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The Spiral Path – Learning From Life’s Choices August 31, 2010

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Can you believe we’re heading into Labor Day weekend? Fall is knocking on our collective consciousness and inviting us to take stock of where we are in our lives before we hibernate for the winter.

I read an exercise last week by one of my favorite spiritual teachers, Joan Borysenko, which I thought appropriate for this time of year.

“Draw a spiral on a piece of paper with NOW in the center. Get out your calendar for the year and arrange the choices you made from the outside (last August) to now. Think about each choice – how and why you made it, the results, etc.

“What are you learning? Find the nectar even in the midst of what might have been unskillful choices.”

My thoughts when I did this exercise were that even the problematic choices I made this past year were doorways to revelations. I have a long list of them and though it’s really hard not to be critical and judgmental of myself, I’m working hard to learn the lesson in each.

One unskillful choice I made last December was to spend too much money on Christmas gifts. I love Christmas, but this was ultimately an unskillful choice because doing so drained my resources to an unhealthy level. Why did I make that choice? Because I still have a touch of the “disease to please” and I basically want everyone to like me. The results? No one liked me any more or less. What did I learn? I can’t buy people’s affection. They either like me or they don’t.

Whew – that’s hard to admit, but I hope my doing so will give you the courage to join me on the spiral path this week. What choices have you made? Why did you make them? What are the results? What you are learning?

This is a tough one, friends, but I know you can do it! Take a deep breath, turn an unflinching, honest eye on your unskillful choices and learn along with me how to make better ones next time.

P.S. The early-bird sign-up deadline for “Refocus. Reinvent. Rebuild. The Next Chapter of Your Life.” is September 2. Sign up now and save!

Also: I’m partnering with Urban Yoga Fort Worth to present the next four-week book discussion/coaching group on the best seller “Women, Food and God” starting Wednesday, September 15 through October 6. To register, email me at coach@franciecooper.com or call 817-929-9599.

– Francie Cooper

Cool It! August 24, 2010

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If you’ve been reading my Weekly Companions this month, you know I’ve been on a learning kick, trying new things and expanding my horizons. But friends, it’s HOT outside and that’s stifling my creative spirit! North Texas tied a record high on Sunday, at 105, and Monday was expected to be just as hot. Since July 31, we’ve had 22 days of triple-digit temperatures. So, rather than just whining about it, I thought I’d learn some new ways to stay cool and share them with you!

Watch what (and when) you eat. Eat breakfast and lunch before the sun gets hot. Our appetite is weaker in the summer than it is in cooler seasons. In fact, it’s lowest during the hottest part of the day. Try to eat breakfast and lunch before 11 a.m. and a light dinner when the sun begins to set.

Stay hydrated. Drink 4 to 6 cups of water daily, along with cooling beverages like fresh coconut water and watermelon juice. Or make your own electrolyte drink: add 1 teaspoon each of lime juice and sugar, and a pinch of rock salt to a glass of cool water.

Avoid hot, spicy, salty foods. Hard liquor, red wine, and red meat are also said to make our bodies too heated during the summer.

Eat sweet, bitter, and astringent foods instead. Some experts claim that the best summer foods are made with milk, yogurt, cucumber, apples, pears, melon, watermelon, fresh cilantro, asparagus, artichoke, broccoli, and basmati rice. For breakfast, you could try oatmeal cooked with milk and a pinch of cardamom and sugar. At lunch or dinner, get your daily dose of leafy greens. Fresh salads with olive oil or Thousand Island dressing are said to be ideal for cooling us. Dessert? A number of professionals recommend tapioca pudding or a cup of sweet yogurt.

Avoid direct exposure to the sun from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. If you have to spend time outdoors during the heat of the day, wear loose, comfortable clothing made of cotton or silk so skin can breathe. Wear colors that reflect the sunlight, such as white, blue, green, or gray, and cooling jewelry made with sandalwood beads, jade, pearl, amethyst crystals, moonstone, malachite crystals, or silver. And shade your head with a wide-brimmed hat.

Don’t work-out in the heat. Water sports like swimming are ideal for the summer. But save your exercise for the early morning or late evening.

Bask in the moonlight. In the evening, go for a walk on the beach (oh, how I wish) or in the cool green grass. Wear white clothes so you can absorb the moon’s cooling rays, which are soothing to the body’s heat.

Chill Out with Yoga.
Good cooling postures include the fish, camel, boat, cobra, cow, and tree poses. Learn a yogic cooling breath. And don’t forget to meditate – it will lower your mental/emotional temperature too.

Yes, You CAN Learn to Meditate! August 19, 2010

Posted by franciecooper in life coaching, life lessons, Uncategorized.
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Over the years, many clients, friends and family have proclaimed some version of, “I really want to meditate, BUT…” and it’s usually followed by “… I don’t know how,” or, “…I can’t sit still that long,” or, “…I fall asleep.” This week I propose you put your “buts” aside, and in the spirit of learning how, join me in Deepak Chopra’s 21-day Meditation Challenge.

The program began August 12, but it’s easy to catch up as they have links to previous days. When you register, the Chopra Center will send you a daily email with the guided meditation, the message for the day and useful meditation tips. Best of all, it’s FREE!

All day long our minds spin stories about work, health, finances, family, that funny look our friend gave us. Often we’re not even conscious of this internal soundtrack, yet it’s one of our greatest sources of stress. Although the mind is capable of creating more life-affirming stories, it has a tendency to get stuck in a conditioned pattern of thinking, returning again and again to thoughts of anxiety, depression and limitation.

Meditation is one of the best tools we have to go beyond the mind’s noisy chatter, and experience the peace of present-moment awareness. Numerous scientific studies have found that a regular meditation practice produces tangible benefits for mental and physical health, including:

Decreased blood pressure and hypertension
Slower heart rate
Lower cholesterol levels
Reduced production of “stress hormones,” including cortisol and adrenaline
More efficient oxygen use by the body
Increased production of the anti-aging hormone DHEA
Improved immune function and more restful sleep

Please give this 21-day gift to yourself, and let me know how it changes your life
!

Why I’m a Life Coach In a Nutshell August 16, 2010

Posted by franciecooper in life coaching, life lessons, Uncategorized.
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My passion in life is people – their dreams and hopes and ambitions. I find I learn something new about what makes people happy and fulfilled every day. It’s tremendously rewarding and I love doing it!

Learn How! August 4, 2010

Posted by franciecooper in life coaching, life lessons, Uncategorized.
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“Learn how to do what?” you’re asking yourself. Well, that’s exactly the topic of the month. What have you always wanted to learn to do, but haven’t yet gotten around to? I’ve been doing some research and the things people want to learn range far and wide: play guitar, speak Spanish, draw, cook and meditate. Others want to learn to create their own website, budget, play golf, belly dance, fence, play pool or poker.

Why is the quest for learning something new so pervasive and why is it important to the quality of our lives? I’ve come to believe, through my own life experience and through my Coaching practice, that…

• Learning across a wide range of subjects gives us a range of perspectives which are broader than our own narrow day-to-day areas of specialization.

• Learning helps us more easily and readily adapt to new situations.

• A broad knowledge of unfamiliar situations feeds innovation by inspiring us to think creatively and providing examples to follow.

• Learning deepens our character and makes us more inspiring to those around us.

• Learning makes us more confident.

With the entire world just a few mouse-clicks away, it’s never been easier to learn something new and unexpected every day. Here are a few simple ways to expand your horizons every day:

Subscribe to Wikipedia’s “Featured Article” list. Every day, Wikipedia posts an article selected from its vast repository of entries and sends it to your inbox at no cost.

Read The Free Dictionary’s homepage. The Free Dictionary has several daily features on its front page, including Article of the Day, In the News, This Day in History and Today’s Birthday.

Subscribe to great free art at http://art.jerryandmartha.com which was formerly Your Daily Art. Every day you’ll be treated to a classic work of art to contemplate, along with a few notes about the piece.

Watch videocasts on TED. I personally think this is the coolest collection of ideas on the internet.

Now, take some time to think about what you’d like to learn how to do next. Send me an email to coach@franciecooper.com and we’ll discuss your ideas over the next few weeks.

– Francie Cooper