TBA Law Blog

Posted by: Pat Blankenship on Sep 1, 2016

Journal Issue Date: Sep 2016

Journal Name: September 2016 - Vol. 52, No. 9

Does your law practice, your life, feel hurried, hectic, chaotic, and overwhelming? Are there more problems than there are solutions, more worries than there are joys? Can you maintain sense and order in a confusing and scary world?  You can, by building rituals into your life that nurture you and encourage you to slow things down a bit.

Here are seven steps to maintain balance in the midst of chaos. 

  • Breathe. Literally. Sit still for at least 10 minutes at the beginning of each day and watch yourself breathe. Let your thoughts go from growing awareness of your body to deliberate and conscious awareness of the breath. Be quiet, be still. Hold your hands in your lap, drop your chin toward your chest just a bit, close your eyes. Breathe and watch to see what happens.
  • Move every day. Walk. Stretch. Lift. Work. Give your body the movement it needs to be as healthy as it can be today. When things start to shift and become frightening, take a walk. When your emotions begin to feel overwhelming, go to the gym or to your yoga mat. When you are beset with fear and anxiety, do physical labor. Move something, carry something, water something, clean something. Use movement to anchor yourself, to ground yourself, to remind yourself that you are still in charge of something…your own body, your health, this one activity.
  • Eat. Source, shop, purchase, and prepare real, locally grown, all natural foods that have been grown with care. Go to farmers’ markets, to grocers that have made commitments to organic produce, and choose your food deliberately, consciously, with a plan for healthy eating over the next few days. Prepare the food at home, with love, so that it is as simple and healthy as possible. Roast root vegetables; eat raw leafy green vegetables and heirloom tomatoes and bright green avocados and hard cheeses and sweet fruits that feed not only your body but your soul with their color, their beauty, their simplicity, their satisfying tastes. Your body will respond by feeling and performing well, which means so much in times of transition and stress.
  • Drink. Rich, delicious coffee, hot tea or steaming hot lemon water to start the day. Beautiful, warming red wine with dinner, and cool water all day long in between. The coffee and the tea stimulate the mind, clear the cobwebs, energize the brain and provide protecting anti-oxidants. The hot lemon water cleanses the palate and the gut and prepares the body for a healthy day. The cool water hydrates the body, washing away the bad and making room for the good. And then the red wine feeds the soul and contributes more beautiful, delicious anti-oxidants to the body.  Drink in moderation and with an eye toward slowing down the pace, taking time to enjoy mindfully and intentionally.
  • Detach. Knowing that there are no constants, that the earth is shifting, that change is the only truth, allow things to come and then allow them to go. Try things on, observe how they make you feel. Does being here in this place feel good today? Then keep that. Does working in your job or practice deplete you? Then let some of that go. Do the people in your life frighten you? Disappoint you? Fill you with trepidation? Then acknowledge that you cannot control them. Find a bit of distance and let them be what they are without angst. Move toward the happy and away from the sad. Leaving the fearful sadness behind, whether figuratively or literally, is part of the changing landscape.
  • Notice … everything. Try to let nothing slip under the radar; try to be conscious and aware in every moment, every conversation, every occasion, every event. It all matters. Some of it may provide hints along the way that say, go here. Some of it may be warnings and reminders that perhaps this path doesn’t suit you so well after all.  But the signs and hints can mean nothing if you don’t catch sight of them, and you won’t catch sight of them unless you are looking for them and paying attention.  And those moments of mindful meditation at the beginning of the day? That’s when those hints can rise to your consciousness and make themselves known. Pay attention to them and learn from them.
  • Create. Transition means necessarily that not only are you leaving something behind, but you are moving toward something new, a life that you are creating today, moment by moment. And that creative process, that opportunity to bring something to fruition that has never existed before, is exciting and challenging and brings growth and evolution. So your daily journey is a creative process, building today on yesterday’s discoveries, noting where the creation is taking you. Create a more enjoyable life, a better relationship, a simpler recipe, a new understanding, and allow that creative process to flow. Put the ingredients into place and then happily get out of the way.

Allow yourself the easy good things in life, always in moderation and always with gratitude and appreciation. Establish your own rituals, give yourself only the gifts you can give, and find your own balance and peace in a chaotic world.

You’re going to be fine.

PAT BLANKENSHIP practiced law for 35 years as the managing member of Blankenship & Blankenship in Murfreesboro, Tenn.  In 2013, she turned in her law license for a yoga teaching certificate and has never looked back.  She has been practicing yoga, meditation and mindfulness for approximately 12 years and has been teaching for more than 3 years.  Her classes all begin and end with a few moments of mindful meditation, and she teaches her yoga classes as moving meditations, linking each movement to the breath and encouraging her students to “sink into” each pose, to take time to consciously and intentionally find all the benefit they can find in each pose. Over the course of the last several years, she has studied integrated nutrition, yoga therapy and alignment, Ayerveda and Hindu mythology, and she seamlessly incorporates all of these studies into a full and rich daily yoga and meditation practice.  She is currently enrolled in her 500-hour teaching certification and will graduate as a yoga specialist in 2017. 

She is a registered yoga teacher with The Yoga Alliance, and teaches Beginning Yoga in the Physical Education department at Middle Tennessee State University.  She is also affiliated with and teaches yoga and meditation classes for The Wellness Collective, Cleveland, Ohio, bringing health, wellness and fitness into the corporate office setting.