Provision #846: Glad to Be Alive

Laser Provision

Simply put: I’m glad to be alive. Life is not guaranteed to any of us and it comes to an end, at some point, for all of us. Life almost came to an end for me about 17 months ago. That experience, from which I am still recovering slowly, has made life all the more interesting and precious. What about you? How do you view and experience life? If you think of life as anything less than a precious gift, to be lived with all the energy and curiosity you can muster, then I encourage you to read on. This Provision just might turn things around.

LifeTrek Provision

I see some similarities between my own story and that of Evgeni Plushhenko, the Russian skating legend who was selected, one last time and at the relatively old age in his sport of 31, as Russia’s sole men’s singles skater who was entered into the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

“I am so happy with my qualifying performances,” Plushenkio told English-speaking reporters before the games started. “This will be the fourth Olympic Games in my life. And after 12 surgeries, I can still compete. I can still skate. And it doesn’t matter what kind of result will be in the end, I am already a winner. For myself.”

But he did more than just show up on the ice and skate, even though he had scarcely competed in his sport since undergoing back surgery in February 2013. Indeed, it was questionable whether or not he would make the team at all. In Russia’s Olympic trials he was out-performed by a teen phenomenon, Trankov, and Russian officials were ready to cut him from the team.

After being granted a private, 11th-hour performance with those officials, however, Plushenko convinced them to award him to the country’s lone men’s spot in the 2014 Games, giving him the chance to win three more Olympic medals before retiring — two in team events and one in an individual event – on his beloved home soil, no less.

As the games commenced, Plushenko seemed to defy the odds as he dazzled the crowds in the team events, earning a silver medal as part of the Men’s Team Short Figure Skating Program and then a gold medal as part of the Men’s Team Free Program. What could be better? With age-defying jumps that sent the crowd into a flag-waving, chanting frenzy, he was part of the effort that helped Russia to seize the lead in the sport.

But then things fell apart. He had to drop out of the Men’s Individual Short Program due to severe spinal pain during the warm up. It “felt like a knife in my back,” Plushenko said afterward of his warm-ups injury. He just could not go on, and that turn of events left people debating on both sides as to whether or not he and the Russian coaches had made the right choice to let him compete at all.

I, for one, stand with Plushenko. There are times when one has to take risks in order to see what one can do. And those risks, as long as they are not life threatening, are worth taking. They restore one’s soul and make one happy to be alive. As Plushenko said when he was asked about his workload: “I am feeling good. I am in front of you. Still alive. Not dead. So why not take the risk?”

Taking such risks represent a form of mindfulness because they serve the larger purpose of becoming fully alive and present not only to oneself, in the moment, but also to the realm of possibility and wonder. Those are the risks that I am taking and the mindfulness that I am seeking even now, on the continuing journey toward health and wholeness and those are the risks that I would encourage you to take as well.

Coaching Inquiries: What makes you glad to be alive? What risks, if you were to take them, would make you even happier to be alive? Who could assist you to get there today?

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

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.

Your continued work on and publishing of Provisions never ceases to amaze and inspire me. Thanks.

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

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC

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

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