Firebirdlifecoach's Blog

Pursuing a Passionate Life

On Rising May 27, 2014

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Quietly opening her eyesDawn Birds
The silence of the morning,
Before traffic,
Before car doors, mowers and construction equipment,
Before birds,
Well almost before birds.
Lying in the stillness, warm sheets, veiled thoughts.
What day is this?
Wisps of dreams remembered, pieces of pictures floating in and out.
Feet touching the floor
Enter another new day,
Awaiting her fingerprints and plans.
Each moment familiar and never before seen.
Always, always an opportunity – you are here.

 

Thoughts on Day One January 1, 2012

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Quick thoughts for the new year… Awoke this morning to an unseasonably warm and bright, sunny day. A nice walk is in order… after I enjoy my coffee and a little quiet, slow reflection. Felt the desire to write a post – but apparently not in my usual long-winded voice.

Spent some time yesterday reviewing the last year – the wins and the challenges. It was not an easy year, not for anybody it seemed. Despite that reality – there was a lot of positive forward movement and THAT is very exciting to see.

Not a fan of resolutions – though I am a big fan of goals and plans. Spending some time today looking forward and collecting my thoughts for what I would like to see happen in the coming year. Not so much a resolution as a map of intentions and promises to myself. Doesn’t need a change in the calendar year to happen – but there is a clean neatness to this mark of time – so why not take advantage of the moment and create some momentum?

Find myself thinking of all the people in my life and those that I do not know yet or will never come to know. And truly warmed by the sense of love, anticipation and hopefulness that people throughout the world are putting out today.

So simply wanting to check-in here and wish you and yours a year filled with growth, joy, fulfillment and warmth.

(Calendar from: http://designbeep.com)

 

Run For Your Life! November 10, 2011

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Vampires and Zombies – they’re all over the place these days. Movies, television shows, video games, books; no matter where you turn the un-dead are there – we are surrounded – better stock up on garlic and weaponry. What’s going on – why have we as a society become obsessed with these blood-sucking, flesh-eating creatures? It’s not like they are new subject matter in the storyline of human nightmares – but the preponderance of media focusing on these to classes of ghouls has got to be at some new sort of record high. And that got me to thinking – why???

Well, I guess the first most obvious reason is – stories about vampires and zombies are selling these days. The networks and executives who are “in the business” can certainly recognize that there is money to be made in the un-dead market – and not wanting to miss out on a fast buck with the latest craze, spin-offs abound. Each new product with its own “niche market” – handsome young vampires geared toward the fantasies of pubescent teens, and vacation islands overrun by bikini-clad zombies offer a new target for teen boys’ first-person-shooter games. This isn’t your mother’s “Dark Shadows” world http://www.metacritic.com/feature/best-and-worst-vampire-tv-shows out there anymore, and everybody wants a piece of the action. And while this, I am sure, is part of the answer it just didn’t feel like the complete explanation to me, as I thought about it just kept feeling like there was more to explain – why now.

So here’s my theory… Right now, the truly frightening reality is that the world is a scary place for most folks. Everyone has a sense that there is some life-sucking monster behind every door – slowly, relentless pursuing them and shaking the very foundation of security that they had worked so hard to create. And it’s not just any old monster, it’s dead already (so you can’t actually extinguish it – unless you have special knowledge and skills to help you do so) and because it’s dead – it really has no feelings and if it catches you it will not just kill you but it may turn you into “on of them” as well. Yikes!

There are always going to be ghouls praying upon your worst nightmares and many times it feels like you just can’t wake up. But I have to say I truly believe that – you absolutely can. Sometimes it isn’t easy, fear can definitely paralyze you and you may find yourself falling right back into your bad dream. It requires work and effort and sometimes the soothing voice of a partner at your side, but it can be done. Leave the zombies and the vampires to battle it out like Godzilla and Mothra of yesteryear – you’ve got sweeter dreams to make come true.

 

Music for Your Soul August 26, 2010

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Yesterday, I bought my 16-year-old son, his first drum kit. With the generous help of my friend, who hunted down the right set for us on Craigslist, the bartering lessons from another friend, and a financial contribution from my sister, we bought the right set at a decent price. We set it up in his room last night after just a minor amount of fumbling with the hardware and off he went. And though my neighbor’s may think otherwise, I am happy to hear the sound of the drum beats reverberating down the stairs. Of course, it is day one – but I don’t anticipate much of a change. I had the same reaction to the electric guitar that I gave him last Christmas.  I love the sound of music, drum beats and guitar riffs are all good for me, but what I hear is a lot more than that.

As my son, expands and explores his new-found passions for making music, I hear the sound of him becoming his own person and finding and investing in an interest that hopefully will be with him for his lifetime. Finding that thing, or things that make you happy is a beautiful thing no matter what it is. I have never been one to force my kids into participating in sports or activities if they themselves did not have an interest in doing them. My approach was to offer, over and over again, the opportunities to try new things and the encouragement to try them, but when the resistance was significant, I didn’t push. My hope was that if I offered them enough chances, they would find something that spoke to them and invest in it because they were interested not because they had to. And at this moment in time, it seems to be working.

For each of us, of course, our passions and interests take different forms. For me, it was art. A propensity to draw pictures of flowers and swirling designs as a child, led to a life-long love of art. Both the making of and the viewing of, and as I grew I took classes in everything from photography to silk-screening, metal-smithing to life drawing and so on. I may never have a one-woman show, though it would be nice to someday, but I know that making art in whatever form it takes will always be a part of my life. I hope that my son will find the same home for himself in music.

In my world, having a passion or passions is an ultimate enhancement of who you are as a person. It is a place to find inspiration and comfort and a way to individuate yourself and truly be the best that you can be. You owe it to yourself to find your passion. Without are passions we move through our days in a life,  half-lived. When was the last time you fed your dreams, or those of someone around you? If you can’t remember, then it must have been too long ago. Go ahead, do it, it feels good…

 

Your Mission – If You Choose to Accept It April 14, 2010

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When you think about your life, your future and what you want it to look like; what do you see? Do you have a picture of where you want to be? How you want to be living? How you spend your days? With whom? Where? Doing what? Many people do how a vision, complete with great detail and precision, a picture so clear that they can hear, feel, smell and taste their future. Others really don’t. Their lives are lived day-to-day, focusing on the short-term goals with an idea that someday they’ll retire, things will be different but no clear picture of what it will look like. While others still are somewhere in between, they know what they want but haven’t been able to or allowed themselves to flesh out the details. What about you?

Having a clear picture to pull you forward – “keeping your eyes on the prize” – can be a useful way to stoke your life with fire to propel you forward. Most companies when they are first forming will create vision and mission statements to outline what they want to do, how they want to do it and where they want to be – it is a combined framework stating their purpose, strategies and goals and it underlies how they function as a business. On an individual level few people formalize these pieces into a mission/vision statement but they may have a sense of it anyway. The choices they make on a day-to-day basis are informed by their beliefs, values, dreams and visions; consciously or not. It’s easy to spot the individuals with a strong drive or ambition, they seem clear in their focus energized and passionate about where they want to be, while others may quiet, simple steps forward.

There is no right one right way. In fact, I believe that sometimes we can become so distracted by our future visions that we miss out on the simple joys of the present. Or we can define our dreams so rigidly and specifically, that we miss all the imperfect but beautiful and rewarding events and people along the way. As with many things, finding that tender balance is a crucial component in creating a life that is fulfilling. Nonetheless, I think we all owe it to ourselves to create a picture of where we want to be both now and going forward. You write a list for groceries – why not give your life the same concerted focus? Take the time to allow yourself to dream forward, make it big, full of detail, alive and inspired. Write it down, in bullet points or paragraphs, draw the images of what you want to see and then save it. Refer back to  it and ask yourself what can you do today to bring that vision into your reality. Go ahead you deserve your dreams…

 

Hey, What the Heck Do You Think You’re Doing!?! March 11, 2010

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Do you know where you want to be; not necessarily in terms of physical space and time but in terms of your plans for yourself? Have you identified a life that you want to be living that is different from the one you are living now? Do you know what it looks like? Surprisingly, not everyone has the vision of where they want to be, they know that their life as it is in this moment is not their ideal but they have not really considered the life they do want to be living. Having that sense that there is something missing from the picture but no real picture to pull you forward can be a pretty disconcerting experience. How can you know where you are going if you don’t know where you want to be?

Having the vision to project ourselves into the future and see what our lives could look like is an incredibly useful tool. It’s worth our time and consideration isn’t it? Living each day, one at a time, dealing with the present is also important but it doesn’t preclude the value knowing where you want to be. We each owe it to ourselves to spend some time considering and envisioning our lives as we want them to be. It provides a sense of direction and purpose that without such consideration can get lost in the day-to-day existence that we all must exist in.

You owe it to yourself to take some time thinking about where you want to be – because once you have articulated that picture, you breathe life into your dreams. There may be many goals, some short-term and some long  – and of the long-term goals there may be different tiers to be considered, separated by time and goal markers along the way. You don’t have to know all the details, or exactly what paths you will take to lead you there. It is not fixed and inflexible – your dream is fluid and adaptable, able to accept revisions and adjustments along the way while still holding onto to its integrity and truth. If you don’t know what your dream is – you owe yourself the time to consider it. To try to flesh out the picture of where you want to be – and make it tangible; draw a picture of the elements that you want, write a list of your desires, make a collage of the images that symbolize your vision, there are as many ways to do it as there are dreams themselves.

We all have to start somewhere. For some the picture is clear while others will have to struggle with it a bit. Consider all the arenas of your life that will be impacted and take the time to dream. We can live relatively contented lives without a master plan, but identifying the things that truly inspire you and pull you forward is the first step in a life of fulfillment, purpose and passion. You can always edit it later, but for now just let yourself play and dream. If nothing else the experience can be liberating, and the possibilities are endless…

 

Daily Dreaming February 13, 2010

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Argh! So yesterday, I didn’t get around to posting a blog and I am sorry about that… I had started one, but hadn’t finished it when my day kicked in and I had to move on to other things. I had thought I would finish it last night – but that didn’t happen when I ended up being out later than I had originally anticipated. So, this morning I decided I would just write one before I have to leave. Here I am, feeling a little more than simply sleepy and tossing ideas around in my brain hoping one will stick. (The one I started yesterday will take a greater degree of concentration to pull together than I feel capable of at the moment.)

So, the result is this, a bit of processing on the experience and a little observation. People set goals for themselves all the time and sometimes meeting those goals is challenging. “I’m going to start exercising every day.” “I am going to start looking for a new job this weekend.” “I’m going to be more patient with my children, etc.” We are big planners and sometimes we achieve our goals on our own and sometimes we do not. This is a big piece of coaching – helping people identify what they want and need in their lives, making a plan to integrate said goal, dealing with obstacles as they arise and getting to a place where you are living the life you want to lead. Often the goals are a little less concrete – and the work involves breaking the abstract down into manageable, real-world bits that can be addressed in real-time. It is a dance, a process, and it is not always easy.

Writing this blog for me is actually a small piece of a more long-term vision for myself (as well as having become a pretty significant part of my daily life). So if I miss a day, the world will not end and my vision does not go dark. I can allow myself a little break here and there if I need one and yet at the same time – I just simply miss it if I don’t do it. I am committed to the process and the place that this fits into my bigger picture. Some days will be more inspired than others but all are part of a whole – a whole I am inextricably committed to. So here’s the pearl: the degree to which we are able to achieve our goals is directly related to our sense of commitment to our long-term values, visions and dreams. Find the root, evaluate its weight and decide from there – what are you gonna do to further your dreams today?

 

P-P-P-Passion!!! January 8, 2010

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About 8 years ago, during a time in my life when I was experiencing a lot of transition and change, an old friend asked me a prophetic question. We hadn’t spoken for a long time, maybe 20 years, and we were catching up on all the comings and goings in each other’s respective lives. He asked, “So tell me, what are your passions?” At the time a number of things popped into my head, and though I declared my initial responses, I found that I also truly believed that I didn’t really know how to articulate what my true answer was… And what I found was that the question really got under my skin, and my thoughts went back to it over and over again in the days and weeks ahead.

What I realized was that even before the question was asked, my daily existence was fueled by the question itself. I was on a mission and I hadn’t even fully realized it yet. My passion was: discovering what my passions were! I was in the process of reconnecting with parts of myself that had been dormant for years and the activation of this sense of myself hinged on the discovery of those things that enlivened and inspired, fueled and ignited me. There were specific passions: my children, my art, art in general, music, intellectual stimulation, new hobbies like kayaking and hang-gliding and on and on and on. But the real passion was indeed passion itself!

 I discovered that not only was I on a mission to discover my own passions but I was extremely passionate about helping other people to connect with theirs. The process of working with people to help them identify and incorporate their passions and dreams into their lives is what lead me to transition from my background in psychotherapy to coaching. It’s a pretty darned great privilege to do the work I do and to help people along on their own journeys. Wow – I couldn’t have asked for a better fit!

And the lovely thing is, it is ever changing and always evolving. It is a story with no conclusion, a lifelong, unfolding, flexible process. Who knew?

So, tell me, what are your passions?

 

Re-inventing the “Bucket List” January 1, 2010

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This year for a Christmas present I received a beautiful, acoustic guitar as a gift. You should know that many years ago I was able to read music, but I believe most of those skills are now buried somewhere in the deep recesses of my mind. Over the years I have played “easier” instruments a harmonica and hand-drums, but this, this is my first “real” instrument since playing the violin in 4th grade. Music has always been very important to me and I have always wanted to play the guitar and make music of my own. But over the years I just never got around to pursuing it. When I told family and friends what I had received for Christmas several of them were surprised that at my “advanced age” I would entertain the idea of learning how to play the guitar. Now let me just state for the record I am 47 years old and though aware that things are changing (like the fact that I cannot write this without wearing my reading glasses) I hardly have one foot in the grave. I guess a lot of people believe that when you get to a certain point some things are outside your grasp as “new endeavors” but really? Learning to play the guitar at 47? Am I missing something?

I have been thinking about this quite a bit these last few days and there are many directions it pulls my thoughts. But my mind keeps referring back to the idea of “The Bucket List”. “The Bucket List” a term made popular by a 2007 Rob Reiner film of the same name, is a simple concept. It refers to that mental (or for some of us – physical) list of things we would like to do before we “kick the bucket”. In the movie, two terminally ill men set out to fulfill a laundry list of wishes before their time runs out. But why wait until you are knocking on death’s door to start living your life and doing the things that you want to do? And who makes the rules about what you can pursue and when? Whose life is it anyway?

A few years ago, I started to think about hang-gliding quite a bit. Here again, I had, had a lifelong fascination with flying, I often dreamt about flying as a child and somewhere inside me I never let that sensation go. Hang-gliding seemed like the closest method available for what my mind’s eye often envisioned. (Concurrently, I should point out that I really don’t like airplanes and actually have a pretty significant and irrational fear of that kind of flying, which I have to conquer every time I travel). Somehow the idea of hang-gliding had come into my mind and I realized that for years I had dismissed it saying to myself, “you are not the kind of person to do something like that.” But a curious voice in my head demanded that I consider this one simple question; “Why not?” And though I thought about it long and hard I was unable to produce a satisfactory reply. So, off I went – and to this day I can still feel the breeze on my smiling face as I looked down and saw a hawk soaring BELOW me! Extra-ordinary…

So as we step off into a new day, on this the first day of 2010, the beginning a new decade – here are a couple of questions for you to ponder. What’s on your list? What choices are you going to make today to get you closer to living your dreams? And when you stand at the end of your life looking back do you want to be able to say “I should have…” or “I did…”

Happy New Year!