Nicolle Kopping-Pavars

Episode 33    30 August 2021

A fertility lawyer speaks about why family matters

Nicolle Kopping Pavars.jpg

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A fertility lawyer speaks about why family mattersNicolle Kopping-Pavars
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Nicolle Kopping-Pavars

Family lawyer, fertility law expert, meditation and mindfulness trainer

Nicolle Kopping-Pavars is a family lawyer and fertility law expert based in Toronto, Canada.She is also a trained meditation and mindfulness teacher.

We talk about her professional and spiritual journey as she reinvented herself after moving from South Africa to Canada, how she developed her family and fertility law practice and how she now is a guide for her clients as they undergo transformations in their lives and their families.

 

We touch on the meaning of family, why it's so important to all of us and how valuing and nurturing family at the nuclear level is crucial so we can learn to recognise and embrace the entire human race as one family.

Bio

Show notes

Links

Transcript

Comments

Bio:

Nicolle Kopping-Pavars became a lawyer in Southern Africa in 1996 and in 2008 she established herself as a lawyer and mediator in Canada.

 

Nicolle has been a meditation and mindfulness practitioner since 2009. She runs Lotus Law, which provides meditation and mindfulness workshops and training. She completed mindfulness teacher training in Canada and then furthered her training when she went to Thailand to study with monks in the Northern part of Thailand.

Today Nicolle conducts workshops and retreats on Mindfulness and Emotional Intelligence both in North America and Southern Africa and continues to host meditation clinics for colleagues within Toronto.

She is also the principal of Transformational Law, a Family Law practice dedicated to helping families in transition. Their focus is Collaborative Family Law, Family Mediation and Fertility Law (Surrogacy, Egg Donation; Embryo Donation and Sperm Donation).

Show notes:

  • [1:57] Nicolle relates how she became interested in mindfulness, after finding she and many of her colleagues were unable to achieve 'work-life' balance and were suffering.

  • [6:18] Nicolle became aware of The Secret and the Law of Attraction, and began her personal self-development journey. However, she needed a more spiritual solution, so began training in Buddhist meditation.

  • [8:59] According to Nicolle, mindfulness stills the mind and gives us power over our responses so we can create more responsibly.

  • [11:12] In 2020, Nicolle rebranded her law practice to focus on transformation. She brings her whole self - her interest in crystals, oracle cards and spirituality in general - into her dealings with clients.   

  • [16:17] Being herself allows her to move past imposter syndrome and be authentic and unashamed of herself.

  • [17:46] Nicolle is clear about choosing the clients whom she acts for. Having made the sacrifice and effort to requalify as a lawyer in Canada after moving there from South Africa, she promised herself she would be true to herself.    

  • [21:37] Nicolle had always been interested in surrogacy and relates her personal experience being asked to act as a surrogate. From there, she was motivated to help as many families as possible to deal with fertility issues and start families of their own.

  • [27:59] We talk about the importance of family and why protecting the family as a unit is important for humans. It preserves community and helps children feel safe and at home wherever they are.

  • [32:32] As Nicolle says, divorce doesn't have to mean the end of family and children can feel like they have multiple homes.

  • [35:55] Nicolle discusses her plans for continuing to advocate for mental wellness for lawyers. 

Links:

The Transformational Lawyer, Nicolle's family and fertility law practice: transformationallaw.com 

Lotus Law, Nicolle's mindfulness and meditation business: lotus-law.com 

The Secret, the 2006 film and bestselling book that states that we control reality through our thoughts and attract outcomes to ourselves through the Law of Attraction.

The Proctor Gallagher Institute, founded by Bob Proctor, a Canadian self-help author who wrote You Were Born to Be Rich.

Green Gulch Farm, a place for practice of Zen Buddhism operated by the San Francisco Zen Center 

An explanation of Zen Buddhism by Zen teacher Norman Fischer.

An explanation of Theravada Buddhism from the Buddhist Society.

 

 
 
 
Ep 33 Nicolle Image Quote IG.jpg
 

Transcript: 

Geraldine  0:13  
Hello, everyone, and welcome to the New Earth lawyer podcast. My name is Geraldine Johns-Putra and I'm your host. I'm speaking to you from Melbourne, Australia. This is Boonwurrung country, and I wish to pay my respects to their Elders past, present and emerging. Today I'm speaking with Nicolle Kopping-Pavars. She's a lawyer, became a lawyer in southern Africa in the 90s. And in 2008, she moved to Canada, she established herself as a lawyer and a mediator there. Nicolle is also a meditation and mindfulness practitioner, since 2009. She runs Lotus Law which provides meditation and mindfulness workshops and training. She completed her mindfulness teacher training in Canada, and then she furthered it in Thailand, where she studied with monks in northern Thailand. She's also the principal of NKP Law. It's a family law practice dedicated to helping families in transition. Their focus is collaborative family law, family mediation and fertility law - surrogacy, egg donation, embryo donation, sperm donation - which sounds fascinating. Welcome, Nicolle. 

 

Nicolle  1:28  
Thank you so much, Geraldine. It's a pleasure to be here. 

 

Geraldine  1:32  
So I was going to, I was wondering which part to dip into first, given your fascinating CV, so I thought I'd start with the mindfulness and the the meditation. So I'm thinking that at some point of being a lawyer, you decided that you needed to approach this, this other part of you? Am I correct? What's the story?

 

Nicolle  1:57  
The story's got so many facets that I didn't realise was happening at different times of my life. And then suddenly, there was like a patchwork of a quilt of my life and then suddenly, it all came together, like, oh, that happened then, and that happened then, and that happened then. But for the most part, I suppose, the realisation was when I realised I wasn't happy. And I realised I had everything I could want, I had a, my definition of a successful law practice, I had a beautiful home, I had beautiful children, I had a wonderful husband, I had all of this, like, my life was picture perfect and yet I was unhappy, and I was miserable. And I couldn't understand why. And so like we all do, we start doing all these courses, right? We start doing, you know, The Secret courses, and, you know, personal self development courses, and all of these things.

 

And so that was sort of the foray into mindfulness. But what I suddenly realised when I was doing all this work myself was I was asking my colleagues if they felt the same way. I suddenly thought, let me just be vulnerable, and ask my colleagues if they feel the same way that I do. And almost every single one of them, mostly sole practitioners, all said, we don't know what this work-life balance is. We're always like, because I always felt guilty if I was at work, that I should be at home with my kids. And if I was at home, I was not really present because I was worried about what was happening at work. And that also, we don't know what this work life balance is, we're miserable, we're stressed, we don't feel happy, and I thought, what if there was a way? I said, what if there was a way that I could figure this out? Now, would you do something? They all said, if you can find the key, we're on it.

 

And that's when I actually started looking at the Law Society, seeing what was there to help lawyers. Nothing. Like if you'd go to the bowels of their website, you know, you might find an article based on statistics, I don't believe in statistics personally. And I was like, there's nothing out there. You know, they all talk about how we have to be helpful and do this, but no one is helping lawyers and we are struggling and suffering. And that was when I decided, you know what I'm going to delve into this at a deeper level. And that was how I started the the mindfulness for lawyers.

 

Geraldine  4:23  
So you approached it in a very legalistic way, a very lawyer-like way, there's a problem here, and I'm going to look for a solution. And the solution after going to the obvious places, was to look in a less obvious place, which was mindfulness training. So by this time, you had moved to Canada, is that right?

 

Nicolle  4:44  
Yes. So I actually moved to Canada in 2001. And I converted my law degree I opened up my law practice in 2008, I think, I forget. My memory for these facts just elude me. But I opened up my law practice. And just started seeing that there were gaps and things weren't right. And I wanted to find the change, I wanted to be the change. I wanted to, I knew I couldn't be the only one.

 

Geraldine  5:22  
Yeah, I identify with that. So the way I went about it was I began reading books on spirituality. And I didn't have work life balance, I just had work. So that was because I didn't have a family. So I was free, so to speak, to pursue work. So I got into another trap, which happens to some lawyers, which was simply consuming myself with the professional arena. And that was incredibly imbalanced. So I had to find the balance. And so I began to read books, looking in unlikely places. You then sought out training in Canada, in mindfulness and meditation, so you must have found that it was helping you.

 

Nicolle  6:09  
Yeah, so I think a funny story, like every time you ask a question, it goes back 17 stories, you know, to get to this point.

 

Geraldine  6:18  
I get it. 

 

Nicolle  6:18  
You know, but basically, yes, I started you know, reading The Secret and the universe and you know, all of that feel good stuff. I won a cruise, to go on a cruise with Bob Proctor. He's a part of The Secret and all these amazing people were on this cruise. Actually I didn't win that, I just got it at a ridiculous price and they were getting rid of cabins. they had to get rid of cabins and so we got a cabin. And  I actually there I won a year mentorship programme with Bob Proctor. 

 

Geraldine  6:52  
Ahh.

 

Nicolle  6:53  
And so that was really the beginning of my personal self-development journey. But you know what The Secret and with that type of work, it was very focused on getting rich. 

 

Geraldine  7:07  
Yes. 

 

Nicolle  7:08  
And it was like, it was scratching, I'd now got to a level where I wasn't interested in that. I wanted to go deeper. There was like, for me, money wasn't the source of my happiness. And that's when I started looking at mindfulness, meditation. I was also doing Reiki at that time, so I was really looking along a spiritual path. So I did the mindfulness. And then I realised there was nothing really in Canada for lawyers. So what I actually did is, although I physically did part of it in Canada, it was actually through a program out in San Francisco through a professor at Berkeley University, I believe. So we had to go to San Francisco for four times to stay at a Zen farm, Green Gulch Zen Farm. So that was the year long program that I did. I did that program, but it was very, at that time focused on Zen Buddhism, and I didn't get Zen Buddhism, I really didn't understand it. And when I started, my Reiki teacher introduced me to Theravada Buddhism and her teacher, who is from Thailand. And that's how I got into Theravada Buddhism in Thailand. And then I went to spend time in Thailand, came back to Canada after Thailand, and then did my training through one of the venerable monks in Thailand.

 

Geraldine  8:30  
This is very interesting to me, the part you say where the Law of Attraction movement, because I dabbled in it as well, quickly becomes very superficial. But what it did alert me to is this idea that we're more in control of our reality than we are led to believe. Is that something that you carried with you and how does that merge with the Buddhist training?

 

Nicolle  8:59  
Wow, that's a great question. Um, wow. Um, so yes, for me it it was very superficial, just because it was so money driven. But I do still believe in the conscious universe, I still do believe in our thoughts direct us. And what mindfulness does is it gives you an awareness of what your body and mind is doing at any given time. So when you become aware of your thoughts going crazy, mindfulness says, oh, let's just put a stop in that. Where are you? What are you feeling? What's happening in your body? And then you can stop those thoughts because there is this consciousness. If you're full of anxiety and you're always having anxious thoughts, your life is going to be anxious. 

 

Geraldine  9:46  
Yes. 

 

Nicolle  9:47  
But if mindfulness says, you know, mindfulness also says, change the way you think, don't say, oh, I'm an anxious person, because then you're identifying with anxiety being a part of you. Mindfulness says, I am feeling anxious. And that already provides you with space to say, it's not me. I'm feeling the effects of anxiety. And so that's what mindfulness does.

 

Geraldine  10:10  
That's an excellent explanation. So what mindfulness does is it gives you a level of mastery over yourself so that in law of attraction speak, you can create or manifest more responsibly.

 

Nicolle  10:27  
Exactly. So what you're doing is you are having some mastery, that's the perfect word, you're having mastery over your responses, rather than being a victim of your reactions.

 

Geraldine  10:40  
And so you started a business of some sort, Lotus Law, to conduct the training and the workshops, but you haven't stopped being a lawyer. As I understand it, you still run this incredibly interesting practice, NKP law. So I'd love to hear about your practice. And I also would love to hear how you've brought your mindfulness and this level of mastery into your legal practice and your dealings with clients.

 

Nicolle  11:12  
Okay, I love that question. Thank you for asking that. So actually, I rebranded myself completely in 2020, I believe, I'm so bad with dates, because I'm just like once it's done, it's done, right?  

 

Geraldine  11:26  
I understand.

 

Nicolle  11:25  
Like I don't have to remember what year it happened, you know, so...

 

Geraldine  11:31  
Time doesn't really exist anyway.

 

Nicolle  11:34  
Time, you know, human beings are the only people or I mean, the only race who think that time is linear. Time is not linear, you know. So like, once it's done its future, its future present, it's happened, it's happening. It's anyway, that's a different story for a different date. So I rebranded myself as the Transformational Lawyer. And why I did that is I really, it was right about 2018, I really started wanting, I embraced who I am as a person. And I wanted to drop this facade of, a lawyer has to be this way and you can't bring in, I do believe that you, 
I mean, I don't know if you can see, but my office is full of crystals. I'm holding a crystal as I'm talking to you now.

 

I believe in crystals, I believe in energy, I believe in positive thinking, I believe in mindfulness, and why was it, why could I have this whole part of my life over here, but when I'm a lawyer, I have to close the door on that. It didn't seem real. And I didn't think, I didn't believe that I was actually authentically doing the best work that I could do if I wasn't embracing who I was as a whole.

 

And so I decided to call myself the transformational lawyer, because I really felt the transformation is crucial and sort of my tagline is, transition, transform, transcend, being when you come to me you in some kind of transition. I'm a family lawyer so - and a fertility lawyer, so if you're coming to me, there's some transition happening in your life, you're either separating, you either want to start a family, there's a transition happening, and you need assistance with that transition. So accept you're in transition, and then hopefully through the process that you work with me you're going to transform, you're going to become, something's going to happen. And by the end of your work with me, I want you to transcend. I want you to be a better version of who you were when you started the transition. And I believe that is really the philosophy that I wanted to embrace in my practice, in the transformational whole umbrella. Transition, transform, transcend. And I could only do that when I finally accepted, yeah, there's a crazy, quirky, eccentric part of me but hey, that's me. And I'm not going to pretend it doesn't exist.

 

Geraldine  13:56  
That quirky part of you? Was that the spiritual side that was prepared to see the lawyer as some sort of a midwife or guide to your clients. What was that quirky part of you that you were trying to bring into your practice? Because it doesn't sound so quirky to me? It sounds perfectly sensible.

 

Nicolle  14:18  
Now that you say it's like, no, I shouldn't actually demean myself by saying quirky, because quirky is sort of like, ooh she's odd, you know, but I think what I want people to understand is that embrace your eccentricities, because that's what makes you who you are. 

 

Geraldine  14:37  
Yeah. 

 

Nicolle  14:38  
And I think, I mean, I'm sitting right here at my desk, I've got, I've got cards that I'll do with my clients, hey, let's just quickly pull a card, see what it says, you know, like. 

 

Geraldine  14:50  
Oh, that's wonderful. 

 

Nicolle  14:51  
I do different things. 

 

Geraldine  14:53  
Yeah. 

 

Nicolle  14:54  
And because they make me feel happy. Sometimes they might be nonsense, sometimes they're really accurate, you know. 

 

Geraldine  15:00  
Yeah. 

 

Nicolle  15:01  
I want to bring that into the practice of law. It doesn't make me a better or a worse lawyer, I'm still going to advocate to the best of my ability for my client. And so yeah, maybe the quirky was, I believe in crystals and I believe in Reiki, and I believe in all of those things. But I think that that sets me apart from so many other lawyers. So am I quirky? No, maybe I'm just real.

 

Geraldine  15:26  
You're touching on something that I have felt. And I wonder how many other spiritual minded lawyers, spiritual hearted lawyers, I should say, feel the same. That is a degree of shame about this belief system. That  it's on the fringe, it has no place in in the legal practice. So I suppressed it for a long time until I came out into my, to run my own practice, where I felt free, freer to do it, to express it. But even so I'm not, I don't feel completely free. There's a degree of self censorship when I'm speaking to my clients. I'm working on it. But it's an interesting point you raise and it splits us. Its splits the lawyer who feels this way.

 

Nicolle  16:17  
But Geraldine, what it also does is it exacerbates and increases our imposter syndrome. Because if people really had to see the real me would they take me seriously, if people had to see the real me, if my other colleagues have to see the real me, will they think I'm not as smart as them. And so then we suffer when we're not prepared to show our real selves. Everybody else thinks that they the different ones.

 

Geraldine  16:44  
Yes.

 

Nicolle  16:47  
Yes, part of this is what a lawyer has to be, a lawyer has to dress a certain way, speak a certain way, do certain things. And then you look around and everybody's doing that you go, well, I can't be different, because then I'm going to be ostracised, or people are going to realise that I don't fit in. And then we're not being authentically true to where is our moral compass? Where is our own value system compass?

 

Geraldine  17:13  
Yes, which is power, the power of doing the values work, and then remaining true to your values. So it comes down to as you said, authenticity, this is a very interesting conversation. So did you find that you became a better lawyer when you embraced all of that, the crystals, the cards, the discussions about Spirit?

 

Nicolle  17:37  
I don't think I became a better lawyer, because, but I became a better understander. 

 

Geraldine  17:43  
Mm-hmm.

 

Nicolle  17:46  
A lawyer is a lawyer is a lawyer, you know. If you've got a bum and you sit on your bum and you study the law, and you kind of know what happens, you're a lawyer. But what makes you, what happened is I got, I was very careful over the clients that I choose, I don't take every single client who walks through my door. And that allows me to have control over my practice, that allows me to stay true to my own moral compass. And so yeah, I think, I don't know if I'm a better lawyer. But I feel that I'm true to myself. And therefore I can advocate to the best of my ability,

 

Geraldine  18:31  
What you're saying is very powerful about choosing your clients. So this concept of being particular, about who you serve, who you advise, I hadn't contemplated all for my legal career, until recently, when I realised that there were certain types of clients that I did not want to work for. The relationship just wouldn't work. It's not just for me, it's for them. They probably want another type of lawyer. And this has happened. So I have been prepared to say to people, I may not be the right lawyer for you. That's quite empowering.

 

Nicolle  19:15  
And I, you know, and and I think the reason that I was brave enough to do that is remember, I was a lawyer in South Africa. And I was young and naive, and I kind of sold my soul to the devil. And I did everything that lawyers have to do and think you have to do. When I came to Canada, I wasn't a lawyer. They didn't accept my law degree. And it was almost was like, oh, that's fantastic. I never have to be a lawyer again. I can be something else. I'll be an interior decorator or McDonald's griller. I've got the choice to be anything. It's a clean slate.

 

And after about two years, I realised that actually I did like being a lawyer. The law was, that's what I am, it's who I am. But I didn't have much money, we were immigrants. I didn't have the freedom to fail, the finances to fail. So I worked really hard. I was working, I had two children under the age of two, working full time converting my law degree. And there was no opportunity for me to fail, we just didn't have the money for me to rewrite exams or do anything.

 

So when I got admitted as a lawyer, I said to myself, I've bought myself the right to be the lawyer and practise law the way I want to practise law. I sold my soul once, but I'm reclaiming it. And I'm going to do it properly. And when people said to me, well, you know, you're opening up your own practice, you just take legal aid, or just take these files just to get clients. I said, no, I will not. And so from day one, when I opened my doors, I made a commitment to myself, that I was not going to litigate, that I was going to find a way to practise law that was true to my own moral compass. And I think it was because of maturity that I was able to do that. But I had been given a blessing of reinventing myself in the career that I was chosen. And I wasn't going to make a mistake.

 

Geraldine  21:17  
You were going to stay true to yourself. 

 

Nicolle  21:21  
Because I found myself. 

 

Geraldine  21:22  
Because you found yourself, very profound. So you began as a family lawyer in Canada, and when did fertility law raise itself as a subspecialty?

 

Nicolle  21:37  
So I've always been interested in fertility law. I didn't even know what a surrogate was when I was back in South Africa, but it was just, I wanted to be a surrogate, it was just something that, so kind of fertility law just was always around and in my head and something that I wanted to do. So when we came to Canada, I said, well, I'm going to be, and there weren't many fertility lawyers in Canada, but I loved the fact that I could help people start families. And I wasn't a, you know, and it really came from, well, if I was a surrogate, I could help maybe one family, maybe three. And then at some point, you have to stop after a while. And I thought, well, how could I help more families by still doing this work? I was like, be a lawyer, help families create families. And that was sort of the impetus of why I wanted to be a fertility lawyer. Now, I was a fertility lawyer and a family law lawyer. So I always said to people I'm either making or breaking families, depending what you come to me for, you are on one end of the scale. But I've never, I've been very successful in building up my fertility practice, but I've never advertised it. Not on my bios. I've never advertised. It's word of mouth. Because I'm not in it for the money. I'm truthfully in it for service. I want to help people have families.

 

Geraldine  23:08  
So were you actually a surrogate in South Africa?

 

Nicolle  23:13  
Well, it's a long... I wasn't, you know, I was asked to be one. And at that time, I couldn't because when I was asked, I was 19. I wasn't married. You know, it was like, but this particular person who asked me, I said, you know, and this person wasn't married. It was just something that we knew that, we knew there were certain medical conditions and issues and it was like, when the time comes, I will be a surrogate. And the time did come. It came a number of years later. But by that time, I had emigrated to Canada, I was living in Canada. I was right in the middle of converting my law degree, I had two children. And this beautiful soul emailed me and said, hey, remember that question I asked you a number of years ago, is your answer still yes? And it was like, yes! You know, and it was like, I threw out the email, yes, a million times, yes. It was like, whoa, I had to get it back. And I had a family. The baby wouldn't be born in Canada, the transfer of the embryo would have to take place in another country, the birth would have to take place in another country. I've got two children. How long would I...? Like all of the practicalities of life started coming in. And so it was one of the worst conversations I've ever had when I said, I can't do it for you. And it broke my heart. And she said to me, it doesn't matter that you can't do it for me, but you kept hope alive for me. Because you, maybe I always knew that somebody had to think the same way you did, you kept hope alive. And so she did find another surrogate and she did have a family. And it was that for me when I said I couldn't help her, it was almost like guilt. There was guilt, if I can't help her, how can I help other people and it was like, oh, you have to be a lawyer. That's how you can do it.

 

Geraldine  25:15  
Which seems to me like something that was preordained. 

 

Nicolle  25:20  
I just got cold shivers. 

 

Geraldine  25:20  
That was the reason for being approached.

 

Nicolle  25:24  
Yeah. And, you know, people don't understand. When people say I want to be a surrogate, you either understand it or you don't understand it. It's black or white. You either want to be one, it's got, you know the baby's not, it's, you can't explain, but if you're called to be a surrogate, it's like, I understand everything about it, this is something that I want to be. And I've got children, I've got three boys now. And so I work a lot with surrogates now. And they all say the same thing. You just know, you just know.

 

Geraldine  26:02  
You know, it's not a story, not a perspective that we hear a lot of, surrogate mothers wanting or choosing to be a surrogate. There's, I think, a degree of prejudice about why someone might want to be a surrogate, that they just want the money or that they're desperate for that. But from what you're saying, it is a calling in itself to help somebody else, to help a couple or family to build a family.

 

Nicolle  26:34  
Yeah, there was no money obviously, money would never be a factor for me. And in Canada, surrogacy, being a paid surrogate is illegal. 

 

Geraldine  26:42  
I see.

 

Nicolle  26:42  
But you get compensated, you get reimbursed for your expenses. It's like charity, right? If you've got pregnancy related expenses, they have to be reimbursed to you. But out of maybe five... surrogates out of the hundreds I've worked with, not one, it's never been about money. It's never about money for them.

 

Geraldine  27:06  
Thank you, thank you for explaining that. I wanted to ask you about the family aspect. With your work. Now, I've spoken with collaborative divorce practitioners. You know, there's always the emphasis on minimising harm to both the couple, and then also the children involved. But your whole concept of transformation. It makes me think about the, like you said, the other end of creating a family. What is it about the family as a concept or as an entity that is special to you? What do you think it means for humanity that we tend to group ourselves into families?

 

Nicolle  27:59  
Could we call it community? You know, I mean, I think each family's their own little community, and then we group ourselves with other communities and it takes a village to raise a child, right? Is that not all the same concept, really? So when we've got the philosophy that I have with my clients is, let's have one family in two homes. 

 

Geraldine  28:22  
Ah.

 

Nicolle  28:23  
You know, let's don't break up your family. Let's just have them in two homes, let the kids know that wherever they go, there's family, they've got two homes, not two houses, they got two homes. Love resides in both homes. And I suppose no one's ever asked me a question like that. It's so smart. I think it's community, right? Every family is its own community, and we all need community. No man is an island, we can be an island, but at some point, we do need, we need our community.

 

Geraldine  28:59  
Yeah, from what you're saying, it's making me think too, it's about feeling at home, wherever, in as many places as possible. So we feel at home with our family, or, hopefully we do, we're born into a family where we feel at home. And if that tends, happens to split up, as may happen with some of your clients, then you don't stop feeling at home with one parent, you actually end up multiplying your homes, but you've got to feel at home in both places. And that means that that person feels safe, continues to feel safe, grows up in safety. And so when they go out in the world, they realise that they are safe wherever they are. And probably what it means is that we've got to learn to treat family as sacred, because we are going to enlarge the concept of family so if we don't even get it right in that nuclear level of parents plus children, how are we going to enlarge it to big communities? Which is really the reverse of what's happened. We've seen, like your reference to the village, we've seen this destruction of communities, destruction of the village thinking, you know that we treat each other as strangers even if we live on the same street. And so it's gone down to even destroying families. So we've got to rebuild.

 

Nicolle  30:28  
Yeah, that's conflict, right. And when you were talking, you made me think of something. When you were a child, and you've got your family and you've got your home, that's your home. But if you move away from home, you don't say, no, my mom's house isn't my home anymore. It's still your home. 

 

Geraldine  30:46  
Yeah. 

 

Nicolle  30:47  
You've just created a different home. 

 

Geraldine  30:48  
Yeah. 

 

Nicolle  30:49  
And so, you know, if you get married and you have children, your kids very often will go to grandma's home. And that's also home. 

 

Geraldine  30:57  
Yeah. 

 

Nicolle  30:58  
It's not the home they sleep in all the time. And so the, you've got such a beautiful way of making things just seem so simple. But yeah, that's what it's about. That's a whole bunch of communities that we can each sort of feel at home in. And it's conflict that breaks down homes. 

 

Geraldine  31:19  
Yes. 

 

Nicolle  31:20  
A friend of mine told me, a colleague of mine, she's a friend now really. She told me this beautiful story about her son, because she's separated, divorced. And her son came home one day and said mommy, Ethan, let's say, Ethan, Ethan's mommy and daddy are getting separated and he's really, really very sad. And my friend is sad all the time, what can I do? And so she said, well, maybe Ethan is talking to you, because your parents are divorced. And maybe he thinks you can... He went, what? Divorced? Like he had, it was news to him! And his parents were divorced, you know. And because this family, there was no conflict. So this kid lived a happy life. And was horrified that he came from a divorced family.

 

Geraldine  32:14  
There's so much in that. That that word divorce is so heavy with meaning. It doesn't, we're recreating this idea of what it means. That's what family lawyers like you are doing. 

 

Nicolle  32:29  
Yeah. 

 

Geraldine  32:30  
It doesn't mean the end of family.

 

Nicolle  32:32  
It's not the end of family. And the problem is that a lot of lawyers, and that's why I didn't want to litigate. Because when I was doing my articles, and I was working, and I always felt like a triangle in a round pigeonhole, because I felt that I was the catalyst to my client's destruction. Because instead of saying, what fabulous things does your husband do that maybe we can continue that in your separated transition? And you're going, did he bathe the kids? No, he didn't. What, he never bathed the children. Well, maybe he didn't bathe the children because he was out working. And that was just the roles that each of you accepted. But as a lawyer, you start saying he never bathed the children. He was never home. He never did this. But that was the contract that you had with each other. That was your family structure. So I realised that lawyers coach things in conflict, when why aren't we saying, what did you love about your spouse? What was he great as a dad, how can we continue that? Because wouldn't you, if you're fighting with somebody and someone said, you know, Geraldine, the one thing I have to say about you, I know that we've got differences, but I love the way you do your hair, like and you always did my hair so beautifully, van you continue doing that with me, I know we are fighting about money, but that's what... you'd probably soften in many other areas. Because I've acknowledged you. 

 

Geraldine  33:54  
Yes. Yeah. Now that's incredibly powerful and moving. So what next, Nicolle are you going to carry on running both the mindfulness meditation side as well as your very interesting family law practice?

 

Nicolle  34:10  
Yes, I think I was really, again, when you said like things are pre-determined for you. I did Lotus Law not necessarily for that to be my business. 

 

Geraldine  34:22  
Yeah. 

 

Nicolle  34:23  
So I kind of, it's kind of like jogged beside me with my other practice. And it was just sort of keeping up and I would give it some attention. And you know, and so when I was teaching mindfulness, I was always, I always said, the teacher will come when the student is ready, and the student will come when the teacher is ready. And so very often I'd have all at once seven people saying, hey, Nicolle, are you holding any mindfulness classes. It was like, now's time. So I didn't say oh, you know, these are the dates, it was very intuitive. And so I had this little business going on the side, that was actually increasing momentum, without me even realising that it was increasing momentum. And now I kind of feel that both my businesses are on par. And I, you know, I can't do both. So which one, which one deserves my attention more now? And so I kind of feel that I'm going through a transition deciding. I really want to be the legal change. I think the legal narrative has to change. It's time for the legal narrative to change. So I want to advocate for lawyers' mental health, I want to advocate for legal change, and I want to teach, heal and coach. Not really, coach, I don't want to be a coach. That's not something, I don't want to be responsible for other people's success. Do it yourself.

 

Geraldine  35:54  
Yes. 

 

Nicolle  35:55  
You know, what I think for me, it's really advocating for lawyers, mental health is really close to my heart. Now, mindfulness for lawyers is really what I think should be mandatory for lawyers, contemplative practices, trauma-informed training should be mandatory for lawyers, particularly family law lawyers, and then really be a shift maker and a change maker in changing legal narrative. There should, there are movements, but I think the world is ready for a legal change in narrative. Our narrative has to change. The way we talk about lawyers. The words we use as lawyers. The words we use in court. It has to change. And the time, I think people are ready for it.

 

Geraldine  36:41  
I completely agree. So on that note, Nicolle, I'm going to say thank you so much for enlightening us on different aspects of law and the way that you're making the change. 

 

Nicolle  36:53  
Thank you so much. 

 

Geraldine  36:55  
Thank you.

 

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