are [:

Lorraine: and forth and working on it until, and at the end, I, I was so grateful to her and I just love it so

Laurin: Yeah. Yep. It's beautiful. So is there anything else that you would like to bring forth for the listeners today?

Lorraine: I love you. I think I just, we sort of touched on this, but people are really afraid of conflict and afraid of making mistakes in conflict. And one of the things, particularly about listening deeply to someone, you don't always have to say the right thing. You can say the wrong thing and ask if you got it right.

if you're willing to listen, [:

The dynamic of conflict and make so much more room for understanding and working things through and helping each other. And it's so every bit of the work that I have done that I've seen my clients and students do has helped them be more effective and peaceful and happy in the world. So I just want to encourage everyone to take that next step.

e, you know, cause you're in [:

Lorraine: It's so true. You know, I had one student at this was at Sonoma State who signed up to take my class. And at the end of the class, her manager reimbursed her for the class because she could see how it had not only changed how she showed up, but it had changed the whole department. And I told me that it was just like, oh my goodness, that's.

That's the ripples that are priceless.

Laurin: Yeah. Yeah. That's why we do the work we do. Right. Because it's one thing to, to make yourself feel better, but it's even better when that ripples out to other

n I teach, I'm catching them [:

So for me, it's there was between putting out fires and really building this beautiful foundation for for people to be leaders and transformers.

Laurin: Yes. And that's, and that's That's something that I'm really interested in. I, it's funny because I don't really see myself as a leader, but then I look at what I do and I, and I can see very clearly, you know, and, and we're leaders in our families and we're leaders in our communities. I mean, you know, even if you're not in a leadership position, you're, you're probably leading somebody, at least yourself, you know?

xecutive directors and CEOs, [:

So I claim it now. Okay.

Laurin: Yeah. Yeah. And I love it because it's bringing something that is a very, I find it a very feminine energy. Into what's been a very, like you said, a, a formula kind of way of becoming a leader. You do this and then you get that raised and you do this and you get that position and you do this and you get that.

This is more about being a leader wherever you are,

Lorraine: Yes.

sion, ability to look at the [:


Lorraine: resilient strength, you know, the other kind of strength is very brittle and very outside and confrontative and that it is often women, but there's men who are very good at this

Laurin: Oh yeah. Yeah.

Lorraine: who have that inner strength of like your husband being willing to admit they made a mistake without feeling like that makes you, you know, terrible.

It's just. And when, when people come from that place, they can, they can collaborate in ways that are unheard of in that more rigid system.

, I know young women who are [:

And, you know, there's, there's there's real hope that they're the balances in the world already. It's just growing up.

Lorraine: From your mouth to goddess's ear. Yes, we need that, that whole, that whole strength.

Laurin: Yes, that, yeah, yeah, because both are valuable, both have a place and together they're stronger than either one is apart and, and that's what we want, right? So that beautiful, balanced leadership energy. Yeah. And all of us, everybody, you know, take responsibility for yourself, take responsibility for, for doing the inner work, be your own leader, if that's what, what you need to do right now.

And then just don't be afraid of stepping up and bringing that energy into the world.

yourself and don't be a jerk.[:

Laurin: I gotta go look at your blog.

Lorraine: It's at conflictremedy. com. I have, I actually have about 170 blog posts at this point. So, yeah,

Laurin: That's, that's wonderful.

Lorraine: putting more of them up on LinkedIn now. I had never really done that

Laurin: Oh, that's a good idea. That's a really good idea. Yeah. That's, I follow a couple of people that that's basically what they do. They put their, their blogs up there. So is there anything else that, that you want to bring forth or have we kind of cut, we've covered a lot of ground.

Lorraine: think we kind of covered it. It's been a lot of fun to talk about all this with you and

Laurin: I know. I just love

Lorraine: appreciate the work you do so much. So

Laurin: for your work because I didn't know as much detail about it, but it's really important what you're doing. And I'm so glad that you're doing it. So you're welcome. Why don't you let the listeners know where they can find you?

said your, your, you're not [:

Lorraine: my website is conflict. remedy, you know, like the cure conflict remedy. com. And you can find my blog on there. And on the, if you scroll down just a little bit on the front page, you can sign up to get my monthly newsletter and you get a free article called the high cost of conflict, which is great in a workplace for bringing to CEOs or someone who holds the purse strings to let them know why it might be valuable to hire someone like me to help.

gh any independent bookstore.[:

Laurin: Sweet. All right. Well, thank you again so much for being here. This has been a really great conversation. Great, really deep conversation. And I've put so many different pieces together for myself to remind myself that I am, I am a leader too. All right. Well, I want to thank the listeners for being here and for and if you're watching, cause this will be out on YouTube.

Hopefully very soon. Now, I keep getting closer and closer to the launch. And I hope that you have also gleaned some really good information from Lorraine from her wisdom. And maybe she's made you a little more curious about going out and figuring out what you can do with transforming the conflict in your own life.

All right, I'll see you next time on curiously wise. In the meantime, stay curious.

ng. So keep asking questions [:

Head over to my Until next time. I'm Laurin. Wittig stay curious.



More from YouTube