Without the Smell of Fire — Moving from Survivor to Thriver

Cover of Cylvia Hayes’ When Life Blows Up

Yesterday was October 14th, 2020, exactly six years to the day that my life blew up.

I didn’t even realize it until well into the day.  Just the week before, my home refinance closed and I was able to pay off the last remaining financial complication from all the trouble of the big ordeal.  It is a delicious sense of closure and full freedom.

I have weathered so much, changed and grown so much since that fateful day.  It is probably impossible to describe the depth of change.  What I do know is that I am truly, deeply grateful for that change, grateful what it is like to live with this mindset rather than the old one.

Recently, in one of the classes I took as part of my ministerial studies, I worked with the book Without the Smell of Fire, by the late Walter Lanyon.  Lanyon has become one of my favorite spiritual writers.  In this book he makes a powerful case for moving beyond attachment to the tragedies we go through.  I have found this to be a critically important step in moving from working to overcome to fully embracing the resulting growth.

If we aren’t careful, it is easy to slip into victimhood when we stay attached to the story of overcoming hardship or tragedy.  The choice is whether to stay at the level of survivor or step into our Self as a thriver.

I am here as living example to encourage you that no matter how bleak and hard it may seem right now, there is always possibility for truly magnificent good to come from the hardship.  The sooner you can let go the story of surviving, the sooner you can let the smoke clear, the sooner you will start noticing the sweet smell of opportunity and joy.

I am a long-time student of A Course in Miracles.  The Course describes a miracle as a correction in error thinking.  Recently, I picked up a new morning habit.  Just as I am waking, before I even get out of bed, I take a moment and ask, “Huh, I wonder what miracles I am going to notice and accept today?”  I am LOVING this little practice because it helps me much more quickly open to the possibility of something lovely showing up even in circumstances that appear unpleasant.  I encourage you to give it a try for a week or so.  You have nothing to lose by playing with it.

Finally, my book is getting a good bit of interest now (I mean after all, how could I have planned to release a book titled, When Life Blows Up just before the pandemic blew things up for all of us!).  Here are links to a couple of recent interviews I have done.

Much love.  Choose to thrive!



Peace in the Midst of Chaos

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Much Love,



Grief — The Art of Being Fully Alive

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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


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






It’s all about the Resurrection

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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.



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

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.



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

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?



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

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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.



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.



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.

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.



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.