We all have life stories and scripts by which we live our lives. What one does with one's story can cause painful inertia in the present or facilitate positive change.
For some, clinging to an outdatd life story is a habit, an excuse not to risk change. Some have a story that is an endless loop of victimhood. Some have life stories and expectations that complicate family relationships in many ways.
Changing one's perspective and one's life story can be difficult and painful, but can lead one toward growth and a more satisfying new life. It may mean letting go of old pain to make room for new possibilities. Letting go of old family roles can be liberating and lead to better relationships with kin. Letting go of bitter life stories of victimhood can open your life to new opportunities. Letting go of old anger can create room for joy.
When you change your story, you can change your life.
What is life like when the retirement honeymoon is over?
Settling into this major life transition is much like we experienced in settling into our life's work or a long marriage: taking responsibility for our own choices and behavior and living with gratitude.
In this episode, Dr. McCoy discusses the fact that constant happiness is an impossibility, even under the best of circumstances, but we cn make the choice to stay positive, to accept current reality and to make peace with what is. Gratitude is a major part of this. So is understanding that happiness comes most readily not from getting, but from giving, not from hedonistic pleasures but from doing what gives our lives meaning at this phase of life.
In this episode, Dr. McCoy reflects on a New York Times opinion piece by a young writer complaining of the rudeness of people who send emails or texts to say "Thank you!" or who leave a voice mail message instead of texting. He said that such people were wasting his time.
Dr. McCoy discusses the value of all forms of communication across the generations, saying that we need to honor each other's favored means of communication, reaching out to each other in a variety of ways. She talks about the value of being respectful of each other, of greeting another's message with warmth rather than silence, and how this can bridge gaps between us, whether these are generational or philosophical or due to past misunderstandings.
How often do we look back into our personal histories and see the past in a new way, not forgetting the past as we once experienced it, but now reviewing it through the prism of life experience?
As time goes on, we have a choice. We can hold onto anger, bitterness and regret, letting negative experiences from the past darken our present. Or we can choose to look back with new understanding and with love. And that can be so freeing.
The value of perspective, the seasoning of our views and emotions with the years of experience that life brings, is inestimable in helping us to see all the colors and shadings in the complicated rainbow of our lives.
Not all friendships are forever. Even some close and treasured friends fall away over time -- maybe due to changing life circumstances, maybe due to misunderstandings, maybe due to no longer truly knowing and supporting each other. What do you do when a friendship becomes history?
In this episode, Dr. McCoy discusses lost friendships, what we learn and how we grow not simply despite them, but because of them.
How do you feel about Valentine's Day? Neutral or disapproving of yet another commercial holiday? Having warm memories of past Valentine's Days? Or painful reflections of romantic disappointments or long ago hurt?
In this episode, Dr. McCoy discusses these varied reactions -- and the lessons we can learn from our experiences.
In this episode, Dr. McCoy discusses the discrepancies we face between the people we once were and the people we are today; between how we seem to others and who we are inside. She talks about those who feel passionate and energetic despite weakening bodies and increasing disabilities, between seeming shyness or arrogance and the fears and insecurities within. She suggests ways that we can live fully whatever our circumstances by paying attention, not just to present aches and pains, but to the ageless, life-affirming, vibrant spirit within.
There is great value in the Hawaiian tradition of "taking story": sharing stories of oral history or one's life or simply one's day. There's a real therapeutic value in sharing with another, to be known and accepted, to know and accept another. Differing points of view or experiences only add to the richness of the exchange. By listening to others' stories, we can begin to undestnad who they are and why they make the choices they do. It can keep us from making assumptions about others. Strangers can become friends and friends can become family.
So often we miss the full measure of today because we're looking ahead to new challenges, either anticipated or dreaded, or behind us to old regrets or to triumphs unlikely to happen again. How would it be to live just in this moment, savoring it fully?
Dr. McCoy got a lesson in mindfulness from two elderly Irish nuns, lifelong friends, who are facing a barrage of physical challenges and yet who live joyously, vibrantly in the moment. This podcast includes an exercise for savoring all aspects of today, this moment, as a resting place, a regue from all that has come before and whatever lies ahead.
Have you given up on your New Year's resolutions yet? Many have.
Resolutions can seem punitive, stressful, set-ups for failure. Instead of resolutions, make some New Year's promises to yourself.
Promises mean hope. In this episode, Dr. McCoy discusses some promises that may help you to meet some goals important to you with much pleasure along the way.
You can promise yourself nutritionous meals, more engagement with life, the freedom to surprise yourself, the peace of making choices that resonate with you and accepting life as it is, the joy of embracing all the love you have in your life.
Does Election 2016 have you down?
Are you longing for the past as your life continues to change?
Dr. McCoy has some suggestions for reclaiming your holiday spirit while embracing your melancholy self and revisiting the warm memories of Christmas Past in other times of your life: the wonder of childhood holidays, the happy busyness of the holidays when your own children were young, the peace and quiet joy in your later years as you watch your children play host to family holidays and the grandchildren face the world and its holidays with wonder.
No matter what is causing sadness in the present, Dr. McCoy has gentle advice to help you use the past and your insights in the present to create a renewed holiday spirit.
Responding to numerous listener requests to talk about what it takes to become a successful professional writer, Dr. McCoy, the author of more than a dozen books and hundreds of magazine articles, talks about the realities of the publishing business, the challenges and the possibilities.
She gives 5 essential qualities that one must have to launch a successful writing career.
Some surprises of aging are happy ones -- new comfort with your aging body, new ease with the person you are -- and some are sobering -- such as an increased sense of mortality.
In this episode, Dr. McCoy discusses a full array of the surprises that aging brings and how these can enrich rather than limit one's appreciation of life and joy in living.
Wondering how to get through this holiday season after an ugly and divisive Election 2016? What can you do, this Thanksgiving and beyond, to keep your sanity if you and family members have been at odds over politics?
Whether you choose to brave big family holiday celebrations, postpone festivities until later into the holiday season or skip the family festivities altogether this year, Dr. McCoy has some ideas for dealing with family differences and divides and actually enjoying the holiday season!
As we get older, we become more of whatever we were before.
Obnoxious jerks become more unbearable.
The rest of us? Dr. McCoy talks about the fact that most of us bring many qualities, positive and negative, to our later years. She discusses the desirability to tame the jerk in each one of us by becoming aware of and making an effort to change the habits and quirks that may be annoying to others and to build on our kindness and compassion.
She encourages listeners to come up with a list of small but positive changes that will be doable, just for today.
So many people -- some years away from retirement -- dream of the day they can step away from commuting, office politics and other stresses of a full-time job. They may fantasize about a whole new lifestyle, living in a resort, having unlimited time to do exactly what they want.
In this episode, Dr. McCoy discusses these dreams and 6 realities of retirement living that pre-retirees need to know and include in their planning so that those distant dreams will one day become a reality even better than they can currently imagine!
All of us have stories we need to tell. In this episode, Dr. McCoy talks about the need to take time to listen to the stories of others -- not just to be kind, but also because there is so much we can learn.
The marriage of an adult child brings changes and challenges to parents, even when the marriage is a happy event for all the families involved.
The young couple will be grappling with the logistics of a blended life: dividing time and attention to at least two different sets of in-laws, adjusting to differing family of origin values and patterns of interaction and behavior.
How can you, as a parent, keep close when your adult child marries? In this episode, Dr. McCoy discusses 5 strategies for building new closeness with your adult child and his or her spouse.
During a lunch out recently, Dr. McCoy noticed two women who appeared to be mother and daughter at a table next to her.
The older woman spent the entire time engaging in a pleasant phone call, leaving the younger woman to stare at the table and to eat a largely silent meal.
It's easy to blame technology for intruding on our lives, but, as Dr. McCoy points out, we have choices: to allow technology to intrude, to rush mindlessly through each day, to let busyness interfere with closeness and connection.
In this episode, Dr. McCoy makes suggestions for living mindfully and what a difference this can make.
What distinguishes successful couples from those whose relationships disintegrate?
In this episode, Dr. Kathy McCoy, drawing on her experience as a marriage counselor and psychotherapist, discusses the qualities a couple needs to make a relationship work for both partners.
Just as happiness is an elusive life goal, feelings often considered negative such as anxiety or sadness, can be life-enhancing.
In this episode, Dr. McCoy discusses the up side of down feelings and why these feelings can warn us of danger or motivate us toward positive change.
There are some phrases that set a therapist's teeth on edge.
For Dr. McCoy, these are "That's just the way I am", "That's just the way I was raised.." and "It's my parents' fault because..."
In this episode, she discusses what such sentiments really mean to the therapist and to the prognosis of the client. She also suggests ways to begin to grow out of psychological immobility to experience the joy of taking responsibility for one's own life.
It's a common side effect of retirement: the emotional claustrophobia that happens when couples find themselves with more time together than they've ever had.
In this episode, Dr. McCoy suggests ways to create contentment with time alone and time together, giving each other space and freedom to pursue individual interests and, at the same time, savoring moments together much more.
What is your ultimate retirement nightmare? For many, it is an impoverished, maybe even homeless, retirement.
Dr. McCoy discusses such common fears and offers stories of two men who are living what we fear with dignity, peace and joy. In examining their lives and their attitudes, Dr. McCoy imagines that perhaps the thing to fear and avoid most is not financial poverty but poverty of character.
"Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass. It's about learning to dance in the rain."
In this episode, Dr. McCoy discusses what it means to dance in the rain as the storms of life happen to us and all around us: how to find comfort in warm memories in times of grief, laughing between the waves of pain during difficult life transitions, and how to find happiness in every day life as well as in special moments.