Firebirdlifecoach's Blog

Pursuing a Passionate Life

In Memorium May 28, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — firebirdlifecoach @ 6:14 am
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Okay, so it’s 6:00 in the morning. I am here in my usual spot, on the porch, feet up, cup of warm tea steadily cooling by my side, my laptop quietly streaming music from www.radioparadise.com, the morning birds singing, my sons still sleeping and it’s time to write my blog. The Memorial Day weekend is spread-out before me and my mind is moving slowly from one idea to the next, but it keeps settling back in one place. Only it feels funny to write about something so personal. Nonetheless, little else is rising to the surface and it’s where I am.

Tomorrow I am going to a memorial service/party for an old friend who died last week from complications due to leukemia. He was someone who lived his life fully and loudly and he will be remembered and missed by an extensive network of family and friends. He has not been a regular part of my life for many, many years, but at one point in time he was a significant and notable presence. He was the best friend of an old boyfriend and a very real and significant person in a large and intensely close circle of friends that surrounded this core group of people. In more recent years, I would run into him occasionally at the annual Christmas party given by my old boyfriend’s brothers and oddly enough at the dentist (the brother of another old friend and member of this same group of folks.) It feels almost impossible to describe the intensity of connection within this group of people and the impact and personality of this one pivotal person as there is a larger than life quality to both.

So tomorrow, rather than driving down to see my boyfriend and family as originally planned, I will be going back to a place from my past and seeing people who once were fixtures in my daily existence and now are more loosely connected to my present life. It will be a remembrance and a party – cause that’s just the way it should be to honor and remember this man who touched the lives of so many people. Some of these people I have had intense personal relationships with, some I have only heard about through my continued friendship with some folks and all will be grieving and celebrating the life of this one unique soul. It is very sad to come together for this reason and it is a beautiful testament to a life. I have never known of any other group of people whose bond has lasted this long and who have remained so closely interconnected. It is a powerful and amazing phenomenon and I am proud to be a part of it, if only through a handful of people at this juncture in my life.

He was a devoted father, an artist and a person of uncompromising individuality and despite the fact that he has not been a regular and direct part of my life for many years, I can’t help but feeling like the world is forever changed now that he is no longer out there doing his thing. What I also know is that it is indeed true that he will live on forever in the hearts and minds of the people who knew and loved him. Rest in peace, Paul.

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And I did it all by myself, well sort of… May 27, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — firebirdlifecoach @ 6:33 am
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I like being independent. There is a sense of accomplishment and pride that I get when I complete a task on my own without the need for assistance by others. As a homeowner and single mom, there certainly are plenty of opportunities to flex these muscles. But there are also countless tasks that feel just a little bit over my head, or beyond my physical ability to complete without asking for help. Each season, there is some task that requires the assistance of outside help. Often at a cost, there are reminders throughout the year that I just can’t do it all; autumn means giant piles of leaves that need to be carted away to the dump, winter means having my driveway plowed or risk injuring my back, spring means clean-up, mulch and gutter cleaning, and summer is the time when I have to find someone to install the window air conditioning units. This one is particularly tricky since it not exactly something that I can “hire” someone for – unlike the other tasks which are usually resolved with a check to a landscaper.

Back a few weeks ago, when my basement flooded and I had a dumpster in my driveway for the clean-up effort I took advantage of the opportunity and had two of the oldest and heaviest ac units disposed of, which of course left me needing to buy two more. Yesterday, my son and I, motivated by the 90 degree temperatures, bought two units to replace them, and for the first time ever, we installed them on our own. It was great! I may still have two older models to go in – but I have decided both of my sons and I can attempt to tackle them together this year. It’s very exciting stuff, at least for me it is, and yes, I do realize that accomplishing this task with the assistance of my son/s does not mean total independence, but it’ close enough in my book.  So this season, we can actually get the units in and out of the windows when we need them without having to wait for weeks to have a friend do it for us. Woo hoo, I say!

And as good as it feels to take care of things on my own, I am also aware that in many ways sometimes the best way you can take care of yourself, is to ask for the assistance of others. Sure I suppose we can create a world of complete independence (figuratively speaking of course, given that total self-reliance in modern society would also require total hermetic isolation) but why would you want to? The sense of accomplishment you get when you do something on your own is a wonderful thing, but we are for the most part inter-dependent creatures that grow and evolve in connection with those around us. That connection does not have to mean dependence, but occasionally asking for help is necessary and even is beneficial. It is my belief that it takes a great amount of strength to ask for help and to realize that we each have our skills and abilities. Bringing others into our lives whose strengths complement our own is a beautiful and intelligent thing.

I think that to live a life at our fullest potential involves both our independence and our reliance on others, knowing when you need help and when you don’t is the key. Flexing those independence muscles is a good thing, and allowing yourself to depend on others is as well. It’s standing at the poles that cause the system to wobble, but finding the balance that works for you, is the key to a smooth ride.

 

Happy Birthday to You May 24, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — firebirdlifecoach @ 5:26 am
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It’s my sister’s birthday today. I am waiting for a decent hour to call her and wish her a “happy birthday” in case she’s decided to take advantage of the moment and sleep in late. She is my next oldest sibling and growing up, she is the one of my three siblings that I interacted with the most. There is a decent age spread between each of us so my oldest two siblings were out of the house and in college when I was still pretty young. Though we definitely played together when we were young we also fought a lot and really didn’t start to “like” each other until I was in high school and she left for college. Now as adults, we live in different states and though at this juncture we have pretty regular contact with each other that hasn’t always been the case, despite the fact that nothing significant has ever happened to pull us apart and then back together again. It just seems to be the pull of the tide of our relationship.

Siblings relationships are funny. I have a good friend who is incredibly close to his older brothers and they continue to both socialize and work together. They are all friends with each other’s friends and their bond is incredibly tight. I have other friends who have little or no contact at all with their brothers and sisters and still others who have primary contact around family holidays but light contact at other times. I find myself looking at my sons who were once the world to each other and who are now growing in their own separate directions. When they are together – they are pretty close, recognizing and accepting each other’s differences and still presenting a united force against their common nemesis – me.

I hope that when they grow into men that they are always close – loving and supporting each other through life’s diverse moments – but who knows – they could grow to be distant and uninvolved with each other’s lives. As a mom, I do what I can to foster their bond, and that’s about it – because really how their relationship grows over time, doesn’t have that much to do with me. I am not sure what causes two siblings to grow into adulthood as best friends and what causes them to become indifferent strangers, but I do what I can to support the former orientation.

As children, our families are our world – friendships are peripheral. As we grow we create our own families, by choice of partner and the family we create together and by choice of friends who we bond with in profound and meaningful ways in many instances. There are many senses of family, and how we experience and define it has a myriad of possible faces. It would be nice if that family of origin always remains tight, but sometimes it is the family we create, however we define them, that becomes the real connection in our lives. Whatever the source, however it is defined that deep connection with other people is the key. Knowing that there is someone out there who has your back, who wants the best for you and who loves you even when they know the aspects of you that are less than appealing is what is important. Loving and caring for others really allows us the opportunity to be experience what it is to be human – and opens some of the deepest parts of ourselves to the possibilities of life.

So on that note; happy birthday sister of mine, may the year ahead truly bring you great happiness and fulfillment.

 

Whatcha Gonna Do? May 21, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — firebirdlifecoach @ 5:51 am
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Tonight is the opening reception for the summer exhibit at the DeCordova museum in Lincoln, MA – I’m gonna go. I am a member at the museum, so my admittance is always free, a little benefit that I enjoy periodically, but on the opening night after an hour or so for members only – the museum is also open to the public for free as well. They do an excellent job, and usually also serve appetizers, wine and beer and often also have some sort of live music playing. On several occasions, I have met up with friends and enjoyed the evening together, but tonight my usual companions have other plans so I am going to go it alone. I could mention it to other folks to see if anyone else wants to join me, but at this point my inclination is to go it alone.

There was a time in my life when I wouldn’t have considered such a thing. I would have felt odd or uncomfortable attending an event like an art opening on my own. Seems silly to me now that, that was ever the case and it’s hard to imagine that such a thing would have ever been intimidating for me – but it was. I am sure that many opportunities and events were missed because of that attitude, and I think that’s too bad. When I look back at my life I definitely see that at one point I would have described myself as shy and socially on the awkward side of things but that is definitely not true of me today. Nowadays, there are certainly things that I would rather do with friends, but few that I would not do alone. At this point it is more about sharing the enjoyment of such an event with a friend but knowing I will still enjoy myself in a different way alone. I can safely say I enjoy experiencing life all on my own as much as I do with the company of friends.

Thinking about this personal phenomenon really brings home for me the individual capacity for change in one’s life. I think a lot of us accept the idea of “this is just how I am” thereby blocking the opportunity for evolution. Change can be unsettling and unnerving – but it is definitely not impossible. With each day we have a myriad of opportunities to react to situations in our lives in our “typical way” or to choose to do or try something different. The choice is always there, always present and how we confront it is our choice. Sure there are many opportunities to just say “no, that’s not me” but those same opportunities present an opportunity for trying something different.

I am all for knowing yourself, for having your beliefs, convictions, interests and preferences – and I am also for trying to remain open to new opportunities and possibilities for evolution. Life is so full of opportunities – we can choose to experience them or not. There are things about myself and my life that I value just the way they are – but I guess I can add “embracing the opportunity for new experiences and change as one of them”. It’s a bit of a paradox, but I am good with that. I’m not a big fan of stagnation – is anyone? Life is full of possibilities, which ones will you allow yourselves to entertain today? Go ahead try something new, you never know you might discover a new aspect of yourself that you really like…

 

We are All – Right Here May 20, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — firebirdlifecoach @ 5:59 am
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The wonders of technology… In today’s world – we are wired for action in countless ways. We shop online, chat online, pay our bills, connect with loved ones, announce marriages, births and deaths on sites like Facebook and Twitter and interact in ways that years ago didn’t even occur to us. We are fully living in an age of technology surrounded by gadgets and services that make our lives easier and more complicated all at once. It’s incredible really, and I find that I welcome all of this into my life with a fair mix of enthusiasm and reluctance.

This week after going into the mobile phone store for what I thought would be a relatively simple fix on the ear piece for my existing cell phone, I walked out with a smart phone which can apparently do everything except feed my cats and wash the laundry. It is a wonderful little machine that I am both excited about and intimidated by. Just minutes before going into the store I was telling a friend that all I needed was for my cell phone to allow me to make and receive calls remotely – feeling sure in my conviction that I had no use for a phone that would allow me to send and receive emails, go onto my Facebook account and find the nearest gas station, and an hour later I walked out with a phone that could do all this and much, much more. I now get to spend the next six months figuring out how to use this darned thing. Woo hoo! I can’t blame the salesperson for talking me into it – I did it all myself. I saw this little technological wonder and sold myself with little resistance.

Like many other folks, I do enjoy all the benefits of these many services and capabilities but at the same time I am painfully aware of how much more complicated they make my life as well. The amount of time I spend caring for these sensitive machines, learning their bells and whistles, repairing their glitches and spending money to keep them running is significant. I suppose I could choose to “go offline”, to return to a more simplistic lifestyle, where if I wanted to speak to a friend I called them from my land line and wrote words with something called “pen and paper” but I wouldn’t want to. After all, in many ways our technologically interconnected lifestyle allows me to do things like write this blog and connect with people who otherwise I never would. Like so many other aspects of life it is a mixed blessing. But for a connector like me – this technology allows me the opportunity to, with relative ease, reach and connect with people who would otherwise be inaccessible and that is very valuable.

So, those are my thoughts for the day. I need to shift into a different gear now, but I won’t really be disconnected, I am just shifting over to a new machine. Like you – I am right here.

 

Prefection Reflection May 17, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — firebirdlifecoach @ 6:59 am
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(Wrote this one mid-day Sunday.)

A most excellent day! Find myself home and alone on a BEAUTIFUL, sunny day. Woke up early – got the grocery shopping done and laundry started before 9:00, just in time to enjoy sitting in the sun in my favorite and most private spot in the yard. After two restful hours soaking up the most glorious sunshine – and sketching a drawing that was floating around in my brain, spent another three hours or so – making said creation. It felt particularly good since I spread everything out on the grass and finished the first piece of artwork I have created in about six, long months. And I am now pondering – what’s next?

It’s one of those days that I am enjoying both productivity and recreation. Have had four long conversations with dear friends and am feeling both social and solitary. I had been thinking about having a friend to dinner and have been invited to another friend’s house if I’d like to join a group of folks for a casual meal. Just can’t quite decide what I am up for, since I am really enjoying being alone as much as I am tempted to spend time with friends. I am less inspired to get in my car for the 40 minute drive however and don’t know if I am up for putting on – leaving the house clothes. Ho-hum, problem of plenty I guess, things could be a lot worse.

This weekend is not what I had planned. I had intended to go out-of-town to spend some time with my boyfriend, but familial responsibilities kept me tethered to the home front. I wasn’t particularly happy about that change, but am rolling with it quite well as it turns out. Recently read a quote from a Buddhist monk (sorry, forgot his name) who said something to the effect of “People are always living for the future, and the only future we really have is the present.” Found myself nodding inside – and thinking, “so true, so true”. I think it’s easy to get wrapped up in our future plans and I for one am absolutely committed to the idea of planning for and creating a future vision for ourselves that is meaningful and resonant with who and how we want to be. But at the same time, I am equally convinced that living in the moment and making the best of the now is the way to go (while building and expanding on the past). It’s all interconnected and fluid, given that there are certainly no real breaks in between.

So to that end – I shall continue forth with my lovely day, my brief reflective writing moment drawing quietly to a close. I still don’t know what will come next – but I am okay with that – because at this very moment – life is beautiful perfection. Peace – LB

 

Stomachs, potholes and the 3 Muskateers May 14, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — firebirdlifecoach @ 5:45 am
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It is a slow start to my day thus far. I haven’t been feeling well the last couple of days and so today has an almost surreal, dreamlike quality to it as I prepare for what feels like my re-entry into everyday life. It’s as if I have “been away” though I have been right here the whole time, except that most of the usual elements of my day have been absent. It has brought that concept of the body-mind-spirit connection to the fore in a very real way. When one aspect of your life feels out-of-whack it is as if you are trying to function with a missing piece.

I think many of us get used to functioning with some degree of deficit. Though some holes go more easily unfilled that others, it’s like driving down the street in your hometown, knowing where the potholes lie, anticipating them as you drive along, and steering your course accordingly in order to avoid them. In New England, the springtime means road crews and maintenance departments in each town will emerge from their hiding places behind their snow plows to patch and fill the many potholes and road hazards that have accumulated over the winter. Because after all, we can manage to steer clear of them for a long time – but at some point they do have to be addressed, unless we want to replace our front suspension system.

It’s a lot to tend to all at once. My natural inclination is to focus on the mind/spirit ends of the spectrum, paying only nominal attention to the physical end of things, hoping to get by with a superficial attention to diet. Though I think quite a bit about getting back on track with a regular exercise regimen, I tend to approach that area of my life in “fits and starts” saving the real commitment for another day. But weeks like this remind me that there really is no time like the present to get things going. I am promising myself that I will find a way to work some regular form of exercise into my weekly routine again. It is a healthy balance that I am really after, I don’t have to run the marathon this year or enter an Iron-man competition. While my life whirls around inside and outside of me – I need to remember to take care of the house from which all of this other energy emerges.

So, back to work I go – a little worn out by the week’s events, but excited that I have scheduled some real-time to take a few minutes of exercise and renewal for these old bones. Really when I think about it is more of a reward than a labor – and I do deserve a little attention and focus. All for one and one for all.