CAMLAW: Complementary and Alternative Medicine Law Blog

Will the Real Michael H. Cohen Please Stand Up

Not since St. Augustine's Confessions has a lawyer been this revelatory!

Just thought that would make a great headline. Seriously, the Internet is not a confessional, and these days this blog usually just sticks to the facts, ma'm, as Dragnet puts it.  It's not about me, it's about you - sayeth Obama - so it's all the law and policy that's fit to print.

But I was guided to put this experience online.

I have gotten rather used to making a wonderfully positive impact on people's lives. So many clients, former clients, prospective clients, and just plain networking people say the most superlative nice things.  And I just accept and say yes and thank you and most of the time am too busy giving back to get a big head.

Once in a great while, like any professional, I will confront people's negative projections and stereotypes.  Projections about lawyers, for example.  I get the great benefit of positive transference when I defy the ashen gray stereotype, with off-the-wall humor and a good heart that embraces people (not in general, but very specifically).  But then there is the negative transference: you did it to me, or I'm going to do it back, or whatever.

Recently I put up a profile on a business site and was in shock when someone wrote something not only negative, but nasty.  Yes, they had pegged me as one of those shysters that take money and take advantage.  The negatives were just beyond extreme, and there were insults to boot.  I was unsure what to do, in response, so I just sat in meditation.

Interestingly, I received two messages.  One was: you are more powerful than this person.  I suppose that meant that the power of good, and belief in my own goodness, was greater than this individual's capacity for destructiveness.

The second was: I received the image of medieval times, when soldiers would cut the heads of their enemies and put them on a pole, as a warning to the other side.  What a barbaric image, barbaric practice.  I thought: is this just a metaphor, or is it an image from another time and place? Did I do it to him? Is he now repaying and doing the symbolic equivalent to me with this almost defamatory post?  I contemplated the message.  

And so I say, to anyone to whom I might have done this in any lifetime or dimension, I apologize.  It is a barbaric practice.  There is something in the Talmud, I believe, an echo from long ago, about how one of the worst sins is to shame one's fellow human being. We need to respect, love, and forgive one another.

Then the lines of the Our Father came to me, and I realized, no matter how incensed and irate I may have been at the foul review, I had to see whether forgiveness and calmness could enter my heart.

It happened.  Mysteriously, then, the review got pulled.  I thought the site editors had done it.  I thought I was finished.

Then, sitting in the car, I received another intuitive impulse - and I do listen.  I picked up the phone and called the guy.  I told him I was sorry if we parted in disagreement, or if I had done anything that was less than exemplary, but I preferred for him to air that with me and not in a public excoriation.  It turned out to be a great impulse, even though my heart was audible with the anxiety of what ifs (what if he escalates, for example, what if he is truly wacky and pathological).  This gentleman apologized for any distress he might have caused me.  He informed me that he wrote the review from a bad space, having nothing to do with me.  He also told me that he pulled the review himself the morning after he wrote it. He realized that writing and posting this was acting out, and again, he was sorry.

So, what worked? Being more powerful, energetically? I made the call because I did not want to win the battle based on white magic.  I wanted resolution based on forgiveness, tolerance, and communication. I wanted Great Spirit to know that I am honest, that I practice what I preach, that I walk my talk, and that it is not about ego.  Ego would have had me sit in hurt and humiliation, but it was the strength from my core -- that core strength with all its sweetness and vulnerability -- that had me turn this into a healing moment for both.  Who knew what barbarisms lay in our heads, hearts and hands, from this time or the remote past? The slate of karma was wiped clean by an act of reaching out, of real conversation.

"so we beat on, boats against the current, born back ceaselessly into the night," wrote F Scott Fitzgerald in The Great Gatsby.  And so we beat on, boats into the current, born forward ceaselessly into the starry present.

Michael H CohenMichael H Cohen
The Los Angeles / San Francisco / Bay Area-based Michael H Cohen Law Group provides healthcare legal and FDA legal & regulatory counsel to health & wellness practices and ventures, including health technology companies (medical devices to wearable health and nanotech), healthcare facilities (from medical centers to medical spas), and healthcare service providers (from physicians to psychologists).Our legal team offers expertise in corporate & transactional, healthcare regulatory & compliance, and healthcare litigation and dispute resolution, in cutting-edge areas such as anti-aging and functional medicine, telemedicine and m-health, and concierge medicine.Our Founder, attorney Michael H. Cohen, is an author, speaker on healthcare law and FDA law, and internationally-recognized thought leader in the trillion-dollar health & wellness industry.



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Michael H. Cohen, Esq.; 468 North Camden Dr. | Beverly Hills, California 90210 | 310-844-3173