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Down Time

To everything, there is a season. To everything there is a beginning, a middle and an end.  And the end is a harbinger of the beginning to come, renewing the cycle.

So it is with families; so it is with The Firm, so it is with Life.

Summer is intended to be a down time, a reflecting time, a time to recharge our energies required through the rest of the year.  Rarely, if ever since my childhood, has my family followed this sage advice. I can't say that we accomplished that this summer, but this week we are certainly making a dent in it.

Summer started well intentioned enough, travel galore but all of it work connected and work immersed. We travelled with the kids but the time together had to be scheduled to happen.

Summer started well intentioned enough, a concious change of attitude, heralding in a more relaxed approach to saving the world, one family at a time. But that new-found attitude was quickly and continuously challenged with the unrelenting demands of running a large firm with huge responsibilites for 30 plus families within the firm and hundred plus families that we serve at any given time.

Summer started well intentioned enough, a committment to return to music, gardening and meditation. The guitar was heard again throughout the house, the grounds brought a bit more into shape and the floor saw a tad more of me in the quiet hours. But the best laid plans...

All of it led up to this week, this week of down time, this week reserved on our calendar as if it were holy. This is a week of a different kind of work, work devoted to giving space, space to be (and perhaps not to do), space to explore (and perhaps not to analyze) and space to feel (and perhaps not to critique). This was our week of down time.

By personal report and by all appearances, my famiy is using this time well. 

As is always true as this time of the year draws to a close, the families we serve are using this time well to re-examine, re-adjust and re-organize their lives.

The Firm is also going through a transition, jettisoning some, gaining others, re-visioning our mission to serve intelligently, strategically and affordably.

And Life, ever abundant, absolutely undeniable, crashes in upon our shores like the constancy of waves, wraps us tightly like a warm blanket on a cold night, and demands our attention and service like a bonfire consuming every piece of tinder.

That force is a constant. Our immersion in it is unavoidable. But our consumption by it must be tempered by the change of the seasons, lest we lose our way.

For it is only by having a down time that we can have an up time.  With no down time, our ups become more plains than peaks. And Life is seldom, solely a flatland.

This is the season then, this is the week for my downtime.

Next week is a different story...

Michael Manely

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