I have two offerings for you this edition!
First, as I shared in the last newsletter, I was recently interviewed by Tony Rezac on his Basecamp for MenPodcast.
Tony is an author, coach, and workshop leader, and a fellow warrior brother in Mankind Project USA.
We had a juicy conversation for about 20 minutes on the some of the challenges facing men today, and the ways in which working with a men’s group can help.
I enjoyed our chat immensely, and I really like and respect Tony. Check it out and please share if you are so moved!
Second, a few of you have asked about Purpose, which is of course part of the name of this newsletter. As you may have noticed, I haven’t actually discussed purpose in a general or specific way as of yet. The truth is that although I have done some Purpose Work with a certified Purpose Coach, my dear brother Brandon Peele, I am far from an expert on the subject.
Today I will offer a piece about a big part of my purpose, which is to serve the underserved by listening with my heart, and sharing what I learn. This piece is also about gratitude.
I hope it is of use to you!
From the Department of Defense
As my 51st birthday approaches, I find myself more and more saying things that make me sound like an old-timer, which both amuses and, occasionally, shocks me.
For example, this summer marks my 30th year working in criminal defense for people who can’t afford a lawyer.
In the summer of 1989, I had just finished my junior year of college when I set out for Washington DC to work as an Investigative Intern for the Public Defender Service.
After several weeks of intense training, I was sent out to investigate a murder case and a mayhem case.
In the first, I ended up interviewing the man we thought was the actual shooter, and two years later as a 2nd year law student testified in federal court to impeach the witness. Despite my testimony, our client who we believed to be innocent was convicted and sentenced to life.
In the mayhem case, I spent several weeks lurking around a crack house to find witnesses who may have seen the incident where our client allegedly set a woman on fire during an argument over some drugs.
For context, I grew up in one of the whitest, preppiest, an wealthiest of suburbs, and my blind spots around privilege and racism and wealth inequality could obscure a semi-truck.
My eyes began to open that summer, a bit, and I found I idolized the PD attorneys I was working with. They were brilliant, fierce, passionate, funny, and above all, committed.
I wanted to be just like them.
So when I applied to law school later that year, I was very clear in my essays that my goal was to be a PD.
Since my summer at PDS, I have volunteer-interned in 5 different PD offices, worked for 2 years as an Assistant State Public Defender for the State of Ohio, and am now entering my 23rd year as PD for my beloved office the Alameda County Public Defender.
I have litigated dozens of jury trials, and thousands of hearings, and I have stood next to countless humans as they experienced the most challenging moments of their lives.
I am deeply grateful for this work and for the chance to serve on the side of justice and fairness and redemption and second chances.
I am profoundly grateful for my colleagues, for my mentors and teachers, and for the healers and wise ones who have helped me to sustain myself through the years.
It has been at times a harrowing journey. I have felt the crushing numbness of burnout, the devastating soul-death of defeat and injustice, and, the exquisite joy of victories, both small and large.
Above all, I am grateful for the growth and evolution that has been gifted to me, which would not have been possible without the support and love and understanding that I have received from Alycia and my family and all my communities, including you all.
And to my clients, who so often were willing to give me a chance to prove myself, to overcome the apparent distance between us, and to trust me to hear and tell their stories.
How does your purpose intersect with your livelihood?
King Bee, Fire-Tender