Firebirdlifecoach's Blog

Pursuing a Passionate Life

Through the Eyes of a Child December 13, 2013

eyes
(As some of you may know, I am a regular, contributing expert on divorce for several online publications. The below post, is actually a copy of my most recent submission, so the “voice” of the article may sound a little different than what you are used to here. That said, I think it’s an important topic, particularly at this time of year, so I thought I would share it here, too.)

“Sorry I couldn’t give you that game console you asked for, if your dad paid his child support on time, maybe I would have been able to afford it.”
“It looks like it’s just you and me for the holidays this year, your mom is so wrapped up in her new family, she doesn’t have time for us.”
“Is your father going to do anything at all for the holidays, or does he just expect that I will do everything, just like I always did when we were married?”

When you read words like that, you may think, “I would never say such a thing in front of my children, even if I was thinking it” and if that’s the case and it never happens – then great! You are doing well, with something that is often very difficult to “master” in the wake of a divorce, particularly, if it was a contentious one. But for many it is hard to not let your feelings and frustrations bubble over, particularly at this time of year, when added responsibilities and financial pressures can make you feel squeezed beyond your normal tolerance level. It’s hard, it’s really hard and sometimes even with the best of intentions, we may vent in front of our kids often in an effort to explain away what we are a experiencing as some sort of inability to create the holiday memories for our children that we had wanted to. But clearly, allowing ourselves to let these sort of comments, slip out can be a lot worse for our kids than whatever it was we were trying to justify or explain away in the first place.

Have you ever really thought about what your child hears and feels when you say something like this? Chances are, it is not what you intended.

It doesn’t give them a better understanding of why there are less presents under the tree. It doesn’t prove to them that you are the parent who has their best interest in mind. And it doesn’t benefit anyone to have them “choose a side”. All it really does is – hurt.

This is their mother or their father that you are talking about. Children need to know that their parents love and care about them and undermining that, doesn’t really just undermine your ex, it undermines the very foundation of a child’s self-worth and self-confidence. It is true in some circumstances, the other parent may be disengaged, non-supportive or even abusive – but driving that home isn’t really the best message you could be giving your child; not at the holidays and frankly, not anytime.

If you need to vent, write in your journal, give out a scream when you are driving alone in your car, talk to your family, friends, therapist, coach or support group – but leave your kids out of it. The best gift you can give your kids this holiday is: yourself. Let them know, you are there, that you love them, are proud of them and a grateful to have them in your life. We can all go without “stuff”. One more video game left on the store shelf due to lack of funds, pales in comparison to the warmth and confidence of a child who knows they are valued and cared for. Do not let your disappointments become theirs. It’s not about the stuff, it never has been. Look through the eyes of your child, take a moment to see the world as they see it – and then give them what they really need. It doesn’t and will never come in a box.

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The Opposite of: Alone in the Crowd October 2, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — firebirdlifecoach @ 9:33 am
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Sleepy, sleepy head – waking slowly on this cloudy, Sunday morning. The house is quiet and as I sit alone on my porch, drinking my coffee and contemplating my day – I realize that despite the absence of another person here sipping coffee beside me I have made about ten “connections” to other folks in the last 3o minutes or so – through the wonders of the internet. Between, the blog (in progress), the Facebook account, my email and now Twitter, (@LisaBorchetta) – I am far from being alone at all. Don’t get me wrong here – I am not suggesting that I was feeling lonely, in fact I enjoy these quiet moments to myself, I am commenting on this new medium for connection that has become a regular part of my life these days. It’s interesting, and strange and powerful.

Of course there are many folks who would consider this a pseudo-connection, the illusion of a true contact between people. And in some ways it is true, there is no competition with actual face-to-face contact with others. But for years we have come to appreciate that other forms of connection are also valid in their own right. Letter writing, though all but extinct in today’s world, was and is a powerful way to connect with the people we know that live far away. I miss going to the mail box, sliding open the flap on an envelope and holding a card or letter in my hand written in ink from an old friend telling me how they have been or what they have been doing. The telephone which includes the newer portable cellular model (for better or worse) – provides a connection in real-time with those both far and near. As a coach, I use the phone (or Skype, it’s cyber-cousin) to work with my clients who live hundreds or even thousands of miles away and I have learned to tune my hearing to pick-up on subtle nuances in tone, breath and sound to connect as legitimately as if they were sitting across from me in my livingroom. But these new modalities also bring connections of a different sort that are in their own way increasingly important and valid.

Writing this blog (firebirdlifecoach.wordpress.com) for instance has allowed me the opportunity to connect with distant friends and curious unknown readers who for whatever reason are interested in hearing my thoughts on things.  Equally as important – it is an outlet through which I can satisfy my desire to share these thoughts with others and to spend some time writing – an activity from which I derive a great amount of pleasure and satisfaction. Facebook (www.facebook.com)  allows us to re-connect with old friends who have gone missing over the years and speaking for myself – in some ways these reconnections have become very important in my life. And now Twitter  (www.twitter.com) has provided a way not only for me to get quick updates on the thoughts of those I respect and admire but for other unknown people to hear my thoughts. Wow – it is amazing, isn’t it?

Who knows where technology which seems to be moving at a more rapid rate than ever will take us next – maybe in directions we resist, maybe not. The fact is we currently have the ability to connect to almost everyone else in the entire world and that is extraordinary. But it is not about the numbers of connections as much as the value of those connections for me. Proceeding with cautious enthusiasm into this new age of communication, grateful for the opportunities for meaningful interaction, and curious to see where things will go – I submit this latest entry into my conversation with life.

 

We are All – Right Here May 20, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — firebirdlifecoach @ 5:59 am
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The wonders of technology… In today’s world – we are wired for action in countless ways. We shop online, chat online, pay our bills, connect with loved ones, announce marriages, births and deaths on sites like Facebook and Twitter and interact in ways that years ago didn’t even occur to us. We are fully living in an age of technology surrounded by gadgets and services that make our lives easier and more complicated all at once. It’s incredible really, and I find that I welcome all of this into my life with a fair mix of enthusiasm and reluctance.

This week after going into the mobile phone store for what I thought would be a relatively simple fix on the ear piece for my existing cell phone, I walked out with a smart phone which can apparently do everything except feed my cats and wash the laundry. It is a wonderful little machine that I am both excited about and intimidated by. Just minutes before going into the store I was telling a friend that all I needed was for my cell phone to allow me to make and receive calls remotely – feeling sure in my conviction that I had no use for a phone that would allow me to send and receive emails, go onto my Facebook account and find the nearest gas station, and an hour later I walked out with a phone that could do all this and much, much more. I now get to spend the next six months figuring out how to use this darned thing. Woo hoo! I can’t blame the salesperson for talking me into it – I did it all myself. I saw this little technological wonder and sold myself with little resistance.

Like many other folks, I do enjoy all the benefits of these many services and capabilities but at the same time I am painfully aware of how much more complicated they make my life as well. The amount of time I spend caring for these sensitive machines, learning their bells and whistles, repairing their glitches and spending money to keep them running is significant. I suppose I could choose to “go offline”, to return to a more simplistic lifestyle, where if I wanted to speak to a friend I called them from my land line and wrote words with something called “pen and paper” but I wouldn’t want to. After all, in many ways our technologically interconnected lifestyle allows me to do things like write this blog and connect with people who otherwise I never would. Like so many other aspects of life it is a mixed blessing. But for a connector like me – this technology allows me the opportunity to, with relative ease, reach and connect with people who would otherwise be inaccessible and that is very valuable.

So, those are my thoughts for the day. I need to shift into a different gear now, but I won’t really be disconnected, I am just shifting over to a new machine. Like you – I am right here.

 

New Take on Brush with Greatness April 22, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — firebirdlifecoach @ 6:09 am
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A friend of mine recently catered an event where a number of internationally known ecumenical leaders were present, including the Dalai Lama. His tale about the experience included recollections about the strict security, the atypical menu and the Dalai Lama’s exuberance for the food. It was indeed an excellent “brush with greatness” (or in this case with “holiness”) story, and it got me to thinking; what are the impressions we leave on the people whose lives we brush against? Or taken slightly differently, what mark do we make in our own lives?

Though the people we meet and interact with on a daily basis may know us on so many levels that their picture of us is well-rounded and filled not just with our “high points” but our foibles as well, that doesn’t mean our impact and impression on them is not great. Each of us has a remarkable impact not just on our own selves but on those around us in both lifelong and transient ways. So what is does that impact look like? Yesterday, I had a bit of a “tiff” with my fifteen your old son – not about anything of great substance but about some “little stuff” in our shared experience and upon reflection I really was not happy with how I handled it. I can blame on being over tired and distracted by a number of issues I was trying to juggle at the time, but the truth of the matter is I just wasn’t really thinking clearly about what I wanted to accomplish in that conversation and how to get it done in a way that was clear, considerate and respectful. At his end, he too was over tired and distracted by thoughts of what he would prefer to have been doing in the moment and the result was – less than ideal.

I recognize that many of our interactions with others are going to be less than perfect. That’s just the way life is – and hopefully in the big picture our overall assessments of one another will be marked more by our love, admiration and respect for each other than by frustrations with each other’s impatience and disappointments. Still and all, I am striving to be mindful of how I impact the lives of the people in my world, from the clerk at the check-out to my beloved sons, and I hope that my overall footprint is a good one. There is an exercise I have come across in my studies of having people write their own eulogies. It’s a powerful one when you think about it – isn’t it? How would you summarize the life you have led and how you lived it? Does the story you write resonant with the life you are leading today and if it doesn’t what do you want to do to get it in-sync with the words you would like to be able to write? Each day we have the opportunity to add new details to that story – and you never know, likely you will be the brush with greatness (at least in a “less-than-famous” sort of way) in the lives of other people around you. The impact we each have is great – why not strive to make it the one we would like it to be?

 

Words of Wonder March 24, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — firebirdlifecoach @ 7:31 am
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Ever get a little thrill when someone says something, so cleverly that you can’t help but smile and shake your head at their amazing cleverness? You don’t have to agree with what they’ve said, though it’s more fun if you do. I have always had great admiration for those who demonstrate a mastery of language and possess a sizable and varied vocabulary. I would attribute this to my mother, who was well-spoken herself and always encouraged us to look up words in the dictionary when we were young, a battered old version of Webster’s always conveniently at-hand in the living room.  Language is powerful – how we communicate to one another is both a skill and a gift that I place a great value on.

Some of us have a facility for breaking down complicated ideas into manageable bits and serving them up in such a way that they can be understood by a previously uninformed group. There are those who have a “silver-tongue” that could charm the most hardened of listeners. Others have an ability to tell a story in a way that paints a vivid picture in our mind’s eye, full of detail, nuance and color. And still others may have a gift for articulating intangible feelings and emotions in a way that allows you to resonate and empathize with the experience. Conversely, some people struggle to communicate even the simplest of ideas or they “speak without thinking” which can often be a source of difficulty.

How you communicate tells the world a lot about who you are. It gives clues as to where you are from, what your background was like, what level of education you have attained. But one has to be careful about what assumptions we make in this regard, as many people adjust what they say to the audience to whom they are speaking, assessing the listener and responding in a fashion which will best get their points across. In many ways it is of course not just what you say but how you say it – that will leave its impression on others. How much of yourself do you want to reveal, what effect do you want to have on the person you are speaking to, and what do you want or need to communicate?

There’s a lot to consider, and most of it happens without our conscious awareness in the most fleeting of seconds. We can do a lot with our words, we can inspire or dominate, amuse or sadden, educate or placate, and there are endless possibilities for results. And there always remains the possibility that no matter how artfully we choose our words, we may still end up being misunderstood as our words filtered through the equally complex listening abilities of others. How do you want to use this most powerful of tools we possess? What do you want people to know about you? How do you want to affect others? And how much do you even want to think about it? Having a simple awareness of the impact of your words maybe enough for you or maybe you want to change your approach, whatever you decide is up to you.