Firebirdlifecoach's Blog

Pursuing a Passionate Life

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?

 

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…