Firebirdlifecoach's Blog

Pursuing a Passionate Life

#ChangetheWorldin2015 December 31, 2014

Change2015Change the World in 2015
Ask yourself…
Are you ready to create positive change in the world?
Are you ready to focus your talents, skills and passions on the dreams and goals of others and not just your own?
Are you ready to do something to make the world and your community a better place?

Then maybe you are ready to Change the World in 2015!
Here’s your mission, if you choose to accept it…
Choose to commit to something, anything of your choosing that will make the world and your community a better place in 2015.
How you choose to contribute positively to the world is your choice to make, maybe you:
o Volunteer some of your time at a local non-profit or other community service program that needs your help.
o Visit a neighbor that is isolated, or call an old friend and tell them how much they mean to you.
o Pledge to donate to an organization that needs your funding assistance.
o Make it a point to genuinely smile at every person you come into contact with today: the clerk at the grocery store, the gas station attendant, toll collector, bus driver, etc.
o Pick something you can and will actually do – “mighty oaks from little acorns grow”…

Invite the people in your circles of contacts to do the same, by sharing this blog, and liking our Facebook page: Change the World in 2015

Use one of the above listed methods to let us know what you are committed to doing and to send us updates, on how you are changing the world.Use the hashtag: #ChangetheWorldin2015

The world needs us to stop thinking, stop talking, stop wishing and start doing.
Let’s get this rolling and Change the World for the Better in 2015!

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world;

indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.
Margaret Mead

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Amazing Gracie June 30, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — firebirdlifecoach @ 7:37 pm
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20140626_094408-1 I wasn’t allowed to have cats when I was child. My mother didn’t like or trust them, having grown-up around cats when she was young whose primary function was to serve as “mousers” – and not as pets, she was always a little scared of them. I once brought home a kitten, from a fair, hoping that she would be moved by its soft, grey, “kitteny” cuteness – but found myself having to return it to the family I got it from a couple of days later. But once I moved out on my own, I have always had at least two or three feline family members of my household. I don’t know about the whole “dog-people” -vs. – “cat-people” thing, but I guess though I grew up with dogs my preference is for cats. I appreciate their independence, their affection (when they choose to share it) and their overall orientation to life. Cats are cool and I simply like having them around.

For the last ten years we have had three feline members of our family: Taku and Soma, two littermate brothers that we adopted as kittens from a local animal shelter and Gracie a neighborhood “stray” who we took in about four months after getting “the boys”. From the start, these three were not like any of the other cats who have been part of our family over the years. I think this stems from the fact that they had “feral” rather than “domestic” origins. The biggest difference that was very apparent was that they were all pretty darned skittish. While our previous cats seemed to like our human company, these three all displayed what can only be described as “terror” and mistrust when it came to casually interacting with the human family members. Though, they each had their idiosyncratic preferences for when, where and how they would interact with us, the general rule was, that it always had to be on their terms – certain rooms, certain times, certain people, certain interactions were tolerated – but there was little to no – “casual” opportunities for affection and interaction. For the first couple of years we had them, I was primarily aware of their presence because someone was eating the cat food and using the litter box – but not because I ever had the chance to actually “enjoy” them.

That doesn’t mean that they didn’t hang around us at all – all three cats would sleep with my sons every night – often switching between rooms throughout the night, I assume to make sure that everyone had a chance to snuggle. Gracie would join you on the family room couch if you were watching a movie and gladly stand in front of your face so you could not see the screen. Taku would race in front of you if you were walking up the front steps, hop on my son’s bed and purr wildly while you pet him and Soma, would sit next to me in the kitchen while I paid bills at the table, allowing me to pet his head or more importantly to crunch up small wads of paper for him to chase around on the floor. There were a number ways you could interact – but they were all very specific, and were interspersed with plenty of frantic fleeing from the room if you happened to walk through, as if your very presence was inherently threatening. They were three goof-balls and not at all like our previous pets – who were constantly present, endlessly affectionate and relatively mellow.

Anyway, the dynamics all changed a couple of years ago, thanks to a couple of coincident factors; one – my boyfriend, the self-described, “God of Cats” became a more regular presence in our home, and two – Gracie lost her hearing (which eliminated all of those startling sounds that had previously frightened her). The result – was that slowly, but surely the God of Cats and Gracie became the best of friends. Taku and Soma, observing Gracie’s interaction without catastrophic incident, eventually followed suit and came round themselves to regular interaction with the humans of the household and over time – we became one big happy family. It only took about eight years to get to something that resembled the ideal that was in mind when we brought these three felines into our home, but who’s counting?
But Gracie’s loss of hearing and apparent connection to a bottomless desire for affection was only a small part of the physical and personality changes that she was going through. Though calmer and definitely happier in her quiet little world, she was also aging rapidly and suffering from a number of health problems, which were slowly but steadily taking their toll. One by-product of her hearing loss – was that her “meow” went from normal range to something that sounded more like a super-sonic goat and she had a lot, and I do mean A LOT – to say. It could be tough first thing in the morning, and she could be pretty darned persistent, but it was also pretty darned funny. Honestly, I don’t know if I could have imagined the sounds that she made if I hadn’t been there to witness it firsthand. That girl had needs, and if she wasn’t fast asleep she would make sure that you knew about them – as she wanted either to be fed or purring in your lap almost all the time. Taku, not much for independent thinking, decided that if it was working for Gracie, then he should give it a try too – and though he neither fit on your lap as easily (since she was very underweight due to a number of health issues and he is quite overweight from stealing her food as often as he could) he took almost all of his cues from her. “Gracie is meowing, I should Meow. Gracie is hopping on the chair; I should hop on the chair. Gracie wants to sleep on this pillow; I should sleep on this pillow, etc.”

Gracie went from being one of the shyest cats I know – to one of the most affectionate. And by her example – Taku and Soma learned that they could get affection and attention at almost any time of day, in any room, from anybody. It was a great thing.

Last week, we made the difficult decision to have Gracie euthanized. Sweet and seemingly happy as she was, she was also very ill and in the last couple of years had lost a tremendous amount of weight and muscle mass. It’s hard to tell, because cats are pretty stoic creatures, but it sure looked like it was difficult and probably painful for her just to lie down and stand up toward the end. But she never stopped being sweet and affectionate. We will miss the old girl, her loud talking, her constant companionship and her sweet loving face. I am so glad that her last couple of years seemed to make her so happy, despite her health issues. I hope that Taku and Soma remember what she taught them and continue to be more interactive and affectionate than they had been before. Time will tell.

But whether they do or not, I guess taking this time to reflect on the last ten years with these three just feels important to me. Our pets whether they are cats, dogs, bunnies or whatever, really do become a big part of our lives, a part of our families. Their personalities shape our day-to-day experience and it is amazing how much love they can bring us. In this case, I learned too, that the capacity for change and transformation is present in all sorts of creatures – finding opportunity within obstacles. Thanks, Gracie.

 

The Power of Us, Indeed! December 6, 2013

MA ConfAlmost exactly a year ago, I wrote a blog about my experience attending my first MA Conference for Women https://firebirdlifecoach.wordpress.com/2012/12/07/the-power-of-8000-women/. Now a year later, I am writing this post, about my experience at the same conference that I attended yesterday. And while the words whirl around inside of my mind looking to form themselves into clear and coherent sentences, I shall borrow a comment from last year’s post that more simply encapsulates the experience of the day – Wow!

Working on the sheer magnitude of the event itself; the gigantic space, the caliber of the speakers, and the number of attendees – it was at the least, impressive and more accurately, awe-inspiring. This year’s attendance total topped the previous year’s record-breaking numbers, with a sold-out crowd of 10,000! Making it the largest women’s conference in the country. Holy cow! Do you have any idea how large a space has to be to accommodate a sit-down luncheon for that many people? Well I didn’t before I saw it with my own eyes. In all honesty, it took my mind a moment to comprehend what my eyes were taking in. http://www.maconferenceforwomen.org/

Like last year, the experience was highlighted by some fabulous keynote speakers. Susan Cain, author of Quiet, a powerful book that is bringing introverts out of the shadows and into their gifts. Linda Cliatt-Wayman, principal of Strawberry Mansion High School in Philadelphia, who saw a need, and made a choice to uplift, empower and love some children who desperately needed the intervention of her caring and dynamic presence. Doris Kearns-Goodwin, world-renowned historian who has documented and illuminated some of history’s most significant leaders. Blake Mycoskie, founder of Tom’s Shoes, who found a way to create a business model that “gave back” every step along the way. Leymah Gbowee, Nobel Peace Laureate, peace activist and women’s advocate, who used her power and compassion to create real change in the lives of women and girls whom life had forgotten. These were only some of the movers, shakers and luminaries – from keynotes to break-out session leaders – whose stories alone were worth the price of admission.

But this year, the thing that stood out for me the most was the privilege I had to represent the International Coaching Federation – New England Chapter as one of fifty certified coaches that provided coaching services to attendees. http://www.icfne.org/
What a wonderful experience that was! In the space of two hours, I had the honor of meeting and coaching, six beautiful women, each on their own journeys, each with their own challenges, gifts and goals – and to share my gifts and talents with them to aid them on their paths forward. It is hard to put into words, the sense of gratitude and honor I feel to have been able to contribute and connect, even for such a brief time with these individuals. To these women, and in fact to all of us who were present yesterday, may we be fueled by the inspiration that the day provided to step into our own power and to step out into the world and make a change for the better. I am proud and honored to have been there with you! – Lisa

 

Milestones and Memories August 12, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — firebirdlifecoach @ 11:58 am
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It’s a big day here – in fact it has been a pretty big summer – family transition-wise that is. I can’t help but think about it – as it feels all immersive. Changes for sure are a constant, day-to-day, moment-to-moment everything is in a constant state of flux – and though at times it can feel rather subtle and almost unnoticeable, that has not been the case on the home front these days. I feel like we are all, my little family and I, going through some major milestones lately – which has the net result of raising emotional levels on all scores and creating a lot of both reflective and anticipatory thinking.

My fifteen year old son has been away in New Hampshire for the last seven weeks, working as a camp counselor at a boys’ camp. He returns home this evening! And I have to tell ya – it’s a big deal. Never have either of my boys been away from home for more than a week ever before in their lives. Not only that, but at fifteen, this was his first job, aside from walking the neighbor’s dog and doing household chores. I went up to visit him last weekend and I couldn’t help but marvel at what a wonderful young man he has become, not that I hadn’t noticed him moving in this direction before, but, “Wow”. There before me was a 6′ 2″, handsome, composed, confident, bright and dryly, funny young man. The same child who went away several weeks earlier, but somehow more “complete”. Watching him transform from his role as the “younger brother” who followed his sibling’s every move as a little boy – into the presence that he is today has been a glorious experience for me. I can’t wait to give him a big, fat hug and am positively anticipating seeing what he will be like in the upcoming year.

And in the meantime, the plan is to go “back-to-school” shopping with his older brother today. (As soon as I finish this blog as a matter of fact.) But this isn’t any regular back-to-school trip – today we are going off to buy him the things he will need when he goes off to college in a couple of weeks! Notebooks, and pens will come later, today we are looking for a mini-refrigerator, a small microwave and the like. Holy cow – my baby is soon to be leaving home. On Friday, he and I spent the day together, visiting an art museum in the city and taking in lunch, it was lovely. And again – as I sat – looking at this beautiful young man – I couldn’t help but to have my heart swell with joy, excitement, wonder and some sadness. This is it – that launching that you anticipate for eighteen years – it is here – and I guess we are both ready. It surely wasn’t always easy – but what a gift and a privilege it has been. Though no one knows what will come  – you know that this shift is huge – and going forward interactions will always be a little different.

I am filled with nostalgic memories of my two boys, and with a heart-tugging bittersweetness as I look forward along side of them at their futures. Changes happen every day, but these ones feel particularly big. My babies, my boys, my young men – always cherished – always loved – they fill my heart with pride and joy. I will miss what was – and look forward to what will be.

 

One Lump or Two? January 13, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — firebirdlifecoach @ 8:13 am
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Do you remember your first cup of coffee? For me, it is a distinct memory. It was back in the day when people served coffee in cups and saucers, not mugs – and it was prepared in an aluminum “perk-pot” on the stove. I remembered easing my way into embellishing this new hot beverage with milk and sugar – having first tried a sip as my mother prepared hers – with a drop of milk so small that it barely changed the color of the liquid. I settled on the “light, one sugar” preference and for years that’s how I drank it – until I finally gave up on the sugar addition during one round of dieting years ago. (Though sometimes, I still like a sweetened cup – it’s almost more like a hot coffee – ice cream dessert .) During my college years – I consumed ridiculous quantities of coffee on a regular basis and actually needed to give it up for a while. And now, though I still drink coffee most days, I have found that my addiction is to a hot beverage rather than the caffeine therein – which no longer seems to impact me one way or another.

Why the heck am I talking about coffee this morning, you ask? Well, last night my 17 year-old walked down to the corner store to buy some half-and-half – so that he would be all-set for a cup of coffee today. In fact, I made sure that I got up early – not just to start my day, but to make a pot of coffee, per his request. Lately, he has taken to making himself a travel mug to take to school most mornings and my 14 year-old has expressed an interest in an occassional cup, though typically that isn’t a school-day request. It’s like a rite of passage in my mind, a sign that they are growing up and taking on some of the habits of adults. I won’t get into the issues of how “healthy” coffee is for you or not – or the reverence and peculiar fascination our society now has with coffee; bistros, lattes and brewing methods. Because though part of me was hoping they would never “take to the stuff”,  for the most part I am okay with it.

So as I adjust to having to share my pot of coffee each morning – the big awareness is that I am no longer living with two children, but two young men. In fact, in a nostalgic boyish moment earlier this week – “my baby” asked me to check his height for him because he was sure he had gotten taller since the day before. And though I know it didn’t happen overnight – he measured an inch and a quarter taller than he was a couple of months ago – topping out (for now) at six feet, three-quarter inches! And that’s the younger one!!! They are getting bigger and life here has changed significantly since they were two little, juice-slurping boys. It’s quite a change – and sometimes the growth spots – pull and strain, lurch and crash – into dreams of a peaceful, harmonious household – but this one, this goes down rather smoothly – like a well-prepared cup o’ joe on a quiet morning.

 

Squeaky Doors and Life Goals August 17, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — firebirdlifecoach @ 5:32 am
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Every time I sit down and start to write something on my computer, I need to change the font and the size before I begin. The default setting for my writing program has small, tight little lettering that I cannot read easily. Even when I put on my glasses and the letters pull into focus, I find the font annoyingly petty and hard, and within a couple of words I am compelled to change it to the open larger font that fits my style and visual abilities better. I have tried several times to change the default setting but so far I have been unable to locate it’s carefully hidden home one my computer. Maybe someday it will reveal itself to me and for now I am fine with the routine.

This got me to thinking about the daily accommodations we make in our lives for all of the things that aren’t quite to our liking. There are loads of them. The cabinet door handle which needs to be lifted when closed lest it bang in to the adjacent door, the hook for my towel which has a fondness for dropping my towel to the floor on a regular basis, the friend who always wants to eat dinner earlier than I do when we get together; each of these things require a small bit of extra effort on my part in order to make them work for me. And for now, I am okay with that, a little annoyed or inconvenienced but basically fine.

The question is when do you get to the point when you decide enough is enough and it is time for a real change? The threshold is different for everything. We have the ability to adapt to “unpleasant” circumstances and we do, every day in little ways and in bigger ones. Creating change often requires effort on our part and some things just don’t seem worth the time. If you were to fix every squeaky door in your life – would you be happier or would you start to notice the squeak of the floor boards instead?

We all have a certain amount of resources to work with – and how we meter them out for the things requiring our attention and energy is an individual decision. But I wonder if we were to begin somewhere, anywhere with correcting those things that are not aligned with our preferences would it actually free up more time and energy to pursue what we really want in our lives? If you were to clear one item off of your list of necessary adaptations would you free up the space to pursue a more desirable goal? It’s worth a try isn’t it? After all, wouldn’t you prefer your time and energy was directed more completely toward the goals you really want to pursue? Some accommodations serve a function and our ability to accept them may require little effort – but some? Some things need to be re-aligned, what are the things that you are ready, willing and able to devote your energies to? Figuring that out may be more effort than you are willing or able to expend at this moment – but being on the other side of “the fix” can be a beautiful thing. Think of all the mental energy that you can free up, ahhhhh…

 

The Choice is Yours August 16, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — firebirdlifecoach @ 5:26 am
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Looking through quotes this morning to find one to read at the closing of my business networking meeting, I came across this one from an anonymous source:

“Life can either be accepted or changed. If it is not accepted it must be changed. If it is not changed then it must be accepted.”

I liked this one. It was simple and clear and had a definite ring of truth if the goal was to live a life of choice and minimize frustration and dis-contentment. Concurrently, part of me was straining against what I assume to be an over simplification of a complex concept. But I decided to accept the wisdom of it with the knowledge that I could in fact change it a bit to fit my own personal philosophy. This seemed the best of both worlds and clearly in keeping with the sentiment at hand.

For each of us there are elements in our lives that are not completely in line with our goals and desires for ourselves. Not all of these items are within our locus of control, and what action we can take to change them is limited. Our choice then becomes not whether or not we can change those things themselves (a stern and disagreeable boss for instance) but how we will allow those things to affect us and whether or not we want to continue to operate under those circumstances. Some choices, like deciding to leave our job and find a new placement are pretty darned big – and their effects can be felt in almost all areas of our lives. Whether we stay or go – our choice becomes one of accepting or changing not just the circumstance itself but our orientation, outlook and integration of that choice.

For instance, you may think of yourself as a writer, but unable to support yourself with your writing efforts; need to take a job in a totally unrelated field like restaurant work. You might not like this work, the hours are long, you’re on your feet all day, you have to deal with some unpleasant customers and an inflexible manager. But if you see this as an avenue to allow you to have your nights free to write, if you see your experiences and interactions with our co-workers and customers as fodder for character development and your paycheck as a means of buying you time to pursue your dream writing job then it can all be good. Or you may decide that you need to be in a more “literary” setting and work to get yourself a job in the editing department of a local newspaper or publishing company or as a teacher in an adult education program. The choices are endless. The change can be as subtle as a re-orientation of how you view your choice or an acceptance that this is what needs to be done to allow you to do your “real work”. Of course not all our efforts are rewarded either, and that’s a whole other topic.

Accept or Change… each day we have that choice to make and each day our decision may be different. The real trick is to know yourself and your goals – and to understand and appreciate how you have the impact to change your own course with each little decision you make by understanding how they align with what you know inside you and what feeds your true self. What will it be today? Accept? Change? Or a little bit of both?