The Mindfulness Blog

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The "New Normal"

The "new normal" of tomorrow, will be what is commonly acknowledged, today. But what was commonly acknowledged today cannot become the "new normal" of tomorrow, until it becomes normalized-- until it becomes widely accepted as fact, not fiction. Real, not imagined. Demonstrably true, not some kind of pie-in-the-sky wish. Not everything that is common, becomes normal.

And so it is with the critical importance of well-being in the workplace-- especially in our law firms. What is commonly acknowledged by pretty much everyone, must now be normalized. Must be woven inextricably into the fabric of the legal profession, once and for all. Only thus, will well-being become part of the new normal.

How well-being is defined (e.g., what practices are recognized and addressed) is inevitably a matter for each of us, individually, and for each institution, professionally. But for goodness sake, let's dispose of the notion that well-being is not a critical component of our new normal. It is, and it's time that well-being is fully normalized by making it an accepted part of daily life-- budgeting for it, both in terms of time-investment and financial-investment.

The new normal will be-- by definition-- "new", and it will therefore require someone (or some institution), to be the first. That's the rub. But it's also a fantastic opportunity. To boldly go where others have pledged to go (Star Wars shout out), but not yet found their way. To own, or fully embrace, that to which others have only paid lip service-- to be the first to actually walk the walk.

In the legal profession, there are a number of firms that have taken first steps, and they should certainly be applauded for doing so. Respectfully, however, those first steps need to be more full-throated. The women and men appointed to lead the well-being charge must be supported by appropriate budget allocations-- even in the uncertain times that confront law firm owners and managers, these days. In order for well-being to become part of our new normal, we have to put our money where our mouths are.

What practices are regarded as falling under the broad penumbra of well-being will certainly be debated-- I, for one, regard the thoughtful inclusion of mindfulness and meditation as important components of a balanced well-being program, as a must. The mind part of the mind/body well-being dichotomy, is at least half of the construct. And mental health (of which mindfulness and meditation are vital sub-sets) is a well-being concern that should be a prominent part of our newly normalized emphasis on well-being.

Political leaders are finally coming around to the reality of things, and belatedly normalizing a variety of concerns that were commonly acknowledged for decades, if not hundreds of years. Next up is the legal profession, and the rest of the business world! 


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