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:”” “=””> 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
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformation,
Immediate Past President, International Association of Coaching,

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