Firebirdlifecoach's Blog

Pursuing a Passionate Life

Each Fragile Moment November 29, 2012

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One of my neighbors stopped me this morning, to tell me that the son of another neighbor died this week. He was 26 years old. How very, very sad.

My heart goes out to his parents, family, friends and loved ones.  Death of someone so young always feels like a tragic loss. It always feels like such a waste, a departure from the “natural order of things” and yet it happens all the time.

Last week I learned of the sudden death of a former business associate – he was 53 and that too, seemed like a loss before its time. Not that death at any age – is not a loss – even when it comes as an end to suffering. Nothing is ever one-sided.

And beyond the sadness and sympathy I feel for those who knew and loved these two men, one young, one middle-aged; a secondary awareness of the fragility of our existence here on this planet floods in almost immediately thereafter.  We really do not know when our time will be up – when those we love and care for will slip from this world – our time is finite, but the final chapter is rarely known beforehand. It’s a bracing thought isn’t it?

And while one can swirl into a pool of sadness and worry about whether the end will some too soon – I cannot think of a more powerful reminder about how important it is to be present in our lives, every moment. Each moment is all that there is – so make the most of it. Regret is not the legacy most of us are striving for… I don’t want to go now, or soon – I am not finished here, I have things to do, places to go, people to meet and more importantly I have loved ones who need me here with them. So this is where I want to be – “I’m workin’ here!”.

Live large. Love large. Be IN your life. Make the most of it.  Make your mark. Enjoy as much as you can. Do good. Be grateful. And strive to be the best you can be at every moment.

 

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?

 

In Memorium May 28, 2010

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Okay, so it’s 6:00 in the morning. I am here in my usual spot, on the porch, feet up, cup of warm tea steadily cooling by my side, my laptop quietly streaming music from www.radioparadise.com, the morning birds singing, my sons still sleeping and it’s time to write my blog. The Memorial Day weekend is spread-out before me and my mind is moving slowly from one idea to the next, but it keeps settling back in one place. Only it feels funny to write about something so personal. Nonetheless, little else is rising to the surface and it’s where I am.

Tomorrow I am going to a memorial service/party for an old friend who died last week from complications due to leukemia. He was someone who lived his life fully and loudly and he will be remembered and missed by an extensive network of family and friends. He has not been a regular part of my life for many, many years, but at one point in time he was a significant and notable presence. He was the best friend of an old boyfriend and a very real and significant person in a large and intensely close circle of friends that surrounded this core group of people. In more recent years, I would run into him occasionally at the annual Christmas party given by my old boyfriend’s brothers and oddly enough at the dentist (the brother of another old friend and member of this same group of folks.) It feels almost impossible to describe the intensity of connection within this group of people and the impact and personality of this one pivotal person as there is a larger than life quality to both.

So tomorrow, rather than driving down to see my boyfriend and family as originally planned, I will be going back to a place from my past and seeing people who once were fixtures in my daily existence and now are more loosely connected to my present life. It will be a remembrance and a party – cause that’s just the way it should be to honor and remember this man who touched the lives of so many people. Some of these people I have had intense personal relationships with, some I have only heard about through my continued friendship with some folks and all will be grieving and celebrating the life of this one unique soul. It is very sad to come together for this reason and it is a beautiful testament to a life. I have never known of any other group of people whose bond has lasted this long and who have remained so closely interconnected. It is a powerful and amazing phenomenon and I am proud to be a part of it, if only through a handful of people at this juncture in my life.

He was a devoted father, an artist and a person of uncompromising individuality and despite the fact that he has not been a regular and direct part of my life for many years, I can’t help but feeling like the world is forever changed now that he is no longer out there doing his thing. What I also know is that it is indeed true that he will live on forever in the hearts and minds of the people who knew and loved him. Rest in peace, Paul.