Thursday, April 05, 2007

Spring wisdom

The next week or so is a magical time in New York. Why? Because nature renews herself.

It may come as a surprise to certain people (such as my father) that I, Michael Melcher, consummate urbanite, often turn my thoughts to nature. That I find inspiration, joy and peace from flowers and birds and trees and butterflies and squirrels. But I do!

The other day I was in the park (and when I say "park" I mean ultra-glamorous Central Park), observing the birds a-twittering, and I shouted out (inwardly), "You made it! You all made it through! You're all alive!" 'Cause I become concerned what happens to nature's creatures when it's, like 70 degrees in January and then 5 degrees in March.

(I also get excited when sparrows make lots of racket when the evil red-tail hawk comes snooping around for food. "Hide, you guys!" I scream (inwardly) to the birds and squirrels and even rats, which they all seem to do very effectively.)

Here's why New York is even more special than normal this week. Because for the next few days, all the trees look wintery. Their branches are bare. Not a lot is going on. Even though you know that spring is here, if you look at any particular tree you can't quite picture how it's all going to transform into lushness and vitality.

But within a week that's exactly what's going to happen. Spring will be everywhere! Just like that. Growth and renewal coming out of nowhere, really.

All this happens to us, too. But since we're not trees or daffodils, it takes different forms. With my clients (all of whom are extremely attractive, by the way), I talk a lot about "cocooning," a phrase coined by Fredric Hudson.

Cocooning is kind of like winter. It's a period of internal growth. You can't see it. It might not feel like growth at all. Cocooning happens when something else has ended. A job. A relationship. A sense of who you are. A whatever. You know how it feels. You wake up and think, "Geez, I'm 35, what the hell happened?" In our superglamorous, high-octane, Sex and the City city, cocooning can be hard, because everyone is out there seems to be makin' it.

But cocooning is leading to something. It doesn't look like growth, but it is growth. And one day, spring emerges. The bare branches fill up with green, and you wake up and feel alive, hopeful, excited and lush again. And maybe luscious. That too.

Check out this week's natural transfiguration. And get excited about the one that will assuredly happen to you.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

He's baaaaaaaacccckkkk!!!!

Hey, guess what? I wrote my whole entire book. Done! More or less. Just a few revisions and it's off to the presses. And my editor LUVS it. So stay tuned for a late summer book publication, jet-setting travel and parties with celebrities. Or something like that.

Insights about ME

Somewhat to my surprise, I really enjoyed writing this book. And I'm referring specifically to the final four weeks or so when I was really cranking things out. There were two feelings in particular that I experienced.

First, was the realization that I CAN STILL DO IT! I was capable of the old college try, or in my case, the old high school try. I was engaged, focused and able to manage my energies (example: periodically taking breaks to watch SuperNanny.) I have to say, I had sort of unconsciously concluded that over the years I had become a lazy person. You know, having lots of interests but not really able to pull it together. That was all false. It turns out that when I am really into something the sky is the limit!

The other thing I realized is that it is really a cool thing to write a whole, entire book. Because it's an expression of ME! And, given my subject matter (all of my coaching theories and experiences, adapted for a lawyerly audience), it was something that I could only do because of the choices that I've made over the past decade or so. Let me tell you, write a book and instantly your alumni-magazine anxiety falls away.

Insights about writing, and life in general

As for the writing of books, here are two other things I've learned that may be of interest to all you would-be authors.

The first is that if you put in some work every day, eventually it gets done. Strange how that works. Doing beats thinking (and it certainly beats feeling).

The second is that there's a RIGHT TIME for certain things. I first had the idea for The Creative Lawyer six years ago, and periodically over the past six years would harangue myself to GET MOVING ALREADY! But actually, this was the ideal time to write it, since I actually know what I'm talking about and have a platform from which to market what I've written.

This makes me think about other goals I have (e.g. having a kid, running for public office, developing six-pack abs) and wonder, "hey, maybe I don't have to these things right now. Maybe I can do them LATER."

p.s. You regular readers -- make some comments already!