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NKP Law holds Monday morning meditation sessions to reduce stress

Each Monday morning at 10, lawyers crowd into Nicolle Kopping-Pavars’ office for  a meditation session she leads to help them set their week on a path that is less stressful and designed to re-enforce a mindfulness practice.

“We hold it at 10, so that they have had a chance to come into the office and plan their day and week ahead; they then come to the meditation to calm down and focus,” she tells AdvocateDaily.com. “It actually allows them to regroup, to just shut out the world around them for 10 to 15 minutes. It’s a safe place for them to allow the world to stop for those moments during the meditation.”

Waiting until later in the day, such as over the lunch hour or after work, may not be as useful, she says, because people may feel they are too busy by that point to take time off or at the end of the day people may have to get home.

"At 10 a.m. you haven't started doing too much yet," she says. 

Kopping-Pavars, principal with NKP Law, dims the lights, closes the blinds, and burns incense and candles to set a peaceful, relaxing atmosphere for everyone.

The sessions have become an incredible success at the firm with lawyers, law clerks and staff joining in. Even the most resistant to taking part in the sessions have now become fans of a meditation practice, she says. 

Each session begins with a discussion of mindfulness topics, which is then followed by a five- to seven-minute meditation.

“The difference in the energy of the room during the meditation is incredible,” Kopping-Pavars says. 

She can see the expression on peoples’ faces soften and change as she leads the meditation. 

“I have my eyes open to ensure everyone is OK and I can literally see the stress draining away from them,” she says. “After the meditation has ended and the meditation bell signifying the end has chimed, it sometimes still takes them a few extra moments to open their eyes. They open their eyes and as they look around the room, they always look lost. It's almost like they’re thinking, ‘where am I?’ They look at one another and smile. It’s really beautiful.”

Kopping-Pavars, who is trained to teach mindfulness to lawyers, says inevitably each session ends with one person saying, “I don’t know why I don’t do this every day because now I feel ready to face the day.”

“It gives them such focus and energy,” she says. 

Kopping-Pavars says she has had participants tell her that the meditation helped them feel as if they can better handle the work that lies ahead of them.

”It’s like the meditation helps their brain connect the dots for them,” she says. “Nothing is insurmountable if you just come at it with a different way of thinking. I think lawyers try to find a solution with the same energy that created the problem and you can’t do that. Meditation allows them to create a different energy or mindset.”

Kopping-Pavars says perception is everything. She says two people can see a stone in the middle of the street and one person will view it as a dangerous obstacle and another individual may perceive it as a lucky stone.

“It’s the same stone but perceptions are completely different and that’s the problem that we, as lawyers, often have,” she says. “We perceive things to be as we want to see them or how our clients want us to see them. Our perception then biases the entire situation. What mindfulness allows us to do is perceive a problem from a different angle and come up with a different solution.”

Ongoing meditation allows you to break down barriers of perception, Kopping-Pavar says.

After seeing the success of the meditation sessions at her firm, she plans to eventually offer a webinar for any lawyer at any firm to take part as well. 

"My ultimate goal is to offer a weekly webinar where what I am doing now on a small basis is on a much bigger basis," she says. "It would go out every Monday."

She is in the process of creating and offering workshops to lawyers on the topic of mindfulness.

"Once lawyers see that this works, they will want more," she says. 

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