Firebirdlifecoach's Blog

Pursuing a Passionate Life

Looking In and Out November 10, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — firebirdlifecoach @ 11:12 am
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So apparently, November is “write a lot of blog posts” month, or something like that – and I have had a peripheral awareness of this “event” taking place. The only trouble is, I am not sure my life fits well into some arbitrary trend – decided without my buy in. At least that’s what I am going to go with for now. The reality is I haven’t been writing much for the last several months, not because I haven’t thought about it, because I do, almost every day, but because I haven’t been sure about what I wanted to write about for this forum. Or put another way, other “things”- are pulling for my attention and when I pondered writing – I wasn’t able to focus in the way I wanted to. And that’s fine, we all have to set our priorities and decide where to spend our resources, but I have to tell you, I have been missing this… It adds value, that I don’t want to ignore.

So today, before I dive into the “priority items” on my list – I decided I needed to make a little time for writing a post. The trick was – that I wasn’t sure “what” I wanted to write about, only that I seemingly both “wanted” and “needed” to do it. So before I settled down to write – I spent a little time looking for some inspiration and luckily I found it in both familiar and unfamiliar places. For me the familiar – is always being outside and taking-in a little natural beauty. It’s a clear and beautiful day here today, temperatures in the low 40’s, which actually seems warm after this last week’s Nor’easter. The blue sky, the birds, the green grass, the warming sun – just make me feel calm and grateful. And the “unfamiliar”, well that took the form of reading some of my own blogs. I liked hearing what I had to say – and how I said, it. And lest you think I am some sort of ego-maniac, I have to say that this was a welcome new experience for me.

And while, I am simultaneously not unaware of my strengths and positive attributes – and of course am naturally guided by my own inner knowing and wisdom – something felt different about going back to my own posts to not only “re-learn” how I do this in the first place but to “inspire” myself. It was nice to see what I wrote about almost three years ago when I began blogging. It was also warming to see the thoughts and comments of friends and family in those early days of being a “blogger”. I don’t know if in those early days, I had any readers who I didn’t know personally, and I hadn’t yet learned about adding pictures, tags and links to increase my readership. (Heck I am still surprised when a new reader “likes” a post or leaves a comment and am puzzled by “how” they found me.) Which leads me to the next thought – Why do we blog? Why do we read other people’s blogs? What is this all about anyway?

And the answers ,well they certainly are numerous. But I guess for me the answer at its most basic form is – “It simply feels good.” I like the way it feels to write, if I don’t do it for too long a period, I feel a void. I like reading what other people have to say – not just in response to what I put out there – but the things they are saying in their own blogs too. When I first heard about blogging – I have to say I just didn’t understand it at all. And now, now – it makes perfect sense to me. Expression, Connection, Inspiration, Education, Humor, Wisdom, Warmth, Stimulation – they are all there. Today I make my mark on this blog page. Blogger and Blog-Reader, I am here – still taking it all in – still wanting to swirl around new ideas and insights – still savoring the outlet – still developing and changing and evolving, right here, in my own little world, coffee by my side, music in my ears and words tripping out through my fingertips to you. Write On!

 

Gumballs, Grist and Gratitude? July 9, 2012

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Do you know that feeling you had as a child, as you stood, clutching a quarter in your sweaty little palm, staring through the glass at the penny candy counter as the clerk behind the counter asks you; “what you would like?” Your eyes were wide, mouth already watering as you anticipated the taste of each little treat while you scanned the selections: the wonderful, colorful and tasty candies,  just waiting there to be dropped into your own little paper bag. It was all so exciting  – but in some strange way it was stressful too, because ultimately, you had to choose. You knew each candy was yummy in its own particular way, and you wanted them all, you may have even wanted multiples of some of your favorites, but you had to make a choice, had to decide not only which ones to select, but which one to eat first, and second and so on and finally, which to save for last. It’s “Childhood Heaven and Hell” (though not so much of the latter) all rolled in to one.

Well, at present, I am the experiencing the adult version of exactly that – over something as equally pleasant for me these days – which is, writing this blog. You see there has been a lot of “grist for the mill” lately – and I “ain’t complaining – really I’m not”, but my mind is currently a whirl with the possibilities.  Over the course of the last week or so, I have had the pleasure of reading about, listening to, or discussing so many “juicy” and thought-provoking topics that as I sit here trying to pick one to expound upon, I am thoroughly overwhelmed. “Problems of Plenty, as an old friend would often say, honestly it is hard to think of them as problems at all. So, though many people might choose to work through this last part quietly and to themselves before starting to write anything,  I will start with acknowledging, that sometimes I like to work them out, right here as a part of the blog itself. “Plip”, the first choice is in the bag.

Next, I am going to pause for a minute and hand-write a quick list of some of the other possible future topics, so that I can return to them at another time, if I would like. “Plip”

And then miraculously, without a need to think or fret any longer – I realize that throughout all of this – what is happening inside me is that I am filled with a sense of deep and profound Gratitude – and I know that this is the direction I want to go… “Plip” Because honestly, in some ways gratitude is the thread, the stream which flows through not only most of the topics themselves, but the experience left behind. “Plip” And though I could over-intellectualize the concept, what I want is to acknowledge are just some of the bits. “Plip”

  • I had a wonderful, picnic lunch yesterday with my beautiful son who will be leaving for college in September. I am grateful, for the time to spend with my boy and both of our intention and mindfulness to be in and enjoy the moment. “Plip”
  • I read a touching post today, by the daughter of my old friend who had passed away a couple of week’s ago. I am grateful to her for sharing her heart and memory and to the universe for creating this man who touched the lives of so many in his simple, too short and profoundly meaningful life. “Plip”
  • I attended an inspiring talk yesterday about “Violence and Identity”. I am grateful for the thought-provoking stimulation it created, for the opportunity to re-connect with a community of people with whom I have lost touch, and for the reminder that the world is filled with so many good souls. “Plip”
  • I had a wonderful meeting today with another old friend and former colleague with whom I am collaborating on teaching a class in Positive Psychology. I am grateful to have the chance to re-kindle an old friendship, for the excitement of learning new things, for the opportunity to share this information with others and to be engaged with my work on this dimension. “Plip”

And there is more, much more, that I could say. But this feels like enough – except for one last thing. I am grateful for my gratitude, itself. Through these eyes, life feels richer. I am fortified on all planes – buoyed up, strengthened and inspired. And though I am not suggesting that you put blinders on and always look for the bright side in life – I do think it is important to find those things that “feed” you and do more of them. Life is most certainly not easy, and that is true these days in ways that it has never been before, for so many of us, but I do find, that the more I acknowledge “the good stuff” not only do I have more energy to deal with everything else – but the more I see that I AM grateful for… “Plip”

And this is the one, that I am saving for last and savoring as long as I possibly can.

(Drawing by: Stevan Dohanos, “Penny Candy”, 1944)

 

Sea Tales October 5, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — firebirdlifecoach @ 7:30 am
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The days sure are full, aren’t they? Countless numbers of tasks, calls, errands and responsibilities to attend to  at any given moment await your attention. Which items get to rise to the top of the list, and which will sink down into the silt at the bottom of the pool, waiting for their chance to rise again to the surface. Swimming through the quagmire of responsibilities can often leave you feeling a bit lost at sea – with the shoreline always up ahead on the horizon. You’re tired, would like to flip over on your back and just float a bit – but knowing if you do so you will be washed further away from the shore. So, what choice do you really have? Keep moving forward or get washed out to sea.

Every day we are faced with choices – that pull us in all directions – and the decision is ours about how we want to address them or not. It isn’t easy – some days the best decision is to rest a bit – to indulge yourself a little, take a walk, a nap and a break. There is only so much energy there to draw from and when your body, mind and spirit are telling you that you need some time to replensih – it is important to listen to that pull. But once you have rested a bit – you have to dive back in. Because if you don’t do it – noone else is going to magically step in and do it for you. It’s your life – you are steering this vessel, where do you want to land? Focus in on that final landing place – what are you after – where are you trying to go – what is important to you and who are you doing this for? Holding on to the vision of your own personal goals and aspirations is key. Because the only way to get to where you are going is to know where you are headed.

Once you have your end goals in mind, decide how you want to get there, what needs to get done to reach the markers along the way and let yourself be fueled by your own vision. It’s okay to ask for help along the way. Having someone like a coach to help you articulate your plans, hold on to your vision, and weather the storms along the voyage can be a great tool. Because at the end of the day – the accomplishment is yours, and ultimately getting to the goal is never a task done totally in a vaccum. But the real key – is to keep moving forward even if ironically sometimes that means staying still, look around you and use the resources at your disposal, hold the hope and the vision for where you are headed as a treasure and find in it the fuel you will need to keep you going, cause when you get there, ahhhhh Paradise.

 

School of Thought September 20, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — firebirdlifecoach @ 6:45 am
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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.

 

Solo Concerto June 4, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — firebirdlifecoach @ 6:21 am
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So I was considering the impact of these two voices whirling through my head this morning as I sit here pondering what to write on my blog. First the tired voice – “I don’t know what to write; I’m too tired and can’t find anything to focus on.” And second the quiet sensible voice – “Just clear your head and start to write, something will emerge”. (Ironic, but understandable.) Pretty obvious which one is the more productive and useful, isn’t it? Nonetheless as we face our days, the choruses of voices inside our heads sing out their tunes in a steady stream. Mostly flying under the radar of our awareness; we are constantly giving ourselves messages through this ongoing dialogue of one. How we choose to heed their recommendations is a choice for our conscious awareness.

Obviously, I am not talking here about “hearing voices” in a pathological sense, and yet they can still be rather destructive in their own right.  But they can also be productive and useful or simply neutral in “weight”. We are constantly telling ourselves what we can do, what we should do, what we want to do. They tell us how to make meaning, how to act, how to react, how to behave and how to feel. Though sometimes given voice their work is often silent, unseen, unheard and even unnoticed by our own selves. Remarkable really when you think about it with your conscious mind, isn’t it? The impact of this self-talk is powerful and constant so why not work to focus their energy in a way that is productive for us?

Making conscious choices about which messages to heed and which to dismiss can have powerful consequences in our daily lives. So today I’m going to keep the message simple on this rather complex subject. And here it is – pay attention, listen carefully to the messages you are giving yourself, try to notice the things you say to yourself that uplift your spirit and focus your energy in a positive and productive direction. You are your own best guide and cheering section – let that group linger at the microphone to your consciousness and ask the undermining voices to quietly take their seats, their services are no longer needed here.

 

Icepacks, Laptops and Choices March 23, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — firebirdlifecoach @ 4:36 pm
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So today I had the misfortune of knocking a large board with two, big 16×16 tiles glued to it – onto the top of my foot. And may I simply say, “Ouch!” Currently, I am waiting to hear back from the doctor’s office as to whether or not I fractured anything.  Keeping my fingers crossed that it is just a bruise, but we shall see… It isn’t the only mishap or inconvenience of my day so far and there is a long way to go before I rest.

I am contemplating my mood options as I sit here reclining on my couch, bag of ice on my foot, computer on my lap. There’s the obvious “grumpy option”, after all I have been up since 5:00 am, had to be at a meeting at 7:00, I am over-tired, somewhat overwhelmed by the list of tasks I have to attend to, and frustrated by my painful and COLD foot. Venting and gnashing my teeth a bit may be a good release for me – but the idea feels too self-indulged and downright selfish. There’s the “woe is me” option, but I don’t even feel like spelling that one out – it’s definitely not the “head-space” I am in at the moment. I seem to be in the “so, you’re having a tough day – you’ll get through it” mind frame.

Things are tough sometimes. Sometimes you need a little extra nurturing to get yourself back on track. Sometimes you need a reality-check to put things into the proper perspective. And sometimes you just have to keep forging ahead, with your eyes on the future and your focus in the present. Life is full, of sidetracks, obstacles and diversions. Deciding when you will allow yourself to break stride, change course, and go with the flow are all options that are open to us almost every waking minute. How you will react is up to you – some days an afternoon at the movies is the best response, other days a nap may be perfect while still others may include laptop and a icepack before your next appointment. Whatever works – the key is to listen to the voice inside of you that has the wisdom to make the right choice. And if that choice doesn’t feel right, there will always be another opportunity to try it again.