Regardless of the situation, there is always room for hope. Sometimes the basis for hope is obvious. We can easily see how things will work out. Other times the basis for hope is hidden. We have to rely on the mysterious and subtle energies of life to work things out, one way or another. But such reliance is not without foundation. Both quantum mechanics and cardio energetics embrace hope as a fundamental building block of life.
In last week’s Provision, where I encouraged you to Embrace Mystery in order to promote spiritual wellness Click, I mentioned the mysterious ways of the human heart as but one example of the quantum universe manifesting itself in the physical, macroscopic world. This goes so far beyond the conscious use of attention and intention that I find it both humbling and exhilarating. Consider a few more examples:
- Heart transplant recipients have reported new feelings, behaviors, and memories following their transplants. Some of these memories have been so specific as to assist police in the arrest and conviction of their organ-donors’ killers.
- Medical personnel involved with heart transplants report similar, if less intense, experiences of new feelings, behaviors, and memories that come just from handling and assisting human hearts.
- The heart generates more energy, of all types, than any other organ in the body. It generates the electromagnetic, physical, vibrational, and subtle energy fields that form the basis for life. The electromagnetic field created by the heart is 5,000 times more powerful than that created by the brain.
- Nonlocality and invisibility are both features of the heart’s subtle energy. It is not limited by space and time in the same way as other physical energy sources. When people put their heart into something, the effects can be instantaneous, dramatic, and mysterious.
- Random number generators have been influenced, for example, by heart energy. On September 11, 2001, random number generators around the globe became less random before, during, and after the terrorist attacks. The breaking of our global hearts impacted not only humans but our machines as well.
- Remote viewing is another aspect of heart energy. Remote viewing means that we “see” into other locations and times without being physically present and without using our eyes. Some call this a premonition, a hunch, a “sixth sense,” or an intuition. It is a documented but not a controllable phenomenon.
The more we learn about the heart’s subtle energy the more we see its connection to the weird universe of quantum mechanics explored by nuclear and particle physicists. There is much we do not understand about them both. This much is clear, however: heart energy and quantum mechanics deserve our utmost respect since they under gird and constitute the very fabric of existence.
I was reminded of this recently, when I paced one of my coaching clients to his first marathon finish in Duluth, Minnesota. Now I should point out that my client did not contact me for marathon coaching. Our focus has been and continues to be career transition. But, as often proves to be the case, getting into great physical shape worked its way into the equation.
So we set some weight loss and fitness goals, picked a date, and established a training program that my client has followed for the past five months. The benefits were legion. Not only did he reach his goals, but he gained energy, insight, and discipline in the process. He discovered what Jim Loehr and Tony Schartz call “the power of full engagement,” since physical training produces noticeable benefits in all areas of life and work.
One month ago, my client came to southeast Virginia in order to go on a long training run with me. This proved to be an invaluable warm up and learning experience for the real thing. We took off on our training run at a 4-hour marathon pace, and we kept up that pace for about 8 miles. Along the way, I asked my client, who was wearing a heart-rate monitor, to share with me both his heart rate and his heart energy. I wanted to keep an eye on both the mechanical and the vital dimensions of our run.
By the time we reached mile 8, it became clear that we had to slow down. His heart was beating at approximately 95% of his maximum heart rate, he was sweating profusely, and his •lan for the run was starting to slip. No amount of desire and good intentions can make up for going out too fast at the start of a long training run, let alone of a marathon. So we scaled back our pace for the rest of the day as well as our plan for the marathon in Duluth.
Race day arrived with perfect weather on a perfect course through the perfect beauty of the north woods. We were driven by bus, 26.2 miles up the Lake Superior coastline, to run back into town starting at 7:30 AM Central Daylight Time. Minutes before the start, two fighter jets flew over head in the direction of the finish line. At their speed, they finished the marathon in about 3 minutes. It took us nearly twice that long just to cross the starting line after the race began!
Crossing the line, our hearts became fully engaged. We paced ourselves for a 5-hour finish, running a half mile and then walking a minute for most of the course. The goal was to keep my client’s heart rate below 80% of his maximum heart rate for the first 20 miles in order to preserve his heart energy for the tough, final 10 kilometers of the race.
That’s how I view a marathon: it is two races, back to back. The first race • the 20-miler • is a relatively easy run for those who are in marathon shape. Ask me on any given day if I might we willing to run 20 miles the next morning, and the answer may well be, “Yes!” That’s because 20 miles is within the range of the human body to process without undue duress. So many marathon runners speak of mile 20 as the halfway point in the race, even though there are only 10 kilometers (or 6.2 miles) left to go.
The second race • the 10K • is where all the weird things usually happen. That’s when most people hit the wall, running out of available glycogen and needing to switch to the conversion of stored energy or fat for continued running. That’s when people also develop cramps or other muscle problems, if they are going to develop them at all, due to the build up of lactic acid. That’s also when the heart rate creeps inexorably higher, regardless of the pace, as heat, dehydration, and time begin to take an ever-increasing toll.
Fortunately, our plan worked perfectly. The slower pace kept my client’s heart rate down and spirits up for the entire first 20 miles. The walks breaks, including an ample amount of rest-and-recover nose breathing, were exactly what we needed at the half-mile intervals. The sights and sounds of the course, ranging from the views of Lake Superior to the spectators along the way to our fellow participants • one of whom was skipping rope all the way through to the finish • were animating to say the least.
By the time we started the second race, at mile 20, our hopes were high that we could finish strong. And those hopes were important in getting us through those tough final miles. I know what it’s like to see your goal-time slipping away. It is disheartening. Instead of getting stronger, it makes you weaker. “Why bother?” becomes the attitude. “I’ll just do what I have to do to finish and try again another day.”
Hope has the opposite effect. It is heartening. When a goal is within reach, that hope can overcome all manner of adversity. That’s what happened to me in April, when I ran the Boston Marathon with an injured right leg. My first goal was to make it to Wellesley, where I knew friends would be waiting if I needed to bail out. Reaching that goal, I pressed on to finish even though the leg was increasingly painful.
When I finished climbing Boston’s famous “Newton Hills,” at mile 21, I did a quick mental calculation to determine that it was not beyond me to break 4 hours. Then I did a deeper heart calculation to determine that I had the resolve, vigor, connection, and courage to pick up the pace in spite of my leg pain. In other words, I did the math and then I did the heart math in order to find the hope that enabled me to reach my goal.
So too in Duluth. With every half-mile interval, I reported to my client as to where he stood in relationship to his goal. There was no reason, I told him, if he kept up his pace, that he could not break 5 hours. That was the math. But I also told him that to keep up his pace he had to want it more than his muscles wanted to quit. I encouraged him to go deep, and to feed off the energy of the crowds, in order to see his way successfully through to the end. That was the heart math.
As we got closer to the finish I spent more time with the heart math than with the math. I championed my client for running strong. I also got the spectators to do the same. Every so often I would run ahead, point out my client to the spectators, give them his first name, and encourage them to cheer wildly. They were more than happy to oblige. Those rousing doses of spectator heart energy, occasionally amplified by a high-5 from a little child, combined with the knowledge that his family would be waiting for him at the finish line, were enough to bolster the hope of any runner.
It was fulfilling to see my client’s race come to such a perfect conclusion. We finished in 4 hours, 58 minutes, and 20 seconds. He was even able to run what runners call a “negative split,” meaning that he ran the second half of his race faster (in fact, almost 7 minutes faster) than he ran the first half. Even though his heart rate eventually climbed to almost 98% of maximum, he ran the final 10K at almost the exact same pace as the first 10K. Now that’s an awesome accomplishment!
And that’s what hope can do. It can give us the energy to not only keep going, but to pick up the pace, when the going gets tough. It can shift us from discouragement to encouragement, from aimlessness to purposefulness, and from cynicism to enthusiasm. It can do both the math and the heart math in order to mobilize energy in the service of life and work.
Too often we forget about the heart math. But if we only factor the physical possibilities into the equation • if we only do the math • we miss an enormous piece of the puzzle. No scientist today would seek to explain the universe strictly in terms of Newton’s mechanics (equations that govern how macroscopic objects interact and move under the influence of forces). On the microscopic level, quantum mechanics reveals a very different world indeed.
But the microscopic world, which underlies all of life, is a world to which the heart appears to be particularly sensitive and in tune. In this world, many things become possible that are impossible in terms of Newton’s mechanics. For those who do the heart math, hope stretches the imagination and infuses every situation. The power of hope can make a way out of no way and get us not only to the finish line of marathon races, but to wherever we want to go.
So embrace hope. Even when the odds are against you, embrace hope. Even when it seems as though you have run out of options, embrace hope. Even when the balance sheet is running a deficit, embrace hope. There is no other way to be spiritually well and there is no better way to live.
Coaching Inquiries: Do you embrace hope? Does your hope include both the math and the heart math of situations? Is your heart connected to the stream of courage and possibility that runs through life? How could you become more hopeful? What’s next on the horizon of your life?
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Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Readers’ Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent in each week by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. They do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Formor Email Bob..
I enjoyed your “mystery” Provision, thanks.
Your last Provision, “Embrace Mystery,” reminded me of something from my past. Many years ago there was a romantic duo named Nelson Eddy and Jeanette McDonald who sang romantic duets. One of them was “Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life”. The two of them would sing to each other “Ah, sweet mystery of life at last I found you. Ah, sweet mystery of life at last you’re mine.” Perhaps the mystery of life was then, and still is, love. Sounds simple but we know it isn’t!
May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.
Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC
President, LifeTrek Coaching International, www.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformation, www.SchoolTransformation.com
Immediate Past President, International Association of Coaching, www.CertifiedCoach.org
Author, Evocative Coaching: Transforming Schools One Conversation at a Time, Online Retailers
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