In January this year I read a book called Synchronicity: The Inner Path of Leadership by Joseph Jaworski. It was such an amazing book it sparked off a vision for my future of creating a Centre for the Conscious Practice of Law. I should point out that the book doesn’t talk about centres for conscious law at all, but Jaworski is an ex lawyer and visionary so I suppose between the lines I came up with this sense of work I am meant to do.
Around May this year I stumbled upon the website of Kim Wright, author of a book called Lawyers as Peacemakers who seemed to be an expert on all the things I had written about in every single blog post up to that date. I was amazed and enthralled. Kim and I set up a Skype call and spent close to 2 hours sharing and connecting ways to bring the Integrative Law Movement to South Africa. My discovery of Kim also led to my coming across the work of Pauline Tesler, now director of the recently established Integral Law Institute in California. It turns out my vision for a “centre for conscious law” is not that far-fetched at all. Pauline has recently established the Integrative Law Institute which is exactly such an organisation.
As I mentioned in a previous blog post, I also realised I had quoted Pauline Tesler in an article, without really looking into her work.
On 25 June I finally got around to reading some blog posts by the academically renowned and award-winning Pauline, I was blown away and wrote her an email that same day with the title “Wow, I want to talk to you”.
Within hours I received a wonderful response from Pauline, in which she asked me to have lunch with her, mistakenly thinking I was in the San Francisco Bay area when actually I was home in Cape Town. To give some perspective, San Fran would be a 23 hour flight from Cape Town if you were able to fly direct. I let her know lunch wouldn’t be happening any time soon but that one day we would meet.
Using the term “Integrative Law” that I had now discovered from Kim’s work, I also stumbled across the work of Linda Alvarez, who drafts contracts based on the vision, mission and values of the parties. Sometime in June I had a wonderful Skype chat with Linda too and found out she knows Kim quite well through the Integrative Law Movement.
Fast forward a few weeks to 12 July 2012. I was on holiday in Canada, with 2 days to spare before flying home to Cape Town. I decided to take my credit card on a rollercoaster ride (it’s still screaming) and fly early the next morning from Victoria to Vancouver and then over to San Francisco to have meetings with Linda and Pauline. (They don’t know each other) Considering it was only a 2 hour flight, it seemed crazy to come all the way back to South Africa without taking this risk.
So in just two and a half weeks, I was able to have that lunch with Pauline after all, on 13 July. I am so glad I did. I’ll be writing more about Pauline’s work and making arrangements to get her over to SA to share her work on neuro-science for lawyers and collaborative law (in which she’s trained over 5000 lawyers). As I got out of Pauline’s car I noticed this sticker on the back window:
Turns out her son is a surfer I think…but I saw it as a wonderful sign for the future of Shark Free Waters.
I spent Saturday 16 July with Linda Alvarez, a remarkable woman and ground-breaking lawyer who’s fitted many lives into this one – you can tell this when she casually refers to her days running a theatre company, or learning to ride bareback in the circus or working with the wonderful mystic and poet John O Donohue – and realise she sure has packed it in! I will be sharing Linda’s work and bringing her over to SA as soon as time allows.
Linda kindly gave me a copy of Kim Wright’s book Lawyers as Peacemakers and now, back home in Cape Town, I’m devouring it. What a book! Every lawyer in the world should read this book. And every law professor too.
And as I flip through Kim’s book, reading as fast as I can, I jump to a page where Kim writes how she regards synchronicity as “one of the building blocks of my particular practice because of a book by lawyer and leadership expert Joseph Jaworski. His book, Synchronicity, was one of the books that launched my own journey”.
Yes, those are Kim’s words, on page 185, that I had never read until now.
My own blog post on 19 January 2012 is that Joseph’s book has:
“significantly altered my thinking. I’d go so far as to say [it has] altered what I want to do with my life.”
Kim finishes this chapter of her book with the quote that begins “Until one is committed…” (sometimes attributed to Goethe). That’s the same quote I wrote about in June, and which is pasted on my fridge.
Kim says “pay attention to synchroncity”.
How could I not?
I happened to mention to a family friend here in South Africa that I had read this wonderful book by Joseph Jaworski. His response was:
“Joe’s a great guy, my wife and I really like him”.
So, to my complete astonishment and amazement, turns out that Joseph Jaworski, the ex trial lawyer from Boston and visionary creator of the American Leadership Forum, comes out to South Africa from time to time. I trust I will meet him when the time is right.
I Skyped with a leadership and development coach named Amy Powell in Australia in June. When she told me how some amazing synchronistic events unfolded after she read Jaworski’s book Synchronicity, well I just knew that Amy and I have work to do together. Turns out one of her biggest coaching clients is a law firm…
I’m choosing to feel held by a gentle web of synchronistic events guiding me towards the work I came to Earth to achieve. And achieve it I will, even at the risk of sounding like a New Age crackpot.
*photo of Golden Gate bridge taken on way to Half Moon Bay with Linda Alvarez, happily discussing law, life and love as we zipped along the Californian coastline.
Amanda, this is an inspiring post. Many of us look at the grey hair of the people attending collaborative and other integrative law events and worry about who is going to carry the work forward after us. Visionary social change agents are immediately recognizable to those of us (like Kim and the others you mention) who have simply chosen to do it our own way–and then looked behind us and found to our astonishment that we’d become leaders. I don’t know how you would have described yourself before you set out for Canada but as of now, I’d say you’ve joined the ranks of the pioneers.
Oh, and another synchronicity. One of my close friends, Jean Shinoda Bolen, is an activist Jungian analyst who has written many wonderful books, among them her first, The Tao of Psychology, which is about synchronicity (I think Jung may have coined the term). If you look on the back of the red book I gave you, called Collaborative Divorce: The Revolutionary New Way to Restructure Your Family, Resolve Legal Issues, and Move on with Your Life, you’ll see a blurb from Jean, who has used principles of synchronicity to achieve amazing things in her professional life, one relationship at a time, including–right now–garnering substantial support at high levels of the United Nations for a Fifth World Conference of Women.
I’m just wondering how many more signs the universe has to send you before you realise that you are on the right path! The journey may only be beginning but it has started. As a lawyer who has always felt that our profession has so much to gain from a more integrated approach to being a professional I am excited to be a supporter of yours and the integrative law movement in South Africa.
It’s clear you are a vital part of all of this, Rhiannon. I knew this the moment I asked the Universe to send me a woman who’s part of Women Within AND a lawyer. And you sent me an email volunteering this info 24 hrs later. It was confirmed when you spoke of the “How to be a professional” course you had tried to offer the Law Faculty. For good measure the Universe sent me a billboard when I thought about you while walking through the Vancouver airport,looked up and saw the “R Thomas” in front of me. And today, when I mentioned Africa Melane…and you told me that he facilitated the How to be a Professional course with you!!! It’s all pretty beautifully crazy. I look forward to the journey together. And more signs, there can never be enough! As I was reading this morning, these signs are like marks on the trees that we ourselves have left before this lifetime, so that we would be able to find our way back home.
Pingback: … no woman is really an insider | Shark Free Waters