In Praise of John Johnson
This blog entry is a reprint from an earlier posting, as I wind down this week’s vacation.
This morning, a gaggle of geese crossing a busy street gave drivers a chance to step back from their Friday hustle-bustle..
John Johnson emphasized to me the importance of finding quiet and calm among the potential turmoil of trial practice. The geese have inspired me to re-post about John and his following poem “A Meeting with Mother Earth”:
The late John Johnson of Friday Harbor, Washington, was a great man and a great jury trial consultant. He believed strongly in people’s ability to derive great power from being real, feeling and expressing love, and finding inner peace. To deal with our pain, John said, we first must embrace the pain before sending it on its way; this sounds similar to the t’ai chi approach of embrace tiger, return to mountain. John much preferred having a bucket of cow dung to a bucket of beautiful fake flowers, for at least the cow dung bucket holds something real. For John, the necessity and power of realness was underlined by the Velveteen Rabbit.
John was on staff at the Trial Lawyers College in the College’s first two years of 1994 and 1995, at his close friend Gerry Spence’s ranch. For four weeks in 1995 at the Trial Lawyers College, I experienced John’s friendship, caring, and essence. John departed the planet in early 1996 over his conflict with cancer. John and I spoke later in 1995, when John emphasized how much peace was lacking where I live, in the Washington, DC, area, where he also once lived. My view is that the best way to reach a harmonious life is to learn to do so in the eye of the storm.
One morning during the last week of the Trial Lawyers College, we awoke before sunrise to find a place in this mountainous region away from the sight or sound of anyone else, to reflect on our lives and the courses thereof, before returning to the hustle-bustle of our work and homes. We continued the silence through breakfast and beyond, and John handed each of us his following very applicable signed poem, “A Meeting With Mother Earth”:
A MEETING WITH MOTHER EARTH
The life of lawyering is filled with noise and turmoil. Peace is hard to find – even in seeking after justice. Modern mankind runs amok in anxious pursuit of an elusive technological happiness.
But we are sons and daughters of mother earth. She gives us an abundant house, made bright and glorious by sun, moon and stars and nurtured by the waters. She gives the wind upon which seeds blow and birds fly to us with their songs.
Our mother earth speaks to us of peace and fulfillment and love. But we must listen to hear those gifts our mother holds for us. To hear we must let our souls be quiet; we must learn how to be still so that our mother earth can touch us with her wisdom and show us the way to peace.
It is among us already. It is in the earth and sky and the water for all of us to share.
Let us be still and quiet together and ask our mother to help us receive her gifts.
When we find peace we can have power and courage and wisdom. We can go forth as true warriors in seeking after justice.
/s/ John C. Johnson, OFW*
Trial Lawyer’s College
Reprint permission granted by Lenore Bayuk
*OFW – Old F—– Warrior
Thank deeply and always to you, John Johnson.