If you read this blog, you know that I travel quite a bit for work. My work hauls me to the far corners of the earth. I see the best and the worst on offer. I've canvassed neighborhoods in rural Texas looking for clues. I've driven down "hollars" in eastern Washington to locate unsavory characters. I've found witnesses in trailer parks in northern Florida. I've interviewed multi-millionaires in swank restaurants.
I've seen and talked to people from all walks of life. The one thing I can always count on is the people are always interesting. One unsheathed a Colt .45 caliber Model 1900 hand gun and pointed it in my face. Another (Crystal blue left eye boring a hole through me while the lazy, cloudy right eye looked off in the distance at god-knows-what) racked a 20 gauge round into his vintage Winchester 1300 and shoved it in my general direction. Yet another chased round and round the ruined sofa in the front yard with - what appeared to be a Royal Industries model 112 - ice pick while I maintained a perfect reciprocal position, circling the sofa until we came to terms.
What I'm trying to say is, the work is nothing if not interesting.
I do it for the money. I make no bones about it. I'm here to make a living. But there's no amount of money that would keep me going back into these insane situations without the work having meaning. And I feel my work has meaning. I help citizens accused of horrible crimes. I help their legal teams tell better stories. I help their attorneys find facts that help the case for the defense. I love this work.
My clients are attorneys. Their clients are accused. The state has virtually unlimited resources. Our side does not. I know for a fact that there are too many people incarcerated in our country for crimes they did not commit. I've met several of them. I've worked on some of their cases.
In my travels, between the guns and the ice picks, I always try to find some time to take care of myself. For the past several hundred days, I've been doing a much better job of taking time for self care than in the past. I've managed to take in a yoga practice every day and it makes a difference.
I may be the only yogi PI in the country. I'm okay with that. I've grown comfortable with being a little bit different.
I had a long discussion with a co-worker several months ago who felt my yoga was, somehow, encroaching on my ability to do my job. I'd been getting up at 4:30 every day to get my practice in before the work day started. Everyone else on the team arrived to the work (they're scattered across the country) between 8:00 and 10:00 in the am. I couldn't see how my "me time" was interfering, but there we were having a discussion (I use the term discussion, because I refuse to let myself believe I was getting sucked into an argument.) about how I took too much time to "do yoga."
Here's the thing: My work is (like everyone else's work on earth) important. The stakes are high and peoples actual lives are on the line. That, in my estimation, means the self care is all the more important.
My friend Andrea, the yogini with the shock of dreadlocks atop a tiny frame, and I talked about the necessity to take care of myself when we first met for a private session. I felt it necessary to explain to her that my work was stressful and I needed to make the time to practice. I wanted to improve my practice and learn the best alignment and breathing and postures. She smiled that huge smile she has and said, "Of course you need to take time to care for yourself. Shit," she said, "we all do."
"Of course you need to take care of yourself. Shit, we all do."
- A. Price
There it is. I've worked my way all the way around the sofa again.
Everybody's work is important. Everybody's work has meaning. Everybody needs to take care of themselves.
Maybe you don't stare down the barrel of as many firearms as I do. You likely don't have to navigate your way around a ruined sofa in front of a shanty to avoid being stabbed by an ice pick, Royal Industries Model 112. But I'm guessing people depend on you to do your work. I'm guessing your work mattes to you. I'm guessing you take pride in your work and you want to do the very best you can. Right?
So, to that end: Take some time to take care you yourself. If yoga's not your thing, hit the gym. Take a swim. Dust off that Specialized S-Works Roubaix McLaren Dura-Ace Di2 and take her out for a spin. Or - take a long walk. Just take some time to care for you.