Tag Archives: synchronicity

Let the River Run

I’ve felt like my views on transforming the legal profession and my sharing them on this blog is just a little trickling stream. But now this little stream is turning into a river as I connect with people all over the globe who think the same way.  Several nights in the last week I have had the privilege of talking to amazing women (via Skype) from America, Australia, Bosnia – who are all working hard to transform the way lawyers practice, law firms operate and law schools teach law.  Each woman has connected me with other wonderful lawyers bringing about change and so it flows.

Last week I wondered aloud if I could find a woman lawyer in Cape Town who had done the Women Within training to help me launch the Integrative Law Movement in South Africa. Well, I got an email within 24 hours from the “right woman”. It was that easy. And I knew she was the “right woman” to help me when she emailed me this quote:

“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back– Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth that ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.” (attributed to Goethe – but its attribution is apparently complex)

Of course I had this quotation on my fridge already.

On Saturday night I spoke to a couple at a party about my ideas and they said I should speak to their woman lawyer friend, who it turns out I had gone to law school with. I checked my phone just before I drove home at midnight and lo and behold, this long-lost law school friend had just asked me to connect with her on Linked-in.

I know it’s very New-Agey for lawyers…but I do believe in Karma and destiny.  I cannot doubt right now that the Universe is helping me do the work I am meant to be doing.

I wrote an article last week on Integrative Law and quoted Pauline Tesler at the top:

“What kind of person the lawyer is matters equally as much as the power of the lawyer’s intellect”.

To be completely honest, I was in a bit of a hurry so I didn’t actually look up Pauline’s work before I used the quote.  Today I stumbled onto her website, recognised her name and read a few posts. Wow. It was like reading my thoughts, only expressed better by someone else. Pauline teaches Practical Neuro-Literacy programs to lawyers and other professionals and while I’m not even clear what this means…I needed to know about her work because:

I met a neuro-scientist on Saturday who consults to corporates on various ways of harnessing brain function that I didn’t have time to understand. I told him I want to find out about the application of his work to lawyers.  Crash, bam, boom, whoosh, the pieces fall into place. Watch this space for neuro-science and law!

I was particularly struck by some paragraphs on Pauline Tesler’s blog (the Integral Institute) which I shall paste below.  I cannot wait to learn more about her work and bring it to South Africa. The bits I’ve chosen to quote are not about her neuro work but about the essential humanity of lawyers. Beautifully written.

And yet I,  a lawyer, saw immediately how these practices and insights could help members of my own profession reclaim meaning and integration in our daily work with clients–serving them better, and at the same time taking better care of ourselves as human beings.  It seems to me that the profound organizing purpose that most of us in the legal profession discovered in our early years and that we carry forth in our work arises out of deeply held values of fairness and peace.  Yet as we learn to be lawyers, we are socialized to move away from important human qualities and behaviors that surely are central in helping our clients find fair resolution and peace.

To become lawyers, we have struggled to hone necessary skills and to become excellent at what we do.  Although most of us brought to the table a facility with language, argumentation and logic, nonetheless it came easily to none of us to “think like a lawyer,” the first hard lesson of a legal education.  Many of us have paid a steep price as we shaped ourselves to match the professional persona of a lawyer, pruning away what doesn’t match the official job description  (empathy is often one of the early casualties) and squeezing into the box inconvenient  human qualities (our own emotions, our own most accessible ways of apprehending reality) unrelated to legalistic deductive reasoning, so as to keep them unseen and under control.

Do we have to leave behind essential humanity to practice law?  I don’t think so.  But that’s what happens to us in law school and in our on the job experiences in court.  No wonder lawyers register so high in all the indicia of a profession in trouble:  drug abuse, alcoholism, major depression, suicide.  We tend not to want our children to follow in our footsteps, and perhaps this problem–the loss of intrinsic human meaning in our daily work–is the reason.

Long may this river run.


Synchronicity: The Inner Path of Leadership

I’ve read 4 books in the last 3 months that have significantly altered my thinking. I’d go so far as to say they have altered what I want to do with my life. I’m still figuring all this out but I feel compelled to share the details of the book so others, particularly lawyers seeking a more conscious approach to their life work, may be inspired too.

Incidentally, today I was unexpectedly given a Kindle by someone who knows just how important books are in my life. (I do wonder if it’s because apparently you don’t have to leave the light on when you read a Kindle!). I look forward to playing with my new toy although it will be weird not holding a book in my hands.

The most recent of these books is: Synchronicity – The Inner Path of Leadership, by Joseph Jaworski

I concur with a reviewer who said:

“Think of this book as the guidebook for a journey that connects you to life and culminates in the gift of leadership. His book takes the premise that leading is serving and gives insight to the transformation we must make internally, not externally to become a leader. For me though, this book was not about leadership or developing leadership. It is a book that helps you understand life in a new context. Synchronicity becomes the goal and the added benefits of leadership qualities become more of an after-thought.”

Jaworski was a trial lawyer in the US for 20 years, who had all the material trappings of success, when suddenly things shifted. His wife left him and in a series of events that unfolded through a process of synchronicity, he was guided or inspired to start the American Leadership Forum.  After perhaps a decade or so he went on to work for Shell as a scenario planner globally, which is where he worked with Adam Kahane who wrote “Solving Tough Problems” one of the other 4 books I refer to earlier.  Adam came out to South Africa to lead the Mont Fleur Scenarios – but more about that at another time.

Currently Jaworski co-owns a consultancy called Generon International. He and his colleagues have come up with the Global Leadership Initiative (GLI).  

An online magazine called Enlighten Next describes this as “so audacious and inspired that it has caught the attention of a new partner, The Synergos Institute, a well-placed international development organization, as well as major corporations, leading foundations, UN agencies, and local organizations in Africa, Asia and Latin America. GLI is committed to creating tri-sectoral projects to find innovative solutions to ten of the most intractable problems facing humanity—beginning with the world food supply and child malnutrition. The brilliance of GLI is that it doesn’t work through the usual channels. Rather than getting embroiled in the labyrinths of existing bureaucracies or caught in turf battles, their aim is to work with key leaders across all sectors to create a shift in consciousness, a leap into the future.

But to get back to the book, Synchronicity, Jaworski’s own journey begins with him describing his father’s involvement as the Prosecutor for Watergate – clearly a very difficult role to be brought into as the one guy tasked with uncovering the truth when it turned out that everyone including the President of the United States was lying through their teeth.  There are stories of Jaworski’s deeply meaningful encounters with nature, a tornado, loss, grief, his own failures and successes and projects of such immense scale that he brings to life. Throughout his story and his becoming more aware the central tenet is that:

“If we have truly committed to follow our dream, there exists beyond ourselves and our conscious will a powerful force that helps us along the way and nurtures our growth and transformation. Our journey is guided by invisible hands with infinitely greater accuracy than is possible through our unaided conscious will.” 

I will post a video of Joseph Jaworski shortly  – which explains much of the book. It is an hour long talk which I think is harder to stay absorbed in than the book was. Perhaps because I love to read. For those who take in more when listening, watch the talk and then see if you want to read the book. I can only say that I finished this book in a flood of tears. It is a book that I think is powerful enough to have a lasting effect on all those who read it and therefore in the interests of contributing to a more conscious world, please read this book.

Secretly (well, not so secretly) I wish to work with Joseph Jaworski some day.  I have the sense he’s who I need to assist me carry out my WIG (Wildly Improbable Goal). Mmm.  And if there were an opportunity to go and work for the GLI – I’d be on a plane tomorrow.