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Ask Coach Paradise

Coach Paradise is here to help people make the kind of changes that will allow them to live the lives they only dream of. Recently returned to her own tropical home, she is offering her services so that others can create paradise in their lives wherever they are. No concern is too big or small for her unique coaching approach which comes with compassion, creativity and a heartfelt desire to help others produce extraordinary results. If you have a question for Coach Paradise, please send it confidentially to her at anne@coachparadise.com.
Dear Coach Paradise,
I am writing to you about my 82-year-old mom. She is not the healthiest person I know but keeps fooling herself into thinking she is fine. Last night she told me that her kidneys are still blocked but she keeps drinking caffeinated tea! She is going to have an MRI next week to check out her kidney functions and she also has numerous other medical problems for which she takes multiple medications.
I discovered alternative medicine and healthy living years ago and went from being a sickly person dependent on doctors and medicine to a healthy, active woman who is passionate about my approach to prevention and healing.
My mother thinks that I have been brainwashed, won't listen to a word I say and won't act on any of my suggestions. She completely trusts traditional medicine and is so used to being ill that she thinks she is fine.
I am really worried about her. I am worried about the side effects of all the medications and about her toxic lifestyle.
I told her about a really inspirational movie, "The Secret," that I just saw, and she seemed kind of interested. I also told her about a book I am reading about how to change your relationship with money. She sounded interested in that too, and she is a big reader.
What should I do? I am so scared for her but she is so stubborn and won't listen to a word I say.
Signed,
At my wits end
Dear Wits End,
It is really difficult and frustrating to see someone you love make such poor decisions. Your concern shows just what a loving daughter you are. We all have 'structures of knowing,' which are mental models of how things work, and these structures of knowing are often so much a part of how we see the world that it seems impossible to see things in any other way. Your mother clearly has many such structures around her health, medicine and lifestyle. So do we all.
When we feel that our deeply entrenched beliefs are being threatened, we become defensive and hold on even tighter. It sounds like this is what your mother is doing. She probably feels threatened by what she may see as your beating her over the head with your recommendations and admonishments. Head-on challenges don't work very well with others or with us. The older we get, the more complex and rigid our structures of knowing can become, and it takes being flexible and courageous to make changes.
I think you would be doing your mom a real favor by sending her the movie and book you mentioned, and just stay open to any questions or conversations she might want to have about them. It sounds like both of these contain seeds of what you would like her to consider as new ways of looking at her beliefs and lifestyle. After a lifetime of thinking a certain way and going to doctors, any change would have to be small to start and would need to come from her. There are doctors who are open to alternative approaches and she might be more inclined to listen to someone with a medical degree. Supporting anything positive that she does will help her relax and be more open. If she has made it to 82 she must have many strengths. Acknowledge her for these. Also, being healthy yourself and an example of what you are talking about is the best advertisement for your way of life.
Warm wishes,
Coach Paradise
Editor's note: Coach Paradise (aka Anne Nayer), Professional Life Coach, is a member of the International Coaching Federation, an MSW clinical social worker/psychotherapist, and a medical case manager with 30 years experience working with people of all shapes, sizes and challenges.
For further information about her services, call 340-774-4355

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