In last week’s Provision #843, Time to Stand Still, I wrote about slowing down so that we could more fully appreciate what’s going on in the moment. But what is going on in the moment? To answer that question we have to not only slow down and stand still, we also have to open our eyes, look around, and give thanks. That can be a hard thing to do at times. I know. But others have had it even tougher. This Provision shares an amazing story of life and love that deepens the trek of life.
Human beings, like all other animals, are meant to move. We’re not like trees, shrubs, and flowers that stay anchored in one place, even when the wind is blowing (although there is at least one unusual plant, in the rainforest, that actually “walks” by throwing out new roots in one direction, while releasing roots in the other direction, so as to stay up with and to catch the light). One the contrary, animals like to move and that movement is usually to some purpose. In the case of human beings, that purpose goes beyond mere survival. We like to connect with others, to be productive, and to make a contribution. That’s why last week’s Provision, Time to Stand Still, may have been a challenge for you.
Especially since animals not only like to move, we have to move. We have to move to find and eat our food, for example, as well as to strengthen our bodies, to stay healthy, and to play. Movement is so important that we even move in our sleep. It’s what we do as animals. Some activities, like cattle ranching and hunting, involve a lot of physical effort and movement. Other activities, like writing these Provisions every week, involve more thinking than physical exertion and movement. But even writing involves fingers tapping on the keyboard and, in my case, feet tapping to the music. However vigorous may be our activities, it takes energy to get things done after which it’s time to rest and sleep, in order to renew our bodies, minds, and spirits before starting another day.
As I wrote about in last week’s Provision, even “standing still” is an “activity” since it takes energy, discipline, and effort in order to do so. If you don’t believe me just try standing on one foot for a while. That’s part of the yoga routine that my wife, Megan, practices faithfully on a week-by-week basis. Or try “standing still” on two feet when you would rather be doing something else. For me, at least, that may take the most challenging energy of all: to get off the “what I should be doing” treadmill and to balance myself in the “what’s happening now” pose. Like balancing on one foot, standing still and looking around is tricky. We have to choose to do so and it’s not that easy. But it give us the opportunity to look around.
That opportunity is, of course, just as present when we are on the go. But it’s harder to look around when we are headed somewhere. That’s when we are more likely to put our head down, to grit our teeth, and to to stay focused on what we are doing until we get where we are headed. But if we give ourselves permission to do so, and if we take the time to look around, there’s no telling what we might grab our attention and fill us with a sense of awe and wonder.
And it doesn’t take the seven wonders of the world to inspire our hearts. Even the smallest of things can move us to tears or laughter, to anguish or delight, if we look around and notice them so as to take them into our souls. That’s what happened to me this past week when I “looked around” and “noticed”, i.e., “listened to”, the story of Alexis D’Luna on National Public Radio. Here is how the NPR website starts out the story:
“Alexis D’Luna was born with CHARGE syndrome, a life-threatening genetic condition. She was intellectually disabled, legally blind, had hearing problems and stood just under 5 feet tall because of deformities in her legs and back.
She also had boundless energy, her family recalls during a visit to StoryCorps. “She would wake up and ask what was on the agenda for the day,” says her older sister, Adrienne D’Luna Directo. “And once you got out of saying the things you had planned, she would say, ‘And then?’ ”
Alexis loved cheerleading. She joined her high school squad in 2004. At football games, she would be “doing kicks, even though it was only 6 inches above the ground,” says Alexis’ father, Lionel D’Luna. “You just marveled at that energy.”
“She was charismatic,” says her mother, Debra. “She attracted people wherever she went.”
Most children with CHARGE syndrome don’t live past age 5, but Alexis lived until she was 25.
“Every morning when I wake up, I give thanks for the day, and then I say, ‘May I use it the way Alexis did,’ ” says Lionel.
“If you could talk to Alexis right now, what would you want to say?” Adrienne asks her father.
“We are so proud of you and all that you have taught us,” Lionel says. “We are what we are because of you.”
If that doesn’t move you to tears, I don’t know what will – unless, of course, it is this YouTube video of Alexis cheering with that cheerleading quad, well before she died on December 15, 2012. I love the following two sentences from her obituary: “Alexis was the embodiment of total innocence, showering all those who came in contact with her with unconditional love. Her upbeat personality, keen sense of humor, and zest for life charmed all who knew her.”
May we all live such lives. May we all look around to find the goodness in things, even when times are tough or people are being mean. May we all be filled with the desire and given the ability to do so.
Coaching Inquiries: What grabs your attention and warms your heart? How could you position yourself so as to invite that opportunity more often? Who helps you to that? Why not have conversation them this week, making to pact to that with and for each other? Let me know if you do.
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Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Readers’ Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. They do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Form or Email Bob.
I am inspired through my Wellcoaches Study, you and your Provisions, and also the small amount I know regarding your outreach specifically as it relates to education. It is my goal to be a certified Wellcoaches Health Coach by March. I then look forward to impacting the world with the gift of Health Coaching. You inspire me. So does the story Logan Laplante, a 13 year-old boy who was taken out of the education system to be home schooled instead.
Not only was he home schooled, but Logan had the ability to tailor his education to his interests and also his style of learning, something traditional education does not offer. As Logan has mentioned, when he grows up he wants to be happy and healthy. Your readers might be interested in watching this TEDx talk that he gave in 2013, where he discussed how hacking his education is helping him achieve that goal.
Thanks for the thoughtful Provision, Time to Stand Still. I thought of a poem that Leslie and I included in our wedding over 30 years ago, The Master Speed by Robert Frost. I attach a picture of our framed remembrance of this message to often stand still, together “wing to wing and oar to oar.” This was a relevant metaphor for Leslie and me as we were very active canoeing the whitewater Potomac River below and above Great Falls, VA! Your great Provision message rings true for us every day!
Please pass along our warm regards to Megan! All the best!
My friend and colleague, Kerul Kassel, has written a wonderful new book titled The Thinking Executive’s Guide to Sustainability. What could be more important? Here is a brief description:
“We live in an increasingly global economy in which the effects of shrunken economies, broadened communication, and widespread meteorological incidents associated with climate change are leaving virtually no one untouched. As a result, a working knowledge of concepts such as the triple bottom line and sustainability, have become mandatory,
The Thinking Executive’s Guide to Sustainability offers a practical, relevant, and easily grasped overview of sustainability issues and the systems logic that informs them, supported by empirical research and applied to corporate rationales, decision-making, and business processes. Intended for business professionals seeking concise, reliable, and current knowledge and trends, it will support them in leading their organizations’ corporate sustainability, social responsibility, and citizenship efforts so they can remain competitive and successful.”
May you be filled with goodness, peace, joy, and health.
Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC
President, LifeTrek Coaching International, www.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformation, www.SchoolTransformation.com
Past President, International Association of Coaching, www.CertifiedCoach.org
Author, Evocative Coaching: Transforming Schools One Conversation at a Time, Online Retailers
Address: 121 Will Scarlet Lane, Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
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