The Mindfulness Blog

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A Challenge For Old White Guys*

Why not--what have we got to lose? Our dignity? Our above-it-all-ness? Our unassailability? Being an old white guy (and a former equity partner) myself, let me be the first to say we need to get past all that.

Mindfulness, meditation and oldtimers? In the workplace? In a public space? You bet. I'm 65+ and if I can do it, you can do it. I'm not trying to be "relevant"-- I'm just trying to better understand a guy I've lived with my entire life--me. And I'm trying to advance the legal profession. May I be so bold as to suggest that a few of my brothers (and sisters) might want to do the same?

The fraternity-like "hazing" of new associates and younger partners is not the only way to teach, or advance our legal profession. The stereotypes developed in the past are really overrated, and are not particularly useful--in point of fact, they can be particularly destructive. They're most definitely not the stuff of leadership--not if the people following us are, well, people.

As one 65+ year old to another--someone who (my wife aside) most people regard as "normal"--I can attest that neither mindfulness nor meditation are weird, or woo woo. Quite to the contrary, figuring out what mindfulness is (for me), and learning about the practice of meditation, has sharpened my acuity and opened me up to both ideas and people to which, or to whom, I had not previously been open.

The "edge" that I honed and relied upon in practicing law, is still very much in tact--if anything, I'm working on rounding off some of the edges I developed over the years. That guy hasn't left the scene, and he pops up unexpectedly, far too often--I've been known to still kick a little ass and take prisoners, not names. Old habits die hard!

But, back to mindfulness and meditation. Of the many things I've learned, probably the biggest lesson I've learned is that neither demand perfection. If that were the case, I couldn't be an advocate for the incorporation of those practices into the legal profession, and I wouldn't have founded The Mindful Law Coaching & Consulting Group ("MLCCG").

Since founding MLCCG, I've seen a lot of progress in the legal profession--particularly in the dissipation of skepticism, and the lingering associations that so many of us used to make. For that, we should all thank the National Task Force for Lawyer Well-Being and the American Bar Association, both of which have shined a much needed light on the concern of well-being.

In doing so, those organizations empowered advocates like myself to reframe mindfulness and meditation as components of a well-being programs, in the workplace--which is exactly what they are. We've all figured out how important it is to take care of our bodies (physical fitness). Now we need to figure out how important it is to take care of our minds (mental/emotional fitness).

Let's take up the challenge--all of us-- and become (or continue to be) leaders of the well-being movement in the legal profession!

* The vast majority of lawyers 65+ years old are (for better, or for worse) white guys-- like me.


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