Provision #481: Random Wonders

Laser Provision

For those who are waiting with baited breath for me to resume our series on optimal wellness, you’ll have to wait one more week. Too much happened during the past week that I want to highlight and comment upon. I trust you will appreciate my musings on topics ranging from the writing of LifeTrek Provisions, to computer viruses, to nonviolent communication, to the E. Colioutbreak. Hang on for the ride!

LifeTrek Provision

The research, writing, editing, production, and distribution that goes into LifeTrek Provisions every week is no small matter. It always amuses me when someone writes to complement us on our research staff (which is nonexistent). These Provisions and Pathways come straight from the hearts, minds, and research of the LifeTrek Coaching staff. No one is more devoted to the cause than me. Week in and and week out, with hardly an exception, I make sure that our readers — almost 60,000 strong between our email and handheld subscribers • receive great, dynamic provisions for the trek of life.

We don’t charge for this labor of love, which takes me at least 5 hours and sometimes as many as 10 hours to complete on a weekly basis. That’s a total of 16 days per year spent researching, writing, editing, producing, and distributing LifeTrek Provisions • without even factoring in the time spent researching and writing Pathways by my colleagues. Until I added up the numbers, not even I realized how much time was spent on this enterprise.

One reason the time flies by is that LifeTrek Provisions is my weekly discipline for deep thinking and life-long learning. It is a living journal that I love to wrestle with and produce. That may go back to my days as a pastor, when I had to produce a weekly sermon, or perhaps I just need the push of knowing my public is waiting, but I love to sit down at the keyboard in order to discover what I am thinking and learning.

Many times, I have no idea how the Provision will go when I sit down to write. I just sit and pull on the thread of an idea until it comes fully unraveled. Word plays and alliteration are my favorite tools. I often break forth new truth and light just by playing with the words themselves. When that process generates something wholly unexpected or even profound, it is pure delight. I love to write LifeTrek Provisions.

Even though it is a self-rewarding task, I am also gratified by the many replies that come in from you, the readers of LifeTrek Provisions, on a weekly basis. You often add value to my learning and thought-process, plus you let me know how much you have come to trust and appreciate us as a source of both information and inspiration on the trek of life.

You can imagine my chagrin, therefore, when a combination of events • including my own human error • led to a virus being sent out to our mailing list. This did not effect our handheld subscribers, and it also did not effect many email subscribers who never even saw the offending message because many ISPs (such as AOL, Gmail, and RoadRunner) spotted the virus and blocked delivery of the email. From your point of view, there never was a problem.

But many other subscribers (including those who use Yahoo! and Hotmail accounts) did receive the offending message and if I ever wondered whether people actually read these things, I wonder no longer. I was inundated with concerns, admonishments, expletives, and requests for removal. After I sent out a note of apology on Monday, explaining what happened and what changes we had made in our procedures to prevent this from ever happening again, I received another barrage of replies that restored my faith in humanity.

I was particularly touched by the total stranger who first demanded to be removed from our lists • “thanking” us for the virus • only to write back later, after he learned what happened, to say, “You are a champion, my friend! Thank you for your prompt and gracious reply. I most certainly wish to remain on your e-mail list! Keep up the great work!” That was a heartening turnaround, to say the least. I’d like to share a few of the other replies that warmed my heart in the wake of last week’s fiasco:

If it makes you feel any better…nothing like that arrived to my computer from LifeTrek. It sounds like you have taken some additional practice enhancement steps and will continue to have an excellent product and service! Thanks for that.
Life Happens!!! I accept your apology “profusely” …although I wasn’t affected. (smile) Keep those Provisions coming.
Your Coaching emails are a blessing to me and my family. I was blessed to read your apology email before jumping to it, so I deleted it right away. I am wondering if you could reprint ( re-email ) this weeks Life Trek Provisions at a later date? (Ed. Note: The regular Provision, titled “Resilience Coaching,” was not infected. You can open that email without concern, if you still have it, or you can read it in the Provision archive Click).
You are, of course, forgiven! Thank you for the explanation and update, and for continuing this ministry.
How sad for these people to do this!! Shame on them!! Thanks for the good words!!
I opened this email and am concerned with what it may have done and what should I do about it, please!!! (Ed. Note: If you did not open the attachment, you are not infected. Still, I would now run a virus scan of your entire computer, just to be safe.)
If your subscribers had an antivirus program running, they should have received a message that a virus was present and that it was removed before any damage was done. At least that is what happened with my machine. I have virus scanning on all of my e-mail. (Ed. Note: Agreed! No computer should be without antivirus software. Such programs are quite affordable and there are even free antivirus programs available for home users to download. Search for “free antivirus software.”)
I saw the message, suspected it, and then let Yahoo! test the attachments for me. Everything turned out fine. I’m sorry you were hit with this, but it hasn’t shaken my trust in you. It just shows a) bad things can always happen, and b) we (meaning your readers) should always keep the critical faculties turned on! (Ed. Note: To tie this to a quotable quote, “Trust and verify.”)
No worries! It happens. My antivirus caught it and dumped it. In fact, in a strange twist of fate you guys have bolstered the self-esteem of anti-virus packages all over the world. Re-enforcing their reason for being. I think with all the talk of anti-spyware programs lately, the anti-virus programs may have been feeling a little left out. Nice work, and keep the “regular” Provisions coming.
You would be God if you didn’t make mistakes. I for one enjoy your dispatches thoroughly, so no chance of unsubscribing.

There were many, many other replies, but the above made my “Top 10” list. We will, indeed, keep these Provisions coming.

In addition to systems that were not yet failsafe for viruses (they are now), last week’s fiasco happened while I was on the road to run the Lewis and Clark marathon in St. Louis, Missouri with my second cousin. We had a great time together, and I completed my 34th marathon or ultramarathon in my 20th state. That’s 20 states down and 30 states to go before my quest is complete! Given that I have also run marathons on 2 continents (North America and Europe), I may also have to tuck a few other marathons in along the way to pick up the other 5 continents.

Two other things happened last week that deserve attention in LifeTrek Provisions. One, was a delightful synchronicity. Right now I am finishing my Master Certified Coach (MCC) application with the International Coach Federation. In the process, another MCC told me about the work he was doing with Marshall Rosenberg’s material on Nonviolent Communication. No sooner had we had that conversation than what did I receive in the mail as a surprise present from one of my former clients? You guessed it: Marshall Rosenberg’s Nonviolent Communication Training Courseincluding 9 CDs, a 92-page workbook, and 7 training cards Click.

Rosenberg’s organization, The Center for Nonviolent Communication (CNVC) Click, is a non-profit organization founded in 1984 to teach nonviolent communication and to build nonviolent communities around the world. Before last week, I knew nothing about CNVC. Now I’ve become aware of yet another movement that has touched hundreds of thousands of people in 5 continents, including many of the most conflict-riddled areas of the globe. The philosophy and practice of CNVC is being used to “create and participate in networks of worldwide life-serving systems in economics, education, justice, healthcare, and peace-keeping.” According to those who know it well, it is making a difference.

From what little I have been able to glean at this point, I see many commonalities between the work of CNVC and Appreciative Inquiry (AI). Given that we use AI not only in our coaching work but also in our work with schools Click, congregations Click, and other organizations, the discovery of CNVC could not have come at a better time. I look forward to getting into the material and to sharing it with you, over time, in the pages of LifeTrek Provisions.

Finally, of course, the past week has seen the outbreak of a spinach-borne E. Coli problem in the United States. I hate to say, “I told you so,” but I told you so, right here on the pages of LifeTrek Provisions. In our current series on optimal wellness, I have been emphasizing the importance of local food sources. Not only do they typically provide fresher, higher-quality fruits, vegetables, and meats, but they also serve to defuse problems with the food supply, if and when they develop.

To quote Michael Pollan, in his excellent book The Omnivore’s Dilemma, “The real vulnerability in the agribusiness model is that when you highly centralize the food supply.. when there is a problem, the problem is going to get really big.” To avoid this eventuality, Pollan observes that “we may need a great many different alternative food chains, organic and local, biodynamic and slow, and others yet undreamed of.”

“As in the fields, nature provides the best model for the marketplace, and nature never puts all her eggs in one basket. The great virtue of a diversified food economy…is its ability to withstand any shock. The important thing is that there be multiple food chains, so that when any one of them fails • when the oil runs out, when mad cow or other food-borne diseases become epidemic, when the pesticides no longer work, when drought strikes and plagues come and soils blow away • we’ll still have a way to feed ourselves.”

I, for one, don’t want to wait until that day in order to connect with, support, and patronize local food sources. That’s why I have encouraged you to know your farmers, to visit farmers’ markets, to join with Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA), and to learn what you can do for yourself in terms of both gardening as well as hunting and gathering. Last week, I was pleased when a friend shared with us some pawpaw fruit that he had found and harvested in the woods.

Who knew that pawpaws, also called “poor person’s bananas,” are the largest edible fruit native to North America? Who knew that these fruits are ripe right now in Virginia and that they are free for the picking? The people in southeast Ohio probably know, since that is where the commercial growing and harvesting of pawpaws has a strong foothold (they are even lobbying to make the pawpaw the state fruit). But until last week, I didn’t know anything about pawpaws, how to eat them or how to find them. Now that I do, however, it gives me one more toehold in the local food chain.

Next week we’ll be back with the next installment in our series on optimal wellness. We’ll talk about the proper place of starches and legumes in our diet (hint: less is more) and then we’ll move on to consider the specific challenges of eating such staples as dairy, grains, and soy. By the time we get done with the input side of the LifeTrek Optimal Wellness Prototype Click, you may never look at food the same way again. But don’t despair, we’ll be sure to make room for chocolate in the end!

Coaching Inquiries: Does your computer have antivirus protection with up-to-date virus definitions? When was the last time that you ran a virus scan of your entire computer? What do you know about nonviolent communication? What place does it have in families, schools, offices, congregations, organizations, politics, and business? How can we make our world a more peaceful place to live? How could you get more connected to a wide variety of foods and food sources? What foods are lurking right outside your door, that you may not even know about? Who could assist you to find them?

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.

LifeTrek Readers’ Forum (selected feedback from the past week)

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..

What an awesome Provision! I’m so excited about the new developments with LifeTrek (Resilience Coaching) Click. I love the fact that you took a “break” from the nutritional series to share these announcements with us. Every week I anxiously await your emails with suspense. It’s like waiting for the next page in a thrilling novel.

Thanks also for adding the link to your battery of services. I will promote it to the congregations here in Kansas.

Thank you for the ongoing Provisions. Do you have any brands that you recommend for hemp seed protein and flax seed meal? (Ed. Note:  My favorite brand of hemp protein and hemp seed I do not recommend flax seed meal. The meal deteriorates quickly if it is not refrigerated, and there is no way of knowing how it was handled before it got to you. Better to purchase whole, organic flax seeds and grind them yourself, as needed, with an impeller-style coffee grinder.)

Sorry about the virus thing. I hope your marathon in St. Louis was successful! I did a 10K the same day here in Scotland, which was the first race I have run since the Edinburgh Marathon in 2003. I had read your articles on listening the day before so I used some of your strategies to be in the moment during my wonderful race! Hope you fill us in on the race details in the next provisions! (Ed. Note: It was slow and easy until the end, when I picked up the pace to race in the final three miles. It was good to feel strong in the end.)

It sounds like Appreciative Inquiry is aligned with my work in the past with Landmark Forum, Landmark Education, which I really stand for. Glad you are involved with that. 

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

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC

President, LifeTrek Coaching
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School
Immediate Past President, International Association of
Author, Evocative Coaching: Transforming Schools One Conversation at a TimeOnline Retailers

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