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Sitting Quietly

“Sitting quietly, doing nothing, Spring comes, and the grass grows, by itself.”
Basho

In our training, in our daily awareness of all of our cases and all the lives for which we are responsible, we focus on timing. Timing is critical. Timing is crucial.

I often use the image of surfing: you are in the water, hanging out with your board, keenly sensitive to the movement of the water, waiting for its suggestion, its inclination, its hint of a great wave. When it comes, you position your board and get ready to ride.

Timing is as much about the not doing as the doing.

In family law, it very much helps to prosecute quickly and rather fervently because the longer a case is open the more stress it brings to the family and, frankly, the more it costs. But sometimes, and often, there comes a moment in a family law matter when it is far better to sit quietly for a while, do nothing and let spring come.

If you move at the wrong moment you miss the wave crest. If you move at the wrong moment the ball sails past you while you swing at the air. If you move at the wrong moment the competition gleefully drops you to the ground with the arm you just errantly offered.

Timing is everything. Striking while the iron is hot is essential but patience remains a virtue. It is yin and yang in strategic life.

Being able to wait, letting the grass grow by itself (like you have a say in that anyway) is very much a learned skill. At first, everyone wants to strike, hard and decisively like the Jets who are cautioned to play it cool. But, while time doesn’t really heal all wounds, time can certainly be an ally. Raising your feet and letting the current carry you is not only the most efficient method to run the river, but also often the wisest.

And like rivers, family law situations follow a current as universal as humankind itself. Knowing how to read the river, knowing that spring comes and grass grows all by itself anyway, inevitably, is key to becoming masterful in this all-so-important art.

I am blessed to work with an excellent team who gets that.

-Michael Manely

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