Firebirdlifecoach's Blog

Pursuing a Passionate Life

Fall Back AND Forth November 3, 2013

Sunrise behind fragile-looking winter treesAhhh, fall and the end of daylight savings time…
I actually remembered this year, and before going to sleep last night, took the time to set back the clocks around the house. This meant, theoretically, that last night we would get an extra hour of sleep, (the only upside to this day that comes readily to mind). Unfortunately for me, the one clock I forgot to change was my internal one, so not only did I wake up early today, but I woke up earlier than I would have on any other “normal” Sunday. My day began at 5:30 AM.
This year the shift in the clocks, also coincided with a major shift in the temperature overnight, so we woke to a very chilly, gray and rainy morning in the 30’s. Brrrr! The fact that both of things happened on the same evening – really drove home the realization that fall is fast disappearing and winter is right around the corner. While I don’t dread this season as much as many folks do, I do find that I enjoy it less than I used to. I am beginning to understand why so many folks when they reach their retirement years, fly off to warmer climates. For me however, the single thing that I dislike the most is not the cold, but the lack of sunlight.
So given that the we are in the waning part of the daylight story, and that I am not even close to retirement, I guess I have a couple of choices: begin hibernation mode or make the best of it. Thus, today as I mentally prepare for the fading light and colder days, these are the things I want to remember about winter:
• I love to snuggle under the covers, when it is cold outside
• I enjoy making and eating “winter foods” such as; soups, stews, and other hearty hot meals.
• There is nothing quite as exquisite as a fresh covering of snow: twinkling in the moonlight, shining against the blue sky in the morning and cloaking everything in a dreamlike silence.
• Winter brings some of my favorite family traditions.
• It’s a great time of year for indoor projects and activities; artwork, writing, reading, having friends to dinner.
• The air feels crisp and clean.
• And winter is always followed by spring!
As my morning shifts into these reframed thoughts, I recognize that I can indeed feel a shift. I am excited to have written this blog. I have already gotten an hour of work in this morning on a couple of quiet projects. I am excited to make the beef stew, I was planning for dinner. And at some point, I am going to crawl back into bed for a little nap. It’s all good. Silly me… I forgot for a moment there that each season brings its gifts along with its challenges. Just like every aspect of our lives. I hope you find the upside in whatever may be vexing you on this Sunday morning, sometimes all it requires is a little reset of your own internal clock.

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Anticipation… October 29, 2012

It’s 9:00 am, Monday morning, October 29, 2012 – and like thousands of other folks in the Northeast – I am “Waiting on Sandy”. They are predicting a monster of a storm this time around, due not only to the initial size of the primary storm but the fact that it will collide with two other significant systems to create a truly unique meteorological event. “Frankenstorm” as it has been nicknamed, is predicted to terrorize the East Coast – defying previous models and confounding the experts.  My natural lack of patience, (not one of my strongest virtues) leaves me (and I am sure many others) struggling with a wait that feels particularly long. With modern-day weather forecasting as it is these days, meteorologists are able to track and predict storms like this one – way earlier then they used to be, and overall I guess that’s good news. Obviously, it gives you plenty of time to make necessary preparations and all, but it also creates this surreal anticipation that feels like it goes on forever. Almost makes you want the storm to hit sooner – just to get it over with already!

The predictions for this storm started coming in relatively early last week, or at least that’s when they first caught my attention. By Friday, they were pretty clear, and relatively confident that this storm which was enormous in size was going to move up the coast and then turn west, into land at some point. Like most people, New Englanders view weather-forecasters with a healthy dose of skepticism. We have been duped, too many times. Predictions of massive snow storms produce a paltry few inches of the white stuff, etc. So like lots of folks, we kind of half believe it;  buy some bread, maybe some water and batteries, but many wait til the last-minute to actually batten down the hatches all the while keeping an eye of the forecasts, just in case we need to escalate the preparations. It definitely, reminds you of “the boy who cried wolf”, and you know in terms of basic survival it’s better to react to the threat that’s not there – then to fail to react to a threat that is. Fortunately, for us we are wired this way – it’s called the Negativity Bias – and it makes sense. Here’s an article by Rick Hanson, exploring just that – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rick-hanson-phd/be-mindful-not-intimidate_b_753646.html.

But back to the storm… So at first it feels like, “Is this all really going to happen?” For instance, Saturday was a lovely, quiet, mild Fall day. Sunday, was gray and drizzly – it seemed like any other slightly wet day for this time of year. And today, well, there is some rain, though still pretty light, the wind is blowing, but not that hard, and best of all we still have power! So yes, things are changing, but it is just hard to really grasp how far things may possibly deteriorate in the next 48 hours or so. Typically, I am someone who is pretty good at visualizing, but this still has this odd feeling of detachment to it. It is the quintessential moment of waiting for the other shoe to drop. The calm before the storm. And I just can’t help but think about another big event that will take place next week which has had days, weeks, and months of predictions and anticipation building around it.

A week from tomorrow is election day, and as always it has been a long time in coming. Something big is going to happen and depending on where you stand the outcome could be a catastrophe or a blessing. (I can’t even wrap my brain around the concept that some people are still undecided – given the disparity between the candidates – and the fact that for me there is only one possible choice, period.) I think a lot of folks feel that way on both sides – they are tired of the ads, the polls and the forecasts, they have done their preparations and at this point just want to get it over with already. And lets hope that after that “storm” is passed – we will be warmed by neighbors pulling together as they often do after natural disasters – for the greater good of all, with the recognition that each of us want what is best for ourselves, for our loved ones and for our communities. It’s about pulling together and not pulling apart. Here’s hoping that the results will give us a head’s start in that direction.

Peace – Be safe out there.

 

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…