Group 305

Episode 84: Intentional Communication with Cynthia Kane

Cynthia Kane is a mindfulness instructor and author of three bestselling books. She helps men and women enhance their lives and relationships by helping them improve the way they communicate with themselves, others, and their environment.

Years ago she experienced a deep loss, and tried everything she could think of to get over it—books, courses, lectures, coaching—but it all felt so intellectual and abstract. She couldn’t embody it and make it real in her life. Then, a friend invited her to an event that changed everything.

She learned how to pay attention to how she was interacting with herself, how to be in the present moment, how to be gentle with herself, how to express herself in healthy ways, and how to communicate with ease. And now she shares that knowledge with thousands of people.

Listen Here:

Today on the InFLOW podcast, Cynthia shares her unparalleled wisdom with us. Things like:

  • How to change the way you think about yourself and talk to yourself.
  • How to talk to yourself about money.
  • How to engage in artful conversation with people you disagree with.
  • How to live by the “Elements of Right Speech” in Buddhism.

Cynthia believes we’re living in a crucial time. She also believes that there is opportunity to change the conversation that’s been happening in this country, an opportunity to interact differently. People are asking questions that lead to a consciousness of language, of how we communicate with each other and the world.

Find out more!

Learn more about Cynthia, her courses, and her books on her website: You can also apply for her Intentional Communication Training Program and work with her personally.



Michelle: Welcome to the “InFLOW Podcast.” I’m your host, Michelle Bosh. I have a super special guest with me today, her name is Cynthia Kane. Welcome, Cynthia, to InFLOW.

Cynthia: Thank you. Happy to be here, happy, happy.

Michelle: Super excited to have you. So, just for our listeners to know, I have been looking forward to this chat because Cynthia helps both men and women, you know, change the way they communicate, so that they feel more confident, more present in their daily interactions. She’s a mindfulness instructor, she has taught over 50,000 people how to communicate better, feel more confident. She’s also author of three best-selling books, “How to Communicate Like a Buddhist,” “Talk to Yourself Like a Buddhist,” and “How to Meditate like a Buddhist.” Her works appear in numerous publications, including “The Washington Post,” “The Chicago Tribune,” “Women’s Day magazine,” “Yoga Journal.” And so, I am just…like I said, we all need more of how to have difficult conversations in a compassionate way, not just in our personal life, in our business life, but also in how we talk to ourselves. So, thank you so much, Cynthia. So, tell us a little bit about your background, how do you become a mindfulness meditation? And how do you become a communications expert? Like, what happened at some point in your upbringing that you decide, “Okay, this is what I’m here to, you know, enlighten the world with”?

Cynthia: So, I did not grow up, you know, with the desire or want or knowing that I wanted to be a meditation mindfulness instructor or get into communication and teach people how to communicate. It wasn’t something that was on my list. I was a really horrible, I will say, horrible, horrible communicator, I was extremely passive, aggressive, very judgmental, and very reactionary. And I had a lot of problems with silence and I just wanted to fill the space all the time. And I really had difficulty expressing myself. So, I would really think that it was someone else’s responsibility to know how I was feeling and what it was that I needed, without me really being able to express what it was that I wanted and needed. A lot of that had to come down to the fact really, that I didn’t know what I wanted and what I needed but I felt that someone else should know that. So, I had been with my first love for about seven and a half years, we met in college and so we really grew up together. And we decided to go our separate ways. He was from Costa Rica. So, he was out in Costa Rica and I was back in the States. And I actually moved to Madrid for a little bit.

But we had this idea that we would come back together, the universe would bring us back together when it was the time for us to, you know, we grow apart, we come back, and start again. And so, we did come back together, we came back together four years later, we were both in New York and we talked a lot about our relationship. And so, much of what didn’t work around our relationship was communication, or miscommunication and misunderstanding. And so, we had really vowed in that moment to be in each other’s lives again. And then four months later, he passed away unexpectedly. And my whole world, I mean, my whole world just crumbled. Everything was so empty for me, the world was completely a place I didn’t really understand, I didn’t really know, I didn’t know me, I was really…you know, almost it was like I was just kind of floating around. And it was there really that I found that if I wanted to feel better, if I wanted to enjoy my time here, that it was gonna have to be something that I was doing that I was responsible for it.

Because everyone came out and everyone was so loving and caring and wanting to be helpful in that time but nothing was helping. And all I wanted was somebody to just come and take all of what I was feeling away. And I wanted to just get through it and get over it and move on and I couldn’t and that’s when I realized, “Okay, I’m gonna have to figure this out.” And so, I started reading all these books and taking courses and going, you know, to lectures and doing coaching and things of that sort and everything I was learning was really helpful. I just couldn’t embody it. Nothing was actually…

Michelle: It was intellectual knowledge, but not really, yeah, I know exactly what you mean.

Cynthia: Yeah. I mean, it was just all abstract. Right? And I really was like, how does this work? How do I make this work? And a friend of mine then she introduced me to a workshop that was happening at the Shambhala Institute, when I lived in New York, a meditation and writing workshop. And I didn’t know much about meditation, I didn’t really know much about Buddhism. But I went, because I was really trying everything and that weekend, changed everything for me. It was where I learned meditation and it was the first time that I had ever really sat with myself, allowed myself to just be with myself, not push any of myself away. But just to see everything and let it be okay, not judge it as good or bad, but just it is. And that created such a shift in me just from that first weekend that it became something I was super interested and really curious about. And then I learned the elements of right speech in Buddhism, which are, tell the truth, don’t exaggerate, don’t gossip, and use healthful language. And I was almost at that point, just so it was like the lights had just gone off, right? And they, they were like, “Okay, this is how you do it. This is actually how you embody pretty much all of what you’ve been learning.”

Michelle: Can you repeat those four again? Helpful language…

Cynthia: Yeah, use helpful language, don’t gossip…

Michelle: They all seem like common sense. Yes.

Cynthia: …don’t exaggerate, and use helpful language. Oh no, we did that one. So, it’s tell the truth, don’t gossip, don’t exaggerate, and use helpful language. So, when I heard those, I thought, “Oh, my gosh, here we go, guidelines, guidelines I can follow. Okay, let’s do this. Let’s make this happen.” So, the next day I woke up, and it really became kind of my lifestyle experiment of, “Okay, start to pay attention. How are you talking to yourself? Are you talking to you in a way that’s kind? Is it honest? Is it helpful?” And when I started paying attention to the way that I was interacting with myself, it was really heartbreaking. Because what I was finding was the way that I was talking to myself was causing more fear, more anxiety, more grief, more lack. And so, I had to figure out how to change that, how to change the relationship to that so that I was talking to myself differently. So that then I could start communicating with others differently, and then how could I interact with the world differently. And so, that’s really how the process began. And I created this practice of communication called The Kane Intentional Communication Method.

And it works for me in that, you know, my relationships completely opened up, the world became such a friendlier place for me. There were so much more ease for me in expressing myself in becoming very concise and conscious about what I was saying. The passive-aggressive piece, I really learned how to feel all this sensation that was rising in my body that would push me to become passive-aggressive. And instead of give it over to that, I learned, taught myself how to move it so that I could be in the present moment, access the present moment, and have helpful conversations. So, then I started writing about it, and then people became interested in it. And then it started working for other people. And so, this is how really, this all grew. And then, you know, my books came out, and then I started…I have a daily own course that is, you know, a bestselling course where over 50,000 people have taken just that one course, right, How to Communicate Like a Buddhist. And then out of that grew this need to really work with me directly. And so, now I have a training program and then I have an instructor training program and all of it’s kind of grown from there.

So, this is how I’ve gotten to this place, it is a very…you know, it’s just a strange way to get to where I am, though I can’t really think of any other way of reaching this place except through the path that I’ve taken and that’s how I got here.

Michelle: Sounds like our biggest, you know, losses are our biggest teachers. So, what is a typical example of thousands of people that you have, you know, now taught? What is the most common, you would say? And let’s talk about, I don’t know, if it’s either a love relationship, or someone that just triggers all your buttons at work, you know what I mean? And you exhibit these passive-aggressive tendencies that you’ve described that you yourself also experience and we all do, I think it’s a human experience, we all do. And so, what are some of the typical examples, you know, and then how would anyone listening to us start to even begin to distance themselves and actually even be aware that this is happening? Because first, to begin with, you need to be aware that this is happening in your head and catching it in the moment to being able to course-correct us as the conversation is flowing or as whether it be with someone externally or with yourself. Like, what would be some of the things that you see very common happening scenario and, and what would be the one thing that you could do like, basically to at least notice and be aware?

Cynthia: Yeah, so what’s fascinating is, every scenario that kind of provokes a reaction from someone is going to be different. There are specific default reactions that we normally kind of fall into, right? So someone might become passive-aggressive, someone might lash out, someone might shut down, and just go inward and just stop talking. Someone might walk away, right, someone might start dodging, or lying and making excuses. So, the first step is really, when you think about a difficult interaction that you’ve had or some type of, you know, interaction where you have gotten passive-aggressive, you’ve gotten quiet, you’ve lashed out, you have…

Michelle: Sometimes we do it with the people that we love the most, you know.

Cynthia: Yes, yes. I mean, I think that’s the easiest place to start in a lot of sense, because that’s most of the time where we see it. And so…

Michelle: You’ll feel bad.

Cynthia: Yeah, I mean, it’s easy to do in those places because, you know, we feel safe there, we feel that we can go to those places there, right? Whereas in a professional setting, you really work to kind of rein that in, or…

Michelle: Self-edit.

Cynthia: Yes, you learn to self-edit. Although sometimes you don’t but yeah, the majority, I would say do. And that’s one thing, you will notice that in one area of your life, you may feel more confident in your communication, and then other areas, not so much. But when you think about an interaction, where you’ve kind of defaulted into that way. And it’s really understanding that anytime you go to that place, there’s a feeling or there’s an emotion that is being sparked within you whether you know it, or you don’t know it, right? And so, the awareness piece really comes first with knowing what’s happening in your body. So, when you start to pay attention to the sensation of the body, if you even think back to an interaction that you had, where you defaulted to one thing, right? What was happening in the body at that time. A lot of times people will, their palms will sweat, it’s almost like they’ve been like punched in the gut. Sometimes for me, it’s like a tightness in the throat, a tightness in the chest, right? It’s like, there’s just like a lot of discomfort going on within the body.

And so that’s the awareness that you start with first, because that’s your cue really, to understand that you are about to default into a way of interacting that’s just not helpful, right? It’s not helpful for you, it’s not helpful for the other person. The likelihood that the outcome that you’re looking for which in the moment, you may actually not even know what that is, but the likelihood that that’s happening, or will happen isn’t very high when you go into your default reactions. So, in the moment, the awareness comes with really starting to understand that sensation to know, “Okay, here it is,” and then you’re gonna talk to yourself in that moment. So, oftentimes what we do in those moments is we just look outward, and our focus is outward. But what we want to do instead is bring it inward. So, you want to talk to yourself in that moment, be like, “Oh, okay, Cynthia, you’re feeling, like, you’re feeling something, a lot of discomfort in here. You’re getting a little, like, full right now. Like, things are gonna start moving. I get it. You’re upset right now. Let’s just be here now. What’s happening? What’s happening with your feet? What’s happening with your hands? What’s happening with your belly, let’s check in with the present moment.” Right.

So, you start talking to yourself, because you’re in that moment, it’s about soothing your anger, soothing your frustration first. And then seeing if you can breathe into it, it’s kind of like moving it to the side. And then you come back to the person who’s in front of you, to be able to see them in a way where you wanna be helpful to them, you wanna be supportive of them, you wanna allow them to have their reaction, potentially, right? And then you’re in the present moment and then you can choose to be helpful. But the, you know, in a grid acronym that I like is in the moment where you start to feel the sensation just use the mantra soften. And so, that’s actually the process that you’re doing as well, right, when you go through each of the steps. But just saying that word…

Michelle: I love that because even just the word, soften, you know, normally, like you said, for me, it’s throat and tightness in the chest. And it’s basically this incredible feeling of feeling constricted because your muscles are contracted. And just saying soften, and are bringing awareness from kind of like this mental universe where this all started, you know what I mean? And bringing it into your body makes sense.

Cynthia: Yeah. So, even when you just say that word, you come back to your center faster and you’re like, “Okay, well, let’s start this again, like, let’s interact here in a way that feels good to me where I’m gonna respect it.”

Michelle: Yeah, and it’s not…you know, because one of the things that you said, you know, there were four [inaudible 00:16:46] have your language being not of gossip, don’t exaggerate, tell the truth, and use helpful language. And so, it’s not about not saying or speaking your truth, it’s about making sure that you say it in a way such that the other person is actually receiving it so that it becomes helpful. I know how these four are really good ones.

Cynthia: Yeah, yeah. And that’s exactly what it is. And then understanding that if you’re able to really come to each interaction without any judgment or blame, or the sense of exaggeration, a better than or less than. If you have something to say that may be hard for someone to hear, they’re going to be able to receive it differently. Because they’re not hearing any blame or judgment or resentment or, you know, criticism, it’s coming out a completely different way.

Michelle: Now, say, you know, somebody is listening to this and you put down, you know, your earbuds and all of a sudden somebody screams, “Mom,” or whatever, “I need you for this.” And immediately you’re like, “Well, there goes,” you know, and you lash out, and, “Well, there goes my noticing.” In general, like, it takes us a little bit, you know, to get used to even paying attention and noticing. But from your experience with students, you know, it’s something that, of course, takes time. But how sooner or let’s say, do you start seeing already changes within, you know, a couple of hours of practicing it, or a couple of days of practicing it? And when you forget about it, you know, what do you tell yourself then, you know, I mean? Because I know that I’m super critical of myself and I’m like, “Darn, you know, I’m supposed to be doing this and I blew it yet again,” you know what I mean?

Cynthia: Yeah. I mean, so in the beginning, the awareness is really just beginning to notice how you are interacting. And those moments where you do overreact, right, where you do exaggerate or you are lying, you’re just starting to pay attention to it, and not judge, right? And not get down on yourself for it. And the way to do that, right, is really to just be able to come out and say, “Hey, Michelle, you’re doing okay, you’ve got this, we’re okay, we’ve got this.” Like, to come in with, like, that friendly voice. And especially the… So what happens with the practice, you know, after paying attention to your language, you will notice within a week or so that you start to change it. Because you begin to notice how unhelpful it is, and how it causes more suffering, it causes more discomfort, it causes more anxiety, it causes more yelling, it causes more confusion. And what you begin to see is how by shifting the language, you prevent a lot of those things. And so, that’s the beauty of it, because you really begin to see, “Wow, okay, this works. So I wanna do more of this and I wanna do less of that.”

But the way that the practice happens is that first you notice afterwards. So, I tell to my students, “First you’re gonna notice what is happening after you do it.” And everyone’s like, “Well, that’s not great.” And I’m like, “But it actually it is,” because let’s say your child bursts in, you’re like upset about it. You’re like, “Why are you here? What’s going on, the door was shut,” or whatever it is. And then you’ve said it and you’re like, “Oh, gosh, that wasn’t very kind. That wasn’t necessary, right? It wasn’t useful.” So, in that moment, that’s the wonderful moment, because now you’re aware of it. So, now you’re aware that the next time that happens, you can interact with that moment differently. But in the moment when you notice it, and you’re upset with yourself about it. Right, that’s when, again, you have to come out and you have to be like, “Hey, Michelle, I understand that, like, you just interacted in that way, and you don’t feel good about it, I get it and I’m here for you. And I just want you to know that we’re gonna do better next time,” right?

And so, like, your voice comes out and soothes yourself to be able to say, “You’re doing it, you’re doing great, like you just had a moment, that’s okay. That moment doesn’t mean you’re a bad person, it doesn’t mean you’re a bad mom, it doesn’t mean any of those things, it just means it happened,” right. And so, that’s what you start to learn, you start to learn to be able to just see it and say, “Oh, I did that. That’s not a good thing. It’s not a bad thing. It’s not something to judge. It’s just something to notice. I did that, okay, so next time, what I’m gonna try to do in this moment, is I’m gonna pay more attention, I’m gonna see the door open, and maybe I’m just gonna slow down. And I’m gonna look at my child, and I’m gonna actually listen to what they have to say.” Right? So, you start to learn from that. And that’s the great piece about it because then every time it happens, it’s an opportunity for you to practice.

Michelle: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. Now, Cynthia, I wanna talk a little bit about the communication that we have with ourselves, which is exactly what, you know, we’ve been talking about. But from the point of view, or from the filter of how we talk to ourselves regarding money and finances. And how, whenever there is a financial decision of sorts, you know, there’s usually fear, doubt, and just in general, this feeling of uneasiness, you know, anxiety, sometimes it’s like, in the pit of your stomach. You know, when you’re about to make, you know, either a financial decision or an investment and so how to deal with doubt or fear, you know, in those moments as we talk to ourselves, like, how can we dissolve those? Because I do know that most, you know, successful entrepreneurs or, you know, anyone that has achieved something regarding finances are usually people that are so, so okay with being in short periods of discomfort, because they know that it’s temporary, and that at the other end, they will emerge, you know, much stronger based on prior experiences that they make, you know.

I always ask, you know, women that are successful, “How often you make difficult decisions,” and they’re always like, “Almost every day.” And then, you know, and the people that are not successful, they’re not making difficult decisions every single day. And so, and part of it, I think, is because of what we say, you know, to ourselves when we are about to make a decision, and it’s not what is in our norm, and therefore we don’t make it, you know what I mean, especially for us, ladies and women. So, can you speak a little bit about that?

Cynthia: Yeah. So, I mean, the way that we talk to ourselves really dictates how we make decisions dictates how we act, right? So, if something comes up, and we’re telling ourselves that we don’t have enough money for this, or that if we make this purchase, you know, that means that for like the next month, I’m gonna have to scale back on things. What all that is doing is creating more fear and discomfort within you. It is not trusting, right, yourself. So, that’s really what the self-talk is about. It’s in these moments when it comes to money, it’s not trusting that we are capable enough of creating more wealth. And so, first, it’s noticing the way that you’re talking to yourself that is having, you know, you feel really stuck in this place of lack, in this place of fear. And seeing it in that moment, if you can practice trust, right. So asking yourself, well, what would it feel like for me in this moment if I didn’t have this fear, right? What would it feel like if I told myself that I did have enough money? What I feel like if I looked more shifted my attention less on like, what’s not happening or what may not happen, which is all exaggeration, right? Which is all false, it’s not true, because we don’t know any of it to be true, right?

So, then you focus on what is true. Well, what do I know to be true right now? I know that this is the decision I need to make, this is what I want to have happen because this is what I want to have happen. This is what needs to happen. Right? And so, you kind of cut away all of that which you do not know, what you are creating in your head. And you focus more on what it is that you do know to be true. But the other piece too is to feel that fear and to feel the discomfort. What I tell students all the time is to name it, right? To close your eyes, to name all the things that you are afraid of happening because of it. And imagine that everything that you’re saying is like piling up in your hands, and you’re holding your fear, you’re holding all of it. And you’re just like, “Okay, I’m just gonna put this down here, I’m just gonna put this fear down.”

Michelle: I love the, yeah, the image and the actual physical ritual of putting it to the side.

Cynthia: Yeah. And you put it down, and you’re like, you know, I’m just gonna give this over to something else. Right? This is just gonna sit right here. And I’m gonna sit and ask myself with this no longer a part of me. Can I trust, right? Because that is really the practice, like, when you are talking to yourself in a way that is making you feel more discomfort and more fear that is really your cue to say, “Okay, how can I love myself more in this moment? How can I believe in myself more? Right? And how can I trust more?” And so much of the time, you know, we focus on what is going out. And so, a wonderful way is to see if you can shift your attention to what will be coming in, right? So, instead of what’s gonna be going out for this to happen, think of what will be coming in for this to happen. And if you do this, then what is actually…what are you going to create more of because of it. And so, that’s another piece of this is really shifting your attention on to that which moves you more in the direction you want to go, as opposed to that which keeps you…

Michelle: Moving away from.

Cynthia: And stuck in that state of just suffering, right? That just goes on and on. You have to break it somehow. Or else you’re not gonna move forward at all.

Michelle: Absolutely. I always…and I actually had an episode that I recorded a week prior about being like a freedom junkie, especially in these kinds of situations and decisions. And what I mean by that is, like, I love the exhilaration of…or the adrenaline rush of basically imagining how I will emerge from this decision, you know, on the other end, and that I’m going to have mastered it. And that every time I’m being brave, and I’m doing things that I’m scared of, that I’m sending this amazing wave out there into the universe that is healing, not just my, you know, poverty consciousness, you know, but that is healing everyone else’s along with it. And so, I feel this incredible sense of responsibility. I’m like, no, I got to make this decision because it’s not just about me, it’s not just about a financial legacy for, you know, for my daughter, but I am really affecting the world at a much larger scale by, you know, by being brave. And I’m like, “Yeah, my courage matters for that reason.”

Cynthia: Oh, I love that. That’s so true, my courage matters. That’s a great mantra.

Michelle: Yeah. So, if we were to bring this now because so within so without or just like, above below or below above, you know, in the current environment in which, for example, this country or the entire world has been living over the last, you know, six months, how can…and I know, I know the answer is probably gonna be, yes, it starts with us. But how can we, you know, on a more collective level start employing a bit more of these four ways of talking like Buddha, you know, someone a very ancient figure, wise man, had back then and those are truths that prevailed back then and prevail now as well, you know what I mean? How can we start applying those and more as a collective?

Cynthia: So, I mean, yes, it does start with us, right, and listening to ourselves. But also, you know, when you are in conversation with others, see if you can practice allowing people to speak, right? Allowing them to share, and express themselves without cutting them off, without interrupting, and just seeing if you can hold space for somebody to have a different opinion than you. Right?

Michelle: Which is so hard right now with the political environment, I mean, you go on social media, and you’re like, you feel like the urge to interact, and you’re like, “Is it gonna make a difference?” And I’m like, “No, it’s not gonna make a difference so keep on scrolling, moving on.” But the urge is there, you know what I mean? And…

Cynthia: And that’s it, like, that’s it, right? It’s the urge that you wanna pay attention to, because that is telling you, okay, I wanna do something and then you get to come in and say, “Was what I’m about to say kind, is what I’m about to say helpful, is what I’m about to say necessary?” Right? “Does this add to the conversation? Does this help the other person? Does this help me?” And so, that’s really what you wanna focus on is to just understand that you are very powerful, because you have the ability to speak, you have the ability to use words and express yourself and you get to choose, you get to choose those words. And they affect not only you, but they affect other people, right. And so, I think, right now it’s just really important to commit to, you know, being purposeful with your language, and saying to yourself, before you have conversations, or before a meeting, or before you’re going to, you know, socially distance with people or however it is. But for you beforehand to say, “Okay, my intention right now is to really, like, stay open through this conversation. My intention is to only speak if I have something that is gonna be really helpful. My intention is to, you know, pay attention to the sensations coming in my body and deciding is this helpful for me to give into it or not?”

And so, it becomes very different way of looking at communication, there’s a purpose to communication, right? And in this context, the purpose is to help yourself and someone else suffer less. So, if you’re going in with that idea, it will change the way that you’re showing up.

Michelle: Yeah. You know, on another thing that I think has been incredibly helpful is not just following, you know, these four, but at least it’s been helpful to me, especially in business to, you know, something bad happens or you have a problem, which are, there’s always something going on if you’re an entrepreneur, some crisis that you need to put off, the fire that needs to be put off. And I would be…I remember the beginning, I was like, “Oh, my God, we are so screwed.” And now, you know, the last several years I have changed that to say, “Oh, my goodness, this is so inconvenient.”

Cynthia: It makes a big difference, doesn’t it?

Michelle: And just the word that is being used. I am describing it still, I might not be, you know, still yet, is it telling the truth or is it, you know, being helpful, but I’m just…at least I’ve started with like, changing a little bit the word so that, again, it softens the situation. So, [crosstalk 00:35:08] something, you know, you do as well, but, you know, I have found it incredibly helpful. And I’m sure that if you’re in a situation where the line escaped, it may be appropriate to use the other one but yeah, we’re rarely in those situations anyways.

Now, what are you, Cynthia, what are you excited about right now? What is coming up for you? What are you looking forward right now in the future in terms of bringing much more of this, you know, into the world and helping others really, you know, enjoy the journey? We’re here for not very long, it seems like, you know, 80-90 plus years, or however long we live, like, it’s a long time, but in in the scope of times, you know, and how can we make the most of it? And so, what are you excited about? What do you see shifts happening right now in terms of like on a global scale in terms of like, how we communicate? Or where do you see that, you know, we could be doing more all in general as a society?

Cynthia: Yeah, I think right now is such an incredible time for communication. There’s opportunity, right, there’s an opportunity to change the conversation that’s been happening. In the U.S., there’s opportunity to, you know, interact differently right now. And I think that there are a lot of people who are seeing that, seeing the need for it, at least right now, that’s starting to really show itself. That there is a need for something to change when it comes to, you know, discussion, and not necessarily agreeing but, you know, questioning, starting to really question and ask ourselves, how can we have difficult conversations? How can we be in the presence of others who we really don’t agree with and still honor and respect them? Right? How can we understand that we can have a discussion without trying to force someone to see the way that we see or without trying to convince somebody that it should be this way, and that this is the right way and this is the wrong way when truly, we don’t know what is right, we don’t know what is wrong, we just know that it is, right?

And so, I think that that’s what is exciting for me, I guess, about right now is that I think that people are starting to ask questions that are going to lead more to a consciousness around language, around how people are interacting. And also, what I’m finding is seeing that people are starting to understand that it does begin with them. What I love is that one person can change a conversation, right? I say this to my students all the time, because they’ll ask before the training, “Well, if my husband’s not doing this or if, you know, my colleagues aren’t doing this, are things really gonna change?” And things do change because once…

Michelle: How we’re responding to their interactions in situations, that is gonna make the whole difference, you know.

Cynthia: Yeah. And they can’t interact with you in the same way because you are interacting differently. And so, and the only way for things to change is to do something different, right? So, I’m excited about that. And also, I’m really excited because right now for, you know, my work personally, I’m starting now to have those in my instructor training program are starting to leave the instructor training program. And so, that’s phenomenal because that means that it’s not only me running the trainings anymore, and that there will be more people running the training. So it’s more accessible…

Michelle: [inaudible 00:39:11] read your message, you know, multiply yourself through all of these now, you know, instructors that are going out there and bringing your message of course, absolutely.

Cynthia: So, that’s really exciting for me so that it’s more accessible and there’s more opportunities and options, and then I can, you know, I can do more to share the practice and then people can learn it and…

Michelle: Yeah, absolutely. Now, if somebody’s listening to this wanting to learn, you know, and wanting to improve in their communication, where could they go to learn more about what you do, your work and just about who, you know, Cynthia is?

Cynthia: Yeah, so they can go to And there you know, you’ll learn more about my books “How to Communicate Like a Buddhist,” Talk to Yourself Like a Buddhist” and “How to Meditate like a Buddhist.” And in terms of, you know, kind of starting in with the practice, there’s the books, obviously. And then there are the DailyOM courses that I have that are How to Communicate like a Buddhist and Turn Off the Enemy in Your Mind. And that’s really about how we talk to ourselves. And these are audio courses, I’m not involved, it’s not working with me directly. But then, you know, for those who are really interested in taking this to the level of really embodying it, and being able to become less reactive, and not being led by the emotion, right, and really have, you know, easy, relaxed interactions and know how to navigate difficult conversations, right? Then working with me directly in the intentional communication training program is a phenomenal way. It’s 14 weeks that we get to spend together and you can apply on my website. It’s there just, you can apply.

Michelle: Awesome. I love that you said that you have a DailyOM audio or some kind of a practice for the day, or…

Cynthia: Yeah. So, DailyOM is a platform that does a lot of wellness courses and things of that sort. And the way that this course is set up is that there’s audio, but then there’s daily action. And so it’s really helpful for implementing. So, that’s the most important piece for me is for people, like what we were talking about in the beginning, everything in theory is an abstract is like so lovely. But how do you bring it down and how do you actually begin to bring it into your day to day?

Michelle: Yeah, absolutely. So, I definitely will be checking out your website. Absolutely. Now, Cynthia, if we were to leave our listeners with three pieces of advice regarding communication, and language, and talking either to others, to ourselves, what would those three pieces of advice be?

Cynthia: Let’s see. Three pieces of advice. Okay.

Michelle: We’ve covered quite a bit. I mean, you’ve given us.

Cynthia: We have. So, number one, I would say is to really be gentle with yourself. So, when you start to notice that you’re not connecting with yourself in a kind, honest and helpful way, and you notice that you’re maybe judging yourself for it, right. Instead of trying to flip things to the positive, just come out and be like, “Hey, we’re good. Like, I’m just gonna wrap my arms around you, give you a big hug. Let’s just, you know, do this together.”

Michelle: I love that.

Cynthia: So, just be gentle with yourself. That’s number one. Number two is, when something happens in the moment that you become aware in the moment that either you’ve said something that is hurtful or that you are not in a space where you can be kind and helpful, own it. Just say, “I am so sorry that didn’t come out right. I just said something really hurtful, I wanna try this again. Or I’m feeling really frustrated right now and very overwhelmed right now. So, I’m just gonna take a minute,” right? Just declare it in the moment.

And then the third piece of advice would be, that anytime you notice yourself trying to convince someone of something or trying to fix something for someone, that if in that moment, when you notice it, and you can say, “What would this moment look like if I wasn’t trying to force or push. And if I could just allow this person to like, be in their discomfort, could I allow this person to just experience whatever it is that they’re experiencing without trying to convince them to feel different or be different?”

Michelle: Yeah. Wow. So, actually powerful in terms of always being of service, like from a real estate perspective, to both our sellers and our buyers. What you just said, your last point, you know, absolutely. Cynthia, it’s been an amazing time together, I feel like I could talk to you for hours. Thank you so, so much for being on InFLOW. And for you listening, thank you so much for tuning in. I love coming into your space, spending time with you guys, and I am excited to be with you in the next episode of InFLOW. So, until the next time, thank you so much, Cynthia.

Cynthia: You’re welcome. Thank you.

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