I’m Dr. Rob Hershorn, PhD. I am a conflict resolution specialist with a passion for helping people find creative ways to accept and transform conflict in their lives. Originally from Montreal, I have worked as a consultant, facilitator, conflict resolution and peace researcher and university lecturer in Canada and overseas. I spent two years in Jerusalem as a Post Doctoral Fellow at the Truman Institute for the Advancement of Peace Research while gaining expertise in transformative communication. I had the privilege of participating in numerous trainings with moderate groups within conflict zones. The training consisted of advanced communication practices designed to help participants to assist one another to work through their cultural misunderstandings (built on years of strife) and lead more productive/fulfilled lives. I feel that my time overseas is directly linked to earlier life inspiration which evolved over a number of years.
I have always been intrigued by the conflict that finds its way into our daily lives. When I was younger I couldn’t understand the tension I periodically experienced or witnessed between people. People’s egos often dictated an agenda of continuing conflict to “save face” rather than working things out with others. I realized that in my own interactions, so much more would open up when I would pause, listen and step back from my original position. When I would convey that I understood where others were coming from and let them know that it would be a waste of energy to continue to argue, our whole dynamic transformed. The respect that I would demonstrate was acknowledged and returned.
Living in beautiful British Columbia for six years (prior to my Post Doc in Jerusalem), I discovered my passion for hiking and kayaking. I embarked on a PhD in Communication and Conflict Resolution. While passionate about my field, I really needed the balance that the natural environment provided me with. Being in nature grounded me and allowed me to recharge my batteries after a busy week. I was amazed at how I felt within the splendour of old growth forest surrounded by enormous snowcapped mountains. I noticed that even in spaces where natural or man-made environmental damage reduced some of nature’s original beauty, the BC rainforest seemed to find a way to replenish itself very quickly.
Life had indeed found a way! It occurred to me that this was a valuable metaphor for us all. We have the capacity to let go of, truly dissolve parts of ourselves that are no longer needed when we realize the value of moving in a new direction. The replenishment of nature in the forest reflects our potential – our own natural state. At our best we can truly transcend old patterns and be more in the flow of life at home and at work. We can rise above a “fighting energy” which attempts to force life dynamics and bring us into conflict with others toward a more fluid way of being where we see and live anew. Conflict can be an opportunity not an obstacle for change.