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Realizing Profound Joy Through Collaborative Practice

by Paula H. Noe, Esquire and Eileen Sorrentino, Esquire

2007 - Massachusetts Collaborative Law Journal

After the intensity and the whirlwind of the Toronto Forum for a couple of terrific days filled with challenging learning and lots of laughter with old and new friends (and the Red Sox games in the hotel bar with a cast of thousands), the idea of the workshop that asked me to consider, "what is joy anyway, what does it look like, how can we clear the way to experiencing it?" seemed perfect for me.

Stu Webb, from Minnesota, (and I highly recommend that you find a way to take at least one of his workshops in order to understand the very nature of the Collaborative movement), Deborah Brakeley from Vancouver (a mental health professional) and Jennifer Tull from Austin (an attorney) presented the program to a full house of collaborative professionals of varied level of expertise in and comfort with the concept of seeking JOY. 

The title of the workshop was "Realizing Profound Joy through Collaborative Practice: The Contagion Effect", and the presenters promised that the participants 'will have the opportunity to learn ways to: experience more of the unbridled joy that is our birthright, explore ways to use various practices to awaken greater joy, anchor and access this joy through practices".

After a collective few deep breaths to relax and focus us, Stu Webb started off the workshop by encouraging the workshop participants to constantly remember to pay attention to 'cultivating our inner garden.'

Deborah Brakeley then talked about and demonstrated some techniques that could enable each of us to 'realize' our joy: EFT (Energy field techniques), Mudra Hand Positions for Joy (based on Mudras:Yoga With the Hands by B. Hirschi), Training the Mind (Antidotes for Negative Emotions) (based on Happiness by M. Ricard), The Law Of Attraction (based on Law of Attraction by Micahel Losier). We tried to practice a few of these techniques with her guidance.

Jennifer Tull then talked about her real-life journey as a divorce attorney in Austin who made the conscious decision to limit her practice to dispute resolution because that is where she learned she could be the most joyful. Needless to say, she encouraged each of us seek our own joy by, 1. Figuring out what we want; and then 2. Figuring out how to get what we want.

As the (too short) session drew to a close, we went around the room to hear what each participant will do to increase the joy in his or her practice and life. Mine (which is yet to be accomplished) is to clear the clutter from my office and mind in order to make more room for the joy. Other possibilities ranged from 'giving up litigation' to 'leaving my miserable boss' to 'moving to an office with large windows'. My personal feeling was that this workshop opened up the possibilities for me by concentrating on 1. The data about the value and techniques for finding joy; and 2. The 'little' steps that can, cumulatively, increase the possibility of joy. I think it is fair to say that the individuals left the workshop feeling much better than when they entered.
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