Inspiration

How Do You Know When Your Calling Has Called?

By Cindy Yantis

It often comes when you're not expecting it. At least it did for me.

Yoann-boyer-woman
Photo credit: Yoann Boyer


It was the middle of the night. The year was 2002. I was tossing and turning, thrashing in and out of the sheets because I alternated between sweating and freezing. No, I wasn’t ill. No, I wasn’t having a hot flash. But, my breath was hot as I sighed, the weight of the world on each exhale.

Dark Night of the Soul

I’ve come to understand I was having what could be known as a “dark night of the soul.”

The origin of this phrase goes back to a 16th century poem by Spanish Poet St. John of the Cross, where the poem narrates "the journey of the soul to mystical union with God."  Eckhart Tolle defines it today as, “…a collapse of a perceived meaning in life, an eruption into your life of a deep sense of meaningless…what really has collapsed is the whole conceptual framework for your life, the meaning that your mind had given it.”

This was exactly what was happening to me. My mind was engaged in a war of purpose, while I pleaded, cried, even screamed in prayer.

Ever had one of those, a dark night of the soul? It can be triggered by any number of things – anything that can rock your current existence, from a personal tragedy or loss, to a deep feeling of loss of direction or purpose.

But, as Eckhart said, the dark night of the soul “awakens you into something deeper… A deeper sense of purpose or connectedness with a greater life. It’s a kind of re-birth.” A spiritual awakening.

Well, I’ve experienced a few nights (and days) like this as I’ve evolved and grown in my human experience and as my consciousness has expanded. And, they can be gut and heart wrenching to go through. But, there are two that stand out as re-birth moments in my purpose – in 2002 and very recently – and what’s so mysterious and awesome is that they’re connected.

But back in 2002, it had been four years since I’d uprooted my life in Michigan to move to Los Angeles to pursue a career in the arts, acting particularly at the time. I’d had a few trickles of success: some theatre roles, a co-star spot on NYPD BLUE, and several national commercials (McDonald’s paid for the redecoration of my West Hollywood condo). And, I had started writing, mostly so I could write roles for myself in which I could act. I wrote and starred in a tiny short film that I used to help me get an agent. I wrote a piece for an industry workshop. And, I wrote my first script, which placed in a prestigious screenwriting competition and helped me get my first literary manager.

But, so much of it felt like an uphill climb. I felt like I had a gift, but I felt split. I enjoyed the making of the art, but the business was daunting. And, if I’m being honest, which at this point that’s all I can be, I wasn’t sure I wanted the acting thing badly enough to do what I knew it was going to take, that being a gorilla approach to self-promotion. Whenever I did it, it didn’t feel authentic. And, I certainly didn’t enjoy it. And, truthfully, I didn’t think I was a good enough actor to break through the fray of other actors who really, really, really wanted it. The writing was still fairly new, although I’ve been writing in one form or another since I was ten. And, I didn’t know what to do with it, really. Self-promotion was going to be involved with that too.

So anyway. That night. With the soul. Some of these unvoiced and hidden truths were swimming around in my subconscious. Some of them I wasn’t ready to admit because I was determined to find my purpose, and I didn’t give up easily. As a lifelong seeker that was a force that was innate. My body was in pain as I stiffened on top of my mattress; my mouth was dry and I became aware that I was constantly sighing heavily, audibly a whisper of wanting that led to my conversation with God, my Source, my Higher Wisdom.

“God, what am I to do? Why is this so difficult? If it’s my purpose shouldn’t it be easier?”

The silence was beyond deafening, until another sigh of desperation exploded from me. “Why did you give me these gifts?” More silence. My cat, Callie, who had previously become very bored with my bed-top one-woman show of angst, came slinking back into the room. Like she wanted to hear the answer to this as well.

“Please help me. What am I supposed to do?”

And, then it came. An answer I wasn’t expecting, but it was very direct, short and surprisingly sweet. It made me bolt up from bed.

“Write meaningful prose that will change people’s lives.”

What? I can tell you, those were not my words. I didn’t use the word prose. But, that’s what I was told. “Write meaningful prose that will change people’s lives.”

Was that the call of my calling?

That’s when it became the “aha night” when I heard the call of the soul.

My body relaxed as I settled into this new mantra of truth. A mantra that has carried me ever since. So, my focus became writing. I’ve evolved into a pretty good storyteller, screenwriting mostly, my wheelhouse being characters, primarily women, who are in self-discovery, smart, sardonic women with big flaws. Heroines who also have dark nights of the soul. And, there’s movement around a few of them, although it’s Hollywood movement, which can mimic molasses. I’m okay with that though. All in the right timing, with the right people. And, this blog Thought Changer, was birthed from that mantra as it's about changing your life, an idea, an expression, a thought at a time.

Calling fulfilled? Maybe. At times it feels that way. 

But, something has recently shifted around it, causing more angst. Oy!

After breaking my wrist and taking the time to reassess priorities, I decided to concentrate on writing a novel that I’ve been researching for awhile.

Also, during this time of rehabilitation I’d engaged with a couple of healers for energy healing sessions. Now, this may sound a little woo-woo for some, but hey this is my world, these are my peeps and it’s how I roll. So, hang with me. I love exploring different healing modalities and they have opened up my life and expanded my mind. Anyway, during the course of the sessions with both of these women, they received strong messages from my angels, spirit guides and loved ones that I’m supposed to do some more deep writing about myself. Both of them said the same thing, on separate occasions: I have a story of my own to tell. And, I said, "Aw thanks. I’ll definitely do that some day." And then I filed it away under the category “maybe someday when I’m interesting.” But these readings happened at a time when there was a lot of quiet in my life, so I heard it on a deeper level. Oh, and they also gave me specific topics and events I’m supposed to write about. Yeah, I know, but that's exactly what happened. 

Well, that scared the crap out of me. I think because I knew what that was going to mean. Raw, hard truths that are challenging enough to admit to myself, let alone put out there to the world for others to read. And, my perception is that memoirists have really interesting lives that include huge events - often tragic and dysfunctional family lives - that catapult them into subjects of literary fame. I don't have that. I have a wonderful family that functions pretty well, most of the time. 

But, there are some dark and transforming moments, as with any life. So, what did I do? I decided my new novel would be based on some real events in my life. I gave the main character some of my story, writing actual scenes from my life into it and recreating them. That way, I could embellish them and create a much more interesting story that what mine is or would be. That felt like the perfect solution! Much easier to hide behind a fictional character than to reveal anything messy about myself. I don’t show the world my messy. And, I could really write it! Write what you know, right? So, I wrote a few of those chapters and laid out a kickass outline that I was excited about.

Then, I stopped writing. I literally couldn’t write. I researched and made notes. But, I wasn’t writing the novel. I didn't know what to do with her, this character that was sort of me, but wasn't at all me. Procrastination became an appointment in my daily calendar. And. It. Was. Frustrating. Any prolificacy that I’d previously experienced when on a project had left the building.

When the Call Comes Again 

So, I created a weekend writing retreat to help me focus. I got a lot done, both on the novel outline and the blog. I was tapping into some deep work. Although something was still in the way, scenes just weren't forming.

As part of the retreat I took part in an herbal tea meditation and breath workshop. The healing breath work was very intense. As the practitioner, Melissa Terese Young, told us, the consistent and deep breath pattern when done for an extended period of time (we did it for close to an hour) over oxygenates your brain and body and puts you into a meditative, and at times alternative, state. A lot came up for me during the session around my novel, my work and more aspirational questions than answers came forth.

That night, in bed, is when the 2nd night of the soul took place. Tossing and turning. I couldn’t sleep and I was feeling a collision of purpose coming. The difference this time is I had some sense of navigation because I’d been here before. So, again I prayed and I asked, “What is stopping me?” “Why have I been so stuck in my writing?” “Is this what I’m supposed to be doing?” "Please guide me on what's next."

In the silence that followed, a small voice came. “Write meaningful prose that will change YOUR life.” Hmmm. It went on. “Take your story back and tell your own story.” And, the deeper message I got was that the more I dove into my own truths, pains, revelations and transformations, the deeper the connection will be with those who read it, connection to that deep wanting and truth within themselves too.

Now that is a calling that rings really true. And, it petrifies me.

"Every time I picked up a pen, this grinding, unnamed fear overcame me—later identified as fear that my real self would spill out. One can’t mount a stripper pole wearing a metal diving suit. What I needed to write kept simmering up while I wrote down everything but that. In fact, I kept ginning out reasons that writing reality was impossible. I cranked up therapy and drank like a fish.” ― Mary Karr, The Art of Memoir

So, I’m committing to it, to writing those scenes from my own life, whether it’s about the loss of a baby and a marriage, the depths of food addiction, the perils of the hysterically funny and tragic voices in my head as I discovered boys and ran up against mean girls, the shame of pretty, the Miss America Pageant, the path of being a childless woman, the eye-opening metaphors that shifted my perspective and my own spiritual exploration, from Sunday school to shamanic journeys in the middle of the Costa Rican jungle. It’s all game and I have no idea what it’s going to look like or what path the story will take.

But, it’s calling. So, I’m answering the call. And guess what? It's pouring out of me, like a waterfall of life. 

So, how do you know when your call is calling?

The best way I know is to:

  • Ask those deep questions - and then get quiet. Really quiet.
  • Listen intently  - to what your inner voice tells you. It may be a soft whisper, or it may be a shout that makes you jump out of bed.
  • Pay attention - when your entire being feels in accord with that voice, pay close attention

That just might be the call.

Answer it.

Related: A Soul's Purpose. Are We Ever Really There?


7 Re's to ReAwaken Your Life

Huntington-spring-2013_roses

By Cindy Yantis

A day spent at the Huntington Gardens in Pasadena was more than I expected it to be. It’s arguably one of the most beautiful gardens in the world. I was there recently with my dear friend, Ferrell Marshall, who wanted to go for inspiration. She's currently in the one-woman play "The Belle of Amherst" in which she brilliantly portrays Emily Dickinson. I joined her at the last minute because I had an inexplicable yearning to be outside in that beautiful nature. I felt like a bear reemerging after a long hibernation.

Because of Emily Dickinson’s lifelong fascination with roses, we focused particularly on the massive rose garden enlivened with over 1500 rose varieties and hybrids, examples include the Passion Rose, Jump for Joy Rose, Exquisite Rose and the Marilyn Monroe & John F Kennedy Roses, which with a stroke of garden humor were placed next to each other.

Breathing in the fresh growth and deepness of new that surrounded us and greeted our hungry senses at every turn, I had a new feeling of life within, a rebirth and renewal.

The Power of RE

It got me thinking about the power of the Re words. I’ve reflected about this before and it hit me again at Huntington Gardens how deeply ensconced Re’s are in the development of spring, and therefore in our lives at this time of year. For sure, in my life right now.

The truth is I have been hibernating, more than usual in fact.

When I broke my wrist on Christmas Eve it meant there were a lot of things I couldn’t do, the most crucial being – at least to me – I couldn’t type because I couldn’t pronate my left hand. So, it made writing – my passion and my why – very complicated. Sure, I could “voice type” straight into a document and write longhand (thank god I’m not a lefty). But, instead, I decided to take it as a sign to stop for a while and to surrender to all that my rehabilitation meant on a deeper level. 

I slowed way down, took a couple classes, did some reading, plenty of soul-searching and spent a lot of quiet time alone. Staring at the wall. A. Lot. Of. Time.

My rehabilitation and recovery (two delicious Re words) allowed me to hibernate deeply in my own truth. And, the reality of my truth is much simpler than the reality I was living before I broke my wrist. 

Related: How A Broken Wrist Changed My Life

So, this brings me back to this season of Re. What I love about the Re is that it brings a fresh lens, attitude, appetite and perspective to whatever you’re doing at any given moment. Or more to the point, a refreshed way of being.

Here are 7 RE's that come to mind to reawaken you:

Re-calibrate your spirit by getting back in touch with nature. It can be really simple. Walk barefoot in the grass. Gaze at the sun. Sink your hands into the soil. Bury your face in a cluster of lilacs.

Reaffirm your goals that are most important by getting rid of those that aren’t.

Reclaim your dreams by keeping them alive every day. Talk about them. Write about them. Take action.

Reignite your relationships by devoting time and energy in those that mean the most to you.

Rejuvenate your system. Get 8 hours of sleep. Meditate. Clean up your diet. Replenish your supplements.

Refocus your game plan by clearing out the extraneous projects; and

Remind yourself about what you love & why you do what you do.

Tis the season to Revivify your life. What Re’s can you add to your list?

Emily Dickinson wrote, “We turn not older with the years, but newer every day.” It makes me wonder if Emily was sparked by the Re as well. I like to think so.

BelleIf you’re in Southern California this week I highly recommend seeing Ferrell Marshall in her luminous performance as Emily Dickinson in The Belle of Amherst. It closes 4/23. Tickets available here.



 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Giving Thanks Starts Here

By Cindy Yantis

In 1863, Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving as the last Thursday of the month and from then on it was an annual tradition.

His declaration was stated during our nation’s civil war and the underlying message is so apropos today.

“It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and voice by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise… And I recommend to them that… they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to his tender care all those who have become… sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union.” Abraham Lincoln, 1863

It feels good to tap into the early remembrance of what Thanksgiving means on a grand level and to honor and be in gratitude for the core values of us as a national people. At the end of the day it always comes down to that.

It all begins with what we’re grateful for in our own lives. And, to my way of thinking, giving thanks for those same tenets that Lincoln mentioned, on a personal level are a good place to start: “peace, harmony, tranquility...”

So, traditions of giving thanks abound, in a myriad of ways. And, it’s really something to celebrate. 

What are you thankful for? Take a few moments to really give them thought and voice.

To name a few...

I’m grateful for my family and friends, and for people in my life who are my greatest teachers, often giving me lessons that are very hard to receive at the time but end up being necessary and transformative.

I’m grateful for a curious mind and for having a platform on which to invite others to explore and reach a little beyond themselves as well.

I’m thankful for you.

It’s pretty simple. And, necessary. And, important.

Light-thank you

 

Cindy Yantis is the Thought Changer Blog creator & curator. She is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles. For more info: CindyYantis.com. Please visit us on our Facebook Page: Facebook.com/ThoughtChanger  


Growing Your Legacy Like a Garden

By Cindy Yantis

Signals from nature never cease to amaze. One morning I was greeted by the most gorgeous blooms on the rosebush next to my driveway. I couldn't resist cutting a stalk to take to my office. So for a week, each morning new buds opened and the pink roses expanded. But what I found so remarkable was that on this one thick stalk were 28 separate buds. Truly. Twenty-eight. The strength of the base stalk fed the buds and maturing blooms in a way that a matriarch might feed her family, or in the way people seed and grow their ideas.

Oddly enough it got me thinking about legacy. We all have a legacy, whether we know it not. We will all be known and remembered for who we are, what we've done or what we leave behind. Legacies sung or unsung, global or insular, significant or mundane. 

My Legacy bouquet
My Legacy Bouquet

The beauty of knowing this is that we have the choice to fully participate in and cultivate the kind of legacy we wish to build and leave for others. 

Jack Nicklaus rose to fame as the world's greatest golfer, but he feels his true legacy is his contribution of hundreds of world-class golf courses all over the globe that people will enjoy for generations to come. 

Bill Gates built his fortune as a pioneer in the computer software industry, which is most certainly a large part of his legacy. But, his legacy bouquet grows exponentially through his Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation where they generously transform lives. 

And, to that point, there doesn't have to be just one bud or bloom or focus when it comes to legacy. Which, to my way thinking, thanks to the rosebush, removes a lot of pressure. 

So, when the question arises for you - "What do I want my legacy to be?" - there doesn't have to be just one final answer. Just think, by allowing yourself to be that healthy stalk, feeding and nurturing each bud along the way as they grow and impact others, your true legacy or legacies will evolve and lead your way.

How do you want to be remembered?

What's your gift to those most important to you? To the world?

What kind of impact do you want to have on others lives?

How can you expand your own legacy bouquet so that its seeds will carry on long after you're gone?

Most importantly, how can you live your legacy now? 

Just imagine the garden you will grow!

 

Related:

Pick a Lane, Follow the Road Baby

What's Your Born Legacy

The Impact of Being a Precedent Setter

Do You Matter? 5 Ways to Have a More Meaningful Career

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Cindy Yantis is the Thought Changer Blog creator & curator. She is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles. For more info: CindyYantis.com

 


Now More Than Ever, Grace

By Cindy Yantis

Negativity cannot reside in a state of Grace. Only love. Peace. Compassion. Forgiveness. Harmony.

It’s what is needed, now more than ever.

Grace

 

Grace is floating on the wings of the wind,

And being in Grace is allowing the

Breath of the divine to breeze through you,

Levitating you to a place where you drift between dimensions.

 As a kid, the mention of Grace was usually saved for church, some far away notion that was meant for nuns and saints. Other dimensions? Come on, that was for re-runs of Star Trek or when my girlfriends and I held a séance at a slumber party.

But, now? Now, I’ve felt it. I’ve asked for it. And, received it. Sometimes it just shows up.

Grace is state of mind.

Grace is a way of being.

Grace is a divine connection to all that is.

Grace is way of life, however I have fleeting moments of Grace where I am of the air and as the air I’m a part of everything.

Everything, seeping in between the blades of grass and tickling the pads of my cat’s feet.

Pausing to exhale as the house settles at the end of the night and Inhale as my fingers play a fancy tune on my laptop.

But, Grace is really to each his own.

Grace is the reply for gratitude.

Grace is a close sibling of serenity.

Grace is the nurturing force in nature, the calm vibration under everything.

For me, when I remind myself to stop and smell the roses or look at what’s in front of me, that’s when the Grace meets the road. I go with the flow and look on the bright side of things.

Sometimes when I’m stuck, Grace is far away, like on another planet.

But, then I remember.

It’s supposed to be pie. Grace and ease.

It’s supposed to knit one, pearl two.

Then, it just is.

Related: We the People: The Alchemy of We

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Cindy Yantis is the Thought Changer Blog creator & curator. She is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles. For more info: CindyYantis.com


Pick a Lane! Follow the Road, Baby

By Cindy Yantis

"I've finally decided my future lies beyond the yellow brick road."  ~ Sir Elton John

I think a lot about that road.

In a “60 Minutes” interview with Lin-Manuel Miranda, Tony Award-winning creator of the musical HAMILTON, Lin-Manuel talked about attending a school for gifted children. He said he looked around and everyone was smarter than him, he was “surrounded by genius, genius kids.” Charlie Rose asked him, “So why do you think I’m sitting here talking to you and not one of your classmates?” He said, “I picked a lane and started running faster than anyone else.”

“I picked a lane!” That lane led to the intense hard work and dedication that made him a true pioneer, recreating the modern Broadway musical. And, man is he ever in his purpose.

One morning, on a recent trip to Costa Rica, I woke up at Rythmia Life Enhancement Center to take a stroll at dawn. I was in the middle of a truly transformative week, and that morning, full of questions and reflection, I came upon a labyrinth, just as the sun rose. 

I’d seen the labyrinth when we arrived and knew I wanted to take spend some time there.

Pick a lane, follow the road.
 

I took off my shoes so my bare feet could feel the Earth as I slowly walked the Labyrinth. The design of a labyrinth is such so that you continue walking on the singular path, trusting and following where it leads. I did this, pausing in the center for a 2-minute sun gazing meditation – easier said than done, staring into the rising sun – and then continued on the rest of the way until I exited the other side. What surprised me is when I first looked at the labyrinth I thought the path led one way into the center, when in fact the course took the opposite direction. It made me think about how often we look ahead, trying to second-guess an outcome rather than just trusting the plan. I felt something shift in my thinking about process, trust and letting go.

The small stones poked the soles of my feet and it took concentration to surrender to the sometimes painful rocky path, knowing full well that sticking to the very clear course of action laid out in front of me was the best way to get there. Hmmm. 

It’s just so simple. We make things so complicated at times. We get busy, so busy trying to see our next right move and many times, when seeking answers outside of ourselves, we follow someone else’s lead down their road, ending up chasing a goal or dream that was never ours to begin with. Then, we lose our way, our path becomes less clear, albeit hidden behind something other than our own truth.

It Becomes Clear 

That little exercise on nature’s labyrinth gave me a glimpse into how clear the path to purpose really can be.

The next morning I walked the labyrinth again, this time wearing shoes. And, I had to laugh. With that simple aid and ally, shoes, the path was ever so much easier to walk. I still felt just as connected to the journey and actually leaned into it with more clarity because I wasn’t focusing on any pain or obstacle in my way.

I noticed someone watching me from across the campus and interestingly I started second-guessing myself. Judging. Was I doing it right? Should I have started from the other direction this time? What is that person seeing in me right now? 

It got me thinking about how all that's outside of the labyrinth, the path, our purpose, are things that are just that, on the outside. They can be allies or distractions or are simply others feeling their way along their own labyrinths.

The gifts?

  • Pay attention to the signs along the way
  • Receive aid from the allies
  • Learn from the distractions and
  • Keep going on the singular path: trusting, believing and living in that glorious place of curiosity and purpose.

Sir Elton John introduced some new songs at a recent special one-night concert in LA. He definitely picked a lane! Traversing a melodic labyrinth that after 5 decades has given us a soundtrack for many of our life moments. He closed the night with a soulful rendition of “Yellow Brick Road,” as nearly everyone in the audience sang along.

And, then in a satisfied gravel of a voice, he said, “Follow the road, Baby. Yeah.”

So, pick a lane and follow the road.

Yeah, baby.

Related:

And, the Beat Goes on Your Path Called Life

Diamonds in Your Stream of Consciousness

In Alignment, A Life Purpose

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Cindy Yantis is the Thought Changer Blog creator & curator. She is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles. For more info: CindyYantis.com


Here's the Truth About Truth

By Cindy Yantis

How often do we just kind of fudge the truth, or tell a little white lie to make someone feel better or to make things a little easier on ourselves?

How about several times a day?

Research by social psychologist Robert Feldman, who has studied lying for over a decade, showed 60% of people lie 2-3 times during a 10-minute conversation. He also found that most people lie to be more likable or appear more competent.

According to behavioral scientist Dan Ariely - in the documentary “(Dis)Honesty: The Truth About Lies” - it’s all about rationalization. The “fudge factor” leads to people rationalizing that a little lying is okay. He also says that self-deception takes place everywhere. It’s the biggest lie of all. He said, “We convince ourselves the deception is actually truth.”

Well, that piece about self-deception gave me the chills. It got me thinking about Truth, not only as a philosophy of life but also as a GPS system – Truth from the inside out.

Plato was one of the foremost and passionate philosophers on truth. He said:

Truth is the beginning of every good to the gods, and of every good to man… The true lover of knowledge naturally strives for truth, and is not content with common opinion, but soars with undimmed and unwearied passion till he grasps the essential nature of things.” And, “There is nothing so delightful as the hearing, or the speaking of truth. For this reason, there is no conversation so agreeable as that of the man of integrity, who hears without any intention to betray, and speaks without any intention to deceive.”

Okay, brilliant, but easier said than done, Master Plato.

Fear filters the truth. I came to this shocking realization a couple of years ago when I saw this in my own behavior. I have an aversion to conflict and as a result have often manipulated the truth, just a little, in order to avoid conflict. As soon as I recognized this, I made a commitment to use my words carefully but honestly, even if in the face of
conflict. It’s continual work, but my voice has become stronger and managing conflict has become smoother. And, the truth is, I have a lot more self-respect because of it.

Here are some more thoughts about truth: understanding, reframing, speaking, assimilating and living it.

Instead of fear being the filter, I started concentrating on using my heart as the filter. When truth is funneled through love, the truth becomes unfettered but with direct kindness. The unvarnished truth, well told

Truth recognizes its own fences, knowing that manipulation and fudging are but a
whitewash over untruths.

Truth begins at the base of a deep sigh, when the vessel is empty and pure and relying only on its own influence.

Truth listens inward first.

Truth is ancient ancestral wisdom that we know deep in our root, in our bones and in our solar plexus.

Truth is reinforced or belied by words spoken.

Truth can be couched by fear and hidden beneath humor. Conversely, truth can be softened by love and can make us laugh, or cry, hysterically.

Truth has a lot of fancy aliases, such as authenticity, transparency, clarity and realism.

Truth just is.

Truth wants to be remembered. 

Truth wants to be asked. Truth doesn’t need to be answered.

Truth lives in our dreams, in our breath and in our voices, grounded and lowered half an octave.

Truth doesn’t ask for our respect, but fully deserves it.

As a writer, one of my mottoes is, “the unvarnished truth, well told.” That helps me to be honest with my characters and true to their stories.

The unvarnished truth, well told. Now, that's a true tenet for daily life.

 

RELATED POSTS:

For The Love of Words: How to Use Yours Effectively

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How To Grow The Best Relationships

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Cindy Yantis is the Thought Changer Blog creator & curator. She is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles. For more info: CindyYantis.com


Permission Granted: Give Yourself a Break

By Cindy Yantis

“I’m amazed you’re able to get out of bed in the morning.” This is what my doctor said to me recently. “It’s life, Doc. I have a lot to do,” I said. “Do you have body aches?” she asked. “Only when I move,” I said.

The truth is I’ve kind of felt like crap for months now. But, most people who know me wouldn’t suspect it because, like many of us, I’ve perfected the game face. Powering through, crossing off my to-do list, meeting deadlines, most of the time with the ready smile and it’s-a-good-day persona. But, behind the scenes? I’m tired. However, I don’t let myself be tired. I jam my evenings and weekends with writing projects and client deadlines and social gatherings, all of which I love to do, but… I’m sluggish and tired. AND, I have insomnia. Which creates brain fog and makes it hard to focus, so I beat myself for not crossing as many things off my to-do list as I’d like to. Oh, and then there are the body aches and weight gain. Fun!

So, when my doctor told me I have hypothyroidism and am in adrenal crash, you’d think this would have added to my already climbing level of stress. But, an interesting thing happened. Relief. In fact, I was emotional with relief. Finally, there was a name and a reason for what’s been happening to me. It’s an actual physical condition and something can be done about it! Booyah!

And, then another thing happened. Permission. I had permission to be tired. Finally. And, as soon as I gave myself permission, I was really tired. But, for the first time in a long time I didn’t feel guilty about it. So, I took a good long nap. For two days.

It got me thinking about Permission and how it affects other areas of our lives, in our work, in our relationships and with our health.

On a regular basis, we find ourselves in the position of either asking permission for something or granting permission of something.

Mahatma Gandhi said, “Nobody can hurt me without my permission.”

You give others permission to treat you the way they treat you, or not treat you. You’re the only one who can do that. Sometimes that’s easier said than done. But, giving anyone else the power of your permission only robs you of your own voice and thus your own permission.

The most important person you give permission to is you. The real tragedy is often we don’t give ourselves permission to take care of ourselves. That’s not okay, because the pressure we put on ourselves to excel, to be better, to be good enough, to be perfect, is at a volume that is louder than the voice inside that so desperately wants to give us a break.

Permission Lion 2You give yourself permission. It's a tenet worth adopting. Where are you not giving yourself permission?

So, perhaps take a bit of time this week to give yourself permission to:

  • Stop.
  • Start.
  • Sleep.
  • Say yes.
  • Say no.
  • Say that where you are right at this moment is okay.
  • Know you’re enough.
  • Be grateful.
  • Surround yourself with others who make you feel good.
  • Weed out others who don’t.
  • Sleep.

Okay, I said sleep twice, but hey I’m tired. And, I’m okay with that.

 

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Cindy Yantis is the Thought Changer Blog creator & curator. She is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles. For more info: CindyYantis.com


Here's How to Get to the Heart of the Matter

By Cindy Yantis

The word today is efficiency. It’s not the first time I’ve chosen this word from the grab bag of words I use sometimes to prompt my writing. In fact last time it sparked this: 5 Ways to Be Efficiently Creative.

But, this time I wanted to put it back and draw another card. I wanted to pull something different, a bigger, sexier, juicier word, a word that would really get my engine going, a word I could really get behind and be jazzed about.

Instead, efficiency. Okay, there must be a reason this word jumped out at me. The first things that popped into my head were “corporate” and “color within the lines” and “beige.” All three concepts I have a tendency to run from energetically. Yet, I know there’s something important here to discover, another way of looking at efficiency, a thought changing notion begging to be brought forth. In that moment it was as if efficiency, the word itself, was perhaps aspiring to be more, to define a deeper truth.

Here's How to Get to the Heart of the Matter in Life. www.thoughtchangerblog.comSo, digging a little further, how is "being efficient" personified? Well, to me it describes someone who uses her time well. Someone who uses economy in getting things accomplished, in other words, one who trims the fat off in order to really focus on the heart of the matter.

Ah, the heart of the matter. That’s it. Now we’re getting somewhere. Now we’re talking about efficiency on a grander, more macro scale. Life efficiency: meaning a life that’s focused cleanly and clearly on what matters, what’s important to the heart.

So, consider this:

To be efficient in getting to the heart of the matter in life, know what matters to the heart. [Tweet This: @cindyyantis]

Then once you're clear on that, trim the fat, only keeping what matters to and will serve the highest good of the heart, you, your life and the way you're meant to live it.

What are heart matters? Here are four questions to probe:

  1. What are the projects in your world that feel right, for all the right reasons, for you? Career choices that excite you, that propel towards a feeling of purpose?
  2. What causes speak to your heart in a way that feels transformative, for others and for yourself?
  3. Where do you love to spend your time and with whom?
  4. Who are the people in your life who fill you up and in whose presence you feel empowered, who bring out the best in you and who support you? And, conversely, who are those who don’t (you know who they are)?

Once you have some answers to these simple, yet deep inquiries, getting to the heart of the matter means clearing all away the superfluous, ineffective, disconnected, judgmental and incongruent distractions, in order to clear the pathway for what matters most to your heart.

Living efficiently in this way, what will happen, at least to my way of thinking, is that more of us will lead, live, work, love and communicate from and through the heart.

Nothing beige about that!

What are your matters of the heart?

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Cindy Yantis is the Thought Changer Blog creator & curator. She is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles. For more info: CindyYantis.com


What You Believe Creates Your Reality

By Cindy Yantis

What do you believe in? 

It's funny sometimes what gets you thinking about the deep questions. This time, for me, it was Crash Davis. His "I believe in... kisses that last three days..." speech in BULL DURHAM, got me thinking about how I'd answer Annie Savoy's question,"What do you believe in then?"

That led to a stream of consciousness. Then, it got me thinking about what's underneath my belief statements. Our beliefs are those simple truths that we know, without having to provide evidence. They can be guidelines to live by or simply thoughts that we feel in our gut are right. Underneath those beliefs are deeper values that provide life's standards. And, our beliefs and values are what create our reality. 

So, here are a few of my beliefs. It's quite exhilarating to put them in writing.  Do you resonate with any of them? Please add some of your own in the comment!

I believe everything’s possible even when it seems improbable.

I believe in paying it forward.

I believe in giving others a hand up.

I believe in God.

I believe in angels. I believe the power of angels is so great they can move mountains with a whisper.

I believe in a true love that lasts forever.

What you believeI believe in real friendship where you have bad days and your true friends stick by you.

I believe in the ticking clock. I wish I didn’t but time goes too fast.

I believe we make and break our own opportunities.

I also believe we don’t do it alone.

I believe in fairies.

I believe in other realms and that we can learn from them if we pay attention.

I believe a good story can heal, inspire and call to action.

I believe at the end of the day, everyone just wants to be considered, loved, heard and respected.

I believe in progress, not perfection.

Related: 6 Reasons Why Progress, Not Perfection 

I believe meditation expands time and extends life.

I believe I’m at my best in quietude. I’m at my second best surrounded by people I love. A close third is What you believe inwhen I'm on a deadline.

I believe women who are so hard on other women are simply afraid of their own power.

I believe the most powerful people are kind, generous, well-intentioned and have a healthy self-worth.

I believe your soul mate is a direct reflection of your own self love.

I believe animals are pure love.

I believe men rock.

I believe in purging “stuff” at least twice a year.

I believe infinity is defined by giving and receiving in equal measure.

And, I agree with Crash about the kiss that lasts three days...

How about you? Give it a try.

What do you believe in?

 

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Cindy Yantis is the Thought Changer Blog creator & curator. She is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles. For more info: CindyYantis.com