Firebirdlifecoach's Blog

Pursuing a Passionate Life

Remembering Dad June 21, 2010

It’s the day after – Father’s Day. These days, it is more a day of remembrance than actual celebration of any sort. My father passed away almost 18 years ago, so I did not buy any records or participate in any cookouts in his honor. But I am thinking about him. My father was a tricky fellow, a hard-working man who took the idea of supporting his family very seriously, he loved to enjoy life when he wasn’t working and had a pretty “old-school” temperament around parenting. He was always more inclined to say “no” than “yes” when you were asking for permission to do anything, something I learned to avoid as much as possible by going around him and asking my mother if I could arrange it. He wasn’t the sort of guy who would sit down and have long talks with his kids but could tell some great stories when he had an audience. When he died after a long, debilitating illness there was a definite sense of relief to see this proud man freed from the role of dependence that he had been forced into.  That day, the world shifted on its axis and has never felt quite the same way since, knowing he is no longer out there watching my back.

But there are enduring memories and gifts that I got from my father that have shaped me as an adult, and I find that I still think of him often. For one, I am a master – parallel parker – as a graduate of his private school for defensive driving I am a “smart driver” and I hear his lessons in my head as I navigate the competitive streets of the greater Boston area every day, (too bad he hadn’t taught all those people – how to drive!) I love music – it is constant and ever-present feature in my life – my dad did too and often would play his big band favorites on Sundays while preparing a dinner that would silence a crowd of starving chefs. All “his kids” are great cooks (including one technically trained chef) and we can each hold our own with pride. (Nod here to my mom too, who was no slouch in the kitchen, herself.) But the music piece, the records or in their absence the constant whistling was a direct hand-me-down that is very present in my life. Serious and stern though he could be – he also loved to cut loose and enjoy his life; his dancing, singing, whistling, cooking and joking were all testaments to that aspect of his personality, and that sense of enjoying life I have, I attribute to him.

On another level – my dad taught me to be a “hard-worker”. There was a sense of pride instilled by my father in doing a job right if you are going to do it at all. This little bit of business, has served me in every position I have ever held – from ice-cream scooper as a teenager to my current role as a life coach – I care a lot about the work that I do and always try hard to do my best. But the most important thing my dad gave me was the sense that “I could do anything”. Given his old-school attitude in a lot of ways, I was always a little surprised by this – but my father had great aspirations for me, and even though I didn’t fully get it as a child – somewhere in my head I always heard his voice and his un-wavering confidence in my abilities. When I received my degree from graduate school, my father was too ill to attend the commencement, but I was very aware that I couldn’t have done it without him. I hope that I pass that message along to my children as well.

Things with my dad were definitely not perfect. He wasn’t easy – and the differences in our personalities and outlooks often made for some big riffs and clashes. It was only with maturation, distance and time that I fully began to appreciate all that he was about and the struggles that he faced, kids being primarily ego-centric and all, this isn’t that unusual even for a perceptive kid as I had been. Nonetheless, I am grateful that he was my dad. The gifts that he gave me are priceless and precious to me. So for this father’s day – I just wanted to take a moment to say “thank-you” to my dad, he may not be here anymore but he lives on all the same with each random whistle, surge of self-confidence or excellent dinner, that I create. Buona Sera Dad…

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Ode to The Grain of Sand June 18, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — firebirdlifecoach @ 5:42 am
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Yesterday, I had the good fortune of attending an all day seminar with Seth Godin; author, master-marketer, and thought innovator and as expected I awoke today feeling inspired and ready-to-go. (Also, helps that I actually allowed myself to go to bed at 6:45pm last night and catch up on some much-needed sleep!) So today, my usually fertile mind seems to be firing at a more rapid rate than usual as one thought and idea after another parade through my consciousness. It feels good, as if my batteries are fully recharged and my system is ready to spring into action. So the question, that keeps surfacing is – what are you going to do with this burst of inspiration and energy?

First, the most obvious piece spread the word a bit. If you haven’t read any of Seth’s books, I recommend that you do. There are several to choose from, and his most recent, Linchpin is as good a place to start as any. I could tell you what his books are about, but you can find that out more efficiently by going to his website: http://www.sethgodin.com/sg/ and reading about them for yourself. (I would also recommend subscribing to his daily blog for a daily blast of thought provocation and inspiration.) And since I know that Seth can speak for and take care of himself, I would rather focus on the broader phenomenon at work here. Finding the people, ideas and experiences that lift your spirits, light your fire and make you want to do and be more and then surrounding yourself with them.

For each of us, the paths will be different. The excitement I feel when I hear or read Seth Godin’s ideas may not resonate for you, but something or someone out there will. The idea is to think about what inspires you and to realize that not all inspiration is going to sit comfortably inside you. There are times when new ideas are an irritant – like the grain of sand in the oyster, they make you react and think and it may be uncomfortable but the impact is felt all the same. To me, finding your inspiration and using it to enhance how you think and act and interact in the world is something you owe not just to yourself but to the world around you. Cause when you find it – when you are living your life in a passionate and authentic way you are at your best and everyone benefits from that little bit o’ business.

 

Pit Stop June 17, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — firebirdlifecoach @ 5:47 am
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Lately, it has been a particular challenge for me to get these blogs posted as often I would like to. And quite honestly, I miss it. Today is another of those jam-packed mornings, and I know that if I don’t write something now, I won’t have the chance to get back to it later. So, I am stealing this moment to make a quick entry before I embark on my next task. For me writing this blog provides a little reflective moment to put into words some of the thoughts that are perpetually spinning around in my mind. It isn’t quite meditation, nonetheless I find it helps me to feel centered. Like many other folks finding the time to do the little things that are rewarding and self-nurturing can be a challenge but the resulting positive benefits are undeniable.

So my question to you this morning is; what are those little things that you do for yourself that make you feel refreshed, inspired and centered – and are you making time to incorporate them into your day? The constant need to prioritize how we spend our limited resources often leads to neglecting those things that actually refuel our batteries. This is not the case for all of us, some people work time into their schedules for daily yoga exercise, brisk walks, trips to the gym and writing in journals (among other things). And some of us struggle to find the place to do those little bits of self-care and internal resetting. The point here is to not give up on these most precious of tasks and continue to work toward doing those things that enhance your experience.

Focus on what you want to do, not on what you didn’t do and take whatever opportunity you are offered to do those things that make you feel whole. We each deserve to nurture ourselves, because no one else can really do it for us. So before your tank hits “E” – allow yourself the chance to refuel, you don’t have to “top-off the tank” every time. You can get a lot of mileage out of a gallon of fuel.

 

Short Quote June 15, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — firebirdlifecoach @ 5:37 am
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Often people attempt to live their lives backwards; they try to have more things, or more money, in order to do more of what they want, so they will be happier.  The way it actually works is the reverse.  You must first be who you really are, then do what you need to do, in order to have what you want.  ~Margaret Young

On Tuesdays, I attend a BNI – (Business Networking International) meeting early in the morning. Part of my role in this group is to read a quote that closes the meeting each week. And so, even earlier, every Tuesday morning, I comb through books and quote websites to find little pearls of wisdom that I would like to share. Today, I found the above quotation and decided that this felt like the right one for the day. Each week, I am often inspired by these quotations to spin-off into a blog, though most times, I find that my time runs out, and I leave half-written entries in my documents folder in hopes of getting back to them later in the day. It looks like that’s going to happen again today – but since my day often does not afford me the time to swing back around and finish the posting, I thought that this time I will just post it and leave things at that.

So, though my inclination and desire is to expound on this little item, I really must move along or risk being late for the day’s events. And so on that note, I leave you with this above sentiment; to consider, to ponder and to reflect about, on your own. It had a certain ring of truth to it, that resonated with my core and I just wanted to share it. Wishing you an “authentic” day. Peace out – LB

 

Solo Concerto June 4, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — firebirdlifecoach @ 6:21 am
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So I was considering the impact of these two voices whirling through my head this morning as I sit here pondering what to write on my blog. First the tired voice – “I don’t know what to write; I’m too tired and can’t find anything to focus on.” And second the quiet sensible voice – “Just clear your head and start to write, something will emerge”. (Ironic, but understandable.) Pretty obvious which one is the more productive and useful, isn’t it? Nonetheless as we face our days, the choruses of voices inside our heads sing out their tunes in a steady stream. Mostly flying under the radar of our awareness; we are constantly giving ourselves messages through this ongoing dialogue of one. How we choose to heed their recommendations is a choice for our conscious awareness.

Obviously, I am not talking here about “hearing voices” in a pathological sense, and yet they can still be rather destructive in their own right.  But they can also be productive and useful or simply neutral in “weight”. We are constantly telling ourselves what we can do, what we should do, what we want to do. They tell us how to make meaning, how to act, how to react, how to behave and how to feel. Though sometimes given voice their work is often silent, unseen, unheard and even unnoticed by our own selves. Remarkable really when you think about it with your conscious mind, isn’t it? The impact of this self-talk is powerful and constant so why not work to focus their energy in a way that is productive for us?

Making conscious choices about which messages to heed and which to dismiss can have powerful consequences in our daily lives. So today I’m going to keep the message simple on this rather complex subject. And here it is – pay attention, listen carefully to the messages you are giving yourself, try to notice the things you say to yourself that uplift your spirit and focus your energy in a positive and productive direction. You are your own best guide and cheering section – let that group linger at the microphone to your consciousness and ask the undermining voices to quietly take their seats, their services are no longer needed here.

 

The Machine June 3, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — firebirdlifecoach @ 6:28 am
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When do modern conveniences become modern inconveniences? I just spent the last 20 minutes syncing my online calendar to my old-fashioned appointment book when I really had intended to spend that time writing my blog. But this morning, realizing that the calendar in my phone (which is synchronized to my online calendar) was not correct, it dawned on me that I better straighten that out before I inadvertently create a schedule conflict. This makes sense to me because I always have my phone with me, where my appointment book is a little big to lug around. Nonetheless, I was talking to someone yesterday about how much time we spend updating, synchronizing, upgrading, servicing and troubleshooting all of these little helpers and it really got me to wondering – is this really helpful?

When I was young and my parents got their first digital clock, they needed me to set it for them every time they wanted to change the alarm. It seems incredibly simple to me now (it did then too) but for some reason they just didn’t feel comfortable doing it. In retrospect, maybe they were just trying to disperse their “to do items” and pretending they didn’t understand the technology was their way of doing that. I don’t have to pretend that I don’t understand half of the machines and functions of my modern gizmos, I honestly am at the mercy of the technical support systems that the various manufacturers have set-up for people like me. Just yesterday I needed to call on their assistance to help me fix a sudden problem with my email which prevented me from being able to send out any messages. It was a quick fix for the friendly, young man on the other end of the phone, but it took another half an hour out of my day – as I waited on hold listening to music and watching the clock.

Don’t get me wrong – I actually love all these gadgets, I happen to think they are pretty great, but when you get to the point when your dependency on them exceeds your ability to operate and maintain them independently – you have to wonder if they are serving their intended purpose in the best possible way. It takes a lot of time and energy and money to keep up these days. I do buy into the idea that the benefits outweigh the disadvantages; there are many ways technology does indeed make our lives easier. But I guess I am still working with mastering the machine, afterall “they are supposed to serve me” aren’t they? (I sure hope I don’t have that backwards!)