Firebirdlifecoach's Blog

Pursuing a Passionate Life

Balancing the Scale July 15, 2010

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Yesterday, I had the distinct pleasure of watching a single hummingbird flit around my yard for what felt like an inordinate amount of time. I have a garden full of bright, pink phlox which apparently it found particularly attractive, and it buzzed from one flower to the next doing it’s thing. After a moment or so – it flew over to my apple tree where it lighted for a bit before trying the flowers again. And then, as if it heard my wishes for a closer view, came to one of the hanging baskets on my porch, just a few feet away from where I sat before disappearing into the neighbor’s yard. What a treat! I cannot ever remember having the opportunity to observe one for what felt like such an extended period of time. It really started my day off on the right foot.

I wish I could say that the rest of the day was as wondrous as that little moment had been, but it was not. Though it was particularly productive, which I needed immensely, the afternoon took a major dip as my teen son and I locked horns in what I guess would be considered a “battle of wills”. Nobody won. And though as the evening wore on – the overall mood relaxed tremendously – I think we were both hobbling a bit from the experience.

A simple sweet high to start the day, an emotional, tense low to punctuate the afternoon and a quiet resolve by the evening – it was quite a ride. This morning – no hummingbirds are treating me to a sighting and I am feeling a bit worn-out still from yesterday’s tussle. Navigating the highs and lows is a constant daily challenge we all face. There are moments of grace and episodes of stress and our job is to reset the system as best we can to face the events that confront us on a new day. As I slowly work my way over to my own reset button I find that I am filled with a sense of gratitude and wonder.

The universe has blessed me both with its simple sweetness in the form of a beautiful observance of nature and a willful and amazing son. Feeling the love I do for both and the privilege to be in such close contact with the things and people I adore is the gift that will refuel my battery cell this morning and give me the energy to face whatever this new day holds in store for me. My recommendation for the day – find that thing (or things) that give you your inspiration and hold them in your focus – it is the wonder of these simple beauties which can magically transform our experiences.

 

Ode to The Grain of Sand June 18, 2010

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Yesterday, I had the good fortune of attending an all day seminar with Seth Godin; author, master-marketer, and thought innovator and as expected I awoke today feeling inspired and ready-to-go. (Also, helps that I actually allowed myself to go to bed at 6:45pm last night and catch up on some much-needed sleep!) So today, my usually fertile mind seems to be firing at a more rapid rate than usual as one thought and idea after another parade through my consciousness. It feels good, as if my batteries are fully recharged and my system is ready to spring into action. So the question, that keeps surfacing is – what are you going to do with this burst of inspiration and energy?

First, the most obvious piece spread the word a bit. If you haven’t read any of Seth’s books, I recommend that you do. There are several to choose from, and his most recent, Linchpin is as good a place to start as any. I could tell you what his books are about, but you can find that out more efficiently by going to his website: http://www.sethgodin.com/sg/ and reading about them for yourself. (I would also recommend subscribing to his daily blog for a daily blast of thought provocation and inspiration.) And since I know that Seth can speak for and take care of himself, I would rather focus on the broader phenomenon at work here. Finding the people, ideas and experiences that lift your spirits, light your fire and make you want to do and be more and then surrounding yourself with them.

For each of us, the paths will be different. The excitement I feel when I hear or read Seth Godin’s ideas may not resonate for you, but something or someone out there will. The idea is to think about what inspires you and to realize that not all inspiration is going to sit comfortably inside you. There are times when new ideas are an irritant – like the grain of sand in the oyster, they make you react and think and it may be uncomfortable but the impact is felt all the same. To me, finding your inspiration and using it to enhance how you think and act and interact in the world is something you owe not just to yourself but to the world around you. Cause when you find it – when you are living your life in a passionate and authentic way you are at your best and everyone benefits from that little bit o’ business.

 

Short Quote June 15, 2010

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Often people attempt to live their lives backwards; they try to have more things, or more money, in order to do more of what they want, so they will be happier.  The way it actually works is the reverse.  You must first be who you really are, then do what you need to do, in order to have what you want.  ~Margaret Young

On Tuesdays, I attend a BNI – (Business Networking International) meeting early in the morning. Part of my role in this group is to read a quote that closes the meeting each week. And so, even earlier, every Tuesday morning, I comb through books and quote websites to find little pearls of wisdom that I would like to share. Today, I found the above quotation and decided that this felt like the right one for the day. Each week, I am often inspired by these quotations to spin-off into a blog, though most times, I find that my time runs out, and I leave half-written entries in my documents folder in hopes of getting back to them later in the day. It looks like that’s going to happen again today – but since my day often does not afford me the time to swing back around and finish the posting, I thought that this time I will just post it and leave things at that.

So, though my inclination and desire is to expound on this little item, I really must move along or risk being late for the day’s events. And so on that note, I leave you with this above sentiment; to consider, to ponder and to reflect about, on your own. It had a certain ring of truth to it, that resonated with my core and I just wanted to share it. Wishing you an “authentic” day. Peace out – LB

 

The Living-Zone May 10, 2010

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So? What’s it gonna be? Are you in or are you out? This is your life – are you really living it? If you are – great! If not – what are you waiting for?

It’s amazing how many people don’t really know what their answer to that question is. There are lots of folks who are alive, yes, but whether or not they are really living their lives, is another matter entirely.  Lots of people are waiting, biding time, getting by; day-by-day moving from home to work to home again in a sleep walking dream. Always waiting for something to happen, (however they define that something);  a new living arrangement, a new relationship, the change of seasons, there are endless possibilities  – and when it does happen – THEN things will be different and they can start to live. Well, what about until then?

We all have days when we are more engaged, more energetic, more present, inspired and simply put, more alive than others. But sometimes people make the mistake of setting up shop in the world of half-life. Maybe they are depressed. Maybe they are lacking the confidence they need to get out there and seize the day. There are lots of reasons why people “lay low” and take the quiet path. Unfortunately the longer you stay in the dead zone the more it drains your energy. Sometimes we need a “kick in the pants” or we need a bolt of inspiration or we need the help and support of someone else to get us started and to keep us on track.  Whatever it is you owe it to yourself and to the people who know and love you to find it. Because once you light that fire, and your engine begins to purr, you will get a taste for it and it will propel you forward. Living has a way of taking on a life of its own.

Life is beautiful. Our time here is finite; do we want to be present for it or sit on the sidelines and watch it pass us by? Wherever you are on the spectrum – I guess I’d like to give a little nudge toward choosing life. Find the thing, anything that gives you joy, that makes you feel alive, that makes you feel inspired, engaged and passionate and feed it. Allow yourself to be pulled forward by it and you will find that as that part of you is awakened and enlivened other parts will be as well. Start small, no grand gestures are necessary. You don’t have to go from 0-150 in a day, 0-2 is a start. Sometimes waking a sleeping giant can take some time. Be patient, be authentic and be persistent. Oh and one other thing, it’s contagious. As you become more engaged in your own life, those around you may find inspiration in you – how cool is that?

 

You Can Quote Me On This April 26, 2010

I recently became a member of my local BNI (Business Networking International) organization. I joined to meet other professionals in my area and to find a place to network and expand my coaching business. The meetings follow a prescribed format that is consistent from one week to the next and consists of a variety of elements which the organization (at large) has found to be effective in helping members help each other to grow their businesses. I like it and am enjoying flexing my networking muscles a bit – and stretching beyond my usual comfort zone. The meetings close each week with one member who has been assigned the task of sharing an inspirational quote with the group. At the end of the last meeting, he turned to me and asked if I would be interested in taking over this task as it seemed more fitting with my profession as a coach than with his. I gladly said “yes” and have been on a mission this week to collect and organize some quotes for this purpose.

I have to say, this indeed is the job for me! I am one of those folks who collects quotes. I have a folder of gems collected over time for various presentations I have given and am enjoying the excuse to go out and search for more. If it isn’t already obvious about me – I am a great fan of language – particularly when it is used properly and cleverly to communicate interesting and inspiring concepts. How we speak what we say and the impact it has on others is one of our most fundamentally powerful tools, often overlooked because it is so inextricably integrated into our daily experience and yet undoubtedly not just necessary but integral in shaping our life experience.

For me I think my admiration for the skilled use of language resonates with my “Appreciation of Beauty and Excellence” Signature Strength (see: VIA Signature Strengths Questionnaire at http://www.authentichappiness.com ). Reading a well crafted phrase or two from a skilled and extraordinary thinker without a doubt inspires and excites me and though I am not one with an ability to easily retain both author and words I do retain their impact. And so, I am very excited for this new task before me, it is a treat to have an excuse to pour through websites and books in search of pearls to share with my fellow group members. And to me any opportunity to get to surround yourself with more of what you love is a good thing. And to that end – here is just one of the quotes that has inspired me in my search.

JOSEPH CAMPBELL: If you follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. Wherever you are — if you are following your bliss, you are enjoying that refreshment, that life within you, all the time.

 

Words of Wonder March 24, 2010

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Ever get a little thrill when someone says something, so cleverly that you can’t help but smile and shake your head at their amazing cleverness? You don’t have to agree with what they’ve said, though it’s more fun if you do. I have always had great admiration for those who demonstrate a mastery of language and possess a sizable and varied vocabulary. I would attribute this to my mother, who was well-spoken herself and always encouraged us to look up words in the dictionary when we were young, a battered old version of Webster’s always conveniently at-hand in the living room.  Language is powerful – how we communicate to one another is both a skill and a gift that I place a great value on.

Some of us have a facility for breaking down complicated ideas into manageable bits and serving them up in such a way that they can be understood by a previously uninformed group. There are those who have a “silver-tongue” that could charm the most hardened of listeners. Others have an ability to tell a story in a way that paints a vivid picture in our mind’s eye, full of detail, nuance and color. And still others may have a gift for articulating intangible feelings and emotions in a way that allows you to resonate and empathize with the experience. Conversely, some people struggle to communicate even the simplest of ideas or they “speak without thinking” which can often be a source of difficulty.

How you communicate tells the world a lot about who you are. It gives clues as to where you are from, what your background was like, what level of education you have attained. But one has to be careful about what assumptions we make in this regard, as many people adjust what they say to the audience to whom they are speaking, assessing the listener and responding in a fashion which will best get their points across. In many ways it is of course not just what you say but how you say it – that will leave its impression on others. How much of yourself do you want to reveal, what effect do you want to have on the person you are speaking to, and what do you want or need to communicate?

There’s a lot to consider, and most of it happens without our conscious awareness in the most fleeting of seconds. We can do a lot with our words, we can inspire or dominate, amuse or sadden, educate or placate, and there are endless possibilities for results. And there always remains the possibility that no matter how artfully we choose our words, we may still end up being misunderstood as our words filtered through the equally complex listening abilities of others. How do you want to use this most powerful of tools we possess? What do you want people to know about you? How do you want to affect others? And how much do you even want to think about it? Having a simple awareness of the impact of your words maybe enough for you or maybe you want to change your approach, whatever you decide is up to you.

 

May I Have this Dance? February 8, 2010

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I don’t have any shades on my living room windows. When I had it repainted last year, I took down the old shades and curtains since they didn’t go with the new paint colors. My intention has been to replace them with something else, I have a picture in my mind of what the new shades should look like, but I haven’t gotten around to buying them yet. It just isn’t a priority, not for my budget or my time – so the windows remain bare. It’s an old house, about a hundred and fifty years, and it has a full-sized window in the front and then a bay window which includes a French door to the side porch, plus the front door window and side-lights. The result: a lot of window, a lot of light and a lot of visibility – both out and in.

Being in my living room is kind of like being in a fishbowl. It’s not a very active street, and the angles are such that if you are standing in the middle of the room you don’t really have a direct view to any of the neighbors’ windows – nonetheless there is a sense of exposure. There are many folks who like to walk (either themselves or their dogs) down the street and the house is situated relatively close to the sidewalk. It’s also a street that some folks like to use as a cut through, it is situated in the classic historic district of a downtown New England town.

So what all this means is – when you are in there you can’t help but to be aware that other people could see in – if they were looking. This morning as I was sipping my tea and listening to my music – a song came on that made me want to dance. (This happens rather often actually but I don’t always give in to the impulse.) But today I did, and really the living room does have the best floor space on the first floor. So I danced, by myself, in my open living room, to music that inspired me, and though I hadn’t witnessed anyone seeing me – I was aware that they could. And it made me laugh to think of what people might think if they saw “the crazy woman flailing around in her living room” as they passed by. But I continued anyway.

I like being that person; the dancing lady in the living room fishbowl. I think it is important to be yourself – give in to momentary flashes of inspiration – to risk being exposed – and to take chances both big and small. My dancing may not have changed the world, but it sure was enjoyable, and if you can’t be yourself (even in the relative privacy of your own home) then when can you be? Okay, enough said, gotta go, a good song just came on and my feet are tappin’.

 

Inspiration Part One – The Personal Approach February 1, 2010

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For weeks now, I have wanted to write a blog about inspiration, and yet I haven’t done it. I think because for me this is one of my “golden topics” by which I mean it is one of the most important ingredients in living a purposeful and passionate life and the weight of it is significant. So the result has been that as I ponder the best way to approach this topic in “blog-form” I have avoided writing about it at all, and really that’s a shame. So today I have decided to let myself just break off a chunk of it with the awareness that I will get to the other bits at some later time. Manageable bits…

Inspiration Part One – The Personal Approach

I find inspiration in the thoughts and ideas of people who are passionate and engaged. People, who transcend difficulties, rise to challenges. People, who march to the beat of their own drummer, speak out for others and are true to themselves.

I relate inspiration to passion. When I am feeling inspired I am energized, passionate, productive and alive. I am inspired by historical happenings, present events and the possibilities for the future. For me inspiration is timeless and fluid.

I am inspired by beauty, simplicity, tenderness, strength of character and brilliance. Creativity and individuality are inspiring, courage is inspiring.

I am constantly on the look-out for thoughts, experiences, and events that inspire me and yet it is a natural and effortless endeavor. It is how I am wired these days; it is as if it is a skill that I have honed, an orientation that has developed over time.

Inspiration sparks passion that is manifested in a myriad of ways. It may be the spark that results in a great meal, a new drawing, an interpersonal connection or a new idea. It leads me everywhere and nowhere specific. It is unbounded and limitless.

Inspiration can feel like a connection to something transcendent or like a very personal firing of an internal furnace. It comes in the face of an old man, a thought-provoking statement, a demonstration of generosity, or an extraordinary color.

It is everywhere, and letting it in, allowing myself to see all the ways that it is accessible, is a gift I hold onto with both hands (and everything else, too!)

 

Beauty and Excellence – Ignition January 20, 2010

“Appreciation of Beauty and Excellence”, according to the VIA Survey of Characteristics which I took again yesterday after writing about it in my blog, is currently my top Signature Strength. I say “currently” because the strengths do move around a little bit. The last time I took “the VIA” about a year ago – I got similar results, in that my top five strengths were the same as they were this time, but they did shift around a bit in their ranking.

Per the survey, Appreciation of Beauty and Excellence is defined as; “You notice and appreciate beauty, excellence, and/or skilled performance in all domains of life, from nature to art to mathematics to science to everyday experience.” And in fact, it is true, I most certainly do. But I want to add that what I experience goes beyond appreciation and attention – I notice these things because I find them inspiring. I have thought a lot about inspiration (and plan to write a blog about it when I can gather my thoughts on what exactly I would like to say) – nonetheless this little reminder of my “Top” character strength brings it to the fore.

I had thought about the idea that I believe inspiration is the fuel that ignites our passion. And I do get very energized when I see something that is beautiful, or hear an idea that is exceptional – no matter what the context. There is something about the simple awareness itself, of something exquisite, unique and extraordinary that fills me with a sense of wonder and excitement. So though at first I was a little surprised to find this at the top of my list of strengths the more I think about it the more I become sure that at least for now, that seems to be the right place for it. Beautiful how these things work out sometimes, isn’t it?

 

Baby Steps, Benchmarks and Blogs January 7, 2010

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Today marks the conclusion of my first week’s worth of blog posting – and it has been a really interesting experience for me. I thought I’d take a moment to reflect a bit on what this experience has been like for me and share some of what has come up for me in the process.

  • I have always loved to write, but over the years I seem to have gotten to a point where I was doing less and less of it. Writing this blog has become an excellent outlet for this long-ignored passion of mine and I am very happy to have it back.
  • As I mentioned in my post a couple of days ago, “Never Underestimate The Kindness Of Friends… Or Strangers For That Matter”, the outpouring of encouragement, support, congratulations and kudos from many of the folks in my life has been incredibly gratifying and heartwarming.
  • I am finding myself constantly noticing things throughout my day and considering them as possible blog topics. Initially I was concerned that writing a daily blog would exhaust ideas for topics relatively quickly. But quite to the contrary, the more I write the more topics come to mind. It has me thinking in a new way and I love that!
  • I am looking forward to mastering all the bells and whistles of the site itself, so that I can enhance the site and tweak it as I see fit over time.
  • Knowing that I have a blog entry to write has been an exciting element to look forward to in my day. Though the parameters around this experience are totally self-imposed  – I have made a commitment to myself that this is going to be a daily event, and though I feared it may feel like one more item I “have to do” in an already crowded schedule, it is truly a bright spot and a pleasure.

I am looking forward to the evolution and future of this blog and find myself considering all the myriad of possibilities for directions it could take. I hope you stop by often, comment if you are inspired, pass it along to friends who you think may enjoy my musings and even subscribe to the site for regular updates. One week down, many more to go… Yay!!!!!