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Why is taking playtime so hard for some ? April 26, 2011

Posted by franciecooper in life coaching, life lessons.
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”I have found that remembering what play is all about and making it part of our daily lives are probably the most important factors in being a fulfilled human being.” Stuart Brown, M.D.

This is the last week for  “Play is Serious Work,” and I want to acknowledge that sometimes allowing ourselves to have fun is just plain hard.
For instance, I was talking with a client last week who clearly understood this dilemma.  I’ll call her RockStar.  Let me paraphrase what she told me:
“I have this crazy to-do list that just keeps growing. Last weekend, I really wanted to go to a motorcycle race that I’d been looking forward to for months.  But, Friday night, I started fighting with myself.  Part of me was saying, ‘Stay home and work.  Look at all the stuff on your to-do list.’  The other part of me said, ‘Go. Have fun. This race only happens once a year.’”
Her conscientious, hard-working self battled mightly against her fun-needing self.  “Work? Play?  Work?   Play?” The powers tussled. They tugged. They taunted.
Happily, I’m proud to report, play emerged victorious.  RockStar chose to go to the motorcycle race that weekend and reported she felt so much better, emotionally and physically, when she returned home.  She was energized and renewed and ready to once again take on her to-do list.
I know this scenario plays out in your life on a regular basis, too.  We are imbued with the Puritan work ethic and it is a daily fight to keep the toil mongers at bay and remember to also enjoy the pleasures life has to offer.
Since begging is never pretty, I will instead implore you (synonym for beg)  to take time during your precious days to play.  Nothing complicated. Nothing expensive. Just…play.
If you need more convincing, take a few minutes to read the first chapter of Dr. Stuart Brown’s book, Play.  How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul.  If that sparks your interest, you can also visit The National Institute for Play website to explore more ideas about the importance of play in personal health, relationships, education and companies.
Still stuck?  Give me a call or shoot me an
email.  With a little Coaching, you, like RockStar, can learn to give your hard-working, hard-driving self permission to play.
Your Life and Play Coach,
Francie Cooper,
P.S.  For more info on this topic, tune in to this week’s internet radio episode of TapaPalapa!  Steve and I are at the park planning our own Play Days!

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.

New Pocast from Tapa Palapa! January 19, 2011

Posted by franciecooper in life coaching, life lessons, Uncategorized.
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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.

Finding Your Calling January 19, 2011

Posted by franciecooper in life coaching, life lessons, Uncategorized.
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Finding Your Work-Life Calling
“Where talents and the needs of the world cross, therein lies your vocation.”  Aristotle
This week, we’re again exploring the world of work, specifically the idea of finding your calling.  In ten years of Coaching, I’ve had many, many clients struggle with this issue – as young adults, at mid-life, and, yes, even at retirement.  Finding your calling is actually a multi-faceted undertaking, but this week I invite you to at least get started.   How do you do that?
First, I believe it’s important to gain access to your imaginative, creative self, that wonderful part of you that exists in the right side of your brain.  To do this, sit and breathe deeply and quietly.  Feel yourself becoming relaxed.
Now, calmly and gently, ask yourself these questions:
As a child, what did I love to do that, when doing, I lost track of time?  Did you like to play with friends, put on “shows,” write, run, work in the garden, ride horses or bikes, draw, play games, fiddle with the computer, play grocery store, help work on cars, play with animals, clean, listen to music, dance?  What was it that really brought you joy?  If you’re not sure, ask a parent or sibling – someone who knew you before you started school.
What do you do now that, when doing, you lose track of time?  Do you garden, go to shows, enjoy museums, talk to friends, play games, exercise, cook?  What is it that currently brings so much joy that you enter the flow – that space where you lose track of everything around you?  (You do know the answers to this question.  If it isn’t immediately apparent, that’s okay – ask your significant other, your children or a friend.)
Next, find paper and a pencil, crayons, markers, stickers, pens, or any type of writing implement.   Begin to sketch or write or create in some way the images you’ve called to mind.  Keep at it until something appears on paper. 
Now, consider this:  How might these images be representative of my calling?  What are they saying to me? 
If you’d like support in exploring your  calling, take your first step by entering a comment below, pick up your phone and give me a call at 817.929.9599, or visit my website at www.franciecooper.com.
If you’re interested in listening to more information on this topic, tune in to this week’s podcast on TapaPalapa.com.  Your ideal work-life is calling to you!