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The Wake Up Call for Lawyers
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The Wake Up Call for Lawyers

Author: Judi Cohen

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Mindfulness for the Legal Mind: a 10-minute talk plus 10 minutes of guided meditation. A brief refuge. The musings of a long-time lawyer, law professor, and mindfulness geek on lawyering from a mindful perspective. Tools to cultivate more joy, ease, and wellbeing in this crazy profession. Ideas to become even better at what you do, and save the world. A few minutes of peace every week, which you definitely deserve.
38 Episodes
Are there people at your firm, organization, school, or courthouse, who deserve your respect?If so, are you expressing it as freely and frequently as you'd like? Mindfulness invites us to do that - to focus our energies more on showing respect to others than on burnishing our own reputations. Counterintuitive, or does it make sense?
Conquering Ourselves

Conquering Ourselves


All day long, as lawyers, we strategize, plan, scheme.How do we win this one? How do we show that DA/PD to the door? Whom do we need to step on, to climb just a little bit higher?(Is that an exaggeration? Maybe, maybe not.) What about a strange idea: that "greater in combat than a person who conquers a thousand times a thousand people, is the person who conquers herself." Yes? No? Maybe? See what you think.
New York State of Mind

New York State of Mind


Podcasting from New York City, where there are countless humans, bumping into one another, day in & day out, creating their own realities. I wonder if any of it is real. To me it looks like countless worlds colliding into being, then dissolving, right before my eyes. It looks like the three characteristics of mindfulness, alive and well on the streets of New York: an object lesson in impermanence, stress, and emptiness. Sound interesting? If so, please listen.
Does your mind move as fast as mine, when you’re in conversation with someone?Often, I think I know what the other person is going to say.  I’m impatient, waiting from them to just get it out. What if we could be more patient with one another? What if we could slow down and simply listen when someone was talking? What if we could not be so sure we knew what they were about to say? We might be offering the unexpected, and even find it ourselves: a little more peace.Let’s unpack this a little bit today.
How diligently are you practicing? How steady is your mind? Are these questions useful? And why do we even ask them?I was asking myself these questions all the time. Kind of relentlessly. Then a teacher asked me why I was putting myself on trial.:0That's exactly what I was doing.We do want to be diligent and we do want to steady our minds. But let's not put ourselves on trial. Or at least let's talk about that, on this episode.
I don't doubt for a minute that your practice and mine bring us at least a little peace, sometimes. We're fortunate in that way.And also, here at the Wake Up Call we're sharing tools & strategies to help others find peace, and maybe you're doing that, too, in your office, at home, maybe a lot of places in your life.But what if, not "in addition" (because: that endless to-do list), but instead, just your presence could provide peace? What if you could be a sanctuary? What if sanctuary is right there, where you are?Playing with that one, on this podcast. See what you think. 
Just when I think I'm saturated, something else happens. Is it possible to be with whatever is going on in the world, and in our lives, without getting overwhelmed?Because even when we learn how to do that, there's still so much work to be done: work that to me sometimes feels empowering, but sometimes, endless.Or maybe it's both. Has it always been both? Or is it just that from now on, it always will be both? And if so, how do we practice with that? Some ideas, on today's podcast.
The Smoke and the Fire

The Smoke and the Fire


There is so. much. smoke. The air is unbreathable in the Sierras, and only just ok down in the San Francisco Bay Area.My heart is broken. Equanimity feels like a tall order. I've eaten far too many peanut butter cookies, as solace.On the other hand, where there's smoke, there's fire. How do equanimity and motivation work together? What if we could find a balance between the two, taking good care of ourselves and also saving the planet? Don't we owe it to ourselves, and the seven generations to come, to give it a try?
This mind! Left unattended, mine does such strange things. When I've done something well, I'm self-congratulatory. When I haven't, disapproval and self-blame are right there. Is there a way to tame the mind so it's less reactive? A way to be "unmoved" by praise or blame? Is that even the goal? That's what today's Wake Up Call is all about. Enjoy.
Have you noticed how sometimes friends help you celebrate your triumphs, drown your sorrows, and rail against the small injustices of the day: the traffic, someone else's rudeness, the latest mask mandates?And then, how there are true best friends? Who do all that, but also remind you that things are just as they are, that drowning your sorrows isn't always as helpful as letting the tears flow, and that it's not a great idea to insult or disparage people because it only burns a hole in your own heart?For me, in one way deciding which friends are true "bests" isn't always easy. In another way, it's simple: best friends tell me the truth. In this podcast, let's talk about truth-telling best friends (in a nice way).
Last week the Fool, this week the Sage. What is the Sage, or maybe, Who is the Sage? And can we make it easier for ourselves to listen to them? And what are we listening for? No answers but hopefully some good questions, on today's podcast.
The Fool is an ancient symbol. Some people say it's the image of innocence and openness. Others say it's the image of delirium. From a mindfulness perspective, when we get caught up in wealth and pride, we're all delirious Fools, ignorant rather than innocent. When we remember our last pair of pants have no pockets, we're free. Check out whether or not that's true, on today's podcast.
Should  lawyers try to master the world? Yes! Or, in a way.But not in a "Tom Wolfe, Bonfire of the Vanities," Master of the Universe, kind of way. In a way that's about becoming aware of the perfectly ordinary, grasping, anxious, need-to-be-right, mind.And then in a way that's about cultivating counterweights like generosity, kindness, patience, and compassion. As we do that, maybe we will master the world, in a positive way. Maybe we will become true servant leaders, using our enormous influence to be abundantly kind, generous, and patient. True servant leaders, listening for and responding to the cries of our clients, our colleagues, our friends, our families, and the world.Explore, on today's podcast.
Yesterday I spent the morning in a virtual probate courtroom. What an interesting experience. In thirty years of practicing law in person, I don't think I ever saw the nooks & crannies of people's courtroom faces as clearly as I did yesterday.It was interesting that immediately, I started to judge. Do you do that? I decided which lawyers were comfortable and which ones weren't prepared. I determined who was smart and who wasn't. I even judged a whole bunch of things about the judge.Mindfulness is an invitation to see what we see, but not decide, determine, or judge. The question that comes up for me is, is this useful in the courtroom, or not? I checked that out on today's podcast. Enjoy. 
The truth is, for so many years I loved my restless mind. Whenever things were about as busy as they could get, and then got a little crazier, I loved it. I felt like I was in top form, saving the world. Do you ever have that feeling?From a mindfulness perspective, the problem with that "save the day!" state of mind is that it can obscure things. As often as it feels laser sharp, it can also be moving too fast for nuance, too fast for insight and wisdom to arise.Let's look at both ways, on today's episode.
Here we are in the U.S., about to celebrate another Independence Day, celebrating our freedom from the tyranny of a king. But we all know there are other tyrannies afoot. Definitely, let's celebrate, but let's celebrate something even more hopeful: our ability to cultivate our own hearts and minds so that we can remember that we're not so much independent as inter-dependent, and that when we remember to pay attention, we really might be able to find some way through this mess we're in, to liberty and freedom for all.
Do you ever notice there's a stickiness to the unkind things you say or do? How they stay with you, a kind of grief or remorse following you throughout the day, or through life? And how the same thing's true for the kind things: a moment later, and even years later, there's a kind of rejoicing and gladness that comes right back up, when you remember having been kind. On this episode of Wake Up Call, to grieve, or rejoice - that is the question. Enjoy.
Where Quarrels End

Where Quarrels End


“Where Quarrels End” is the topic for today’s episode, which seems odd since in the law, quarrels never really end and I don't even know if they’re supposed to end. And yet.What if we thought about ending our quarrels? In an adversary system, is that a contradiction in terms, or is there a way to be a fierce advocate and also not quarrel so much with one another? Or with life in general?
I'd like to think I can get away with being careless every so often, but the truth is, I can see how the slightest edge in my voice, the tiniest amount of anger or ill will, is obvious to everyone and just leads to more of the same. It's nice that the opposite is also true: kindness leads to kindness. I notice I can even topple my anger, with love. In this episode, what does any of that have to do with the law? Plenty.
Usually we're very much in the middle of things, which makes it hard to step back for a broader perspective. Yet without that step back, our work can suffer, the people around us can suffer, and we can, too. Stepping back is a way of noticing what's happening in the present moment from a clearer, less personal, perspective. It feels essential, self-compassionate, and full of wisdom. On this episode, hear a little about how it works, and practice. Enjoy.
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