Over the weekend I participated in a women’s retreat. It was filled with meditation, learning, spirituality, Torah study, “Council,” painting, writing, imbibing good food and wine, dancing my booty off to 70’s music, and one single ride on a water slide followed by a soak in the hot tub. Life was grand.
And…I also faced a Monday deadline for an Opposition to a Motion for Summary Judgment. Donning my lawyer-hat, I convened with my laptop during the breaks. Because life isn’t always a party. As Rabbi Amy says, the crappy stuff is connected to the glorious stuff. (Sh’ma, it’s all one, yadda yadda). Much as I wish I could edit out the unpleasantness and leave only sunshine, life is contrasts.
Happily, my law colleague is a friend (he hasn’t changed much since we were ten) who has an easy smile and a healthy perspective on life and work. He is first and foremost a father. What does this mean for our lawyering? We work hard, care deeply, do our best, keep learning, and don’t freak out. As long as our children are healthy and happy, we can handle whatever else comes.
Working on disability discrimination cases, though, we are often reminded that for many parents the kids are not alright. They struggle with the most basic things. They suffer exclusion and isolation. On their behalf, I get impatient with our legal processes: motions, oppositions, objections – such wastes of time when there are problems to be solved! I imagine a weekend retreat with all the parties listening to each other, a City “council” instead of counsel, all of us in yoga pants sitting in a circle with a talking stick instead of a court reporter.
I know, l ruined it with the yoga pants image.
What I’m saying is this: wouldn’t it be cool to bring that centeredness, that authenticity, and genuine listening, into the regular world, work and family and relationships? I know I won’t change the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The systems are set. Just let me dream a bit about a world that infuses those values into the process…
And then back to work. Because lala-gooey-hoohoo vibes aside, I’m competitive as hell and I like to win. Ommmmmmmm.