Firebirdlifecoach's Blog

Pursuing a Passionate Life

On Rising May 27, 2014

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Quietly opening her eyesDawn Birds
The silence of the morning,
Before traffic,
Before car doors, mowers and construction equipment,
Before birds,
Well almost before birds.
Lying in the stillness, warm sheets, veiled thoughts.
What day is this?
Wisps of dreams remembered, pieces of pictures floating in and out.
Feet touching the floor
Enter another new day,
Awaiting her fingerprints and plans.
Each moment familiar and never before seen.
Always, always an opportunity – you are here.

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Walking Down Internet Memory Lane March 30, 2013

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path

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 Classmates.com, 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”.

 

 

Each Fragile Moment November 29, 2012

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One of my neighbors stopped me this morning, to tell me that the son of another neighbor died this week. He was 26 years old. How very, very sad.

My heart goes out to his parents, family, friends and loved ones.  Death of someone so young always feels like a tragic loss. It always feels like such a waste, a departure from the “natural order of things” and yet it happens all the time.

Last week I learned of the sudden death of a former business associate – he was 53 and that too, seemed like a loss before its time. Not that death at any age – is not a loss – even when it comes as an end to suffering. Nothing is ever one-sided.

And beyond the sadness and sympathy I feel for those who knew and loved these two men, one young, one middle-aged; a secondary awareness of the fragility of our existence here on this planet floods in almost immediately thereafter.  We really do not know when our time will be up – when those we love and care for will slip from this world – our time is finite, but the final chapter is rarely known beforehand. It’s a bracing thought isn’t it?

And while one can swirl into a pool of sadness and worry about whether the end will some too soon – I cannot think of a more powerful reminder about how important it is to be present in our lives, every moment. Each moment is all that there is – so make the most of it. Regret is not the legacy most of us are striving for… I don’t want to go now, or soon – I am not finished here, I have things to do, places to go, people to meet and more importantly I have loved ones who need me here with them. So this is where I want to be – “I’m workin’ here!”.

Live large. Love large. Be IN your life. Make the most of it.  Make your mark. Enjoy as much as you can. Do good. Be grateful. And strive to be the best you can be at every moment.

 

The Imperfect Dance May 6, 2010

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I am a person who likes to know the facts. Tell me exactly what’s going on, what my options are and let me make an informed decision all on my own. It works for me. Likewise when I am dealing with others I operate under the same set of rules. Here’s the information – here are your options – what would you like to do? But sometimes, (actually a lot of the time) the “facts” themselves are not always clear. Life is not conveniently “black and white” there are a lot of grey areas. And in that case, I guess I function best under another general rule – “do the best you can with the information and skills you have.” What other choice is there, really?

In actuality I think, that concept applies to a lot of situations. Doing the best you can do – is really the best we can ever do in almost every given situation. Maybe it comes from the strong “work ethic” instilled in me by my father, maybe something else, likely a combination of factors. What I do know is that more than our best is not really possible. There are most definitely times when you can get away with doing “less than your best”. Some situations just don’t require our full force and effort. Reading the cues, assessing what’s needed and reserving your energy may be your best option. Having an understanding of what is required to get the job done may lead you to decide that “your best” may be overkill; there is a place for “good enough”.

Each day, at every moment we have the opportunity to decide who we are going to be in the world and how we are going to comport ourselves. Our choices are not always clear, the data we are given to make our decisions can be incomplete, but the choice is still ours. Spending a couple of moments thinking about what we value, what impact we want to have and how we want to live our lives is the least we can do to help give us direction when the situation does not provide all of the information we need. It’s an art really, a delicate balance, a constantly changing environment, in which we are dancing and moving, sometimes choosing our steps with great intention and certainty and other times, simply going with the flow. Doing what we can do, doing our best and knowing when we need to sit down and take a breather is all part of the process.

 

Mid-Life Opportunity February 17, 2010

The phrase “Mid-Life Crisis” conjures images of middle-aged men driving red sports cars with their twenty-something year old girlfriends along for the ride. And though some might envy the image – it carries a dismissive quality to it. According to Wikipedia, “Midlife crisis is a term coined in 1965 by Elliott Jaques and used in Western societies to describe a period of dramatic self-doubt that is felt by some individuals in the “middle years” or Middle age of life, as a result of sensing the passing of their own youth and the imminence of their old age.”     And though for some this awareness may indeed be a crisis – I believe it is actually more of an opportunity.

In fact, I believe it is even a healthy process to shut-off the auto-pilot for a moment and to take stock of your life which for most folks is what I believe this period of our lives is really about. I believe that in today’s uncertain economic times, many of us have been forced to re-evaluate our careers and lifestyles for other reasons as well. We are aware of the ticking of the clock and its impact on our lives in ways that in younger years we could more easily dismiss. Our physical resilience may not be what it was even just a few years ago. And the evolving pressures associated with our children’s maturation and our parent’s aging combine to put pressures and considerations into our daily existence that previously just didn’t exist. “You may find yourself in a beautiful house with a beautiful wife. You may ask yourself – Well, how did I get here?” (David Byrne, Talking Heads – “Once in a Lifetime”) Surprise! Now what?

Taking stock of your life, evaluating your present circumstances and re-positioning yourself toward your future in a way that works can be really scary but it can be invaluable too. If we bury our heads and just plod forward, well, we’ll get through it – but is that all you want from your life? A little introspection can go a long way. You may be pleasantly surprised to find that your life is exactly where you want it to be, or you may find some areas that need a little tweaking. You owe it to yourself and to those around you to be the best person that you can be, living your life to its fullest. If we are lucky we will live until a healthy old age – but you never do know, do you? So, embrace the uncertainty, forgive the shortcomings, and move forward with a clear vision of what you want from your life and how you are going to make it happen.