Reflections on Vulernability

This weekend a friend of mine invited me to participate in a photo shoot organized by The Alliance for Eating Disorders Awareness, the non-profit where she works. The What I Be Project is about destigmatizing mental health concerns, so, of course I said yes.

When I got to the shoot, my friend explained that the photographer and I would discuss by vulernablities and work together to create the image. There were counselors on site in case I wanted to process anything that came up. Then I met with Steven Rosenfield, for our mini interview.

He asked me what I was self-conscious about, what I don’t feel comfortable revealing to other people.

I just stared at him.

I literally couldn’t think of anything.

Now, I admit that I’m not very good at being vulnerable. It’s something I’ve consciously been working on for the past couple of years. Was I hiding some big secret that I just couldn’t bring myself to tell him? At this point in my life I’m pretty comfortable with myself and my choices. That doesn’t mean that I don’t make mistakes, that I can’t do things better, that I know everything. But given the right circumstances, I’m willing share pretty much anything.

Brené Brown, today’s leading expert on vulnerability research, explains that being vulnerable doesn’t mean dumping your entire story and every insecurity on anyone with an open ear. You build relationships that are context specific. Now, that doesn’t mean that you can’t disclose insecurities or vulnerabilities soon after meeting someone. It just means making conscious decisions about how and when you dive deeper.

My yoga practice has been absolutely key in teaching me to sit with my uncomfortable feelings. To learn how to be comfortable being uncomfortable. Do I still get sad, ashamed, guilty about things? Absolutely. But there’s no “big thing” that jumps to mind when I’m asked about my insecurities.

Now, I still have a long way to go. And just because I make the choices I think are best for me, other people’s opinions be damned, I still value community, acceptance, belonging. It’s a constant work in progress figuring out how to navigate the borders of those ideas.

What is your relationship with your uncomfortable feelings? How might getting over your fear of them make an impact on your everyday life?

A white woman with short brown hair looks at the camera. “Take Me As I Am” is written on her arm.

When we are willing to stay even a moment with uncomfortable energy, we gradually learn not to fear it. - Pema Chödrön

Photo: Steven Rosenfield

 

Meditate, Eliminate, Regulate: Three Steps to Reduce Stress in Your Law Practice

Background of green plants with a neon sign saying “and breathe”

Hi Friends! I’m excited to share that this Friday, June 14th, at noon CST I’ll be live over on Instagram to present my 30 minute crash course on lowering your stress levels in your law practice.

What We’ll Cover:

  • Meditate

    • How to center yourself and get crystal clear on how to create your own best solutions

    • No-fuss guide to getting started on a personal practice

  • Eliminate

    • How to reduce or even eliminate sources of stress from your practice and your life

    • Tap into your #bossbabe energy to unapologetically make room for what you actively want.

  • Regulate

    • How to understand and identify your negative emotions

    • How to start using your emotions as data points to better manage your reactions

I’d love to have you join me live and get all the goodness that will be on offer. If you have any questions beforehand about any of the steps, let me know! I want to make this as tailored to you and your concerns as possible.

Plus, the plan will be to expand this and dive in deeper, so again, the more I hear from you the better I can make the course.

How to Meditate

Mississippi River in spring, looking towards Boom Island

Last week, during the #DoJustlyandBeWell challenge, I received several questions about meditation. This week I’m going to dive a bit deeper into this topic, because it’s at the foundation of my approach to wellness. ⁣It’s the first step in my Three Steps to Less Stress in Your Law Practice class (being offered online super soon - keep an eye out).

I’ve previously discussed one simple way to start a meditation practice⁣, but that might not work for everyone. That’s okay. There are as many ways to mediate as there are people who meditate.

Meditating outside can be a great option. When you have that urge to get out into nature, be by the water, sit under a tree, it can be a cue that you’re wanting to drop into yourself a little deeper and connect to something bigger (those things may seem counterintuitive, but they aren’t!).⁣ Listen to that cue.

Try this - sit by a water source. River, lake, ocean, fountain. Slow your breathing. Let your gaze soften. Observe the water. You will hear other sounds - people, birds, traffic - but see if you can just let them float away as you continue to train your attention on your focal point. There is no time limit or requirement to this exercise. Sit as long as feels rights to you. ⁣

If sitting doesn’t feel good in your body, try the exercise while you’re walking. Slow, deliberate steps in which you feel your feel touch the ground as you let the sounds of nature be your backdrop. Try ten paces one direction, turn around, and walk ten paces back.

If you try either of these methods, I’d love to hear about your experience.

Do Justly and Be Well

Five days. Five simple techniques to replace stress with satisfaction and ease.

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It's officially Lawyer Health and Wellness Month! Let's have some fun and integrate health and wellness into our everyday lives.

Starting today, May 6 we're doing a 5 Day (super low pressure and fun) Wellness Challenge. While the main fun will be over on instagram, feel free to join in however you prefer. You can comment here, on Facebook, Twitter, send me a message, or keep of course you can it to yourself (but sharing your goals with accountability partners can make it more likely you accomplish them)

Day 1: Hydrate

Day 2: Move your Body

  • Being good to your body is also being good to your mind. Exercise can improve your brain’s function, structure, and connectivity. Those improvements are linked to better learning, memory, and cognition. That doesn’t mean you have to go for an hour run or intense cross training class - even small bursts of activity during your day can help.

Day 3: Connect with a friend

  • Social contentedness is a key to better health. It can be easy to let weeks slip by without connecting with your friends - especially since lawyers tend to have busy schedules, and are friends with other lawyers with the same time limitations. Text a friend to suggest a time to meet for coffee, a meal, or even a video chat. Putting it on your calendar means it’s much more likely to actually happen.

Day 4: Meditate

  • Mindfulness meditation can have an incredible impact on your wellbeing. I’ve written more about that here, and outlined a simple way to try it out in just ten minutes. Ten minutes too overwhelming? Try five. It’s really about the consistency of your practice, not how long you meditate. Can’t sit still? Try a walking meditation.

Day 5: Your Choice

  • There are so many ways to improve your mental health and wellness that we could easily do a yearlong challenge with a different topic each day. Day 5 is your chance to try something that speaks to you, or repeat one (or more) of the ideas from earlier in the week. Stuck? Try: making that doctor appointment you’ve put been putting off; write a letter to the editor on a topic you care about; cuddle a puppy; clean out your email inbox; plan your meals for the upcoming week. Sometimes self care is boring, and that’s okay!

If you do decide to participate on instagram, everyone who participates in all 5 days of the challenge will receive 10% off my Home Practice Protocol, so that you can continue your healthy habits every day.

Health and Wellness Resources for Lawyers

This week kicks off the Florida Bar’s Attorney Health and Wellness Month.

A recent study of young attorneys found that one of their sources of stress is not feeling like they have sources of support regarding wellness. While we need to make sure that attorneys have institutional support, in the meantime it is helpful to be familiar with existing resources from multiple sources. Below are a few resources specifically targeted to lawyers and their concerns.

A woman plays in handstand on a beach with a brown dog in the background

Well-Being Toolkit for Lawyers and Legal Employers Why should we focus on attorney well being? According to author Anne Brafford, it’s good for business, good for clients, and it’s the right thing to do.

Mindfulness in the Law Society: Every Monday MILS hosts a 30 minute virtual meditations and mindfulness session. The sessions are at 4pm in each time zone, but you can sign up for any session regardless of your actual location.

The Florida Bar’s Health and Wellness Center A comprehensive place for CLEs and more.

Florida Bar Podcast on Attorney Mental Health and Wellness. You can listen right in your browser, or through your podcast app. You can access the full article discussed is here: What Makes Lawyers Happy? A Data-Driven Prescription to Redefine Professional Success.

A Beginner’s Guide to Meditation A previous blog where I’ve explained how to start a 10 minute daily meditation practice - no fancy apps or equipment needed.

We also have a 5 minute deskside yoga sequence that can be done anytime you need a little reset. It’s amazing what even 5 minutes of breathing and thoughtful movement can do for your well being.

Next week I’m launching a 5 Day Wellness Challenge, so stay tuned for details. Make sure you’re following Do Justly Now on instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to stay up to date on all our latest.