Meditations to calm the edgiest lawyers

Recently, an acquaintance presented me with a small book. It was devoted to meditation. Perhaps the individual in question did not know me well, or knew me altogether too well. In particular, the donor either recognized or failed to recognize that I am entirely too twitchy to lie down, say “om” and allow my mind to empty itself until it is on a par with the brainpan of Paris Hilton.

The meditation book, I discovered, had a family. In the bookstore, there were collections of meditations for women who do too much, men from extraterrestrial locales other than Mars, people who don’t talk enough, chefs who hate cilantro, hairstylists with gambling problems, and people who like to watch curling, or perhaps it was hurling. Every over-or under-indulgence in the usual pursuits was represented by a pocket-sized volume equipped with 365 variations on the same theme: apparently, all of us need to become more serene.

The style was simple. Each page led with a quotation, followed by the “meditation,” a paragraph designed to make the reader more mindful of his neglects, addictions, behavioral or hypertrichological propensities. The daily input concluded with a thought for the day, or in some cases, such as for agnostics married to people who like poodles: a prayer.

It occurred to me that there was a missing category: Meditations for Lawyers! So, I thought I’d take a crack at it.

May 5, 2010

QUOTE FOR THE DAY: How sharper than a serrated knife is a Memorandum of Decision denying a Motion to Strike a thoroughly ludicrous cause of action.
– Cleopatra

MEDITATION: It is all good, even the authorities which do not control, including the laws of Nevada and Alabama. Consider the wisdom of the court’s decision. Breathe deeply to try to comprehend its obscure reasoning. The peace of the universe will brim up like boiling coffee. Understanding and letting go of needless whiny questioning and blaming the associate who argued the motion is the key to peace.

PRAYER/THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: I will accept the judgment of the Court. I will write a scathing electronic mail to my client excoriating the decision, and exculpating myself from blame. Help me, Mr. Spock, to disengage from my toxic and bothersome emotional reactions.

That felt pretty good, I thought I’d try again.

Aug. 9, 2010

QUOTE FOR THE DAY: Sometimes, in depositions, I think about committing grievous bodily harm to my opponent.
– St. Cauda Equinus

MEDITATION: Remember to limit your objections to form. Do not allow that aggressive tone to enter your voice, because the next time, there will be videotape. Be still in the knowledge that your client is doing the best she can. Only those who have weak cases resort to using belligerent tactics. Stop thinking about homicide. It will only cause you irritable bowel syndrome. Quiet your racing thoughts and do not click your pen like that. It’s annoying.

PRAYER/THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: I ask the Spirit of the Universe for the strength not to leap across the conference room and throttle my opposing counsel. I ask for the grace to remember that her Manolo Blahniks are compressing her toes painfully. I will not allow myself to think about the recent verdict against my client which allowed her to buy six pair of them.

It’s amazing. I feel wonderful. My pulse is down to 170. My mind is purging unhealthy thoughts, like tritium from a Vermont power plant. Next, “Meditations for Tax Attorneys Who Have Trouble Remembering Numbers;” “Reflections for Attorneys Who Whistle in Court,” and, “Daily Thoughts for Attorneys Who Wish They Had Majored In Ceramics.” Goodbye, indigestion! Hello, Simon and Schuster! •

[via Connecticut Law Tribune]

Amy F. Goodusky, a former paralegal, rock ‘n’ roll singer and horseback riding instructor, is of counsel at O’Brien, Tanski & Young in Hartford.

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