Firebirdlifecoach's Blog

Pursuing a Passionate Life

Spread a Little Sunshine February 21, 2012

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(All has been pretty darned quiet on the Eastern Front these last few weeks with regard to me and my blog posting. I can’t even begin to count the number of ideas that have crossed my mind for posts, nor the number of times I have tried to schedule writing into my day – only to have it bumped off the list by something more pressing. But today – I seem to have both time and inclination working in my favor so here I am. You have no idea how happy that makes me, or maybe you do?)

Let me tell you a little story. Down in a nursing home about three hours from where I live, reside my two, dear aunts (I have mentioned them before in previous posts). They are sisters, who never married, have lived together their entire lives and who have always been central figures in my life. I love them dearly, but see them rarely. Now both in their mid-nineties each struggling with the effects of senile dementia – to varying degrees – they spend their days following simple routines and doing “not that much”. It is challenging to get down there to see them, and for the last couple of years they no longer have a telephone in their room, so I can’t even call them anymore (something I did fairly regularly, when they had one). And I miss them.

I have no idea, what they think about all day long. I know when I do get to see them that they remember me, though they sometimes forget who my children are – or who’s daughter I am (I am the youngest daughter, of their younger sister) – but I don’t know how they conceptualize time and if they are aware of the length of time between our visits. But I am aware of it. And always, in the back of my head, I wonder, despite their impressive ages and relatively good health, if I will get a chance to see them again before they pass. I hope they know I love them even if I am never there. Because the fact of the matter is that they cross my mind – all the time. Though age has in many ways made them into almost caricatures of their former selves (often highlighting some of their less favorable features) I still think of them in a more complete way.

These two women have always been some of my most ardent supporters. Unfettered by the constraints of parenthood they have always been in a position to love us (they have many nieces and nephews who they have been close with over the years) without restriction and they did, most admirably. Sure, it wasn’t all “rosie” – differences in viewpoint both personally and politically often strained interactions at times – but despite all of the “awkward” moments over the years our relationship has always been best characterized by the gift of unconditional love and positive regard. A couple of weeks ago – I decided I would send them a letter, since this is one method of communication which is still available and relatively simple to do. And again, I have no idea how they “received” it – or if by the third page they had to remind themselves again – who the heck it was from – but I hope that it brightened their day in some little way, I know it did for me.

Sometimes reaching out and letting someone know how much they mean to you is a simple way of sending a little ray of sunshine into someone else’s life – but it also raises the shades on your own. Because honestly giving love, gratitude and respect does not just enhance the receiver of such kindnesses but the giver as well. So my simple little thought for the day – is “spread the love, baby”. Life is so precious and unpredictable and acknowledging those who add value to your life is a win-win for all involved.

(As a footnote – I just wanted to share… I had NO IDEA that this was where I was headed when I sat down and started writing this blog. In fact I was quite sure this was going to be about time management and finding the time to do the things that feed your soul. And maybe in some ways, that is exactly where I ended up – but the process of writing these posts is very “stream of consciousness” for me – and part of the enjoyment is to just “go with the flow” and see where it will take me. I usually am pleased with the results – and the process is always enjoyable. Just thought you may want to know that.)

 

Witnessing the March of Time March 22, 2010

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In some ways time seems to pass so slowly that it is as if it has stopped all together, and in other ways you feel like it is fast-forwarding in front of your eyes. This weekend I travelled down to Connecticut to celebrate my mother’s 85th birthday. While there, my family got together to take her to a birthday brunch in her honor. And as we sat around the table sipping Bellini’s and enjoying nicely prepared food at a lovely little restaurant I couldn’t stop my mind from considering the passage of time. Other than my mother, the gathering included my siblings, their spouses and one of my nephews (the other eight grandchildren, spread across the Eastern United States were not able to be present for one reason or another.)

It was like so many other gatherings of family in recent years, family dynamics scripting the interplay between characters in an ongoing and predictable story. In other ways I was very aware of all the changes in the players who are the people I have known all my life. Though we all interact with one another in varying though constant ways, we do not get together every day and the space of time fast-forwards the action in chunks rather than giving you the slow progression of the story line. Talks of possible wedding engagements, college graduations and career developments for the younger generation of the family – caused me to once again have to do the reality check that I was part of the middle generation of adults not the young woman visiting from college herself. And the milestone of turning 85 firmly planted my mother in the older generation that I had for a long time resisted seeing her a part of.

What was most notable to me were not the physical changes that we are all going through, but the other less obvious changes in the characters at the table. We are all the same people we have always been and yet we are all different from the people I would have described ten, twenty or thirty years ago. And these changes were not simply about life stages as much as they seemed to be actual personality shifts. As if traits that had been present in a quieter way had shifted position internally and birthed a new participant. It is possible that it is more about the lens through which I now view this group of people – but it is not all about that. We have changed, we have all changed. Some relationships have strengthened and others have grown more distant. The ingredients of our days and focus of our energies have transformed, it is the old familiar group and a new cast all at the same time.

It was another reminder that all is always in a state of flux. You can speculate about the future but you cannot predict it with certitude. Relationships and people will morph and change and you will change along with them. Make the best of all the moments of your life because you never know what the next will bring; it can be a bit unsettling at first, but it is not dull and the possibilities can be very exciting. Happy Birthday Mom…