Life’s Calamities as Agents of Positive Change

People, including the firm's clients, often remark that an apparent calamity turned into the best thing that ever happened to him or her.

I do not consider this change in perspective to be accidental, because powerful influences inevitably induce introspection which is usually painful when legal matters are involved.

Introspection causes individuals to focus on issues – usually ones that plague the thinker but are avoided or deferred until a calamity makes these maladaptive behaviours impossible.

Seemingly entirely negative, intense, painful thoughts can; however, cause the thinker to explore his or her life, and those of others, in ways that are great departures from the common place – the place where almost no progress can be expected.

Many of my clients, particularly those in matrimonial cases, consider themselves as having fallen in the world, perhaps to a point of no return.

Thoughts breed inactions or actions.

Clean thoughts breed clean actions.

Possible Actions and Food for Introspection

1. Take nature walks – as many as your schedule permits. Some studies have shown that nature walks can, in individual cases, be as effective as talk therapy, and even drug therapy, although the latter therapies may be indispensable in a given case-consult with your mental health provider and physician.

I believe in the merits of nature walks so much that I purchased a sixteen acre tract of land where I intend to clear walking and riding paths to permit walks with guided activities, particularly for individuals confined to old-aged homes, shut-ins, disabled children, and just regular people who wish to benefit from nature walks. I hope and expect to create micro-shipping container homes with group eating, cooking and activity areas guided by suggestions from experienced professionals. This nature retreat will be titled “Dr. Ludmila Flak Nature Walks and Retreat” as an homage to my late mother; a magnificent woman who dedicated her life to healing and mentorship.

2. Strictly abide by this motto in your personal life: “it is better to be kind than right”. This personal motto may have some contradictory aspects to litigation. Should litigation between individuals mainly produce an outcome that is “right”, it represents a failure of mutual kindness that leaves an adjudicator or judge with the distasteful task of making decisions which are designed to end individual disputes in principled ways that are almost never satisfactory.

3. The future is never predictable because it has not happened yet. What is certain; however, is that change is inevitable. All relationships are vulnerable to the storms of sickness, injury and ultimately, death. Only an ignorant person expects a placid life; a wise person is always alert to change, even though he or she does not know what change will occur to anyone.

The reciprocity of the uncertainty of change, especially change that is seen as negative, allows and, in fact, demands that individuals, especially those in relationships, show compassion on a regular basis. If a “negative” change happens to one, a comparably-dimensioned change is surely likely to affect the other.

The individual who experiences a change that he or she perceives as negative tends to feel unjustly treated. It would be far more constructive to save energy by considering the inevitability of change.

4. One form of change that often impacts women who live long enough and is typically not understood by men, and even women, is the natural hormonal evolution known as perimenopause leading to menopause. Men, often, are intolerant of the typical hormonally-driven emotional storms and physical changes that women experience, and find themselves engaged in a separation as a result. Whether you are a man or a woman, be prepared, be compassionate.

A very wise woman told me of her realization that before menopause she was an “estrogen robot” who was programmed to serve everyone, especially her children and her husband. She explained that when she spent some time in menopause, free from estrogen commands, she changed her behaviour to herself and her family. She insisted on being called by her first name and refused to coddle her children. Her children, who had been using drugs and alcohol and doing poorly in school, and had minor legal problems, learned to sort out their troubles on their own. I felt happy for this woman and her children because they each found their own way. Her story turned my mind to how I, and all men and women, can experience the changes that come with aging, and regard them not as markers of loss, but as preludes to a freer and wiser way of engaging with oneself and others.

From the Principle Emeritus’ collection of writings

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