As a kid I wanted to be a lawyer. But then as a young man coming of age in the spiritually pregnant early 70s, all I was interested in was expansion of consciousness and spiritual growth. Eventually the desire to become a meditation teacher trumped all other endeavors. The five years of retreat, study and teaching meditation after college was one of the most meaningful times of my life. When I later went to law school, it was always with the idea of somehow using the law in a spiritually conscious manner.
In 1991 after spending the better part of 10 years doing the kind of occupational grunt work we often have to do as young adults, I returned to the US from taking my family to live in Japan for two years. At a professional crossroads in my life, I told my wife one day that I really had a calling to be a minister or some kind of teacher devoted exclusively to spiritual teaching. Moments later I was on the verge of tears when she somewhat harshly told me in so many words, “Look buster, you got 5 kids to support and that’s just not going to get it done.” I knew she was right, but I had an authentic yearning to return to work with at least some of the spiritual content that I had experienced as a meditation teacher.
I struggled for some time with what my professional calling was to be as my bank account became dangerously close to nothing. Then one day I had what I have come to call my vocational mystical experience.
In my humdrum business years in my thirties, I had been legal counsel in the business world. Knowing I was an attorney, from time to time friends would come to me for advice when they were getting a divorce. I knew little about the field except the negative experience I had as a young man painfully ending a brief marriage. The stories I heard shocked me in their brutality, cruelty and craziness. (Stories of divorce turned ugly are legion and I need not elaborate here.)
Oddly, when considering all my professional options, I hadn’t ever really considered actually practicing law. I never had, was 40 years old, and needed to straight away support a family of seven. But then one afternoon the ideas came flooding in. After filling a pad with my notes of a grand plan, I called my wife and told her that I had figured out what I was going to do. She excitedly said, “Oh, you got a job?” I said, “Not exactly. ” That night over dinner, I explained to her my idea of somehow helping people going through divorce with navigating those painful waters with principles of love, compassion and wisdom as opposed to attack and intimidation. I knew there had to be a better way for people to end relationships, corny as that sounded.
My problem was I was living outside my hometown of Kansas City. I had no office, no clients, very little money, and no idea of how to actually to do the logistics of family law. Hell, I didn’t even know where the courthouse was. Grandiose as it sounds to call my idea about all this my vocational mystical experience, it truly was just that. It provided me with the inspiration and energy to go to Kansas City ahead of my family, find an office, and begin the myriad of tasks it took to start from scratch in hatching a holistic law practice.
That was many many years ago and I feel blessed every day with the opportunity to do this work.