Friday, October 29, 2010

Oh Irony . . .

I remember my very last law school exam. I arrived early, sat up front (yep, I was that student) and was chatting with my classmates. In just over three hours, law school would be over. The professor walked in, and I asked her how she was doing. Her response - “I had nightmares about this exam last night.” I had slept like a baby. Are not students supposed to be the ones having nightmares?

Well, I had my nightmare last night - about missing the beginning of the Mindful Lawyer Conference. The irony is almost embarrassing. But I think there is a reason.

I was a student for 19 years. Exams, while never easy, make sense. I know the routine. I know what to expect. While I have attended numerous conferences, even law conferences, this is the first Mindful Lawyer conference. I’m excited and a bit nervous. When I entered law school, I thought I was so different. Today, just over five years later, there is a community of like-minded individuals. This is super exciting, and no, I’m not going to be late. In fact, I’m going to arrive hours early, but mostly because I love walking around the University of Berkeley campus. The trees and the energy rejuvenate me every time, even on rainy days like today.

So what is happening at this conference? Like all conferences, there are plenary sessions and break-out sessions, but this one is interspersed with 30-minute meditation sessions. Tomorrow morning, there are optional yoga and qi gong sessions (I’m honored and excited to be teaching the yoga class). And after it is all over, there is a closing ceremony to honor our time together. I often say that yoga is different because it is about intention. You can stretch and move, but when you move with intention, act with intention, breathe with intention, you are doing yoga. I get that impression from this conference. We are coming together with an intention - to create this new community.

At this juncture of my study and my life, I am extremely excited to learn more about the intersection of mindfulness and neuroscience. I began learning about neuroscience at the AFCC conference in June. It has become a new semi-obsession. As a recent law school graduate, I am glad to see the focus on mindfulness in academia. These programs are popping up all over the country, attempting to bring mindfulness to the legal profession from the very beginning. I could not be more excited.

As promised, I will continue to blog about this conference and the sessions I have not yet mentioned. Do not forget to follow us on Twitter at #mlc10. For a list of other blogs focusing on this conference, click here.

Hopefully, there will come a time in the legal profession that mindfulness will not spark anxiety for me, but instead the community I have been longing to find, in whatever form it takes. After all, this is where I make my first impression in this community of professionals that have bravely set the path for young lawyers like me to feel comfortable as mindful lawyers. For that, I am forever grateful and a bit nervous to show my face, but the excitement far exceeds any nervousness, my unconscious visions aside.  Thank you for being part of this community with me. Your support has been invaluable.

Namaste and Blessings.

© 2010, Rebecca Stahl all rights reserved.

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