Firebirdlifecoach's Blog

Pursuing a Passionate Life

Make a Wish… March 13, 2014

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birthday cakeHere’s an article of mine which was just featured on the Divorce Support Center website. http://divorcesupportcenter.com/

My sons aren’t “little” anymore, though they were when their father and I got divorced. And that was scary! I think the single biggest issue for their father and I

when we decided that our marriage was simply not going to work, was how to end it in such a way that the impact did not negatively affect our children. It wasn’t easy.

Because truly, with the exception of possibly ending an abusive, volatile relationship – how could a divorce negatively affect the kids? The very nature of the beast requires significant changes at the very core of our lives for all of the parties involved, and the importance of stability at home is probably felt most acutely by those who have the least control and resources with which to understand it – the children.

In fact, it is probably true that many couples, stay together “for the children,” despite their own personal needs and desires to separate. Not too long ago, that was probably “the norm,” but not so much anymore. And I am not going to digress here into the “rightness” or “wrongness” of a couple’s decision to remain married or not, there are enough eager voices out there who are willing to judge the life choices of others, mine is not one of them. But I will say this, if you are a parent whether you choose to divorce or stay together – you absolutely have a responsibility to do your best to give your children what they need to grow up into confident, healthy and well-adjusted members of society.

So what does that mean exactly? Well, in the case of divorce, it means keeping your children out of the emotional fray, letting them know how much they are loved, providing as stable and consistent a home life as possible, fostering healthy relationships with both of their parents, being there to support their emotions, and finding other outlets to deal with your own: for starters.

And you may not want to hear this but if you thought that parenting was challenging before, you better brace yourself for the challenges of single-parenthood, which is not to say that it won’t at some point become easier and more normative. But if the situation allows it, the reality is, they still have another parent and is your best option. It isn’t always easy; after all your emotions are running high, too.

But you are the grown-up, and your children need you now more than ever to act like one. Agreeing with your spouse to put the needs of your kids first – is the first step. And you may need to remind yourselves, over and over, and in countless ways, what this actually means on a day-to-day basis – but you will be rewarded in the long run.

Last week was my son’s nineteenth birthday. It was his tenth birthday since his father and I separated. And I was a bit surprised when about a week earlier he had asked me if his dad could join us for dinner. I said, “Yes.” And though clearly it wasn’t the “nuclear family” of yester-year, it was a pleasant evening. I made his favorite dinner and his dad made his favorite cake. I don’t think any of us, for even a moment were fooled by the guest list into thinking that we were the same family that we had been years before, and yet we were still a family inextricably and forever bound to one another.

It was awkward and fine. But most importantly, my sons were both happy, and that’s what it’s all about.

 

Inspiration from the Inside – Out February 6, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — firebirdlifecoach @ 11:37 am
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Quiet Day in the showroomI was stuck… There was a list of “to-do” items as long as my arm – I sat at my desk, searching for a place to start and painfully aware of the need to get going. The phenomenon is not unusual, many people feel pressed right now and it is not uncommon for it to create a sense of overwhelm that results in a state of inertia. But common or not, it isn’t a place anyone really wants to stay for very long. The trick is how do you find the path outward? Though it may not seem so obvious in the moment the options are plentiful, here are some of the most common:
• You may decide that you need to just “break” the moment a bit, step away from the “stuckness”; go fix yourself a cup of coffee or take a walk to the supply-room to grab a new pen – anything that takes you out of the moment in hopes of a simple reset when you return.
• You could try to force the issue – mustering your discipline to “just do it” and hope that by jumping into the fray – your sheer force of will, can suffice to break the stand-off.
• You may seek to do a little meditation to quiet the mind- since often it is the swirl of all the tasks in your head themselves which are preventing you from getting started on any one of them.
• Or you may choose to spend a little time connecting with a friend or colleague – taking a moment to vent, to distract, or to seek a little collaboration and insight.
• You may look outward – reading a favorite quote or passage which rekindles your spark.
• You could decide that today is just not going to be your most productive day – and hope that tomorrow a fresh start will provide new momentum.
• Or you can take the time to look inward, to connect with your own self; your values, goals, passions and strengths. Connecting the “why” with the “what” and thus creating your own inspiration.
From one day to the next you may find yourself working through this list of alternatives or trying something not mentioned here – but I generally find the last option to be the most effective. Because often, when we can truly connect with our own personal motivations for what we do we are most effective at re-energizing ourselves to actually get the work done. It’s easy to lose track of “the why”. On a day-to-day basis – so many of us are on a sort of automatic pilot – going through our days – checking off our lists – but not really even completely conscious of what we are doing and what got us here in the first place. For many, life has become a series of days where the only obvious purpose is to “just get by” and our investment in the process has become just enough to keep us around to face another day tomorrow. And indeed, there are times when that is in fact an achievement worth striving for – but the hope is – at some point – it will be about more.
Maybe you aren’t in your dream job and the work you do provides a simple paycheck to help make ends meet – but if you connect with your fundamental value – that you are doing it to provide a home and basic amenities for yourself and your family – well, hell in my book that’s pretty darned important. Maybe you have a burning need to create something, to inspire others, to be of service to your community, to be a positive role model for your children, to teach, to build or any other countless possibilities. Inside you somewhere, are your values, goals and passions – and whether or not they are obvious in an outward fashion – they are shaping the decisions you make, the things you do and how you do them. So next time you need a little inspiration to move a ahead – take a moment to look within – to find that part of your soul which fuels the fire within your very existence – and let it burn baby! You’ll be surprised to find out just how inspiring you can be.

 

Breakfast is Served July 9, 2011

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Time has gotten away from me, and along with it – writing blog entries. What began as a daily practice has faded into almost complete non-existence. Too many demands for my attention have effectively obliterated my hopes for making blog writing a regular and consistent part of my daily routine. At this point, I would be happy to write one a week – and I am quite unsure if this little musing will actually attain “post” status, but maybe…

Writing makes me happy, and I miss it. A year ago, starting my day with a cup of coffee and the keyboard started my day with a sense of personal accomplishment and purpose, whether the writings themselves held any great insight or not – there was a peacefulness that came with both the experience of writing and the knowledge that I had done it.  A relatively simple exercise that fed my mind and soul. How is it that something that can feel so good – can slip off the boards and into non-existence? In many ways I have more time in my life now than I did then, so what’s stopping me?

There are a lot of things like that in life, aren’t there? A lot of little self-nurturing activities that somehow lose their status in the priority of our daily lives and drop away. Maybe it’s time to work them back  in. Afterall, we have this one shot at this life business, if we spend our time filling our moments with things we “have to do” and meaningless time-munching nothing – then we are missing out on simple opportunities for enhancement that feeds rather than drains us. I prefer a hearty breakfast and today is as good a day as any to take a moment to serve one up. What’s on your plate?

 

Short Quote June 15, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — firebirdlifecoach @ 5:37 am
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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

 

Considering “The List” March 17, 2010

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Day off… What to do with it? I have several things I would like to be doing with my time, several things in multiple categories that I “have to do” (paperwork, errands, chores, projects, business) and of course there are those things that take your time that just happen (meals, shower, etc.) You know – “The List”. For me, it is actually helpful to write things down on a physical list, something I believe I got from my highly organized mother who wrote lists and notes for everything. Without it I inevitably end up getting to the end of the day and realizing all the little things I had intended to do – but forgot. It’s not very sexy, not spontaneous or even particularly creative but it works for me – mostly.

People who know me would generally agree that I am a “very organized person”. It’s just the way I function and the alternative is definitely a less than attractive option. Disorganization simply makes me feel uncomfortable and out-of-sorts, so staying organized is just the easiest way to stave off that discomfort. Additionally, I find that my life is so busy, that without a list, my time fritters away with little show for it at the end of the day. And quite simply, there is something to be said for the little sense of victory you get when you get to cross something off of it.

But really the key to the whole thing is – prioritizing. Writing out the list of what you want to accomplish in any given time period requires that you spend a couple of reflective moments thinking about your time, what you want and what you need. You could say that the list itself is a set of action steps based on your own personal needs assessment. Taking the time to gather your thoughts and make decisions about what needs your attention  and what you need to do to accomplish and reach your goals, be they big or small,  is actually pretty important.

Now I am not saying that one can’t simply abandon the list at times. Things come up – priorities shift – our days and lives are not fixed and stagnant. Allowing yourself to be spontaneous and react in the moment to changes in circumstance is just as important. But having a roadmap – be it mental or physical allows you to think ahead and really consider what you want to do with your life. As they say – “Plan for the future and live in the moment”. Anyway, that’s all for today, on to the next item, and now I can cross “write blog” off my list and attend to the next item on my agenda.

 

It’s So Simple – I Missed It! March 8, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — firebirdlifecoach @ 6:45 am
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This past weekend was, here in New England the first real taste of spring. The temperatures rose into the mid-50’s and after what feels like an eternity the sun shone bright in the beautiful blue sky. The sounds of hammers and children’s laughter peppered the air as the warmth-starved inhabitants found reason to get themselves out into the day. It seemed everyone was outside – except me. Despite my great intentions to take a long walk and enjoy the outdoors yesterday, I was (for the most part) in my house doing “chores”. Actually, there was one particular chore which ate up the bulk of my hours – setting up a new desktop computer for my kids (and myself).

After allowing myself to sleep in a bit I went up to my third floor with full intention of “conquering the beast”; coffee, eyeglasses and flashlight in hand. I figured at worst I would spend a couple of hours getting the new machine configured and linked in with the new printer and then I would be able to go play for a little bit before returning home to finish the more mundane weekly tasks that also crowded my list. But it just didn’t pan out that way. Despite my best efforts, and some minor successes, I descended hours later defeated by the technology that is supposed to make my life run more easily. As I struggled to understand the cryptic instructions – hopeful that if I tried just one more time I would be successful – I pondered the irony of the task I was tangled in.

Computers are no doubt an excellent tool to allow us to do a myriad of things in our lives, like write this blog for instance. They certainly have the ability to make our lives easier but in so many ways they do quite the opposite. Whether it’s struggling to install new software, weeding through virtual junk emails or waiting endlessly on hold for technical support, they can be major time-suckers – and what is meant to be simple is often rather complicated. Now, don’t get me wrong here – I have most certainly bought into the computer age – hook, line, and sinker. I love my computer – if “love” can be used in this context – but sometimes the promise of the ease it will offer doesn’t outweigh the simple alternatives for the use of my time.

By evening, I certainly wished that I had mapped out my day a little differently. Given that the reward of completion with regard to getting the computer set-up eluded me, I wished I had given up earlier and gotten myself outside more. The promise of simple had outweighed one of the simplest things of all, a walk in the warm air. Next time I am faced with a similar choice – I will choose the simple, renewing path – the chores and tasks and technology aren’t going anywhere, they will be here to frustrate me for many years to come and the first days of spring are never meant to be ignored.

 

Brief Pause for Station Identification February 22, 2010

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Sometimes there just aren’t enough hours in the day. Today was one of those days for me – too much to do and just not enough time. There are always items that slip off of the agenda. And if you haven’t already noticed, this is a lot later than I usually post my blogs. And though I would love to be able to sit down and write a great blog about one of a number of topics that are floating through my mind – I am instead giving myself the night off. Acknowledging our limits is an important piece of the self-care notion – and tonight I have reached mine. Sweet dreams…

 

The Balancing Act February 16, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — firebirdlifecoach @ 7:13 am
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Responsibilities, we all have them, some more than others. For many of us they are the bane of our existence. We feel overwhelmed, dreaming of all the things we would like to do if it weren’t for all the things we have to do. And yet, there is a certain sense of pride that you experience when you have met your responsibilities, when you know you are taking care of things. Those who shun their responsibilities are often shunned themselves. We do not admire those who abandon their responsibilities; they are seen as “irresponsible” (of course) and selfish. And though we may admire what appears to be a “carefree” existence in others – many of us don’t feel like it is a real possibility for ourselves. The trick of course is in finding a balance.

“All work and no play make Jack a dull boy.” (And if you can get past the scene in “The Shining” and think about it – that simple saying has a potent ring of truth to it.) Loaded down with the responsibilities of home, family and work – many of us could (and often do) go from one task to another throughout our day – leaving little time for relaxation, reflection and pleasure. Though our lives are not filled with the toil of our ancestors, they are also far more complex than they were in times past as well. Finishing one item on our agenda – simply makes space for the next to rise to the top of the list – never affording a real break. So what do you do?

There is an Italian expression, which simply translates to: “Work to live. Don’t live to work.” The culturally relevant idea takes in a certain prioritizing and valuation that many of us seem to miss. When I get to the end of my life – I would hope that my epitaph says something about how I “lived life to its fullest” not simply that I “paid all the bills and made sure there was always clean laundry”. Life itself is fleeting, our time here unknown, our future uncertain – so making time for all of the bits is the challenge. When you include enjoyment in your list of responsibilities you open up the possibility for a fuller experience and simply a balanced life.

Choose the activities that fill your day wisely. Value all the aspects of your existence from your work and family to your interests and passions and allow yourself the space to incorporate it all into your regular existence. After all, if you don’t take responsibility for your own fulfillment and happiness, who will?