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

What a Week!

This was a huge week! My book, finally, went live! I’d be so honored if you’d check out When Life Blows Up: A Guide to Peace, Power and Reinvention and let me know what you think.   And, after a year of working at it, I finally got the go ahead to teach a college course on Economic Illusions, Truths and Dangerous Assumptions. This course is a perfect way to offer the twenty-five years of expertise I have in making the shift toward a more sustainable, saner, equitable new economy.

I share this to offer encouragement if you are in a position of facing major and prolonged life transition. The two milestones I mention above were five years in the making! It took that long to move through the process of having everything fall apart, being willing (even when I didn’t want to) to sit with the uncertainty, doing the inner work of releasing my old identity (even when I didn’t want to) and opening up to allowing things to fall back into place looking very different than it did before the big crisis.

Back then, before it all blew up, if I had mapped out a pathway that I thought would bring my work and life to the next level it wouldn’t have been as good as what is taking place now.

Please know that even when it seems there is no possible way through the mess in front of you, there is. And, when it seems like the best of your life is behind you, it doesn’t have to be.

Here is an excerpt from my book, Chapter 12, titled On Purpose:

I don’t know if everything happens for a purpose but I do know we can find purpose in everything that happens. Pulling value out of agony helps us make sense of traumatic events and is a powerful survival skill; it’s also the thing that allows us to become more than we were before.

The greatest gift we can give ourselves and our world is to allow the trauma to break us open to the truth of who we really are, but be prepared, that opening process can send disruptive ripples throughout every aspect of your life. Once we’ve experienced the peace and power of the I Am consciousness, the connection to Source, once we’ve really laid hold of the fact that we’re more than just these human bodies, our purpose and priorities often shift. …..  

Our greatest challenges and deepest wounds are usually the best catalysts to propel us forward on a pathway of growth and expansion. Our times of deep loss and uncertainty are the times to go within, not to hole up and shrink but to whole up, expand and get very clear about what we really want to do with this precious human life we’ve taken on.

This human life we are experiencing is a series of classrooms and the more we make room for the inner lessons and our own growth, the more our mess can become our message, and our contribution.

And, just in case you think I’m putting forward a picture of my life being all perfection (something I really detest in many bloggers and coaches because none of our lives really are, at least not all the time) I want to share what happened this very morning.

I rolled out of bed and into my little hot tub with coffee and devotional book in hand, all ready to do my morning meditation. Unless I have a really early morning meeting I keep my first thing in the morning time sacred. However, this morning, just as I settled into the warm water, with magical snow flakes falling all around, my son, who is in the process of launching his own adult life, called to inform me of a number of calamities that had just hit him including a flat tire on the work truck he parks in my side lot. As much as I tried to ignore it I could hear him over there struggling with the jack and the whole situation, and life in general. My irritation melted into a heart swell of wanting to ease his frustration and struggle and so, I wound up spending the first part of the morning, in my bathrobe with a ski jacket over it (not a good look!), in a snowstorm, teaching him how to operate a big jack to get a big tire off a heavy truck. Meanwhile my hound dog got into the garbage can next door! It was a pretty darned redneck scene (said with love and homage to my roots!).   He made it to work and calmed down a lot and he learned how to operate a floor jack. I, once again, felt tremendous gratitude for being raised a rough little farm kid who knows how to do such things.

I didn’t get as much done today as I had on the “Do list”, but I did lay down a lovely, funny memory with my son and hound dog. Yep, quite a week!

Peace and happy weekend to you all.

Love,

Cylvia

P.S.  If you are interested in Launching Your Next Awesome Chapter of life, career or both, schedule a free coaching session here.

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

 

Want to make 2020 a breakthrough year?

Are you interested in making 2020 a breakthrough year?

Me too! That’s why I am offering a 20% discount to my Launch Your Next Chapter program to the first six people who sign up between now and January 15th.   20% in honor of 2020 – a new year and whole new decade!

Heading into a New Year is a perfect time to focus on creating a solid plan for putting more peace, power and purpose in your life.   This coaching program is specifically designed for people facing transition and reinvention and wanting to make 2020 a turning point year.

To see if this program might be a fit for you, I invite you to schedule a complimentary Discovery and Breakthrough coaching session. You can pick a time that works for you at this link.

As an added bonus, when you join the Launch Your Next Chapter program I will be happy to provide you with a copy of my brand new book, When Life Blows Up: A Guide to Peace, Power and Reinvention.

Cover of Cylvia Hayes’ When Life Blows Up

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

Midlife Awakening

Cover of Cylvia Hayes’ When Life Blows Up

Earlier this week I was leading a workshop for people facing big life transition and the need for reinvention. One of the participants asked, “Does everyone go through one of these midlife crises?” I thought about that for a second and said, “Well, first off I don’t call it a crisis. I call it a midlife awakening.”

As spiritual beings having a human experience we are continuously growing and at certain points in our life our inner growth and our desire to become more awake, more empowered, just plain more, breaks through (often subconsciously) and disrupts the trajectory we’ve been on so that we are forced to shift and grow.

It isn’t necessarily a gentle process and often involves losing parts of our old identity, our old familiar self. There’s a type of death that comes with the deepening of self-awareness as pieces of our selves don’t survive in the light.

There is such a powerful urge to scramble to put the pieces back together but there is true power in giving the field of uncertainty some time to work on you.

I write in my soon to be released book, When Life Blows Up: A Guide to Peace, Power and Reinvention:

Throughout my long ordeal and the stretch of unresolved, prolonged challenges there were so many times I was desperate for it just to be over with so that I could move on with life. But now I see that a quick resolution would have been a terrible lost opportunity. My evolution required longer incubation; had the catastrophe resolved sooner I would have been like a butterfly pulled prematurely from the chrysalis with wings too underdeveloped and deformed ever to fly. I can now see that the whole thing played out in beautiful Divine timing.  

My encouragement is to take some time to grieve the lost roles, the pieces of heart, the shards of self, to honor the contribution they’ve made, and then let them go. This way you make space for new facets to come into view as you heal and awaken. Staying a little patient with the process gives your new wings the time they need to fully form.

Just a couple days after the workshop I was doing some reading for my World Religions class and came across a passage that described Buddha’s experience as the, “most momentous midlife crisis in world history.” Just think how powerful your own awakening might be?

Love,

Cylvia

To schedule a complimentary Launch Your Next Chapter breakthrough session click here: https://www.cylviahayes.net/book-free-session/

You might also be interested in this post.

 

The In Between

Sometimes things happen that just knock us off the place in the world we thought we were standing on — death of a loved one, a health crisis, loss of a job, divorce, or even things we might choose like retirement. These abrupt changes can feel like a sort of death in and of themselves; our old familiar identity disintegrates, the dream of what we thought our life would be crumbles.

In anthropology, there is a concept known as the liminal phase describing how, in cultures that have clear rites of passage rituals such as moving from boyhood to manhood or from initiate to mid-wife or priestess, there is a period in which the initiate has lost their old identity and place in society but has not yet been granted the new status or reintegrated into society; that in between time is what is known as the liminal phase.

More recently liminality has crossed over from anthropology into psychology and is used to describe when a person suffers major life upheaval that shakes us loose from our familiar identity and position in community or society. This is usually a very challenging space for a person to remain in because it is detached from known routines and social interactions and support. The sense of liminality, of being in between the old and new way of being, often hits during sudden, intense life-changing events.

As I share in my upcoming book, When Life Blows Up: A Guide to Peace, Power and Reinvention:

“I was a couple of months into my public shaming experience when someone first shared the term liminality with me and I cried as I recognized and resisted the space I’d been forced into. On some subconscious level I was terrified that the upheaval and uncertainty would be permanent and I’d be trapped in a purgatory of pain and isolation for the rest of my life.”

My initial reaction to the bomb blast was to scramble to capture up the pieces and try to put things back together somehow, to keep my work going, to force my way forward, but the events had been too catastrophic and at some point I just had to give in, to surrender to the fact that things were never going to look the same again. I finally stopped working and allowed myself to be worked on from within and that’s when I struck gold.

For those of you sitting in what feels like an identity blast zone take heart, the terrible upheaval won’t last forever. And have courage because there is tremendous transformative power in in giving the liminal uncertainty some time to work its magic.

Being initiated into the deeper levels of ourselves often involves being willing to sit in the field of uncertainty for some time as our inner landscape shifts and new currents begin to move. It’s like the eagles who flow with the wind, carried in one direction then the other, until finally the wind itself lifts them up above the turbulence.

In my Launch Your Next Chapter program I work with a lot of people who are navigating liminality and transition and are determined to come out the other side with greater clarity, peace and power. If this sounds like you I invite you to a complimentary empowerment coaching session – just click here and pick a time that works for you.

In the meantime, here is a beautiful meditation called The Space Between

And remember, a butterfly pulled too soon from the chrysalis never fully forms its wings and so never flies. Our world will be so much more beautiful when we all are flying.

Love,

Cylvia

The Missing and Harnessing Loss

It’s now been a month since Tessa passed. The first few weeks were intense, indescribable really. Missing became a noun, a thing – “The Missing”. I would be going along, doing life, and The Missing would reach up and grab me, freezing the breath in my chest and flooding my eyes. It jumped me even when there was no obvious trigger beyond a lovely memory wafting through. In truth, it was so deep it was akin to a phantom limb; a beautiful part of me I expected to be there that wasn’t. I had to start adjusting to going through life a little lesser, a little less rich, quieter.

I am still grieving, tears still springing at unexpected moments (like now, as I write this) but it is softening – love and gratitude far outweighing the loss. I sometimes now feel her presence on the breeze, and it makes me smile.

I really don’t know if loss, transition and trauma happen for a purpose but I absolutely do know we can make purpose of everything that happens.   Tessa’s passing shifted me out of my normal state of being. After the first week, as the most jagged edges rounded a bit but the grief was still incredibly powerful, I found myself in a softer, slower energy that was just perfect for finishing my book.

I know I announced late last year that I’d finished the book, but after speaking with the publisher, editors and doing market research I realized that for it to fill the niche I’m hoping for the book needed to be a good bit longer. I have worked throughout this year to get it where it needs to be and within a few weeks When Life Blows Up: A Guide to Peace, Power and Reinvention will be headed to the editor, cover designer and graphics team and finally to completion and launch! Whew, it has been a JOURNEY! I am so proud of myself for seeing it through and for not rushing it, for allowing it to become something I really want to put forth into our world.

Loss isn’t easy and grief really can’t be rushed, but it can be harnessed. It can open us to gentler, more vulnerable and therefore more creative energies. Once I get this book fully fledged, I’m thinking about doing another titled, Soul Dog, for all of us who take the beautiful risk and reap the rewards of giving our hearts fully to a four-legged, furred or feathered friend. Thanks for the inspiration Tessa, my sweet pea.

This pic of her has become my favorite since her passing. It was taken just two months before she passed and before I had any idea how soon that was to be. We were out on a hike and, as I had done so many times before, I looked back at her and my heart flooded and I said, “Do you know how much I love you?” As she had started doing in the frosty-faced portion of her life, she looked right into my eyes and smiled, her way of saying, “Yes I do know and right back at you.”

Life is process and man it hurts sometimes. Change is guaranteed even if we wish it weren’t. We are never what we have lost. We are not what has been torn from us and we definitely are not broken beyond repair, ever, unless we choose to build the brokenness and victimhood into our beliefs, our stories and our identities. Even when it all blows to pieces we still are everything we were before. We might not still have what we had — the positions, the possessions, money, the athletic body, the children, the loved ones — but we still are the culmination of experiences, talents, current and former abilities and impactful relationships that make us uniquely us. Every one of us is the sum total of all we have experienced, felt, learned and unlearned before. There is never only one way to view a challenging event and never only one possible outcome.

I still have Tessa’s urn and little shrine on my front room floor. Cards and letters and even lovely drawings poured in from people whose lives she had touched and who cared about us – I am really touched by that and I just love it that so many people loved her. I expect at some point I will spread her ashes in various places that she loved, but not just yet. I will know when that time is right. In the meantime I feel for her on the wind and allow my heart to open a little further.

Love,

Cylvia

P.S. For those of you facing a period of transition and reinvention, whether it be grief, loss or just wanting to find clarity of purpose in the next chapter of your life, I have four openings for complimentary Reinvention and Empowerment Breakthrough sessions. Just schedule a time here — https://calendly.com/cylvia/30min. I very much look forward to talking with you.

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