Provision #137: Balance the Practice

LifeTrek Provision

With this week’s LifeTrek Provision I conclude my serieson practice makes perfect. I announced this series in early August, after mywife and I had had the opportunity to listen to and meet Deepak Chopra at theChautauqua Institution in western New York State. Dr. Chopra effectively arguedthat people could improve the quality and quantity of life by practicinghealthy disciplines for body, mind, and spirit.

That claim made a lot of sense to me personally andas a coach. I decided to use my LifeTrek Provisions to explore those healthydisciplines. I did this for my own benefit and, judging from your feedback, formore than a few of you as well.

My message can be easily summarized: for practice tomake perfect we must balance our practice between the interlocking circles ofbody, mind, and spirit. These three dimensions of life are intimately,inherently, and intrinsically connected. To focus on one or two without tendingto the others is to do ourselves a great disservice. I have tried to avoid thisin my own practice and in the organization of my tips.

That said, I would nevertheless group my nineconcentrations into three sets of three based upon their emphasis and direction.This may serve as a convenient, pneumonic device and as a catalogue of our pastthree months together.

Body Mind Spirit
Eat Right. A healthy body starts with the right food and drink. “You are what you eat,” is an old adage with eternal wisdom. In tip #132 I suggested seven simple guidelines for healthy eating. Practice them faithfully and you may live not only longer but better. Think Hard. The mind is a terrible thing to waste, and failing to use the mind allows it to waste away. Although brain cells may die with age, both problem solving and memorization create important new connections. In tip #128 I talked about dendrites as the fountain of youth. Control your Breath. Dr. Andrew Weil believes that breath control is the single greatest thing we can do for our spirits. Any time we become mindful of our breath we anchor ourselves in the reality of life itself. This was important enough to warrant two tips, #126 and #130.
Take your Vitamins. No tip provoked more reader reaction than tips #135 and #136 on vitamins and other nutritional supplements. My basic recommendations, drawn from the work of Dr. Andrew Weil as well as others, target the special needs of busy persons in high-pressure positions. Be sure to work with qualified practitioners who know you well for individualized recommendations. Smile & Laugh. Thinking is one part of the brain. Feeling is another. Regardless of your natural inclination or disposition, it’s important to exercise both. Smiling and laughing, even when you don’t feel like it, are two disciplines that can lift your spirits. In tip #127 I talked about these disciplines as lost arts • most adults barely manage to smile or laugh 15 times a day while children exceed 400. Stay in Integrity. Nothing eats at the soul more than being out of integrity. You know who you are, you know the truth about what’s healthy and right for you, you know what drains your energy and what boosts your energy. Integrity demands that we pay attention to these dynamics and organize our lives accordingly. Are you where you want to be? In tip #129 I urged you to stop making excuses for being out of integrity.
Get your Rest. Before I started this series I had already made tips on exercise and stretching. It’s not possible to have a healthy body without both. Energy in must be balanced by energy out. Many people forget, however, the importance of rest. In tip #131 I observed that 7• hours of sleep is probably ideal for most people, although some may go down to 6 while others may go up to 9. The key is to get enough rest every day, since sleep is a do it or lose it commodity. After more than 48 hours, there’s no real way to catch up. Imagine That. Beyond thinking and feeling there are many other dimensions to our uniquely human minds including creative visualization and intuition. We need to exercise these faculties, along with thinking and feeling, on a regular basis. They come from the other side of the brain. In tip #133 I suggested five techniques that stimulate visualization, intuition, and other forms of creative mental energy. Connect with God. Tip #134 took on the biggest challenge of all: connecting with the One that creates, restores, and sustains all life. That One is above all things, in all things, and among all things. That One is typically hidden from our limited viewpoint, but we can learn to connect with that One through contemplation, conversation, character, calisthenics, and community. Why bother? Because our spirits are restless until they rest in God. You too can find that connection along with the peace and power it brings.

Rememberthat each of these tips is available in the archive on my Web site (<ahref=”http: www.lifetrekcoaching.com=”” “=””>http://www.LifeTrekCoaching.com) for futurereference. Next week we start a new series on simple things you can do to make yourlife better. In the meantime, balance the practice and practice the balance ofperfection.

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

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC

President, LifeTrek Coaching Internationalwww.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformation,www.SchoolTransformation.com
Immediate Past President, International Association of Coaching,www.CertifiedCoach.org

Address: 121 Will Scarlet Lane, Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
Phone: (757) 345-3452
Fax: (772) 382-3258
Skype: LifeTrek
Twitter: @LifeTrekBob
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Provision #136: More on Vitamins

LifeTrek Provision

<spanstyle=’font-size:11.5pt;mso-bidi-font-size:10.0pt’>If ever there was a subjectthat’s prompted reader feedback, it’s been my last LifeTrek Provision on vitamins.Everyone seems to have an opinion here, as well as a favorite source andregimen. Before moving on, I want to share some reader feedback as well as the other supplements and foods recommended for specific conditions.

For Joint Health:

  • Ultra Glucosamine (VS-2137)

One 1,000 mg capsule of glucosamine sulfate, twice a day at mealtimes. This amino sugar is truly a “miracle” supplement that is well documented and well supported for long-term use. Glucosamine sulfate stimulates the synthesis and repair of connective tissue and cartilage. It is found in high concentrations in healthy joints and is critical to the integrity of joint tissue. Glucosamine sulfate has been shown to help relieve the pain and discomfort due to osteoarthritis. It’s far easier on the body than ibuprofen and other non-steroidal anti-inflamma’tory drugs.

For Prostate Health (men):

  • Saw Palmetto Complex (VS-2120)

One softgel capsule containing 160 mg of saw palmetto (standardized to contain 85-95% fatty acids & biologically active sterol compounds) as well as other prostate-friendly supplements, twice a day at mealtime. Saw Palmetto is a well tested herb, with no known side effects, that can be taken safely over a long period of time. It is derived from the fruit of a small palm tree (Serenoa repens) native to the Atlantic coast of North America.

For yeast infections (women):

  • Caprylic Acid (Solgar), in place of the Saw Palmetto Complex.

One tablet containing 350 mg caprylic acid (as calcium, magnesium, potassium and zinc caprylates), twice a day at mealtimes. Caprylic acid, a short chain, fatty acid having the chemical name octanoic acid, inhibits fungal growth and helps to prevent yeast infections and overgrowth (Candida albicans).

For digestive health and gas:

  • Pro Biotic 8 (NN-2002)

2 capsules of Lacto•bcillus acidophilus, supplying 14 billion good bacteria per capsule, once a day at breakfast. Lacto•bcillus acidophilus is “friendly” bacteria that occur naturally in a healthy colon. It’s the culture behind yogurt. Although PB-8 states that no refrigeration is necessary, I prefer to store mine in the refrigerator in order to help maintain the viability of the bacteria.

For Athletic Strength and Endurance

Athletes process large volumes of air and require extra support for their hard working muscles. Dr. Julian Whitaker recommends the following:

  • Alpha Lipoic Acid (VS-1395)

One 50 mg tablet, once a day at breakfast. Athletes need more antioxidant support — since they process more oxygen. Alpha lipoic acid complements Dr. Weil’s “antioxidant cocktail,” raises the metabolism, and increases energy production in muscle cells, and helps to normalize blood sugar.

  • Chromium (VS-1075)

One 200 mcg tablet of GTF Chromium, once a day at breakfast. There is discussion as to whether or not chromium picolinate or Glucose Tolerance Factor (GTF) chromium is better absorbed and utilized by the body. Dr. Weil recommends the GTF form, so that’s what I go with. If you prefer chromium picolinate, order VS-1211. Chromium may also assist in the control of adult onset diabetes.

  • Magnesium Potassium Aspartate (VS-1283)

Two 100 mg tablets, twice a day at mealtime. Athletes need extra potassium and magnesium to prevent cramps and support their hard working muscles. When combined with the amino acid aspartate, they can significantly improve stamina and endurance.

  • Korean Ginseng (VS-2101) • avoid if you have problems with hypertension.

One 648 mg capsule of pure Panax ginseng, twice a day at mealtime (three weeks on, one week off). Panax ginseng, derived from the root of the slow growing ginseng plant, is an effective tonic to help build energy and relieve stress. It works on the pituitary-adrenal axis and is one of the most popular herbs cherished by both Eastern and Western cultures. These capsules can be swallowed whole or dissolved in a cup of hot water as an herbal tea. Hsu & Co. in Columbus, Ohio (800-628-8420 or http://www.hsu.com) sells a concentrated liquid form of Panax ginseng, IL HWA ginseng, that is specifically designed for use as an herbal tea (providing 500 mg Panax ginseng per cup). Dr. Weil does not recommend Panax ginseng for women with hormonal imbalances or with estrogen-dependent ailments (e.g. fibroid tumors, endo•metriosis, or female cancers).

  • Siberian Ginseng (VS-2074) • avoid if you have problems with hypertension.

One 648 mg capsule of pure Eleutherococcus senticosus, twice a day at mealtime (three weeks on, one week off). As you can tell from the genus and species, this plant is not in the same genus or species as Korean ginseng, but it has many of the same properties. It enhances immune function, builds energy and restores vitality.

<spanstyle=’font-size:11.5pt;mso-bidi-font-size:10.0pt’>Now for the reader feedback.One reader suggested that we don’t need any of this. Eat a healthy diet andthat’s all we need. I disagree. It’s so hard to consistently eat a healthy dietwhich isn’t depleted of vitamins and minerals that supplementation isessential. In addition, the higher doses provide health benefits that cannot beobtained through diet alone without the consumption of far too many calories.

<spanstyle=’font-size:11.5pt;mso-bidi-font-size:10.0pt’>Another reader suggestedthat there’s no such thing as a standard or universal “cocktail” of supplementsthat is right for everyone. This reader indicated that a skilled practitionercan use blood cell microscopy, muscle testing, and applied kinesiology in orderto prescribe a “cocktail” of supplements and delivery methods that istailor-made to each individual. This person was also surprised that a coach,who works with individuals in all their wonderful, life-affirming uniqueness,would not reflect this perspective. I agree, but.

<spanstyle=’font-size:11.5pt;mso-bidi-font-size:10.0pt’>I agree that there arethousands of supplements on the market and that each individual has uniqueneeds and requirements. Finding a skilled practitioner who can design your ownregimen is the preferable way to go. Stay away from those practitioners who notonly prescribe but also sell products. You may end up going home with ashopping bag more than you really need. I would also seek the counsel andadvice of those who integrate traditional and alternative therapies, ratherthan those who denigrate one way or the other.

<spanstyle=’font-size:11.5pt;mso-bidi-font-size:10.0pt’>But I still believe in mycore recommendations for most people living and eating in modern, urbancommunities. Those are, after all, the ones who primarily receive theseLifeTrek Provisions • people who share many of the same occupational, environmental,and physical challenges. In lieu of and often in conjunction with apersonalized assessment, I stand by my core recommendations as providing animportant foundation for health and well being. To personalize them somewhat Idid make specific recommendations related to specific conditions based upon thebest research known to me.

<spanstyle=’font-size:11.5pt;mso-bidi-font-size:10.0pt’>Several readers suggestedsources other than The Vitamin Shoppe for the purchase of vitamins andnutritional supplements. There is no way for me to sort all this out. I endedup at The Vitamin Shoppe only because Dr. Weil recommended it in one of hisbooks and because the prices are good. I figure if Andrew Weil recommends itand trusts his Web site with their sponsorship, the quality must be goodenough. No one really knows, however, since the industry is largelyself-regulated. How can you know for sure that the fish oil you’re taking istoxin-free? You can’t, other than to trust the source. The same concern appliesto your local fish market. Get to know the fish guy. Make sure it’s fresh andnatural. That’s about the best you can do.

<spanstyle=’font-size:11.5pt;mso-bidi-font-size:10.0pt’>One of the sourcesrecommended to me, by none other than my own mentor coach in Australia, is theLife Extension Foundation. She buys all her vitamins and nutritionalsupplements through them. The LEF is a non-profit membership organization thatmaintains high quality standards, publishes a monthly magazine (LifeExtension), and provides a wealth of information through their Web site at<ahref=”http: www.lef.org=”” “=””>http://www.lef.org. If you plan on ordering verymuch through them, you should pay the $75 membership fee (which gets themagazine sent to your door) in order to receive the substantial member discounton all their products and services. As I learn more about them I’ll pass theinformation on to you.

Another reader commented onthe expense of all these vitamins and nutritional supplements. That’s true. It costs money to live. It costs more money to live well. If vitamins and nutritional supplements reduce your medical bills and your food budget, then perhaps you’ll come out ahead. Even if you don’t come out ahead, it’s good toknow that you’ve done the best you can for yourself and those you love. That is, after all, a coach’s primary concern.

I hope you’ve found this discussion, spread out over the course of a month due to the interruption of mytravel schedule, to be of assistance in your own journey of health and well being.I know your responses have been of assistance to me. Keep in mind that I’m not a doctor and that I’m not suggestingyou treat any medical condition on the basis of this LifeTrek Provision withoutseeing a doctor. This tip is intended for educational purposes only.

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

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC

President, LifeTrek Coaching Internationalwww.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformationwww.SchoolTransformation.com
Immediate Past President, International Association of Coachingwww.CertifiedCoach.org
Author, Evocative Coaching: Transforming Schools One Conversation at a TimeOnline Retailers

Address: 121 Will Scarlet Lane, Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
Phone: (757) 345-3452 • Fax: (772) 382-3258
Skype: LifeTrek • Twitter: @LifeTrekBob
Mobile: www.LifeTrekMobile.com
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Provision #135: Take your Vitamins

LifeTrek Provision

I’m back to the body with this week’s tip: take your vitamins. How manytimes did you hear that as a young child? Those chewable fruit-flavoredmultiple vitamin pills are staples in many homes during the “growing years,”but people often stop taking supplements as adults. Current research suggeststhat we should “become like little children” and get back to taking ourvitamins every day.

Why take vitamins if you eat a healthy diet? Because modern foodprocessing depletes food of these essential nutrients. And because theseessential nutrients become therapeutic agents when consumed at higher levels.To get these therapeutic benefits from diet alone would mean eating far toomany calories. The Recommended Daily Allowance is designed to prevent disease.If you want to promote health, current research suggests that you need to gobeyond the RDA with certain vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and herbs.

The Bare Minimum

Start with a base of three multiples: a multiple vitamin and mineral supplement, a multiple enzyme supplement, and a calcium supplement. Most people will benefit from taking these three supplements on a daily basis.

It’s easy to get these and other supplements on line from The Vitamin Shoppe (<ahref=”http: www.vitaminshoppe.com=”” “=””>http://www.vitaminshoppe.com or 1-800-223-1216). I include their catalog number for your ordering convenience. Note: I am not affiliated with them and receive nothing from this recommendation.

  • Nutri-100 (VS-1301 = without iron, VS-1071 = with iron)

One multiple vitamin and mineral tablet daily, with breakfast. Most people shouldn’t take supplemental iron, unless they give blood regularly, since there is no way to eliminate iron except through blood loss and high iron levels may promote cardiovas•cular disease and cancer.

  • Multi Digestive Enzymes (VS-1195)

Digestive enzymes, primarily from plants, assist with food digestion and reduce flatulence. Do not take them without food in your stomach. Digestive enzymes provide other benefits that become more important as people age.

  • Calcium-Magnesium (VS-1174).

Two tablets containing a total of 1,000 mg of chelated calcium and 500 mg of chelated magnesium taken at bedtime. This is the amount recommended by the National Academy of Sciences to help prevent osteoporosis, a disease of thinning bones found most often in women as they age. The best way to get calcium is through supplementation rather than through dairy products. Magnesium minimizes constipation, support the body’s absorption of the calcium, and provides other health benefits.

Antioxidants

Dr. Andrew Weil, the Harvard-educated M.D. who’s become a leadingauthority on nutrition and supplementation (http://www.askdrweil.com), recommends the following “antioxidant cocktail”. Antioxidants are compounds that help prevent free radicals • produced naturally by the body as our bodies use oxygen and come into contact with environ•mental toxins • from reacting with other compounds, thus protecting healthy cells. They also stimulate the immune response.

  • Vitamin C (TL-1155)

In addition to what’s in the multiple vitamin, chew one wafer in the evening for an extra 250 mg of Vitamin C per day. Recent research suggests that you should avoid taking more than 500 mg of supplemental Vitamin C per day. In addition to its antioxidant properties, Vitamin C helps to prevent disease, tone connective tissue, strengthen the linings of coronary arteries, and encourage healing.

  • Carotenoid Complex (VS-1271)

One softgel capsule containing 25,000 IU of mixed carotenes, once a day with the evening meal. This softgel capsule includes lycopene and lutein. Lycopene supports the antioxidant activity of beta and alpha carotene. Lutein works especially in the eyes.

  • Vitamin E Complex (VS-1026)

One softgel capsule containing 400 IU of mixed tocopherols (d-alpha, d-beta, d-gamma, and d-delta) once a day, with the evening meal, if you’re under 40; twice a day at mealtime if you’re 40 or over. Be sure the meal contains a little fat for good Vitamin E absorption. Look for Vitamin E that comes from natural (d-) sources rather than in synthetic (dl-) sources. 

  • Selenium (SR-2038)

One 100 mcg tablet, taken with Vitamin E, twice a day at mealtime. This trace mineral, organically bound in yeast, supports the antioxidant activity of Vitamin E and has proven cancer-fighting benefits. Keep your daily supplemental intake of selenium to 300 mcg or less.

  • Co-Enzyme Q10 (VS-1230)

One 100 mg gel capsule, once or twice a day at mealtime. This natural vitamin-like antioxidant is depleted in the human body as we age. Supplementation can provide benefits to the cardiovascular system and improve energy levels.

There are also supplements and foods than can be useful for specific conditions, such as:

Cardio-Vascular Health

  • Aspirin (low-dose, 81 mg, and regular strength, 325 mg)

One low-dose aspirin tablet, once a day at mealtime. Every two weeks, take a regular strength aspirin tablet in place of the low-dose tablet. Aspirin is a semisynthetic derivative of white-willow bark that has been shown effective in lowering the risk of heart disease, strokes and certain forms of cancer. A biweekly spike in the dosage may improve its effectiveness.

  • Fish Oil (VS-1045)

One 500 mg capsule of fish oil, including 300 mg of EPA and 200 mg of DHA, once a day with the evening meal. Fish oil is different than cod liver oil, which comes from the liver and does not provide significant amounts of the EPA and DHA • essential Omega-3 fatty acids that are often lacking in people’s diet. In addition to one fish oil capsule a day, eat broiled salmon (wild rather than farm raised) at least once a week.

  • Flax Seed Oil (VS-1228)

One 1,000 mg tablet of flax seed oil, once a day at breakfast. Flax seeds are one of the best plant sources of an essential Omega-3 fatty acid:  Alpha-Linolenic Acid. In addition to one flax seed oil capsule a day, I also eat ground flax seeds on a regular basis as a cereal topping or as an ingredient in a fruit smoothie.

  • No-Flush Niacin (VS-1311)

One 500 mg capsule of no-flush niacin, twice a day at mealtime. Niacin is one the best known remedies for cholesterol problems, lowering total cholesterol by 18% and raising the good (HDL) cholesterol by 32% at dosages ranging from 600–1,800 mgs daily. Unfortunately, it can be hard on the liver and pure niacin produces hot flashes that last about 20–40 minutes after ingestion. Niacin bound with inositol provides the cholesterol-lowering benefits of niacin without the hot flashes. Do not exceed 3,000 mg per day. Do not take niacin if you are pregnant or if you have ulcers, gout, diabetes, gallbladder disease, liver disease, or have had a recent heart attack. Long-term niacin supplementation requires doctor supervision and blood monitoring.

  • Waukunaga Kyolic Reserve Garlic Powder (WA-1045)

One 600 mg tablet of concentrated garlic powder, twice a day at mealtime. There is debate over the best form of garlic powder to take. I prefer the odorless, aged, capsule form manufactured by Waukunaga. If you like the smell and taste, cook with and eat as much garlic as you can. Some people eat it raw! In addition to helping with cholesterol and triglycerides, garlic also helps with high blood pressure and blood clotting.

  • Soy Protein

Soy beans contain isoflavones, phytochemicals that weakly mimic human estrogen. Eating soy food products such as tofu, tofu hot dogs and burgers, whole green soy beans (edamame) and isolated soy protein powders can be an important part of maintaining cardio-vascular health. Consume 25 • 50 grams of soy protein a day. The consumption of this much soy protein has been demonstrated to lower cholesterol as well as the risk of certain cancers (breast, prostate, and colon), heart disease, osteoporosis, and problems with menopause. Avoid powders that contain added antioxidants if you’re already taking the antioxidants that I recommend above. I prefer the non-GMO forms of soy powder such as GeniSoy.

Next week I’ll include more information on supplements and nutrition for specific conditions. Keep in mind that I’m not a doctor and that I’m not suggestingyou treat any medical condition on the basis of this LifeTrek Provision withoutseeing a doctor. This tip is intended for educational purposes only.

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

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC

President, LifeTrek Coaching Internationalwww.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformationwww.SchoolTransformation.com
Immediate Past President, International Association of Coachingwww.CertifiedCoach.org

Address: 121 Will Scarlet Lane, Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
Phone: (757) 345-3452
Fax: (772) 382-3258
Skype: LifeTrek
Twitter: @LifeTrekBob
Mobile: www.LifeTrekMobile.com
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Provision #134: Connect with God

LifeTrek Provision

There is an energy, hidden from view, which is above all things, in allthings, and among all things. I call that energy God. You may call it Love,Life, Wisdom, or Truth. Whatever you call it, and it has many names, the factremains that it is there: creating, restoring, and sustaining all things in itseternal womb.

When we connect with that energy, when we open ourselves to itseffervescent presence, life comes alive with infinite possibilities, incrediblewonder, and amazing grace. This is what I want for you today: that you connectwith God and experience the ineffable joy that comes from making thatconnection.

How do we do this? How do we embark upon this never-ending spiritualjourney? It depends somewhat upon your personality and situation in life. Whatmay work for one person at one point in time may not work for another person oreven for the same person at a different point in time. Spirituality is not onesize fits all. It’s as rich and diverse as creation itself. Nevertheless, thereare some tried and true methods that many people find useful.

Contemplative Connections. This is where you focus your attention on listeningto God. It can take place in any position. We can be still or moving around. Itcan be an individual or corporate experience. Thich Nhat Hanh practices”walking meditation.” What’s the difference between regular walking andmeditative walking? Between regular sitting and meditative sitting? The focusof your attention. When you intentionally listen for God, bracketing the noiseand distractions of life, you’re making a contemplative connection with God.

Conversational Connections. This is where you focus your attention on talkingto God. Many people connect with God by pouring out their hearts in praise,thanksgiving, petition, and confession. This can take place mentally, out loud,or in journal writing. Once again it’s a matter of attention. What are youthinking about? What are you saying? What are you writing? If it’s coming fromthe depths of your being, and if you’re offering it up to the Great One, thenyou’re making a conversational connection with God.

Callisthenic Connections. This is where you focus your attention on moving toGod. Virtually every serious runner has the experience of losing himself orherself in the run. It doesn’t happen every time. But there are moments,particularly during long runs, when the rhythms of running transcend theboundaries of space and time. Other athletes in other sports have similarexperiences. Even spectators can catch the experience. Do you remember theheroic performance of gymnast Kerri Strug at the 1996 Summer Olympics?Sometimes the body resonates like a tuning fork, making a callisthenicconnection with God.

Character Connections. This is where you focus your attention onconforming to God. God is more than spiritual energy. God is also moral andpersonal energy. When we hold ourselves to high moral standards, acting withstrong personal integrity, we make a character connection with God. We bear thefruit of the Spirit. The same applies when we discover and develop our truegift. We exercise authority and stewardship because we know who we are, why welive, and how we serve. Our witness comes through as dynamic gifts of theSpirit, making a character connection with God.

Community Connections. This is where you focus your attention oncelebrating and serving with others. There are things that we can’t do byourselves. Building cities, for example, playing symphonies, or making love.Our bodies create a sense of separation from others. But the truth is we’re allconnected in God’s eternal womb. When we gather for worship rather than war,when we hold hands rather than make fists, when we build up rather than teardown, then we’re making a community connection with God.

Neglect these five connections at great expense.Life can easily shrivel and die. Practice these connections on a regular basisand life can end up bigger and better than you ever thought possible.

To reply to this Provision, use our Feedback Form. To talk with us about coaching or consulting services for yourself or your organization, Email Us or use our Contact Form on the Web for a complimentary coaching session.

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

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC

President, LifeTrek Coaching Internationalwww.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformationwww.SchoolTransformation.com
Immediate Past President, International Association of Coachingwww.CertifiedCoach.org

Address: 121 Will Scarlet Lane, Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
Phone: (757) 345-3452
Fax: (772) 382-3258
Skype: LifeTrek
Twitter: @LifeTrekBob
Mobile: www.LifeTrekMobile.com
Subscribe/Unsubscribe: Subscriber Services

Provision #133: Imagine That

LifeTrek Provision

With this LifeTrek Provision I’m back to the mind • building those dendrites,the connections between nerve cells that help the mind to stay eternally young.While the number of brain cells decrease with age, the number of connectionsincrease as we exercise our mental faculties. The more we use our brains, themore connections are made. It’s that simple.

Five weeks ago I encouraged you to use your mind, mentioning bothcritical thinking and creative imagination. They’re both important. Criticalthinking such as problem-solving and mathematical calculating sets off anexplosion of neural activity. The harder we think the more dendrites we build.

The same goes for creative imagination. Visualize an object, a place,an odor, a condition, a sound, or an activity • capture it vividly in your mind– and the brain becomes a neural firestorm of wonder and amazement. When mychildren were younger we read to them a book about colors. After all the colorshad been introduced, it included the line, “Imagine that, a rainbow cat.”

Humans have the ability to imagine things that have never been or nevercould be as well as the ordinary and the commonplace. Albert Einstein calledthis our true genius. “Imagination,” he said, “is more important than knowledge.”The ancient Hebrew prophets would have agreed wholeheartedly.

Unfortunately most of us stop using our imaginations after childhood.Ask a young child to play a pretend game, and they’re likely to plunge in withgusto. Ask an adult and you may get a groan. We would do well to heed the wordsof Dr. Seuss. “I like nonsense,” he said, “it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasyis a necessary ingredient in living; it’s a way of looking at life through thewrong end of a telescope. (It’s what) enables (us) to laugh at life’srealities.”

When was the last time that you woke up your brain cells with nonsense?When was the last time that you imagined, in vivid detail, the perfect day, theperfect vacation, the perfect life, the perfect world, or the perfectly impossible?It’s really not hard to do, if you give yourself permission and take the time.

Go ahead and do itnow. Here are a few suggestions to help get the juices flowing:

  • Writeout your creative visualization. Make it plain. Be specific. Describe your visionof any or all of the above.
  • Drawyour vision. Use pencils, chalks, crayons or paints. Don’t worry about notbeing an artist or it not being any good. The fun is in creating the picture.
  • Doodle.Allow your mind to wander. As pictures come to mind, observe them with interestbut don’t force them to stay or to leave. They’re gifts to be appreciated andenjoyed.
  • Recordyour dreams. A pad and pencil by the side of the bed is a necessaryprerequisite. Don’t worry if you “never remember your dreams.” The pad andpencil will change that.
  • Entertainthe impossible. Paradoxes, or two seemingly contradictory ideas or visions, canunclog the neural networks of habit and launch new pathways of mind.

Creative imagination is one of the most powerful tools we have to notonly build dendrites and keep the mind young, but to change our individual andcollective lives. Whether in sport or life, business or pleasure, we cannotmake rapid progress unless we use our mind to calculate and create a vision ofwhere we’re going. That is where it starts: in the mind. Get the vision, thetarget that beckons, and everything else will follow.

To reply to this Provision, use our Feedback Form. To talk with us about coaching or consulting services for yourself or your organization, Email Us or use our Contact Form on the Web for a complimentary coaching session.

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

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC

President, LifeTrek Coaching Internationalwww.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformationwww.SchoolTransformation.com
Immediate Past President, International Association of Coachingwww.CertifiedCoach.org

Address: 121 Will Scarlet Lane, Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
Phone: (757) 345-3452
Fax: (772) 382-3258
Skype: LifeTrek
Twitter: @LifeTrekBob
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Provision #132: Eat Right

LifeTrek Provision

I’m in the middle of a series on how to care for body,mind, and spirit in order to optimize health and well-being. There is more tolife, and I’ll come to such things as time, money, and relationships in futureseries, but caring for body, mind, and spirit is a prerequisite for everythingelse.

This week’s tip focuses on eating right. Eating right is ascritical as exercise for optimum health. It’s really not hard to do, once youbecome aware of the principles. Eating right is a matter of eating the rightquantity and quality of food in the right way. Do that and you will greatlyimprove your chances of living a rich and full life. Fail to do that and youare likely die prematurely from disease or deterioration. What will it be foryou?

The right quantity has to do with calories. The ratio ofcalories in to calories out determines whether you are maintaining, losing, orgaining weight. Forget metabolism, although it plays a role. Most men shouldeat no more than 3,000 calories per day while most women should eat no morethan 2,000 calories per day. It could be significantly less if you have asedentary lifestyle; it’s seldom significantly more unless you’re extremelytall or a professional athlete.

The right quality has to do with food type and preparation.Most of us fail to recognize that modern life expectancy has increased in spiteof rather than because of our diet and exercise. Heart disease and cancer, forexample, are most often triggered by these two factors. Here are some tips forhealthy eating:

  • Avoid fried foods, fast foods, and refined sugar.
  • Minimize intake of saturated fat (fatty meat, dairy products, eggs) and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils (margarine, shortening, commercial chips, cookies, pastries, and snacks). Read labels.
  • Consume healthy fat from olive and canola oil, flaxseed, fatty fish (salmon, tuna, trout, herring, mackerel), raw walnuts and Brazil nuts. Avoid corn, safflower, sunflower, soybean, and cottonseed oils.
  • Eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. If you must snack, snack on fruit, not chips and crackers. Eat at least one green salad every day. Avoid overcooking vegetables.
  • Eat as many vegetarian meals as possible. Get protein from fatty fish and soybean products.
  • Eat as much fiber as possible, ideally 36–56 grams per day. Psyllium husk is a great, non-caloric source of fiber. Other good sources: oatmeal, broccoli, beans, potatoes, prunes, and whole grains.
  • Avoid coffee and alcohol. Make filtered water, and lots of it, your beverage of choice.

The right way to eat is slowly. The slower you eat the lesslikely you are to overeat and the more likely you are to enjoy your meal. Don’teat in the car as you race from point A to point B. Snack on a piece of fruit,if necessary, until you can sit and savor your next meal. Eating 5 smallermini-meals per day is better than 3 larger meals. Be sure to not skipbreakfast. Chew your food thoroughly to keep the upper digestive tract workingwell.

These simple tips are guaranteed to improve health andwell-being. It’s not that we don’t know how to eat right, but modern life worksagainst our consistently doing so. Hurry, hurry is no blessing. And many nastythings come disguised in attractive packages. Coaches assist people to slowdown, discern the truth, and take these tips seriously. Do these things, livelong, and prosper.

To reply to this Provision, use our Feedback Form. To talk with us about coaching or consulting services for yourself or your organization, Email Us or use our Contact Form on the Web for a complimentary coaching session.

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

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC

President, LifeTrek Coaching Internationalwww.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformationwww.SchoolTransformation.com
Immediate Past President, International Association of Coachingwww.CertifiedCoach.org

Address: 121 Will Scarlet Lane, Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
Phone: (757) 345-3452
Fax: (772) 382-3258
Skype: LifeTrek
Twitter: @LifeTrekBob
Mobile: www.LifeTrekMobile.com
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Provision #131: Get your Rest

LifeTrek Provision

It will probably come as no surprise, but most of us reading this coachingtip live in a near constant state of sleep deprivation. Consider these soberingfacts:

  • According to a Gallup Poll conducted for the NationalSleep Foundation, one out of every two people suffers from sleeplessness atsome point in their lives, many of them chronically.
  • It’s estimated that 30-40 million Americans suffer fromserious sleep disorders that undermine their sleep quality and their health.
  • In the past century, we have reduced our average timeasleep by 20 percent and, in the past 25 years, added a month to our averageannual work/commute time. Most adults sleep less than 7 hours per night duringthe workweek.
  • According to a 1999 National Sleep Foundation poll, 40%of adults say that they are so sleepy during the day that it interferes withtheir daily activities.
  • The NSF poll also found that daytime sleepiness is atan unexpectedly high rate among children at school. According to parent reports,60% of children under the age of 18 complained of feeling tired during the day,and 15% admitted to falling asleep at school.
  • Drowsy driving causes at least 100,000 crashes in theUnited States each year, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administrationreports.
  • 62% of adults in the U.S. experienced a sleep problem afew nights a week or more during the past year. While the proportion of adultswho experienced this frequency of sleep problems did not differ by sex or age,73% of shift workers report such problems, compared to 59% of regular dayworkers.
  • <spanstyle=’font:7.0pt “times=”” new=”” roman”‘=””>Smokers and people who use alcohol as a sleep aid aremore likely to have problems sleeping.

Even though the statistics make a clear and convincing case to the contrary,most of us think we’re getting adequate sleep when we’re really not. Do youhave a hard time getting out of bed in the morning? Do you try to catch up onyour sleep over the weekends? Do long meetings, overheated rooms, or heavymeals put you to sleep? Do you often sleep less than 7• hours per night? If theanswer is yes to any of these questions, then you’re not getting adequatesleep.

So what’s adequate sleep? It varies from individual to individual, but it’scertainly no less than 7• hours per night. That’s just how we’re made. Why 7•rather than the proverbial 8? Because sleep tends to run in approximately90-minute cycles. Wake up in the middle of a cycle, when you’re in deep sleepor dreaming, and you can fill the whole day with grogginess, moodiness, andirritability as well as poor concentration and judgment. Wake up at the end ofa cycle, when you’re in light sleep and your body is going through aself-diagnostic check, and you’ll end up more alert, attentive, personable, andrefreshed not to mention healthy and creative.

The best sleep pattern is to wake up at more or less the same time everymorning, regardless of when you go to sleep (even on the weekends). To get moresleep on the weekends, go to bed earlier rather than get up later. Calculatewhen to go to sleep by using the 90-minute cycle rule: the time you sleep inminutes should be divisible by 90 (3, 4•, 6, 7•, and 9 hours for themathematically challenged).

You may want to use your next vacation to get rid of the sleep debt you’vebeen accumulating: sleep until you’re all slept out, day after day, with noalarm clock. When you get back home, rearrange your schedule to get at least 7•hours on most nights. That way you’ll be sure to get your rest.

To reply to this Provision, use our Feedback Form. To talk with us about coaching or consulting services for yourself or your organization, Email Us or use our Contact Form on the Web for a complimentary coaching session.

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

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC

President, LifeTrek Coaching Internationalwww.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformationwww.SchoolTransformation.com
Immediate Past President, International Association of Coachingwww.CertifiedCoach.org

Address: 121 Will Scarlet Lane, Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
Phone: (757) 345-3452
Fax: (772) 382-3258
Skype: LifeTrek
Twitter: @LifeTrekBob
Mobile: www.LifeTrekMobile.com

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Provision #130: Control your Breath

LifeTrek Provision

Four weeks ago I encouraged deep, diaphragmaticbreathing: in through the nose, out through the mouth. Diaphragmatic means thatyou’re breathing deeply enough to move your diaphragm, the muscle thatseparates your lungs from your guts. If you lie down on the floor and put abook on your stomach, it should rise and fall as you breathe. If it doesn’t,you’re not breathing deeply enough to produce the relaxation response.

Three weeks ago I talked about smiling and laughing.I made specific mention of what happens when you smile and breathe in throughyour nose. The movement of the muscles and of the air cools the blood going tothe hypothalmus region of the brain, releasing feel-good endorphins. Theseendorphins have many energy building, pain relieving, stress reducing, andhealth enhancing benefits.

Before I leave the subject of breathing altogether,at least for a time, I want to offer one more tip: control your breath.Although it’s easy to breathe mindlessly, we’re born with that ability, it’spossible to become aware of and to control the process. The benefits of doingso to your mind-body-spirit being cannot be overstated. They are trulyunfathomable.

Last year I lost 65 pounds and became a marathonrunner. My first 30 pounds were lost exercising at a health facility. I wantedto run but I knew the impact of my weight would be too much for my knees andhips. So I opted for low-impact machines. When I got down to around 200 poundsI started running, without much coaching, wisdom, or knowledge. I just did it,as they say, but in the process I developed some bad habits that I’ve beentrying to change.

The worst habit was to not be aware and in controlof my breathing. Within seconds of starting my run, I would be huffing andpuffing along. Over time I became aware of what I was doing: I was breathing intime with my pace. With every step I would exhale or inhale. Having reachedthis level of awareness, I got to the point where I could control my pace bychanging my respiration rate.

This worked well enough when I was dropping from 12to 11 to 10 to 9-minute miles. But as I went to 8 and then almost 7-minutemiles my breathing pattern, learned from my initial mindless huffing andpuffing, became a real problem. I could no longer breathe as fast as I couldrun without hyperventilating and expending an enormous amount of energy in theprocess. As a result I’ve been relearning how to breathe and run, stretching itout from every step to every other to every third to every fourth step until Ireach my limit.

All this has produced an amazing paradox: breathingslower helps me to run faster and longer. Shallow, rapid, jerky breathingexhausts me and gives me the feeling of extreme exertion. Deep, regular, smoothbreathing energizes me and gives me the feeling of effortlessness. This is whatI want for you.

Enter a piece of ancient yogic wisdom: “Breathing isthe string that controls the kite.” This has become a mantra for me in theearly stages of my runs. I want to control the kite, my mind-body-spirit being,and that happens when I control my breath. If I forget to do this when I firstget started, I’m thrown out of whack for the rest of the run. When I rememberto do this, my performance and perspective are both enhanced.

This truth has wide application, far beyond thefield of running and athletics. Aladar Kogler writes, “The way that you breathedirectly affects your mental and physical state. If you breathe deeply andcount silently as you slowly exhale, you can feel yourself relaxing. Try now tobreathe irregularly and quickly, and you will feel some anxiety. A surprise orsome type of shocking news creates jerks in your breathing, increasing thefeelings of anxiety or tension.” (Yoga for Athletes, LlewellynPublications • St. Paul, MN, 1999).

In other words, control your breath and you willfeel peaceful. Allow your breath to control you and you will feel stressful.This can be done at any time. Do it now. Finish reading this paragraph thenclose your eyes and become aware of your breathing. Slow it down. Control it.Do this for several minutes and wonderful things will begin to happen. Do thisevery day for several minutes, or multiple times day, and you will become morehealthy and whole.

To reply to this Provision, use our Feedback Form. To talk with us about coaching or consulting services for yourself or your organization, Email Us or use our Contact Form on the Web for a complimentary coaching session.

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

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC

President, LifeTrek Coaching Internationalwww.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformationwww.SchoolTransformation.com
Immediate Past President, International Association of Coachingwww.CertifiedCoach.org

Address: 121 Will Scarlet Lane, Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
Phone: (757) 345-3452
Fax: (772) 382-3258
Skype: LifeTrek
Twitter: @LifeTrekBob
Mobile: www.LifeTrekMobile.com
Subscribe/Unsubscribe: Subscriber Services

Provision #129: Stay in Integrity

LifeTrek Provision

Jesus said, “If you stick with this, living out whatI tell you, you are my disciples for sure. Then you will experience the truthfor yourselves, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32).

Jesus forgot to mention that before the truth setsyou free it may first make you miserable. He nevertheless understood thedynamic of staying with integrity. “If you stick with this, living out what Itell you….” That is the challenge for us all: honoring, speaking, and stickingwith the truth that we know rather than violating, hedging, and compromisingthat truth in order to please others, make money, escape pain, avoidcontroversy, stay comfortable, dodge responsibility, delay decisions, feelsafe, be nice, or execute countless other excuses.

What’s your excuse? Are you staying in a job or arelationship that you know you should leave, that isn’t good for you or thatdoesn’t embody your true values, because you’re too afraid to make a break? Areyou caught in a net of deception and deceit, such that you’re no longer surewhat is really the truth? Are you so tired and depressed that staying withintegrity feels like too much effort with too little return?

Whatever they may be, executing excuses rather thanintegrity exacts an enormous price. To be out of integrity, to be out of syncand out of step with what is right and healthy for you, is mentally,physically, and spiritually exhausting. Deep down you know the truth, even ifyou’ve been repressing or avoiding it for years. Why not speak the truth andlive accordingly?

Speaking the truth is literally the first step tostaying in integrity. That’s why many people find coaches to be of greatassistance. Coaches ask clients, over and over again, to speak the truth abouttheir lives. Are you happy with what you’re doing and how you’re living? Whatfills you with passion and joy? What people, things, and situations are youtolerating? What fills you with regret or disturbs you about the past? What areyou putting off or procrastinating about?

Answering truthfully these and others questions,speaking the answers out loud to another person, can be enough to push peopleover the edge of taking action. Many coaches have stories to tell of peopletaking dramatic action in the first week of coaching. All they needed was tospeak the truth in order to make it so. Other people find that it takes moretime to build up the confidence, knowledge, and reserves they need to make achange. With the right coaching, however, it should never take more than amatter of months.

You’ll be surprised how effortless and wonderfullife becomes when you’re operating fully out of integrity. Coach U points outthat “fewer problems are experienced, consistent feelings of peace andwell-being are present, plus one reacts to others very little.” Living out ofintegrity is a matter of wholeness, of talking the talk and walking the walk,of being who you really are rather than the twisted self who you may havebecome.

Does that sound like the kind of life you want tolive? Then perhaps you need to implement the second step to staying inintegrity. After you speak the truth, make a commitment to embody the truth.Straighten out what you can straighten out. Reconcile what you can reconcile.Resolve what you can resolve. Restore what you can restore. If you can’t do itall, then start with the big ones. Eventually you’ll become the person you wantto be: complete, balanced, and responsible.

Living with integrity is always a choice. No one canmake you do it. And it’s not exactly something you should do, as though God orthe realities of life were chasing people around with a big stick. The sunshines on us all, whether we’re in or out of integrity. Integrity is more likesomething we’re free to do. We’re free to choose to be our best, to be whole,to practice what we preach, to embody our true values, to honor our truewisdom, and to follow our true path. When that happens, when we take off downintegrity lane, life becomes a perfect blessing.

To reply to this Provision, use our Feedback Form. To talk with us about coaching or consulting services for yourself or your organization, Email Us or use our Contact Form on the Web for a complimentary coaching session.

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

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC

President, LifeTrek Coaching Internationalwww.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformationwww.SchoolTransformation.com
Immediate Past President, International Association of Coachingwww.CertifiedCoach.org

Address: 121 Will Scarlet Lane, Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
Phone: (757) 345-3452
Fax: (772) 382-3258
Skype: LifeTrek
Twitter: @LifeTrekBob
Mobile: www.LifeTrekMobile.com
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Provision #128: Use Your Mind

LifeTrek Provision

Remember your grandmother, or that next door neighbor,who started every day with the crossword puzzle in the newspaper? They may havebeen on to more than they knew.

Many older people suffer from memory-loss problems.You’ve probably heard the joke about CRS disease: “Can’t Remember Shit.” There’sa biological basis for that joke. We grow brain cells up through puberty. Afterthat we start losing brain cells until we die. It’s a slow process that’sestimated to deplete us of more than a million brain cells over time.

Stress can make matters worse.Researchers have shown that an area of the brain called the hippocampus wasreduced by as much as 25 percent as a result of long-term stress, especially inPTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) patients. Since the hippocampus isinvolved in long-term and conscious memory processes, stress can greatlyaggravate the memory problems associated with aging and the loss of braincells.

Fortunately, there is a process that counteracts theloss of brain cells. Brain cells are connected by neural dendrites: branchedprotoplasmic extensions of nerve cells that conduct impulses from adjacentcells inward toward the cell body. Nerves cells are connected by manydendrites, perhaps an unlimited number, and researchers have shown that usingour minds actually increases the number of dendrites. While the number of cellsmay decline with age, the connections between the cells can increase.

This was once only a hypothesis,but recent advances in electrophysiological measurements usingvoltage-sensitive dyes have allowed researchers to observe the spread ofelectrical signals in a dendritic tree at all points simultaneously. They’vefound that the mental processes of thinking and imaging, of solving problemsand dreaming dreams, look like lightning storms in our brain. Lights areliterally flashing on and off in an electrochemical display no less amazing andbeautiful than the aurora borealis.

All this leads to a simpleconclusion: use your mind or lose your mind. There’s no apparent way to stopthe loss of brain cells, but you can slow the process down by minimizingstress. And you can offset the process altogether by increasing the connectionsbetween the cells, the number of dendrites, through mental activity. Thosecrossword puzzles served at least two functions: stress relief and mentalexercise. No electronic decoders or calculators allowed! Just pure, mentalenergy.

This has become a real problem inthe evolution of high-tech, consumer societies. People use their minds less andless all the time. Television, movies, and video games tend to lull the mindinto a stupor rather than to wake it up and stretch it to grow more dendrites.Education has become a process of learning how to use the technology ratherthan of learning how to use our minds. Creative, freestanding thought andimagination are rare commodities that we would do well to recover and practiceon a regular basis.

Try this simple exercise: closeyour eyes, practice deep breathing (in through the nose, out through themouth), and bring different vivid images to mind. A red rose. An alpine meadow.A burning house. A birthday cake with 45 candles. The aroma of fresh bakedbread. There’s no end to the sights, sounds, and smells you can conjure up. Andevery time you do, you’re building those age-fighting dendrites.

Or again, the next time you haveto add some numbers don’t automatically reach for the calculator. Use yourmind. Eventually, as your memory and mental flexibility improve, you’ll be gladyou did.

To reply to this Provision, use our Feedback Form. To talk with us about coaching or consulting services for yourself or your organization, Email Us or use our Contact Form on the Web for a complimentary coaching session.

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

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC

President, LifeTrek Coaching Internationalwww.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformationwww.SchoolTransformation.com
Immediate Past President, International Association of Coachingwww.CertifiedCoach.org

Address: 121 Will Scarlet Lane, Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
Phone: (757) 345-3452
Fax: (772) 382-3258
Skype: LifeTrek
Twitter: @LifeTrekBob
Mobile: www.LifeTrekMobile.com
Subscribe/Unsubscribe: Subscriber Services