The Awesome Power of Unlearning

I used to be a competitive barrel racer. I’ve ridden dozens of charging horses through the cloverleaf pattern. Many horses, after running the pattern over and over again, would begin to anticipate each turn so much that they’d cut too soon, either smashing my shin into the metal rim or knocking the barrel over entirely, or both. Those horses had become so trained they’d become losers.

The only way to make them winners again was to “untrain” them. We’d go back to a walking pace and take the corners in different ways so they could unlearn what they thought they knew to do.

A few years back life nailed me hard and I found myself questioning, a lot, about a lot of things I thought I knew — myself, God, how life works. It was scary. I mean I’d spent decades forming my opinion of who I was, what I was, what my strengths and skills were, how to do things and get through life. Sitting in the question, “What if I’ve been wrong about it all?” was deeply disturbing, verging on a psychological or existential crisis.

Yet under the veneer of fear, was also curiosity, a little spark of excitement, a fragile thread of hope as I began brushing against the possibility that maybe I, and life itself, was actually far more than I’d believed.

The more I let go of the false security blanket of knowing based on the past and shaped by what this insane world puts forward as real, the more I began to experience Source, God, Holy Spirit and my Higher Self directly.

Allowing space and uncertainty for our minds to be untrained doesn’t mean we’re losing our minds! Just the opposite, it means, we’re starting to use more and more of our power and potential. Our True Norths – our deepest values and genuine loves — are still in place as our consciousness expands beyond the chains of old dogmas and programming. We don’t throw away old skill sets or talents; we just open up to use them more fully. We don’t lose our ability to make decisions; we give ourselves a chance to make better ones.

A Course In Miracles advises:

Simply do this: Be still, and lay aside all thoughts of what you are and what God is; all concepts you have learned about the world; all images you hold about yourself. Empty your mind of everything it thinks is either true or false, of good or bad, of every thought is judges worthy, and all the ideas of which it is ashamed. Hold onto nothing. Do not bring with you one thought the past has taught, nor one belief you ever learned before from anything. Forget this world … and come with wholly empty hands unto your God.

As we all strive to improve ourselves and our lives, we take in a lot of personal and professional development education and training. That’s all well, good and worthwhile, but I think it’s important to remember, that whether it’s winning at barrel racing or winning at life untraining is often the key.

One of the most powerful statements in the Universe is, “I do not know what this situation means, or what I really want from it, or even what I really am, but I am genuinely willing to deeply listen and to learn.”

And guess what?  Yoda agrees!

Here’s to emptying our minds so that they can be refilled, refreshed and re-empowered.

Cylvia Hayes

Don’t be Limited by Noisy Relationships

I recently made the painful decision to pull away from someone who has been one of my closest friends. This person did something extremely dishonest and unloving and, although the love is still there, the trust is gone. Even though I miss the friendship I know this is the right decision.

The whole situation proves, once again, that relationships are our most profound classrooms. Now that I’ve gained some distance I can see what a terribly noisy relationship this was. What I mean by that is that this person always has a lot of drama swirling around her and, against my norm, I allowed myself to get wrapped up in it. The uncomfortable truth is that she fed my ego and vice versa. I have no doubt that there is genuine love between us, but there is also no doubt that out relationship wasn’t completely healthy. I knew I was acting unwisely when I put myself into a position of dependency on her but I did it anyway. And I paid for it. And it hurt in more ways than one.

Now that the noise has quieted the most amazing thing is happening. Into that void is flowing the voice of Spirit. I am hearing my own Higher Self, far more directly and more often. The plain truth is no other person can ever fill our need to develop a deep, honest relationship with ourselves.

Noisy, co-dependent relationships keep us identified with voices and opinions of ourselves that are not really ours. They are just an attempt by our small, ego self to distract us from our True Self, in all it’s magnificence.

Today, I respect myself enough to prioritize my inner relationship. Today I am listening to, and valuing, me.

I am worthy of developing my whole self.

I am worthy.

Cylvia Hayes

#CylviaHayes  #Empowerment #ResiliencyMuscles

 

If Little Boys Can Do it While Trapped Underground So Can (and should) YOU!

I continue to be captivated by the Thai boys soccer team ordeal. Partly, it’s because as a slightly claustrophobic person I can’t think of much that would be harder to endure than being trapped miles underground in narrow flooded tunnels. Partly, it’s because it’s another of those extraordinary events that show just how amazing human intention and endeavor really can be. It’s also an example that there is Good to be found, somewhere, in virtually every dark situation.

One aspect of the good from this one is that, even if only for a few moments, it turned the world’s attention to meditation. The young coach, who was the leader and only adult with the twelve boys, had studied as a monk and has deep meditation experience. Apparently he used meditation to help the boys maintain sanity and hope while trapped for days on end in a tiny pocket of air in a flooded underground cave system. Wow. Just flat wow.

Some of you have heard me say before that meditation was likely one of the things that saved my life when things blew to pieces a few years ago. I’d practiced regularly for years before the crisis hit and that experience gave me some capacity to wrestle my mind away from the continuous loop of fear, guilt and humiliating memories. You can hear more about that in my recent TEDx talk (If you haven’t viewed it yet I’d sure appreciate it if you would).

I now tell my clients that if they don’t have a meditation practice underway, start yesterday! It adds immeasurably to our ability to be resilient during hardship (e.g. staying calm trapped underground for 18 days. Pretty much enough said!). It also heightens our ability to make clear and tough decisions that can help us survive and succeed.

And that’s not all. Not only does meditation help us navigate the hard times it also adds meaning, depth and beauty to the good times. As part of my process of recovery and reinvention I studied the mental and emotional habits and practices of people who were successful, making a big positive impact on the world and also seemed to be living mostly peaceful, dialed-in lives. Virtually every one of them practiced meditation regularly.

I can tell you for sure that if you are in the process of reinvention, whether of career, relationships or your own personal identity, meditation is a powerful tool to help clear away the clutter, find clarity and truly figure out what it is you want from the next phase of your life.

Starting a regular meditation practice doesn’t’ have to be complicated or terribly time consuming. One useful resource is the book Meditation for Dummies, it offers samplings of many different types of meditations and some of the science and stories behind each. Although the book is named that for obvious marketing reasons, I call my meditation classes Meditation for Smarties because smart people do it and doing it makes us smarter! My e-booklet, Reinvention Doesn’t Have to Be Scary, offers a couple simple ways to come into the now and redirect a spinning, wound up mind – these are key aspects and benefits of meditation. You can get a copy on my online store here.

Not starting a regular meditation practice is like having a magical potion that will give you peace and success and then deciding not to drink it! What are you waiting for?   In the time it takes you to put your clothes on in the morning you can begin to clothe your mind in peace, relief and clear direction.

Here’s to a more peaceful, empowered YOU.

Cylvia

 

P.S. I also offer gentle one on one meditation coaching sessions to help people figure out the best type of meditation for what they are looking to accomplish and get started doing it, gently. If interested in scheduling a session submit a request here. I would love to help you get started with this life changing practice.

Expect Miracles. Why Not?!

Are you facing uncertainty? Struggling with financial challenges? Are you mired down in situations that seem totally out of your control?

A while back I realized a situation I believed was beyond my control actually wasn’t. When I looked at it from a different angle I saw that I had options to step out of a “battlefield” I’d been attached to for several years. Doing so required a serious financial hit and uncertainty, but it felt right.

It took every tool I’d learned and skill I’d honed to stay above the financial fear and uncertainty. Each time I’d find my mind spinning off in fear I’d just say “Choose Again”, over and over and over. Then I’d pick three things I was grateful for and say “Thank You” out loud. With discipline I stayed open to the possibility that every last bit of it, even the stuff that felt wildly uncomfortable, was actually positive, was happening FOR me, not to me.

Well, guess what?! Sitting there in deep uncertainty I was offered the gift of a week on the island of Zakynthos Greece, everything paid for! WHAT?!!

I was invited to be part of the faculty in a program exploring how developing our consciousness effects the work we do to grow socially useful businesses and solve the big problems the world is facing. WHAT?!!!   This is exactly the aspect of my career that is currently hatching!

The event organizers had watched my recent TEDx talk and that, along with my long background in social enterprise, was what prompted the invitation.

It seemed a little crazy to go to Greece given what I was dealing with at home, but it felt right. Sort of like all expenses paid manna from heaven. So I took the leap and left even before all the travel arrangements were fully nailed down. I didn’t really know what to expect so I chose to expect miracles.

AND ….

  • On the long flight over the ocean I somehow got a seat with extra legroom and tray space, which I put to good use writing several breakthroughs I had on the book I’m working on
  • Taxi drivers chose not to charge me anything — given the language barrier I never did understand why
  • My talk touched hearts and minds
  • Another faculty member provided exactly the info and insight I needed for the next section of my book project
  • On the flight home I had an entire row with extra legroom, and free drinks all to myself!

So here’s my suggestion. If you don’t know what to expect, EXPECT MIRACLES! Why not? You can imagine the worst or you can stay open to the possibility that things are going to turn out better than you could even imagine. Why not?

The lens you put on the things that happen in your life shape your reality far more than the happenings themselves.

Expect miracles, see all the things you have to be grateful for, choose. You have more power than you know.

Cylvia

#CylviaHayes  #Empowerment

Yes DO Deny It!

Denial is a powerful tool

Are you working through some big challenges just now? Has life smacked you right off your feet? Does what’s before you look big, tough, overwhelming? Well it might be time for a little well-placed denial.

Denial gets a bad rap in pop culture and psychology. It’s usually used to say someone isn’t facing reality. I’ve a whole new powerful take on denial. It’s about looking at the situation in front of you, taking control of your thoughts and choosing not to give the challenge more power than it really has. The more we feed into the seeming problem the bigger it appears. Denial can cut it back down to size.

I’ll give a couple of examples that I am personally dealing with right now. I’m going through some significant financial issues and it’s easy to slip into a lot of uncertainty and insecurity around it. However, when I really look at the situation, yes, I have some income and cash flow challenges and the remnants of some big legal proceedings, but I ALSO have a tremendous amount of actual resources flowing to me – supportive people, new business opportunities, paid business travel.

So, each time I start getting wrapped up in worry I just gently deny the fear with, “The illusion of scarcity has no power in my life.”

This helps me stay calm and focused on the tasks that need to be done to actually deal with the financial issues.

A powerful one, two punch is to follow a focused denial with an empowered affirmation statement. I am working with, “Resources of all kinds flow to me in joyful abundance. I am a powerful prosperity generation and distribution center.”

This isn’t just about positive thinking, it’s about disciplined thinking. It’s about flipping our focus and staying open to the much broader perspectives that always surround challenging situations.

Here’s another example. A business colleague of mine is being unreliable and failing to deliver on some important projects. I have a lot riding on this work and can easily feel out of control and fearful not being able to get a response from this person. However, the broader truth is this person isn’t responsible for my success. So when I start to feel those stress spikes I state, “ My friend’s unreliable behavior cannot harm me.” And, because I genuinely care for this person and know that some of the behavior is because they are having their own life challenges right now, I affirm, “The love and positive intention behind this work and our relationship ensures a positive outcome for both of us.” Next time, I may choose a different business arrangement but for now there is nothing to lose by staying focused on the intended outcome and waiting for the response to my attempts to communicate.

Our minds, what we focus on and how we frame our thoughts absolutely dictate our reality. Thoughts trigger feelings (and vice versa) which means even if they don’t create the circumstances of our lives, they definitely DO create how we experience those circumstances. You literally HAVE THE POWER TO CHOOSE YOUR EXPERIENCES in life! Let that sink in.

Your past has no power over you.

Old traumas have no power over you.

Attackers, abusers, abandoners and bullies have no power over you.

You are on an epic journey through some tough stuff. In all great struggles the hero faces a point in which she can either run away or face the villain and say, “You are not all that! You are not more powerful than I am.” Now THAT is a powerful denial.

You are more powerful than you realize. You got this.

Cylvia

 

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#CylviaHayes #Empowerment #ResiliencyMuscles

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: https://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

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

 

A Toast to the Challenges of 2016

grateful-for

So we’re moving into yet another new year. Lot’s of people (me included) have been noting how this has been a tough year. But before it slips into the rearview mirror I want to take a moment to appreciate these past twelve months. They’ve been hard to be sure, but also really, really rich.

Here’s my toast to 2016 — I thank you for …

  • All the incredible growth and learning that came from the big challenges
  • The forced Reinvention that’s broadening my self-identity
  • The beautiful softening that comes with humility
  • Those moments when I felt so overwhelmed and broken that I stopped trying to plan, work, force and just gave in, got present and really saw the beauty right there in that moment
  • My incredible true friends and Beloved John who stuck with me and offered love and support
  • My Resiliency Muscles and the new appreciation I have for how the hard times in the past prepared me for these recent unprecedented challenges

For me 2016 sure wasn’t easy but it was uniquely beautiful, I think of it as a gift wrapped in barbed wire.

I would love to know what you were grateful for in 2016.  What were the unexpected and unasked for gifts wrapped in barbed wire that showed up just for you?   To what do you toast the year just passing?

Cylvia Hayes #cylviahayes #resiliencymuscles

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One Question that Will Change Your Whole Day

tigers-nest-cyl-in-monestory-doorOne of the most empowering things I’ve started doing is asking myself really useful questions.   Until recently one of my favorites was “What kind of day do I want to have?” This question helps to focus on what we want to accomplish and do and feel each day. Today I want to kick butt at work. Today I want make sure I work out. Today I want to experience a lot of happiness. Today I want to cross everything off the Do List. Etc., etc.

But very recently the question evolved a little into something I REALLY LOVE! The new improved power question is “WHAT KIND OF DAY DO I WANT TO BRING INTO THE WORLD TODAY?”

I love this slight reframe because it shifts from just thinking about getting to also focusing on giving.  Yes, I still want my knee to heal. And yes I want to grow my business a bit. And yes I want some personal challenges to go AWAY!  Yes, all of that AND I also want to be kind to everyone I meet today.  I want to increase the love in the world by being loving.  I want to listen deeply to my partner or my child or my friend who is struggling.

Throughout the day – during work, while working out, going through the checkout line in the grocery store, etc. — if I stay aware of the “Kind of Day I Want to Bring Into the World” I am a little kinder and more thoughtful.  And every time I have a day like that I’m automatically a little happier and more content.

So I ask YOU, what kind of day do you want to bring into our world today?

Cylvia Hayes  #cylviahayes 

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