Firebirdlifecoach's Blog

Pursuing a Passionate Life

The Power of Us, Indeed! December 6, 2013

MA ConfAlmost exactly a year ago, I wrote a blog about my experience attending my first MA Conference for Women https://firebirdlifecoach.wordpress.com/2012/12/07/the-power-of-8000-women/. Now a year later, I am writing this post, about my experience at the same conference that I attended yesterday. And while the words whirl around inside of my mind looking to form themselves into clear and coherent sentences, I shall borrow a comment from last year’s post that more simply encapsulates the experience of the day – Wow!

Working on the sheer magnitude of the event itself; the gigantic space, the caliber of the speakers, and the number of attendees – it was at the least, impressive and more accurately, awe-inspiring. This year’s attendance total topped the previous year’s record-breaking numbers, with a sold-out crowd of 10,000! Making it the largest women’s conference in the country. Holy cow! Do you have any idea how large a space has to be to accommodate a sit-down luncheon for that many people? Well I didn’t before I saw it with my own eyes. In all honesty, it took my mind a moment to comprehend what my eyes were taking in. http://www.maconferenceforwomen.org/

Like last year, the experience was highlighted by some fabulous keynote speakers. Susan Cain, author of Quiet, a powerful book that is bringing introverts out of the shadows and into their gifts. Linda Cliatt-Wayman, principal of Strawberry Mansion High School in Philadelphia, who saw a need, and made a choice to uplift, empower and love some children who desperately needed the intervention of her caring and dynamic presence. Doris Kearns-Goodwin, world-renowned historian who has documented and illuminated some of history’s most significant leaders. Blake Mycoskie, founder of Tom’s Shoes, who found a way to create a business model that “gave back” every step along the way. Leymah Gbowee, Nobel Peace Laureate, peace activist and women’s advocate, who used her power and compassion to create real change in the lives of women and girls whom life had forgotten. These were only some of the movers, shakers and luminaries – from keynotes to break-out session leaders – whose stories alone were worth the price of admission.

But this year, the thing that stood out for me the most was the privilege I had to represent the International Coaching Federation – New England Chapter as one of fifty certified coaches that provided coaching services to attendees. http://www.icfne.org/
What a wonderful experience that was! In the space of two hours, I had the honor of meeting and coaching, six beautiful women, each on their own journeys, each with their own challenges, gifts and goals – and to share my gifts and talents with them to aid them on their paths forward. It is hard to put into words, the sense of gratitude and honor I feel to have been able to contribute and connect, even for such a brief time with these individuals. To these women, and in fact to all of us who were present yesterday, may we be fueled by the inspiration that the day provided to step into our own power and to step out into the world and make a change for the better. I am proud and honored to have been there with you! – Lisa

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Lift Off! November 2, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — firebirdlifecoach @ 7:06 pm
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ApolloI just watched the movie, Apollo 13, for about the 100th time. It’s one of those films that whenever I see it is on, I feel completely compelled to watch it again. There are only a handful of films that I feel that way about, and in this case though I think it is a good movie, I know it is the subject matter that draws me in rather than the film itself. The magnitude of the malfunction and the amazing ingenuity which enabled them to work through multiple solutions to get those astronauts home again was really quite extraordinary. When you think about it, that happened 43 years ago, and the technology was so much less evolved, but it worked, and it was incredible.

I think my fascination with the Apollo missions is a generational thing. My sons for instance, do not share my sense of wonder and amazement. In fact it is a running joke whenever we look for a movie to watch together – that someone will bring up Apollo 13, and I am the only taker. Years ago, I became engrossed in a book by Andrew Chaikin about the history of the Apollo space program called, A Man on the Moon. It was an amazing time in our history and reading about it in detail was enthralling to me. The whole idea is magical.

Growing up in the 60’s and 70’s, I remember watching the launches on funky old television sets, which were wheeled in to our classes in elementary school. Every little boy in class wanted to be an astronaut, though sex roles being as they were at the time, I don’t remember feeling like that was an option for me or any of the other little girls in my class. Nonetheless, the missions were big news at the time, in a world less “informed, exposed and aware” as we are today, so the space program took on a special significance.

This evening, when my sixteen year old son wandered through as I was watching the end of the movie he made the comment that “the space program was a waste of money and that we really didn’t learn anything important from it.” Ugh… I couldn’t elaborate on the scientific discoveries which came out of it specifically, beyond the development of technology and engineering that allowed such missions to take place and whatever was learned about the moon itself. But I also believe that exploration for its own sake is valuable. How do we know, what we do not know if we do not undertake the mission to find out?

Our curiosity and quest for knowledge and understanding is to me one of the best things about human beings. Despite the extreme expense of the space program, I am still a fan. I guess my sons don’t want to grow up to be astronauts, and I will still be watching that movie alone in years to come, but I value the inspiration it stirs in me and the awed I feel when reminded about the incredible things humans are capable of when they put their minds to it.

 

Inspiration from the Inside – Out February 6, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — firebirdlifecoach @ 11:37 am
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Quiet Day in the showroomI was stuck… There was a list of “to-do” items as long as my arm – I sat at my desk, searching for a place to start and painfully aware of the need to get going. The phenomenon is not unusual, many people feel pressed right now and it is not uncommon for it to create a sense of overwhelm that results in a state of inertia. But common or not, it isn’t a place anyone really wants to stay for very long. The trick is how do you find the path outward? Though it may not seem so obvious in the moment the options are plentiful, here are some of the most common:
• You may decide that you need to just “break” the moment a bit, step away from the “stuckness”; go fix yourself a cup of coffee or take a walk to the supply-room to grab a new pen – anything that takes you out of the moment in hopes of a simple reset when you return.
• You could try to force the issue – mustering your discipline to “just do it” and hope that by jumping into the fray – your sheer force of will, can suffice to break the stand-off.
• You may seek to do a little meditation to quiet the mind- since often it is the swirl of all the tasks in your head themselves which are preventing you from getting started on any one of them.
• Or you may choose to spend a little time connecting with a friend or colleague – taking a moment to vent, to distract, or to seek a little collaboration and insight.
• You may look outward – reading a favorite quote or passage which rekindles your spark.
• You could decide that today is just not going to be your most productive day – and hope that tomorrow a fresh start will provide new momentum.
• Or you can take the time to look inward, to connect with your own self; your values, goals, passions and strengths. Connecting the “why” with the “what” and thus creating your own inspiration.
From one day to the next you may find yourself working through this list of alternatives or trying something not mentioned here – but I generally find the last option to be the most effective. Because often, when we can truly connect with our own personal motivations for what we do we are most effective at re-energizing ourselves to actually get the work done. It’s easy to lose track of “the why”. On a day-to-day basis – so many of us are on a sort of automatic pilot – going through our days – checking off our lists – but not really even completely conscious of what we are doing and what got us here in the first place. For many, life has become a series of days where the only obvious purpose is to “just get by” and our investment in the process has become just enough to keep us around to face another day tomorrow. And indeed, there are times when that is in fact an achievement worth striving for – but the hope is – at some point – it will be about more.
Maybe you aren’t in your dream job and the work you do provides a simple paycheck to help make ends meet – but if you connect with your fundamental value – that you are doing it to provide a home and basic amenities for yourself and your family – well, hell in my book that’s pretty darned important. Maybe you have a burning need to create something, to inspire others, to be of service to your community, to be a positive role model for your children, to teach, to build or any other countless possibilities. Inside you somewhere, are your values, goals and passions – and whether or not they are obvious in an outward fashion – they are shaping the decisions you make, the things you do and how you do them. So next time you need a little inspiration to move a ahead – take a moment to look within – to find that part of your soul which fuels the fire within your very existence – and let it burn baby! You’ll be surprised to find out just how inspiring you can be.

 

The Power of 8,000 Women December 7, 2012

Women

Yesterday, I attended (along with 8,000 other women, and a couple of men) the 2012 Massachusetts Conference for Women. ttp://bit.ly/VFym82 With its attendance breaking previous numbers,  it was the largest women’s conference in the country.  And let me just tell you, 8,000 women in one room is pretty damned impressive. Wow! And these were not just any women, they were every woman! A broad, cross-section of attendees – of many races, ages, professions, socioeconomic classes, etc. – all there to be inspired, to learn and to connect. Very powerful, very, very powerful indeed…

The conference, which went from 7:30 am to 5:00 pm – was organized under this year’s theme of: Imagine: Find Your Purpose, Make a Difference. And of the thousands there many attendees already knew their purpose and were making a difference in their own lives, in their communities and in the world. And with a full day out of the office yesterday, and an evening and day spent catching up and slowly absorbing and incorporating some of the pearls of yesterday’s experience, I am finally ready to decant some of what I walked away with from yesterday.

The keynote speakers were excellent! Charlotte Beers, (http://bit.ly/11TDjP3) the extremely successful business woman and author who has left her mark on the highly competitive world of advertising – talked about clarity, memorability and persuasion. Her wit and power delivered a presence that was riveting and engaging. Dr. Brene Brown, (http://bit.ly/VCWcoJ) professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, renowned speaker and author of Daring Greatly, who has spent years studying vulnerability, courage, worthiness, and shame delivered an address that modeled authenticity and inspiration. Beautiful! Deepak Chopra, M.D. (http://bit.ly/TMkdXf)- physician, author, leader in the realms of mind-body health, spirituality, human empowerment and peace – delivered with the grace of someone who has attained international recognition; a thoughtful keynote about collective transformation, and the age of wisdom. And Arianna Huffington, (http://huff.to/11TGMgo) president and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post Media Group, and prolific author charmed us with her humor and reminded us of the need to take care our selves and to nurture optimism. If only one had spoken – the price of admission would have been worth it, and if I wrote notes faster – I would share with you a pearl from each of them, but alas, I was absorbed in my listening and my notes paid the price.

 

 

Beyond the keynotes, the breakouts offered closer access to numerous influential and impressive individuals whose impact and accomplishments touched the lives of others across all strata. And the audience, this little group of 8,000 area women – soaked it all in, laughed, shared, energized, and even shed a tear or two. There was a sense of connection, of commonality – of a collective view for a brighter vision for the future and the beautiful self-awareness that comes when your skills, gifts and talents are humming with invigoration.

I am still soaking it in and enjoying the buzz of watching my inspiration work through my own bones – excited to see the many ways it will manifest. 8,000 women – there is a lot of power there – but the most wonderful part is the awareness of the immensity of power that resides within each of us – to imagine, to create, to enlighten and to inspire. Wow!

 

Looking In and Out November 10, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — firebirdlifecoach @ 11:12 am
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So apparently, November is “write a lot of blog posts” month, or something like that – and I have had a peripheral awareness of this “event” taking place. The only trouble is, I am not sure my life fits well into some arbitrary trend – decided without my buy in. At least that’s what I am going to go with for now. The reality is I haven’t been writing much for the last several months, not because I haven’t thought about it, because I do, almost every day, but because I haven’t been sure about what I wanted to write about for this forum. Or put another way, other “things”- are pulling for my attention and when I pondered writing – I wasn’t able to focus in the way I wanted to. And that’s fine, we all have to set our priorities and decide where to spend our resources, but I have to tell you, I have been missing this… It adds value, that I don’t want to ignore.

So today, before I dive into the “priority items” on my list – I decided I needed to make a little time for writing a post. The trick was – that I wasn’t sure “what” I wanted to write about, only that I seemingly both “wanted” and “needed” to do it. So before I settled down to write – I spent a little time looking for some inspiration and luckily I found it in both familiar and unfamiliar places. For me the familiar – is always being outside and taking-in a little natural beauty. It’s a clear and beautiful day here today, temperatures in the low 40’s, which actually seems warm after this last week’s Nor’easter. The blue sky, the birds, the green grass, the warming sun – just make me feel calm and grateful. And the “unfamiliar”, well that took the form of reading some of my own blogs. I liked hearing what I had to say – and how I said, it. And lest you think I am some sort of ego-maniac, I have to say that this was a welcome new experience for me.

And while, I am simultaneously not unaware of my strengths and positive attributes – and of course am naturally guided by my own inner knowing and wisdom – something felt different about going back to my own posts to not only “re-learn” how I do this in the first place but to “inspire” myself. It was nice to see what I wrote about almost three years ago when I began blogging. It was also warming to see the thoughts and comments of friends and family in those early days of being a “blogger”. I don’t know if in those early days, I had any readers who I didn’t know personally, and I hadn’t yet learned about adding pictures, tags and links to increase my readership. (Heck I am still surprised when a new reader “likes” a post or leaves a comment and am puzzled by “how” they found me.) Which leads me to the next thought – Why do we blog? Why do we read other people’s blogs? What is this all about anyway?

And the answers ,well they certainly are numerous. But I guess for me the answer at its most basic form is – “It simply feels good.” I like the way it feels to write, if I don’t do it for too long a period, I feel a void. I like reading what other people have to say – not just in response to what I put out there – but the things they are saying in their own blogs too. When I first heard about blogging – I have to say I just didn’t understand it at all. And now, now – it makes perfect sense to me. Expression, Connection, Inspiration, Education, Humor, Wisdom, Warmth, Stimulation – they are all there. Today I make my mark on this blog page. Blogger and Blog-Reader, I am here – still taking it all in – still wanting to swirl around new ideas and insights – still savoring the outlet – still developing and changing and evolving, right here, in my own little world, coffee by my side, music in my ears and words tripping out through my fingertips to you. Write On!

 

Romancing the Muse August 7, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — firebirdlifecoach @ 4:09 pm
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It is six o’clock in the morning, the household is quiet and I tiptoe out to the porch, hot coffee in hand. My laptop, is there waiting for me, brought out moments earlier as part of my preparations. I sit down, sign in and wait. I close my eyes, take a few deep breaths and wait some more. She’s here, I know she is – I just can’t see her yet. I wait some more, still, quiet, listening, deeply, inwardly, patiently. Where are you?

My muse is an elusive phantom who cannot be pushed into making an appearance. I cannot force a visitation. Gentle enticements are the bait for this ethereal creature. Like the hummingbird who visits the flowers in my garden, she comes when she wants to, and any sudden aggressive movements will surely frighten her away.

But I know the steps to this dance now. I have practiced my part and I am ready. My job is to create the space. If it is writing that I am after – timing is of crucial significance. Early mornings are always best – but not if there is other activity around me. Interruptions are my enemy. Though I often enjoy music in the background, or the simple sounds of songbirds – conversation is the death knell. Chaos – is just that. Calm is the key. I can have an idea in mind, in fact I often have several swimming around in there, but it is not until I feel the gentle touch of my muse that the words begin to flow, down from brain, flowing quietly, smoothly like the waters of a stream, down over my shoulders, through my arms and out through my fingertips like individual droplets of water. The writing simply flows, and I never know where exactly it will take me until I am done.

If it art that I am after – a different ritual takes place. Again, I enjoy music that fits my energy level. Though honestly, this is a constant for me – rarely am I without music – it is my constant companion. But like with writing, my first step is about creating the space to create a piece of art. Depending on what feels right – I select my paper and set it up – on the wall over plastic sheets, on the easel set-up in my studio/office space or sometimes outside, in the grass. I gather my tools; pastels, paper towels, smudge sticks, ink, brushes and an occasional kneaded eraser. I change into my “art clothes” the oversized, stained and comfortable shirts that free me from worry. And then when I am all ready – I close my eyes and wait as mind and muse merge. I see the colors, feel the gestures, and let go of my controlled thought in favor of the moment and the state of flow which washes over me. Trading colors, blue for green, red for purple – making lines, blending colors, feeling shapes, seeing and not seeing, feeling and flowing.

There are times when the desire to write or to draw is a force that I cannot ignore. I can feel the pressure building inside of me. There is a drawing waiting to be created, a story needing to be told – sometimes other demands take precedence. And that can hard, as days, weeks and even months can pass. And when this happens I can often feel unsettled, dissatisfied and even physically unwell. But I know it will break. It always does – the muse will visit again. I know this because we are interconnected – my muse and me.  I need her for inspiration and she needs me for manifestation.

It is my job to create the space,

–      my job to find the time,

–      my job to gather the tools,

–      and my job to collect the ideas.

But it is the muse – that magical goddess of inspiration who takes these elements and creates the art. Like the honored guest at a precious banquet – she enters, strikes the match, lighting the candles and signaling that it is time for the feast to begin.

(Drawing by Arthur Rackham)

 

Spread a Little Sunshine February 21, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — firebirdlifecoach @ 12:53 pm
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(All has been pretty darned quiet on the Eastern Front these last few weeks with regard to me and my blog posting. I can’t even begin to count the number of ideas that have crossed my mind for posts, nor the number of times I have tried to schedule writing into my day – only to have it bumped off the list by something more pressing. But today – I seem to have both time and inclination working in my favor so here I am. You have no idea how happy that makes me, or maybe you do?)

Let me tell you a little story. Down in a nursing home about three hours from where I live, reside my two, dear aunts (I have mentioned them before in previous posts). They are sisters, who never married, have lived together their entire lives and who have always been central figures in my life. I love them dearly, but see them rarely. Now both in their mid-nineties each struggling with the effects of senile dementia – to varying degrees – they spend their days following simple routines and doing “not that much”. It is challenging to get down there to see them, and for the last couple of years they no longer have a telephone in their room, so I can’t even call them anymore (something I did fairly regularly, when they had one). And I miss them.

I have no idea, what they think about all day long. I know when I do get to see them that they remember me, though they sometimes forget who my children are – or who’s daughter I am (I am the youngest daughter, of their younger sister) – but I don’t know how they conceptualize time and if they are aware of the length of time between our visits. But I am aware of it. And always, in the back of my head, I wonder, despite their impressive ages and relatively good health, if I will get a chance to see them again before they pass. I hope they know I love them even if I am never there. Because the fact of the matter is that they cross my mind – all the time. Though age has in many ways made them into almost caricatures of their former selves (often highlighting some of their less favorable features) I still think of them in a more complete way.

These two women have always been some of my most ardent supporters. Unfettered by the constraints of parenthood they have always been in a position to love us (they have many nieces and nephews who they have been close with over the years) without restriction and they did, most admirably. Sure, it wasn’t all “rosie” – differences in viewpoint both personally and politically often strained interactions at times – but despite all of the “awkward” moments over the years our relationship has always been best characterized by the gift of unconditional love and positive regard. A couple of weeks ago – I decided I would send them a letter, since this is one method of communication which is still available and relatively simple to do. And again, I have no idea how they “received” it – or if by the third page they had to remind themselves again – who the heck it was from – but I hope that it brightened their day in some little way, I know it did for me.

Sometimes reaching out and letting someone know how much they mean to you is a simple way of sending a little ray of sunshine into someone else’s life – but it also raises the shades on your own. Because honestly giving love, gratitude and respect does not just enhance the receiver of such kindnesses but the giver as well. So my simple little thought for the day – is “spread the love, baby”. Life is so precious and unpredictable and acknowledging those who add value to your life is a win-win for all involved.

(As a footnote – I just wanted to share… I had NO IDEA that this was where I was headed when I sat down and started writing this blog. In fact I was quite sure this was going to be about time management and finding the time to do the things that feed your soul. And maybe in some ways, that is exactly where I ended up – but the process of writing these posts is very “stream of consciousness” for me – and part of the enjoyment is to just “go with the flow” and see where it will take me. I usually am pleased with the results – and the process is always enjoyable. Just thought you may want to know that.)