Message from Director

Welcome to the fourth annual statewide edition of Sidebar. This year, the focus is mindfulness and meditation. While these words are often used interchangeably, they are not the same thing. These practices do, however, complement each other.

Sadly, we are seeing a sharp escalation in the number of lawyers choosing to die by suicide. Some of these suicides are not due to depression, per se, but more an existential sense of futility and loss of a sense of connection to others, themselves, and a meaningful life. Mindfulness and meditation do more than reduce stress, sharpen focus, increase productivity, and calm the nervous system. They connect us to a deeper part of ourselves than just our fragile, ego-based, image or idea of who we think we are or want to be. We are so much more. (The most recent LAP Column, Weather Patterns, expands on this idea).

So many of you across the state have reached out with stories of new awareness, awakening, and transformation—usually coming about as a result of some kind of unexpected, painful curveball that life has thrown you. These situations have a way of destabilizing our automatic ego functioning and responses. And, if we let them, they can connect us to the deeper part of ourselves. The personal transformations these curve balls can foster are much more common amongst our brethren than most lawyers and judges realize. Part of our aim with Sidebar is to equip readers with a wealth and variety of tools and resources to aid in this process. I hope you find something useful to you in this edition.

Robynn E. Moraites
Director, NC Lawyer Assistance Program

If you are interested in contributing your own story to the Sidebar, click here. The Sidebar is supported by the stories of our readers, and we appreciate your contributions.