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Wow, even WordPress’ Dashboard is different now that I’m back attempting to blog…

I am eating Trader Joe’s Thai Chili almonds over a 9 oz glass of Chardonnay at the Las Vegas Airport.  Truth.  So to speak 😉  It’s a far cry from where I was months ago when blogging about being an integrative law student was one of the lifelines I had holding me in check as I anxiously completed and then emerged from the nightmarish cocoon of law school.

The short story?  Ha.  I’ll try.

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It started last spring when I began meditating on my intentions and actively began envisioning how I could manage to make a decent living/improve my circumstances financially (and this definitely falls under the umbrella of “self-care” by the way).  I kept asking myself, almost in a chant, almost like a mantra: How am I going to advocate for policies I believe in AND support myself economically?  A quarter of a million dollars in educational debt I was (and am, thank you).  But beyond the debt, what kind of opportunity was I working on manifesting for myself?  What would be the texture of the “work” I would do in the world?  My goal has always been and continues to be service, making the world a better place — more specifically, helping to facilitate healing in the world, not war, not divisiveness, not convenience or expediency over thoughtfulness and integrity and cogency — not without connection between what feels to me, and to others, like what’s REAL for people and what’s IMAGINED TO BE REALITY for policy makers.  Hmm…  What does all of that mean?  And how does one even purport to hope to “manifest” such a proposition?

Well, I’m not great at telling stories in a linear fashion.  And although our lives creep by in years, which is a chronological measure of life lived, I’m not sure the actual telling of our life stories comport with this version of “reality”.  With that said (yes, you lawyers out there, consider this a disclaimer of sorts), I’d like to make this post the first in what will probably become sort of a collage depicting from various angles of time, experience and emotion what my journey since finishing law school has been and what I am projecting for it into the future…  This has basically been how a lot of HolisticToolKit.com has chronicled my path, but moving forward, I just thought I’d clarify that yes, this is my story.  And yet, no, it is probably not easy to follow.  LOL.  Rather, it’s something I guess I’d like to invite you, my dear reader, into.  That perhaps, is actually the purpose of this post.

I invite you to join me as I plunge into even deeper waters of finding out how law and an holistic mind, body and spirit can find not just overlap but a place of belonging in the world of social justice, in the world of corporate finance, and part and parcel for me, is how this occurs in the legal cannabis space…  That is where my journey has brought me and my triumphs, bitter failures and intimate gleanings from it will be what I write about for the next several years.

If you are down to share this journey with me in any way — by reading random blog posts, sharing them, commenting on them, seeing my posts on social media & offering a little smile even if all you dip into the waters of this crazy world of HolisticToolKit.com is a toenail — it is all good.  In the words of teachers and friends and mentors and collaborators I have come to love deeply, these sentences and paragraphs are being constructed out of the energy of solidarity, affection and a fierceness focused on facilitating critical reflection, compassionate acceptance, radical honesty, vulnerability as it bleeds into strength and, always, more love.

Namaste and more about the cannabis industry itself next time.

I find myself at what feels like bizarre crossroads.  On the one hand, I have just completed what was one of the more challenging projects I’ve ever taken on — law school.  This accomplishment came on the heels of years spent engaging in political advocacy at the grassroots and state level.  On the heels of teaching yoga and meditation (self-care) to a variety of folks, from “at-risk” youth and human services professionals to legislators and their staff.  And, on the heels of having completed a first degree, a Master of Arts in Holistic Thinking.  The rub for me, in any of the ways that I assert my intellect and my spirit, is how to bring a sensitivity, an awareness, of thought as well as of feeling, into any realm of decision-making we as individuals and communities are involved in.

The crossroads I am at has emerged like a Frostian divergence in the wilderness of life.  Something inside of me has preferred a firm NO to practicing law, at least in the sense that we tend to understand legal practice traditionally.  That is, the type that requires a license.  Many times I have wished that a YES flowed more freely from me, so that I could embrace a path in the field of law which allowed me to fit more easily into the various compartments that conventional legal practice affords new graduates.  I have wanted, with what feels like all of my heart, to again, fit into what has been done before.  That I have been unable (so far at least) to answer yes is part of the crossroads.  It allows me to avoid traveling down a path that I have observed being full of misery and lack of gratification for so many lawyers.  It has also allowed me to take a pause and really intuit, really study, where it is I am intending, in my heart AND my mind, to travel next.  But there are questions that have been raised in this in-between space of feeling like I am following my legal path and feeling like I am refusing to follow a legal path all at the same time.

You see, what I have chosen to do with myself since leaving school is work for a start-up specializing in business consulting and fundraising for enterprises in the legal cannabis space.  I am a personal assistant to be exact.  I am learning about hedge funds and what it means to, quite literally, be building an economic empire.  It is not what I ever imagined I would be doing with my degrees and my convictions and my life experience which has largely so far been grounded in the work of nonprofits.

I can say that I love my boss.  I love my company.  I am exposed to fascinating legal and political controversies every day.  I am learning, slowly but surely, how to bring the stock market into my understandings of economics and am developing a limited but real vocabulary of terms from the field of finance.  It all seems like very valuable information when I consider the possibilities for a sharing economy in an emerging industry.  It’s very exciting when I dream about how the profit that is going to be made form legalized cannabis could be leveraged to facilitate healing (via, for instance, restorative justice programs) in communities where the War on Drugs has wreaked the most havoc over a period of decades.  And yet, there is still some fear in me.  Fear about whether it is okay that I am on what feels like a side of something — a side that. traditionally speaking, has been perceived by those of us in the activist community as being diametrically opposed to the aspirations we have for attaining a truly beloved community (encompassing access to health and prosperity for all).  I guess I am experiencing an identity crisis in a way.

There is more I could share here from a personal perspective.  I could share examples of times when I feel like my talents at facilitating dialogue about matters of the heart and mind are being overlooked or undercapitalized on because the demands of my job require me to focus on details that are “below” the type of change I am ultimately concerned with helping our integrative law movement to birth.  There is nagging frustration because a part of me fears that I have signed up for something that is not really a match for my values, and that because of this, I am keeping myself from making the kind of difference I feel capable of making in the world.  And yet, there seems to be a fairly simple lesson in patience and ego there — the trickier thing, the root of this fear, is what I’ve described above: the experience of this as a crossroads and the inner-conflict about identity which seems to accompany any choice that we as human beings make when it falls away from or outside the predicted parameters for our courses of travel in life.  For me, this has to do with making choices that feel like they are taking me away from activism, and trusting my gut — that what I am learning on “the other side” is going to give me what I need to not only help change society, but open up the field of law.