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Healing heart

Healing heart

On this the eve of a new moon and solstice and on this Juneteenth day as I post this, I bring you an image.  I painted it last week as I allowed what it was that needed to emerge.

 

I dedicate this edition of Soul Notes to all who have suffered injustice and as a sacred holding place for the possibility of:

What unites us

may

truly

unite us

 

~lori a. noonan

June 19, 2020*

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*One hundred and fifty-five years past June 19, 1865.  It would be months later on December 6, 1865 that the 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution, in an effort to abolish slavery, would be ratified and it became law.

 

© 2020 Lori A. Noonan. All Rights Reserved.

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Messages from above

Messages from above

When birds circle

tightly in the sky

and lower

than usual

 

They are providing a message

to all who will notice

Wisdom

from above

 

Their circling is nature’s way

of bringing news

of a change

a mighty change

in weather

 

In physical terms, it’s their inner ear sensing

a change in barometric pressure

 

They don’t “see” the change

They sense it

They feel it

 

Their ease of flight

depends on it

They are uniquely sensitive

to anticipating the storms

and adjusting midflight

 

Whether or not

we pay attention

is up to each of us

 

Nature gives us signals

every day

 

Does it take a once-in-a-century

pandemic

to get us to pay attention

to the signals

that a mighty change

is on its way?

 

Will we adjust midflight

and circle up together

or fly in separate directions

missing the flow

missing the ease

the grace

the beauty

the natural

ability

to listen

from within?

 

Okay, your turn:

What does easing into a major change mean for you?  When have you benefited from paying attention to the signals and adjusting midflight? Where have you suffered from making no adjustments along the way, and instead struggled forcefully against the wind?

 

I invite you to share your thoughts, feelings, and experiences by leaving a Reply in the Comments section, below. Soul-to-soul!

© 2020 Lori A. Noonan. All Rights Reserved.
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The new normal and the value of patience

The new normal and the value of patience

 

The new normal

The old normal

What is normal, anyway?

 

Different styles

A unifying approach

To the pandemic guideline

To wear a face covering

When out in public

For essential life preserving tasks

Such as grocery shopping

 

On the sidewalk

Along the length of the parking lot

We stand dutifully

Six feet apart from one another

Prompted by orange plastic traffic cones

Marking our spots

As the sparsely populated parking lot

Is unusually quiet

And shopping carts are handed off from one person to another without

Touching each other

The shopping cart exchange looks like

A passing of a baton in a 400 relay race that we

Won’t be seeing in the 2020 Olympics

Until 2021

 

I watch this going on

As I step forward when prompted by the attentive

And helpful grocery store clerk who keeps order

Along the line of shoppers

Waiting their turn

 

Oddly scenes juxtapose for me

As they appear in my awareness

 

For example, as I step together, pause

Step together, pause

I remember the times entering a church

In a wedding procession

Or the times I waited my turn

In a congregant line to receive communion

 

I feel a deep sense of poignancy

And notice an even deeper sense

Of patience

Which is not normally a strongsuit

 

Normally…

Huh

 

What is normal

What is new about this new normal

I have time to consider this

As I stand in line

For my turn

To enter the grocery store

 

Mask on face

Heart on sleeve

 

Quiet

Reverent

 

In no rush

to enter

the store

 

And yet

happy

to

receive.

Okay, your turn:

What does the new normal mean to you?   What are you noticing?

I invite you to share your thoughts, feelings, and experiences by leaving a Reply in the Comments section, below. Soul-to-soul!

© 2020 Lori A. Noonan. All Rights Reserved.

 

 

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Forced oneness

Forced Oneness

COVID-19 doesn’t care where you’re from

It doesn’t check for your passport

Or your citizenship

Or your next of kin

 

It doesn’t ask whether you have the new state-issued “Real ID”

With the special star symbol on it

 

COVID-19 doesn’t care how great you were

Or claim to be

Or whether you will be great again

 

From everything we know so far

It doesn’t attack plants

Or rocks

Or dogs

Or cats

 

It doesn’t go after

The winged ones

Or the finned ones

Or the creepy crawlers

 

COVID-19 attacks us as a species

It seeps into us as a human

It takes over our respiration

(Maybe it’s time for a re-SPIR-ration).

 

It forces each of us to come to terms with the fact

that

we are truly all in this one together.

 

So, to whom do you turn as your trusted news source?

Yourself

Your mind

Your discernment

Your wise judgment

Your body

Your heart

Your spirit

Your inner knowing

 

If it sounds like a duck

Walks like a duck

It is well, you know,

A duck

 

And so it is.

We’re all in this together.

Don’t lose heart

Or common sense

Which seemingly is not so common

Right now

After all

 

For your consideration:

Despite the challenges, and even because of them, this pandemic provides an opportunity for each of us to take a humility break.  Let us be sensitive to what unites us rather than divides us. It’s what first responders do. Take heed. Let’s all be first responders. As humans. Let’s reSPIRate.

During this time of the stay-at-home directive in California, I’ve found myself giving the flowers and plants in my garden a little extra attention and tender loving care. And, the rainbow this morning appearing as a semicircle of rays of light above the roofline during the early mist reminds me that not all things beyond our control are unwelcomed.  Even in the most trying of situations, there can be much beauty to behold.

Okay, your turn:

What does the phrase “forced oneness” mean to you? Is it an opportunity, or a curse?  Or, is it something else altogether?

I invite you to share your thoughts, feelings, and experiences by leaving a Reply in the Comments section, below. Soul-to-soul!

© 2020 Lori A. Noonan. All Rights Reserved.

 

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Diving into the uncertainty

Diving into the uncertainty

Diving into the uncertainty

certainly is

uncertain.

 

Would we really desire

for it to be any other way,

really?

 

How boring

if everything

we set out to achieve

or receive

Came to us

with 100 percent

Certainty

and in the exact timing

we think we wish for it

to materialize.

 

It’s the human condition.

Whatever that is

exactly.

It’s also the human ill condition

to expect it to be otherwise.

 

Why are we

so at odds

with

what is?

 

I know I’m not the first one

I know I’ll not be the last

to make this observation

about the human condition

and how ill it is

and how ill we can be

made

by willing it

to be otherwise.

 

Otherwise, we wouldn’t

be

human

Would

we?

For your consideration:

Perhaps each of us gets in our own way, sitting and waiting for something to change by our sheer will. It’s not as simple as merely changing our thoughts, as so many may suggest. That’s a mind trick in the worst way. It’s more a matter of shifting our entire body and mind and energy systems and devoting them to changing course.  Even, though, of course, there are no 100 percent guarantees. Many things can and still do happen along the way.

To use traversing by sea in a sailboat as a metaphor:  You can’t simply “will” the boat to move in a certain direction. You can’t change your thoughts from “let’s go over here, instead of over there” and expect the boat to change directions solely based on your thoughts. You need to make the necessary adjustments to move the boat in the intended direction, taking into account all the elements including wind, water currents, and the seaworthiness of the craft. So, too, with your own vessel, in your own life.

Even then, there’s always uncertainty.  That’s the thrill of the ride.

Okay, your turn:

Where and when have you spent undue amounts of focus and energy “willing” something into being?  Would you say that it helped?  If so, in what way?  If not, what was it that kept you from letting it go and redirecting your life force in a way that was a more fully embodied commitment and ultimate shift?

I invite you to share your thoughts, feelings, and experiences by leaving a Reply in the Comments section, below. Soul-to-soul!

© 2020 Lori A. Noonan. All Rights Reserved.
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Thankful for the bounty

Thankful for the bounty and all the riches

Stemming from the Latin bonitas, meaning “good,” bounty refers to all the goodness that one harvests. This week is an ideal time to consider the bountiful riches in our lives.  Take a moment to reflect on the abundance all around. There’s richness in all the planet provides, naturally.  There’s richness in personal connections, and love. There’s richness in faith, spirit, and confidence in the greater good, and in everlasting beauty. Even in those moments when we may feel less than bountiful, consider the pearl that emerges honed, smooth, and polished by enduring the repeated friction against it.

Let us give thanks for all that mother gaia provides us, and all that sustains us.  Let us give thanks for our daily practices AND our daily bread. Let us give thanks for each other, and our resolve to see the light shine against every darkness.

And, let us trust that more is yet to come. That’s faith: Faith in the unseen. Faith in the seeds planted below ground that they will reach the surface. Faith in the sun and the moon rising and setting and rising again. Faith in yourself rising, experiencing setbacks, and rising again.

For your consideration:

In what ways have you incorporated thankfulness in your life?

I still send in the mail handwritten Thank You cards, in business and personally. I suppose they stand out even more in this digital age. I hope so. I like envisioning that, even if but for a brief moment, the recipient stops to read the handwritten message and knows that I send along kindness and my gratefulness to them.

So whether it’s this Thursday, or at some other time during the next few weeks, I invite you to:

Say grace

Offer grace

Receive grace

Be grace.

Be heartfelt

Be genuine

Be sincere

Be thankful

Be true.

Count your blessings.

Make them count.

 

Okay, your turn:

What traditions, if any, resonate most with you during this time of year?  Is giving thanks a regular part of your daily life, or do you tend to focus on it only on certain occasions?

I invite you to share your thoughts, feelings, and experiences by leaving a Reply in the Comments section, below. Soul-to-soul!

© 2019 Lori A. Noonan. All Rights Reserved.
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Inner, outer, and back again

Inner, outer, and back again

In this new moon’s edition of Soul Notes, as we approach the thinning of the veils and autumn turns more and more toward winter, it’s a good time to go into our inner world, reflect upon the year so far, and survey what is ready to bring in from our fields, both physically and spiritually.

An ongoing cycle

Taking care of the insides tends to take care of the outsides. Conversely, of course, neglecting the insides can mean adversely affecting what materializes on the outside.

It’s an ongoing cycle of bringing in, nourishing, replenishing, renewing, and out and back again.

This is true in nature and even with person-made machines like bicycles, automobiles, and lawnmowers, for example. The list could go on; you get the picture.

It’s about taking care, having an awareness, and taking stock so to speak, so as to ensure everything is running smoothly. I was thinking about this when I took my car in for an oil change. The mechanic and I discussed synthetic oils, nonsynthetic oils, and synthetic blends. We discussed the longevity of the vehicle (mine is 24 years young, and still going!), and what we put in it helps the engine run at peak performance and what’s best for the short term versus the longterm.

I like to take care of things. I like things to last. In case you’re wondering, I know, too, when it’s time to let go. This is true of people, and animals, too. I don’t keep things just to keep them, and prolong the suffering, so to speak, just so I can live with it a little longer.

That is, as long as I remember to pay attention.  And, I do. Mostly (smile). Meditation helps. It’s in those quiet moments that I hear what I need to hear. It’s in those quiet moments that I hear what my chatterbox mind has been drowning out. Sometimes it’s what my inner knowing is intending to tell me. Sometimes I hear what the ancestors, and loved ones who have passed on from this lifetime, have to say.

The end of October into early November is an ideal time to access that clear channel with those who have passed onto the other side. It’s a great time of year to watch (or for me, re-watch as I’ve seen it several times), the movie City of Angels. For you film purists out there, yes, it’s a Hollywood stylized and more mainstream remake of the 1980s black and white film Wings of Desire. I like both versions of the movie, and Wings of Desire is a hauntingly beautiful film. The Meg Ryan/Nicolas Cage version is more relatable to me personally because it takes place in California and the Meg Ryan over-achiever character is relatable to me as well. I hope you enjoy either version of the film you decide to watch, and be on the look-out for the spiritual themes.

For your consideration:

The next few days, like nature, go inward. Take careful stock of what you’re “putting into” things you care about: like your relationships, your body, your creativity, your work, your schedule. What you put in the inside makes a difference on the outside.

Okay, your turn:

Where in your life have you been taking care of what you’ve been putting into it? Where could you make improvements? What are you committed to doing differently, and why?

I invite you to share your thoughts, feelings, and experiences by leaving a Reply in the Comments section, below. Soul-to-soul!

© 2019 Lori A. Noonan. All Rights Reserved.
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What about the human element?

Where are we headed?

As much as I appreciate the benefits that advances in technology have brought us, I ponder whether those advances will ever fully and in any way meaningfully replace the human element.  Would we even desire to have such a world, ultimately? In this new moon’s edition of Soul Notes, I offer a poem.

Humanly elemental

Industrial revolution

Internet

Cloud computing

Electronic mail

Socket layers

Virtual fire walls

Machine learning

Pattern recognition

Human recognition

Human evolution

Human revolution

Artificial intelligence

Emotional intelligence

Intelligence quotient

Self-serve check-out stands

Vending machines

ATMs

Scanners

Swipe and go

Robots

Robot dolls

Human interaction removed

Elemental

Detrimental

What happens to connection

Hand to hand

Heart to heart

Human pulse

Life force

Life source

Life blood

Batteries already included

Artificial anything not needed

What’s needed

is

the

human

element

 

For your consideration:

Have we gone too far with technology? Or, have we not gone far enough? Do the benefits outweigh the costs?

Okay, your turn:

Where in your life have you found advances in technology to be your saving grace? When at times have you simply stepped away from technology and turned instead toward other life enhancing alternatives?

I invite you to share your thoughts, feelings, and experiences by leaving a Reply in the Comments section, below. Soul-to-soul!

© 2019 Lori A. Noonan. All Rights Reserved.
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Imagine all that’s in the highest good of all

Imagine if you will

Where in your life does your imagination play a role? Where does it fall on your priority list? Okay, so I’m not here to cause any panic or self-criticism.  As you’re reading this, I gather that the idea of invoking your imagination is now in your field of awareness.

In this edition of Soul Notes, we explore the ways in which imagination can take you to places well beyond what your mind, your intellect, your braniac brain can take you, and why that matters.  – Why that matters for you, your loved ones, your law practice, your trial team, your clients, the litigation process and legal system as a whole, and anywhere else that the ripple effects of your presence in the world may produce a valuable result.

I realize that is a tall order, and I’m confident that the tapping into the full extent of our imagination truly is that powerful. I invite you to welcome it in, and to use it as fuel for bringing forth outcomes that are beyond-the-beyond, as I like to say.

I know for me, when I stay too much in my head, I miss out on so much.  So, let’s dive deeper:

“Think like a lawyer”

Remember how we were often told that law school purportedly was designed to teach us to “think like a lawyer”? That has its place in our role as lawyers, for sure. Does that, however, make for the best of all possible outcomes? What about our imagination, our intuition, our instincts, our inner knowing…you know, all those things that come from the heart and spirit, our bodies even, and not from our intellect?

What if we were to bring all of ourselves into the practice of law?  What if we were to approach litigation, including our early case assessment (ECA) strategies and ideas generated from those processes into play, so as to produce wildly different and dare I say even surprisingly novel results?

Back when I was a law clerk, I was put in charge of ECA on a few of the firm’s incoming cases, including one involving defamation allegations. Upon my initial review of the Complaint, along with spending some quiet time pondering the underlying scenario and fact pattern, and mulling over the details a bit – a line of inquiry led me to pose this question to the lead partner on the case:  What if the alleged defamatory statements actually may have improved the plaintiff’s reputation, rather than damaged it?  That one question completely turned our ECA on its head, and changed dramatically our defense to the lawsuit, on behalf of our defendant client.  In our sometimes rush to draw quick conclusions, we run the risk of missing entirely different angles.

Setting aside time to think (and then some)

Once when traveling for work several years ago, I was reading the in-flight magazine and delved into an article where a CEO was describing how he prioritized his work day, and his work week.  He emphasized the importance of and the value he gleaned from blocking out time in his calendar for thinking.  He set aside specific hours as purely “think-time.”

I would suggest that we take this concept even further….MUCH further.  Let’s decide to extend our analysis beyond the mind and into the feeling and the emotions and the instincts, the “hunches” we may have about something, and following the intuitive bread crumb trails.

Yes, we CAN bring our hearts into the practice of law.  For many of us, our hearts (as well as our minds, of course) brought us to law school and to the legal profession, with the intention of making a positive impact in the world.  Why should we leave our hearts behind?  Why should we compartmentalize ourselves, and so much so that we feel ‘cut off’ from what we’re doing whenever we put our lawyer hat and heels on?

The so-what:

Succumbing to the industry-wide leanings toward intellectualizing the approach to law means we’re not only contorting ourselves to leave our internal, true wisdom behind – we’re also bringing less than the full plate of possible results and outcomes to the table for our clients.  And that, I contend, IS a big deal.

Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.

– Albert Einstein

Yes, expanding the circle of possibilities may also bring up the dreaded ‘irrelevant’ along with the relevant. Some sifting through the sand may still be required.

The importance of discernment:

Your lawyer brain is still going to be put to good use. Don’t fret. (I can hear your brain protesting already…”But what about thinking like a lawyer?  That’s what I sweated through law school for!  That’s what my clients pay me for!”)  You’ll still need to invoke a certain amount of discernment.  You’ll need to make a few (or several) precise demarcations – before proceeding with your case strategy, for example.  I’m suggesting, however, that be made from the full array of options that only your imagination can bring to the forefront – and not from the limited array that your brain can come up with on its own.

And, this need not be done solely on your own. Inviting others into your imaginative process can be helpful as well.  Inviting in other points of view, and asking the question, “what am I possibly not seeing with regard to this case?” may reap substantial rewards. For more on this, and ways to bring this to your work team or other groups you’re a part of, take a quick view and listen to my short (6-minute) video, here.  Also, for more on the ways to facilitate a ‘talking circle’ so that each person’s voice is fully heard, review my previous blog post here.

For your consideration:

What all would be possible, if you evoked and invoked a spirit of imagination in all aspects of your law practice and in your life?  Where has your intellect only taken you ‘so far’ and stopped you short of reaching a full understanding of a scenario?

If you need help with this, leave a comment below or book an exploratory session here. Together we’ll see where you can bring more creativity into your law practice.

Okay, your turn:

Where, if at all, do you devote time and space in your day or week, for day dreaming?  Or, for creativity? Or, pure imagination?  When has going beyond using only your intellect brought you surprising (or at least more creative) results?

I invite you to share your thoughts, feelings, and experiences by leaving a Reply in the Comments section, below. Soul-to-soul!

© 2019 Lori A. Noonan. All Rights Reserved.
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Planting seeds now and for well into the future

Planting seeds and envisioning orchards

In elementary school, our teacher often told the folkloric tale of Johnny Appleseed (whom I researched recently to find out was a real person named John Chapman — an early American colonist and missionary —  who was a member of the New Church of Christianity).

While details of his life and legacy are the stuff of legend mixed in with documented history, John Chapman (“Johnny Appleseed”) was known to travel throughout New England and into the Midwest, spreading apple seeds for others to grow apple trees on their land. It has been reported that he was quite the businessman and enterprising in that he followed the then law that prescribed that a person with 50 apple trees or more could stake claim to a plot of land as part of the early homesteading rules and regulations.

And his religious beliefs, stemming largely from the New Church’s forbidding doing harm to any of God’s creation, informed many of his day-to-day activities. He is believed to have built fences around apple trees to keep out livestock and other animals. It has been reported that he even helped heal an injured wolf and a hobbled horse.

Johnny Appleseed also was someone who made it his mission to spread apple seeds in a way that allowed apple trees to grow and the fruit to propagate naturally. He disfavored the intervention through the then and now common practice of “grafting” from one tree to another. Apples intrinsically have a wide variety of genetic variability. As such, not unlike a box of chocolates (an appreciative nod to the movie Forrest Gump), you’re never quite sure what you’re going to get. Without grafting, apple seeds are allowed to sprout into an array of unpredictable varieties.  That lends to them being hardier and more able to adapt to and incorporate their ever changing surroundings.  While less ‘standardized’ and less ‘consistent’ in their outcomes, non-grafted apples allow for the element of surprise and naturally occurring complexities to emerge from the mystery and manifest into form.

So, what’s the spiritual lesson in this, you may be asking?  I’d say it’s this:

Plant the seeds and let go.  Provide them water, soil and sunshine, sure; but otherwise, let them be.  Allow specific outcomes to remain uncertain. Resist the temptation to impose person-made alterations that prevent nature from enjoying its full expression and dare I say potentially quirky “imperfections.”  So, too, may it be with regard to your own dreams and aspirations.

With your desires, envision them coming into form.  And, then let them go.  Allow them to run their natural course. Don’t allow your over-thinking and over-manipulating to “graft” onto your dreams and drain the life out of them.  Don’t try artificially to “contain” the fruit of your dreams.  Allow them to adapt and blend into the naturally shifting conditions and environment.  That, to me, is what we mean when we say “to be in the flow.”

The analogies between personal development and spiritual growth, and growth in nature, are abundant. When I started to envision the topic for this particular edition of SOUL NOTES, I didn’t anticipate that it would lead me to the tale of Johnny Appleseed.  Alas, here we are.  There’s more to his story, as I know there is more to yours as well. Tales to be told, and shaped, reshaped, and retold.

The longterm impact and leaving a legacy

Johnny Appleseed also exemplifies that planting seeds in the short term can reap dividends in the long term. As each of us continues to grow in our own spiritual development, the world stands to gain from that growth.  As each of us plants our seeds of intentions, desires, and heartfelt aspirations now for the betterment of all, we help to provide for generations to come.  In doing so, we indeed stand to leave an important and loving legacy.

For your consideration:

Feel into your dream theme for this year, and determine what seeds you’re planting now so that they may continue to grow throughout the year into a strong and vibrant orchard, for you and for others to enjoy. You are the steward of that legacy. You are the gardener.

Okay, your turn:

What are you planting now, in the ground, in your life, in your relationships, and how you show up in the world?  Are there any seeds you’ve been keeping tucked away deep in your pocket so to speak, that it’s time to plant into the ground and to allow to grow out into the light? If so, what is it exactly that you are waiting for? The season is now.

I invite you to share your thoughts, feelings, and experiences in the Comments section, below. Soul-to-soul!

© 2019 Lori A. Noonan. All Rights Reserved.