March 15, 2012

Jury-duty Money

In August I spent 50 hours on jury duty. Typically, cases are settled out of court, and many jury-duty dates are cancelled. But for two of my show-up dates, the civil suit went to trial, and each time I was chosen for the jury. (Statistician's note: this is a small chance occurrence.)
After the first case, I was exhausted, but felt good about the legal process and the outcome. During the second case, I came undone at the seams. I felt like a prisoner to the case, which was laden with financial information and emotional difficulty. I worked 10-hour days, with only a 30-minute lunch break. My mind and body were exhausted, and emotionally I was all over the map. August was my time to rejuvenate before the start of a new academic year; August was my time to care for a friend recently diagnosed with cancer; August was my time to coo over the new baby of dear friends. August was NOT my time to be imprisoned listening to a civil case that had no good answers and yet endless amounts of exhibits. 

That was a lot of yuck. BUT, I survived the second trial (and did due-diligence as a juror), and I learned some very good lessons in the process: 1) I have no control over externals--only what happens in my mind & heart, 2) the worst prison is the one I create in my own mind when I listen to nasty ego voice, and 3) I always have more choices than I first think.

Jury duty was difficult, but I believe in the legal process, and I learned some valuable life lessons. To honor my hard work and to remind myself of the lessons learned, I decided to use my jury-duty pay (almost $200) in purposeful ways. When the check arrived at my house, I cashed it and put that cash in a little tin--a tin filled with special money meant for special things (not, say, to pay for the groceries).
The jury-duty money sat quietly in the bottom of my purse for months. Then I had an aha moment while out for lunch with a friend--I could use my jury-duty money to treat us to lunch! Then another aha: I could use the money to buy roller derby tickets, so Mark and I could happily support PachaMama. That is, I could use the money to fund experiences that fill my heart & soul. So now the money is slowly draining from the tin. And each time I use it, I smile with gratitude.

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