The Mindfulness Blog

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The Walk Of Life

A tip of the hat to the Dire Straits band, and the wonderfully talented Mark Knopfler-- I am a big time fan of both. And I'm also an admirer of the video accompanying the song, which features a variety of sports players as they stumble and fumble their way through a number of seemingly routine situations, only to end up later, perfectly executing their intended actions. Getting it "wrong", then persisting, and ultimately getting it "right".

For the longest time-- for at least as long as I've been alive-- living life has been an active endeavor. And for many of us, that remains the case. But to my mind, just doing it (ala the Nike slogan) is only half of what living life is all about. The other half is thinking about, or feeling what we're doing. Observing and understanding our thoughts and feelings, while we're otherwise occupied by "doing it".

I'm talking about the mind part of the mind/body well-being dichotomy that we've all heard about, but given short shrift. Why do we do that? Most likely, because that's what we've been historically taught by our parents, our teachers and our employers. Maybe we can begin telling ourselves something different? And maybe by doing that, our parents, teachers and employers will change? Maybe we can influence the influencers, as we go about the process of creating the "new normal"?

I don't advocate throwing the proverbial baby out with the bathwater-- I like the baby (the doing of things), a lot. But I do believe we should change the water, by elevating the importance of improving the fitness of our minds, as well as caring about the fitness of our bodies. Isn't that what well-being is all about?

And as we begin to walk that walk, we can start by including the concern of mental health as a necessary component of mind/body health. Not only medically-diagnosable mental health conditions (what I refer to as "hard" concerns), but also the non-medical conditions (what I refer to as "soft" concerns) that plague the legal profession and so many other business professions. "Soft" concerns like stress, rumination, catastrophization, general anxiety and workplace burnout-- conditions that, anecdotally, plague many of us, and may be fertile ground for later "hard" concerns.

That's where mindfulness and meditation can come into the well-being picture, if we're open to letting that happen. The legal profession is notoriously slow to adopt new ideas or practices, and much of the business world is not much different. Institutionally, there is an increasing willingness to talk about well-being (e.g. the growing number of law firms that have signed the ABA-endorsed Well-Being Pledge), but there is little corresponding willingness to budget for, and act upon, those expressed intentions.

It's time to put our money where our mouths are, and make mental/emotional fitness a priority, alongside physical fitness. Life's about changing-- nothing ever stays the same. Let's start walking the walk!


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