Friday, September 24, 2010

Making the Connection

These past few weeks have been super busy; I have been learning how to be self-employed. For weeks, I called it unemployed or “in transition.” I am, after all, leaving for New Zealand in January, so I know that whatever happens, it is short term. But making the semantic transition has helped me move beyond a rut - the rut of inactivity. This same rut is why I have not posted in so long.

But what of the title? What connection? Well, Is Yoga Legal finally went public. This blog began as a way to connect my two seemingly polar opposite worlds. This past Saturday, I offered the first of what I hope to be many Stress Management Workshops for lawyers. They, of course, focus on yoga and meditation techniques for the office. And they do not stop at desk-asana and meditation and breathing. They focus on all the areas this blog has covered, from reaction vs. responses to topics we have yet to cover on the blog.

What have I learned? This workshop is not only necessary for the legal profession - talk about stressed-out professionals - but lawyers like yoga! It felt like I found a home teaching these workshops. Certainly, I need to make adjustments to them, but I was able to talk about all aspects of yoga, far beyond the physical postures, and people responded.

It felt so wonderful to see a group of people whose lives are usually so full of stress take a moment to breathe, talk about meditation, and recognize that we can help each other. It was great to see people in the room who make yoga a daily part of their lives right next to people who have never considered ever practicing before. Both were willing to stop for a moment and be present.

I hope these workshops continue to provide people tools for the workplace. I hope they also provide lawyers a place where they can see that stress is not always bad, it is when the stress becomes uncontrollable that the problems arise. Most importantly, I want people to know that their lives need not be disasters. There are simple tools that can help make each day easier.

Of course, this does not mean that each day is easy. I am a perfect example. The few days before the first workshop I was a complete ball of stress. But then someone reminded me that fear and excitement are the same energy. I changed (mostly) my interpretation of the balls of energy to excitement from fear, and I went to a restorative yoga class Friday night. Saturday went great! Then I collapsed.

As I continue to navigate this path of being a lawyer-yogi, I hope to bring others along and create a community of people who can help each other when the going gets tough. I hope this blog can be a start of that community. Share your comments on your favorite stress management techniques. After all, making the connection is the first step.

Namaste and Blessings!

© 2010 Rebecca Stahl, all rights reserved

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Our own point of view . . .

“Many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view.” - Obi Wan Kenobi

Yes, I just quoted Star Wars, but I told you before that I’m a Star Wars geek. But really, I can think of no better way of saying what Obi Wan makes so clear here. Did Darth Vader kill Luke’s father, or was he Luke’s father? Well, both. It depends on Luke’s point of view.

Lawyers get paid to have a point of view and to stick with it. After all, we must protect our clients’ position, and our clients’ positions become our own. Yoga, on the other hand, teaches us to see life from many points of view. Inversions literally force us to look at the world upside down. In my second post, I talked about the need to let go and see the argument from the other side, to let go of only one way of seeing the world in order to see the full picture.

But how does our perspective change our own outlooks? As of August 20, I no longer work at the court. My job was only scheduled to last one year, and that is when it ended. So, for two weeks now, I have been “unemployed.” Sure, I have found some contract work, and I have been teaching yoga, but without full-time employment, I was feeling a bit rejected, even having the time to attend 1-2 yoga classes per day.

This morning, my perspective changed.

While taking a walk this morning (another benefit of being without full-time employment), I realized that this unemployment has allowed me to reach out to people I would not have otherwise met. I have sent 100 or so emails to various people asking for work. Through those emails I have talked to several people, and I have some more meetings set up. I have also set up my first Stress Management for Lawyers through Yoga and Meditation workshop, which is exactly what I want to be doing.

It is an old mantra - bad situations are just blessings in disguise; we should see the opportunity even in difficult situations; when life throws you lemons, make lemonade. But cliches become cliches for a reason - they are true. And yes, it is true that each situation, even if it looks terrible, has the potential to be an amazing opportunity with a little change in perspective.

Of course, this is not always the case. Some situations are truly difficult, but as I said in the last post, learning to respond, rather than react, allows us to change our perspective and confront situations with all of the necessary information. Yoga gives us the strength and courage to allow our points of views to be dismantled. It can be scary and hard, but in the end, it could just lead to the winning argument.