Firebirdlifecoach's Blog

Pursuing a Passionate Life

Don’t wake me – I’m at the beach! June 27, 2012

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I just came home from an acupuncture treatment, and at Wellsprings Acupuncture  (https://www.facebook.com/wellspringsacupuncture) and as is often the case I was feeling very relaxed and a little sleepy. So, with a little wiggle-room in my schedule this afternoon, I decided to take advantage of the moment and take a little nap – or at least that’s what I thought. It is a perfect day for a little rest, cloudy, cool and comfortable – so I set the alarm on my phone and snuggled in for a rest. But my ears – had their own plans (I bet you didn’t even know that was possible, did you?). You see I have – tinnitus (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tinnitus) – the unfortunate condition – which in my case results in a constant, high-pitched ringing in my right ear. And sometimes, it is very difficult to ignore it, particularly when all around you is quiet  – as the sound is absolutely constant and completely annoying. So, I decided to turn on my alarm clock’s, soothing sounds setting and rolled over, closed my eyes and tried (unsuccessfully) to focus on the sounds of waves hitting the beach and seagulls calling – which were drifting softly from my nightstand – but alas – “plan B” wasn’t working either.

What happened instead, as I tried to focus all my attention on the beach sounds in order to “not hear” the ringing – was I ended up getting all nostalgic about the beach where I grew up. And after about twenty minutes or so of that – I decided – time to get up and do something else. So since I had been planning on writing a post today – and though this wasn’t what I had planned to write about – here I am and we’re “goin’ to the beach”!

You see I was lucky enough to have grown up on the Connecticut side on the Long Island Sound, about five minutes from what was and is one of my favorite places in the world, Tod’s Point in Old Greenwich, Connecticut (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenwich,_Connecticut). It is the place where I learned to swim, at 7:30 am swimming lessons – from which I emerged shivering and teeth chattering into the out-stretched towel in my mother’s arms. It is where everyone from the junior high school and the high school “hung out” in my youth. It was the vantage point from which I witnessed the rise and the ultimate absence of the World Trade towers from the clear view of the Manhattan skyline. It is where I learned to row a boat and paddle a canoe during summer camp. The spot where I took my children on every visit home to see my mother, who lived in the same house I grew up in up until two years ago. And where I went, again and again, every time I was in town, for my whole life no matter the season or the weather even if it was just to drive around the point.

The yacht club, the holly grove, the nature trails, the picnic area where my family celebrated every 4th of July since before I was born until two summers ago – I love that beach. It doesn’t have the whitest sand, or clear blue water – and on a hot summer day it can get pretty crowded on the sand during high tide – but you see it was and always will be “my beach”. It’s where I caught minnows as a child and taught my sons to make “drip-castles”. It was the place of my childhood innocence, my adolescent mischief, and my adult relaxation. Where you weren’t allowed to have beach balls, where the lifeguards would whistle at you if you swam out too close to the buoys and eventually where it would cost $20.00 to park and another $5.00 admission – but I love it! And man, do I miss it.

But even if I don’t get there in person this year – my memories are vivid enough to transport myself there, well sort of… The mind is a powerful thing – and though it’s not exactly like I have spent the last hour or so relaxing at the beach, my focus on my happy memories spent there did work well enough to take my mind off the “ringing” in my ear. Whether it’s a little quiet meditating, some absorbing project, or a bit internal reflection allowing your mind to really do its magic is a powerful thing. So next time you need a little “get away” allow yourself to take a little internal vacation – even if you never leave your chair, you may be surprised how effective it can be.

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Passages June 22, 2012

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It has been a strange week. (“Strange” – being an inadequate word to describe how this has actually felt – but we’re going to run with it all the same, rather than get bogged down in nuance.)

It began, on Sunday evening when I received a message from an old friend, telling me that another very dear old friend had passed away suddenly and unexpectedly. (See previous post – Ode to Ed, 6/18/12) The next couple of days were passed in a kind of blur of sadness, fond remembrances and the sharing of feelings of grief by his friends and family, flung far and wide over the social network, Facebook. I took care of my work and family obligations but honestly, my mind and heart were adrift as I worked to process the concept that this adored man, no longer existed in the world as we know it.

On Wednesday morning, I learned that I had made a big mistake in my family’s calendar. (And let me just state for the record – it is completely un-characteristic of me to make a mistake like this – which is part of why it was so unsettling in the first place.) My fifteen year-old son was to begin work on Saturday (I thought), up in New Hampshire for the summer as an assistant counselor at a boy’s camp. What I discovered was that I was wrong about which day he had to be there – counselors were to arrive on Thursday, not Saturday (that was for the actual campers.) I had been counting on those couple of days to help us finish acquiring all that he needed and to calmly get him packed up and ready to go, oops! You see this is the first time he is going away for more than a single week, in fact his older brother who just finished at the high school, hasn’t been away from home for more than a week before either – so this was a big adjustment – not just for him but for his mama, too. Needless to say, all previously scheduled plans were cancelled and we set about in the next 24 hours to shop, launder and pack for all remaining necessities – followed by a day of driving to and fro. It was a bit of a whirlwind – but we made it.

And let me just add here, I am pretty darned proud of my boy. He’s ready for this, clearly more ready than I am and his calm, confident demeanor was really something to behold. At six-foot, two inches he had no problem, grabbing all his gear on his own and setting it on the porch of the assembly lodge where he settled in to wait for the senior staff to end their meeting and get him acclimated. And so after, briefly meeting a couple of the staff members and watching him introduce himself to another assistant counselor – we were kindly dismissed to take our leave. I fought the urge to hug him for fifteen minutes, tell him I loved him over and over again and remind him for the  50th time to apply plenty of bug spray and stay hydrated, but rather left on cue allowing us both to retain our dignity.

The camp is classic! Lodges and buildings, straight out of everyone’s imagination about summer camp, nestled on a wooded hill, which descends into a gorgeous, huge lake. It’s going to be a great experience for him – and though I will likely never hear half of them, I am confident that he will amass stories and experiences that he will remember for a lifetime. So, the timeframe was a little squished – he’s there – he’s psyched and I am excited for him. Once again, I am reminded that my little baby is growing up and I love the young man he is becoming.

So today, I am cleaning up the aftermath of not really business as usual. I have an important meeting on Monday and a presentation on Tuesday for which I need to do quite a bit of work, but I wanted to write this blog first. Because it just felt like it would be a reset of sorts to acknowledge these passages – one  life ended and another is moving forward; meeting milestones, growing and expanding. We are always in a constant state of flux – no moment ever identical to another. And the people who we will love and who will change and transform us will come into and out of our lives over and over again and in the grand scheme of things we cannot really control the changes headed our way. But we can choose how we will act and react and more importantly “pro-act” – so that we are doing the best that we can do as often as possible. And I am reminded always that we are charged with making the best of each and every possible moment for the next is never guaranteed. What’s the expression – “Plan for the future – but live in the present”?

Practicing mindfulness and gratitude for all that I have – right now and working to share the love as much as I can. What about you?

 

Ode to Ed June 18, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — firebirdlifecoach @ 10:35 am

It is with a heavy heart and a profound sense of sadness today, that I write this blog in honor of my dear, old friend, Ed Beckwith who died suddenly yesterday, while enjoying a game of golf on Father’s Day. I have known Ed for about thirty years, having met him when I was in college at  and had found work as a cook at the Daily Planet restaurant in Burlington, VT. At that time Ed was a dishwasher and bartender, and we connected right off. Ed’s future wife, Beth-Anne was my kitchen manager, and my time there, though relatively brief, was marked by what was overall a wonderful place to work and a great crew of interesting, bright and fun people. When I left “the Planet” and moved to Boston to move on to the next phase of my life, Ed came with me in the form of regular letters and cards – which were always, interesting, personal, full of wisdom and very, very witty. Ed was a great writer and I looked forward those letters like they were little celestial gifts. Once he had included a note pad that he made for me with a picture of a female bowler, circa 1950, and the personalized message on top “A Note from Lisa Borchetta”. (I made that pad last as long as I possibly could, and doled out the sheets very judiciously, as each time I saw them they made me laugh.)

As time passed, the letters became less frequent – falling into the pattern of the once a year holiday letter – but they were precious nonetheless. From a distance, I saw Ed become a father – and heard all about the joys that his son, Henry and daughter, Natalie brought to his life. I learned of the comings and goings of the Planet folks that I knew, and heard little stories about his life with Beth-Anne. When I became a mom, Ed sent a collection of books to my son, which contained some of the favorite stories of both my boys’ childhoods and started the “book giving” tradition in me that I still continue when someone I know has a baby.

But life moves on and eventually we lost touch with each other. Every few years or so when I would visit Burlington I would try to find Ed at the Planet or at the Crow Bookstore where he eventually went to work, happily surrounded by books in a job that fed his keen mind and inquisitive soul. A year ago, I had the pleasure of spending some time with Ed when I went to Burlington with my son on a college-visit tour. It was brief but lovely. You see, as for many, we’d re-connected on Facebook three years ago, which facilitated actually being able to make a plan for the visit. I maintain to this day, that re-connecting with Ed was the best thing about Facebook. In addition to just being in touch with an old friend again, Ed took FB to new heights, daily posting comments that you actually wanted to read, “bar notes” that he had saved from his days at the Planet, old photos that were classically nostalgic and American, and witty tidbits that engaged his many friends. In addition, he was constantly, supportive with his comments and “likes” and you just couldn’t help but feeling his presence when you logged in each day. Not only that but Ed was always happy to be the conduit – through which I reconnected with other folks from my past – happy to make FB introductions for old friends and co-workers. Last Christmas, Ed sent me a copy of “Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol – after learning on FB that like him, I had always been a huge fan of this odd little musical rendition. That’s just the kind of guy Ed is…

So, it was not “un-fitting” when I received a post from his brother-in-law (one of the people from my past that Ed had re-connected me with) letting me know about Ed’s sudden, and un-timely passing. And as I read the posts from the friends and family members who are paying their respects to Ed and his family on this “social network” what is clear (beyond the strange new world that we live in) is that this man touched and moved everyone who knew him. He lived a simple life of enormous quality. He is recounted over and over again for his wit, gentleness, intelligence, warmth, wisdom, humor, and kindness. He possessed a sense of gratitude and wonder – filtered through a clear and crisp mind and distilled to others by a kind heart. This is a man who lived a meaningful life and touched the lives of all those with whom he came in contact. He will be sorely missed by many and the love and outpouring of support for his family and friends is a testament to the goodness of the man.

I am so very sad to hear that Ed is gone, and my deepest condolences go to his family and friends. But I am also so very, very grateful to be one of the many people who Ed considered a friend. And the love and legacy he left behind is testament to the unique and beautiful person that he was. Rest in Peace, Sweet Ed – and thank-you for all of the warmth and smiles that you have given us. This world will not be the same without you.