Firebirdlifecoach's Blog

Pursuing a Passionate Life

The Opposite of: Alone in the Crowd October 2, 2011

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Sleepy, sleepy head – waking slowly on this cloudy, Sunday morning. The house is quiet and as I sit alone on my porch, drinking my coffee and contemplating my day – I realize that despite the absence of another person here sipping coffee beside me I have made about ten “connections” to other folks in the last 3o minutes or so – through the wonders of the internet. Between, the blog (in progress), the Facebook account, my email and now Twitter, (@LisaBorchetta) – I am far from being alone at all. Don’t get me wrong here – I am not suggesting that I was feeling lonely, in fact I enjoy these quiet moments to myself, I am commenting on this new medium for connection that has become a regular part of my life these days. It’s interesting, and strange and powerful.

Of course there are many folks who would consider this a pseudo-connection, the illusion of a true contact between people. And in some ways it is true, there is no competition with actual face-to-face contact with others. But for years we have come to appreciate that other forms of connection are also valid in their own right. Letter writing, though all but extinct in today’s world, was and is a powerful way to connect with the people we know that live far away. I miss going to the mail box, sliding open the flap on an envelope and holding a card or letter in my hand written in ink from an old friend telling me how they have been or what they have been doing. The telephone which includes the newer portable cellular model (for better or worse) – provides a connection in real-time with those both far and near. As a coach, I use the phone (or Skype, it’s cyber-cousin) to work with my clients who live hundreds or even thousands of miles away and I have learned to tune my hearing to pick-up on subtle nuances in tone, breath and sound to connect as legitimately as if they were sitting across from me in my livingroom. But these new modalities also bring connections of a different sort that are in their own way increasingly important and valid.

Writing this blog (firebirdlifecoach.wordpress.com) for instance has allowed me the opportunity to connect with distant friends and curious unknown readers who for whatever reason are interested in hearing my thoughts on things.  Equally as important – it is an outlet through which I can satisfy my desire to share these thoughts with others and to spend some time writing – an activity from which I derive a great amount of pleasure and satisfaction. Facebook (www.facebook.com)  allows us to re-connect with old friends who have gone missing over the years and speaking for myself – in some ways these reconnections have become very important in my life. And now Twitter  (www.twitter.com) has provided a way not only for me to get quick updates on the thoughts of those I respect and admire but for other unknown people to hear my thoughts. Wow – it is amazing, isn’t it?

Who knows where technology which seems to be moving at a more rapid rate than ever will take us next – maybe in directions we resist, maybe not. The fact is we currently have the ability to connect to almost everyone else in the entire world and that is extraordinary. But it is not about the numbers of connections as much as the value of those connections for me. Proceeding with cautious enthusiasm into this new age of communication, grateful for the opportunities for meaningful interaction, and curious to see where things will go – I submit this latest entry into my conversation with life.

 

The Machine June 3, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — firebirdlifecoach @ 6:28 am
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When do modern conveniences become modern inconveniences? I just spent the last 20 minutes syncing my online calendar to my old-fashioned appointment book when I really had intended to spend that time writing my blog. But this morning, realizing that the calendar in my phone (which is synchronized to my online calendar) was not correct, it dawned on me that I better straighten that out before I inadvertently create a schedule conflict. This makes sense to me because I always have my phone with me, where my appointment book is a little big to lug around. Nonetheless, I was talking to someone yesterday about how much time we spend updating, synchronizing, upgrading, servicing and troubleshooting all of these little helpers and it really got me to wondering – is this really helpful?

When I was young and my parents got their first digital clock, they needed me to set it for them every time they wanted to change the alarm. It seems incredibly simple to me now (it did then too) but for some reason they just didn’t feel comfortable doing it. In retrospect, maybe they were just trying to disperse their “to do items” and pretending they didn’t understand the technology was their way of doing that. I don’t have to pretend that I don’t understand half of the machines and functions of my modern gizmos, I honestly am at the mercy of the technical support systems that the various manufacturers have set-up for people like me. Just yesterday I needed to call on their assistance to help me fix a sudden problem with my email which prevented me from being able to send out any messages. It was a quick fix for the friendly, young man on the other end of the phone, but it took another half an hour out of my day – as I waited on hold listening to music and watching the clock.

Don’t get me wrong – I actually love all these gadgets, I happen to think they are pretty great, but when you get to the point when your dependency on them exceeds your ability to operate and maintain them independently – you have to wonder if they are serving their intended purpose in the best possible way. It takes a lot of time and energy and money to keep up these days. I do buy into the idea that the benefits outweigh the disadvantages; there are many ways technology does indeed make our lives easier. But I guess I am still working with mastering the machine, afterall “they are supposed to serve me” aren’t they? (I sure hope I don’t have that backwards!)

 

We are All – Right Here May 20, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — firebirdlifecoach @ 5:59 am
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The wonders of technology… In today’s world – we are wired for action in countless ways. We shop online, chat online, pay our bills, connect with loved ones, announce marriages, births and deaths on sites like Facebook and Twitter and interact in ways that years ago didn’t even occur to us. We are fully living in an age of technology surrounded by gadgets and services that make our lives easier and more complicated all at once. It’s incredible really, and I find that I welcome all of this into my life with a fair mix of enthusiasm and reluctance.

This week after going into the mobile phone store for what I thought would be a relatively simple fix on the ear piece for my existing cell phone, I walked out with a smart phone which can apparently do everything except feed my cats and wash the laundry. It is a wonderful little machine that I am both excited about and intimidated by. Just minutes before going into the store I was telling a friend that all I needed was for my cell phone to allow me to make and receive calls remotely – feeling sure in my conviction that I had no use for a phone that would allow me to send and receive emails, go onto my Facebook account and find the nearest gas station, and an hour later I walked out with a phone that could do all this and much, much more. I now get to spend the next six months figuring out how to use this darned thing. Woo hoo! I can’t blame the salesperson for talking me into it – I did it all myself. I saw this little technological wonder and sold myself with little resistance.

Like many other folks, I do enjoy all the benefits of these many services and capabilities but at the same time I am painfully aware of how much more complicated they make my life as well. The amount of time I spend caring for these sensitive machines, learning their bells and whistles, repairing their glitches and spending money to keep them running is significant. I suppose I could choose to “go offline”, to return to a more simplistic lifestyle, where if I wanted to speak to a friend I called them from my land line and wrote words with something called “pen and paper” but I wouldn’t want to. After all, in many ways our technologically interconnected lifestyle allows me to do things like write this blog and connect with people who otherwise I never would. Like so many other aspects of life it is a mixed blessing. But for a connector like me – this technology allows me the opportunity to, with relative ease, reach and connect with people who would otherwise be inaccessible and that is very valuable.

So, those are my thoughts for the day. I need to shift into a different gear now, but I won’t really be disconnected, I am just shifting over to a new machine. Like you – I am right here.

 

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.