Firebirdlifecoach's Blog

Pursuing a Passionate Life

School of Thought September 20, 2010

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Yesterday, I took my 16-year-old son for a preliminary look at a couple of nearby college campuses. He wasn’t really very enthused about the trip. In fact he simply didn’t want to go – and was very unhappy that I was disturbing his Sunday plans to do his chores and his homework and then go “hang-out” with his friends. “I know”, I said “but this is what we are going to do – so let’s make the best of it”. It was a long and grueling struggle and honestly by the time we got to our first destination, I was feeling pretty frustrated and defeated by the emotional wrangling to get there. But at that moment, something shifted, I am not quite sure what, and reaching a compromise that involved driving through, rather than walking around campuses we began a process that felt better for both of us.

The point of the trip – was not for him to choose one of the schools we were seeing (necessarily) but rather to get the sense of what different kinds of campuses “feel” like and to begin to get a perspective on the differences between big and small, public and private, suburban and urban campuses, and to begin to have a sense of which environments felt best to him, cause right now he has no idea of what he wants to study or where he wants to be or even how to begin the process of making such a choice. Additionally, I was hoping that it might give him a bit of inspiration; something to start getting excited about, something to fuel his resolve to work hard this year so that he can have choices about where he will eventually end up attending school. Ultimately, I think it was a successful experience, though earlier in the day I wasn’t so sure.

What I didn’t elaborate on is that in fact we have choices all along life’s path. That midway through his college career he could change majors and schools, that years from now, he may decide to go back to school for a degree in a totally different area, or that he may find himself working in a field that has nothing to do with what he “thought” he wanted to do, and loving it. That can all come later. The reality is all we really ever have to work with is what we bring to the table in the present moment. Sure, a good education from a well-respected school doesn’t hurt when opening up opportunities for future choices, but life can always surprise you with a curveball or two – some good, some not so good.

Nonetheless, this doesn’t dismiss us from becoming active participants in the process. We all need to have goals, to have dreams and aspirations for the life we want to lead. The choices are ongoing and constant, we can give ourselves the opportunity to do what makes us feel like we are at our best or we can choose to settle. But the responsibility is ours alone. Your life is what you make it, and there will be plenty of times when you have no clue as to what direction you want to head in but the possibility always awaits for us to find it out there. The trick is being open to the whispers of inspiration that surround us every day and the fortitude to follow our dreams. To make mistakes and to try again, to be disappointed and to persevere, and to be the person we know we were meant to be – that’s the ticket.


Hearty Breakfast September 3, 2010

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Almost every morning my alarm clock, doing the job that I have requested it to do, begins the slow and predictable process of attempting to awaken me from my deep and well-needed slumber. It is a clumsy and awkward dance, and though I resist its persistent efforts to stir me from my sleep I appreciate the thankless job it performs on my behalf. The ritual begins around 5:00 am and usually after about a half an hour of false starts, I finally drag myself up and begin the “stuff” of my day. But some days, it just takes longer… And the thing that I am always working to squeeze in to those wee hours of the morning is writing my blog.  Showered and slowly starting to come into consciousness, coffee or tea at my side, laptop resting on my knees and weather permitting, I take my place on the porch and begin to look and listen inside for the words that want to emerge. And though my body is still moving slowly and my brain is still on auto-pilot, I find it is one of my favorite times of the day. There is something meditative and beautiful about this state of being.  

I carefully guard my head space – doing things like avoiding reading other people’s blogs before I write myself, mindful that I want to develop my own ideas and not inadvertently allow my direction to be influenced by the thoughts of others before I begin. Some days, it just doesn’t happen for me. In order to write an entry I need to have a minimum of about a half an hour to sit in quiet reflection and extract the thoughts I want to write about. Twenty minutes, won’t cut-it and I have a file full of half-written entries, just in case, at some point I decide I want to get back to them and complete what I have begun. But for the most part the writing is a totally in the moment, organic process. I may have an idea before hand of what I want to write about – but typically I don’t know what I am going to say on any given topic until I have finished the entry. And as I am writing this, I am thinking, “no wonder I enjoy this so much, it is like a mini-dip into the space of flow”. A-ha! You see what I mean?

I may not make it to this space every morning, despite my best intentions, but when I do, I am most certainly grateful. I don’t know why most people write – and suspect that each person comes to this process for their own particular reasons, but for me it is an opportunity to give voice to some of the myriad of thoughts that are swirling through my mind. It is a chance to express myself, to connect with other people who for whatever reason are interested in hearing what it is I have to say, and it is an opportunity to tap into that intuitive space that moves through each of us. Not unlike the experience of doing art, connecting with this automatic, organic brain allows an expression of a different sort that energizes and relaxes all at the same time. It’s an odd combination of focused concentration, non-intentional thinking and an abandonment of control all at the same time.

And like the process itself, I resist the temptation to over-analyze the experience, but find myself feeling naturally curious about how and if other people experience this same sensation, and wondering what gets them there. The draw is compelling, and though my life does not allow me to languish in the pool of flow and luxuriate in the pleasure and satisfaction it provides, I am glad to know that I can create even this small place for it within my days. What about you?