Unbridled Fearlessness

This is such an incredible time to be alive!  Yes, it’s unsettling and sometimes exhausting and even heartbreaking.  And it is also powerful.  We all get to witness and participate in huge societal shifts.  This is an opportunity to co-create a major evolutionary shift toward a saner and more just world.  We have a chance to make all of this upheaval really count for something beautiful.

Although there is a lot of fear swirling, and being slung around, just now, this is actually a time for those of us who are committed to personal expansion and societal healing to practice unbridled fearlessness.  Yes, indeed, we are all being moved out of our comfort zones, but hey how comfortable was it really?  As American composer John Cage once said, “I can’t understand why people are frightened of new ideas. I’m frightened of the old ones.”  Exactly!

Lesson 310 in A Course in Miracles affirms, “In fearlessness and love I spend today.”  Let’s choose peace.  Let’s choose hope.  Let’s choose love.  Let’s go boldly forward demonstrating unbridled fearlessness.  Why not?  Living and moving from miracle mindedness is just so dang much more fun!

This is an incredible time to be alive.  You are here for a reason.  Make the most of it!

I was recently interviewed about my book on the World Spirituality podcast on Unity Worldwide Radio.  We spoke a lot about navigating uncertainty and times of upheaval.  Here’s the link in case you’re interested.

My book, When Life Blows Up: A Guide to Peace, Power and Reinvention can be found on all the major retail book outlets.

Why Wait?

Do you find yourself feeling like you’re waiting, waiting, …. ?  Waiting to see what happens with the COVID-19 situation.  Waiting to see what will happen with our kids getting back to school.  Waiting to see what is going to happen with your job, with the next stimulus package, with the overall economy.  Maybe even waiting to see what will happen with a loved one who is ill, hospitalized.  Will there be a vaccine?  When?  When can my family get it?  And, what is going to happen with the upcoming election?  Wow.

It really is a surreal time we are in.  I found myself in a waiting pattern, having many of the questions above and also waiting for my home re-fi to go through, waiting for word on a teaching job I’ve been working on like crazy.

One morning I woke feeling the wait and weight of it all.  Sipping my coffee in the quiet, the thought popped into my mind, “Waiting keeps us from being.”  That landed!  I had been so focused on the waiting I had been missing a whole lot of magic rolling out around me – the baby birds fledging from the knotholes in my juniper tree; the sunflowers across the street coming into full beauty, the once in a generation times of change all around me.  All the time we spend waiting for the future, waiting for the next thing, waiting for rescue, we are missing what is happening right now.  And, we are missing our opportunity to play a vital part in it.

The truth is all of life is lived in the present moment.  Our thoughts may run to future and past, but our experiences are right now.  And, we have immense power in what we make of them.  We can notice the beauty or not.  Beauty is always there.   We can express love or not.  Love is always there.

As we are all dealing with these crazy COVID times with uncertainty on many fronts, I truly hope you will make it a point to come into the present moment as often as possible, to actually LIVE each moment of life, centered in living fully, as things swirl around us.  There is no end to the magic before you if you choose to choose to be present to it.

These are indeed wild times and I urge you to stay focused on the beauty in the midst of the uncertainty and change.

Much Love,

Cylvia

P.S.

You can find tips for handling uncertainty and coming into the present moment in my book, When Life Blows Up: A Guide to Peace, Power and Reinvention

Here are a couple podcast interviews I have done recently that may be of interest:

 

Peace in the Midst of Chaos

We are indeed living in wild times – an out of control pandemic, economic upheaval, and a heated, much needed, moral revolution.  This is a time when it is enormously helpful to be able to disconnect our inner state of being from the events swirling in our lives.

Several years ago, when my life blew to pieces, my survival depended upon learning how to maintain peace and calm in the midst of chaos and tremendous uncertainty.  One of the biggest skills I wound up developing was the ability to analyze and manage fear.  The truth is most of our fears are about some future possibility, that may or may not happen.   As Mark Twain noted, “I am an old man and have known many troubles.  Most of them never happened.”

I was recently interviewed on the Unity Online Radio program, Jazzy Vegetarian, about my book, When Life Blows Up: A Guide to Peace, Power and Reinvention.  The show’s host, Laura Theodore, covers a breadth of issues beyond just vegetarianism.  In this episode she really focused in on the uncertainty of our times and facing and managing fear and anxiety.  The link to the show is here.  I hope it is useful to some.  By the way, Laura is a great, and truly very jazzy host – super fun and entertaining presentation style.  And even when she’s focusing on other topics, she still offers up some great healthy food info.

Here is an excerpt from my book that gives a great tool for managing fear:

  • “Learn the art of “Presencing”, of practicing being in the Present Moment.

The simple fact is that unless we train ourselves differently, most of us spend the bulk of our lives focused on the past or the future, often in fear.  If you’re reading this book you’re likely dealing with some difficult, even traumatic situation right now.  There are probably 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?  In this very moment are you warm?  Do you have shelter and food?  Are you breathing?  If you have time to read this sentence your answer is almost certainly yes! 

To become present, look around you right now wherever you are.  Notice the sights.  Take a deep breath through your nose and notice the scents.  Listen to the many sounds and the little silences between them.  Feel the chair beneath you, supporting you.  Focus on the breath gently moving in and out of your body.  Feel the rhythm of your beating heart.  Run your right hand gently across the top of your left.  Notice.  Breathe.  Say aloud, “I Am here. I Am here.  I Am here.” 

Let your body release its tensions – loosen the jaw, drop shoulders.  Underneath all the noises and sounds feel the deep stillness of the earth and sea.  Breathe.  Deeply.  Look around and feel this moment in time.  Release and relax. 

Developing a presencing practice takes exactly that — practice.  The more times each and every day you bring your focus back to the present moment, even for just a second or two, the calmer and less stressed you will be.  Not only will this help you navigate trauma more easily, it will add all sorts of additional beauty and richness to the good times. 

Coming into the present moment gives you the space to clarify the fears that are about imagined future happenings, those that are about things you have no control over and those that might actually merit some action.  I highly recommend reading The Power of Now, by Eckert Tolle. 

This very moment, this instant of now, is really the only thing we can control.  The state of consciousness we choose in this moment sets the stage for what happens next.  In the now we can choose the feeling we want to experience.  That’s right — you do not have to be at the mercy of your emotions.  You have a choice in how you feel and you can learn to wield this power with skill and consistency, even when facing extraordinary challenges.” 

Hang in there friends.  Breathe.  You are not alone.  And there is tremendous opportunity in this time of profound change.

Much Love,

Cylvia

 

Grief — The Art of Being Fully Alive

I wanted to share this picture of my best friend. She passed last summer. I’ve had these photos printed, waiting in a folder, for months. A week ago, a friend of mine lost her beloved souldog very suddenly – she was gutted. Supporting her in her grief resurfaced my grief and my love and moved me to finally frame these pictures of my beloved Tessa. I had these four printed photos of her. The store had exactly four of these “Best Dog Ever” frames – they were on some sort of crazy super sale marked down to a dollar a piece!   Meant to be.

Even looking at this now brings tears to my eyes.  The first pic is on the day we found each other.  Pic two is her in her prime teasing me with her impish “sock game”.  The third is her with her frosty face on one of our last slow hikes together and the fourth is the day before she passed.

My bond with this amazing creature was beyond description. Our love and friendship is a thread running all through my book, When Life Blows Up: A Guide to Peace, Power and Reinvention.

Here is a passage that led, eventually, to these photos:

“Three weeks after the legal and media challenges ended, my beloved, beloved Tessa passed very quickly after an unexpected discovery of abdominal cancer. I was able to be with her twenty-four hours a day the last several days and keep her comfortable and pampered. She passed in our front room with her head in my lap. For many our stickiest people don’t necessarily come in human form and Tessa and John were my most steadfast and important. The pain of her passing was terrible, the deepest and most profound grief of my life, and yet, every bit worth it for the experience of her and our lives together.

Was there a purpose in the timing of her transition? I don’t know. I do know had it come two years earlier I might not have survived it. When it did come, once the gutting, cutting grief lost its edge, the rawness of missing her put me in a softer, slower more reflective space that helped me finish this book.”

Grief is a part of life. Our broken hearts are evidence that we have dared to love boldly, to let our hearts stretch beyond ourselves. Feeling the pain, then stretching again, risking again, is how we honor those we’ve lost, and ourselves. It is how we fully live.

Love,

Cylvia

P.S. You can get a copy of When Life Blows Up: A Guide to Peace Power and Reinvention at all major online outlets or a signed copy here: https://www.cylviahayes.net/product/pre-sale-special-for-cylvias-new-book-when-life-blows-up-a-guide-to-peace-power-and-reinvention/

 

And, to schedule a complimentary Transition and Reinvention Empowerment breakthrough session click here: https://calendly.com/cylvia/30min

 

 

 

 

 

It’s all about the Resurrection

To all of you who are hurting, who are freaked out by what is happening in our world and in your life just now I want to offer encouragement. Maybe you’ve lost a loved one, maybe you’ve lost a job and are scrambling financially as a result, maybe you are really struggling with the social distancing – there are a lot of us in that wildly rocking boat right now.

I just want to assure you there is every possibility of a better life on the other side of this crisis, a way through the pain and the uncertainty that opens into beauty and opportunity you haven’t known before.

I know this from my own personal experience of having my life blow to pieces – losing my business, money I didn’t have, many, many people I had considered friends, even my sense of personal identity. I was so terrified and sick with grief it literally buckled my knees.

In the midst of the crisis I NEVER could have seen how much my life and work would transform and how much more peaceful and empowered I would become on the other side. I couldn’t see it then but great things came out of the long darkness.

I just want to pass this along to everyone who’s feeling freaked out right now. Take heart. Take the next step. Stay open to the truth that there are possibilities and opportunities in front of you that you haven’t even imagined. The way through to something much better is in front of you even if you can’t see it clearly just yet.

Here is an excerpt from my book that may offer some comfort – I certainly hope so:

We are each far more than a job, a title, a financial status, a criminal background, a role. We are more than a body. We are more than we know and we have a choice to make. We can fight to hold fast to the selves we think we are or we can choose to let the death of the old and familiar give birth to our True Selves. Every single moment holds the opportunity of rebirth, no matter what is swirling in the outer circumstances of our lives just now. It’s not the crucifixion that matters; it’s the resurrection. Your Easter is here — if you choose it.

From When Life Blows Up: A Guide to Peace, Power and Reinvention.

Each one of us, and our world itself, is in a time of transformation right now and we do so with the power of grace and Spirit within our reach.  Happy Easter to you all.

Love,

Cylvia

Thriving in Uncertainty

Most humans are not super comfortable with uncertainty and right now we are all swimming in a sea of it. From the direct health scare, to concern about loved ones, to the economic tsunami, to completely upended social norms and daily routines, we are in a period of massive and rapid change and nobody knows how it is all going to turn out.

This massive level of uncertainty can be very stressful. When my life blew to pieces five and a half years ago my stress levels were so high I could barely breathe. It was so visceral I felt hunted — at the very least chewing myself up from the inside out. Something in me knew that my survival depended upon figuring out how regain some calm, some inner peace even while my outer life was in terrible disarray and upheaval and so I embarked on an all out journey to figure it out.

I want to assure you it absolutely is possible to learn to disconnect your inner state of being from the events swirling through your life. It absolutely is possible to manage and even release fear. It is possible to learn to expand into, rather than contract from, uncertainty.

Here are a couple POWER TIPS:

  • Clean up your Mental Hygiene. If you do not have any form of a meditation practice start yesterday! Seriously, the fact that I had at least a bit of a morning meditation practice onboard is one of the things that literally saved my life five years ago. It can start with just a moment or two of stilling your racing, flailing mind.

Here is an excerpt from the chapter on fear management in my book, When Life Blows Up: A Guide to Peace, Power and Reinvention.

Learn the art of “Presencing”, of practicing being in the Present Moment

The simple fact is that unless we train ourselves differently, most of us spend the bulk of our lives focused on the past or the future, often in fear. If you’re reading this book you’re likely dealing with some difficult, even traumatic situation right now. There are probably 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? In this very moment are you warm? Do you have shelter and food? Are you breathing? If you have time to read this sentence your answer is almost certainly yes!

To become present, look around you right now wherever you are. Notice the sights. Take a deep breath through your nose and notice the scents. Listen to the many sounds and the little silences between them. Feel the chair beneath you, supporting you. Focus on the breath gently moving in and out of your body. Feel the rhythm of your beating heart. Run your right hand gently across the top of your left. Notice. Breathe. Say aloud, “I Am here. I Am here. I Am here.”

Let your body release its tensions – loosen the jaw, drop shoulders. Underneath all the noises and sounds feel the deep stillness of the earth and sea. Breathe. Deeply. Look around and feel this moment in time. Release and relax.

 Developing a presencing practice takes exactly that — practice. The more times each and every day you bring your focus back to the present moment, even for just a second or two, the calmer and less stressed you will be. Not only will this help you navigate trauma more easily, it will add all sorts of additional beauty and richness to the good times. ……  

This very moment, this instant of now, is really the only thing we can control. The state of consciousness we choose in this moment sets the stage for what happens next. In the now we can choose the feeling we want to experience. That’s right — you do not have to be at the mercy of your emotions. You have a choice in how you feel and you can learn to wield this power with skill and consistency, even when facing extraordinary challenges. …. I talk more about meditation and the mind in later chapters.

 Choose your lens carefully. Right now a lot of us are facing big challenges and big changes beyond our control. We might not be in control of the events but we always have control of how we choose to view and respond to those events.   Reframing how we choose to view a challenging situation helps us reclaim some power and open up to possible solutions we might not see otherwise.

Here’s one more excerpt from my book that I find to be immensely helpful.

The Choose Again Exercise:

A Course in Miracles is a mind-bending spiritual approach to psychotherapy. One of the things I most appreciate about it is that it is both deeply, sometimes even disturbingly profound and at the same time very practical. One of the tremendously useful practical techniques it recommends is to “Choose Again.”   This is a simple practice that will profoundly change your life.

It goes like this…

Each time you find yourself fixated on fear of something beyond your control, or each time you find yourself obsessing about what someone did to you, or find yourself thinking negative thoughts about yourself, you simply notice it, say “choose again” and think about something else, almost anything else.

Some days I had to do that five hundred times when obsessing over a particularly consuming or uncomfortable repetitive thought and sometimes the only positive thing I could think to focus on was the birdsong outside, the big dog beside me on the couch, John’s latest sweet little note of love and encouragement. Anything positive. It was work and it took commitment but eventually it always did the trick. As my thinking shifted, my lens adjusted, and my life improved.

Angry at your criticizer? Choose again. Resentful of your spouse? Choose again. Terrified about the “what ifs?” Choose again.   Replaying the ugly scene over and again in your head? Choose again. This simple but profound tool helps put us in the drivers seat of our own mind and helps us become aware of thoughts that are causing unpleasant feelings.

Reframing works for really big catastrophic life events and also for everyday little things. ….   We may not be able to choose the events that roll through our lives but we have enormous power over how those events affect our lives.

These are unprecedented times and a lot of people are hurting and scrambling. I just want to leave you with this thought: though we don’t usually like change and uncertainty, the truth is every moment of life is uncertain and the only real certainty is change. We navigate change all the time, often without even thinking much about it. There is every reason to believe you can navigate this one in a more peaceful and empowered way.

I never could have seen coming that my book titled, When Life Blows Up would be published just weeks before all of our lives blew up with COVID-19. It has a lot of useful information for people in the midst of big life upheaval and so I’ve dropped the price down so that more folks can get it.  I so hope it brings some comfort and useful strategies for you to not only survive but thrive through these unprecedented times.

Love,

Cylvia

P.S.  To schedule a free Transition and Reinvention breakthrough coaching session click here.

Miracles in the Corona

“Just because something is rampant in your civilization doesn’t mean

it has to express itself in your life.”   — Abraham-Hicks

Hi friends. Like most of you, I too am dealing with the corona-disruption. I’ve been sick for over a week with what I believe is just a nasty cold but there weren’t enough virus tests for me to get one so out of caution for others I’ve holed up and switched my meetings and communications to online. My upcoming trip for business, book signings and ministerial school interviews has been postponed. And, I’ve been hearing from, and hopefully offering comfort to, many of my clients as they too face the uncertainty surrounding this pandemic. So yep, things have taken a turn we didn’t see coming.

And yes, it’s a pain and disruptive. Working parents are dealing with kids being out of school all day. We can’t visit loved ones in hospitals (or prisons). Lots of people’s jobs are on hold and many service sector workers are seeing huge downturns in income. Some folks are even having a hard time finding toilet paper for goodness sake! We’ll all be hearing a lot about, and dealing with, these kinds of challenges over the next weeks.

BUT THAT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE ALL THERE IS TO THIS SITUATION!

While it makes sense for us to act responsibly and protect ourselves and others, it DOES NOT SERVE us to view this only through a lens of crisis and chaos without at least allowing for the possibility that it is also ripe with opportunity for positive change in our own lives and society. The lens we put on events shapes our experience more than the events themselves.

Here are a few things to consider:

  • “Social Distancing” does not have to mean isolation and disconnection! With phones, cell phones, email, texting, FaceTime, Zoom, video conferencing, platforms like NextDoor, etc. etc. we have so many ways to stay connected while keeping a physical distance. If you are worried about isolation don’t be passive, reach out!

 

  • Reach out to those you know who may be feeling fearful or alone. One of the best ways to gain perspective on our own challenges is to help someone else.  I have a whole chapter in my book, When Life Blows Up: A Guide to Peace, Power and Reinvention, about the self-healing power of making a contribution to others.

 

  • Distance yourself from the fear. Get educated but don’t get obsessed. Mainstream media thrives on fear, stress and sensationalism and therefore that is how they present the “news”. It is designed to trigger viewers’ fear and emotions. Beware getting too sucked into their drama.

 

  • Spend the unexpected down time to tune out external noise and GO WITHIN. USE this time to relax, to imagine a better world, to let go of the rat race that is the norm and imagine a better way. We can use this time to envision (and therefore create) a culture and a government that, instead of focusing on propping up a fragile and unhealthy economic system, focuses instead on love and humanity and equality for all.  REMEMBER Einstein said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” USE this time engineer, IMAGINEER, a better way for all of us. This will actually boost your INNER IMMUNE SYSTEM.

And just a little food for thought, remember, CORONA is the term we have given to the bright outer rim of the sun only visible when all the rest is in darkness.

Love,

Cylvia

Mental Flossing

A few days ago I woke up feeling pretty overwhelmed and a bit stressed about my workload, all the things on the Do List for that day, and a couple of looming financial deadlines. It would have been so easy to give in to the sense of pressure and get straight to work, working harder, to try to get things done and push something forward on the financial stuff. However, I resisted that urge and stuck with my habit of morning meditation.

As I pulled focus off my Do’s and projects and financial stuff and turned it inward, the monkey mind settled down. Although I immediately felt better I also began to sense a sort of spiritual restlessness. Then, out of left field, an image of Smith Rocks State Park popped into my mind. Odd, I hadn’t been to Smith Rocks for a couple years even though it’s just half an hour from my house. After a few more minutes in the stillness, the image popped up again.

I said aloud, “OK, OK I’m listening!” Then I rescheduled a business meeting, packed a lunch, grabbed the backpack and overjoyed hound dog and headed off to Smith Rocks.

Spending time and exertion on the rather grueling three hour climb and hike, the wild Nature and the Silence was the most productive thing I could have done that day. By the time I had finished the big loop, my legs were a bit leaden but my mind was much, much clearer. I was inspired with a few ways to improve the flow of my workload including dropping a couple of marketing activities that I’d been resisting because they just didn’t feel authentic to me (even though a lot of marketing experts promoted them).

When I got home I learned that one of the big financial pieces had completely cleared up! The next day I got two new, ideal-fit clients out of the blue, with none of the recommended marketing.

Here is the point I want to share with you all, there is nothing more productive than a solid Morning Mental Hygiene practice. If I had skipped my morning meditation I would have stayed balled up and stressed and I seriously doubt I’d have gotten as much done as I did from letting things clear for a while.

So many times, I have seen my clients reach fast and profound breakthroughs just by changing up their morning routines and adding in some intentional meditation and prayer time before launching into the busyness of the day. I call it “Mental Flossing” because it is literally cleaning out any old, stuck gunk that may be hanging out in our minds and moods. I guarantee it’s one of the most effective practices you can build into your life.

If you’d like some support in getting started feel free to schedule a FREE COACHING BREAKTHROUGH session here.

Happy Flossing!

Cylvia

Releasing Fear

Nearly anytime we are facing major change, especially if it isn’t something we asked for or planned for, there is usually fear involved.  As we head into a weekend I wanted to share a couple of excerpts from my book that are useful for taking our minds back from fear and reclaiming peace even in swirling circumstances:

Fear is learned through the guidance of our parents and through our own falls and hurts and heartaches. Some of it we’re hard-wired for like the fear of abandonment and isolation. Another layer is piled on from the culture of fear we’re experiencing in our current media and political atmosphere. We’re literally saturated with fear which can compound the dread when something catastrophic happens in our personal lives, even to the point of become incapacitating.

Fear is programmed into us. With discipline we can train ourselves to determine which fears merit action and which are just a waste of time, mind, energy and peace. A thing learned can be unlearned. This particular unlearning is liberating beyond imagination. — from When Life Blows Up: A Guide to Peace, Power and Reinvention 

Here are a couple of strategies I outline in the book that have been tremendously helpful to me and to those I work with in releasing unnecessary, unproductive fear:

    • Learn the art of “Presencing”, of practicing being in the Present Moment.

The simple fact is that unless we train ourselves differently, most of us spend the bulk of our lives focused on the past or the future, often in fear. If you’re reading this book you’re likely dealing with some difficult, even traumatic situation right now. There are probably 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? In this very moment are you warm? Do you have shelter and food? Are you breathing? If you have time to read this sentence your answer is almost certainly yes!

To become present, look around you right now wherever you are. Notice the sights. Take a deep breath through your nose and notice the scents. Listen to the many sounds and the little silences between them. Feel the chair beneath you, supporting you. Focus on the breath gently moving in and out of your body. Feel the rhythm of your beating heart. Run your right hand gently across the top of your left. Notice. Breathe. Say aloud, “I Am here. I Am here. I Am here.”

Let your body release its tensions – loosen the jaw, drop shoulders. Underneath all the noises and sounds feel the deep stillness of the earth and sea. Breathe. Deeply. Look around and feel this moment in time. Release and relax.

Developing a presencing practice takes exactly that — practice. The more times each and every day you bring your focus back to the present moment, even for just a second or two, the calmer and less stressed you will be. Not only will this help you navigate trauma more easily, it will add all sorts of additional beauty and richness to the good times.

Coming into the present moment gives you the space to clarify the fears that are about imagined future happenings, those that are about things you have no control over and those that might actually merit some action. I highly recommend reading The Power of Now, by Eckert Tolle. ….  

    • Do a Fear versus Reality exercise.

Take a sheet of paper and draw a line down the middle to make two columns. Recall a time in your recent past when you were really fearful or worried about some potential event or outcome. When you felt frantic over some crisis. Let yourself really feel how the fear was affecting you, your thoughts, your body, your sleep patterns. In the left hand column write down this feared thing and the terrible outcomes you imagined or expected.

Now remember what actually happened and in the right hand column write down what actually came to be. Did the feared event turn out as you imagined? Was it as bad as you feared? Where is that big challenge now? What was the damage done or the loss suffered? Did any positive growth or learning occur? Were there beautiful aspects of it that you didn’t see coming?

Sometimes feared things do come to pass. The loved ones we worried about meet tragedy. Our unwise or misguided decision costs us our home or freedom.   The person we want to be with leaves us. This human experience brings hardship and sometimes we can see the hardship coming. However, most of the time we don’t and most of our modern day fear is based on imagination and speculation about possible future events that may or may not shake out a certain way.  Mark Twain once noted, “I am an old man and have seen many troubles, but most of them never happened”!  Our unmerited fears do nothing except rob us of our power, peace, and wellbeing.  We have the power to release them.

Have a lovely, fear-free weekend.

Cover of Cylvia Hayes’ When Life Blows Up

Love,

Cylvia

To schedule a complimentary Transformation Breakthrough coaching session click here and pick a time that works for you.

Laying Hold of the Dream

Today is the celebration of the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., one of the most influential civil rights activists in history. He is known for his tremendous vision, unbelievable bravery and powerful speeches. He was, also, a man, who had challenges, heartbreak, and moments of doubt.

Did you know that his most famous speech, the “I have a dream” speech just about fell flat? In front of a crowd of a quarter million people at the March on Washington in 1963, Dr. King seemed to struggle a bit with his speech. It wasn’t flowing. At one point he looked up from his notes and said:

“Go back to Mississippi; go back to Alabama; go back to South Carolina; go back to Georgia; go back to Louisiana; go back to the slums and ghettos of our Northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.”

The people on the platform with him knew he had gone off his prepared remarks, and that’s when Mahalia Jackson, a renowned gospel singer, shouted to him: “Tell ’em about the dream, Martin!”

Dr. King pivoted, found the fire within, and proclaimed:

“I say to you today, my friends — and so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up, live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave-owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day, even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, one day, right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.”

And with that, Dr. King delivered one of the most powerful and famous speeches in American history.  It would have been a whole different story had he stayed in the nightmare.

My prayer today is that this country will one day live up to Dr. King’s dream, that it will become not only our collective dream but also the reality on the ground.

And I also pray that each and every one of you reading this, no matter the struggle you may be facing, no matter the hardship, will find the courage to pivot from doubt and despair and take hold, once again, of your dreams. Powerful dreams are what change our lives and our world.

Love,

Cylvia