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

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.

Leavin’ the Last Decade in the Rear View Mirror!

Just before New Year’s I received from my publisher, the loose-leaf version of my book so that I could do one more round of edits and proofreading. I took the bundle of papers and a cup of coffee out to my little hot tub and starting reading it (again!) and making a few notes and edits, (again!).

Reviewing it brought home what a truly momentous New Year’s this is. It had all been so very different and so much harder a few years ago, as I noted in the chapter three titled, Redefining Surrender:

“Throughout the holidays the press pounded me and John and the governor’s office and campaign staff. Several of the Oregonian’s click-for-cash reporters were relentless. My attorneys recommended I sue the Oregonian to prevent them from getting my personal emails. That meant suddenly I had both an investigation by the Oregon Ethics Commission, and a lawsuit in the Marion County Circuit Court trying to keep a dishonest newspaper from getting my personal emails, as well as a looming federal investigation.   The mushroom cloud just seemed to keep getting bigger and thicker.

In addition to being weary from the constant bombardment and accusations, I was heartsick about what we were doing to the planet. …. My work seemed so small compared to the enormity of the issues and even that work was now under intense attack by relentless and vicious media.   I hit a deep depression. For two days I just lay in the recliner watching TV and drinking beer, numbing myself. Normally this was a time of the year when I reviewed the goals I’d had for the year just passing and set goals for the new year ahead. Not this time. I just didn’t have the heart for it. This would be the first time I could remember that I hadn’t set goals for the year to come.”

Well good-bye and good riddance to those times and trials and hello 2020! This is the first January in five years that I am not dealing with legal and financial challenges beyond my control that came with my life blowing all to pieces.

I have heard from so many of you that you are more than ready to put the last decade in the REAR VIEW MIRROR!  So many of us have struggled a lot, suffered a lot and grown a lot. And now it’s time to launch a whole new and awesome chapter.

Right now, in the heart of winter, at the very beginning of a new year and new decade is the perfect time to drop old patterns that no longer serve us. One of the most important aspects is letting go the old stories we tell ourselves about ourselves and about our lives. Here’s another piece from my book:

“Surrendering to the loss of our old identity, the story we told of ourselves and to ourselves makes room for possibilities that didn’t exist, or that we couldn’t see, in the old story. This is a point of massive evolutionary potential, in how we view our world, others and ourselves, in how we feel and think. The evolution happens in its own time, sometimes gradually, in small shifts, and sometimes in rapid and profound revelation.

Those times when the mirages of order in our old stories fall to pieces are times when we can choose to be diminished, reduced and limited or expanded and diversified. The power comes when we resist the fear and urge to contract and instead open to the possibility that the change, no matter how painful, may be the best gift we never imagined. By releasing our death grip on an old, familiar identity we make room for new amazing facets to surface and shine. The most courageous choice is to give time and room to the space between our old story and the new, to sit still in the liminal unknowing and allow the sacred to emerge.”

I am indescribably grateful for all the growth and change that has resulted from the indescribably painful set of circumstances that seized my life for a time. There is no doubt that all the things we view as problems, challenges and pain can actually be tremendous gifts; I call them gifts wrapped in barbed wire!

So here’s to 2020!   And her’s to each of us making this the best year of our lives so far.

And oh yeah, I’m setting goals again! Here are a few:

  • Being of top-notch service to my awesome coaching and consulting clients
  • Launching a college course about creating a saner, sustainable economy
  • Launching the book! And starting the next one.
  • And, some less grand things like getting my house painted ….

What are your 2020 goals?  I would love to hear.

And I would love to support you in clarifying and actualizing them. If you’d like to chat about it, just book a Discovery Session here. This is a free one-on-one empowerment coaching session with just you and me.

FYI, the first six new folks who sign up for my Launch Your Next Chapter empowerment program will receive complimentary copies of my book, When Life Blows Up: A Guide to Peace, Power and Reinvention.

Love,

Cylvia

 

Full Spiral Gratitude

Freya having her own full spiral Thanksgiving all safe, toasty and comfy on a couch with people who truly love her.

Another Thanksgiving but definitely not a full circle experience. I don’t believe we ever come full circle, but instead full spiral; we may return to familiar settings but we are never exactly the same as we were before. A woman can never step in the same river because the river has already shifted and so has she.

One year ago today I was stilled mired in legal and financial challenges, but not any more.

One year ago my son was still halfway across the country locked up in a terrible place. Today he’s here with me building a beautiful life.

At this time last year my coaching work was barely a thing, now it’s a full blown program helping lots of awesome people launch their next chapters of life, career and relationship.

Holy cow a year ago I still really didn’t know where I was going with the book and now it is with the publisher!

My current major clients and the New Economy college course I’m developing (and super excited about) weren’t even on the radar screen a year ago.

Last Thanksgiving my beloved Tessa was still with us and I had no idea how little time we had left. The missing is still strong, near the surface and tender. But along with that a year ago Freya was in a situation of neglect and basic survival. She’ll spend today wagging, wiggling, snuggling on the couch, gently begging for (and receiving) delicious morsels.

I feel so blessed and grateful it’s difficult to contain it. I find myself thinking of the scene in Jerry Maguire when Rod learns he has landed a big contract with the NFL team of his dreams and starts spouting thanks to his family, friends, agent and then, in joyful overwhelm blurts out, “I just love everybody!”

I truly hope everyone who reads this has reason to celebrate a full spiral moment and feel bursting at the seems levels of gratitude.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Love,

Cylvia

To schedule a free Launch Your Next Chapter Breakthrough Session, click here: https://calendly.com/cylvia/30min

Shiny Objects and Gut Checks

At Unity Village and worldwide headquarters with my friend and minister Jane.

I just completed the final paper for the final prerequisite class to start full-blown ministerial school. What?!  Even two years ago I couldn’t have seen this one coming. I was taking classes through Unity Worldwide Ministries for my own personal growth. I wasn’t planning to become a minister at a congregation but I was taking a bunch of the classes so I figured I might as well be doing it for credit. Next thing I know I’ve just completed the 18th and final course.

Looking back on the massive transition process I went through when life blew to pieces several years ago I can now see that I did some things that helped and other things that definitely didn’t. One of the things that slowed my reinvention was jumping at too many shiny objects, chasing at every opportunity that seemed to appear. I see this so often now with the clients I am working with who are in the process of reinventing careers or trying to find purpose and clarity around the next chapter of life. Because it is so hard to sit in the uncertainty of not having a concrete goal or a clearly defined career position, we often try to force things into place and convince ourselves to take on certain things even when our inner compass is warning us it isn’t a good fit. Once I cured myself of Shiny Object Syndrome my coaching business took off and I finally completed the book I’d been working on for four years!

I offer this as a friendly warning to all of you who find yourself facing transition and the need, or desire, to reinvent your career, life situation or identity. Focus will be key. However, I’d warn against hyper-focus. There is a fine line between being too scattered and staying open to possibilities you might not have noticed before. This is where self-honesty and intuition are essential. In my case, even as I started to reign in the shiny object pursuits, I kept doing the ministerial classes simply because it felt right. I was enjoying the personal learning and the courses were giving me tools and insights that were directly useful to my coaching clients. When I checked in deeply with myself, even though I didn’t have a fully baked intended outcome, it felt right to stay the course and keep taking the courses.

Over the summer as I was nearing completion of the prereqs I learned that there is a pathway through the Unity ministerial program that enables you to focus on the specific audiences you most want to serve. For me that includes environmental and social change advocates (the folks who choose to deal with big gnarly issues all day every day) and people transitioning out of incarceration. So, lo and behold, I will begin the Unity Urban Ministerial School main program this Winter term. Again, What?!!  It feels right and I am really looking forward to it.

Overlooking the beautiful Unity Village main campus

One of the things that let me know I wanted to keep pursuing the ministerial path was how much I enjoy becoming a more engaged part of the Unity worldwide movement.  If you are moving through a time of transition, as you stretch out into new directions, new networks and audiences, pay attention to the particular groups, organizations or communities that you enjoy spending time with. This can be an important guidepost during times of reinvention.

The path to empowered reinvention lies between wide-open vistas of options you haven’t considered before and disciplined gut checks to determine if those options really are a fit for you. It’s the balance point between having the courage to try on new possibilities and the courage to sit with the uncertainty long enough to allow it to gel into the perfect next chapter.

Love,

Cylvia

If you’d like to explore Empowerment Coaching to help you gain clarity and direction and put together a plan for effective reinvention I’d be happy to provide a complimentary 30 minute Launch Your Next Chapter breakthrough session. Just click here and schedule a time that works for you.

Flowing through Times of Turbulence

I am headed off for our annual rafting trip on the wild and scenic Rogue River. I am so excited that, for the first time, I’ll be able to provide this incredible experience to my nephew (son really) who is finally here with me after a lengthy prison sentence. This will be his very first experience of the freedom and majesty of wild nature.

John and I do this trip every summer. He rows a raft and I row a raft and we take a few family members and dear friends on a magical journey.

Rowing a raft reminds me so much of the work I do coaching people who are navigating major life transition and reinvention.

If you wind up in turbulent water you are most likely to get hurt or even drown if you fight it, try to get to shore too soon or try to cling to some solid object. That is how you are most likely to get battered and tossed around. The key is to keep your feet in front of you, eyes open and let the current carry you through the rapids and into calmer water.

The tough times in our lives are like that too. Resisting the change and clinging to old, familiar ways just increases the turbulence. The key to finding peace and power in the midst of life-altering periods of change is to open our hearts, let the emotions wash through us and allow ourselves to flow with the uncertainty. There will be rapids, and eddies that feel as though we are stuck in place, and even some calm still pools that allow us to float gently for a time. Every piece of the transition process has a purpose as we move through the space between our old life and our new one. As we open our hearts and our minds we allow the ever-present current of change that is life to flow us into the new, expanded versions of our work, our lives and our Selves.

If you are in the midst of transition and reinvention I would be so happy to speak with you. I currently have openings for 6 complimentary Reinvention Breakthrough coaching session. Just click the link here and pick a time that works for you.

There is a river of opportunity, peace and life flowing to and through you right this moment.

Love,

Cylvia

 

 

The Power of Rewriting Our Stories

It can be damn unsettling to be at a point of major transition and life or career reinvention in our 40s, 50s and 60s. And yet, reinvention at this point in life is unbelievably common. Take heart, you are not alone!

There are more Americans between the ages of 45 and 65 than any other age block in our country AND a whole heck of a lot of us are in the midst of big life transitions and changes.

One of the best ways to harness change as a path to peace and empowerment is to take a deep and honest look at the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves and the world. We all consume stories by media and pop culture and our own families and  we wind up attaching to some of these stories and accepting them as truth even when that might not be the case.

For example, pop-culture media is filled with images and stories of celebrity success and accomplishment that are mostly airbrushed illusion.  Sensationalist news media pours heavy doses of fear into the mix, enticing us to compare ourselves to those airbrushed images in order to get our attention and willingness to spend money on their advertisers’ products. None of this has anything much to do with depth, substance or real life.

The stories we buy into about ourselves, life, limitations, are just that, stories. But they are immensely powerful: they literally shape our experience of life.

When I was forced out of a career I’d spent my whole life building, I felt utterly adrift, heartbroken, terrified and really pissed off. I was also unable to do anything to get back what I had lost. After raging around for a time in anger, resistance and despair, I finally made a decision to take control of what I could which was the way I chose to view the situation. Instead of sticking with the story (however justifiable it might have been) that I had been unfairly targeted and taken out, I chose to view it as an unasked for sabbatical to explore other areas of life and myself.

I wound up growing and expanding so much that when the dust settled and the reshaped landscape of my life came into view, I realized I didn’t even want to do what I’d been doing before! I had grown into new dimensions and directions. In fact, that’s what led to me developing the Launch Your Next Chapter and Jedi Activist programs and doing work that I LOVE.

In recent years I’ve worked with many, many people in the process of reinventing at mid-life. Like all of us they started out pretty afraid but as they began to let go of the old scripts and write new stories they have gone on to launch new businesses and non-profit organizations, find beautiful new loving relationships, sort out difficult financial situations and even boldly pick up and move to new countries they’d always wanted to experience.

One of the most disempowering stories we buy into is that we are supposed to be in a certain place at a certain stage in life. It’s the false story that we “should have done thus and so by now” and are too old to do (fill in the blank), now.   For the most part, that is garbage. Just consider:

  • Mother Teresa was forty years old when she founded the Missionaries of Charity.
  • Jack Nicklaus was forty-six years old when he shot 65 in the final round, and 30 on the back nine, to win the Masters.
  • Henry Ford was fifty years old when he started his first manufacturing assembly line.
  • Ray Kroc was a fifty-two-year-old milkshake machine salesman when he bought out Mac and Dick McDonald and officially started McDonald’s.
  • Pablo Picasso was fifty-five years old when he painted Guernica.
  • Dom Pérignon was fifty-six years old when he first produced champagne.
  • Oscar Hammerstein II was sixty-four years old when he wrote the lyrics for The Sound of Music.
  • Winston Churchill was sixty-five years old when he became Britain’s Prime Minister.
  • Nelson Mandela was seventy-one years old when he was released from a South African prison. Four years later he was elected president of South Africa.
  • Michelangelo was seventy-two years old when he designed the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.
  • Auguste Rodin was seventy-six years old when he finally married Rose Beuret, whom he met when he was twenty-three.
  • Benjamin Franklin was seventy-nine years old when he invented bifocal eyeglasses.
  • Frank Lloyd Wright was ninety-one years old when he completed his work on the Guggenheim Museum.
  • Dimitrion Yordanidis was ninety-eight years old when he ran a marathon in seven hours and thirty three minutes, in Athens, Greece.
  • Ichijirou Araya was one hundred years old when he climbed Mount Fuji.

The truth is there are myriad possibilities in every situation and most of them we are unaware of, until … we aren’t! How many times has life delivered an opening you never saw coming? That doesn’t end as we progress through it. In fact, the experience and seasoning we gain along the way broadens the options for what’s possible.

What stories are you telling yourself about yourself and the options before you? Are you certain those stories are accurate? Are they serving you? Remember, you have the power and the right to write your own story.

Love,

Cylvia

Focus on the What, Allow the How

Not the most flattering picture, but (sadly!) the best I got of me presenting our Sacred Activism workshop.

Four and a half years ago the career I had put my entire adult life into blew apart. At first, I fought and railed and hustled trying to keep it afloat. After the first few months I got a client here and there but the truth was, I was so broken by everything that was happening in my life I didn’t do my best work. In desperation, I took on a client that I knew looked like trouble, and sure enough, a few months in, I got stiffed for several thousand dollars, something that had never before happened in my professional career.

Finally, I just had to surrender to the fact that I needed time to heal and it was going to take months, maybe even years to get through all the legal challenges and get my beloved career as a social enterprise and New Economy consultant and speaker up and running again.

I knew I still wanted what I had wanted before, which was to make a difference in bringing humanity into a saner, healthier relationship with our planet. But now I didn’t know how to go about it. On top of that, because of all the huge challenges and upheaval, I wanted something in addition. I wanted to be able to harness the mess I was dealing with in a way that would help others. But again I didn’t know how to go about it and those two things, the old career and the new insights, seemed to be in pretty different worlds.

So, I took a leap of faith and surrendered to the possibility that my old career might be over. I knew I had done a lot of good work through that vehicle and if it was necessary for me to leave it behind, though it hurt, I was willing. I stopped fighting so hard to keep the work going, and allowed myself to be worked on.

As part of my healing, reflection and personal development process I began taking spiritual education classes through Unity, the spiritual community that I had been part of for many, many years. After a few classes the minister suggested maybe I ought to think about ministerial school. It seemed a little crazy at the time but I was already taking accredited classes so I figured I might as well enroll and be getting credit for the classes I was taking.

During that same time I was also training to get certified as a strategic empowerment coach and pretty soon the ministerial classes were proving hugely useful to the coaching work I was doing. I began to think maybe there really was something to the whole “becoming a minister” thing. Staying on that path felt right even though I didn’t have any clear idea what I’d do with a ministerial credential and I didn’t really have a desire to be a lead minister heading a congregation.

This is me and my dear friend Reverend Jane Hiatt in the water tower building at Unity Village.

I just kept taking classes as I built my coaching business and even began building up some clients in my original New Economy field as well.

And then this week happened. I attended my first Unity Worldwide annual convention. I was there mostly just to take it in and learn and to visit Unity Village for the first time (which was awesome!). However, for the past couple of years I’d also been serving on the Unity Worldwide EarthCare team: EarthCare is the program that helps Unity congregations adopt more sustainable and environmentally friendly practices. It had just been a way for me to make a contribution in my field even though my professional work in that field had been blown off the rails. The EarthCare team was asked to present a workshop on Sacred Activism and I was to be one of the presenters.

These events came together like tumblers clicking into place.

  • Tumbler One: First, I learned there is a pathway to Unity ministry that enables you to establish alternative ministries that focus on serving certain populations in many regions rather than just a single congregation. The program is wide open to my desire to serve three main groups: people at mid-life facing major reinvention, environmental and social change advocates, and people transitioning out of prison.

 

  • Tumbler Two: The EarthCare team delivered our sacred activism workshop and in it I talked about the need to shift to a saner, sustainable New Economy. I didn’t know how a New Thought spiritual crowd would respond to that message but they were totally into it! They were at that particular workshop out of a desire to be more effective environmental activists but the whole New Economy side of the issue was new to them.

 

  • Tumbler Three: I went to a session showing a short film on Conscious Capitalism. I was electrified. I had no idea New Thought spiritual institutions like Unity were bringing in New Economy concepts like Conscious Capitalism. Turns out, this was the very first time.

That night, though totally exhausted, I couldn’t sleep. I lay there in the dark and realized that just like that, I finally knew the direction my ministry needed to go, how it would support my empowerment coaching services and even pull in and build upon my previous career. In a flash my life and work reintegrated like Humpty Dumpty coming back together but differently configured.

On top of all of that, and to my amazement, I am just completing the 18th and final required prerequisite course necessary to begin the actual official Unity Worldwide Ministerial program. It sort of seems like it just happened! Even though looking back it has been a ton of work and a lot of study, I have loved it and am super excited about the next phase.

I finally have found my calling for this new phase of career and it doesn’t mean completely abandoning my old career, as I’d feared but been willing to face, but is actually an expansion. After nearly five years I now really know the what and even the next few pieces of the how. I am so excited!

For those of you who are dealing with transition and reinvention I encourage you to get very clear on the values, the things you really care about, the people and causes you truly want to contribute to and the key ways you want your life to make a difference in our world. And then stop pushing so hard, open up to the truth that there are pathways to those goals you haven’t even dreamed of yet. Focus on your what and allow the how to show up for you.

And never forget, you may not have what you had before – the titles, the positions, the roles, the money – but you still are all that you have worked to become. You still are all the experiences, the talents, the skills and accomplishments that were yours before the transition. You still are all of that and now you can become even more.

Love,

Cylvia

P.S. If you’d like to schedule a complimentary Empowerment Breakthrough Session, just pick a good time at this link.  https://calendly.com/cylvia/30min

Life Commencement

This is the time of year when lots of us are attending High School and college graduation ceremonies. It’s usually both joyous and bittersweet for the parents.

A good percentage of the clients I support are people who are at mid-life, facing transition and working toward launching the next chapter of life. Having the kids fledge is often part of this period when people start really looking at what’s next.

It occurs to me it’s a little sad that we have ceremonies to recognize and honor important rites of passage like marriage and graduation but nothing at all to honor the incredible feat of making it to full-blown mature adulthood!

At this point we’ve navigated our lives, many forms of education (formal and tough knocks), built careers, raised kids (and sometimes parents), worked our tails off and gained lots and lots and lots of life experience, and yet, there is no ceremony, not time off to celebrate all of these incredible feats.

If this sounds like you, if you’re at that magical but sometimes mystifying place called mid-life, I encourage you to take a moment, or much longer, to pat yourself on the back and celebrate your incredible accomplishments.

And, if you’re feeling a little unsettled, uncertain about what comes next ….. well, congratulate yourself for continuing to stretch, for not just settling and sitting back on your heels! There’s a whole new world of opportunity opening up as you carry your life experience, tempering and wisdom forward into your next chapter.

So huge congratulations to all the grads. And in celebration of all you miraculous people who have navigated enough life to help launch these next generations on their journeys. Here’s to the next phase of your own.

To schedule a complimentary Mid-Life Mastery breakthrough session click here — https://calendly.com/cylvia/30min

Love,

Cylvia