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…

 

In Every Season November 24, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — firebirdlifecoach @ 5:28 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

PerspectiveWe woke this morning to a light dusting of snow. Which was perfect, since the only part I can remember from my very active dreaming last night was that, I awoke in my dream, to the first dusting of snow. I was glad that I hadn’t had a dream about the first blizzard of the season as I was not ready for that just yet! Beyond the snow the temperatures here never rose above twenty-four degrees Fahrenheit on my outdoor thermometer and the wind was ferocious. And… there was something thrilling about all of it.
When I was little, winter was my favorite season. I enjoyed the crispness in the air, and the snow, the lovely, quiet, magical snow. I wasn’t a skier, though when I grew older I did find I enjoyed cross-country skiing. Nor, have I ever liked the layers of extra clothing or the early disappearance of the sun from the afternoon sky – and yet winter was my favorite time of year. Now as I am older, with a sometimes questionable back and the responsibility of; if not doing all of the snow removal, at least the coordination of said removal, along with the cost of the winter heating bills and that has taken a bit of the bloom off of the winter rose.
At this point in my life, I guess all of the seasons are my favorites. They each have their upsides and their downsides – but I guess the thing that stands out to me most – is how beautiful each season can be. Trees are lovely for instance; in early bud, in full bloom, in autumn glory and in their slender delicacy without leaves. There is something equally lovely about the first warm breezes of spring, the hot sun in summer, the crisp coolness of fall and the brisk bracing blast of winter cold.
Spring –Renewal,
Summer – Passionate Life,
Autumn – Harvest and Home,
Winter – Reflection.
It’s all good. I may be singing a different tune a few weeks from now, but today, I am grateful for the first day of “real” cold and wintry flakes. I guess reflecting on the seasons is a lot like reflecting on life itself, there are ups and downs, good bits and bad – but viewed from a certain perspective all parts have their place and the frozen days of our lives make the warm breezes all the more welcome.

 

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.

 

Whither the Snow Flower March 13, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — firebirdlifecoach @ 10:31 am
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

snowdrops

(I wrote this last week, before the snowstorm that dropped 20+ inches in our area arrived – but forgot to post it! Better late, than never…) March is a cruel month.  After several months of gray skies, cold temperatures and wintry precipitation – the changing of the calendar brings hope to those folks living in the Northern Temperate zones. “It’s March – yeah, we made it!” – The optimistic voices of the winter-weary exclaim as the meteorological spring begins. But alas, the reality of early spring weather – is not long, warm, sunny days with daffodils and tulips. And as the East coast and particularly the North East prepares for another snow/rain storm those happy smiles turn to frowns. The once beautiful snow – looks strangely out of place and is definitely unwelcome.

No one likes a spring snowstorm. Power outages are common, as heavy snow downs power lines and breaks branches. Clearing the heavy, wet snow is unwieldy and back-breaking by shovel and impossible by snow blower. It’s slushy and dirty and gray and even the kids who welcome snow days like surprise holidays, made just for them, start to realize that another snow day will mean the school year is just going to grow longer into the summer. But alas – this is the way it goes, spring storms are a regular occurrence and as far as I know there is still no means of controlling the weather.

But there are upsides… As the days get warmer, the piles of snow will indeed melt faster. The tired grass once exposed will get greener. And always – there are those wonderful surprises waiting under that snow. Every year, much to my wonder and amazement, though I have seen it over and over again all my life, when the snow finally recedes it unveils the early buds of real spring. Crocus, tulips, hyacinth somehow oblivious to the snow cover awaiting them above the soil have managed to break ground. Somehow, in their biological make-up – they always know that their time is near and they begin to grow, no matter how many inches of snow cover the frozen Earth. It’s wondrous!

Yes, I will be out there tomorrow, cursing the heavens as I once again clear what has become my longer and longer driveway with the passing of each year. But I will know we are nearing the end of this winter weather. I will know that under those piles of snow; lay the truly thrilling beginnings of spring. It’s only a matter of time. The days are already longer and this may be the last storm, well at least for this year anyway. Bring it on – each snowflake brings us closer to daffodils.

 

Go ahead, let it snow. January 21, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — firebirdlifecoach @ 10:51 am
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

It’s late January here in New England and apparently the universe has woken to the fact that in the wintertime around here there usually is this white stuff that falls out of the sky, it’s called snow. Not that it is a momentous storm or anything mind you but it is coming down, and by the time it stops we should have 4-6 inches of fluffiness on the ground. In fact, this is the fourth snow fall of the week and even though the other three were only an inch or two, each one required me to clear our heavily shaded driveway and sidewalk or else risk the ice rink that is sure to form. But that’s okay, like any good New Englander – I have the tools necessary for the job: the big, heavy “pushing” shovel, the curved, lifting shovel, the push and regular brooms for the porch and of course my new personal favorite – the snowblower. (Purchased last year before the deluge, and paid for over six months before the store credit card started accruing interest, this bad boy has become my new best friend.  And though I am tempted here to go on and on about how my snowblower paid for itself multiple times with last year’s record-setting snow totals, or how sometimes it is reluctant start yet so far always manages to come around to seeing things my way – I will restrain myself.)

Because what I really just wanted to mention briefly today is that there is a part of me that still loves the snow! Sure as the years go on, and my back gets weaker there have been many a time when I have cursed the winter and all the snow that comes along with it, but that doesn’t mean I don’t like it altogether. There is no denying that a fresh blanket of the white stuff can be extraordinarily beautiful on the leaf bare trees, house roofs and brown grass. The sparkle of fresh snow in the moonlight is magical. And when the storm first passes and the sky re-emerges – it seems bluer and more clear than on any other day when the ground is not covered by a fresh coating of snow. But one of the things I like the most is the silence. That absolute stillness in the air when the snow is coming down is perfection!

So though I may be singing a different tune as the next few weeks go by and the slush and ice and piles of dirt encrusted snow likely will accumulate, I just wanted to acknowledge this little moment in time when I am still enamoured of waking to a snowy, snowing morning. It makes me think of my sister, and how we used to like to take a walk down to the park when we were young as the snow fell and the quiet surrounded us. There was a time when winter was my favorite season – and though more recently I have come to truly hate being cold – apparently I have not lost my love and appreciation for the magical healing serenity of a new blanket of snow. Happy shoveling!

 

The Weight of the Wait February 26, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — firebirdlifecoach @ 7:57 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

I think living in New England (and other areas of the planet that experience “traditional winter weather”) requires a certain heartiness that folks in warmer climates don’t require. However it is always interesting (particularly with the climate changes of recent years). There’s an expression that pretty much sums it up – “If you don’t like the weather in New England, just wait five minutes.” And it’s true – today started off sunny and mild though there had been a dusting of snow overnight and a forecast for torrential rains all day. Throughout the day, it alternately was cold with snow squalls, rainy, windy and/or quiet. Every time you looked out the window there was something else going on – I was waiting for it to rain actual cats and dogs, ‘cause it would have seemed like just the right day for it. Our promise for the weekend – more unpredictable precipitation – rain, snow flurries and even some accumulations in some areas – what could be better than that? Well, actually a little sunshine and warming temperatures would be nice.

When the winter months reach their last legs, the weather is on everyone’s mind. I would bet that at least 90% of people who interacted with another human being in New England today talked about the weather at least once. “Talking about the weather” – the cliché icebreaker is more than just idle chatter in my belief. Around these parts I think that it is a way for people to bond together against something that is greater than they are. (That, and it provides an excellent opportunity for one-up’s-man ship – “You think you have it bad, we got 10 inches of heavy, wet snow last night in my town  – my back was breaking!”) After all, no one I know can change it and everyone is affected by it. At this time of the year and for the next month and a half or so as spring teases us with the promise of warmer days and sunny skies – there is a combined sense of impatience, resolve and hopefulness. We’re almost there… just a few more weeks… a few more snow storms and we will be rewarded.

When you think about the bonding we do over the trials of untamable Mother Nature – you know you are participating in a ritual that has been handed-down from one generation to the next in many parts of the world. It is the ultimate realization of the smallness of our presence in the eternal evolution of the planet and of our interconnected experience. You may feel all alone looking down the long snow-covered driveway, shovel in hand pondering the work ahead of you, but you are not, and later you will get the opportunity to swap stories with your co-workers and family. We are a hearty and hopeful lot – bound together by some frozen water crystals and the promise of daffodils.

 

Snowplows, Chickadees and Roses January 21, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — firebirdlifecoach @ 7:17 am
Tags: , , , , , , ,

So it’s my day off and I have a list a mile long of things I want and need to do. I know that there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done and some of the items will surely carry-over to my next list. I am sorry to say I am going to have to add shoveling the driveway to that list – because I know it will be time-consuming and given the current state of circumstances it will be impossible to do a really good job with it. Over the last couple of days we have had a steady covering of heavy, wet sloppy slush, and though “my plow guy” saw fit to plow 2” of light powder a couple of weeks ago that I could have literally blown off my driveway with one deep breath, apparently he didn’t think a few inches of heavy slush was plow worthy.

So today I awoke to what is now a frozen, lumpy mess, packed down by the wheels of my car and the footsteps of my family – it will be difficult to scrape away with a shovel. Likely, I will have to give it several goes, hoping to do both an early and later pass when the temperature rises this afternoon. I went out on the porch to survey the situation and muster the energy needed to give it a go, feeling more than just a bit overwhelmed and cranky about the need to take on this added, highly undesirable task I sat down for a moment just to take it all in. As I was sitting there I couldn’t help but to hear and to see the myriad of birds that were flitting around the yard. Starlings, Sparrows, Chickadees, Juncos, a Tufted Titmouse and a pair of Cardinals were all busily hopping around from tree to bush doing whatever it is that birds are doing when they mount their seemingly disorganized search for food among the snowy branches. And I have to tell you – I began to feel a noticeable shift in my mood. Sure, I still was aware of the shoveling that lay before me – but I was also enlivened by the simple beauty of those crazy birds.

Every day in our rush to get things done I think we often overlook the little, simple gifts that surround us. I think we forget to notice all we do have when we are focused on what we don’t. “Don’t forget to stop and smell the roses” they come in endless varieties.