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Aahhhhhhh! Spaahhhhhhh! April 21, 2011

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“Necessity may be the mother of invention, but play is certainly the father.”  Roger von Oech
Play is serious work. That’s what we’re supposed to be focusing on this month and, I have to admit, I have not been holding up my end of the bargain.
First, allergies had me down and out for a while.  Then, I hurt my shoulder.  Then, this past weekend, I went to two end-of-life services and spent an entire day tidying up the yard.  Waah, waah, waah.  Where was the play?  Where were the laughs?  Not in my neck o’ the woods, that’s for sure.
So, this week my mission is to bring back the fun. In my last Weekly Companion, I discussed calm, outdoor fun, and this week I want to switch it up to exploring calm, indoor fun.
When I think of indoor fun, my mind immediately turns to the ever-tranquil, ever-pleasurable spa experience.  Ok, I confess I’m a bit of a spa snob.  For instance, I love a particular one just 45 minutes from my house because, a) it’s close, and b) you can hang out there all day.  
First, I schedule a massage, facial, mani or pedi.  Then I’m free to enjoy a dip in the indoor hot tub, the sauna, steam room and lunching by the pool. Next, I might be ready for a frosty adult beverage, reading myriad decorating or food magazines, followed by a lovely, warm, multi-head shower with an array of spa-provided, yummy-smelling shampoos, conditioners, gels and lotions.  Ahhhhhh.  Doesn’t it make you want to schedule your spa day right now?
It’s especially fun when you do this with a group of friends or your beloved.  In the facility I’m thinking of, they have both men’s and women’s sides, a couples’ massage room, and the roof-top pool and outdoor hot tub are co-ed, too.
The idea is to relax, be pampered and have fun all in one lovely spot.  While I haven’t had the pleasure of taking this particular outing in quite a while, I know it doesn’t have to be terribly expensive.  I’ve used a Groupon there for a half-price massage, and, with the exception of food and drink, the rest is gratis. 
Since I don’t have permission to mention the specific name of this little slice of heaven, shoot me an email and I’ll let you in on my secret.  I’m sure you’ll want to try it out for yourself soon.
Yours in aaahhhhhhhhhhh,
Francie Cooper,
Life Coach
P.S.  For more info on this topic, tune in to this week’s internet radio episode of TapaPalapa!  We’re talking about the amazing benefits you will get from taking care of yourself through bodywork and play!

Are You Having Fun Yet? April 7, 2011

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My friends, Sherry and Robert, declared that 2011 was going to be the “year of having more fun.”  So far, to manifest that goal, they’ve had a back yard bar-b-q complete with adults playing less-than-serious games of ping pong, eaten breakfast outside more often, played with friends frequently, and watched only comedy movies.

All of these activities sound like fun to me, and, at the same time make me want to understand, “Why do we need to have more fun, anyway?  Does it really matter?”
It seems it does.  According to “experts,” the daily grind (jobs, routine chores, kids, etc.) dulls our senses.  We lose our creativity, flexibility, passion and playfulness.
The antidote for this malaise can be simple, but sometimes not easy.  We have to give ourselves permission to PLAY.
By its nature, play is uniquely and intrinsically rewarding.  It generates optimism, seeks out novelty, makes perseverance fun, leads to mastery, gives the immune system a boost, fosters empathy and promotes a sense of belonging and community.  To me, these are all indications of personal health and wellbeing.
The bad news is, if we don’t play enough in our lives, health problems and personal fragility can set in.  Depression and stress-related disease can result.
So, my call to action this month is to HAVE MORE FUN!  It doesn’t have to be time-consuming nor expensive.  Fun, recreation and play can be as easy as going to the park for a picnic, a game of Frisbee, or dancing on the patio in the moonlight.
And, when you’re finished, shoot me an email about what you did!  I want to share as many ideas as I can for bringing more pleasure into your life.
Yours playfully,
Francie Cooper
P.S. On this week’s TapaPalapa internet radio show, Steve and I engage in some fun of our own at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History.  Check it out by clicking here.

Valentine’s Day Give-Away! January 24, 2011

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Enter Today!

Life Coach Francie Cooper’s

Valentine’s Day Give-Away!

Part of my mission as a Life Coach is to encourage my clients to:

  • Nurture Relationships,
  • Enjoy Life, and
  • Have Fun!

 Let me help you make that happen!

On February 11th, I’m giving away THREE great Valentine’s Day gifts:

 ~ One $50 Gift Certificate for Dinner for 2, or

 ~ Gift Card for Two Movie Tickets, or

 ~ The DVD, Love Actually, plus a box of delicious Godiva Chocolates.

Each gift includes a free 30-minute telephone Coaching session on the topic of your choice!

Here’s how it works:  Wherever you are in the U.S.,

1)  Each time we have a coaching appointment either in person, by phone or on Skype, you get 5 entry tickets in the Valentine’s Day Give-Away. 

 2)  For each new client you refer, you get 10 tickets.

 3)      As a bonus, if you haven’t been in for over six months, or if you’re a new client and come in for your initial session, you also get 10 tickets in the drawing! How cool is that?

To enter, email coach@franciecooper.com or call 817.929.9599 to schedule an appointment and/or make a referral.  Remember, drawing takes place February 11.

New Pocast from Tapa Palapa! January 19, 2011

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In this week’s episode on Tapa Palapa, Francie and Steve once again find themselves in the middle of Worklife Liberation month, say, “Forget work!”   We explore the value of play in helping you find your calling.  Through play you can discover and develop your core self.   We offer an exercise for tapping memories of childhood play to help point you to your calling.  We also recommend planning a special day of play to help you discover the kinds of things that ignite your passions and captivate your attention.

Please leave a comment and let us know what you think.  Did you reconnect with your gifts and talents through memories of childhood play?  Did you plan a Discovery Day yet?  How did it go?

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

Start a New Day-After-Thanksgiving Tradition – The National Day of Listening! November 16, 2010

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Have you ever thought about starting a new holiday tradition for the day after Thanksgiving?  I’m pleased to share with you information about the third annual National Day of Listening which takes place on Friday, November 26, 2010. On the day after Thanksgiving,  StoryCorps asks that all Americans set aside an hour to interview a friend, a loved one, or someone in their community about his or her life.

I will be taking part in the 2010 National Day of Listening by recording interviews with my own family and friends.

To record your own National Day of Listening interview:

  1. Find someone you’d like to interview
  2. Create your question list
  3. Sit down to record your conversation

StoryCorps has created a free Do-It-Yourself (DIY) interview guide with step-by-step interview instructions, equipment recommendations, and sample questions that is available online at www.nationaldayoflistening.org. You can record your interview using equipment that is readily available in most homes—from cell phones to tape recorders to computers or even pen and paper.

 The National Day of Listening was started by StoryCorps in 2008 as a way to provide an alternative to “Black Friday” shopping sprees. By participating in this year’s National Day of Listening, I hope you’ll find that taking the time out to interview someone about his or her life is the least expensive but most meaningful gift that we can give.

StoryCorps’ mission is to provide Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to record, preserve, and share their stories. Each week, millions of Americans listen to StoryCorps’ award-winning broadcasts on NPR’s Morning Edition.

Refocus. Reinvent. Rebuild. A Day for Designing the Next Chapter of Your Life. November 9, 2010

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Who will write the next chapter of your life?  Set aside just one day to make sure the author is YOU. 

Has your life turned out the way you planned it?  Was it even your own plan?  Are you looking back wondering what happened to your vision and your dreams as you accomplished all those things you were “supposed” to do?  Are you looking ahead realizing you had big milestones for the first half of your life, but not much planned for this next stage? 

If so, register today for this life-transforming event!
Refocus. Reinvent. Rebuild.  A Day for Designing the Next Chapter of Your Life.

  • Saturday, November 20th
  • 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Sanford House Inn and Spa, 506 N. Center St., Arlington, TX
  • To register, email:coach@franciecooper.com
  • Fee:  $299, includes seminar materials, continental breakfast,lunch, snacks and non-alcoholic beverages.

Have You Ever Been to an Abundance Swap? July 14, 2010

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I read a story recently about a few friends who organized an Abundance Swap for their community. Here’s how it worked:

On a Sunday afternoon, the friends opened the doors of a local dance studio, loaded a CD player with music, made some apple cider and waited to see what would happen.

They had emailed a few hundred invitations that essentially said “Come help create a new tradition: The First Annual Abundance Swap.”

They asked invitees to consider that:

  • Our nation accounts for 5% of the population and 40–50% of the resource consumption on the planet.
  • Some of the good stuff we already have isn’t being well used or fully enjoyed.

Then they asked participants to:

  • Find 3–5 quality items in their home, shop or office that someone else would enjoy – fun, useful, interesting or beautiful items in really good shape that weren’t important to them any more.
  • Take them to the meeting place. Don’t just drop the stuff off. Stick around to visit, tell a story or two about what they brought and find some things that they’d like to take away.

Those were the rules.

According to the story, at 2 p.m. a small, steady flow of people started filling the studio. Each laid a blanket or towel on the floor and spread out a few nice items. Then they started moving around, kneeling or picking up an item here or there, but mostly passing without taking anything. Some asked, “If I brought three items, does that mean I should also take three?” And, “What if the person whose item I want doesn’t want anything I brought?” Or “What if the value of what I brought is less than the value of what I want to take?”

The organizer explained there were only two rules: Bring some quality things you’d like to give away, and then help yourself to some things you find here that someone else has brought.

That was enough. Within minutes, the room was filled with bright movement and laughter. Jewel boxes and bronze sculptures were held up to the light. Sweaters and scarves were tried on for size and color. Hand tools were examined for sharpness and heft.

This whole idea struck me as a perfect way to manifest abundance for a whole lot of people. I’m going to organize one in my neck of the woods. I invite you to do the same wherever you live!

– Francie Cooper

Sign Up Now for “Women, Food and God” Coaching Group/Book Discussion July 10, 2010

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Join me in a new, provocative, inspiring 4-week

Group Coaching Discussion

based on the bestseller

Women, Food and God by Geneen Roth

In this book/coaching discussion, we’ll explore how our relationship to food is an unexpected path to almost everything. It is a doorway, not a wall; an opening, not a closing.

According to Roth, all that we believe about love, change, joy and possibility is revealed in how, when and what we eat.

Here’s how it will work:

Dates: Tuesdays, July 20 through August 10

Time: 6:30–8 p.m.

Location: Francie Cooper’s office – 2501 Parkview, Ste. 305, Fort Worth 76102

Week 1: Chapters 1–6

Week 2: Chapters 7–10

Week 3: Chapters 11–14

Week 4: Epilogue and wrap-up

• $69 for all 4 weeks if paid in advance. (Save $11!)
• $20 per session if paid weekly.
• Check, cash or credit cards through PayPal.

*Book not included. Book is available in hardcover and audiobook formats from both Barnes & Noble and Amazon.

Register at www.franciecooper.com  or email coach@franciecooper.com Tor call 817-929-9599.

Voluntourism April 7, 2010

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According to the Travel Channel, “…opportunities for doing good while traveling are growing.  New York-based Cross Cultural Solutions, with centers in 10 countries, expects to send at least 1,500 volunteers to destinations around the globe this year – nearly double the 854 who participated in its programs a year ago, says executive director Steve Rosenthal.

“Minnesota-based Global Volunteers plans to send nearly 1,700 travelers on volunteer vacations next year. They have recently added new trips to Australia and South America, to keep up with demand.

“Travelers can expect to pay a basic fee for food and lodging (usually about $200 to $1,000 a week), plus airfare to and from the country where they’ll be working.  Those seeking a tax benefit should look at nonprofit organizations alone, and check with each on the individual tax benefits of each volunteer vacation. 

“When researching your own voluntourism experience, be realistic about the amount of time and skill you have to offer.  Don’t sign up to rebuild homes if you don’t have the energy or time to commit yourself fully to the project; give a tax-deductible donation to the organization instead.”

My New Super Power January 12, 2009

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I must’ve been flying! Surely that’s the explanation…

It started as another glorious day in my neck o’ the woods. The sky was bright blue, the temp was cool but not cold, there was a slight breeze (but not enough to trigger allergies.) It was an ideal day to take a walk in the park. So, my best friend, Lesley, and I went together and took her two golden retrievers, Nick and Natasha, with us.

As we were meandering through the relatively empty park, we stumbled upon a playground. I have to confess it’s been a while since I’ve actually taken advantage of a playground myself, though I recommend it regularly to clients who’ve lost touch with their sense of fun.

The swings were calling to me, so we tied the dogs to a nearby bench and started swinging away. It was crazy fun, pumping my legs, pushing my arms out and apart, feeling my stomach muscles contracting and relaxing as I swung, leaning back and forward, to and fro. It was exhilarating! The most fun exercise I’ve found in years.

Anyway, one of the dogs started barking, first a few woofs, then uproariously! Soon she started pulling at her leash, tail wagging fast and furiously, barking her head off! She was going nutso!

My friend jumped off her swing (not in a bailing-out fashion because we are middle-aged after all, and not used to bailing-out of swings any more) and went over to pet Natasha to calm her. I kept swinging happily, which seemed to excite the poor pooch even more.

Lesley then decided to see what would happen if she let Natasha off leash, usually a safe bet because Natasha’s 13 and not prone to running wild. Well, she promptly ran over to me, chased the swing as fast as her four arthritic legs could carry her, barking her head off, and wagging her beautiful golden tail furiously.

She didn’t stop until I did.

We pondered this aberrant behavior during rest of our walk, debating why swinging triggered such craziness. Lesley finally concluded that Natasha thought we were flying. That made sense to me for some weird reason.

And that’s when I realized that flying must surely be one of my super powers. Not the kind of flying that Superman does because gravity has an unfortunate pull on my physical body. Rather, flying in the sense of being able to let go and have fun in my life. Natasha could probably sense my soul was soaring and she wanted to fly too!

How ’bout you?