In the Australian vernacular a sea change occurs when when city dwellers head towards the ocean and coastal towns to start a new life. This all sounds quite idyllic surely? Except that the real definition of sea change is a bit less dreamy and soft – not surprisingly as the phrase first appeared in The Tempest:
Full fathom five thy father lies;
Of his bones are coral made;
Those are pearls that were his eyes:
Nothing of him that doth fade
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.
Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell
Making life changes is never easy. People will doubt your motivation and your integrity. You will receive a lot of knowing smiles and comments that ‘you will be back’ mark their words.
Somehow by doing what you want with your life you are diminishing theirs. Strange that.
Anyway, here it is folks. I am finally aligning my physical, spiritual and mental life.
Arm balances are not about strength or about force but about balance, belief and bubble filling.
Yeah, I could land flat on my face but at the moment the absolute focus required to leave the past behind and move towards an unknowable future makes me feel intensely, undeniably alive.
Now the trick will be to stay calm while the last of the wild winds of change blow around me. I feel fairly powerless to avoid being buffetted around, battered and bruised. But hopefully, with time I can be like the little bird in this story
Finally here is a column that I was asked to write for the Alternative Law Journal (reproduced with the kind consent of the publishers below). These are pretty much are my last (written) words on the subject of my sea change. If you want to hear more, you’ll just have to come along to one of my yoga classes.
Before I became a lawyer I used to love writing. There are a bundle of little bound notebooks of various sizes sitting in packing boxes in the garage as I write this. In each are sketches, photographs, slippery bits of paper with random words taped or stapled in place — a poem here, an overheard conversation on the train scribbled there. At the time I wrote these things I had no idea what to do with it all.
After I became a lawyer, I did a lot of writing. I wrote long, complicated letters of demand. I wrote statements of claim, briefs for barristers, affidavits for witnesses. Now and again I would write the odd legal article or paper for a partner whom I worked for. I co-wrote a couple of legal textbooks — a few articles on my own. While I slept, words snaked round my dreams with villainous intent. With so much of my waking and sleeping time taken up writing and thinking about writing, I no longer loved it.
When I moved to Australia, I was taught yoga by a barrister. For the first time in my life I managed to quieten the words that jostled around in my head at 3 am, at 4 am, at 5 am. I became obsessed with my yoga practice as antidote to the busyness in my life. Being a lawyer, however, I not only wanted to practice yoga, I wanted to read about it. Research it. The first blog that I ever read was a daily yoga practice journal called Days In My Lives written by a doctor starting out on his Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga journey .
Dr OKRGR’s intense and sometimes punitive Mysore yoga practice gripped me. If he fell on his head trying to drop back into Urdvha Danurasana, I could literally feel his shock, pain and frustration. I was impressed and moved that someone would choose to share so much of themself so publicly and openly.
Not long after I started reading Days in My Lives, I became pregnant with my son, lost my job and a bit of my sanity for a while. After my son was born, any reading and writing that I did was minimal. For a while I enjoyed sending little home-made cards with handwritten episodes of my life with The Child Who Would Not Sleep to family and friends at home, with pictures. Like scrapbooking, the little home-made card is a fuzzy, feel good stick to beat yourself around the head with. After a while I realised that my son was not keen on his mum having a hobby that didn’t involve swings and slides. Then I found myself back writing legal things before too long and so I stopped writing again.
If it had not been for Twitter, the writing hiatus might have been permanent. Something about writing in short, sharp bursts of conversation and listening to debates and discussion bubble up over everything from the best cup of coffee in Sydney to how to best wake up the rather foul smelling person who has just fallen asleep on you on the train inspired me.
It took one random question on Twitter from a blogging mum of four to get me to move from writing 140 characters to 500 and more. ‘Why don’t you blog?’ Brenda Gaddi (aka @mummytime on Twitter) asked me. I couldn’t think of a reason not to blog and so I did. The only thing that I could think of to write about, however, was my shoe obsession. Nothing else about me was remotely interesting. I had a look around to see if there were any other lawyers blogging about shoes and couldn’t find any. I named the blog ‘Law and Shoes’.
I published my first blog post for Law and Shoes on 4 September 2009. It was two lines long; I managed to get a grand total of 12 distinct reader hits and two reader comments. One was my own. I was smitten.
Law and Shoes has taken the place of my notebooks in the garage. I can use it to write about things that I have been thinking about and talking about for years. Or, I use it to take the place of my handwritten cards home and post copious pictures of my children getting up to no good. Best of all, I can catalogue my shoes and find ways to check them regularly to ensure that my husband isn’t chucking them out.
It started out as a blog about a lawyer’s shoe collection but through time it has become my journal — my opportunity for self-study and observance. When I blog, I simultaneously learn a lot about myself — that I can figure out how to use a blogging platform, create content, manipulate photos; that people enjoy what I write and that I can make people laugh. The blog has also become a medium for me to find blogs written by other people who have an even more deranged approach to footwear than I do. We enjoy each other’s company even though we have never met.
No-one out there is ever going to put me forward for a Blawg award. This is probably just as well because now my personal writing and teaching yoga is more important to me than the law ever was.
However, for those of you lawyers who do want to write about law whether in combination with fashion, fiction, book or film reviews here are a selection of my lawyers’ blogs for inspiration.
Blogs by Lawyers about the Law relating to Fashion
Blogs by Lawyers who love fashion
Have you undergone a sea change? If so, was it a positive experience or not? If you had the chance to do it all again what (if anything) would you do differently?