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Holistic Divorce Holistic Philosophy Law Practice Mindfulness

SCENE: Five Steps Toward Mindful Divorce

Mindful Divorce

Below I have summarized five suggestions to help clients move more mindfully through the divorce process:

  1. Settle
    In contemporary American society, most of us are highly conditioned to avoid or turn away from difficult experiences, emotions, etc.  The fracturing of a family unit or severance of a love relationship can precipitate fear about the future, questioning of the past, and a need to restructure one’s identity and life routines.A mindful, holistic approach to divorce embraces the notion that conflict between how things are and how we have become conditioned to think they should be presents unique opportunity to examine and move beyond this conditioning.The initial step in this process requires that you do not blindly react to this situation by running away or gravitating toward some sort of habitual strategy employed in the past to sidestep challenging feelings.Thus, the first step toward mindful divorce is to simply settle in.  Relax.  As upsetting as this experience may seem, realize that this will pass, and if handled in a skillful way, can lead you to a new level of inner peace and happiness.
  2. Connect
    Once you are able to settle and calm yourself, the process of transformation has a chance of taking hold.  Try to find quiet time and space with minimal distractions and begin to connect with whatever feelings arise.  If possible, it is more helpful to connect with the felt sense of what is arising in the body versus any thoughts you are attaching to these feelings.  Feelings tend to reveal more “truth,” while thoughts are by their nature interpretive and judgmental.
  3. Explore
    In connecting to arising feelings, you are presented with an opportunity to explore what is going on with inner experience.  At this point, most of us are conditioned to employ intellect to “figure out” what is going on.  Instead, try to simply rest in awareness, simply witnessing whatever feelings arise.  With time, practice, and support, you will find that wisdom is the direct product of clear, heightened awareness – not intellectual analysis.
  4. Non-Attachment
    In beginning to explore arising feelings that arise once the mind has settled, you may well find that thoughts then arise in response to these feelings.  These thoughts, as alluded to above, will often try to interpret or “make sense” of these feelings in a  highly conditioned way.  In other words, you may try to impose meaning on these feelings that square with ways in which you have come to view your “self” or your life.The imposition of intellectual meaning on feelings or thoughts that arise can operate to further solidify a sense of “self” that can be very limiting.  Try instead to simply allow these feelings and thoughts to arise and cease as they naturally will.  You will find that by practicing this non-attachment you will become less burdened by learned conditioning and habitual reactions.  This freedom will give rise to far more flexible and effective action as we navigate the legal aspects of your divorce.
  5. Engage
    The above steps in mindfulness practice will facilitate clarity and reduce reactivity.  You will soon feel on an intuitive level that you are ready to move forward and engage more fully in your life in general and your family/marriage situation in particular.  My holistic approach integrating mindfulness and law practice will provide ongoing support and direction as we implement an optimal strategy to serve the best interests of all involved.

To learn more about holistic law practice integrating mindfulness and law, visit http://www.Holistic-Lawyer.com, or call Michael Lubofsky at (415) 508-6263.

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Holistic Divorce Holistic Mediation Holistic Philosophy Law Practice

Embracing the Not Knowing and the Transformative Potential in Conflict

holistic divorce lawyer

Pervasive conditioning from early development commonly instills a belief in the need to maintain a clearly identified direction in which our lives are headed.  The thought or concept of “not knowing” is simply not looked upon favorably in schools, the workplace, or families of origin.  Most of us can reflect back on our lives and glean the extensive amount of time and energy we have expended in trying to project the impression of being “in control” of our life direction despite several unforeseen events or outcomes that profoundly altered or changed this direction as it unfolded over time.

Legal issues, and conflict in general, involve situations that tend to rattle the foundations of lives that we came to believe we “knew” to be secure and predictable.  One of two basic orientations can be adopted when confronted with such situations.  First, one can simply try to deny the existence of these situations and do whatever he or she can to make these situations go away as quickly as possible.  The other approach is to consciously open to the unknown, seizing this opportunity to let go of our conditioned notions of how things should be, or need to be, and simply embrace what is.

This latter orientation is not one of passivity.  Rather it represents a very conscious effort to more meaningfully connect with reality, no matter how painful.  It is within this connection that we can begin to experience the freedom inherent in embracing the unknown.  In letting go the need for certainty and predictability, we open to an entirely new range of possibilities.

When facing legal issues or conflict, it is paradoxically the openness to not knowing that allows parties to move beyond egoic self-interest and access a deeper wisdom within which optimal solutions to conflict can be identified.

A holistic lawyer with extensive mindfulness training can work with clients to cultivate this openness to not knowing.  In so doing, clients can identify approaches to the resolution of conflict that they simply would not have previously considered.  To learn more about holistic law and the integration of mindfulness in law practice, visit http://www.Holistic-Lawyer.com, or contact Holistic Lawyer Mike Lubofsky at (415) 508-6263.

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Holistic Divorce Holistic Philosophy Law Practice Mindfulness

The Importance of Mindful Spousal Support

The issue of spousal support, especially when involving highly disparate incomes of a separating couple, is one of the most challenging areas of the divorce process.  Underlying the complexity are fundamental notions of “fairness” that may significantly differ for each spouse.  To successfully deal with the issue of spousal support in a way that minimizes negative drag for both parties, it is essential that spousal support be addressed with deliberation and mindfulness, ideally working together with both parties outside of the typical adversarial framework.

For purposes of discussion, we will assume a scenario involving a significantly higher earning husband and a marriage exceeding twenty years with no dependent children.   Husband worked throughout the marriage up to a current income level of $250,000/year.  Wife has made decisions at important junctures during the marriage that the couple believed were important to child rearing as well as ensuring that household-related issues were adequately addressed given Husband’s professional commitments and is proceeding forward with minimal marketable work experience.

In the typical adversarial unfolding of a divorce, the husband is initially confronted with temporary spousal support demands along with the divorce petition or response.  At that point, staring at a written document in isolation, what he is likely to see will be limited to the bottom-line demand that he pay 30-40% of his salary to his soon-to-be ex-wife with no end date in sight.  Suddenly, despite his hard work and sacrifices over the years, he will be taking home significantly less pay every month.

From the wife’s vantage point, however, it is not difficult to understand the fear and uncertainty that she faces moving forward into the future.  Now in her late 40’s, with little marketable work experience accumulated over the past two decades, she wonders how she will be able to move forward in a way that anywhere approximates the life to which she has grown accustomed.

Pervasive social conditioning colors the respective outlooks of both the husband and wife in this scenario.  The wife may well feel that her contributions to the community have been generally devalued by society at large, and possibly by her soon-to-be ex-husband in particular.  Similarly, the husband may consider it unfair to have to give almost half his pay to his wife when she is not “gainfully employed” as this term is generally interpreted in contemporary society.

This stark difference in conditioning may be just the tip of the iceberg of how differently the husband and wife approach this situation.  A highly conscious, holistic and mindful approach is essential in helping each party gain a felt appreciation for the outlook of the other, including underlying conditioning that cannot be ignored.

Bringing a holistic, mindful approach to the issue of spousal support requires both parties to work directly with the attorney, usually at the same time.  The holistic lawyer provides each party a full opportunity to articulate his or her fears and concerns.  It is only when  both parties feel thoroughly understood the concrete financial terms are discussed.

Additionally, once a spousal support agreement is reached, there can negotiated particular protocols to see that monthly payments are both given and received in a mindful, conscious way so as to ensure that both parties feel sufficiently appreciated and valued and have not lost sight of the underlying conditioning, fears, etc. discussed at the front end of this process.

To learn more about mindful spousal support, contact Holistic Lawyer Michael Lubofsky either by calling (415) 508-6263, or by visiting http://www.Holistic-Lawyer.com.

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Compassion Holistic Divorce Holistic Mediation Mediation Mindfulness

The Transformational Potential of Mediation

In conducting more than two dozen mediation sessions in Alameda County Superior Court, what is most glaringly apparent is the extent to which mediation participants enter mediation with all-defined, hardened positions.  Moreover, these individuals almost always are convinced that their interpretations of some event or events that have taken place in the past are the “correct” or “right” interpretation, and that the opposing party is simply “wrong.”

Through extensive mediation training and experience, a professional mediator becomes increasingly able to identify when a participant appears “locked into” a position, and then employ sensitive listening and empathic skills that may soon begin to loosen the grip of tightly-held, heavily egoic, positions.  It is the dissolving of these firmly held positions that begins to shift a mediation focus from positions to interests.

Freed from the grip of ego, one can begin to entertain an increasingly expansive notion of “interest” to transcend one’s “self interest” which may have predominated at the outset of the mediation.  “Interest” can then begin to more fully encompass a spouse, a family, a community, or even all of life.  In this way, mediation can serve a transformational function as a springboard for previously untapped solutions that transcend self-interest and serve to move the participants, as well as society at large, forward in more sustainable ways.

To learn more about how mediation might work for you, contact Meditator and Holistic Lawyer Michael Lubofsky by calling (415) 508-6263, or by visiting http://www.mindfulaw.com.

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Holistic Divorce Holistic Philosophy Law Practice

Overcoming Self-Doubt in the Context of Legal Challenges

Whether in the throes of a divorce or family law dispute, criminal proceeding, or most any other type of litigation, the likelihood exists that certain allegations have been made that one has failed to conform his or her conduct to some level of expectation.  For most people, such allegations can instantaneously and unconsciously trigger defensive reactions that quickly serve to rob people of clarity needed to constructively and effectively deal with the realities of these situations.

The typical ego-driven defensive reactions in such a scenario will trigger responses aimed largely at discrediting these allegations and establishing to the contrary that it was the alleging party who was “wrong.”  Thus may begin a downward spiral of attack, defense, and self-doubt that the participants may soon find has significantly exacerbated their challenges.

The initial step in avoiding or curtailing this downward spiral is to take the time and make the space to sit with your current situation long enough to reestablish a grounded connection to being.  Through this process, you will come to an experiential appreciation that the allegations that have been made do not define you as an individual.  You can reconnect with your essential goodness.  You can regain some critical objectivity to your situation as well as empathy for others who are involved in and affected by this conflict.

The primary goal of holistic law practice is to help individuals reestablish their connection to a felt sense of being within the context of challenging legal proceedings.  In so doing, a legal strategy can be crafted and implemented that is far more likely to produce positive, and potentially transformative, results for all involved.  At the same time, clients will find that they have strengthened their abilities to more effectively deal with the inevitable ongoing challenges of life that will arise even after the current legal situation is resolved.

To learn more about holistic law practice, contact Holistic Lawyer Michael Lubofsky at (415) 508-6263, or visit http://www.Holistic-Lawyer.com.

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Holistic Divorce Holistic Philosophy Law Practice Mindfulness

What Is Holistic Divorce?

Partners facing marital breakdown typically are confronted with deep fears and insecurities that can trigger a wide range of emotional reaction.  Divorce often has serious implications in family relationships, finances, daily routines, and can shatter one’s sense of security.  Divorce involving children can magnify these challenges as well as pose serious long-term harmful consequences especially for young children.

Unfortunately, our civil justice system, which includes family law courts, has evolved out of an entrenched adversarial model which posits that by encouraging each party to put forth their version of events most zealously, the truth will emerge and a just result will follow.  This system largely breaks down when the parties, as they typically are in divorce, are acting largely out of fear-based conditioned reactions that are overwhelmingly emotional in nature.

In additional, traditional legal education teaches attorneys to focus on objective facts and largely ignore any emotional or spiritual component that may underlie a situation being presented by a client in a divorce context.

Holistic divorce law is an alternative to this adversarial model that incorporates the following primary components:

(1) Holistic Divorce Stresses Conditioned Thinking and Habitual Reactions That May Be Clouding Judgement

Rather than focusing almost exclusively on objective facts, holistic divorce practice aims to help clients disidentify from conditioned thinking and habitual reactions that may be seriously clouding one’s judgement at a time when this clarity is most important.  This is done by incorporating mindfulness exercises at the beginning of representation, prior to deciding on a concrete strategy for moving forward with divorce.  By helping a client connect more deeply to present-moment experience, he or she begins to appreciate that future actions need not be dictated by defensive reactions such as revenge, spite, anger, etc. that may only serve to make a challenging situation worse, both in the short term and long run, for the marital partners and the children involved.

(2) Holistic Divorce Rejects The Prevailing Adversarial Model of Litigation

Rather than viewing a marital breakdown largely in terms of a winner and loser, holistic divorce practice rejects this dualistic orientation in favor of a deeper wisdom revealed by heightened consciousness and present-moment awareness.  For most of us, we have been conditioned to confront “problems” with intellect aimed at identifying concrete solutions to alleviate difficult emotions. Holistic law appeals to a more spiritual foundation that will often give rise to creative approaches to marital and familial breakdown borne of deeper compassion towards all involved.  In this way, we can craft a plan for moving forward that can actually transform the lives of all involved in truly positive ways, rather than providing some fleeting satisfaction that might result from “winning” or gaining an upper hand.

(3) Holistic Practice Seeks To Embrace The Widest Possible Circle of Stakeholders in Crafting a Solution, Rather Than Alienating The Client

In typical law practice, once a client presents his or her version of facts to the attorney, he or she may almost never hear from the attorney who then takes the client’s version of events and plugs it into an almost formulaic procedure for divorce actions.  The attorney devises a strategy that he or she believes most likely to achieve outcomes that the client wants, while almost completely ignoring the interests of others likely to be effected by this outcome.

In contrast, holistic divorce seeks to include as wide a net as possible of those likely to be impacted by the ways in which this situation is ultimately resolved.  At the very least, the holistic lawyer will work with the client to heighten mindfulness in a way that will give rise to some degree of compassion for others likely to be effected.  It is within this compassion that potentially transformative solutions may be identified that can potentially improve the lives of all involved in the long term.

To learn more about holistic divorce practice, contact Attorney Michael Lubofsky at (415) 508-6263, or visit http://www.Holistic-Lawyer.com.