The top floor of the old Victorian house in Willington holds Pam Favreau's law office. Downstairs, there's a gift shop that focuses on New Age-type items, as well as offering services ranging from tarot card readings to mediation sessions. That, too, is owned by Favreau.
Despite what some people might think, Favreau said there are similarities between legal practice and a New Age lifestyle. Both, she said, offer the opportunity for "right brain" thinking, which draws on emotions and creativity rather than logic and analysis.
"I think intuition comes in a lot at trials," said the criminal defense and family lawyer, offering one example of right brain thinking in the legal profession. "When picking a jury, I don't know why I don't want someone…. Logic only takes you so far. Most of what's important to people can't be seen."
As a lawyer, Favreau is a solo, a one woman-band who appears in Danielson and Rockville courts and answers her own phones. But she has a partner in her other business; her daughter is the co-owner of the All in All Pastime and Curiosity Shoppe, which opened its doors about one year ago. The inventory includes cards, books, wind chimes, Native American items, aromatherapy, incense, tarot cards, suncatchers, rainbow makers, pendulums, salt lamps, smudgesticks, and candles.
On site is a meditation room that is available individually or for groups. There are also yoga and meditation classes, as well as tarot card readings, family counseling, acupuncture and chiropractic care.
In her new venture, Favreau works with many artists, craftsmen and holistic health aficionados, including former members of the legal community. The therapeutic yoga and meditation instructor is Sharon Cormier, formerly a secretary in the Office of the Federal Defender in Connecticut. Jeannie Goslin, an individual and family counselor who rents space in the building, is a former Judicial Branch family relations officer. A former probation officer, Kassie Huhtanen, sells her "smiling fish" pottery at the store.
A man who worked in the Washington State court system makes drums that Favreau sells. "He was able to convince them that drumming was a better way to rehabilitate men arrested for domestic violence and he runs a group for that purpose," Favreau said.
Favreau started reading tarot cards in the early 1990s while working as a state public defender. It was an antidote to the stress that she was feeling in her job. "It could get really discouraging," she said of her work. "I had to do something to occupy myself and I started with tarot cards… To me, it's something to spark creativity and to give me insight to something I might be thinking about."
Soon after, she opened up a private practice on Main Street in Willimantic. Eventually, her accountant planted the idea that it would be good to open up a non-legal business.
Before she comes to work, Favreau meditates and reads tarot cards. She also has a special breathing exercise that helps in stressful situations. She has used it during court breaks. "I teach my clients how to do it, "she said. "It's a self-calming meditation."
Her shoppers include University of Connecticut students, who enjoy two natural remedies in particular: one for hangovers and another that boosts energy. Meanwhile, many nurses and teachers are interested in the Vermont Herbal Patches, which reduce migraine pain.
Other customers are law clients who browse the store before or after their appointments. Favreau believes the experience puts them more at ease with her. "This house has its own [positive] energy," Favreau said. "I think people sense we are trying to help people."
She said the legal practice and other business play off each other. Legal clients "usually buy something [from the New Age shop] and generally come back to shop with friends or relatives. People in recovery from various addictions find uplifting materials and products that help lift mood, like orange essential oil," Favreau said.
Goslin, the former family-relations-office-turned counselor, said that the overall atmosphere is comforting to her clients as well. "It's an environment of tranquility and peace," Goslin said.
Cormier, the yoga and meditation teacher, said that the space is very spiritual. "You get the feeling there's a caring that's behind everything," Cormier said. "There's a sense of happiness in the store. Everybody you see down there is smiling."•