The choice:

fitting myself to the system or communicating myself, ‘in my full stature and proportion,’ through the work and the way I choose to do it.

–Linda Alvarez

The common experience is that the man fits himself as well as he can to the customary details of that work or trade he falls into, and tends it as a dog turns a spit. Then is he a part of the machine he moves; the man is lost.

Until he can manage to communicate himself to others in his full stature and proportion, he does not yet find his vocation.  He must find in that an outlet for his character, so that he may justify his work to their eyes.

If the labor is mean, let him by his thinking and character make it liberal.  Whatever he knows and thinks, whatever in his apprehension is worth doing, that let him communicate, or men will never know and honor him aright.

Foolish, whenever you take the meanness and formality of that thing you do, instead of converting it into the obedient spiracle of your character and aims.”

— Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Spiritual Laws”

After seeing what was required to fit into the system of traditional practice of law, I realized that I was wholly capable of succeeding in that milieu and also realized that to do so would be antithetical to my character and aims.  A change was imperative. I began searching for what I would/should/could do instead, trying to make a plan, trying to imagine a new direction, a new occupation, and to “get it right” this time.

Available time planners and self-help books seemed to belong in one of two categories.  On the one hand, I found plenty of systems for those who already knew their calling—had fully imagined a new direction and were committed to that new path—and just needed a tool for organizing workflow.  On the other hand were a multitude of voices that advised finding and following a “bliss” regardless of financial imperatives.  (I noticed that most of their examples described people who had a spouse paying the way while the bliss-follower built the new dream.)

I did not have the option to quit my job and chase a dream with no visible means of support; nor did I have the energy to start a new career from scratch while simultaneously maintaining the one I was in.  Filling out questionnaires in workbooks and doing end-of-chapter exercises to illuminate my true bliss did not lead to ACTION.  It all left me feeling hopeless at the thought of all the re-schooling and re-tooling I’d need to leave the law.

I was yearning for a whole-hearted livelihood, not a job or career from which I would endlessly strain towards escape.  And I wanted to find a way to sustain my momentum and motivation once a choice had been made.  I needed a way to keep myself moving forward, bringing my dreams to fruition rather than watching them fade in the face of daily obligations and obstacles.  Unable to find a planner or system to fit my needs, I developed my own—the  Flourishment Planner—to discover and bring into being my new career.

Using techniques designed to access my unspoken intuition (right-brain), and circumventing my logical, discursive mind (left-brain), the Flourishment Planner gave me a way to approach all the questions in my life from an open-minded state.  Using it allowed me to meet and maintain the rhythms of my existing career while, at the same time, observing and learning from the more secret rhythms of my heart.  My Flourishment planner provided a gentle reflection revealing the deep ideals that my discursive mind had been actively discounting, dismissing, or even suppressing.

This led to an unexpected discovery: it wasn’t the law from which I needed to escape.  It was the customary way that law was practiced that was my oppressor.
As I lived my Flourishment planning, I began to see ways that I could convert the practice of law into an ‘obedient spiracle of my character and aims‘.  I am astonished to find myself still practicing law.  I never expected to remain a lawyer; yet, I now have a practice that is holistic and peace-making, that is aligned with my values and my vision of a better world.

I offer a powerful new way for my clients to enter into their own endeavors and interact in business relationships.  This new way of practicing law accepts that conflict is as natural as thunder and rain, that we can plan for it and engage it safely and powerfully.  When disagreements arise, we can turn them into opportunities for creativity—harnessing the energy to generate more power for all involved.  This allows each person to reach for their highest goals rather than experiencing disagreement as a destructive force from which we must shelter.

It also demonstrates the falsity of  the belief that there is only limited shelter—a belief that so often leads us to try and shove the other out into the harsh elements.  (for more about my legal practice)

With the transformation of my own thinking and livelihood, I realized that Flourishment planning opened for me a whole new way of traveling life’s journey.  A way that illuminated my experiences and decision-making by engaging my logical skills in tandem with the wordless way my heart has of knowing.   I was learning to honor and call upon both the subtle wisdom of my heart and my valuable analytical abilities. Transforming my critical thinker from governor to partner of my heart has released my creativity and energy.  I now have an experiential understanding of the word “empowered”; and I am eager to share the experience.  Join the Flourishment community.

Each man has his own vocation.  The talent is the call.  There is one direction in which all space is open to him.  He has faculties silently inviting him thither to endless exertion.
He is like a ship in a river; he runs against obstructions on every side but one, on that side all obstruction is taken away and he sweeps serenely over a deepening channel into a in infinite sea.
This talent and this call depend on his organization, or the mode in which the general soul incarnates itself in him.
He inclines to do something which is easy to him and good when it is done, but which no other man can do.  He has no rival.  For the more truly he consults his own powers, the more difference will his work exhibit from the work of any other.
His ambition is exactly proportioned to his powers.  The height of the pinnacle is determined by the breadth of the base.

Every man has this call of the power to do somewhat unique, and no man has any other call.  The pretence that he has another call, a summons by name and personal election and outward “signs that mark him extraordinary, and not in the roll of common men,” is fanaticism, and betrays obtuseness to perceive that there is one mind in all the individuals, and no respect of persons therein.”

— Emerson from “Spiritual Laws”

1 comment to The choice:

  • Seven years cancer-free, and a visit to my oncologist’s office still returns me to my most vulnerable. My Flourishment Planner creates a safe and comfortable space while I sit in the waiting room.

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