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Cindy S. Yantis
Los Angeles, CA
Writer. Thought Changer.
Recent Activity
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Here's how to notice them. A faint tap on my window roused my attention. In truth, it made me jump, mostly because the window would not be a window a person on the outside could reach without a ladder. There, hovering outside the glass like a fairy, was a hummingbird. Its wings were copper-lined from the midafternoon sun. It seemed to want my attention, enough so that I laughed at myself as I sucked in my gut, because of course I was sitting in that person-living-alone slouched-on-the-couch position that no one ever sees. It appeared she was window shopping. Or perhaps she was seeking knowledge that she would carry along on her way. Or maybe, just maybe she dropped by to deliver a message of some sort. Hummingbirds are, after all, nature’s gossipmongers. She didn’t stay long, a few, maybe ten, seconds, but long enough that I felt a connection... Continue reading
Posted May 7, 2022 at Thought Changer
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The calm lake beckoned. The house was still sleeping as I fixed my coffee, wrapped in a blanket against the early morning chill, and found a perfect spot in an Adirondack chair on the dock over Lake LBJ. Not a ripple. The houses across the lake reflected in perfect mirror images on the water's surface. Ah. Exhale. I took a sip of coffee and started the guided meditation in my favorite app. Then... A leaf blower with the whirr of a foghorn on a freight train blasted onto the scene. And. It. Echoed. Tenfold across the lake. I tried to stay zen, to focus on the muddled voice of the meditation guide only catching every few words. I turned it up but it was useless, the noise drowned everything out. I plugged my ears with my fingers in hopes it would reduce the noise. I so wanted to enjoy these... Continue reading
Posted Apr 15, 2022 at Thought Changer
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The sunrise is a clean slate. That was the thought, the inkling, that popped into my head while meditating in front of the morning's sunrise (the photo is the sunrise off my patio). It got me thinking how, even as daily tasks and to-do's can at times feel like Groundhog's Day, the fresh perspective of a clean slate at the dawn of each day provides an opportunity to create a more satisfying and expansive experience. Each day. A clean slate. It rejuvenates the status quo. It changes the more-of-the-same game. It's a shift in energy. It can give our big continuing projects, our most important WIP's, new life. Just the notion of a clean slate feels like a cool breath. In fact, just uttering the phrase feels fresh. Give it a shot. Today is a clean slate. Each day is its own opportunity, its own time capsule. So, then the... Continue reading
Posted Apr 6, 2022 at Thought Changer
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When is it you become a person of a certain age? As I was drifting off to sleep on the eve of my recent birthday, I recalled a comment I’ve heard so often in conversation with friends in Hollywood. “If you’re a woman of a certain age you can’t get arrested in this town.” Everyone nodded, like it was a given, a looming sentence we all should prepare for, a label slapped on our foreheads without our say. The history of the label, which could be put on a man or a woman (most often placed on women), doesn’t have a flattering origin either. It dates back to the 1700’s when Lord Byron coined the phrase to refer to “spinsters” and “unfortunate women” without many prospects. Today it calls to reference an age range or place in life that’s unspeakable, as in too old to mention the number as it... Continue reading
Posted Sep 26, 2021 at Thought Changer
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It's about time for the midyear check-in on my word theme for the year: to record ahas about how things are going and if any shifts have taken place. And, then I share them with you. Well, I've been stuck around the sharing part. Stuck. Ironically, my word this year is Motion. I've been stuck in motion. The truth is I've been in the midst of massive motion lately, lots going on in my work life, and changing locations, from LA to Austin, to be near family for the foreseeable future. So, massive motion swirling - physical, energetic, mental, material, emotional. All in about a three-month span. So how did that lead to a feeling of being stuck in motion? I haven't been writing. As a creative being in a mad love affair with words, not writing regularly feels like a piece is missing; a big enough piece that it... Continue reading
Posted Jun 27, 2021 at Thought Changer
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“We’re moving into plank.” I’ve never been a fan of the plank. The minute my yoga teacher, Johanna McClain, says those words, “we’re moving into plank,” my mind and body freeze with a preconceived notion that it’s going to be hard - body stretched flat like a plank, arms strong, abs, and core stitched tight. Breathe. But, after many months of practicing yoga and meditation consistently, an interesting thing happened. A click. Recently, we were in a sequence of flowing between the plank and downward dog, back and forth, plank and downward dog, moving with the breath, plank, down dog. My mind and body started down the same pattern of oh-no-this-is-going-to-be-hard, when Johanna said, “find the place between effort and ease.” and something clicked. It wasn't the first time she used the phrase, but it was the first time it clicked into my mind and then my body. Find the... Continue reading
Posted Feb 8, 2021 at Thought Changer
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My word and theme for 2020 was Connection. Ironic, considering. I went back over my intentions from a year ago and laughed out loud at what was at the top of the list: more mingling, less isolation. It almost feels like a cosmic joke after spending most of the last few months in more isolation than ever. But, the wisdom that rose up while reflecting on it is that it was a gift rather than a joke. The connecting that did take place, virtually and in small pods, was profound and real and set the stage for more, deeper, lasting relationships. It just looked different than what I'd visualized. The stagnancy that permeated for me during the pandemic was also very real, often stuck in place in a perpetual pause while wondering, like everyone else, when things are going to get moving again, when projects can go into production, when... Continue reading
Posted Jan 20, 2021 at Thought Changer
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I’ve been thinking of putting 2020 in a box and storing it in the attic. I know so many others feel the same way. With all the year's suffering, fear, angst and frustration I was going to say 'let's burn it' but I found myself asking: what if I need something from that box? Well, what would be in that box that you would possibly need? Hmm. Good question… Deep breathing. I did that a lot, through stress and angst, all year long. Okay, deep breathing. take it out of the box now. Good idea. What else? I guess when I think about it there were things in 2020 that I appreciated and want to keep: I focused on getting healthier, got into yoga, lost 30 pounds, relished deeper connections with people, tried to help where I could, prayed and meditated a lot, loved on my fur family, and wrote... Continue reading
Posted Dec 30, 2020 at Thought Changer
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I looked down at my hand which was draped palm-down on the book I was reading. What I saw was crepe-like skin gathered at the base of my thumb and soft wrinkles pooling around my knuckles. What I saw was my mother’s hand. What I saw was the merging of my mother’s and father’s hand. What I saw was my grandmother’s hand. My nose stung and my eyes watered. I blinked back a tear. What I saw was, again, my own hand. What are the tears? I asked. Yeah, that surprised me too, I said. Are you sad when look at your hand? No. Afraid? No. I looked again at my hand. My strong, long, lined, graceful, feminine, aging hand. I perused the corrugated map of lines on my palm and marveled at the deep life there. The tears are acknowledgment, I said. Appreciation. Love. All of that from looking... Continue reading
Posted Nov 22, 2020 at Thought Changer
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Energy is pretty intense these days. I've been thinking a lot about how the energy of others effects our own and vise versa. I find it interesting how external waves of energy, both positive and negative, seep inside us and can become part of our personal reality. And, taking it more internal, how negative thoughts and energies can either fuel us upward or completely derail us from our path. I know I can go down the self-fulfilling path of self-criticism and judgment. Then, while deep in meditation as I asked for guidance, a message floated through: You were born with all of the power and energy of the universe within you. It is innate, positive, and always surging. Then, came two questions: Why would you give any of that substantial power away to critical talk and thought about yourself or others? And, Why would you direct any of your deep... Continue reading
Posted Sep 3, 2020 at Thought Changer
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What are you watching? Listening to? Thinking about over and over again? In other words, to what and/or whom are you giving your most valuable attention? I caught one of Elizabeth Gilbert's Instagram videos last week. While discussing the issues around trying to be creative during this pandemic she quoted her guru from India who said, "My senses are servants to my mind." Not the other way around. You direct and control your senses with your mind. Your senses don't control your mind. It got me thinking about the immense power we have over our own attention. I know I'm dealing with all of this pandemic business the way so many of you are, with divided attention and short attention spans. Attention. What a fibrous word. Attention is a noun meaning "the act or state of applying the mind to something." Or, "consideration with a view to action." Or, "sympathetic... Continue reading
Posted May 7, 2020 at Thought Changer
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This word essential is getting tossed around a lot. Businesses and people/workers are being categorized as essential or non-essential. There seems, in some cases, to be an ongoing debate as to what and who is to be considered essential. People being sent home after being told they're non-essential and essential workers braving against an invisible foe to show up where they're needed. Which is why it's the word-of-the-week in my Quick Sunday Read. So, I decided to take a deeper dive into it's larger meaning. While there are several common and obvious things we all consider to be vital - healthcare facilities, food, the internet, hand sanitizer and masks, to name a few - what's essential to one person may be entirely non-essential to another. Golf? Books? Art? Parks? So, who's to decide? On a much deeper level than toilet paper, hand sanitizer or coffee (one of my surface necessities!),... Continue reading
Posted Apr 10, 2020 at Thought Changer
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Turns out I've not been handling all of this as well as I first thought. All of this, being the worldwide hurricane known as COVID-19. I'm stressed. And, it's in my body. While giving flowery words to being positive and optimistic, staying present and healthy and upbeat as I try and boost up my family and friends along with myself, I'm realizing something. I've been in denial. Denying the stress, fear and anxiety that I've truly been feeling. So, now it's in my body and made me sick this week. Headache, vertigo, tight chest, cough. So, then my mind got messy - OMG do I have IT? I don't, but I went there. I don't think I'm alone in this denial thing. While out on a socially-distanced walk yesterday I came upon a woman. As we made eye contact and shifted to make sure there was appropriate distance between us,... Continue reading
Posted Mar 27, 2020 at Thought Changer
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Expanding a little on this week's word-of-the-week from my Sunday Read: Resilience. Words, thoughts and ideas have more power than ever during a time of uncertainty. This is one of those most powerful words that I'm leaning on right now. Resilience in mind, body and spirit. I'm finding it has far-reaching significance. Resilience. What an empowering word. Resilience is a noun meaning "ability to recover readily from illness, depression, adversity, or the like." And "the ability of a substance to return to its usual shape after being bent, stretched, or pressed." And, "the ability to be happy, successful, etc. again after something difficult or bad has happened." Buoyancy. Elasticity. Flexibility. Pliancy. Adaptability. First used in 1620–30. From Latin resili(ēns), resilīre meaning to spring back, to rebound. Psychologists believe everyone has the capacity for resilience and the ability to learn how to build it. The American Psychological Association says: "Like building... Continue reading
Posted Mar 17, 2020 at Thought Changer
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During the process of coming up with my word for 2020, I toyed with the idea of having two. An inner word, like alignment as in making decisions and choices that are in alignment with purpose… And an outer word, like visibility as in meeting more people and putting myself in experiences that will help elevate my relationships and work. A dear friend and I were discussing what our words might be; she said something to the effect that she wants to not isolate, to be out more with people. She suggested Connect or Connection as her word. I said, "Great word. Maybe it's my word too." I laughed, because, of course, it is. Connect is all things inner and outer! We connect. It’s what we do. Until we don’t. Several months ago I hit a wall of overwhelm. I didn’t know what was wrong. I felt cloudy and unfocused.... Continue reading
Posted Jan 11, 2020 at Thought Changer
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A decade in review... I remember thinking 2020 seemed so far away when I was a kid. What would I be doing? What would the world be like? Where would I be living then? Such were the ruminations of a dreamer teen still forming her ideas about life. Even ten years ago, 2020 seemed like an eternity away. And, what a decade it’s been. The teen years. It got me thinking about how the last decade has also been, in so many ways, the formative teen years in my adulthood. My adult coming-of-age. Usually this time of year I review the past 12 months – the highs and lows, lessons learned or taught, relationships that shaped and grew or phased on because the contract was complete, projects culminated, new ideas birthed and coddled, loved ones getting married, passing on, babies arriving, blessed pets lost, health experiments, new words learned and... Continue reading
Posted Dec 31, 2019 at Thought Changer
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An Answer to An Eternal Question. Birthdays are a favorite time for reflection, so today, I’m once again assessing where I am and what I’ve learned and if there are any nuggets to share. This year, rather than compiling a list of lessons and isms, it’s one of the eternal questions on my mind and an answer that’s been percolating for quite some time. Why am I here? As I was walking to get coffee one morning, I saw a man across the street, out for his morning stroll. I paused to watch him because there was something magnetizing about his carriage. He was elegant, wearing a cappuccino-colored suede jacket over jeans. I’m guessing he was early 60’s, had shoulder-length silver hair pulled back into a loose yet neat ponytail and wore large sunglasses, as he was walking toward the bright, rising sun. What captivated me was his gait. He... Continue reading
Posted Sep 23, 2019 at Thought Changer
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On a recent episode of "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee" Jerry Seinfeld had coffee with his greatest comedy influence, Jerry Lewis. Seinfeld wanted to discuss some of his favorite iconic bits where Lewis was in his genius. One such scene from "The Bellhop" Lewis appears to simply be walking through an empty ballroom. Seinfeld said, "You were playing like eight different characters there." To which Lewis responded, "Yeah, most people don't notice the details..." What they notice is that it's funny. And, the reason it's funny is that it wasn't general; instead was filled with specificity. And it's why it felt real, even in its silliness. The best actors spend a vast amount of time and dedication to being so specific in their scenes - What's their intention? What's behind the dialogue and actions? What's between the lines? - So that they embody the truth of the life they're portraying.... Continue reading
Posted Sep 13, 2019 at Thought Changer
Love that one!
Toggle Commented Aug 3, 2019 on This Is Not on You at Thought Changer
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Sometimes we need a little reminder. And, then other times we need more than that. We need a meaningful punch to snap out of it. To snap back to paying attention, paying attention to ourselves. I was fretting over a couple of situations recently where I had myself in knots about what to do, what to say, how to be. Enough so that it took a meaningful punch from a good friend, who said, "This is not your responsibility. You're acting like it is." And, when I say meaningful punch, I mean it's a welcome jolt of reality, something I often count on from this friend. It got me thinking about how subtle it is sometimes, the ways in which we can take on too much, diminish our sense of personal power, our self-worth. And, it can build until the little forms of self-betrayal become a way of being. It... Continue reading
Posted Aug 2, 2019 at Thought Changer
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"Reading your own bio is more painful than looking at current photos." I've been helping a friend update his bio. Several days after sending him the first draft, his response email came and literally made me laugh out loud. "I am learning that reading your own bio is more painful than looking at current photos." I laughed because I related so much to the raw truth of his statement. My friend's career has taken a huge uplevel that puts him in the very top echelon in his field. And, while his ascent has been organic and based on decades of study, practice and proven success, the latest leap is the stuff of dreams personified. Thus, the need for a new bio. It got me thinking about how sometimes there are those comfortable parts of ourselves - as in the parts that fit-like-an-old-shoe - that aren't quite ready for the big... Continue reading
Posted May 31, 2019 at Thought Changer
That's so true, Debra. I'm reminded of it often as I'm surrounded by so many friends who don't have children but whom are natural mothers!
Toggle Commented May 29, 2019 on The Mother of it All at Thought Changer
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Thank you my friend for your comment. It lifted my day!
Toggle Commented May 29, 2019 on The Mother of it All at Thought Changer
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Erika, Your comment lifted my day. Your kind words remind me of why I write. Thank you so much for your generosity of spirit. I'm glad Thought Changer has been of help to you when you needed some words. You clearly have a gift for the written word. I'm so sorry to hear about your dear friend and for listening to your own guidance as well. Keep on writing!
Toggle Commented May 29, 2019 on Your Most Important Conversation at Thought Changer
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It might not be what you think. DIANE LOCKHART: I’m happy. KURT MCVEIGH: You like narrating your life. ~ CBS’s THE GOOD FIGHT. I thought, ah, there's so much truth to that. We're always narrating our own lives, sometimes dictating, sometimes cheering, sometimes judging. It got me thinking about that most important conversation. The most vital chat being, to my way of thinking, our inner dialogue, the constant conversation we're having with ourselves. On the full moon this weekend some friends were texting about what we each wanted to release and let go of. It can be kind of powerful to do that as one moon cycle ends and another begins. No matter the woo, it's always something good to ponder and can lead to change. I said I want to let go of the attachment to the negative voices in my head. The naysayers in my internal conversation, the... Continue reading
Posted May 19, 2019 at Thought Changer