Tim O'Rahilly Life Coaching

Archive for June 2015

Mindful Monday: Maturity Rules!

Fifty-somethings are the new Middle-aged.

Many artists, writers and philosophers have been inspired by the human life cycle and have presented the various states from birth to death in their own way. One such was the Renaissance artist Titian, who 500 years ago painted his The Three Ages of Man.  Titian looked in allegorical terms at childhood, manhood and old age. This was a time when old age was all about approaching death, but that is no longer the case. I believe it’s time to reassess and to insert a new stage in between ‘manhood’ and old age.

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Fifty is the new middle-age. Just a decade ago, anyone entering their fifties might be thinking of slowing down. It was time to embrace the elasticated waist and the plaid slippers as you began the more sedate Autumn of your life. Things have moved on since then and our traditional view of old age needs to be challenged. The first stage has always about you as a child. The second is the stage of responsibility, with you as a parent. The third stage was usually about you as a grandparent with one foot in the grave.

Of course you may well have reached your fifties and become a grandparent. You could, however, just as easily be the parent of a pre-school child or of a bunch of teenagers. Alternatively the kids may have flown the nest, or they may even have done that and then returned home again. The cost of living, particularly the cost of accommodation, means that huge numbers of twenty-somethings continue to live at home depending on the Bank of Mum & Dad. Cultural changes mean that you may be in a long term relationship, but you are just as likely to be on your second or third marriage. You may have chosen the single life, or you could be back in the dating game.

The biggest changes to contemporary old age are longevity and improved health. With people now living to ages well in excess of eighty, that one foot has been pulled back out of the grave with the prospect of another thirty years or more still to come. Improvements in health and social care mean that we are fitter and healthier in our fifties and now much more in control of our own latter years.

Many fifty-somethings are starting new ventures. Not only are most still working, but this age group are the fastest growing group for new business start-ups. Even in these austere times, this extended employment leads to greater spending power too.

We are swamped with information about how to stay fit and healthy as we grow older, but since we are thinking in terms of mindfulness here, it is your mental well being that I want to look at. If the first stage of life was about you being a child and the second stage was you as a parent then I think the third stage must be about you being you.

Whatever else is going on in your life, whether it involves, work, family, partner, children or business, you now need to make time just for yourself. This starts with a taking good look at all the important areas of your life so that you can see which areas need some improvement. A great tool to help with this is the Wheel of Life which I have described in detail elsewhere. Whether or not you use the wheel you should divide your life up into some or all of the following areas: Work, finances, home, family, creativity, spirituality, health and fitness, relaxation, social life/friends, love and romance. Give each area a score out of ten so that you can highlight those areas that need development.

Don’t be scared to get help with any weak areas or challenges. Call on your GP, maybe access a life coach or therapist. If you have financial worries get expert help from an accountant or even one of the financial charities. If you have relationship challenges then try to sort them out before they become a serious problem.

Make sure that you build ‘me time’ into each and every day. Get back in touch with the real you or with the you that you always wanted to be. Whether you want to grow old gracefully or disgracefully, make sure that you are doing it on your own terms.

Mindful Monday : Dance Like nobody’s watching.

I’m sure you will have come across this verse or lines from it in many forms and in many places. It is often quoted but it seems that nobody is sure where it came from.

10255439_10152019431592793_8595509808069636734_nDance like no one is watching.

Love like you’ll never be hurt.

Sing like nobody is listening.

And live like it’s heaven on earth.

Let a smile be your style today!

Whatever the origin, the message is powerful. Live life for today. Smell the flowers. Soak up the sunshine. Kiss the baby. Do it all with a smile. I have talked about Mindfulness and the power of Mindful meditation but I also believe that too much introspection and too much time spent deciding how to connect can, leave one taking life far too seriously and not actually living it.

We get so absorbed in the search for happiness that we miss the chance to be happy. Contemporary life is filled with challenges for all of us and everyday things bring new sadness, more worry and ever more stress. Let’s just take that as read and decide to be happy anyway. Alfred D.Souza once wrote:-

For a long time. It seems to me that life was about to begin, real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be gotten through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, or a debt to be paid. Then life would begin. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles. Were my life.”

If we choose to view life from this perspective then we see that there is no way to happiness, happiness is itself the way. If we accept this and we must also learn to cherish every moment. Try to share every treasured moment with someone special. Surround yourself with people worth sharing your precious time with.

Remember that in the bank account that is your life, time is unique. You are making steady withdrawals as you go through life, but you cannot make any deposits. Time waits for no man, and your time will not wait for you. So stop procrastinating. Banish ‘until’ from your thinking. Stop waiting….

Until you finish school.

Until you go back to school.

Until you win the lottery.

Until you lose weight.

Until you gain weight.

Until you get a job.

Until you get married.11062693_10206189599515939_5483164311003855328_n

Until you have kids.

Until you get divorced.

Until the kids start school.

Until the kids start college.

Until the kids graduate.

Until the kids leave home.

Until you retire.

Until you get a new car.

Until you get a new house.

Until tomorrow.

Until the sun comes out.

Until the rain stops.

Until the weekend.

Until Monday morning.

Until the end of the month.

Until spring.

Until summer.

Until autumn.

Until winter.

Until after Christmas.

Until the New Year.

Until payday.

Until your song comes on.

Until you have a drink.

Until you are sober.

Until you die.

Until you are born again!

1528722_479233458864358_1378845511_nDecide that there is no better time than right now to be happy. Happiness is the journey, not the destination:-

Sing like nobody’s listening.

Live like there is no tomorrow.

Work like you don’t need the money.

Love like you’ll never be hurt.

And dance like no one is watching!

 

This is an edited and updated version of a blog which I first posted in March 2012.

Mindful Monday: The Value and Power of a Smile.

This may seem a strange note to begin today’s blog on, but Monday 1st June 2015 has seen the death of the widely admired British politician Charles Kennedy. A man haunted by personal demons he is remembered for many things but the one thing mentioned by all commentators has been his wit and good humour. These are things sadly missing in much of modern political life and I believe this to be a large part of the reason why our liking of politicians is at a very low ebb. Our world needs more joy and happiness in every field. I believe that we have within us, the means to revolutionise relationships, business, sport definitely politics. The power source for this revolution would be the widespread use of that universal indicator of happiness and friendship: the smile.

The smile is the shortest distance between people. -Victor Borge

Genuine smiles can warm hearts, spread peace and light up cloudy days.VirgilGriffithFace by Meng Weng Wong Smiles do so much more than express happiness. A smile transmits clear messages about a person’s approachability, sincerity, trustworthiness, attractiveness and sociability.

Of course not all smiles are genuine, but fake smiles are easy to spot and usually only involve the mouth. A true smile however, what psychologists call a Duchenne smile, involves the eyes also. For a long time this was considered to be the mark of a real smile but it is now known that even Duchenne smile can be feigned.

A truer marker might be the speed at which a smile develops. The fake smile (‘Botox smile’, ‘Pan Am smile’) can be switched on in an instant. A genuine smile, however, will spread across the face more naturally, appearing to draw in its recipients. Slow onset smiles are seen as more authentic, trustworthy and even more seductive.

If we use our smiles in the work or business context, does that mean that they will always be of the false (non-Duchenne) variety? Of course not. If we truly believe in what we are doing, if we are acting with honesty and integrity, if we genuinely love our interactions with other people in all their variety, then those smiles will be as warm and true as any.

10882177_10205741722678650_4073863254311667909_nLaugh and the world laughs with you; weep and you weep alone. – Ella Wheeler Wilcox.

Laugh and the world laughs with you; Slobber and they put you outdoors. – Snoopy

You will have read or heard much about the fact that it takes fewer muscles to smile than it does to frown. There is much more to the muscle thing too. Scientists have known for a long time that emotions are accompanied by numerous physiological changes, from increased heart rate to flexion of the zygomatic major muscle (i.e. smiling). More recently however, we’ve come to understand that the effect can work both ways. Your brain actually pays attention to what your body is doing, and it affects your emotions. Posture can influence the way you feel and although this was first called the “facial feedback hypothesis”, it applies to more than just muscles of the face. The good news is that while it is not always easy to control our emotions, it’s much easier to control our muscles. So try smiling more and you may well start to feel happier too!

The smile is an immensely powerful tool. 10013913_804587782888142_1591503148_nMost people think that we smile because we feel happy, but it can go the other way as well: we can feel happy because we smile.

So go on, smile. Just do it!

 

This is an updated version of an article originally posted on here in August 2012.