Picking the path: Take time to assess and create an intentional, joyful, satisfying life
Change your experience. And change your thoughts. Once you’ve done the previous two steps, it’s time to go out into the world, try new things and see whether they help move you closer or further away from how you’d like to feel and operate in the world. There’s a common phrase used by neurologists: “Neurons that fire together wire together.” By experiencing something different and new, you can help your brain create new neural pathways and shape how you see the world.
These can be small or big. Go to a CLE in a practice area that interests you. Go to a networking event that you wouldn’t usually go to. Invite someone to lunch who has a job that you’re curious about. Take a different route home at the end of the day. Intentionally focus on experiencing your world in a different light.
Sometimes lawyers can fall into the trap of thinking that lawyering shouldn’t involve joy, and that if you experience happiness or contentment from your work, you aren’t doing it right. I believe this myth perpetuates the high rate of stress, anxiety and depression in our profession. It doesn’t need to be this way. By taking these steps I’ve outlined, it’s possible to design a life that gives you a sense of meaning and purpose.
Meditation on your future self
Find a comfortable seated position. Allow the eyes to close.
Begin to tune into your breath. Feel the sensation of your breath moving in and out of the body.
Imagine yourself at some future point. This may be in the near or distant future. There is a door in front of you. Notice the details of the door. What is it made out of? What is the color? Imagine this door opens to your future self.
Slowly, open the door. Look around. Where are you? Who is in the room? Notice the temperature, sounds and smells in the room. What are you wearing? How does it feel to be in the room? What do you do there?
If there’s a space designated for you, perhaps an office or a desk, walk over to that space. How does it feel? What furniture occupies the space? What work do you perform in that space? Who are the people around you, and what are their roles?
Slowly, turn back around and walk toward the door. Open it and walk out.
Close the practice by wiggling your fingers and toes, and open your eyes.
Access the recorded version of this meditation at jeenacho.com/wellbeing.
Jeena Cho consults with Am Law 200 firms, focusing on actionable strategies for stress management, resiliency training, mindfulness and meditation. She is the co-author of The Anxious Lawyer: An 8-Week Guide to a Joyful and Satisfying Law Practice Through Mindfulness and Meditation. Jeena practices bankruptcy law with her husband at JC Law Group in San Francisco.