Zen and the Art of Lawyer Maintenance

Woman face looking at water

A year ago, I wrote about my love of running and how it keeps me sane. Well, right after I wrote that, I injured myself pretty badly. Not a “needs surgery” kind of injury or even a “go to the hospital” kind of injury, but a “for the love of God it hurts to run” kind of injury. Plantar fasciitis, to be precise. Heel pain so severe that even the thought of lacing up to go for a run was agony. 

If I’m honest with myself, I spent the first couple of months trying to tough it out, running a few times a week, then once a week, then not at all. Then the next few months pouting and going to physical therapy. Then a few more months “resting,” which is code for, “not doing much of anything but stuffing my face.” Recently I tried treadmill running and going to the gym, which I kind of hated.

I’ve gained some weight. OK – I’ve gained a lot of weight, and just in time for my thirty-year class reunion in a couple of weeks. Yay. I looked for a recent photo of myself to post on the reunion web site and realized that I don’t look like my picture anymore. I don’t just look heavier – I look older and more tired. Less sane. It made me want to start training for a half-marathon, even in the heat of summer in Orlando.

It’s not just my looks that are suffering. I am paying the price for not taking care of myself in ways both personal and professional. My desk is less-organized, and I have a harder time staying on task. The work is still getting done, but not as quickly as I would like. At home, my laundry is starting to pile up, and the dishes can usually wait until morning. My energy level has declined and it shows.

The good news is that I am sure I’m not the only 48-year old woman to have put on weight since her high school graduation. The bad news? I’m a 48-year old woman, and a stressed-out woman lawyer at that.

My friend, Jeena Cho and her co-author, Karen Gifford, have been on tour promoting their book, The Anxious Lawyer, and talking to groups of lawyers across the country about mindfulness. If you haven’t read the book yet, go get it. It explains the how and the why of meditation for lawyers, and it’s not what my husband would call, “New Age Transcendental Hooey.” There’s real scientific data to back it up. Running was my meditation, and without it I have struggled. So why not give traditional meditation a shot?

I just this week started using some of Jeena’s methods, and already I’m finding more balance in my days. I did a mini-meditation before I even got out of bed this morning, and reflected on my need for order in my surroundings. I started my day with some clarity and focus, and a plan emerged. That giant pile of laundry is now sitting on my bed, where I will have to deal with it if I want to go to sleep tonight. After that, I’m going to start clearing out the clutter of shoes I can’t wear anymore and several now-too-small sizes of clothing that need to be recycled to a new owner (hello, Yerdle!) or donated. I might even tackle the linen closet! At work, I made an effort to find my desk under a pile of papers. My To Do list has been scaled back, focusing only on what needs to be done today. My Inbox has fewer than twenty unread emails in it for the first time in a very long time.

Control your environment, control your life. Declutter your desk, declutter your mind. Fold your laundry, fold… well, I don’t know what goes with laundry, but I do know that meditation brings order out of the chaos of my mind.

All opinions, advice, and experiences of guest bloggers/columnists are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions, practices or experiences of Solo Practice University®.

This entry was posted in Guest Bloggers, Savvy Solos, Work/Life and tagged Anxious Lawyer, Jeena Cho, suzanne meehle. Bookmark the permalink.

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