Firebirdlifecoach's Blog

Pursuing a Passionate Life

Perspective, Peace and the New Year January 2, 2014

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PeaceThought I would break my “radio silence” of the last few weeks and do a little posting today. Between the extra activities of the holidays and the need to spend some time doing a little quiet internal reflection, I haven’t really felt like I have had either the time or the inclination to do any writing. That said it also feels strange to let the passing of one year and the beginning of a new one go by without “logging-in” on some level – so here I am.

For me, as for many of us, the end of the year accompanied by the winter weather is a time for drawing inward; both in the physical sense as the cold often prohibits as much time spent outdoors and in a mental sense as I don’t think I could stop myself (even if I cared to try, which I don’t) from reviewing the events of the last year and thinking about where I want the next year to take me. I am “a thinker” so this sort of activity suits me well and has a comfortable familiarity to it. At the same time, this pull to self-reflect often means that any writing that I may be inclined to do is for “personal use only” – so sitting down to write a blog takes a bit more effort than usual right now. And while I am still in the throes of this state of being, deciding upon what I do want to share in this forum is difficult.

So I shall make it simple on myself and share what on New Year’s Eve, I decided is the thing from 2013 that I am most grateful for…

I am grateful to have both of my sons (and often my boyfriend) home here with me and for the peaceful, easy atmosphere that seems to be the general zeitgeist of our household this year. There is just something lovely about having the three people I most adore here with me, each living their own lives while simultaneously connecting with one another. As my boys grow into young men, their respective personalities coming more fully into focus – I find that I couldn’t be more proud of the people that they are becoming. They are totally different from one another, and while their lives, (and everyone else’s), are not without their challenges, they doing as well as they can with what they have before them. Everyone is doing their own thing – working on their own agendas and yet together in a harmonious way. I know that the current circumstances of “where” they are in their lives will be changing soon enough, but for right now, I am just enjoying what it is.

I guess when I think about it, I can’t really ask for anything more. Sure there are specifics that could be running more smoothly, challenges that cause stress present themselves each day but in my mind, the year overall has been a good one.

There are other dimensions, there is more to consider, there always is, but on a fundamental level I am grateful and at peace. As I dance through my mind; viewing, reviewing, assessing, pondering, planning, interpreting and working through all the bits from every perspective – I cannot underestimate the importance of this most fundamental aspect of the overall picture. Until, I am ready for the next installment, I wanted to wish you a Happy New Year and to say that I sincerely hope that the upcoming year brings you much growth, inspiration, passion, joy and peace. –Lisa


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.


In Every Season November 24, 2013

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PerspectiveWe woke this morning to a light dusting of snow. Which was perfect, since the only part I can remember from my very active dreaming last night was that, I awoke in my dream, to the first dusting of snow. I was glad that I hadn’t had a dream about the first blizzard of the season as I was not ready for that just yet! Beyond the snow the temperatures here never rose above twenty-four degrees Fahrenheit on my outdoor thermometer and the wind was ferocious. And… there was something thrilling about all of it.
When I was little, winter was my favorite season. I enjoyed the crispness in the air, and the snow, the lovely, quiet, magical snow. I wasn’t a skier, though when I grew older I did find I enjoyed cross-country skiing. Nor, have I ever liked the layers of extra clothing or the early disappearance of the sun from the afternoon sky – and yet winter was my favorite time of year. Now as I am older, with a sometimes questionable back and the responsibility of; if not doing all of the snow removal, at least the coordination of said removal, along with the cost of the winter heating bills and that has taken a bit of the bloom off of the winter rose.
At this point in my life, I guess all of the seasons are my favorites. They each have their upsides and their downsides – but I guess the thing that stands out to me most – is how beautiful each season can be. Trees are lovely for instance; in early bud, in full bloom, in autumn glory and in their slender delicacy without leaves. There is something equally lovely about the first warm breezes of spring, the hot sun in summer, the crisp coolness of fall and the brisk bracing blast of winter cold.
Spring –Renewal,
Summer – Passionate Life,
Autumn – Harvest and Home,
Winter – Reflection.
It’s all good. I may be singing a different tune a few weeks from now, but today, I am grateful for the first day of “real” cold and wintry flakes. I guess reflecting on the seasons is a lot like reflecting on life itself, there are ups and downs, good bits and bad – but viewed from a certain perspective all parts have their place and the frozen days of our lives make the warm breezes all the more welcome.


Oh Those Mice November 4, 2013

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mouse“The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.”

Yes, that’s the kind of day it has been, she says, glancing over at the long “to-do” list by her side with only half its items crossed off. I may have been overly ambitious this morning when I pulled from the list of projects that I was working on, a sub-list of thirteen items that I wanted to do today. But honestly, I think I knew when the day began, that this was likely more than I would be able to accomplish.

Though at the top of my page, I had confidently written “Monday”, I never really expected to get everything done. Really, it was more of a priority list, than a “to-do” list, these were the tasks that I knew needed to be attended to, (for a variety of reasons) before anything else, and though when I started writing this post, I was feeling rather dismayed to see so many things things still awaiting my attention – the fact that I got eight of them crossed off was in actuality, a pretty good go.

Whether our efforts are “successes or failures” is really a matter of perspective, isn’t it? Sure it would have been lovely to have had everything crossed off by now, but it was in fact, still a very productive day. And… I’m not done yet. In addition to the fact that I hadn’t really expected myself to finish everything today, I had also planned to work late tonight, so actually, I really am not finished yet. Sure, there will likely be carryover tomorrow, but I know what my next tasks are and I will come back to them for awhile after dinner. And when I am ready to call it a day, then I will do just that.

I am not a big proponent of celebrating each miniscule milestone in our lives; I don’t think it’s necessary to congratulate ourselves for doing the things that we are responsible for at every moment. But I also don’t think it is necessary to give ourselves a hard time, when we have done our best but still have more to do. Because really the most that any of us can ever do, in almost every circumstance, is to do our best in the given environment in which we find ourselves. Life is messy, plans change, and things don’t always go in a linear fashion – but give yourself credit for gettin’ in there and working it.

At least, I can now cross “write blog” off my list and I have a head start on tomorrow’s agenda! Peace-out, peeps – be gentle with your selves.


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?


A Matter of Simple Perspective April 20, 2010

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Taking an extra “day off” today while my kids are on school vacation and some friends are helping me with some much-needed home repairs. It is a beautiful spring day, a little cool but still damn nice, and I am cozily comfortable in a pair of jeans, a t-shirt and my Merrill’s and though I am not exactly relaxing it is still a lovely day. It has made me think again about how important the lens through which you choose to view your life circumstances can be in determining what your experience is.

Despite the fact that it was not a “work-day” for me, I had a 6:50 am meeting this morning which required me to set my alarm and get up a lot earlier than my body would have liked. And as I have mentioned before, though I am in general a steady, quiet producer in the wee hours of the day that does not really include interacting well with others. Nonetheless, miraculously after a wakeful night’s non-sleep, I really enjoyed the meeting. I felt engaged, social, and surprisingly energized. In my head I was thinking, well this may not be my best time of day but I like this group of folks and I do believe my participation is a good compliment to my coaching business. And so… it was better than “not bad” it was downright good and I enjoyed myself.

 Since it was never in the plan to “spend the day at the beach” I had written a pretty exhaustive list of tasks, chores and errands for myself to accomplish today. So, I wasn’t particularly thrilled when I had to take a couple of hours out of the middle of my day to go to a previously scheduled doctor’s appointment. (Well that’s at least what I thought I was going to do…) As it turned out I made the 40 minute drive to the doctor’s office only to realize I was supposed to see him at a different location today (something I had known at the time I made the appointment and I would have been reminded of if I had put on my glasses when I checked the calendar) but much to my chagrin not only did I waste a good chunk out of the middle of my day – but I had to reschedule my appointment since there was no chance I would have gotten to the other office on time. And though I was feeling frustrated as I drove back home I realized I would be able to make my friends who were helping me, lunch at a reasonable hour and would get more time with “the list” after all.

Is this revolutionary or extraordinary thinking in any way? No, not by a long shot… But nonetheless it is just this kind of stuff, the little stuff that can so easily derail a day. Or if looked at from another perspective, a positive perspective, can be the little building blocks than can make even the most mundane of tasks enjoyable. Just thought I’d pass that along…


My Life Just Bopped Me On the Head March 30, 2010

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Ever go through one of those periods of time when you feel the like the Universe is trying to send you a message and it is pulling out all the stops to make sure you are getting it? Well, it’s been one of those weeks for me. From all frontiers I keep being reminded of the same thing over and over again. Oh the message? It’s a simple one really and I have talked about it in this forum before, but here it is: “Focus on the positive and that is what you will draw to you.” It just keeps coming up over and over again, and I can’t ignore it – so here we go…

Though at times I believe we feel stagnated in our lives – we are always growing and changing and evolving. Sometimes, the changes are more evident than others – the growth spurts of our intellectual and emotional selves. Like the child who needs new clothes every couple of months because their bodies are growing at breakneck speeds – I think sometimes we grow in bursts internally as well. This message for me and the resulting effects it is having on my thought processes and my self-concept feels like a momentous shift in my core, I am growing out of my last personal wardrobe and growing into a new one. The funny thing is, this is not a new concept for me, not something I have just recently come to believe or feel or understand but somehow this time it has a swirl of momentum about it that is impossible to ignore.

In actuality, I have had a tough week, and though I won’t list all the mishaps I have had now – I can say my luck in the last week has been on the poor side. And I don’t want to sound like I am spurting Polyanna-esque platitudes over here – but somehow I am managing to look on the bright side amidst the calamity. Oh I have had my moments over here, of feeling pretty discouraged, overwhelmed and frustrated, but my focus has been more on dealing with the obstacles before me and enjoying the abundance that is also a part of every day. Could it be that at the ripe old age of forty-eight,  I have become a “if life gives you lemons than make lemonade” kinda gal?

Awww, enough about me, what about you? As you move forward what sort of life do you want to create for yourself? How do you want to spend your energy, focused on all you don’t have or on all you want to create? Every day, every moment offers us the option of deciding how we want to approach it. We may not always have the energy and resources to be on top of our game but that does not mean we have to be on the bottom. There is a full spectrum of possibility open to us – where we land along that line is largely based on how fully we feel ourselves in control of our own destinies and how committed we are to living the lives and being the people who we want to be. There is no harm in trying, rose-colored glasses are not blinders and correcting your prescription is as easy as putting them on for a try. Go ahead, you can borrow mine.


Icepacks, Laptops and Choices March 23, 2010

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So today I had the misfortune of knocking a large board with two, big 16×16 tiles glued to it – onto the top of my foot. And may I simply say, “Ouch!” Currently, I am waiting to hear back from the doctor’s office as to whether or not I fractured anything.  Keeping my fingers crossed that it is just a bruise, but we shall see… It isn’t the only mishap or inconvenience of my day so far and there is a long way to go before I rest.

I am contemplating my mood options as I sit here reclining on my couch, bag of ice on my foot, computer on my lap. There’s the obvious “grumpy option”, after all I have been up since 5:00 am, had to be at a meeting at 7:00, I am over-tired, somewhat overwhelmed by the list of tasks I have to attend to, and frustrated by my painful and COLD foot. Venting and gnashing my teeth a bit may be a good release for me – but the idea feels too self-indulged and downright selfish. There’s the “woe is me” option, but I don’t even feel like spelling that one out – it’s definitely not the “head-space” I am in at the moment. I seem to be in the “so, you’re having a tough day – you’ll get through it” mind frame.

Things are tough sometimes. Sometimes you need a little extra nurturing to get yourself back on track. Sometimes you need a reality-check to put things into the proper perspective. And sometimes you just have to keep forging ahead, with your eyes on the future and your focus in the present. Life is full, of sidetracks, obstacles and diversions. Deciding when you will allow yourself to break stride, change course, and go with the flow are all options that are open to us almost every waking minute. How you will react is up to you – some days an afternoon at the movies is the best response, other days a nap may be perfect while still others may include laptop and a icepack before your next appointment. Whatever works – the key is to listen to the voice inside of you that has the wisdom to make the right choice. And if that choice doesn’t feel right, there will always be another opportunity to try it again.


The View from Here March 1, 2010

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Sometimes the little things in life bring the big things into focus. They move you out of the “here and now” and bring you face-to-face with the bigger issues. Why are you here? What are you working toward? What’s the reason for it all? Never far below the surface – the “whys” of what we are doing each day are right there giving meaning to the daily challenges and causing us to have to assess our actions. Is what we are doing on a daily basis actually aligned with our long-term goals and aspirations?

Taking in the big picture can provide clarity and direction when the little daily bits seem absurd and mundane. For those of us who are parents, life provides a whole new level of seemingly absurd tasks and responsibilities and a constant reminder of what we are working for. Something as simple as grocery shopping takes on a whole new meaning when you are bringing home food for your children rather than just taking care of your own appetite. Desires for them to grow strong and healthy, to have the proper nutrition to fuel their physical and mental needs and to feel cared for and taken care of – trump our wish to just snuggle up with a good book. (Though sometimes, giving-in to the need for a break may result in other creative alternatives to the nourishment question.) Nonetheless, our priorities become adjusted to take in our hopes and dreams for our children in addition to and beyond our own.

Sometimes the big picture can get out of focus or conflicting needs necessitate the need to prioritize our use of our resources. It is constant work, though for some it may flow more easily. I think the answers to the big questions rarely ever change but how we respond to the little everyday challenges often do. Being in alignment with the end goal can help to provide the added energy and clarity of judgment needed to get you through all of the little challenges and obstacles and provide the energy you need to wash that one more load of laundry, or do that last errand before calling it a day.


Thoughts on the Ticking Clock February 5, 2010

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I have always had friends who were older than me. When I was in high school and college and beyond, I had several close friends who were many years older than I was. They were parents of friends of mine, co-workers, older siblings of people I knew or teachers and though I was conscious of the age differences I was also aware of the similarities between us. Their worlds included aspects of life that I had not yet gotten to in my own – but we related to one another all the same.

I think on some level it made me feel cool that we would hang-out together. And I thought of them as relatively cooler versions of their contemporaries. After all, my parents were just old and relatively out-of-touch in my eyes so these people had to be different. What I didn’t realize quite yet was that as you get older you are the collection of all your experiences. Though my life in many ways is entirely different from what it was when I was in my teens, or twenties or thirties – I am still that same person and more.

Except for the days when my back hurts or when I have to reach for my glasses to read a menu in a restaurant, I still feel “young”. I am sure my teenage sons would beg to differ, though how we relate to each other is vastly different from how I related to my parents. They value their youth – as most do in this society so focused on being, looking and even acting young. Entire industries flourish as they sell “youth” to our culture. And though I would surely trade in some of the physical aspects of growing older, I worked hard for every laugh line and grey hair and I’m keeping them.

But the biggest difference is the perspective. I wouldn’t trade that in for anything. I love my forties, and know that assuming my health stays with me – I can look forward to my fifties, sixties and beyond. Life lessons learned, relationships forged, experiences had all embellish the soul. And as I stretch now toward both older and younger friends I appreciate my place in the continuum and value theirs. Moving forward, with grace and an open-mind, excited to see what comes next and cherishing what came before – it’s a good ride.