Firebirdlifecoach's Blog

Pursuing a Passionate Life

Walking Down Internet Memory Lane March 30, 2013

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One could certainly debate the pros and cons of social media and its all pervasive impact on life as we know it. There is no question that it can lead to: a seemingly bottomless pit of time wasting, a propensity toward the “over-sharing” of life’s minutia and what amounts to an internet version of unhealthy, addictive behavior.  But in my mind it also provides an opportunity for connection that simply did not exist just a few years ago.  As someone who is at just the right age to have enough technical know-how to take advantage of what the internet can provide and a clear memory of what life was like before we were all constantly “connected” I can say that social media has provided one benefit that far outweighs its detractions – finding lost friends.

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of reconnecting online with the person that I really consider “my first love”. As I was working on my business network site on LinkedIn, his name popped up as someone I might want to connect with – (though how they know that, both puzzles and creeps me out a little bit). Nonetheless, more than thirty years since I would have last seen him, and almost forty years since we were “an item” we connected for a brief but pleasant email interaction. And honestly, it was great! No, I am not still mooning for a “lost love” or wanting any more than this superficial conversation presented, but had it not been for this social media site I would have spent my life never knowing what happened to him. Sure, life would have moved along smoothly without ever knowing, but now I have what can almost be described as a sense of closure.

Several years ago, I was re-united with another old friend from my college years who I had lost track of, when our lives became full with children and families and life activities and the letter writing which had finally been reduced to holiday updates eventually stopped altogether. And for about 2 – 3 years it was great to once again know and connect with this person from whom I always received a great amount of inspiration, laughter and genuine warmth. When he suddenly died of a heart-attack last year, I mourned his passing with the many friends and family who also cherished his life, and was grateful that we had had the opportunity to re-connect again before this most final disconnection. There is no denying the intensity and deep connections that you forge in your younger years and how significantly they can impact your life even if circumstance and priorities separate you over time. Old friends know you in a way that new friends never can – and social media allows you an opportunity to acknowledge their importance.

Sure, I am lucky; my reconnections to my past have mostly been positive ones. I have not stumbled into any frightening, unhealthy stalkers. Aside from some of the minor annoyances of irritating posts on Facebook from people whose, let’s just say “approach,” is at odds with my own, social media has treated me pretty well. I have a greater appreciation for some people than I had, had years ago – and most importantly I have been able to connect with some folks who were and are very important to me. I am not a “collector”, one of those people with a hundreds or thousands of “friends” who they may simply have attended the same high school with, it’s not about the numbers really. Though I check in regularly, I don’t really care for the trivial updates about every aspect of your existence, and I could absolutely live without the constantly forwarded quotes and cute animal photos in favor of more authentic and original material.  But a little here and there is just fine.

Most significantly, over five years ago I reconnected with someone who has indeed, changed my life. An old friend, I had known since grammar school, someone I always felt “connected to” despite our lives taking us in different directions. Built on an old stone foundation of mutual respect, fundamental understanding and positive regard we have forged a new and deeper relationship then either of us could have imagined in an age before social media discovery would have allowed. Not everyone is going to find “true love” on, and probably it’s a good idea not to try. It’s not about re-living your glory days, or going back in time. It’s about being able to connect in the here and now, to those people who have moved and shaped who you are today. There are definitely undeniable upsides to being able to connect with the people who really meant something to you over the years, to say “hello”, to share your friendship, to let them know that you are grateful to have had them in your life, and once in a great while to be able to say “I have waited for you all my life – and I didn’t even know it”.



Milestones and Memories August 12, 2012

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It’s a big day here – in fact it has been a pretty big summer – family transition-wise that is. I can’t help but think about it – as it feels all immersive. Changes for sure are a constant, day-to-day, moment-to-moment everything is in a constant state of flux – and though at times it can feel rather subtle and almost unnoticeable, that has not been the case on the home front these days. I feel like we are all, my little family and I, going through some major milestones lately – which has the net result of raising emotional levels on all scores and creating a lot of both reflective and anticipatory thinking.

My fifteen year old son has been away in New Hampshire for the last seven weeks, working as a camp counselor at a boys’ camp. He returns home this evening! And I have to tell ya – it’s a big deal. Never have either of my boys been away from home for more than a week ever before in their lives. Not only that, but at fifteen, this was his first job, aside from walking the neighbor’s dog and doing household chores. I went up to visit him last weekend and I couldn’t help but marvel at what a wonderful young man he has become, not that I hadn’t noticed him moving in this direction before, but, “Wow”. There before me was a 6′ 2″, handsome, composed, confident, bright and dryly, funny young man. The same child who went away several weeks earlier, but somehow more “complete”. Watching him transform from his role as the “younger brother” who followed his sibling’s every move as a little boy – into the presence that he is today has been a glorious experience for me. I can’t wait to give him a big, fat hug and am positively anticipating seeing what he will be like in the upcoming year.

And in the meantime, the plan is to go “back-to-school” shopping with his older brother today. (As soon as I finish this blog as a matter of fact.) But this isn’t any regular back-to-school trip – today we are going off to buy him the things he will need when he goes off to college in a couple of weeks! Notebooks, and pens will come later, today we are looking for a mini-refrigerator, a small microwave and the like. Holy cow – my baby is soon to be leaving home. On Friday, he and I spent the day together, visiting an art museum in the city and taking in lunch, it was lovely. And again – as I sat – looking at this beautiful young man – I couldn’t help but to have my heart swell with joy, excitement, wonder and some sadness. This is it – that launching that you anticipate for eighteen years – it is here – and I guess we are both ready. It surely wasn’t always easy – but what a gift and a privilege it has been. Though no one knows what will come  – you know that this shift is huge – and going forward interactions will always be a little different.

I am filled with nostalgic memories of my two boys, and with a heart-tugging bittersweetness as I look forward along side of them at their futures. Changes happen every day, but these ones feel particularly big. My babies, my boys, my young men – always cherished – always loved – they fill my heart with pride and joy. I will miss what was – and look forward to what will be.


Don’t wake me – I’m at the beach! June 27, 2012

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I just came home from an acupuncture treatment, and at Wellsprings Acupuncture  ( and as is often the case I was feeling very relaxed and a little sleepy. So, with a little wiggle-room in my schedule this afternoon, I decided to take advantage of the moment and take a little nap – or at least that’s what I thought. It is a perfect day for a little rest, cloudy, cool and comfortable – so I set the alarm on my phone and snuggled in for a rest. But my ears – had their own plans (I bet you didn’t even know that was possible, did you?). You see I have – tinnitus ( – the unfortunate condition – which in my case results in a constant, high-pitched ringing in my right ear. And sometimes, it is very difficult to ignore it, particularly when all around you is quiet  – as the sound is absolutely constant and completely annoying. So, I decided to turn on my alarm clock’s, soothing sounds setting and rolled over, closed my eyes and tried (unsuccessfully) to focus on the sounds of waves hitting the beach and seagulls calling – which were drifting softly from my nightstand – but alas – “plan B” wasn’t working either.

What happened instead, as I tried to focus all my attention on the beach sounds in order to “not hear” the ringing – was I ended up getting all nostalgic about the beach where I grew up. And after about twenty minutes or so of that – I decided – time to get up and do something else. So since I had been planning on writing a post today – and though this wasn’t what I had planned to write about – here I am and we’re “goin’ to the beach”!

You see I was lucky enough to have grown up on the Connecticut side on the Long Island Sound, about five minutes from what was and is one of my favorite places in the world, Tod’s Point in Old Greenwich, Connecticut (,_Connecticut). It is the place where I learned to swim, at 7:30 am swimming lessons – from which I emerged shivering and teeth chattering into the out-stretched towel in my mother’s arms. It is where everyone from the junior high school and the high school “hung out” in my youth. It was the vantage point from which I witnessed the rise and the ultimate absence of the World Trade towers from the clear view of the Manhattan skyline. It is where I learned to row a boat and paddle a canoe during summer camp. The spot where I took my children on every visit home to see my mother, who lived in the same house I grew up in up until two years ago. And where I went, again and again, every time I was in town, for my whole life no matter the season or the weather even if it was just to drive around the point.

The yacht club, the holly grove, the nature trails, the picnic area where my family celebrated every 4th of July since before I was born until two summers ago – I love that beach. It doesn’t have the whitest sand, or clear blue water – and on a hot summer day it can get pretty crowded on the sand during high tide – but you see it was and always will be “my beach”. It’s where I caught minnows as a child and taught my sons to make “drip-castles”. It was the place of my childhood innocence, my adolescent mischief, and my adult relaxation. Where you weren’t allowed to have beach balls, where the lifeguards would whistle at you if you swam out too close to the buoys and eventually where it would cost $20.00 to park and another $5.00 admission – but I love it! And man, do I miss it.

But even if I don’t get there in person this year – my memories are vivid enough to transport myself there, well sort of… The mind is a powerful thing – and though it’s not exactly like I have spent the last hour or so relaxing at the beach, my focus on my happy memories spent there did work well enough to take my mind off the “ringing” in my ear. Whether it’s a little quiet meditating, some absorbing project, or a bit internal reflection allowing your mind to really do its magic is a powerful thing. So next time you need a little “get away” allow yourself to take a little internal vacation – even if you never leave your chair, you may be surprised how effective it can be.


This Evening’s Special is… January 25, 2010

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When I was growing-up, every night my family would sit-down to dinner together. Both my mother and father were excellent cooks, and being Italian-American, food and all its many wonders and pleasures were a real focus in our family lives. Even though she worked full-time as I got older, my mother would come home every evening and prepare some wonderful home cooked meal for the family. My father often joined in on Sundays with dinner preparation and one way or another there was always a thoughtfully prepared meal on the table. Food was (and is) for my family a very real expression of caring for each other – as they say “Food is Love”.

In my current life, my days and evenings are full with work, clients, groups and classes – often leaving me little time for regular meal preparation for my two sons. They’re teenagers now, and perfectly capable of making meals on their own, which by necessity they do several nights a week. But when I can, usually on my days off or on evenings where I can squeeze something in – I like to make them dinner. I spend a lot of time thinking about it, too. I have to consider a vegetarian option for one son and often am trying to fill-in the nutritional blanks for the week’s meals. Sometimes, my offerings are pretty basic, other times more complex in my never-ending quest to expand their culinary palettes, but I always try to come up with something and look forward to sitting down with them to eat our meal and share in some conversation.

There is something about it – it’s like a gift, a ritual, a responsibility and a treat all wrapped up into one. I hope that when they grow up they will remember those times with a similar fondness to what I have experienced and the understanding that it’s a lot  more than meeting their basic nutritional requirements. It is a simple expression of love, only one of many that often go unrecognized on a daily basis. Tonight is pasta, with or without Italian sausage and salad, pull up a plate and “Mangia”!