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Two Tramps in Mud Time

Two Tramps in Mud Time
by Robert Frost • 1934 New York, Spiral Press

Out of the mud two strangers came
And caught me splitting wood in the yard,
And one of them put me off my aim
By hailing cheerily “Hit them hard!”
I knew pretty well why he had dropped behind
And let the other go on a way.
I knew pretty well what he had in mind:
He wanted to take my job for pay.

Good blocks of oak it was I split,
As large around as the chopping block;
And every piece I squarely hit
Fell splinterless as a cloven rock.
The blows that a life of self-control
Spares to strike for the common good,
That day, giving a loose to my soul,
I spent on the unimportant wood.

The sun was warm but the wind was chill.
You know how it is with an April day
When the sun is out and the wind is still,
You’re one month on in the middle of May.
But if you so much as dare to speak,
A cloud comes over the sunlit arch,
A wind comes off a frozen peak,
And you’re two months back in the middle of March.

A bluebird comes tenderly up to alight
And turns to the wind to unruffle a plume,
His song so pitched as not to excite
A single flower as yet to bloom.
It is snowing a flake; and he half knew
Winter was only playing possum.
Except in color he isn’t blue,
But he wouldn’t advise a thing to blossom.

The water for which we may have to look
In summertime with a witching wand,
In every wheelrut’s now a brook,
In every print of a hoof a pond.
Be glad of water, but don’t forget
The lurking frost in the earth beneath
That will steal forth after the sun is set
And show on the water its crystal teeth.

The time when most I loved my task
The two must make me love it more
By coming with what they came to ask.
You’d think I never had felt before
The weight of an ax-head poised aloft,
The grip of earth on outspread feet,
The life of muscles rocking soft
And smooth and moist in vernal heat.

Out of the wood two hulking tramps
(From sleeping God knows where last night,
But not long since in the lumber camps).
They thought all chopping was theirs of right.
Men of the woods and lumberjacks,
They judged me by their appropriate tool.
Except as a fellow handled an ax
They had no way of knowing a fool.

Nothing on either side was said.
They knew they had but to stay their stay

And all their logic would fill my head:
As that I had no right to play
With what was another man’s work for gain.
My right might be love but theirs was need.
And where the two exist in twain
Theirs was the better right • agreed.

But yield who will to their separation,
My object in living is to unite
My avocation and my vocation
As my two eyes make one in sight.
Only where love and need are one,
And the work is play for mortal stakes,
Is the deed ever really done
For Heaven and the future’s sakes.

You may want to read this poem again, considering the two tramps as metaphors for Frost’s avocation and vocation. How does this shift its meaning? If you want to explore this further, use the Contact Form or Email Me. I be happy to talk about it with you over the telephone.

Coaching Inquiries: What are your avocations, the things you love to do? How often do you actually get to do those things? How could you integrate your avocations with your vocation, your past times with your prime time? How could you at least be sure to not sacrifice one for the other? Who do you know who does this well? What are their secrets? How could you incorporate them into your own life? How could your deeds be done for “Heaven and the future’s sake?”

May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC
LifeTrek Coaching International
121 Will Scarlet Lane
Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
U.S.A.

Telephone: 757-345-3452

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Many Miles & When Death Comes

Many Miles
©2004 by Mary Oliver

The feet of the heron,
under those bamboo stems,
hold the blue body,
the great beak

above the shallows
of the pond.
Who could guess
their patience?

Sometimes the toes
shake, like worms.
What fish
could resist?

Or think of the cricket,
his green hooks
climbing the blade of grass –
or think of camel feet

like ear muffs,
striding over the sand –
or think of your own
slapping along the highway,

a long life,
many miles.
To each of us comes
the body gift.

When Death Comes
©1991 by Mary Oliver

When death comes
like the hungry bear in autumn;
when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse

to buy me, and snaps the purse shut;
when death comes
like the measle-pox;

when death comes
like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,
I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering;
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?

And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,

and I think of each life as a flower, as common
as a field daisy, and as singular,

and each name a comfortable music in the mouth,
tending, as all music does, toward silence,

and each body a lion of courage, and something
precious to the earth.

When it’s over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was a bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it’s over, I don’t want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.

I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.

Coaching Inquiries: What have you made of your life? How have you made it significant and meaningful? When you think of the body, do you see the gift? Do you embrace it? How could you grow in the spirit of wonder and love?

May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC
LifeTrek Coaching International
121 Will Scarlet Lane
Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
U.S.A.

Telephone: 757-345-3452

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Autobiography in 5 Short Chapters

One of my coaching colleagues recently shared the following ode which speaks, in a way, to why coaching works. We assist clients to walk down different streets. Enjoy!

Autobiography in 5 Short Chapters
a poem by Portia Nelson, published in her book
There’s a Hole in My Sidewalk: The Romance of Self-Discovery

Chapter I

I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk
I fall in.
I am lost … I am helpless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

Chapter II

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I am in the same place.
But, it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

Chapter III

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
see it is there.
I still fall in … it’s a habit … but,
my eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

Chapter IV

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

Chapter V

I walk down another street.

Coaching Inquiries: Which chapter best describes your life right now? What could you do to turn the page and start over? Who could assist you to make it so? If you want to explore these questions further, use the Contact Form orEmail Us to arrange for a complementary coaching session.

May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC
LifeTrek Coaching International
121 Will Scarlet Lane
Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
U.S.A.

Telephone: 757-345-3452

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The Swan

One of my favorite poets, David Whyte, introduced me to this poem in the year 2000, when he spoke to the International Coach Federation Annual Conference in Vancouver, British Columbia. He later incorporated this poem, along with his marvelous interpretation, in his book, Crossing the Unknown Sea (pp. 113-138).

The Swan
a poem by Rainer Maria Rilke, translated by Robert Bly
Crossing the Unknown Sea

This clumsy living that moves lumbering
as if in ropes through what is not done,
reminds us of the awkward way the swan walks.

And to die, which is the letting go
of the ground we stand on and cling to every day,
is like the swan, when he nervously lets himself down
into the water, which receives him gaily
and which flows joyfully under
and after him, wave after wave,
while the swan, unmoving and marvelously calm,
is pleased to be carried, each moment more fully grown,
more like a king, further and further on.

Coaching Inquiries: How is your life moving right now? Are you lumbering or flowing gracefully? Where is your elemental water? What environment would help you to thrive?

If you want to explore these questions further, use the Contact Form or Email Us to arrange for a complementary coaching session.

May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC
LifeTrek Coaching International
121 Will Scarlet Lane
Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
U.S.A.

Telephone: 757-345-3452

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Wedding Poems Nature • Culture • Adventure

My daughter, Bryn Rodriguez, and her husband Andr’s, shared the following poems at their wedding on April 18, 2011 in Costa Rica. The second poem, Culture, was written by my wife, Megan Tschannen-Moran. Enjoy!

 

 

Nature

Even after all this time
The sun never says to the earth
You owe me

Imagine what happens
With a love like that

It lights up the whole sky! ~ Hafiz’

Incluso despu’s de todo este tiempo
El sol nunca le dice a la tierra
Me debes

Imag•nense lo que sucede
Con un amor como aquel

Ilumina todo el cielo! ~ Hafiz


Culture

The places that you come from
Are quite different from my own.
The well-worn patterns
of daily life
Reflect the history of your people •
What they loved and what mattered enough to die for.

The paths you traveled,
That brought you to this place,
Were bordered by different vistas, hills, and streams.
Yet, when my eyes
met yours,
in the crisp morning air,
You smiled, and I was glad.

~ Megan Tschannen-Moran

 

Los lugares de los que vienes
Son muy diferentes de las m•os.
Los patrones muy conocidos
de la vida cotidiana
Reflejan la historia de tu pueblo •
Lo que ellos amaban y lo que importaba lo suficiente como para morir por ello.

Las rutas que viajaste,
Que te trajeron a este lugar,
Tuvieron como l•mite diferentes vistas,
cerros y arroyos.
Sin embargo, cuando mi mirada
se cruz• con la tuya,
en el aire de la ma•ana crujiente,
Sonre’ste, y me alegr•.

~ Megan Tschannen-Moran

Adventure

Deep inside the mountain
the adventures hide themselves.
They are of all forms and shapes.
They all have an excellent ending,
because those who live their lives
in adventure
see the world
in an extra ordinary way.

To attract the adventures into
the patterns of habit
we only need to close our eyes
and ask them to embrace us.

Life itself is certainly
a grand adventure
if only we have the eyes to see.

~ Anonymous, adapted

Dentro de la monta•a
las aventuras se esconden.
Son de todas las formas y figuras.
Todas ellas tienen un final excelente,
porque los que viven sus vidas
en aventura
ven el mundo
de una manera extraordinaria.

Para atraer a las aventuras en
los patrones de h•bito
s•lo tenemos que cerrar los ojos
y pedirles que nos abracen.

La vida misma es sin duda
una gran aventura
si s•lo tenemos ojos para verla.

~ An•nimo, adaptado


Coaching Inquiries: What is your relationship to nature, culture, and adventure? How can you enrich those connections? If not nature, culture, and adventure, what makes your heart sing and calls forth the energy of love? How can you spend more time in those places of wonder.

If you want to explore these questions further, use the Contact Form or Email Us to arrange for a complementary coaching session.

May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC
LifeTrek Coaching International
121 Will Scarlet Lane
Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
U.S.A.

Telephone: 757-345-3452
Fax: 772-382-3258

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Where We Live

In 2011, our family celebrated four weddings. First, my sister got married on January 1. Then, my daughter got married, on April 18. Next, my niece got married, on June 12. Finally, yesterday, on October first, my sister-in-law got married. Talk about a year filled with love! Life doesn’t get any better than this.

For their wedding on October 1, 2011, Maura and Dave wrote the following poem. As you read the poem, think about this question: Where do I choose to live?

Where We Live
by Maura & Dave Rawn

OUR LOVE OF NATURE
Have you ever watched a red tail hawk fade into the sunset
on a brisk winter’s eve?
Have you ever seen the blue of the sky reflect in the eyes of the one you’re with,
as you walk through the woods?
Have you ever watched a hummingbird feed on the scarlet fuchsia
as the sun breaks dawn?
Have you ever sensed a deer watching you
well before you have seen where it is?
Have you felt the brush of a bat as it feeds at dusk on the edge of the pond?
Have you cross-country skied across the snow covered landscape
marveling at the resilience and abundance of life?
Do you rush to the window each new day to watch the birds feed
and see the dew sparkle in your piece of paradise?
Have you planted a tree and watched it grow, transforming your view,
and your perspective, and your priorities with each New Year?

These are the spaces
Where We Live

OUR LOVE OF FAMILY & FRIENDS
If you’ve experienced children and grandchildren climbing trees
and growing like weeds
If you’ve journeyed and adventured with family and friends
around the block and around the world
If your siblings are not just your siblings but your best friends
If you’ve shared your darkest moments as well as your days in the sun
with those that you love
If you’ve watched your kids struggle and then share their elation
when they flourish and grow
If you’ve found fun and adventure with like-minded friends
If you’ve seen your family instantly expand through new marriages
and relationships, and rejoiced in, and embraced them all

Then you know it is within the love of family and friends
Where We Live

OUR LOVE OF SPIRIT
Have you considered that life is an amazing adventure?
Are you grateful each new day for the gift of life
and the abundance of its generosity?
Have you thought of the possibility that God always conspires on your behalf?
Have you pondered the idea that you are the Creator of your life, a co-creator with your God, Spirit, the Universe, through the choices of your thoughts,
intentions, relationships and actions?
Have you felt the desire to become fully aware, wholly awake
and completely conscious?
Have you taken a deep breath, stilled your mind and just listened?

If you slow for a moment, and live in the moment, then you know
Where We Live

THE LOVE OF OUR RELATIONSHIP
In so short of time we’ve found the same path through the woods, together
In so short of time we’ve planted our trees and our gardens, together
In so short of time we’ve found fun, laughter, curiosity and creativity, together
In so short of time we’ve expanded our families and those that we love, together
In so short of time we’ve built our house and made our home, together
In so short of time we’ve deepened our understanding and relationship with Spirit, together
In so short of time we’ve come to feel like we’ve loved each other forever
In so short of time we’ve become one

Together, forever, is
Where We Live

Coaching Inquiries: Where do I live? What is my relationship with nature? With family and friends? With spirit? With relationship? Who can come with me on that journey? How can I be more at choice in making that journey more filled with love?

If you want to explore these questions further, use the Contact Form or Email Us to arrange for a complementary coaching session.

May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC
LifeTrek Coaching International
121 Will Scarlet Lane
Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
U.S.A.

Telephone: 757-345-3452

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The Journey

The Journey
©1986 by Mary Oliver (Atlantic Monthly Press)

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice –
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
‘Mend my life!’
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do–
determined to save
the only life you could save.

Coaching Inquiries: In what ways are you striding deeper and deeper into the world? What are you discovering there? What is the world discovering there? What is it that you finally know you have to do? Why not begin right now?

May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC
LifeTrek Coaching International
121 Will Scarlet Lane
Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
U.S.A.

Telephone: 757-345-3452

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What to Remember When Waking

What to Remember When Waking
by David Whyte ©1999 Many Rivers Press

In that first hardly noticed moment in which you wake,
coming back to this life from the other
more secret, moveable and frighteningly honest world
where everything began,
there is a small opening into the new day
which closes the moment you begin your plans.

What you can plan is too small for you to live.
What you can live wholeheartedly will make plans enough
for the vitality hidden in your sleep.

To be human is to become visible
while carrying what is hidden as a gift to others.
To remember the other world in this world
is to live in your true inheritance.

You are not a troubled guest on this earth,
you are not an accident amidst other accidents
you were invited from another and greater night
than the one from which you have just emerged.

Now, looking through the slanting light of the morning window
toward the mountain presence of everything that can be
what urgency calls you to your one love?
What shape waits in the seed of you
to grow and spread its branches
against a future sky?

Is it waiting in the fertile sea?
In the trees beyond the house?
In the life you can imagine for yourself?
In the open and lovely white page on the waiting desk?

David’s poem is great to read or recite before you go to sleep at night. It primes the pump for that “lovely white page.” If you want to explore this further, use the Contact Form or Email Me. I’d be happy to talk about it with you over the telephone.

May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC
LifeTrek Coaching International
121 Will Scarlet Lane
Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
U.S.A.

Telephone: 757-345-3452

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Lost

This poem, copyright 1976, starts off a book of poetry by one of my favorite poets, David Whyte. The House of Belonging, first published in 1997, is a delightful collection of poems related to the places David belonged at the time. This poem started off the whole collection a strong rejoinder.

Lost
by David Wagoner •1976

Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you
Are not lost. Where you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you.
If you leave it, you may come back again, saying Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or a bush is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
Where you are. You must let it find you.

Coaching Inquiries: Where are you? Are you aware of the gift that space has to offer? What gifts can come from even the most difficult of times? What and who might help you to stand still, to find yourself, and to be found?

If you want to explore these questions further, use the Contact Form or Email Us to arrange for a complementary coaching session.

May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC
LifeTrek Coaching International
121 Will Scarlet Lane
Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
U.S.A.

Telephone: 757-345-3452

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Two Poems by Kathryn Hunt

Published in Long Way Through Ruin, ©2013

DEMETER AND PERSEPHONE IN NORTH AMERICA

Even in spring she is there among the horses,
the pale crocus. Even in rain. She is there
and she is quiet. I saw her standing in the garden,
I saw her standing by the road
down to the store.

Without speaking she reveals herself to me.
Without speaking of roses, or verbena, or the sea.
The earth would drain of color
if she were denied.

There is a sacredness that means to listen.
The thrumming songs of frogs
that sing and fall silent and sing again
at the rim of the pond. Those things unseen
by which we are bound. Faithful,
as the tulip in winter.

And for the girl hauling
her armload of sorrows like sticks for a fire,
this hushed place, this leafy amplitude,
this opening at the edge of the woods
favored by honey bees in summer.

ELEMENTAL

After the news from the doctor
I lay down on the bed and slept.
It seemed the one place to go,
into the world of dreams,
and all through my dreams the wind,
the huge surging breath of the wind
untamed through the trees,
lifting and stirring the leaves until each
scorched leaf, dying a little
at the turning of summer,
tasted the wind as if it were fire,
as if the wind would destroy it.

Even in the silence of the dream
I heard the wind tearing the leaves
from the huge sugar maples,
and this made me serene,
for no reason. And when I awoke
a squall had blown in from the coast,
a salt-drenched rain
fell slant through the trees.
And I lay there remembering
each face I’d ever loved,
untroubled by longing or regret,
the fire burning its way through.

Kathryn Hunt’s poetry challenges us to go through a landscape of desire and memory. If you want to explore this further, use the Contact Form or Email Me. I’d be happy to talk about it with you over the telephone.

May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC
LifeTrek Coaching International
121 Will Scarlet Lane
Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
U.S.A.

Telephone: 757-345-3452