Firebirdlifecoach's Blog

Pursuing a Passionate Life

This Moment in Time November 29, 2013

SittingIt’s Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. The refrigerator is full, the dining room table has returned to its usual size, the serving pieces are put away. Like many folks, I am lucky to be enjoying a day off, not to participate in the “Black Friday” shopping rush (which I believe is a day of unnecessary chaos and “trumped-up bargains”) but just to take a breather. Yes, yesterday was a holiday, but it was a busy one, filled with cleaning, cooking and general doing, and I really just need a day of rest. Like many solo-preneurs most weekends are still filled with work activities, though I do get the benefit of being able to manage my time in a way that works for me.
Ever since we turned the clocks back, I have been waking earlier than usual, and today was no exception, despite my best efforts to go back to sleep. But that’s okay with me – I do love being up as the day begins in a quiet house where no one is asking me for anything, well, no one except for the cats that is. My older son is up and off to work already at his retail job and the younger is enjoying a little extra time in bed, since he doesn’t work until the afternoon, and my boyfriend is slumbering happily upstairs. It’s all good. Right now I am waiting for my banana bread to finish baking while I enjoy a fresh cup of coffee. And then? Then, I have no idea what I am doing, and for right now I am okay with that.
In general, I am an organizer and a planner, so often, when faced with a bit of free time; I have to actually “work” at just being present and relaxing. My mind typically is a buzz with lists of things that I want and need to get done. But there just seems something antithetical about “planning downtime”, don’t you think so? I know what I don’t care to do today; no shopping, no movies, no cleaning, no organizing, no working. I have a couple of ideas things that I might like to do today; writing my blog, taking a walk, doing some artwork, and enjoying the presence of my loved ones. That’s it – I would just like to let the day lazily unfold before me, and if an opportunity arises for a little spontaneous enjoyment – then I am in.
Right now, it’s about right now. Literally, being in the moment, for me it’s as luxurious as it gets and a personal goal. I am grateful to be a planner but it has its downsides. Sometimes, I miss out on what’s right in front of me in the moment, which is not to say that I am not able to notice the beauty and excellence that are all around us each day and to enjoy and be grateful for it. But I know there is room for improvement. So that’s my plan, what am I doing today? I am being present. That’s it and whatever specifically that means has yet to unfold, and right now, that is more than enough. Hoping your moments meet your needs today.

 

Sweet and Simple – Slumber and Sparkle January 8, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — firebirdlifecoach @ 11:07 am
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

So far, it is a quiet Sunday morning here in my world. It was one of those days when I apparently, could have slept forever. There were several times when; I woke up, decided I was going to go downstairs, make some coffee and start my day – but found myself falling back to sleep, again and again. Finally, about an hour ago – realizing I had fallen into a wake-sleep cycle that could easily go on for hours, I forced myself to toss off the covers throw my legs over the side of the bed and actually get up. Now, let me just be clear here, I am not adverse to “sleeping-in” now and then especially on a Sunday morning when the agenda is loose and the pressure is low – but this was one of those situations where I felt like the longer I slept, the more tired I became. Sleeping was only serving to make me sleepier and I do love the idea of paddling around in my slippers in a quiet house, coffee in hand while I do a little reading and ease into my day. It is a luxurious and simply lovely way to start the day – and I didn’t want to sleep through my opportunity. So here I am…

Later in the day – “the big plan” is to dismantle the Christmas decorations and get the house back to its pre-holiday state of being. The boys both slept at friends’ houses last night and should be home around noon and my boyfriend is quietly snoring – enjoying an unusually late start to his day. So, it’s just me and the cats, who themselves seem to be having a quiet, Sunday morning. One staring out the living room window, watching for birds and leaves and other exciting bits of life in the great outdoors, while the other two are curled up and sleeping on my son’s bed.

I look froward to getting the house “back to normal”, wrapping up our nutcracker friends and putting them away for another year, but I always hate taking down the tree. From mid-December to early-January every year, enjoying the silent, sparkly, beauty of the tree is something we all take-in in our own way. Soma, one of the cats, seems to wait for me to turn on the lights each evening when the dark descends on us, and curls up on the rug, in front of the tree for most of the night. For me, I like to spend a little time each evening, sitting in the livingroom with just the lights on from the tree, listening to a little music while taking in the smell of the pine and the twinkle of the lights. It is incredibly relaxing. And my oldest son, has taken his pillow and comforter down to the couch many times over the last few weeks to fall asleep by the tree. It’s sweet really. There is something, innocent, and nostalgic about it as he slumbers there in the tree’s shadow. But in a few short hours,  the time of the tree will be gone again for another year.

And it will be just fine. It will be nice not to have to search as hard for the everyday items which I have stored away, and the whole place will get a thorough and much-needed dusting – which should cut down on my sneezing!

And what is “coming through” for me right now about all of what I have said so far in this blog is how important it is to simply be in the moment, whatever it is. Whether it is lying in bed, contemplating your day, shuffling about with hot coffee or gazing at the twinkle of Christmas lights, each moment offers an opportunity of simple beauty and inspiration. If you allow yourself to be open to it – the pleasure and piece of a mundane task or the heart-tug of tradition and “specialness-ness” can offer a sense of calm happiness. Fulfillment and joy need not come in a grand demonstration of attainment – but are always there quietly waiting to be acknowledged. You just have to be open to noticing it. May you have a sweet and lovely day – taking pleasure in all the little things that make life what it is – one moment to the next.

 

Pondering Reality August 9, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — firebirdlifecoach @ 6:22 am
Tags: , , , , ,

This past weekend fell under the header of “surreal” for me. It wasn’t that anything particularly odd happened but rather as if the whole of the last two days was one experienced through a layer of gauze that left every experience with a sense of distance and peculiarity. It was like I was floating through my life at a bit of a distance from the actual action. And honestly, I am not sure yet if the fog has been lifted, it’s a little too early to tell just yet. Additionally, since I am not sure what causes the experience or if in fact I even find it bothersome I am not quite sure what if any action needs to be taken to dial it back to “normal”.

I usually feel like I am “right in there”, in the action of the moment but my experience has been moved out a notch as if I am observing my life in the present rather than just living it. And while on some level this is a bit unsettling, it is also pretty interesting and there is this sense that there are a lot of lessons to be learned, even in the most mundane of experiences. So while I ponder this phenomenon – I am taken with one of those simple messages about reality. It is not so much the “what” of what happens in our lives but the “how” of how we take in the experience and make meaning from it that is of the greater significance.

Our perception of experience is the thing that really impacts our lives; the meaning rather than the doing that affects our experience. It just usually isn’t so conscious, but quietly working away in the background of our daily lives. Actions may speak louder than words but our experience of those actions in terms of how we weave them into the story of our days is the learning edge. I believe that this is true from whatever vantage point we are operating. And as I write, I realize I am still a bit “out there” at present and I look forward to not only what my day will bring but to what it will mean for me as I move through it. You never know what the day is going to bring – and I look forward to my daily lesson – today from the perspective of really knowing that I am a student in this process. So as I drift off into this more conscious reality I will leave you with this question – What will you learn from your day today; about the things you do, the world around you and your own self?

 

Prefection Reflection May 17, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — firebirdlifecoach @ 6:59 am
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

(Wrote this one mid-day Sunday.)

A most excellent day! Find myself home and alone on a BEAUTIFUL, sunny day. Woke up early – got the grocery shopping done and laundry started before 9:00, just in time to enjoy sitting in the sun in my favorite and most private spot in the yard. After two restful hours soaking up the most glorious sunshine – and sketching a drawing that was floating around in my brain, spent another three hours or so – making said creation. It felt particularly good since I spread everything out on the grass and finished the first piece of artwork I have created in about six, long months. And I am now pondering – what’s next?

It’s one of those days that I am enjoying both productivity and recreation. Have had four long conversations with dear friends and am feeling both social and solitary. I had been thinking about having a friend to dinner and have been invited to another friend’s house if I’d like to join a group of folks for a casual meal. Just can’t quite decide what I am up for, since I am really enjoying being alone as much as I am tempted to spend time with friends. I am less inspired to get in my car for the 40 minute drive however and don’t know if I am up for putting on – leaving the house clothes. Ho-hum, problem of plenty I guess, things could be a lot worse.

This weekend is not what I had planned. I had intended to go out-of-town to spend some time with my boyfriend, but familial responsibilities kept me tethered to the home front. I wasn’t particularly happy about that change, but am rolling with it quite well as it turns out. Recently read a quote from a Buddhist monk (sorry, forgot his name) who said something to the effect of “People are always living for the future, and the only future we really have is the present.” Found myself nodding inside – and thinking, “so true, so true”. I think it’s easy to get wrapped up in our future plans and I for one am absolutely committed to the idea of planning for and creating a future vision for ourselves that is meaningful and resonant with who and how we want to be. But at the same time, I am equally convinced that living in the moment and making the best of the now is the way to go (while building and expanding on the past). It’s all interconnected and fluid, given that there are certainly no real breaks in between.

So to that end – I shall continue forth with my lovely day, my brief reflective writing moment drawing quietly to a close. I still don’t know what will come next – but I am okay with that – because at this very moment – life is beautiful perfection. Peace – LB

 

Are you there yet? May 7, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — firebirdlifecoach @ 5:49 am
Tags: , , , , , ,

Are you there yet?  

Most of us can recall the experience of sitting in the back seat, being a passive passenger on what seemed like an interminable car ride, anxious to get out and stretch our legs, waiting to get to our destination and unable to resist asking the driver of our vehicle once, twice or twenty times the question burning in our little heads – Are we there yet? In fact, those of us who are parents can recall several occasions when that very same question was asked of us. Getting to the destination after a long trip often seems like it is an eternity away when the question rolls through our heads over and over, no matter who is doing the asking. It is a question that my co-workers would jokingly ask one another after one of those long and grueling days at work which seemed to go on and on with no signs of ever ending. In life it seems, we are always waiting in one way or another to get THERE.

The funny thing is – unlike those long trips we may have taken as a child – the destination is often less tangible. Getting there, wherever there may be is often not so black and white. Many times the “there” is more elusive; morphing and changing so that just when you think you are at the doorstep, you realize that the roadmap has changed and the destination has now been moved down the block, around the corner or out-of-state without us realizing it. It’s like the old vaudeville routine when the unwitting character reaches down to grasp the dollar only to have it yanked a little further away by an invisible string. “Oh, I almost had it that time!”

So what do you do when your dreams and goals take on the same evasive dimension? Well, you can adjust how you see it. For one, rather than focusing on the final destination – you can allow yourself the opportunity to enjoy the ride. When I was little, I would often go on “Sunday drives” with my two aunts, and while there was always a final destination we were seeking (usually a place to stop for lunch), the joy was in the rides themselves. We would play car games as we rode along that involved taking turns “choosing” things that we liked outside the car windows. The journey itself WAS the destination and our lunch stop was just a part of the process. Allowing ourselves to enjoy the trip made for a complete experience and kept their young passenger engaged and happy over the hours long meandering through the Connecticut countryside.

Having a destination and a goal in mind helps to get us out in the car in the first place, but taking the best from each moment along the journey allows you to notice and savor all the little things along the way. Enjoy your goals, celebrate them when you arrive and then set a new goal for your next part of the journey. And most importantly, don’t forget to look out the windows and enjoy the ride, why should the enjoyment be reserved only for the final destination? Every little piece enhances and enriches the whole. Have a good trip – no matter where you are going.

 

Stolen Moments for Me April 12, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — firebirdlifecoach @ 5:25 am
Tags: , , , , , ,

Good Morning… There is something very beautiful about the solitude and quiet of the early morning hours. It’s Saturday and I have the luxury of a little more time in my morning then I do during the week. I awoke without my alarm, took a nice long shower, made a pot of coffee, and went out to the porch to feel the morning breeze and to listen to the birds. It’s quite a bit chillier than it was earlier in the week when we hit temperatures in the mid 80’s, but yesterday’s rain is gone and it does feel like spring. Back indoors, talking to my cats, who seem to be a little wound-up this morning, contemplating if I would prefer to spend some time writing or reading as I listen to music in the background. It all feels pretty darned good.

It is moments like these when I particularly enjoy being alone. The pace is solely my own, I do not need to focus on anyone else’s needs but mine nor do I have to engage in conversation. I can certainly imagine circumstances where I would be happy to have the company of other people during these hours but I still enjoy the solitude. It is in these quiet hours that I most often write my blog. I think in this sleepy, relaxed state my mind is less likely to be distracted by a million other thoughts and that allows me a focus without distraction that other times of the day would not provide. This may not be meditating in the simplest form of the term, but there is something about it that carries with it an almost meditative calm and natural flow on most days.

I am forever trying to squeeze more hours out of my day. Trying to find time to work in walks, trips to the gym, meditation, or spare moments to complete chores, like bill-paying and laundry. I often think that these morning hours are the place to do it – and many of the tasks do have a renewing quality to them, but I am reluctant to make any ongoing commitments that might take away from the easy pacing and quiet I feel on most days. It may take me a half-hour of battling it out with my snooze alarm to get up in the first place and there are days when I am feeling particularly tired and less inspired or productive, but I still seem to not only love, but need this “me-time”. I think the best way to proceed is with an open mind to the idea that I may introduce something new or additional into the program, because you never know how your things may change, but for now I am just going to move quietly through the starts of my days, flying under the radar of the rest of my life to enjoy a little quiet reflection – just for me.

 

Just Another Monday? March 15, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — firebirdlifecoach @ 6:07 am
Tags: , , , ,

As I sit here pondering where I want to go with this blog today, my mind is a pulling in many directions, and despite my efforts to land in several other seemingly more interesting thoughts, I keep coming back to the same place. I am finding my thoughts keep landing on the fact that it is Monday, and a new week is beginning. There is always the temptation to think, “Ah yes, Mondays, I know what these look like”, but the reality is that no two moments are ever identical. There will be routines and familiarity in the tasks that I confront but every moment is brand new, each second providing the opportunity for something different to happen.

I think we forget about that sometimes. There is such a strong tendency to pull familiar things together so that we can know and regulate and master our moments that I think we often miss the opportunity that is present at all moments. There is a necessary efficiency which comes with routine and similarity, a parsing out of our limited resources that allows us to conserve our energy for the big stuff and just sleep walk through the daily bits, but I wonder if we are wasting it. I wonder if, we were more engaged and present as we move through our days and tackle both the mundane repetitive tasks and the new experiences if life wouldn’t be just a little bit more interesting.

I am definitely drawn to novelty, and though I find comfort in the familiar, I prefer the challenge of the new. Nonetheless, I am grateful for the present, the known, the awareness of what I do have and the comfort in what I know. I think what I am really after here to the extent that it is possible is the idea of being present in the moment. To not take the moments of my day for granted even if they seem like I have lived them before, because every second is unique. Being mindful, aware and present provides the opportunity to see things as we never have before. So, yes, it is another Monday, but we have never had this one before…

 

Morning Sunshine February 15, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — firebirdlifecoach @ 7:32 am
Tags: , , , , ,

I am not a morning person, well not really. When I was a kid, my mother used to wake us in the morning by cheerfully singing, “It’s time to wake up!” (To the tune of: The Farmer in the Dell) as she came into our rooms, clapping her hands and opening the shades on the windows. When I finally emerged from my covers dragging myself into the shower and down stairs for breakfast I was ever so slightly more alert but definitely not ready for conversation. That didn’t stop my mom from enthusiastic chatter however – which didn’t quite work for me. (Note: though the singing has abated – my mother is still full steam ahead chatterbox when I go to visit her. At this point she is able to at least attempt to give me a few minutes to come to life before launching in – due to my years of continually reminding her that I am not ready to talk yet. But she might as well be singing.)

These days I am the first to arise in the morning after about 30 minutes of hitting the “snooze button”. No one is around to sing or talk to me as I make my tea, check my emails and start my day, and that’s just fine with me. In my half awake stupor I have found that I am incredibly efficient at simple household tasks as long as no one is trying to engage with me. Laundry done, dishwasher emptied, lunches made and so on are performed without consciousness quickly and efficiently. By the time my kids emerge from their slumber, bleary eyed and sleep-walking, I can handle the company. Fortunately, they aren’t big talkers in the morning either, and seem perfectly happy to go about their morning routines in relative quiet.

I know that provided I don’t overdo it with the snooze alarm, I can always throw an extra task or two on my plate several days a week. Paying the bills, answering emails, writing my blog, fit easily and quietly into these early morning hours. But for me, this quiet efficiency seems like more than just a simple morning routine. It is my waking meditation, of sorts. The simple focus on the mundane tasks of daily living and reflective quiet of writing are incredibly calming to me. My mind, body and soul seem to need this time to prepare for the day ahead. It is not the exercise routine or intentional meditation which I often dream of squeezing into my morning but is a healthful necessity all the same. Reframing my wish for a slow and quiet start to my day may not seem like an epiphany to you, but for me recognizing it as a simple form of self-care is helpful for me. Though I shall restrain myself from reframing everything I do under this lens I do think it is important to really think about what works for us in our own lives and to value the process we each bring to our unique situations. You never know what you may find.

 

Snowplows, Chickadees and Roses January 21, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — firebirdlifecoach @ 7:17 am
Tags: , , , , , , ,

So it’s my day off and I have a list a mile long of things I want and need to do. I know that there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done and some of the items will surely carry-over to my next list. I am sorry to say I am going to have to add shoveling the driveway to that list – because I know it will be time-consuming and given the current state of circumstances it will be impossible to do a really good job with it. Over the last couple of days we have had a steady covering of heavy, wet sloppy slush, and though “my plow guy” saw fit to plow 2” of light powder a couple of weeks ago that I could have literally blown off my driveway with one deep breath, apparently he didn’t think a few inches of heavy slush was plow worthy.

So today I awoke to what is now a frozen, lumpy mess, packed down by the wheels of my car and the footsteps of my family – it will be difficult to scrape away with a shovel. Likely, I will have to give it several goes, hoping to do both an early and later pass when the temperature rises this afternoon. I went out on the porch to survey the situation and muster the energy needed to give it a go, feeling more than just a bit overwhelmed and cranky about the need to take on this added, highly undesirable task I sat down for a moment just to take it all in. As I was sitting there I couldn’t help but to hear and to see the myriad of birds that were flitting around the yard. Starlings, Sparrows, Chickadees, Juncos, a Tufted Titmouse and a pair of Cardinals were all busily hopping around from tree to bush doing whatever it is that birds are doing when they mount their seemingly disorganized search for food among the snowy branches. And I have to tell you – I began to feel a noticeable shift in my mood. Sure, I still was aware of the shoveling that lay before me – but I was also enlivened by the simple beauty of those crazy birds.

Every day in our rush to get things done I think we often overlook the little, simple gifts that surround us. I think we forget to notice all we do have when we are focused on what we don’t. “Don’t forget to stop and smell the roses” they come in endless varieties.