The Mindfulness Blog

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What's Going On?

As mentioned several times already, all of the August postings are inspired by past songs, or song titles. And what more fitting song than the iconic and majestic song penned by Marvin Gaye in 1971 -- almost 50 years ago! The surprising (and sobering) thing to me is that we are still answering the question he asked, low those many years ago: What's going on?

Well-being, mental health, mindfulness and meditation-- what do they all mean, and do they really have anything to do with us, either personally or professionally? Are they related, and if so, how? Does one really have anything to do with the other? It's hard to keep it all straight-- even with a score card (if there is such a thing).

Not surprisingly, I believe the three are in fact intimately intertwined. Well-being is largely about busting the stigma surrounding mental health, and neither of those two concerns can be responsibly addressed without an increased awareness of mindfulness and meditation. Period. Full stop.

Well-being is truly holistic: It's mind and body, personal and professional, private and social-- it's the whole enchilada. I think the Report generated by The National Task Force for Well-Being does a particularly good job of breaking the concept down into understandable life-bits, and also does a remarkable job of suggesting how those life-bits pertain to key stakeholders.

Busting the stigma that surrounds mental health is a critical part of any balanced well-being program, and has been addressed with varying degrees of success for years in the United States, by individual state Lawyer Assistance Programs ("LAP"). I'm a big supporter of the LAP concept, though I wish it was: 1) Better funded and organized in certain states, and 2) Better equipped to deal with what I refer to as "soft" mental health challenges, as well as more traditionally recognized "hard" challenges that LAP was founded to address.

Which brings us to mindfulness and meditation-- neither of which are promoted by any one person (other than myself), or by any one organization affiliated with the legal profession. The lone exception (publicly) is the Dentons law firm that has-- at least, in Europe-- named a Chief Mindfulness Officer. The fact that progress in the legal profession has been limited to Europe, is both a shame and a mystery. As someone who speaks from personal experience-- a former lawyer (commercial litigation), and regular meditator-- I can only scratch my head.

Be that as it may, that's what's going on, in the legal profession. A whole lot of not much-- at least, not yet. Which is why we need to take seriously the concerns of well-being and mental health, as well as mindfulness and meditation. In 1971, Marvin Gaye asked the question, and now we are privileged to be part of the answer!


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