Firebirdlifecoach's Blog

Pursuing a Passionate Life

Lessons from Flowers March 18, 2014

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Hanging Flowers (I promise that someday soon – I will once again post a blog, that is just that… a blog. But since lately I have been pre-occupied with various other projects – I thought I would once again share an article that I wrote a while ago for the The Divorce Support Center about resilience, personal agency and self-care which has just been published and featured on their home page. It is relevant for all of us, I think – no matter what our marital status is!)

About an hour ago, I stepped out onto my porch to see two very sad looking hanging baskets. Vines drooping, flower heads sadly bent toward the ground and leaves folding in on themselves – all combined in one plaintive and unmistakable plea, “Water, please!” So, I obliged, as I always do, except for on the days that I forget, like yesterday, apparently… An hour or so later, when I went back outside to add an empty bottle to the recycling bin, I looked up to see my floral friends: refreshed and rejuvenated. This got me to thinking… Wouldn’t it be nice if people could “perk up” as quickly and easily as a freshly watered flower?

Life is hard. Stress abounds. And that is especially true when you are going through a divorce. There simply is so much to deal with on top of the needs and responsibilities of just regular old everyday life – that it is no wonder that some days we just end up feeling wilted and defeated. While it would be nice to wish for days of endless sunshine, plentiful water and the proper nutrients needed for continual and blissful growth, the reality is that sometimes the sun doesn’t shine, the rain doesn’t fall and the nutrients become depleted. So what’s a plant or a person to do?

Luckily, unlike plants whose personal agency is severely limited by nature and the sometimes faulty memories of our caretakers – as people we have much greater control. So the question is what can you put in your own metaphorical watering can on those days when you are feeling a little wilted? Each of us will answer that question differently, wouldn’t we? For some it could be an extra hour in bed, while others might choose to awaken early to have enough time for the gym or a brisk walk before work. Some might pick-up the phone and call a friend while others might take out their journal, pour a cup of tea and snuggle up in a comfy chair to work through their thoughts and feelings on paper. Maybe you want to do a little meditation to clear your mind or head out to hear some live music and dance so much that your negative feelings are left somewhere underfoot on the dance floor. The options are as infinite as each of us is unique. But the common denominator, is taking the time to reflect on what we need a bit and to give ourselves the nurturing that’s required.

The solutions may not be as simple as sunshine, water and nutrients – but that’s really more of a blessing than a curse. So fill that watering can and keep it close because, “You in full bloom – is a beautiful thing!”

 

Here We Go Again… October 12, 2011

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A flock of geese in chevron flight, honk their way across the sky on the way to their winter condo – somewhere warmer then it will be here for the next several months. Yesterday, a Monarch butterfly took a break on its long journey south of the border, to rest on one of the final flowers in my shrinking hanging basket. And though somewhere inside me I resonate with their instinct to fly south where the temperatures will be warmer, the skies bluer and the chance of snow is remote, I know my place is here; watching the leaves turn, prepping the snow blower and readying house and heart for the upcoming New England winter. You know the days will be shorter, the sky darker, the temperatures colder, and the challenges greater but it is your place. And… you know you’ll not only get through it – but you may enjoy yourself a bit a long the way.

There is a crisp, freshness in the air that awakens you in the morning, the beauty of the changing leaves, the sound of their rustle as you paddle down the road, pumpkins, stews and fires in the fireplace. As fall turns to winter and the leaves give way to snowflakes, the yard clean-up switches over to snow removal and a light sweater is replaced by gloves and a wool coat you quietly resolve yourself to the winds of winter, and you hunker down for the ride. Even with the relative unpredictability that global warming has brought to the forecasts, you still know that the seasons will come and go with their earmarks, challenges and beauties, the turning of the seasons, marches forward no matter what.

There are days when dormancy feels about as good as it gets. When snuggling in to your cave feels like the best way to deal with the elements, but you know that it is all temporary and soon you will be witnessing the signs of spring and the re-birth of nature. I never wanted to live where the skies are always blue and the temperatures balmy throughout the year. I would miss the beauty, adventure and challenge of each new season. Spring would not feel as welcome, and the winter holidays would feel strange if winter coats and sweaters did not factor in somehow. I will take the good with the bad, the beauty of a snowflake with the bite of the cold, cause in these here parts, there is a sense of accomplishment when you clear the driveway of two feet of snow, and you don’t just get by, you don’t just survive, you thrive.

Adversity comes at us from all directions, all the time,  though often not with the same predictability with which we can anticipate the change of seasons. There is something to be said for weathering life’s storms, rising to the challenge, gaining new skills and not just making it through – but feeling strengthened by the experience. You can fly away, if that’s what your instincts tell you to do, after all, flight is a viable option for dealing with threats. Your options for dealing with them are limited by your own resources and desires. But sometimes the only way out is through – and as I don another sweater, reheat my coffee and hunker back down into my seat on the porch, I am ready for this most predictable element of life’s cycle. Bring it on…

 

Are you there yet? May 7, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — firebirdlifecoach @ 5:49 am
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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.