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Into the Fire December 29, 2010

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In the newest podcast on TapaPalapa.com, Francie and Steve discuss fire as a symbol of releasing the past to prepare for transformation and renewal.  In nature, fire clears away debris and dead wood to set the stage for new growth.  We can release our own psychological debris and spiritual dead wood symbolically through a fire ceremony to set the stage for our rebirth and growth.

This week we reached deep in our bag of professional recording tricks to create a virtual crackling fire. Close your eyes and imagine you are snuggled up next to the fire as you listen to this episode.

Please leave a comment and let us know what you think. What do you want to release as this year ends? What do you want to make room for in your life for the coming year? What intentions are you setting and how are you preparing to grow so you can make your intentions real?

Please help us spread the light by telling your friends and family about our podcast. Invite them to sign up by RSS feed or by e-mail.

Whew! That Was Fast! December 28, 2010

Posted by franciecooper in life coaching, life lessons, Uncategorized.
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Wow, I can’t believe Christmas has come and gone already. Did your holiday observations and celebrations meet your needs this year? That’s what I’m thinking about this morning, trying to discern what worked for me and what didn’t.

First, the plan of simplifying decorations went well. I didn’t miss having tchotchkes perched on every horizontal and vertical surface. The small tree, mantel and table centerpiece satisfied that need nicely without being too overwhelming. What also worked were many gatherings with family and friends. That seemed to be the balm I needed for creating a sense of peace, joy and love.

I didn’t miss the chaos of shopping in ever-more-frantic crowds of people – my few forays into the madness left me shaking my head at the ire of yelling and fist-shaking by angry shoppers when parking spaces were stolen. I admit, though, I did have difficulty shaking the feeling of Scrooginess.

You see, I have a life-long habit of over-the-top gift giving and cutting back on that was what I imagine going through withdrawals might be like. But, I realize, in the end, it really was okay and didn’t diminish the love I experienced from family or friends.

That’s just a small glimpse into my holiday experience, and now I invite you to take a look at yours. Were your needs and desires met? In what ways? Were there things you wish had gone differently? What were they? What changes can you make next year to assure that will happen?

Speaking of changes, have you started to think about what you’d like your 2011 to look like? I’d love to sit down with you to help create your intentions for next year, and then create an action plan to make that happen. Give me a call at 817.929.9599 or shoot me an email at coach@franciecooper.com and we’ll set up an appointment to do just that!

Happy New Year, One and All!

– Francie Cooper

In the Glow December 16, 2010

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Steve and I just posted our latest podcast on TapaPalapa.com.  This week we’re exchanging some light-hearted banter about the way close friends and family bring light into our lives, and the way we can be light for them. It’s a light of hope and inspiration that calls forth our better selves, the people we are becoming. In the light of their warmth, their comfort, and their inspiration we glimpse the Divine loving us through them.

Their light also shines on us to show us parts of ourselves we don’t see, both our flaws and our talents. We need that light to grow, to see ourselves more clearly as we prune away old behaviors and develop our gifts and abilities.

Please leave a comment and let us know what you think. How has someone close to you shined the light of inspiration or revelation for you? How do you do that for others?

And please help us spread the light by telling your friends and family about our podcast. Invite them to sign up by RSS feed or by e-mail.

A Stroke of Light December 14, 2010

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“Ring the bells that still can ring. Forget your perfect offering. There is a crack in everything; that’s how the light gets in.”  Leonard Cohen

My youngest first cousin died unexpectedly Sunday. She had a stroke. She was only 50.

Last week, my church suffered the unanticipated loss of a vital member. He was only 60. He, too, had a stroke.

The surprising, sudden transition of these vibrant souls has left much sadness and grief in the hearts and souls of surviving family members and friends. Is there any possibility there’s a glimmer of Light – a lesson for us – in these untimely deaths?

I think there is. From my personal experience and from stories I hear from many clients, these types of occurrences can create cracks in our being. And, if we’re patient and don’t hurry to seal them because they are painful, there exists the possibility that Light can get in. When life’s most jarring moments shake us up, the cracks they create can actually open us to allow Light into our deeper being.

This concept comes with the understanding that we don’t really know light unless we know dark. We don’t experience the compassion of our fellow human beings without difficult occasions where great compassion and a helping hand are needed. We don’t achieve growth without events that require us to expand our perspective to include something unexpected.

It occurs to me that this breaking open also allows something else. It permits the light within us, the light already in our souls, to emerge. When trials threaten to shatter our very spirit, we have an opportunity to experience something authentic sneaking out through the path of the crack itself. It’s the Light from our souls, beaming out into the world.

My message this week is a simple one; don’t wait to find your Light. See it in you and all around you today. First take a look in the mirror and acknowledge your own Light, then take in the small miracles with which you are surrounded – the smile of a loved one, the call of a bird, the fragrance of a beautiful flower. You and all of life are the Messengers during this Season of Light.

– Francie Cooper

Looking for Light December 8, 2010

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Have I mentioned that I’m collaborating with fellow coach Steve Coxsey of TwistingRoad.com fame, to produce fun, weekly podcasts on TapaPalapa.com?   

We’re Looking For Light all this month and this week we’re feasting on ceremonies and rituals.

In this episode Steve and I discuss some common threads of meaning in several holiday celebrations that take place at the end of the year. They give you ideas for amplifying the meaning and enjoyment of the celebrations, whether they are part of your faith tradition or your personal tradition.

Enjoy the episode, and spread some light by telling your friends and family about it. Invite them to sign up by RSS feed or by e-mail.

Looking For Light? Follow Your Instincts. December 7, 2010

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When you’re looking for the Light, for the Divine path you’re called to pursue, do you follow your instincts?

My sense is that instinctive messages come to us every day, in many ways. They may appear through the words of a stranger or through our dreams. They might be ideas that pop into our heads while standing in the shower or ironing (does anyone else iron anymore?). For me, messages often come through patterns in conversations. I noticed recently that many people were talking to me about their lack of self-confidence. When it showed up four times in two days, it became a clear message to me that I needed to examine my own level of confidence. This pause led me to take action on some ideas I’d formerly been too timid to proceed on.

I believe these messages are available to all of us if we just learn to listen for them.

Here are some tips for building and trusting your relationship with your instincts:

1. Stop, breathe and listen. The noise of your thoughts and fears often drown out your quiet voice within.

2. Trust your heart. Value what you are feeling as well as what you are thinking.

3. Remember your personal strengths. What are you good at? Go back to the WAVE exercise on TapaPalapa.com to remember your wins, accomplishments and victories. Draw from these.

As Steve Jobs, the CEO of Apple, so eloquently expressed; “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

– Francie Cooper

P.S. Don’t forget to tune into the most recent podcast on TapaPalapa.com. Fellow Coach Steve and I have lots of fun while passing on inspiring and interesting tips about this wonderful experience we call life!

Cool Yule Tools December 1, 2010

Posted by franciecooper in life coaching, life lessons, Uncategorized.
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It’s the last day of November and we’re still Juggling Joyfully as we careen head-long into the celebratory seasons of Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. On my mind right now is how to juggle the expenses associated with all the holiday revelry. Traditions of decking the halls, parties galore and gift-giving extravaganzas all conspire to stretch any budget to the breaking point. I recently read in Consumer Reports that 13 million shoppers are still paying off last year’s holiday debts.

So, how do we avoid that happening this year? I’ve been doing some research and found some pretty cool tools:

  1. How to Make a Plan. The American Financial Services Association has a super easy Holiday Spending Plan that not only helps you budget every expense, it also has a gift giving list to track sizes, colors, stores and prices. Check it out!
  2. Let’s Grab a Deal. When your number one goal is to score a deal this holiday season, surf some consolidation sites like GottaDeal or Deal of the Day Tracker. Know what gift you want to purchase? Use a cost-comparison site like Amazon, Pronto or Google Product Search to find the lowest price.
  3. Get Gift Card Discounts. Plastic Jungle offers merchant gift cards for less than face value. You can either give them away or use them for your own shopping to create instant discounts. If you use the gift card to shop online, you can also use it with a coupon code or free shipping code to create even more savings.

As a parting thought, please remember to breathe. The hustle and bustle, scurry and flurry can get to the calmest, most grounded among us. Life will not be forever ruined nor come to a screeching halt if you don’t find the perfect gift, the best deal or no deal at all. Your family and friends will not stop loving you if you don’t shower them with presents.

What most people truly want is your love, compassion and time. Those don’t cost a single dime.

– Francie Cooper

Holidays, Money, Giving December 1, 2010

Posted by franciecooper in life coaching, life lessons, Uncategorized.
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This week, Steve Coxsey and I are discussing the issue of spending too much money during the holidays and what some alternatives might be.  Check out  our latest podcast at Tapa Palapa.com.