It Happened At Spadina and Dupont

Below is the story I told as an introduction to the topic of Avoid Burnout: Train for Resilience on June 1, 2016 as part of the Ontario Bar Association’s Mindful Lawyer Series. I am really grateful and proud to be a part of this important  conversation about lawyer well-being generated by the OBA!  I also really enjoyed collaborating with Allison Wolf of Shiftworks- Coaching for Lawyers on the program. I learned so much from her!  Also, check out the blog she publishes AWAL 🙂 attorneywithalife.com – I am now a blogger there too, among many others.

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IMG_8359It happened at Spadina and Dupont on my morning walk two springs ago. I had an insight that would profoundly affect how I live my life…. But before I get to that, let me backtrack to a few years earlier. Again, I was outside, on a run this time. I was using the workout up clear my head, feeling like the wind blowing by me was literally blowing the messy toxic debris and clutter out of my mind as I ran. I could feel this happening and also feel my chronic worries about my family and my work  being pushed to the back of my mind by the wind. I really needed my regular runs for this – to manage my stress. I depended on them.

Shortly after that experience I developed nasty pain in my hip and IT band and was advised to stop running. This hit me hard on a number of levels. Fear set in. How would I cope without it? I had prided myself on taking good care of myself – how could I have let myself get injured? I would miss the feeling of freedom and near euphoria and I got from running. With these thoughts, and feelings, down, down, down I went into a downward spiral of negativity, driven by fear.  Yuck.

Now, happily I have a dog and she needs to be walked if not run. Happily, I am a coach and have been my longest standing client for 11 years. Happily, I had enough awareness to see where my fear was taking me, and decided to take steps to stop it. So I went to physio. I went to a personal trainer. I ramped up my Pilates and yoga. I began walking instead of running.

And gradually I found many opportunities that presented themselves in the midst of this challenge of not being able to run. I was able to be more present to my surroundings. Sometimes I socialized with friends as I walked.  Sometimes I listened to a recording from one of the many courses I have taken.  When I was alone on my walks, I began to have important insights…

Back to that day at Dupont and Spadina. I was listening to Claire Zammit teaching a course called Feminine Power. She made a profound point about how we relate to our life events. She suggested that we think of life happening through us rather than to us – through us rather than to us. I walked and breathed this in and felt a shift deep inside me.  Yes!  That made so much sense to me. On an earlier walk, I had had an insight that I was like a filter for my clients, and those who read my newsletters and blog posts, taking in a ton of information and keeping the valuable bits to share with them. But this was even more powerful. It was about how we make meaning of events in our lives… how we choose to explain things to ourselves…. what we notice. This idea hit me not only at a cognitive level but also at an energetic level. I felt it in my whole body. I felt it in my breath. I felt it in a deep place inside me. I felt it in my heart. It felt so true. I connected it to my filter idea. Ever since I have felt like a walking filter that life is happening through. I have influence as to what happens because it is happening through me, not to me. I invite you to keep this idea close as we dive into our topic today. Thank you!

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Have a look at these blog posts to get some idea about what we talked about in the program – Harnessing “The Upside of Stress” by Kelly McGonigal; A Growth Mindset: Why We All Need One.

(If you are an Ontario Lawyer, you can access the recording and still get your Continuing Professional Development points.)

4 Responses to It Happened At Spadina and Dupont
  1. Paula
    June 6, 2016 | 12:21 pm

    I love this, Milisa! It’s amazing how when we let life happen through us, we are able to achieve so much, effortlessly.

    • Milisa Burns
      July 8, 2016 | 10:00 pm

      Thanks Paula! I am so glad it resonates with you and reflected what you have experienced. Sorry I missed this comment when it came through initially. Big hugs! Milisa

  2. laura coramai
    November 12, 2016 | 1:16 pm

    Beautifully stated by a healer to world that still has a bandaid but has hope to change with shifts that occur through wonderful mindful individuals like yourself…will take this to heart/tx, Laura

    • Milisa Burns
      November 12, 2016 | 7:17 pm

      Laura, thanks so much for your comment. I love your open heart that is taking this in! 🙂

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