Intractable Situations, and, A SPIRITUAL WAY to do a SOCIAL CONTRACT or BUSINESS CONTRACT, part 1 of 3

I’ve had a series of intractable situations this week, with intractable people. The word keeps coming up.

It’s All in the Doing, or, rather, it’s in THE TERMS OF THE DOING

Intractable is of Latin origin, and it’s root tractare in Latin and all derivative meanings relate primarily to the actions of doing. (1)(2)

There are secondary meanings for tractare also that relate to these actions going on. That is, the things that need to be considered once an action is being done.

There are 5 ASPECTS or TERMS to making a situation TRACTABLE, and these are

  • the space needed to get the doing done (as in the region, it’s location and size and it’s availability),
  • the broader requirements of getting things done (the extent of what we agree to accomplish),
  • the terms to get the doing done (as in contracts or treaties with the details clarified and listed out),
  • the time required to get things done (how much time we expect the doing will require and the length of time drawing out as the doing gets done), and
  • the way that things are done (the method of choice that we are guided by, that we employ).

So often we don’t talk about these things ahead of time, or we crash into them and the realities and scope of the doing after we have begun. And, sometimes nimble adjustments need to be accomplished to an agreed-upon project.


In the handling or getting down to business, there can be arguments and disagreements.

When people are trying to accomplish the same thing, yet they disagree in a way that inhibits forward motion, there are typically two influences at play.


  • The TRACTABILITY of the situation hasn’t really been decided and clarified between the parties, and
  • People see the same things different ways.


We All Are Looking at the Same Situation, But THROUGH DIFFERENT WINDOWS

Moreover, in the action of the doing, people perceive the doer, and the way the action is done, from their personal window of perception.

This window of perception opens from their personal house of all their experience and intention, and is expressed through the mechanism of the EGO and the HEART.

The same situation, for each person with seemingly similar goals, can present to their perception so differently, that the end result is not accomplishment, but chaos.

Egos get in the way, and with the actual doing now obscured by everyone’s conflicting personal perceptions, interpersonal relationships devolve into manipulation and power plays.


This sad state of affairs, where power trips trump the getting things done, is so many times, the state of our human relationships.


A 7 Step SOLUTION starts with first, REMEMBER

The choice in these moments is ~

  • REMEMBER: to remember how you wish to conduct yourself,
  • ACT ACCORDINGLY: do actions aligned with achieving your goal,
  • REMIND: to remind the team or the other person what we all want accomplished,
  • RESTRAIN: to restrain communication by the ego,
  • RELEASE: to release the need to respond out of ego, and
  • ENHANCE: to enhance communication that furthers getting the task done, and
  • FOCUS: to focus on the heart of the matter.



What do you do when a situation seems intractable and you are deep in the middle, in the throes of it, in the heat of things, in the moment?

  • Hold your state of being in mind ~ Know your love for yourself and your confidence in your role and who you are, create a safe space in your heart where you have decided you can and you will always hold a peaceful feeling.
  • Know who you are in every moment ~ Know your knowledge of your deep capabilities and talents, know that you can accomplish this peacefully and in the highest good of all.
  • Do a check before you engage ~ Check in with your inner intuition, check in with how what you are feeling or doing or about to say feels in the center of your heart…. is this in highest good? Is this a situation I choose to engage?
  • Hold your overriding goal in mind ~ REMEMBER what you are here to accomplish, and make a choice about whether this is the most important thing for you. If it is, a heart based solution is more likely to salvage or turn around the situation, back to the common goal. Why is this? Because, people have to know you care.   And, because they have to feel your personal engagement or commitment to the situation. Speak from the ego, here, and your project is on it’s way to OVER, best case is mediocre performance.  (And this assumes that the situation you are in is not abusive or dangerous to your person.)
  • Communicate clearly ~ As you address the situation with the others you are engaged with, speak in a way that furthers the common goal and refers to the common goal. Make suggestions that create solutions and appeal to the other personally.  Oh, and if the other party is not engaging with you in good faith, this is where communication breakdowns occur and begin.
  • Don’t get caught in the weeds ~ Figure out what you really require to get the doing done, and figure out what you can let go of that’s not really important to the goal. In the heat of the moment, as you’re in negotiations or you’re in argument or you’re engaged in interaction, a quick way to do this is in the heart.

Here’s how to check in before you act or speak: 

Take ONE SECOND, take two, to put that statement or action you’re about to speak or do in your heart and see how it feels 

~ If it makes you feel more superficially powerful and you resist putting the statement in your heart –>  it’s from your EGO and you’re about to LOCK HORNS.

~ If you put the act or statement in your heart and, for example, you feel that feeling like a year from now you would be still be happy with this behavior, then GO FOR IT 

~ If it feels expansive, loving, like it resonates with you, feels comfortable, then this is aligned with your heart.

  • Develop a shortcut way to do this check-in with yourself, in your heart ~ I have developed many techniques for doing so, and you can experiment personally with what works for you. I use short cuts like picking key words, like taking the whole thought as a packet and placing it in my heart, like taking the feeling around the statement and putting it in my heart, as some examples.
  • If the other’s ego flares up, respond to the heart of the matter ~ Don’t get distracted by the other person’s ego’s puffery, or their need to speak last, or their need to sound louder, appear stronger.
  • The Ultimate Victory is to offer the opportunity to connect with people’s hearts ~ If you are responding in this heart-based way to intractable situations, you are most likely to cause the other person to fall into their hearts, also. And then, you can and you will move forward if you are in alignment on tractable matters….and seal the deal, get the project done, enjoy working together, close the transaction, get the payday.

When you are getting the doing done, and you have made that connection and created that contract and had that agreement after offering the opportunity to meet at the heart level, and meeting at the heart level.

Then, that’s a greater win than you can possibly imagine.


© 2015 Susan V. Lacerra, Inspired Strategies, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

PART 2, here  “Actually Intractable Situations or Not”

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Footnotes and Links:

  1. Best Latin dictionary ever: renaissance man Kevin Mahoney’s which is free of charge and a labor of love.
  2. Latin root of the word tractable: