Through this series of blogs, I explore the process I went through before leaving the legal profession as an attorney and jumping on a plane to Europe for an adventure that led me deep into my own subconscious.
Why was I on the brink of a nervous breakdown? Because I refused to hear the call of my soul. Every time I heard its voice, I pushed it down and away.
“No, I can’t do that.” “It’s unreasonable.” “How irresponsible.” “Are you crazy?”
It was better, I thought, to play by the rules. After all, I had gone through law school and accumulated debt. My career gave me prestige and authority, not to mention income. The voice I kept hearing wanted me to leave it all? Preposterous. But it persisted, despite my best attempts to ignore the constant nudging.
My soul had reached a breaking point. The disconnect between what I was doing and what I felt was too great to bear. My attempt at compromise by opening a holistic law firm had not succeeded. It still required me to go to the courthouse, where my shoulders responded by immediately reaching for my ears. It demanded that I talk to other attorneys, who left me groaning with disgust.
One of the last conversations I had was with a state attorney. My client had very little money, and I hoped to reach a settlement to avoid court costs. He refused to engage in talks and insisted instead on flying down for a hearing. “Hopefully I can get a first class ticket out of it,” he chuckled. Maybe other “comrades” chuckled back, thinking it was all part of the fun of being an attorney. I had to bite my lip from letting out a rampage. “Doesn’t he care?” “Can’t he see what a privilege he is living? My client can’t afford that!”
When I first began practicing law, I loved researching case law and writing brief after brief. It was new and exciting. I became the office expert, quick to list off what cases applied to each legal statute. Yet, I found myself devoid of desire to do anything related to the law. The only thing I enjoyed was meeting with clients. Yet, I had to explain to them the mountain of obstacles they faced by trying to navigate the judicial system. It was broken. Money won out over justice. Power games ruled the day. Its adversarial nature could wear out the strongest of opponents.
When I attended a small business owner conference, everyone was so excited to share their project. We all wore name tags with our business name. The purpose was to network, learn about and support each other. I cringed every time I had to explain what a holistic law firm was. It felt laborious, like pulling teeth. “Why,” I wondered during the lunch presentation, “is it so hard for me?” Everyone else beamed when they could speak about themselves.
It dawned on me that I had no desire to do what I was doing. I didn’t want to have a holistic law firm. I didn’t want to practice law. I didn’t want to walk inside the courthouse ever again. My attempt at compromise had failed miserably. Out in the parking lot following the conference, I began to sob uncontrollably. There was no way out. I was miserable. Stuck. Overwhelmed. Incapable of continuing on the path I had chosen.
Eyes blurred from tears, I drove to an appointment. I was scheduled to receive reiki, but Lynn asked me to sit down in her chair instead. “Make a list of everything you love to do.” Fast and furiously, I made a long list that filled an entire sheet of paper. Surprised, she read over it and then looked at me. “Nothing to do with the law is on here.”
My head shook in response.
“You have written the longest list I’ve ever seen. Why can’t you do what you love?”
The tears commenced again. My head bent between my legs as I hunched over. I told her the truth. The truth I had been too scared to acknowledge, and way too scared to say out loud.
“I feel like I’m supposed to go away somewhere. To stop what I’m doing, for at least three months.”
“Why can’t you?”
My eyes turned to look at her. It wasn’t the response I expected.
“Because it’s too irrational. How can I afford that? It’s ridiculous. I went to law school for a reason. I’m successful. I have everything I want.”
Her eyes waited expectantly.
“For over a year I have felt a deep desire to stop everything. But I don’t know how. I don’t know if I’m just crazy. I don’t know anything anymore.”
I heard myself begging out loud for a sign through heaving sobs. Anything to help me give credence to my own inner voice. I needed something external to validate what I felt internally.
With a fistful of tissues, I walked out of Lynn’s office and got back in the car. A friend and I commiserated over the legal profession while eating dolmas and baba ghanoush. By the time I arrived home, it was after 9 p.m.
Normally, I would have gone straight to bed. Instead, I put my laptop on the round wooden table in the dining room and sat down. Within minutes, I saw the email.
It was the rental company that managed the apartment I had lived in for three years. The first year I signed a full lease, which automatically renewed every three months. Two years had gone by without any communication. Suddenly, they wanted a year’s lease, or I had to vacate in 45 days. The pit of my stomach hallowed out. I knew.
I knew without a doubt that this was the sign for which I so desperately begged. My eyes scanned the house I loved so dearly. Freshly painted walls. Beautiful furniture. A warm, cozy place to call home. Yet, I could not imagine myself living there in a year. If I stayed, I would actually go crazy.
Before getting up from my seat, I typed a response. “I will vacate within 45 days, as requested.” I hit the send button and immediately called Lynn.
“It happened!” I exclaimed with a rush of excitement I hadn’t felt in a very long time. “I’m leaving! The sign came!”
To where? That was yet to be determined. I had no idea what was next, but at least I finally agreed to honor the inner call, which had been tugging at me for so long. Something within me trusted that I would be shown the way. If I didn’t say yes and go, then a part of me would have died. It was that simple. I wanted to live.
It was time to honor myself, even if it made no sense to anyone else in the world.
And the story continues. Watch out for next week’s blog on what happened next. When you sign up for emails, blog updates will be sent straight to your inbox. Post your comments below. What is your inner voice calling you to do? What stops you from listening?
In the meantime, join me LIVE on Facebook every other Thursday at 1:30 p.m. Today, September 3rd, I will talk about why your relationship with YOU is the most important one you will ever have. Can’t wait to see you at www.facebook.com/thepathtosovereignty.
© Jessica Falcon 2020.