Firebirdlifecoach's Blog

Pursuing a Passionate Life

#ChangetheWorldin2015 December 31, 2014

Change2015Change the World in 2015
Ask yourself…
Are you ready to create positive change in the world?
Are you ready to focus your talents, skills and passions on the dreams and goals of others and not just your own?
Are you ready to do something to make the world and your community a better place?

Then maybe you are ready to Change the World in 2015!
Here’s your mission, if you choose to accept it…
Choose to commit to something, anything of your choosing that will make the world and your community a better place in 2015.
How you choose to contribute positively to the world is your choice to make, maybe you:
o Volunteer some of your time at a local non-profit or other community service program that needs your help.
o Visit a neighbor that is isolated, or call an old friend and tell them how much they mean to you.
o Pledge to donate to an organization that needs your funding assistance.
o Make it a point to genuinely smile at every person you come into contact with today: the clerk at the grocery store, the gas station attendant, toll collector, bus driver, etc.
o Pick something you can and will actually do – “mighty oaks from little acorns grow”…

Invite the people in your circles of contacts to do the same, by sharing this blog, and liking our Facebook page: Change the World in 2015

Use one of the above listed methods to let us know what you are committed to doing and to send us updates, on how you are changing the world.Use the hashtag: #ChangetheWorldin2015

The world needs us to stop thinking, stop talking, stop wishing and start doing.
Let’s get this rolling and Change the World for the Better in 2015!

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world;

indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.
Margaret Mead

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Harvesting the Holiday Heart November 27, 2013

TurkeyTomorrow is Thanksgiving, and all across the country families and friends will gather together to enjoy a traditional meal accented with turkey and pie and various other special foods. And at some point likely they will “give thanks”, because in many ways that is what this holiday is all really about. While doing so – likely people will also reflect on those who are not with them this year, and those who are alone on this holiday or are for one reason or another less fortunate to be able to celebrate in the same way. On the news; you hear stories about celebrity athletes bringing pies to local food pantries, church and community collections to gather a variety of items to distribute to those who otherwise would not have a turkey this year. This time of year, when the temperatures drop, and while men and women are deployed overseas in the services, and the general populace is thinking not only about shopping and cooking and decorating – one can predict an up-tick in the expressions of gratitude and generosity. It’s a good thing.

And while I don’t want to throw a damper on what is truly a great expression of our humanity – I can’t help but find myself thinking about where this spirit goes during the rest of the year. After all, those who are in need and alone and the many gifts for which we are grateful on the holidays don’t magically appear on Thanksgiving and disappear on the first day of the New Year.

Back in 2001, after the tragedies of September 11th, for a while, it seemed that people were kinder to one another. There was a sense of a community drawn together in mourning and grief that in the horror of the moment were able to look at one another through a different lens than they had before – a lens of interconnectedness. There was a sense of shared humanity, of gratitude for life itself and of deep caring not just for those in our immediate lives but for the broader community. Is life such that we are only drawn together in this way in moments of great tragedy and of shared tradition?

My wish this holiday season is that we connect with this part of ourselves in a more enduring and constant way, that we appreciate all of the little blessings that we have in our lives and that we look upon one another through our hearts and not just our minds. So do your holiday thing; give thanks, donate, volunteer, remember and cherish – be fully grateful for the breath you draw today. And then tomorrow, when you are back on the highway during rush hour, when you are standing in line at the department store and impatiently rushing to finish your errands – use those eyes to see the elderly person who is driving slowly in front of you, the economically stretched parent who is paying for his child’s clothes with a pile of coupons and the co-worker who stands by your desk to chat too long each morning. If you can do it for a day, or a season, you can do it every day. Peace, happiness and gratitude to you and yours this Thanksgiving.

 

Happy Interdependence Day July 3, 2013

FireworksI just got back from doing a few, quick morning errands – and I’m feeling good. Not good – because I got them out of the way before it gets really hot outside. Not good – because now have the time to do the writing and coaching related projects I need to accomplish. Not good – because there were fewer cars on the road due to tomorrow’s holiday. But good because people seemed unusually polite and generous this morning.

Hopefully, without sounding like an old woman, reminiscing about the “good old days”, I can say that I can’t help but feeling like this sort of kindness used to be the norm years ago. People just treated each other more civilly, or so it seemed. These days everyone seems so wrapped up in their own lives and priorities that they seem to see other people as mere obstacles in their path, to be passed out, knocked over, maneuvered around and defeated in an invisible competition for first place in a daily race to nowhere. I think it speaks a lot to the stress everyone is feeling – it’s as if we have created personalized, myopic vision in which others just don’t matter.

There are isolated times when the veil is lifted – and people are able to see each other again. I noticed this phenomenon first after 9/11. Connected by a collective grief and shock – there was a kindness to casual interactions that only days before did not exist. It happened again after the Marathon bombing. It’s as if people quietly were each reminded of the humanity in each other. Tragedy slams us into the realization that these obstacles in our paths are in fact, regular people, just like us. Sometimes, the holidays can bring this on, too. I remember always feeling like strangers treated each other more civilly on Christmas, for instance. But as time passes from tragedy or holiday – many of us slip back into our singular self-absorbed worlds.

So that’s why I was surprised today when fellow shoppers held doors for one another, or allowed cars to pull in front of them – I just wasn’t expecting it. Tomorrow is a holiday, the 4th of July, so maybe it’s just bleed over, but whatever it is – we need more of it. I don’t suppose the guy who let me take a left-hand turn into the bank parking lot in front of him this morning, had any idea that three hours later I would still be thinking of that little moment of generosity, nor the person who held the door at the convenience store, or the friendly smiling face of the cashier. But there was something in the air this morning – and it effected me.

It’s a good reminder – for me and for all of us to recognize that each person with whom we come into contact has their own challenges, stresses and gifts. That each person, should be treated with dignity, respect and kindness. That we are all just trying to do our best here. that it’s easier to be kind then we might think it is. And – that we are not alone. Each life is separate, each struggle a personal challenge, but each inextricably dependent on one another for peaceful coexistence. A month or so ago – there was a single winner of a large lottery jackpot – and as the story unfolded we learned that one woman had let the elderly woman who purchased the winning ticket step ahead of her in line. And while she could have been racked with regret by giving away her chance to win the big jackpot, she was okay. There was no regret. A sense that it turned out the way it was meant to – comforted her decision. I don’t know how many of us would have felt that way.

So as you go off into your day today (and everyday) may I suggest that you – “lift the veil”. Those people out there, the ones that cut in front of you in line and drive too slowly – are PEOPLE! Real-life, flesh and blood humans, just like you – with their own joys, sorrows and struggles. Try seeing them with your heart, rather than your head – try treating them the way you want to be treated. It’s up to us people – a little kindness goes a long way – make someone’s day! Happy Independence Day – don’t forget that we are all Interdependent! 🙂

 

Anticipation… October 29, 2012

It’s 9:00 am, Monday morning, October 29, 2012 – and like thousands of other folks in the Northeast – I am “Waiting on Sandy”. They are predicting a monster of a storm this time around, due not only to the initial size of the primary storm but the fact that it will collide with two other significant systems to create a truly unique meteorological event. “Frankenstorm” as it has been nicknamed, is predicted to terrorize the East Coast – defying previous models and confounding the experts.  My natural lack of patience, (not one of my strongest virtues) leaves me (and I am sure many others) struggling with a wait that feels particularly long. With modern-day weather forecasting as it is these days, meteorologists are able to track and predict storms like this one – way earlier then they used to be, and overall I guess that’s good news. Obviously, it gives you plenty of time to make necessary preparations and all, but it also creates this surreal anticipation that feels like it goes on forever. Almost makes you want the storm to hit sooner – just to get it over with already!

The predictions for this storm started coming in relatively early last week, or at least that’s when they first caught my attention. By Friday, they were pretty clear, and relatively confident that this storm which was enormous in size was going to move up the coast and then turn west, into land at some point. Like most people, New Englanders view weather-forecasters with a healthy dose of skepticism. We have been duped, too many times. Predictions of massive snow storms produce a paltry few inches of the white stuff, etc. So like lots of folks, we kind of half believe it;  buy some bread, maybe some water and batteries, but many wait til the last-minute to actually batten down the hatches all the while keeping an eye of the forecasts, just in case we need to escalate the preparations. It definitely, reminds you of “the boy who cried wolf”, and you know in terms of basic survival it’s better to react to the threat that’s not there – then to fail to react to a threat that is. Fortunately, for us we are wired this way – it’s called the Negativity Bias – and it makes sense. Here’s an article by Rick Hanson, exploring just that – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rick-hanson-phd/be-mindful-not-intimidate_b_753646.html.

But back to the storm… So at first it feels like, “Is this all really going to happen?” For instance, Saturday was a lovely, quiet, mild Fall day. Sunday, was gray and drizzly – it seemed like any other slightly wet day for this time of year. And today, well, there is some rain, though still pretty light, the wind is blowing, but not that hard, and best of all we still have power! So yes, things are changing, but it is just hard to really grasp how far things may possibly deteriorate in the next 48 hours or so. Typically, I am someone who is pretty good at visualizing, but this still has this odd feeling of detachment to it. It is the quintessential moment of waiting for the other shoe to drop. The calm before the storm. And I just can’t help but think about another big event that will take place next week which has had days, weeks, and months of predictions and anticipation building around it.

A week from tomorrow is election day, and as always it has been a long time in coming. Something big is going to happen and depending on where you stand the outcome could be a catastrophe or a blessing. (I can’t even wrap my brain around the concept that some people are still undecided – given the disparity between the candidates – and the fact that for me there is only one possible choice, period.) I think a lot of folks feel that way on both sides – they are tired of the ads, the polls and the forecasts, they have done their preparations and at this point just want to get it over with already. And lets hope that after that “storm” is passed – we will be warmed by neighbors pulling together as they often do after natural disasters – for the greater good of all, with the recognition that each of us want what is best for ourselves, for our loved ones and for our communities. It’s about pulling together and not pulling apart. Here’s hoping that the results will give us a head’s start in that direction.

Peace – Be safe out there.

 

A Tricky Treat October 31, 2011

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Those of us living in the Northeast were treated to an unseasonable trick this weekend as a heavy, wet snowstorm blanketed several states with snow that covered our pumpkins and felled autumn leaf baring limbs. It wasn’t a lot of fun – particularly for the countless households that lost power, heat and water along with all the damage to property and homes. Boo!

Personally, I am grateful that my household suffered no power loss, though I am afraid my 150+ year old apple tree did not fare so well. Sometime during the night, the largest of the three “trunks” of the tree gave way under the weight of the heavy snow and snapped, though fortunately it landed in the middle of the yard, away from the house and power lines. Nonetheless, it makes me very sad. I don’t know yet if the whole tree will have to come down, since the two remaining trunks are the less healthy of the three to begin with, so time and an arborist will tell what can be salvaged. We shall see…

Reflecting on this event – lots of things have come to mind and I just want to share a few with you.

NATURAL BEAUTY – First, readers of my blog will know, that one of my favorite spots “in” my home, is sitting on my porch, where I go almost everyday, all year-long to sip my coffee and watch the birds. The part of the tree that was destroyed was the most active spot in my yard for my little feathered friends, and I can’t help but wonder where they will alight now.

CHILDHOOD INNOCENCE – Years ago, when the tree was healthier and my boys were younger they spent many a joyful hour running along the embankment of the yard and swinging from the tall branch of that apple. The simple pleasure that it gave them was filled with a sense of the purity of childhood.

GENEROSITY – My neighbor came over yesterday, chain saw in hand to help cut off some of lower hanging limbs of the broken branch. Mine was the sixth house in the neighborhood where he had stopped – to lend a helping hand. He is a generous man, the sort of person you want to have as a neighbor and I feel lucky to have him and his family across the street.

GRATITUDE & PERSPECTIVE – Lots of folks are without heat, water and power today because of this storm. School is cancelled and even the Halloween trick-or-treating has been postponed to later in the week. And though I am not looking forward to the expense and effort necessary to remove my dear old friend, the apple tree, I am grateful that we were spared any real hardship. That said – way beyond the storm damage – I am aware of how fortunate we are in general – compared to some of the circumstances other folks have to face every day.

An ill-timed snowstorm has set life a little off kilter here. And it just makes me think, is all. About all we have, all that is beautiful, all that is innocent, all that we share and all that can be improved upon. Life is funny that way – always setting little reminders in front of us to shake us from complacency and rattle our brains for greater awareness. I will take it, you?