Firebirdlifecoach's Blog

Pursuing a Passionate Life

Sleepy Bear January 29, 2014

HibernationI think I have been hibernating. That’s what I am going to go with anyway. It’s wintertime, and this year with the “polar vortex” turning the cold season into the frigid season, it feels even more appropriate than usual to pull inward until the world begins to thaw.
In my head, hibernation has always meant dormancy; a long, slow, quiet, sleep – but my current experience calls for a little redefinition of that concept. Yes, there is a palpable, quiet, sleepiness to life at the moment – but there is also much going on. It’s just that the activity is more inward than outward. For me, these last few weeks have really been about pulling inward: reflecting, planning, reviewing and taking stock. My mind is alive and awake with a quiet intensity that fills all my waking moments, and some of my sleeping ones, too.
And, I like it. It feels powerful, it feels necessary and it feels right. In all honesty, no matter what the season, my mind rarely sleeps, there is always a lot of activity in there – but something about this particular season’s meanderings feels different. There is a sense of reflection and quiet, retooling and making ready that covers my consciousness like the quiet stillness of a fresh snow.
I will welcome the spring warmth when it arrives, but I am in no hurry. Clearly, nature has its time for all things, and being right here, right now, is where I need to be. When I awake, stomach grumbling and ready to move out in search of nourishment, I will welcome the re-birth of the season. “All things in their own time”, comes to mind. Mindfully, taking pleasure in the gifts of the moment, knowing soon the seasons will change and new moments will bring their own lessons, their own gifts and their own challenges. Sweet dreams…

 

Sweet and Simple – Slumber and Sparkle January 8, 2012

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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.

 

Minding the Temple April 8, 2010

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When we are in good health, I don’t think many of us are aware of how significantly we are impacted by the functioning of our bodies. But when something is “out of whack” there is no denying how completely we are beholden to this little vessel we are moving around in. I had what I can easily call a “horrible” night’s sleep last night. I have been battling a case of tendonitis in my shoulder for about 7 months now and in the last week and a half it has been feeling significantly better thanks I believe to the physical therapy I have been in for the last month and a half or so. However, about two days ago, I seem to have re-awoken the beast doing something as simple as getting dressed and it now seems as fully inflamed as it has ever been. Ouch!

When my shoulder is painful, sleeping can be a real bear. Rolling over on my right side (apparently my preferred side for sleeping) is not a viable option nor is back or stomach for that matter. Left side only – and preferably with a pillow propped underneath my arm to keep my arm from hanging forward in any way. Even after all these months – my unconscious mind still prefers another sleeping position – so there is a constant awakening to readjust and try again. Last night the left side option was additionally compromised by a rash on my leg – that really preferred to not have me on that side. The result – one long and restless night – punctuated by an attempt to give my shoulder an “ice massage” (a clever and usually useful trick the PT taught me) at about 1:00 in the morning. But apparently last night, this just didn’t do the trick.

Now it is not my intention (despite the two previous paragraphs) to spend my entire blog – complaining about being over-tired and in pain – so let me get to the point here of what I have been thinking. This is one of those times when you realize how delicate and important your body really is to your proper and productive functioning. It’s not like this is a surprising or profound awareness but for me and for many of us, I think it is easy to take for granted how important it is to be in good health physically as well as mentally. Of course there is no extricating the one from the other but once again I have been reminded about the importance of taking care of this old vehicle ‘cause if it breaks down there is no bus you can take instead.

I do a lot of things to try to take care of myself, not as many as I would like to – but I am conscious of what I put in it and how I keep it in-shape and running smoothly. Sometimes you are sidelined by something completely out of your sphere of control, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to think about it. Last night my life gave me a little reality check – and since it is awfully hard to focus on anything else I thought I’d share it with you. Take care of yourself – all your bits (physical and otherwise) – because it is hard to be all that you can be when your eyes are half-closed and your shoulder is throbbing.

 

Morning Sunshine February 15, 2010

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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.