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Tapa Palapa Podcast Now on itunes! February 25, 2011

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Hooray!  Hooray!  Tapa Palapa now has a new itunes channel!  Tune in and find out what’s going on!

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Preparing for Love 3.0 – on TapaPalapa.com February 16, 2011

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In our most recent episode on TapaPalapa,  Steve and I talk about some important ideas and exercises for you when you’re looking for a romantic relationship. 

We explore ways to prepare yourself to love and be loved, how to make mindful decisions about the sort of person who will be a compatible partner for you, and how to realize your own qualities and strengths so you can enter a relationship with confidence in your ability to be an equal partner.

You can also see the video of Francie drawing the winners of her Valentine’s Day Give-Away on our Cinema page.

Plus, take the VIA Strengths Survey by clicking here. It will help you identify the positive psychology strengths that you will bring to a relationship to benefit your partner.

Please leave a comment and let us know what you think. Did you find the VIA Strengths test helpful? If you’re looking for a relationship, did you try the exercise Francie recommends? What tips do you have for people preparing for a romantic relationship?

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

Sign up for my Weekly Companion by clicking here.

Sign up for Steve’s Twisting Road Traveler by clicking here.

How Do I Love Me? Let Me Count the Ways! February 15, 2011

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This past weekend I ran into one of my readers and she commented that last week’s blog, which contained the Virginia Satir essay, Declaration of Self Esteem, moved her to create her own essay which she calls My Personal (Wo)Manifesto of Self Esteem. She gave me permission to reprint it here. Hope you love it as much as I did!

My Personal (Wo)Manifesto of Self Esteem- or How Do I Love Me?-Let Me Count the Ways!

#1. I am creative. I can take nothing and make something of it. I can take ordinary objects- trash even- and make art out of it- woo-hoo!

#2. I am loveable. I love myself and try my best to see the love in others-even when it is most difficult, as it often is. I give and receive love easily.

#3. I am funny- silly sometimes. I have the ability to laugh at myself. I am working on the ability to laugh at my mistakes and go on.

#4. I am an object of desire- I am pretty damn hot for age 55!

#5. I can cuss like a sailor and fart like a boy! (So my husband tells me- and he should know!) This is not something I can or SHOULD easily share, but boy, at times they both come in handy!

#6. I have great hair- I love my hair! It is full, luxurious, pretty, and sexy. It makes me feel good! (I am cracking myself up right now!)

#7. I love how I am comfortable with my age. It doesn’t scare me-if it ever did. I am proud and grateful of/for every year I have been on this planet- maybe not of all my actions, but, looking to the future and working on that!

#8. I am open to learn new things, to experience life in all its glory, to look at the bigger picture, to accept people where they are-for the most part. This is a work in progress-as I am!

#9. I love that I am not on the eternal treadmill to lose weight or maintain a certain body image. Sure, I know I need to lose some lbs. I would feel better, it would improve my health- and I am working on it. But I am not consumed with the idea. Basically, I like (love!) me and fhow I look, not that there is not room for improvement!

#10. I am glad I am an optimist! I know that I have and will ALWAYS be taken care of by the Universe, Great Spirit, Allah, God, Goddess- whatever you choose to call it. I have seen and felt it, time and time again.

#11. I love myself even when I screw up, say and do the wrong things- I can forgive myself and go on!

#12. I love that I am calm most of the time- grounded in my beliefs, my faith, my actions- with my life, my friendships, and love as my foundation.

Not that I don’t have plenty to improve upon! But, I am not beating myself up over these things. Life is a school-not of hard knocks and hard times, but, it is an opportunity to grow and learn and be open to changes and opportunities. It is actually such a gift- a welcome mat laid at our feet.

We choose, not always to our benefit, but I believe no choice is totally wrong. Even a so-called wrong choice can put you on the road to a correct or better one. Who knows what that path may offer or where it will lead – however hard it might seem at the time.

I love my life and I love my friends, and I love this fickle, crazy, scary, magic, beautiful world we live in! Ah, we are but guests- and must act polite and gracious-except when we feel the need to speak out and act!

Thank you for taking the time to read this. I hope it was as much fun for you to read as it was for me to write it! Please share if you decide to write your own personal manifesto!

– Francie Cooper

Three Ways to Fall in Love – With Yourself February 9, 2011

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 Virginia Satir, famed psychotherapist and author, once wrote this beautiful essay entitled: “My Declaration of Self Esteem.”
 
“I am me. In all the world, there is no one else exactly like me. Everything that comes out of me is authentically mine, because I alone chose it.
 
I own everything about me: my body, my feelings, my mouth, my voice, all my actions, whether they be to others or myself. I own my fantasies, my dreams, my hopes, my fears. I own my triumphs and successes, all my failures and mistakes.
 
Because I own all of me, I can become intimately acquainted with me. By so doing, I can love me and be friendly with all my parts. I know there are aspects about myself that puzzle me, and other aspects that I do not know — but as long as I am friendly and loving to myself, I can courageously and hopefully look for solutions to the puzzles and ways to find out more about me.
 
However I look and sound, whatever I say and do, and whatever I think and feel at a given moment in time is authentically me. If later some parts of how I looked, sounded, thought, and felt turn out to be unfitting, I can discard that which is unfitting, keep the rest, and invent something new for that which I discarded.
 
I can see, hear, feel, think, say, and do. I have the tools to survive, to be close to others, to be productive, and to make sense and order out of the world of people and things outside f me. I own me, and therefore, I can engineer me. I am me, and I am okay.”
 
When I first read this piece, I realized I not only didn’t really love myself, I didn’t even know where to start the process.  My mind was so ingrained with self-sabotaging thoughts that loving myself sounded unnatural.  I realize now, however, that if you don’t love yourself, you can’t fully love another.
 
So, if reading Satir’s wise words has inspired you to work on loving yourself, here are three ways I believe will be helpful:
 
1. Forgive Yourself.  If you have made mistakes in the past, you need to forgive yourself now. All of us make mistakes.  It’s just part of the human experience.
 
2. Eliminate negative self-talk.  Do you often berate yourself over the tiniest thing?  Is there a little voice inside your head that often tells you you’re stupid or unworthy?  Be aware when this is happening.  Change your words to the opposite of what you’re saying. For instance, if you find yourself saying, “I am so dumb!”  STOP.  Replace your words with, “I am becoming so smart!”
 
3.  Make positive affirmations everyday.   I know this may sound hokey, but it does work!  Post affirmations on your bathroom mirror, your refrigerator and steering wheel, anywhere you will see them frequently.  For instance, write out and say aloud several times a day, “I love and accept myself completely and unconditionally.”
 
There are many, many other ways to raise your personal love quotient.  If you’d like to work on these and more, shoot me an email or give me a call!  Remember, all clients, new and returning, are entered in my Valentine’s Day Give-Away!
– Francie Cooper
 

What’s Love Got To Do With It? February 1, 2011

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“The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love, and to let it come in.” 
– Morrie Schwartz
 
Boys and girls, it’s here.  February.  Lo-o-o-ove month.  That time of year we traditionally express our deepest, most heartfelt, gushy, mushy feelings.  My question today, however, is, “What’s love got to do with it?”  And, what is it anyway?  For the sake of our discussion today, let’s say it is greater life satisfaction.  What does love have to do with our level of happiness?
 
As it turns out, there are actually many benefits to love.  Research shows that a loving environment encourages a person to better reach their potential, to be more giving to others, and to have greater trust.  Love can also help someone muster the resiliance to go through the most difficult times.  It is, clearly, a feeling that we all need just a strongly as we need to eat.
 
It’s also been shown that love reduces stress, relieves tension, reduces pain, and helps you live longer.  Do you agree?
 
This month, I urge you to take one small step to create more love in your life. 
 
You may be thinking, “But I don’t have a lover in my life right now.”  To that I say, acknowledge your love to a friend, parent, child, and/or grandparent.  Even a simple hug, shoulder squeeze, back-slap, or arm rub can lower stress hormones and help you feel more connected.
 
Or, you may be thinking, “Romance?  What’s that?  We’ve been together for years now.”  To that I say, “Do something novel together.”  There are ways to reignite the flame, though going out to your favorite restaurant for dinner is probably not one of them.  Research shows that you both need to engage in something new and challenging to get your brain to produce love hormones.  Try rock climbing, dance lessons, riding Segways, sleeping in the zoo overnight, handing out blankets to the homeless, horseback riding, plate painting, a cooking class, batting cages, a comedy club, or a helicopter ride, just for starters.
 
Another idea might be to come to a few sessions of couples Coaching together!   You’ll find new ways to connect, have greater intimacy, plus create a stronger bond. 
 
As an added bonus, you’ll be entered in my Valentine’s Day Give-Away!   You could win dinner for two, movie tickets for two, or a box of Godiva chocolates to enjoy with the romantic movie, “Love Actually.”
 
For details, check out my January 24 blog.
– Francie Cooper