Ever since I was a child, I have heard that one must keep moving forward in life. Don’t dwell in the past. One step at a time. Just put one foot in front of the other. Pull yourself up by your bootstraps and move forward. Don’t stand still, get going. A rolling stone gathers no moss.

This past week my mind was enlightened to a different perspective.

I was in a yoga class and listening to the instructor give her dharma teaching. When she said the following words, they immediately resonated with me.

“Yoga begins with a step back”.

A step back.

Now, on the immediate level of the yoga practice, it made crystal clear sense. When one stands at the top of their mat and prepares to begin their asana practice…the flow and postures of one’s yoga practice, the first step is a step back to the rear of the mat. It all flows from that ‘Step Back’.

However, I then realized that the language most utilized in mediation is the phrase, “ Let’s step back for a moment”. It is the slowing down and the recovery of a ‘step back’ that gives one the opportunity to take a breath and recover one’s balance.

Though we do not necessarily delve into the dark waters and depths of marital turmoil when mediating a divorce, it is certainly a regular occurrence when we encourage our client’s to express their true feelings as to where they are presently. The simple, beautiful, nuanced and intentional act of taking a step back acknowledges the space one has come from and the place one has now moved on to.

Today, we have become so ingrained with the idea that progress is the act of moving forward that we have lost sight of the healthy benefits of taking a step back to reflect and reconsider and rejoin the heart and the mind.

The practitioners and mediators of Mediate for Life Divorce Mediation Center are highly trained and astute in the art of the “Step Back”. When we are dealing with the distribution and contribution issues surrounding Pensions; IRA’s and College expenses, the step back is a crucial facet in the mediation process. When the couple is engaged in serious and strenuous deliberations concerning Child Custody; Child Support and Maintenance, the number one alignment tool is to have each party ‘step back’ in order to attain clarity and perspective.

Perhaps the Beatles song could have gone something like this: “ Step back…step back…step back to see where you belong.”

steven bettman