Firebirdlifecoach's Blog

Pursuing a Passionate Life

Midsummer’s Day Dream July 19, 2010

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Mid-summer is clearly upon us; the days are longer, the temperatures higher and the time is here for a little relaxation that we don’t often get the rest of the year. It could be a day trip to the beach, a weekend camping-out in the woods or a couple of weeks spent at a favorite vacation destination.  Like kids who revel in the break from school we adults look to summer to provide a little rest and relaxation, too – in whatever form works for us. You know all the archetypes as well as I do – barbeques, bathing suits, cannonballs, kayaking, waves and lemonade. Just the thought of those images connotes a lighter, breezier sense of life. This week I am looking forward to taking a little respite from my usual routine so that I can take a couple of days off to enjoy myself. I am ready to go! And as I prepare myself for the break ahead – tying up loose ends both at home and at work I find myself thinking about the importance of “down-time” and the value and necessity of allowing ourselves a breather every now and then.

Growing up – people worked hard, and families took vacations just like they do now, but I don’t think that the need was as powerful as it is now. Though of course there were exceptions then, just like there are now, I believe as a society we are more driven and stressed than we used to be. Nowadays even our children’s schedules are booked to the hilt with activities and lessons. Add to the mix the pressures of a down economy and everyday life feels more like a pressure-cooker than it ever did before in our lifetimes. The result – we need to take a break from the grind more than ever, and though the resources for doing so may feel tighter than ever – the need is greater.

Not everyone can afford the luxury of a “real” vacation. When so many families are struggling to just keep up with the rising costs of living – the idea of taking time away feels harder to grasp than ever, nonetheless there is only so much pressure a system can take before it will inevitably fail. So I encourage you to do whatever you can to give yourself a little break. How you define what that will look like for you is a personal thing – it may be as simple as taking a stroll around your neighborhood after dinner, or inviting a friend over for an informal cook-out. Maybe you can spare a couple of days to go and visit family or friends, or a day-trip to a nearby lake for some of sunning and swimming. Whatever it is – do it! Have a little fun, take a little break and relax a minute. Your body, mind and spirit will thank-you for the attention. And then, wrap a little bit of it up and take it with you.

Find a way to incorporate a little down time into your everyday experience. Something just for you, and maybe something for you and your family, a little slice of the healing magic of summer fun, and keep it with you all year. This is life – this thing that we are doing every day, every moment, and when it is gone it is gone. Waiting for that one week a year to allow yourself to enjoy it is betting that there will always be another summer to enjoy. Better to hedge your bets now, stop and smell the roses, time fleets by so quickly and the only moment you know you have is this one. Enjoy it!


Balancing the Scale July 15, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — firebirdlifecoach @ 6:21 am
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Yesterday, I had the distinct pleasure of watching a single hummingbird flit around my yard for what felt like an inordinate amount of time. I have a garden full of bright, pink phlox which apparently it found particularly attractive, and it buzzed from one flower to the next doing it’s thing. After a moment or so – it flew over to my apple tree where it lighted for a bit before trying the flowers again. And then, as if it heard my wishes for a closer view, came to one of the hanging baskets on my porch, just a few feet away from where I sat before disappearing into the neighbor’s yard. What a treat! I cannot ever remember having the opportunity to observe one for what felt like such an extended period of time. It really started my day off on the right foot.

I wish I could say that the rest of the day was as wondrous as that little moment had been, but it was not. Though it was particularly productive, which I needed immensely, the afternoon took a major dip as my teen son and I locked horns in what I guess would be considered a “battle of wills”. Nobody won. And though as the evening wore on – the overall mood relaxed tremendously – I think we were both hobbling a bit from the experience.

A simple sweet high to start the day, an emotional, tense low to punctuate the afternoon and a quiet resolve by the evening – it was quite a ride. This morning – no hummingbirds are treating me to a sighting and I am feeling a bit worn-out still from yesterday’s tussle. Navigating the highs and lows is a constant daily challenge we all face. There are moments of grace and episodes of stress and our job is to reset the system as best we can to face the events that confront us on a new day. As I slowly work my way over to my own reset button I find that I am filled with a sense of gratitude and wonder.

The universe has blessed me both with its simple sweetness in the form of a beautiful observance of nature and a willful and amazing son. Feeling the love I do for both and the privilege to be in such close contact with the things and people I adore is the gift that will refuel my battery cell this morning and give me the energy to face whatever this new day holds in store for me. My recommendation for the day – find that thing (or things) that give you your inspiration and hold them in your focus – it is the wonder of these simple beauties which can magically transform our experiences.


Celebrating the View from Here July 12, 2010

When I decided to go back to school to become a life coach, I made a commitment to myself to do what I needed to do to make this goal a reality for me. Coaching is a funny business, not yet regulated by most state licensing boards, anyone can call themselves a coach and there is nothing stopping them from doing so. Scary, huh? That’s not my style. When investigating becoming a coach I worked with a couple of coaches myself first in order to determine that this is the path I really wanted to be on. I learned about and joined the International Coaching Federation an independent governing body that has made it their business to define guidelines, professional, educational and ethical standards to regulate the field. I researched educational programs that were approved by the ICF and structured their programs to meet these professional standards and found Mentorcoach, a program geared primarily toward professionals who already had a background in the helping professions; human resources people, teachers, social workers and psychotherapists. And I followed their program, taking the courses I needed and beginning my practice following the ethical and professional standards that I was instructed in.

It has been a pretty long process and a difficult one at times. Being a single mom, I have needed to work a separate full-time job in the meantime in order to pay the bills while I take the courses I needed and get my business started. There are times when both time and money have been squeezed to the point of strangulation in order to make this happen but there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Of course it also helped a great deal that my children and friends have been supportive and encouraging in this process. Additionally I am energized and excited about the work I am doing, the people I am meeting and the things I am learning. It was the right choice and I am very happy about the journey I am on as I work my way toward my goal.

At this point in the process I am gathering all of the bits together as I prepare myself to take the final certification exam this fall. Letters of recommendation are being collected, hours of coaching tallied and coursework, mentoring and supervision documented; all the various bits coming together for the final push needed to become certified. It’s exciting and incredible to be here. When I got my Master’s degree in psychology, years back I felt a similar sense of accomplishment but at that age my responsibilities were not as significant and my ability to focus on that singular goal was less taxed by the other demands of my life. This, this is a big deal, I’ve worked hard for it and I am damn proud of myself to be so close to completion.

Of course, once I get there I intend to continue toward higher levels of certification, pursuing further education and doing the bits necessary to attain those levels as well. There is so much more I want to learn about and do. But for right now, for this moment in time I want to savor the view a bit. To take a moment to reflect back on all that I have done to get me to this point and to enjoy the view forward with the promise of certification in close sight, shining like a little ingot of gold on the horizon.

I figure if you are going to spend your life helping other people work toward and attain their goals then you ought to be able to do it yourself. Sometimes people get discouraged along the way – feel like they will never get there and give up on the process. But for today I want to say that indeed if you keep your eye on the prize, and continue to push forward you can reach your goals. And then after dancing around a bit you can set yourself a new goal to work toward – something that inspires you and pulls you forward. Celebrate your successes and keep on truckin’ you never know what the next bright spot on the horizon is awaiting your arrival.


Return of the Prodigal Blogger July 8, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — firebirdlifecoach @ 6:17 am
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I don’t want to write another blog about writing a blog – but I’m afraid every time I sit down to start writing that’s what comes to the fore. I guess it just feels funny to me to post an entry after having taken a couple of weeks away from the blogging world without acknowledging that absence. And believe me, not a day passed in between when I didn’t at least think about writing, though on many occasions I had started entries but never finished them. I have given this whole thing a lot of thought and have been trying to figure out what it is I want to and am willing to commit to with regard to the regularity of my postings and I am still undecided.

Ideally I would be posting something every morning (weekday mornings that is, given I decided several months ago that giving myself the weekend off was a good thing.) Though for a while there – posting three entries per week also felt satisfactory. But lately my presence has been more like absence and I for one am not satisfied with that situation. And despite what this may sound like, I am not giving myself a hard time about it. We all have only so much energy and lately with my schedule as it is I have needed to focus it elsewhere. That said – I miss the writing – this forum has provided a great outlet for my musings, I get a lot from it and do not want to let it go altogether. I don’t want it to be an abandoned hobby in my storage room but a regular part of my life.

So as I sit here writing about this issue, here’s what occurs to me regarding how I want to approach this frequency of posting issue. I guess, I have decided that like so many other things, my best approach is a fluid one. Rather than force myself to conform to a rigid schedule, I will simply allow myself to post as frequently as my time and energy allow. Maybe I will get back to daily postings at some point, maybe it will be three times a week or once – and whatever it is will be enough. I know this is something I want to be a regular part of my life but forcing it to become a responsibility and a chore will do nothing to enhance either the pleasure of the experience or the quality of efforts.

If you want to make sure you don’t miss anything – then feel free to subscribe to it – so you will get email updates. If you want to check back in periodically to see if you’ve missed anything then that’s fine, too, that choice is yours. For my part, I am committing to still doing writing these posts for myself and for anyone out there who enjoys reading them. To that end I also commit to the ideal of writing as frequently as I am able – balancing the writing with the other demands for my time and attention.  To some this may sound like a cop-out, to me it is anything but. Every day we each have to consider where and how we will focus our time; balancing our work, families, responsibilities, pleasures and commitments. It never ends. How we choose to find that balance is an individual decision, and allowing ourselves to trust our judgment as to what is best is our responsibility to ourselves and those around us. “So, you all come back now – ya hear…”