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July 01, 2017

Mindfulness 101: Navigating the New Normal and Increasing Your Productivity Through Mindfulness

Debi Galler

The business of law has undergone a radical shift in the last few years. How we communicate and the speed of communication has dramatically changed. In addition, there is a seismic shift away from paper to going “paperless,” and with that shift we face ever-increasing challenges because of the shift to the digital world (think Panama Papers). In the words of Dorothy when she first stepped out into the magical, beautiful, and dangerous Land of Oz, “Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore. We must be over the rainbow.” Many lawyers share this feeling of being plunked down into a strange and unfamiliar world.

As we are flung into this new normal, some of us may tend to resist these changes. (“I’m used to doing things my way, why should I have to change”—sound familiar?) Mindfulness helps us overcome our resistance to the oncoming freight train of change because it helps us learn to accept what is.

Mindfulness can help us learn to be okay with some discomfort; we don’t have to push away or avoid unpleasant feelings. By simply being with these unpleasant feelings, we often find that this, too, shall pass. Once we get through unpleasant feelings, we can see opportunity in what we once perceived to be an obstacle. Let’s face it, at the end of the day one of our greatest challenges is increasing our productivity. Rather than resisting change, you may find that you can embrace (some) change, which may help you increase your productivity. But first you must overcome your resistance.

As stated by Jon Kabat-Zinn in his 1994 book, Wherever You Go, There You Are:

When we let go of wanting something else to happen in this moment, we are taking a profound step toward being able to encounter what is here now. If we hope to go anywhere or develop ourselves in any way, we can only step from where we are standing. If we don’t really know where we are standing—a knowing that comes directly from the cultivation of mindfulness—we may only go in circles, for all our efforts and expectations. So, in meditation practice, the best way to get somewhere is to let go of trying to get anywhere at all.

So, let’s take a few minutes and not try to get anywhere at all. Take a few moments and sit in an upright and stable posture. Lower or close your eyes. Bring awareness to your breath. Follow the in breath, follow the out breath. When you notice that your mind has wandered, gently return awareness to your breath. When you finish, see if you might be more amenable to releasing your resistance and finding an opportunity!

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Debi Galler


Debi Galler is general counsel for Green Street Power Partners (the company is based in New York; she works in the Tallahassee, Florida, office). She has an extensive background in real estate, as well as transactional and corporate bankruptcy matters. She writes and teaches on mindfulness. She may be reached at [email protected].