© 2021 Duane Light, Peace in the Law 8
A few holistic case examples
How treating an IRS agent as a friend disappeared the IRS debt
From my client SF:
I am a counselor. In 2002, I had a beautiful and profound outcome with an IRS tax issue,
based on an “enlightened” approach suggested to me by my friend and Holistic Attorney
When I first spoke to Duane, I was afraid of the IRS and what they might do to in
response to my outstanding IRS debt. I didn’t know what to do and was especially afraid
of calling them.
I called Duane, and he gave me guidance to approach the IRS agents with an open heart,
honesty and compassion. He suggested that I “treat the agent as a friend in the
making.” He told me that the average job turnover in the IRS is 9 months, and that many
of these individuals are struggling with their work and rarely get to experience
compassion and care from someone on the other end of the phone line.
After meditating and praying until I became calm, and when I sincerely felt that I could
care for the person on the other end of the line, I made the call. My heart was open
toward the IRS agent, and I know he felt that.
I was able to be friendly, direct and truthful about my financial situation. Amazingly, the
agent reclassified my debts as uncollectible!
I continued to stay in contact with them over the years, and all my dealings with the IRS
since that time have been completely benign and full of good will.
The work that Duane did with me has changed the nature of my relationships with people
in positions of authority that used to intimidate me, such as the IRS and insurance
adjustors. It’s just completely revolutionized the reactions and the results that I get from
those people, in an atmosphere of fellowship with them.
It didn’t just change a skill set, it changed a mindset for me and opened my heart to
people that I had been afraid of.
I have made reference to the benefits of the principals I learned from Duane to people
often since that time. So the benefits have continued to ripple out and help others. The
principals upon which his work is based are so solid and grounded in essential truths that
I feel there’s been no diluting of their potency over the years.
How a client was able to come to peace while administering an estate
and dealing with a combative relative Kim’s dear brother died, and she was tasked with administering the estate, including taking care of his ashes after the cremation. Kim is a very kind person.
Her nephew (her brother’s son) was having a very troubled time in his life, involving drugs and a lot of
He and his dad’s wife started to cause problems. They fought release of the ashes to Kim,
even though she was going to fulfill her brother’s wishes. In Kim and my discussions, we
decided to split the ashes.
The son also created problems around the accounting, asking for every receipt and
charge. Estates are rarely perfectly managed, and this put Kim through many hours of
pretty useless work – the amounts were so small.
And then there were the yelling and blaming phone conversations, that Kim finally had to
Kim and I worked on how to communicate with him, mostly by emails. We talked about
her love for him, in his core as a good person, and how helpful it would be for her peace
of mind to forgive him, and release any further desire to change him.
This took some time, but Kim eventually came to more peace with the situation. She
continued to love her nephew, and also create healthy separation so she would not be
emotionally and mentally abused by him.
In doing this kind of inner work for ourselves, we can’t expect that others will always
change. We hope for that, but this holistic approach is first and foremost about our
finding our peace of mind, our strong center, and moving forward as effectively as we
can from there.
Kim wrote the following to me, near the end of the process: “Duane, at times it has been
difficult for me to maintain a balanced, loving stance in this situation rather than
attempting to make things “right.” I feel a sense of peace to know that you are involved.”
How a painful case settled on the day of trial, because of one sincere, kind statement
I was approached by a woman who was in the midst of a law case against a former frien
and business partner. Ms. W’s current attorney was the high-stress type. This attorney
was handling the case in an anxiety-laden way, and this added to Ms. W’s stress. (It’s not
a good sign when your own attorney increases your anxiety!).
The former best friends had decided to work together on a property development project,
with the friend investing several hundred thousand dollars. Due in part to bad
management on my client’s part, and also the real estate crash of 2007, the project failed.
Each person angrily blamed the other, and the lawsuit started.
By the time I came into the case, trial was only a few weeks away. I dove into five boxes
of documents and prepared all necessary trial pleadings. As I was reading, I saw that the
defendant, Ms. W’s former friend, was a nurse and had created a nonprofit to bring health
services to the poor.
I wrote the defendant’s lawyer an email the day before trial, saying that I saw that his
client was doing very good work in the world, and that it would be nice if the case could
settle so she could get back to her wonderful service. This was completely sincere on my
part (these statements need to be sincere – this is not a “technique”).
Trial was to start the next morning at 9 a.m.. I arrived with my client and we set up on
our side. The former friend, now defendant, then walked across the courtroom to speak
with me. This is exceeding rare! She told me that she felt that I was an honorable man,
and because I was there she was willing to discuss settlement!
The judge gave us time to talk, and the case settled within an hour.
Later, this defendant contacted me about some details for wrapping up the case. She
thanked me again for my approach to the case that helped it resolve peacefully. This is
one of many, many examples where some simple recognizing of the Other, and sincere,
kind communication, softens the conflict and creates the opportunity for resolution.
5 Essential Skills to Resolve Any Legal Issue
How to Powerfully Navigate Your Legal Challenges
with Calm, Clarity and Kindness
Duane Light, JD
Offerings for Further Support
Personal Coaching from me?
Rarely is a legal problem purely legal. Almost all disputes involve emotional
and interpersonal dynamics. If you are in a middle of a difficult legal
situation, I currently have space for five more clients.
To sign up for a free 45 minute Empowerment over Your Case phone or zoom call,
where we will explore whether it would be beneficial for you to work with
me, click this link: https://www.peaceinthelaw.com/coaching
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