Monthly Archives: October 2010

For Inspiration for Work and Life, Walk in the Woods

Because the power to be visionary is loaded in our DNA, it’s possible to have a compelling vision for life and work any time, anywhere.  But there’s no more natural visioning time than fall, when nature itself is gloriously transforming.  And there’s no better activity than walking in the woods to shut down mental chatter so we can hear more clearly what our intuition, imagination and other visionary potentials are saying.

Here’s my favorite autumn inspiration ritual, inspired by the Jewish New Year:

1.    Collect an apple, some dried fruit and a few nuts.   Go to woods you love, preferably some with a stream.

2.      As you walk, reflect about the past 12 months and what you are ready to release:  excess weight, perhaps, or pettiness, or habits that keep you too busy to enjoy life.

3.    Pick up a fallen leaf, preferably one with brilliant autumn colors.  Imagine releasing your “old stuff” into the leaf as easily as the leaf has let go its branch.  Then release the leaf into a stream and watch it float away.  (If there’s no stream, bury your leaf into a pile of other fallen leaves.)

4.    As you walk again, imagine everything around you has a message for you, like the multi-legged insect that once “told” my husband John that he needed to get out into the world more and wave his equivalent to the insect’s feelers in all directions.

5.    Savor the apple slowly, reflecting on the many delights of your world that are meant to nurture us, not hoarded or consumed thoughtlessly. Vow to create more savoring time over the next 12 months.

6.    Look at the nuts and raisins, symbols of the bounty of the world, the power of the human mind to discover things like how to preserve food, and the human habit of lovingly passing on wisdom through the ages.  Reflect on the gifts you have given through your life and work, and the gifts you have been given the past 12 months.

7.    Pick up a small rock. Invest it with the memory of how it feels to be here, slowed down and connected more to all that is.  Make it a touchstone to remember your deepest yearnings to live more fully, and do more of what you are called to do with your one precious life.

8.    As you walk back to your ordinary life, choose to see more clearly who you are and what you are called to do.  See how long you can keep alive the spirit of your walk.  When you forget, hold the touchstone and remember how simple it can be to reclaim your place in a wondrous universe.

John comments:  all this may be too much to do at one time, especially if you get really involved in one of the steps.  So do that one to your heart’s content, and save the other steps for another time.

What about you?  What are your favorite ways to be more connected to yourself and the world around you?  How can you adapt this ritually to better suit you?

As always, comments are welcome.  Many blessings, Pat McHenry Sullivan

If Lawyers Can Thrive by Meditating at Work, Anyone Can

Need some proof that meditation and other spiritual practices are useful, not flakey at work?  Need REALLY PRACTICAL stuff like how to get through everyday challenges like too much to do, too little time, too little appreciation or support?

Look no further than the legal field.  Case in point:  Scott Rogers, creator of The Mindful Lawyer,” and his delightful “The Mindfulness Memo: the Motion for an Extension of Thyme.”  Here’s just one tidbit that is useful for any job:

Thoughts like “I don’t have enough time,” or “I’ll never get this done in time” have both a factual quality and a “fear-based” quality.  While it can sometimes be the case that poor planning or circumstances result in a genuine rush, more often than not, the perception of “not enough time” is a conditioned thought that arises and, when believed, creates a “false” sense of crises that undermines performance.”

Rogers’ solution: mindfulness or meditation practices that can “help provide greater clarity of mind, focus, and ease in dealing with procrastination and time deadlines.” For tips you can use right now to turn your day from harried to happy, click here:

For More Peace and Productivity At Work, Imitate Some Lawyers

“The Motion for an Extension of Thyme” is just one of 500 pages of tips and resources in J. Kim Wright’s Lawyers as Peacemakers, which has been a best-seller since it was published by the American Bar Association last spring.  It’s chock full of information on how to bring more creativity, problem-solving effectiveness  and spirit to any job, legal or not. There’s even a reprint of an article I wrote on how to create a sanctuary at work!

At least a dozen mainstream law schools like Harvard and Yale offer courses in meditation as part of a mindful lawyering practice, says an article on meditation in the October 2010 California Lawyer.

For information on contemplative practices and how you can bring a variety of contemplative practices to your work, see also the Center for Contemplative Mind in SocietyCutting Edge Law, and Idealawg.

What Can You Learn From a Lawyer to Improve Your Work and Life?

What kind of hope and inspiration can you take from lawyers who meditate?

How can you bridge the need to be focused, clear and absolutely practical with your own drive for meaning, purpose and joy?

How can you create more productive time and pleasure in your life and work by being more conscious?

As always, comments are welcome!

Best wishes, Pat McHenry Sullivan
Appreciator of Lawyers

Check out my latest project:  a continuing education program for the California State Bar, “From Stress Burnout and Exhaustion to Energy, Resilience and Insight”

Coming soon, a workbook for anyone on this topic. Want a presentation on this topic?  Call 510-530-0284