How to Find Spiritual Freedom and Empowerment

I have always been a spiritual seeker. But I became a religious rebel.

You see the problem was, from my earliest memories, I had a real sense of the Divine — in Nature, in life and even a little bit in myself. But I was immersed in a dogma that beat it right out of me (figuratively and literally).

The notion that we ought to praise and fear some “Out there God-Being, watching over us waiting to punish or reward based on our behavior that day” was pretty awful and terrifying.

Thank GOD I couldn’t just go along with it!

There is a much more peaceful and empowered approach to living the truth that we are spiritual beings having a human experience.

Here are a few of the most powerful dogma-flips:

  • God is not a human-like being “out there” somewhere. God/ Source/ Creator is life, is a principle. It is everywhere, in everything, including in you. You are literally an extension of God and all the creative force, power and beauty that is God is also You.
  • God doesn’t reward or punish. We punish ourselves by choosing against peace and by choosing to believe we have no power over our emotions. You can get pissed off at the guy who just cut you off in traffic if you like. You can waste those moments in anger and frustration. Or you can spend those moments in peace and warmth. That’s your choice. Just give it a try – try letting something formerly irritating slide off. Just try it out as an experiment. After all you can always choose to go back to your old, irritable, fuming ways! It’s YOUR CHOICE. ALWAYS!
  • There is nothing wrong with having desires, with wanting more. God doesn’t require “sacrifice”. The key is getting clear about what it is we truly want. I don’t believe we just want more stuff, more money for the sake of it. What we all want, more than anything else, whether we know it or not, is to awaken to who we truly are, to awaken to the power, and beauty and love that our consciousness sometimes brushes up against and then darts back from. Over a century ago, Dr. Harriet Emilie Cady (one of the first female doctors in New York), wrote Lessons in Truth. This little book is a gem of empowered spirituality. Dr. Cady wrote:

We want a revelation of God in us as life … We no longer care to have somebody just tell us from the outside. We want a revelation of God as love within us, so that our whole being will be filled and thrilled with love – a love that will not have to be pumped up by determined effort because we know that it is right to love and wrong not to love, but a love that will flow with the spontaneity and fullness of an artesian well, because it is so full at the bottom that it must flow out.

Man, that’s so beautiful I wish I had written it!  I do indeed want it and sometimes, when I clear the inner clutter, I remember that I already have it.  Dr. Cady went on to point out that our desire to become more, to experience more creativity and success, is actually God’s desire to manifest more of Itself. She wrote, “Let us not at any time lose sight of the fact that our desire, great as it is, is only God’s desire in us.

So don’t shrink Violet. Don’t feel bad for desiring more of life. Drop the old dogmas and teachings of not-enoughness and powerlessness. Open your petals. Let your radiance show. Remember who and what You Are. You are a piece of God and absolutely essential to the fullness of Creation.

And if you’re facing challenges, what feel like limitations in your work, family, finances, health, whatever, just remember that as your outer world contracts you have a powerful opportunity to allow your inner world to expand beyond measure. I shared a bit about my own experience of this in my recent TEDx talk titled, “Who Do You Think You Are, Really?

Here’s to YOU and to LOVE like a deep and overflowing well!

Cylvia Hayes

 

#CylviaHayes  #ResilencyMuscles  #Empowerment

Got Fear? Answers Here (and Now)

Fear is one of our universally shared human experiences. We all deal with it. It’s also one of the most difficult emotions to cope with.

Fear likely originally developed as a survival mechanism to help alert us to a stalking saber-toothed tiger or some such. It’s still useful for getting us think twice about jumping off a cliff or driving like a wild woman.

However, in modern life most of our fear isn’t about physical survival. It’s about things like:

  • I don’t have enough money in my checking account.
  • What if he leaves me?
  • What if she disapproves of me?

Over the past few years, as I’ve been navigating so much uncertainty, I’ve faced all of the above in spades. It’s really been something of a doctoral program in fear management. And I’ve learned some really important things about fear and ways to move beyond it.

First, most of the chronic day to day fear we accept as the normal backdrop is not only toxic to our health but also TOTALLY UNNECESSARY!

In the first many, many weeks of life blowing up my fear was so extreme it was a tangible entity, a beast.

  • What was the latest news story saying?
  • What is going to happen with my work?
  • How could I survive this financially?
  • Was the person I loved most in the world going to leave me?

At times it was so intense that even my sweat smelled different, ranker than normal.

And guess what? None of that happened! Yes, it was horrific. Yes, I’m still facing challenges getting through all of it. But my career isn’t destroyed. John and I are still together. Actually our family is healthier than ever. And to this day not one person has been ugly to my face – all the nastiness has been anonymous or behind the protection of a computer screen or media institution.

This has been so mind-blowingly powerful. I have spent so much of my life in fear of some dreaded imagined future outcome and NONE of them ever happened! All the big stuff that hit – the blown knee, my sister’s death, the public character assassination, family members getting into rough spots – I hadn’t even seen those coming!

The truth is, other than real, in the moment survival, like a war zone or, “Oh shit there’s a rattlesnake!” most fear is totally unwarranted and a whole lot of it is driven by our desire for other people’s approval.

Mark Twain said, “I am an old man and I have known a great many troubles but most of them never happened.”

It’s worth considering what fears right now, are clenching your guts, keeping you up at night? And are they really necessary? And what are they stopping you from doing?

And, very importantly, WHAT THE HECK CAN YOU DO ABOUT IT?!

The single most effective tool I’ve found for breaking free from chronic fear is learning to practice BEING IN THE PRESENT MOMENT. The simple fact is unless we train ourselves differently, most of us spend the bulk of our lives focused on the past or the future, often in fear. Right now you may be facing a lot of unknowns, worry, angst. But ask yourself this, right now in this very moment are you basically OK? Are you right now, under direct attack? Do you have shelter and food? Are you breathing? If you have time to read this sentence your answer is almost certainly yes!

Practicing becoming aware of the present moment, over and over again, is a powerful tool for taking the reins back from fear and getting clear about which ones are just about some future imagined outcome (those you should just let go of) and which really merit action on your part. I guarantee that learning to do this on a regular basis will change your life for the better.

Here’s a simple exercise.

  • Sit down with feet firmly, comfortably on the floor
  • Just start noticing things with your five senses. The feel of the chair beneath you. The sounds. What do you see right in front of you above the computer screen? To your left? Right?
  • Take a deep breath. Is there a breeze? Is it still? Can you smell anything?
  • Touch the skin on the back of your hand. Notice the sensation.
  • If thoughts come in just bring your attention back to the things your senses are picking up in this one moment in time.
  • Find one thing in this moment and this setting that you feel grateful for.
  • Smile a little.
  • Rinse and Repeat as often as possible throughout the day even for just a few seconds.

The way to free yourself from unnecessary fear is in the PRESENT MOMENT, the Here and NOW.

To Peace, Fearlessness and Freedom!

Cylvia

P.S. I also highly recommend reading The Power of Now, by Eckert Tolle.

 

If you are interested in scheduling a session to find freedom from fear fill out the inquiry form here: http://www.cylviahayes.net/coaching/

#Empowerment #CylviaHayes #ResiliencyMuscles

Is Your Situation Really What You Think It Is?

Me doing talk with clunky broken leg boot!

I always believed I’d do a TED talk, but I never could have guessed it would be on the topic I wound up addressing and I certainly hadn’t envisioned being on stage in a CLUNKY BROKEN LEG BOOT!

Since my talk was about the power and liberation in learning to take back the reins from Ego’s smallness and fear, the clunky boot became part of the story because, although I didn’t see it at the time, I actually broke my leg doing something I wasn’t comfortable with in an attempt to impress someone.

However, there is another really powerful part of the story that I didn’t share in the talk that I want to share with you now. Warning, it is a little bit graphic.

One of the most powerful, life-changing new habits I’ve learned over the past few years is to pause before I judge or react to a situation. Sometimes this is little stuff, like when someone cancels an appointment at the last minute. My first reaction might be to get irritated and feel like they aren’t valuing my time. However, almost every time when I take a step back all it really means is that I have the luxury of a little unexpected freed up time.

Sometimes the situation is a much bigger deal. The recent broken leg is one of the most powerful examples I’ve experienced.

The horse scrambled up off of me. I was face down in the dirt. Even though totally disoriented I immediately sensed something was seriously damaged. I don’t even remember rolling over, sitting up and looking down at my legs. “Oh God, on no.” My left foot was bent out at a ghastly 90 degree angle and I could see where the shin bone was trying to poke through the skin just above the ankle.

This wasn’t my first rodeo with a serious orthopedic injury and I knew the pain was about to get really, really bad. I couldn’t believe I was seriously injured again!

My mind started down the path of, “Oh man, I can’t afford this. I can’t afford it financially, or the time off, or the disruption to everything I need to do.”

And then, using new tools honed over the past couple of years, I shifted. I made the choice not to judge. I opened up to, “Maybe there is a different way to look at this. Maybe this is happening for me and not just to me.”

Then I shifted further to, “What do I want the outcome of this to be?

  • I want to be able to walk again.
  • I want this to increase my spiritual awakening.
  • I want it to empower my work.
  • I want to have beautiful encounters with everyone I interact with in dealing with this.

And then the pain hit and there was no more thinking, just writhing, gasping, trying to keep breathing.

There’s a lot more to the whole story. Having the leg set in the emergency room and having that orthopedic surgeon say, “Wow. Oh my goodness,” when he saw the X-ray.  Being handed over to a “Trauma Expert” surgeon.  Having the trauma team use 12 screws and two plates to piece back together 20+ bone fragments. The terrible pain. Blah, blah, blah.

The BIGGER part of the story by far is the MIRACLES the situation delivered because of the lens I put on it. I had incredible care from ambulance, emergency room, surgeons, nurses, therapists – I had deep conversations with some of them. I opened up and asked for help (a big, new thing for me) and had dozens of people bring me food, run errands, even clean my house while I was healing. The insurance companies stepped up to cover far more of the costs than I had expected. I am healing weeks ahead of schedule. I had more down time to really work on my TED talk than I’d expected and, man oh man, I needed every minute!  And of course, as noted above I was even able to use the story and my broken leg boot to good effect in the talk.

There is huge power in learning to release our reactionary attitudinal grip on any situation. STAYING OPEN TO POSSIBLE POSITIVE OUTCOMES MAKES THOSE OUTCOMES POSSIBLE!  Read that one again.

My encouragement to you is to learn the art of taking a step back before judging any situation as good or bad. You have the awesome ability to disconnect your state of being from the circumstances swirling in your life.

If you’d like some help with this just let me know.

Happy weekend!

Cylvia

#CylviaHayes  #ResiliencyMuscles  #EmpowermentCoach

Are you using Confirmation Bias against yourself?

We’re hearing a lot these days about “Confirmation Bias” in our media choices. This is the tendency we have to only tune into (and be sent info from) media sources that are likely to confirm what we already believe. Because it is challenging for us to admit me might be wrong we gravitate toward messages that tell us we’re right (even if we actually are wrong!). This leads to a massive constriction in our worldview.

But there is an even more dangerous version of Confirmation Bias — and that is the tendency we have to keep believing our own limiting stories about ourselves and our world.

These stories we tell ourselves LITERALLY create our experiences in life. Take that in for a second. Your life reflects the stories you have accepted as truth.

This puts a whole new spin on “Who do you think you are?” Victim. Overcomer. Don’t really deserve. Not thin enough. Not smart enough. Not good enough. Unlucky. Happy. Gifted. Fortunate.

We also create the lens through which we view the world. Hard. Dangerous. Dog eat dog. If you believe life is hard and you have to fight your way through then you will do a lot of struggling. Believe me, I know all about this one!

If you believe most people can’t be trusted then you’ll see a lot of untrustworthy people. Due to my childhood I used to believe that, but when I got a little distance and looked deep, I realized by far most people I’ve encountered have been good and kind people. I am now continuously blown away by the beautiful, caring, generous people that come into my life.

It took me until my late 40’s to shift the belief that I was a survivor to the truth that I AM a thriver. Talk about a powerful life lens changer!

Confirmation bias in our media choices leads to a constricted worldview. Staying blind to the confirmation bias in our self-beliefs leads to emotional constriction and constriction of our true potential.

Your core beliefs and your constructed identity are like powerful magnets drawing to you experiences that confirm those beliefs. One of the most important self-empowerment strategies is to become aware of the stories you’ve been telling yourself about yourself and our world. This is your life. This is your story and you absolutely have the right to rewrite it!

Happy editing!

Cylvia

 

If you are interested in scheduling a session to work on core beliefs and rewriting your personal story fill out the inquiry form here: http://www.cylviahayes.net/coaching/

#Empowerment #CylviaHayes

Slaying the Giant of Limiting Beliefs

It may surprise you but I want to say thank you to the Oregonian newspaper. Without their 3½ years of ongoing attacks I would never have grown and deepened as I have, and am.

I truly would have been surprised if they hadn’t launched another one just on the eve of my TEDxBend talk. They did. And all it’s done is generate a flood of love and encouragement from friends and supporters all across the community. For that too I am grateful.

Someone just asked me if I felt like the Oregonian was my Goliath. I started to say yes and then realized that actually they were just a symptom of my real Goliath, and that is my (up until now) lifelong sense of not being good enough. That giant has caused me some real harm over the years. But in an amazing turn of events, the Oregonian’s nastiness has helped me find liberation. Now, each one of their attacks just becomes another stone in my sling helping me slay the giant of limiting self-beliefs.

As I’ll talk about on Saturday one of the huge upsides of these ongoing challenges has been learning that peace and empowerment is a choice and there are practical ways to grow our ability to stay above the battlefield and in joy despite the crap that might be swirling in the circumstances of day-to-day life.

What’s your Goliath? And what tools, however strangely or perversely disguised, can you use to bring him down?

Huge love to all of you for being there and showing kindness and support. I look forward to seeing a bunch of you this Saturday.

Love,

Cylvia

 

Write/ Re-write Your Own Story

Our lives are the result of the stories we tell ourselves. How we experience this life is absolutely driven by our core beliefs about ourselves, others and life in general. This becomes the lens through which we view everything we experience.

Do you believe you are smart? Not smart? Basically a good person? Lucky? Unlucky? Do you think most people are against you? Do you think most people are basically good?

THESE BELIEFS SHAPE YOUR EXPERIENCE of YOUR LIFE! And here’s the great news. The unexamined stories we tell ourselves are usually FAKE NEWS! And we can change our own stories.

Core beliefs often take root in our early years and around really intense experiences. They are often formed by the opinions and comments of the really influential (positive or negative) people in our lives – parents, siblings, lovers, teachers.

I’ll give you an example. My dad was a hugely powerful force in my life, in some beautiful and some really dark ways. I wanted his approval and praise. He praised me for being smart. He also praised me for being tough, for not crying, for being able to fight and win against boys. There is no question he loved me. He truly thought the nickname, “Worthless” was just in fun.

I’ve done a lot of core beliefs work over the years and I’ve always believed I was tough and resilient, a fighter. I’d always put those beliefs in the positive category.

And then, I started questioning. I remembered that many years ago, my dear late Godfather Whitney would often encourage me not to call myself tough. I didn’t get his discomfort then. Now I do.

My identifying with being “tough” kept me from really accepting help and grace. I took pride in being tough. Starting to question the value of this belief led me to a little bit of an existential crisis. So I dug a little deeper and realized the actual core belief was, “Life is hard, but by God I wasn’t going to let it beat me because I was tough and resilient!” Well guess what? I’ve created a life experience in which I’ve had to be!

So, lately I’m flipping the whole thing. I no longer want to fight my way through life – even though I know I can. I want to love my way through. I’m MOVING ON from tough. I am good, worthy, resourceFULL and have help and support everywhere I turn, which actually has been true my entire life.

Here’s a helpful tip. Take a look at your core beliefs. Pay special attention to those you feel a little uncertain about, the ones you’re not sure are positive or not – that’s the gold, the place to go deeper and get to the real core.

This is your growing edge. It is rich. You can flip every non-useful past story. You are the author of your own story, complete with edits.

Cylvia

#CylviaHayes #Empowerment

The Most Important Valentine is Your SELF

The Most Important Love at First Sight

You know the one about love at first sight? Well, the single most important place for that is in front of the mirror.

The most powerful love at first sight is the first moment you truly, deeply, see the real you and fall in love.

You are a beautiful, divinely inspired creation, perfect and lovely exactly as you are. You are worthy of love.

Once, you wake up, truly see your Self and fall in love, every other aspect of life becomes more beautiful and you will spread unimaginable beauty in our world.

So go forth Valentine. Love YourSelf. Shine.

Happy Valentine’s to all you dear friends.

Please share this with those on your Valentines list today! Let’s heal the world with a little Love at First Sight.

Cylvia

#CylviaHayes #ResilientandEmpowered.

Getting Irritated with an Angel

Dog spelled backwards is GOD.

I just got irritated with an angel.

This morning while doing my meditation and spiritual practices I had a message come through that I should drop the planning for a while, just do what’s right in front of me and trust the rest would work out.

Well, I am a planner baby! I have a daily do list, a weekly do list and longer range goals and plans. I like lists so much that when I wind up doing something productive that’s not on the list that day, I’ll write it on just so I can cross it off. Yes, I know, I know. …

Well, one thing on today’s list was taking my laptop to the shop because the battery needed to be replaced. I took Tessa, my big dog, with me because the computer shop is in the Old Mill District here in Bend Oregon and it’s beautiful and really dog-friendly. Tessa loves going there.

She is nine now and is slowing down a bit. As she’s getting older, sniffing is becoming more important. It’s like her olfactory system takes over the rest of her brain more often.  

So I get out of the car, laptop and hound dog in tow, in a hurry because I want to squeeze my work-out in before my next meeting. Tessa is trying to sniff every post and bush along the way (I call this checking her peemails). I am tugging on her a little saying, “Come on. Let’s go. Less sniffing more walking. Etc.” This blond woman walks past and says, “Oh yes, let’s not stop and smell the flowers because we have important things to do.” Well! The nerve of her! So annoying!

And then I realized she was telling me exactly what I’d been told in my meditation that morning. I started laughing and called out to her, “You know that’s exactly the message I needed just then. I’ll take the dog’s cue and smell some flowers!” The woman never turned around just gave me a thumps up over her shoulder.

It took ten minutes to walk the 100 feet to the computer store, Tessa checking peemails and me sniffing roses and lilies feeling the warm sun on our hides.

I think the lady may have been an angel. I’m certain it cannot be coincidence that dog written backwards spells G-O-D.

Cylvia Hayes

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Happy Mothers Day to All Tough Mother F…ers!

Tough Mother F…er! — Not what you think

As many of you know, one of the treasures I found in these past couple of really difficult years is a much, much deeper appreciation of my mother.

She’s had some really hard times, abused as a child and a wife and a mother. And yet, she stayed happy. She never talked about the hard stuff and she gushed about the good moments.

It used to drive me crazy! As a kid, the abuse spilled over onto me in a big way and I felt my mom was avoiding it, rewriting our history, in denial.  What the hell?!  I was pissed that she was whitewashing it.

I was wrong.

She doesn’t deny what went on. She’s just made a decision to FOCUS on the good. She has practiced gratitude for so long and so regularly that it’s now her native habitat.   She chose to find beauty and joy in simple pleasures. She made a CHOICE to be happy.

My mother is one Tough Mother Focuser! (Ha! You probably thought Tough Mother F..’er was going in a different direction! )

Focus is power. From the Law of Attraction, to The Secret, to recent developments in quantum physics, there are now mountains of evidence showing that our thoughts and intentions have concrete substance – they are very consequential. They shape our reality, our experiences, even our bodies.

For the last 30 years my mom’s life has not only delivered freedom from abuse but also beauty, love, joy, financial security.  And, as it turns out, greater appreciation from her children than she probably ever could have imagined.

My mom didn’t whitewash or run away from anything. Instead of delusional she’s intentional. She chose to focus on the positive because somehow she knew that life was much more than whatever awful situation we might be dealing with in any given moment.  Somehow, despite her very limited and challenging upbringing she knew that often the only thing we can control is how we choose to respond to any given situation and what we choose to FOCUS on.

Looking back I now see that I learned so much from her example. I have big time “Resiliency Muscles” and man, am I ever grateful for them!

Thanks Mom. You have set and continue to set such a beautiful example.   Happy Mother’s Day. I am so grateful for, and to, you.

Cylvia Hayes

#CylviaHayes  #ResiliencyMuscles

 

Leaping with Faith — Outcome Amazing!

Cyl on shore in Tarifa Africa in background — 4-17  Each morning as part of my meditation and prayer time I read the daily affirmation in the Daily Word. It often seems to be just what I need at that moment, but the perfect fit of last Sunday’s message was over the top.

It read:

I honor and celebrate all humankind. The myriad uniqueness of humankind is to be honored and celebrated. Each and every person is a creation of God. I pray that all people everywhere find the freedom to live life who they are and as they are. Learning about people far and wide, I immerse myself in the wholeness of life, a concept that nurtures inclusiveness.

We honor our individual practices, languages, or heritages. Learning about the life experiences of others is an opportunity for all of us to learn. …

This was especially perfect because I read these words in the breakfast area of a hotel in in Southern Spain. I speak only a little Spanish and what I do is more “Spanglish” than actual Spanish — I can forget making heads or tails of anything if people are speaking fast. “Mas lento por favor” (more slowly please) is one of my most frequent phrases.

The Daily Word reading really struck home with me at that moment because I was just about to leave the hotel by myself to try to get to Tarifa, a much more remote region, and I hadn’t heard from my colleague there. I didn’t know if I would be able to make contact with him. To be honest I was a little nervous because the area is very close to the Middle East, had a large and visible Muslim population and I was a white, American woman travelling solo. Both Spain and Morocco are on the U.S. terrorism caution list.

Tuning into my nervousness, I reflected on the Daily Word message and decided to just sit a moment and listen to the purr of the foreign language without trying to understand it. I focused on each individual person in the hotel lobby, seeing them as just another human being dealing as best they could with travel and logistics and fussy children.

Me and Johnny A, founder of the eco-village Molinda del Guadalamesi in Tarifa

I’ve had a lifelong dream to get to Africa and this was my chance to at least see the shoreline of the continent. I decided to take a risk and trust. Just as I was walking out the front door of the hotel I got a text from my colleague. He would meet me in Tarifa!

What transpired next was one of the most magical travel days I’ve ever experienced. I had a lovely, deep conversation (blending several languages) over a beer in the bus stop with a dark-skinned man from Morocco. I laughed with women wearing burkas.

I arrived on the southern-most tip of Europe and just across the straight of Gibraltar I saw Africa!

I was given an amazing tour of Tarifa and my colleague’s wonderful eco-village and center (more on that in later post). He and other new friends treated me to a fabulous meal at the eco-center’s restaurant. He got buried by business at the restaurant so yet another new friend rushed me back to the bus stop half an hour away with ten minutes to spare to catch the last late night bus back to the city.

On the long, late night bus ride back to the city, in the soft darkness I listened to the murmer of quiet speech and muffled snoring. Laughter, kindness, hugs and humanity know no language barriers.  Grateful for the courage to leap into the unknown and not screw up the day by making plans!

#CylviaHayes