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Power of Awakening with Cathy Gasper and CinDiLo


This episode features two inspiring women talking about the power of awakening. Our first guest is Cathy Gasper, the owner and holistic practitioner at HOPE, an acronym for “Hold On, Pain Ends.” Cathy specializes in pain, trauma and anxiety, utilizing modalities including ear reflexology, auricular chromotherapy, pranic healing and Reiki. She analyzes and addresses patient concerns through active listening and advising on appropriate treatments, and seeks continuous learning in each specialty practice, ensuring accurate diagnosis and treatments. Then, CinDiLo, the founder of “When the Clock Strikes Midlife,” discusses how she helps fellow Generation X women seeking to live their midlife with purpose and clarity.


IN THIS EPISODE

[01:14] Cathy Gasper on what she is most passionate about

[02:52] Cathy Gasper on her start in healing

[06:56] Cathy Gasper on why she helps other people

[09:09] Cathy Gasper on how she built her practice

[11:17] Cathy Gasper on her different techniques

[14:46] Cathy Gasper on the process of breaking a client’s pattern

[16:46] Cathy Gasper on why she started HOPE

[18:29] Cathy Gasper on the most powerful thing she has learned about herself

[19:17] Cathy Gasper on chakra coaching

[23:17] Cathy Gasper on her Reiki-infused jewelry

[25:37] Cathy Gasper on pet energy healing

[29:18] Cathy Gasper on how people can work with her

[30:00] Cathy Gasper on her secret to a rewarding life

[31:13] CinDiLo on what she’s most passionate about

[31:37] CinDiLo on why growth is important to her

[32:04] CinDiLo on her childhood

[34:13] CinDiLo on how her childhood has impacted her life today

[34:55] CinDiLo on her start in law and academia

[36:25] CinDiLo on how she started helping women

[37:42] CinDiLo on her midlife crash

[41:16] CinDiLo on her midlife changes

[46:10] CinDiLo on her Midlife on Purpose Planner

[48:23] CinDiLo on what inspired WhentheClockStrikesMidlife.com

[52:33] CinDiLo on what she wants her blog to teach women

[53:38] CinDiLo on her workshops with Gen X women

[56:30] CinDiLo on her Facebook page

[58:31] CinDiLo on her inspiration for her journal

[01:03:37] CinDiLo on a lesson that sticks with her

LINKS


FULL TRANSCRIPT

Passionistas: Hi, we're sisters Amy and Nancy Harrington, the founders of the Passionistas Project podcast, where we give women a platform to tell their own unfiltered stories. On every episode, we discuss the unique ways in which each woman is following her passions, talk about how she defines success, and explore her path to breaking down the barriers that women too often face.




So please welcome Cathy Gasper.


What's the one thing you're most passionate about?


Cathy: I just have such a passion to help people out of pain. And I was actually asked this one time on a date, and apparently, he didn't like my answer, so he didn't ask me for a second date. I was like “Dude, I help people out of pain. Like, what else is great about that?” But I think you go through things in your life where there's a balance. Like when you do some really cool things, it's like, we also have to check like, ourselves with it. But it's kind of like a party trick. So the one thing that I do is, my first modality that I learned is called auricular therapy, and I work on points on the ear that communicate with the brain, and it works very well on pain. So, you know, like, if your knees hurt, and you were to take, like, pain pills, it's not like healing the knee. It's just blocking the pain receptors in your brain. So, if somebody's knee hurts, I actually place this—it's called an ear bead--on their knee, point on their ear, and I can reduce pain by at least 50% within a few seconds, and then it continues to work. So I call it, like, a party trick because it's a great thing to help people out of pain so quickly without any, you know, things that they have to take, that's just working with their body.


Passionistas: That's incredible. I've never heard of that before. So let's take a step back. Where does this passion for helping people get out of pain come from? What was your childhood like? Was this always something that you, were you always an empathetic, sympathetic person?


Cathy: I used to tell myself, like I was always a little bit alternative and holistic. I would say I wanted to be a naturopath, but then I would have this voice in my head that said, “But you're not smart enough.” Isn't that hilarious? So what happened was one day, I just literally woke up with this noise in my head. I looked in the mirror. I thought I had had a stroke. I didn't know what was going on. I could hear, “Voom, voom, voom, voom.” And so I'm like, “Well, you're okay, like, you're looking in the mirror. Like, everything looks okay.” So I went downstairs and made myself some cereal, and I sat on the table, kitchen table to eat it, and I couldn’t hold myself up. I was like, falling out of the chair. And so it took me about a week to get in to see a doctor. I didn't know what was going on. I'm like, “Well, you can kind of walk,” but I was, like, trying to manage it. And I was like, probably looked like a drunk person swinging around. And I got in there. I'm like, “I'm just so dizzy. I hear this-- I can hear it in my head.” And he's like, “Oh, you have Vertigo.” And I'm like, “What is that?” Like, I didn't even know what it was. I was 39. It was right before I turned 40. I had never heard of it. And so what I finally, initially-- well, what I got diagnosed with, Initially's not the right word-- is a virus, Vertigo. So it would be kind of similar to, like, COVID now, how you come across a virus and it inflames a nerve, and when it does that, it doesn't function right. So they think it's the same virus that's responsible for bells palsy, you know, where some people just wake up and half of their face is paralyzed. Some people actually wake up and they're deaf in one ear, because the hearing nerve and the balance nerve are so close to each other. But I actually woke up and I didn't have my balance. So that type of recovery is a little bit longer. Like, we know this is kind of easy to talk about now. Like COVID, some people get their taste and smell back, and some people, it doesn't quite come back, or when it does come back, it comes back differently. So with this recovery is not the typical recovery for Vertigo, where you have, like, loose crystal in your ear. It tends to be longer. My doctor told me it be about a year, and it would be a bumpy recovery. And I was at a loss. I was a single mom. I had two boys. I was not functioning, and I'm like, “I need to speed this up.” So all they really told us was--well told me--was time and exercise. And I had gone about a year and a half. It was still, life was so miserable, and I stumbled into auricular therapy. And at the time, I had this constant static in my head. It was like --- And I can see it on walls, like yellow walls, for some reason was the worst I could see it. Like, like, shaking on the walls. And I had my first session. When I sat up from the table, the noise was gone. And I'm like, “Ooh. This--” Do we swear on this podcast? Is that allowed?


Passionistas: It's-- yes.


Cathy: I was like, "Ooh. This shit's for real.” And so I used it on myself, and I was very interested in it, and I actually got training in it and had a real knack for it. I just started, like, helping friends and family. But the problem was, because I had such a passion for helping people out of pain, because I knew how miserable it was to be in pain and how badly we want our body to come back into balance, so I started, like, following people around in the grocery store. If they had, like a cast on them, or a limp or crutches or something, I'd be like, “Can I touch your ear?” And I'd start, like, throwing at them, like, things they can do and, like, exercises or supplements they could take. And I just started helping people.


Passionistas: So then what? Why did you decide then to continue helping other people?


Cathy: I was hungry. Like, I couldn't stop. It was, and it was something...I really feel like, and I can't remember the year, but I remember being told that there was some energy that hit the Earth that woke up some healers, so, a little bit more alternative healers. And at the time they're like, “You're going to start seeing more, like, yoga practices open up, like, more Western doctors are going to be turning more alternative.” And I'm not even a researcher. I hate looking up information. But I was nonstop, like, searching for information, looking at things to do and like, just, like, absorbing so many different, like, ways to heal the body. And I wanted more. So at the time I actually wanted to become an acupuncturist. And I do live in Oregon, and we have the number one acupuncture school here in Oregon, highly esteemed. So I was looking into it. It's a three-year program, and at the time, I think it's a good $80,000, is the price tag. So again, I'm a single mom working, trying to support my boys, and I didn't know how I could float that, but I'm like, I just started telling people I was going to become an acupuncturist. I'm like, “Just keep taking a step forward, and it's going to happen.” And on that step forward, I landed in energy work. So I actually had signed up for pranic healing, was the first month, and then Reiki was the next month. And signing up for pranic healing was just this blessing, and so, and it resonated with me, and it gave me so many tools, and it, I don't know the word for it, but it sufficed my, just-- I don't know what's the right word-- desire to become an acupuncturist. It gave me enough tools to get what I needed. And so I stumbled into energy work, and then I really have expanded my tool belt in that category. And I'm like, “You can't learn anymore. You just gotta hone in on these modalities that you have and become the master at them.”


Passionistas: How did you start to build your practice?


Cathy: There was a website I got onto, it was called "Thumbtack." It's still there. It's different, but it's kind of like, what I think, like, an Angie's list, but for practitioners. And at the time I was practicing, I didn't even, like, have the confidence in myself. And so I was, like, really giving my stuff away. But I was practicing. So I was getting people in. I was, like, trying this, trying that, and then they're walking out better. And I was like, “Woah!” And so I started building a clientele, and slowly, like, raising my prices and charging my worth, and had a pretty solid practice going on. And then along came COVID. I always thought I'd be bulletproof for that type of a situation, because I work on people. But I was doing in person, mostly. My practice is mostly in person, even though the reason I got into energy work was for situations like my dad, who lives in another state, and I couldn't help him face to face with the original tools that I had. So with energy work, I was able to. But my clients were used to seeing me in person, and they didn't transition well into remote work. And they would call me, like, 8 months into COVID like, “This is really crazy, but are you open?” I'm like, “Yes, I'm open!” So I actually rebranded a little bit, and I had to pivot, like a bunch of other people, and really do more remote work. And that's when I stuck everything together, and what I do now is soul coaching. I'm an intuitive soul coach. So I throw everything that I have at my clients to help them release their lifetime attachments to their pain, their suffering, their sorrow, and I really specialize in trauma work.


Passionistas: So talk about what all these different techniques are that you, that you do and that you can throw at your clients.


Cathy: Yeah, okay. So the main thing that I do is trauma release. Everybody gets at the first session. That's been shown through clinical studies to be 92-93% effective in the treatment of trauma, PTSD and phobias. And when I learned that, that changed my practice 100% because, I mean, the trauma lifts up, it flows off of people, and it's so cool to hear, like, little kids talk about it. And it is, it's life changing. So my goal is to, like, clear out as much trauma as possible in the beginning, and then I start rebuilding. I try to get all the triggers calmed down. So trauma release, but this is-- I hope you like this part of this story-- but when I was doing the trauma release in the beginning, I was finding that 2 out of 10 of my clients were not triggering for a trauma. And I was like, “What do I do here?” I know there's something here. I've got my hands on their head. I'm, like, in the middle of a session. I'm, like, scanning, talking with, you know, my helpers. “What do I do, and do I go forward?” And I was getting a note. So what I found out is that they were triggering for a pattern. So pattern is stored, actually, in a different area of the brain. Your trauma is stored in the limbic system, and that's responsible for basic body functions, and that's what causes, ,like the anxiety and the lack of sleep and the overeating and the loss of the sex drive. It is basic body functions. A pattern is something that you can be upset about, but you're not having that panic, that anxiety response to it, and it's something that you keep doing over and over. Or I call it, “Layers of chaos.” So you can have a trauma in the middle, but you've got it protected by layers of chaos. So I can't get my client to break that, to break into that center point-- because they've got all these, this fort around it and guards-- until I chisel through the patterns. So I have to do that first. So I was given a point by spirit. I call all points in time. I reached out to the board at a regular therapy. His name is Doctor Nojay. I shared it with him, and he was very excited. He said that I have discovered a new point, so I wrote a paper on it, and I was-- I forget the name of it. But we had the International Auriculotherapy Symposium. So I was a poster-- that's the name. I got to be a poster in that. And I did a little video on it, so I'm hoping the next Symposium, I can actually be a speaker. So with that, they also gave me a protocol, a 3-step protocol. So I have developed my own protocol for pattern release. So my clients get that. And then I do interactive meditations. Sometimes I just do straight energy work, where they lay down and close their eyes, and I'm doing complete energy work. I wake them up when we're done. I do auricular therapy. I do brain balancing. I do light therapy, frequency work, and sometimes singing bowls.


Passionistas: When you're breaking through somebody's patterns. What does that involve?


Cathy: So it is an interactive, it's similar to meditation. I'm hitting points on the ears that get me directly into their subconscious brain, and then I'm using Reiki energy to help soften and open that up. And when I make that connection, I just, I'm speaking directly to your subconscious brain. And I ask that you allow it to bubble up to the surface. The root of, I mean we can be-- your anxiety, I'll just say is a super simple one. The root of your anxiety. And I take them back to the root. I'm always going to the root. I never work on the symptom. I go straight to the root. Because that's what happens in in Western society. We're just throwing stuff at the symptom. If you take that stuff away, it's still there. So we get to the root, it comes up, and then I release it, depending on what it is. And then I do energy work, if I need to clean up. So I'm very thorough. I'm like poking around, looking around everything. And then if needed, if the client allows, again, if needed, I do inner child work. Some people split during situations-- I can do something, let me try and do something mild. I don't want to ever trigger anybody with scenarios, but I had a client-- a loss of a child, a daughter. And when he heard the news, he had split. So we had to go back to that moment and gather him up. It's hard for people to move forward when parts of you are stuck in the past. So when I integrate the people, then they are able to move forward at peace, in peace. It's just those protective mechanisms that people do to themselves when they are in shock.


Passionistas: Tell us about “Hold On, Pain Ends,” and why you started that.


Cathy: Because when I had the Vertigo, I mean, so if you've ever heard of people that are addicts, and they're withdrawing, you know, sometimes it's like, “Just get through the day,” and sometimes it's just, “Get through the hour.” Sometimes they're literally just talking themselves through the minute, to not use again. I was at that point. There was times that I had to put myself through each minute. So that was one of my affirmations.


Passionistas: Sorry that you've gone through so much.


Cathy: Yeah, sorry about that, but, I mean, you go through the journey, and then...Like, it sucks. But I am happy to help people. But it sucks. But then you get to the point where you're like, when you have to look at it from your soul's point of view, which is what I help people to do in my coaching. ‘Cause there's a reason my soul signed up for this. So we need to get to that reason and identify with that and move forward with that. When we keep identifying with what sucks, then we keep going back to that. So there's a lot of good, and it's more than just me helping people. That's the main part of it. But the other part of it is the evolution that I have gone through. And we evolve very quickly when the soul signs up for health crisises. First of all, we're purging things, and the second thing is we're learning things.


Passionistas: So what's the most powerful thing you've learned about yourself through all you've been going through?


Cathy: So, well, the three things the soul is here to evolve in is intelligence, love, and strength. And this one, I mean, I really have had to learn a lot of strength. So when I look back and, like, can affirm, I'm like, “Dude, you raised two boys, you held everything together. You held your job up until COVID. Through all of, through all of this and two jobs, you had a job and started a business and learned all this stuff.” So that's strength. It was a lot of strength to keep going.


Passionistas: So now, you're also a chakra coach. So tell us, tell us what a chakra is and how you work with people.


Cathy: Okay, so chakra is a, it's called, means “wheel” in Sanskrit. But it looks like a party hat. So the pointy part attaches to you, and then it stands out here and it spins. So it has two functions. The first function is physiological, so as it's spinning one way, excuse me, it’s drawing in fresh prana. So, prana is life force energy. We do not have that word in English language. We have to borrow that word from Indian culture. But I don't know if you've heard of that workout company, it's called Prana. Columbia Sportswear owns them. So prana is free. It comes from the ground, from the trees, from the water, from the air, from the Sun. And your body is drawing in and-- I'm sorry, your chakras are drawing it in and supplying it to the physical body behind it. The other way it spins, it's releasing things that we no longer need. So it's very similar to our lungs, how we inhale oxygen, but we exhale out carbon dioxide. They're just like an energetic lung. And then their second function is psychological. So we all have emotions, right? We all have thoughts. But can you physically hold an emotion in your hands?


Passionistas: No.


Cathy: Yeah. Some of my clients are like, “Yeah, you can.” I'm like, “You can? That's pretty cool.” Can you physically hold a thought in your hands? No. So they're made-up of energy. And I go through that in detail with my clients, but because they're made-up of energy, they are stored in your energetic body, in your chakra system. So you've got a chakra here, and it's holding an emotion, and this is spinning to draw in the fresh prana, and it's, it sucks in the emotion, and the motion hits the physical body. So just like pain, your body is responsible for pain-- I'm sorry, your brain is responsible for the pain receptors. Your brain is a processing center, so it says, “Hey, this energetic substance just hit my body. Well, let me translate this into a sense that you can understand what it is.” So it translates it into a feeling, so you can feel it. So that's why we say, “I feel so happy!” or, “I feel so bad!” We're feeling the emotion. So chakras are responsible for these two things: drawing in fresh prana, releasing things we don't need, and they're responsible for holding our thoughts and our emotions. And as the chakra coach, I'm an intuitive soul coach, so intuitive means I use my claires. And as a soul coach, I'm working with your higher self to help look at life from your soul's perspective, so we can start to identify with who we are, versus identifying with who we are not. And so many of these thoughts and emotions, you know, we are creating them, and they're energetic. So because I work with energy, I just go with, like, a stronger energy like Windex. And I squeeze squeegee clean it out of there. And then you can, like, look out through life with a clearer lens, and then start to create the feelings and the thoughts that you actually want in your system, now that you know who you are.


Passionistas: We met you because you also make Reiki-infused jewelry, which is beautiful, beautiful pieces that you make. So explain what that is and the benefits of your pieces.


Cathy: Yeah, so, as a pranic healer, we have a lot of training with crystals. And I'm a Reiki master. So with Reiki, we infuse a lot of things with Reiki. Like, you know, I'm taught, like I'm actually remodeling a home with my sister right now. My sister and I are in, uh, cahoots together, like you and your sister. And so I put Reiki symbols in the paint, you know, so that as we're painting the home, we've got this divine energy blasting into the house. So I understand the different properties of the crystal and prana and how it correlates with the body and what is helpful to support the system. And I'm also super picky and very creative. A lot of people are creative, so I like to express myself with things. So I, actually, what happened, I had some jewelry that I was making, because we were working at farmers markets before COVID, me and another friend with a little, like, stress buster booth. And when COVID happened, I was actually rear-ended. And so I had a big Vertigo flare, because I got a concussion from that. And I was on the couch. And I had ordered some stones to make for the farmers market, but we can’t do the farmers market. And I was just sitting there. I'm like, “Well, you're sitting here, you might as well make something.” So I made a piece of jewelry, and I stuck it on Instagram, and I sold it. I'm like, “Well, that was easy.” So I made another piece the next day and stuck it on Instagram and sold it. So I'm like, “Hey, if I just sell one piece of jewelry a day, it's going to keep the flow of, like, money coming towards me. I don't care how much it is. I just need that trickle coming towards me so that energy can build up.” This is, like, right in the beginning of COVID. So I started doing that, and then I thought it was a great way for two people, if they couldn't quite afford a coaching session with me, they could at least have a piece of healing to support their system. Because I do energy scans, so I can, like, recommend a crystal that would support your needs, if working with me is not in the budget at the time.


Passionistas: There’s an aspect of what you do that I've been dying to ask you about, is you do pet energy healing.


Cathy: Yeah. Oh my gosh. Yeah. So I was always the baby whisperer in the family. I actually wasn't too keen on pets at the time. And I had a client who a lot of stuff had happened to. And she asked me if I would work on her pet. And I was like, “Well, I can try.” So basically what had happened, she did have a friend who was ill with cancer, and it wasn't going well. And then during all of that, her house caught on fire. And it was just like a scene in the movie. So they had, they were out on the balcony and had gone to bed. Those candles, those citronella candles--am I saying that right?-- for bugs, and so that caught the porch on fire. And so she got her dog out, and then-- of the house, of the home-- and went back in to try to, like, put the fire out. But it had gone into the house, and everything, it was, could happen. So, but then the dog had, I guess they're like kids. So kids do one of two things in this type of situation: they either get out, or they go and hide in their room. And that's what this dog had done. It had went back into the house and hid in this room. So literally, like the movie, she's belly-crawling in the house because there's smoke everywhere. She gets the dog, she gets out, and the fire hit the gas line, and the house exploded. So this was a little dog, and they were also traumatized. The dog, she had to wear it like a, in the baby carrier thing. It had to be on her, like, 24/7, or it had all this anxiety. And it was on medicine, like, they had this dog on medicine, but it wasn't functioning. And life was going on. She had a job. She was supposed to go away on a work trip for a week, and she's like, “I don't know what to do.” And so she had been referred to, like, this behavior specialist in our area, and I found out how much he charged, and I was like, “Oh, dang, maybe I need to reevaluate, you know, working on animals.” So I worked on my niece’s and nephew’s, and animals are similar to babies. Their chakra sizes are the same size. I just weigh them like, okay, how much it weighs, I compared to, like, what grade, like, my niece or nephew would be in, so I know what I'm doing. So she brought the dog to me, and I had already worked on her, so I worked on the dog, and she was able to go away on her trip, and it was like a miracle. They did have to give the dog his anxiety medicine one time, because they think the person was watching him, they had a party or they went to a party or whatever, and the dog got a little anxious. But that was it. She did bring the dog back to me one more time, because it was still having some trouble driving in the car. And I don't think that like 100% cleared up, but it saved the dog's life. She was able to live ‘til the end of her natural life. And she was just thrilled. And I'm like, “That was fun.” So dogs and animals, same thing, have trauma. And that's really where my heart is, is to help animals with traumas. So I put out a call to have some case studies in a moms networking group that I'm involved in. And I handpicked a couple, and it was amazing. I had some really, really great results with a couple of these dogs, so I grew a heart for it.


Passionistas: How can people work with you?


Cathy: Yeah, thank you. It's super easy. I'm gonna have a really easy website to find. It's TheChakraCoach.com, and I have a free discovery call right there on the home page. So with that, I do a chakra scan. I just, I-- and it's remote, so it’s through a zoom link-- I just scan your chakras, head to toe, front to back. I don't want to know anything about you. I go into all readings blind. I draw pictures and take notes of what I'm finding, and then I just ask, “Hey, does this resonate with you?” And then we talk about what I found. So if the things that I find are things that you wanna work on, then the next step is just to see if you would want to work with me.


Passionistas: So what's your secret to a rewarding life?


Cathy: Being at peace with where you're at today. Because we always only have where we're at right now. So, you know, the past happened, but it's not a life sentence. It's just a learning opportunity. And the future, we're creating by where we're at now. So if you're at peace right now, then you're creating a peaceful future.


Passionistas: Our next guest is CinDiLo. After 25 years in law and academia assisting women during life transitions such as divorce and reentering the workforce, CinDiLo created her own second act of writing and workshops for fellow Generation X women seeking to live their mid life with purpose and clarity through WhentheClockStrikesMidlife.com. She published the easy-to-use weekly journal “When the Clock Strikes Midlife: It's YOUR Time to Shine” to inspire women to cultivate their midlife awakening with its interactive guided prompts and witty yet truthful perspective.


So please welcome CinDiLo.


CinDiLo: Hello. Thank you for having me.


Passionistas: Oh, we're really excited to have you on the show. What we want to start with is, what's the one thing you're most passionate about?


CinDiLo: I think overall, it's growth. Not only growth of myself, but of others. Whether it's myself, my children, my loved ones, my friends, my BFFs on the Internet-- which I call my cyber BFF-- and strangers. I always believe in growth and encouraging people to grow and learn about themselves and the world.


Passionistas: Why is that so important to you?


CinDiLo: Everything stems from childhood. Probably stagnant people around me. People that, you know, just don't have that mindset. They don't, you know, immediately, if you say, “Hey, try this--” “No.” You know, it's just an automatic shut you down, shut themselves down, and don't ever try anything.


Passionistas: Let's take a step back. You mentioned your childhood. Tell us a little bit about your childhood, and what it was like.


CinDiLo: I was born with something called a TE fistula, which I like to mention the name because most people don't know about it, but people that do know about it say, “Oh, it's a birth defect where your esophagus isn't connected to your stomach.” I was lucky in the fact that that was my only birth defect. Many babies are born with a lot more issues that are a lot more severe along with that. And I was repaired in the hospital for the first year of my life back in the 1960s. I won't tell you when in the 1960s, but I was in a bed, and they would put injections in my thighs, because I would get pneumonia laying in a hospital bed. So they would treat that back then, yeah, with penicillin shots or antibiotic shots in your muscles, which they don't do anymore, because it causes atrophy of the muscles. And so by the time I was a toddler, I pretty much couldn't bend either of my legs. And when I was four, I had my right leg operated on, and I spent a whole summer in a cast. But I still had my left leg that was, didn't bend, and I went through that way all through elementary school up until 8th grade. The summer between 8th grade and high school, I got my left leg operated on. Again, spent the whole summer in a cast. But I did everything, and my parents never told me that I couldn't do anything, even though I had so many issues. I think I was their third spirited child, and because of what I went through, they kind of let me do whatever I want, as long as it wasn't too dangerous. So I rode a bike. I ran in gym. You know, I never sat out of gym or anything like that. I played dodgeball and got whacked in the head like everyone else. So, you know, but that didn't come without issues, you know. I was teased, especially in middle school. Some of the boys would tease me and were mean. But for the most part, I would say it wasn't on a regular basis, and it was one or two boys. But in the meantime, again, it never deterred me from doing anything. I continued, actually, to go on to be President of the school when I was in 8th grade.


Passionistas: Do you feel like that still impacts, these experiences you had as a child, still impact the person you are today?


CinDiLo: Oh, of course. I think everything that happens to us, you know, makes us who we are in that, this present moment. Yeah, I think it makes me more sympathetic and empathetic to a wide array of people, and maybe that is one of the reasons I'm more open-minded. And maybe that also is one of the reasons that I never let anything stop me and never really worried about what people think, because that seems to be a big thing with some people around me. You know, just sometimes even the silliest things like, you know, make sure your hair is perfect for whatever it might be. Make your bed or, you know, like, somebody's going to judge you if you don't make your bed that day.


Passionistas: So what inspired you to get into law and academia?


CinDiLo: I found myself graduated high school, and I didn't have an idea in mind of what I wanted to do. I was the first person to go to college, as far as my sisters. And I, so long story short, I worked for a year in retail. I went to a seminar of a woman who did a little thing about being a paralegal, and it really intrigued me. I went on to become a paralegal and get my degree. Which, back then, in the 1990s, mid-90s, nobody had a-- not that nobody had a paralegal degree-- but it wasn't needed, really. You know, all you have to do is have some experience working in a law office, and they'll throw you to the trenches and teach you what they want to teach you. So I did that. And then of course, me being me, but by the year 2000, I created a website called NJParalegal.com, because at the time, there was legislation going on in my state of what was going to happen with paralegals, were we going to be licensed or not licensed? And many of us wanted and want to be licensed. It's still not licensed anywhere, in any state in the United States. But it is more regulated, and education is more of a priority for employers now, which elevates the industry.


Passionistas: And how did you come to focus, kind of on women's issues and helping women through transitions?


CinDiLo: That's another thing that, in hindsight-- I don't know if you ever got to a place, and I think midlife might be this place where you kind of look back on all of the things you did, and you start noticing a thread or a pattern. And one thing I even noticed again, going back to childhood, is I was a connector and a networker back then, as far as, I created clubs when I was, like, 8 years old. Like, I had a, like, a cat club. Then I told you I was President in the 8th grade. That continued, you know, when I became a paralegal. I always have-- whether it was school or work or even mommyhood-- I've always gotten involved in groups of women. We still have a group of women that we're friends with for 26 years. We were all new moms. We started with 10 moms and grew to 30 children. And we still try to get together once a year, even though we're in different states. Maybe it's from growing up with all, you know, all girls, but I always thrived in women's circles. Ironically, I have two sons. So I've learned a lot about living with all men. For some reason, that's something I've always been drawn to, and again, I noticed that pattern later in life.


Passionistas: So you've told us that you had a midlife crash when you were around 45. So tell us what happened, and what personal changes you made during that time period.


CinDiLo: Like I said, I don't consider it a crisis. I get, for whatever reason, I don't like the word crisis, but the word crash. Because it was just, what I call again, that Jerry Maguire moment where I was just like, “Enough is enough. Something's gotta give.” And I think I just named 3 movies on one, one in a row. So I was just at a point in my life where my children were probably the most active they were-- and couldn't drive themselves yet anywhere-- they were at an active stage in school, and probably, at some point, starting to work. And my mother had just passed, I believe. Soon after that, my father got, became ill, and on top of it, as luck would have it, I worked for a woman who was really the worst employer I’ve ever had. She was just, you know, a very difficult personality. And everything just kind of-- oh, and by the way, at this time too, I decided to go back and complete my bachelor's degree, because I never finished that back in my 20s. So anyhow, that was all going on. And it was just a really, really difficult moment. And I apologize. My mom did not pass away yet. This was the crash. The crash was, my mom was actually dying, and I had to leave. But-- and they all knew this-- but in the meantime, I drafted an e-mail telling them what I was working on, who I had it covered. I covered all the bases. And my boss's reply back was, “I need it now.” And she claimed she didn't mean that for me, but whatever. It was just one of those "aha” moments where I was like, “Nothing is worth this.” And I didn't quit my job that day, obviously. But soon after, you know, once I got back into the swing of things, I eventually found a new job. And, you know, and I never-- knock on wood-- I never worked for anybody like that again. And I’ve been very fortunate since. And I've been trying to, I guess, make better choices and just, you know, sometimes we're all just stuck in certain places that we didn't mean to be in. But we just got there. So that was it. It was just a terrible, terrible time. It was really difficult. And when I looked back, the entire time from when my mom was sick, until then, she passed, and my dad was sick, and then he passed. That was a decade. And that was hard. I mean, it was, again, my sisters and I still talk about that, and it's again, one of those things where you turn around, and you're like, “I have no idea how I did that. I have no idea how I got through it, how I still took care of everyone.” So that's the other thing. I realized, I'm taking care of everyone and not taking care of myself, which I think women do in general. And I also think, at this point in life, you get to the stage where I can't do this anymore. You know, I took care of everyone all this time, so it was just all around one of those "aha” moments. I needed to-- something needed to change, and it had to start with me, because everybody else is just doing, continuing to do what they did, and I allowed it, you know. So everybody else had to kind of step up and realize what I was doing, and they did. But, you know, sometimes everybody needs an adjustment and, including you.


Passionistas: So what adjustments did you make, besides getting a new job? And how do you, today, take care of yourself?


CinDiLo: I had to have a serious conversation with my husband-- who's great and helps a lot and does a lot-- but again, it was a really busy time, and he is also a glutton for punishment like me, and he always did coaching. And he couldn't just coach. He had to be, like, president of the football team, of the football organization. Yeah, so we're both like that, which can be commendable, but it's difficult. And, you know, I also always wanted to be involved in my child's education and the community and the school things. And you know, it was hard. I tried my best, and that's all we can do. So my husband got on board. You know, my kids were pretty good again, as well. But I had to just remind them of everything I was doing and every, you know, “When you can, you need to try to help yourself or call Dad.” And it got to the point, before my dad passed the last two years, especially, where my sister and I all were just running ragged. And we tried to balance that out as well too, especially with one sister out of state. It's communication with yourself and everybody else in your life of what you need, and sometimes you don't even know what you need, and that evolves too. But the biggest thing at that moment was, really, I think making everybody aware of what's going on, because I don't think they see it, and, nor maybe do I see it either. You know, we’re sometimes consumed in our own lives and everything we have to do, when we don't know what somebody else is doing or going through internally or all the things that they juggle in a day. So now the way I care for myself is easier. So we moved after my youngest son went to college. We were in the Northeast, and my youngest son went to college that came down to South Carolina, and we knew we were eventually coming down here, so he knew the area. And I think, even though it, initially, he was far from home, he felt comfortable, because he knew the area already, and also knowing we would eventually be down here. So lo and behold, after the real estate market opened up finally, we got down here a little bit late, about a year later than we expected. But that's fine. I think everything happens for a reason. And here we are. So we're 600 miles south. And so that has afforded me to live a little bit of an easier life, as far as, I don't have to work full time. I do have a part time job that I really enjoy. Ironically, pretty much all of us in the office are, have New Jersey roots. So that was, that was fortunate there as far as, you know, feeling comfortable and feeling at home. I will also confess, I'm not a morning person, so I picked my hours, which are 12-5. So, you know, I still get up in the morning. I have a puppy now-- well, she's not a puppy anymore-- but I have a doggy, and we go to the beach and take walks in the morning, or we go for coffee, and she's my little buddy. And I'm just that type of person. I need at least an hour where nobody talks to me in the morning. That honestly, it might sound silly, but that makes me a much happier person. And not that rushing, rushing, rushing. And, you know, in between mornings and nights and weekends, I fill in with my blog and my book and my, all the other things that I do. But that to me is still a, luckily a passion of mine. So I don't look at that as working. I enjoy doing it. You know, some people don't get that. They're like, “Oh, you’re working on your blog again?” or, ”Oh, it's Saturday.” I don't look at it that way. I look forward to doing it, believe it or not. So my life has really improved where I was able to create more of what I love in my life, and then sharing that and encouraging other women to do that was really important to me, because it's true. I feel like I needed-- and a lot of other women need-- basically a free pass to tell them that they can do what they want or that they need. They can create a life that they want. And granted, it's much easier for some than others, but to a certain extent, we need to try to do that for ourselves, even if it's just stealing a little bit of time here and there. Oh, I forgot. The biggest thing I went back to and what I changed in my life, was I went back to writing. I went back to my first love. And I never realized what an outlook that was for me, because I stopped my personal writing. I still did some writing as a paralegal and also on my paralegal blog, but that was more technical and industry related, and it wasn't personal writing. So that is really what I think got me out of my midlife crash slump at the time. It was definitely one of the things that really, really helped me, and again, going back to things I loved as a child.


Passionistas: You started the Midlife on Purpose Planner. So tell us what that is and why you created it.


CinDiLo: Okay, yeah. So again, it's a tool to encourage women to do different things to think outside the box, and actually even plan what you're going to do. I'm not saying that you need to plan every moment of your life, but sometimes-- and I'm still a perfect example of this-- I forget to have fun and to plan things that I've been meaning to do for the past three years. You know, I live here, and there was, of course, you have so many things you're going to do when you do something new or-- and I've done some, but there's still, you know, some things that aren't even, you know, far away. Or I just say, "Oh, I'm gonna do a day trip here,” or, “I'm gonna go to the zoo or museum,” and, you know, some things I still haven't gotten to, and that's okay. But it's just a little bit of encouragement. And then I found that women really loved it during 2020, as you can imagine. And then we all had to, and I tried to get a little bit more creative in the calendar because, okay, now we have to rethink things a little bit. And even though most of the time the things I suggest are a lot of outdoorsy things, which hopefully a lot of us were able to do during 2020, since we couldn't do much of anything else if you're either indoors or outdoors. But I tried to get a little bit more creative with doing things or suggesting, you know, a zoom party or, you know, we were all trying new things back then, which was actually great in certain ways. We really had to rethink a lot of things, and I also think that was a halt for the universe-- well, the planet, I could say-- for all of us to step back again. And I know this has been said before about what's really important, creating the life that we want. Many people are finding working from home is a much better quality of life. My sister had that one hour commute each way in New Jersey traffic, and I know California is the same way. And they're really enjoying working from home and have a better quality of life. So I think that's something we all need to rethink as a planet.


Passionistas: So tell us about WhentheClockStrikesMidlife.com and what inspired you to start that.


CinDiLo: So I was turning 50 in 2018. And I just, I don't know. I'm always sort of researching, and even on social media, certain things catch my eye. And I noticed this woman wrote-- I think she eventually wrote a book about it-- but she did, “50 Things for Turning 50.” So that got my wheels turning, and I didn't necessarily want to do that, but I also again, went back to something from my childhood, which is, my name is CinDi, not Cynthia. But I have a cousin, and sometimes my sisters would call me Cinderella or CinDiLa. So I started jotting-- I still have my notes somewhere-- “Cinderella Turns 50.” And I was trying to, like, think-- and I'm not really a Disney Princess person, but first I was trying to parlay it into something like that. And then, I don't even know how my brain works. I was trying to think of things for Cinderella, and then, “When the Clock Strikes Midlife,” just came to my brain. And of course, the first thing I did was Google it and see if anybody had it, all that. So that got me going, and that got me excited, and I knew I wanted to start a blog. So that's kind of why I was brainstorming. And I had the name. And I had already jotted some things down. The first thing I wrote about was my midlife crash, because I wanted to talk about that, and I knew I couldn't have been the only one that felt that way at that age. And again, a lot of people don't think of 50 as midlife or middle-aged, but I think we do as Generation X, or it's I think more of a stage than an age. So if your children are leaving the nest when you're 42, or they're leaving when you're 62, that's one of the times you, I think, feel that as well, as a lot of other life changes, you know, losing your parents or going through a relationship change or career change, whatever it might be. We get to that point somewhere between 40 and 60 where we have to make a shift or we feel like, whether we wanted to shift or not, something happened to kind of make that change. And I think that it's amazing that, I feel that our generation is really changing the changes. Not only all the women we see in the political arena and celebrities in the corporate arena, authors, and you two wonderful women, you know, in entertainment and everything. I mean, you name it. We really are shining these past few years, and I think that's only going to become more. I know that women entrepreneurs are starting more businesses than any other group combined over the past 2 years. So I just feel that it's just a thing, and somehow I feel it sort of, that brought us all together. But it's almost like, build it, and they will come. And I feel like that happened with our generation and this point in our life, because a few years ago, I had somebody tell me-- also another entrepreneurial women, but in a completely different industry-- and she was like, “First of all, I don't like the name midlife. Second of all, I don't see that many midlife women doing anything.” And I'm like, “Well, where have you been? You know, I don't know what you do,” but again, perhaps because that is my quote unquote “industry” or my genre or my arena. I feel like we're everywhere, and we're doing it. We're changing careers, we are excelling on our careers, we are starting new adventures, getting degrees, going back to school. You name it. You know, more and more of us are doing it. I'm not saying it hasn't been done in the past, but I feel like there's definitely a larger percentage of us doing it, and really, you know, not making any excuses and leaning on each other and getting encouragement from each other. Even if you don't necessarily know someone, you would just be inspired by someone who has done something, and you think, “Hey, I can do that,” or, “That's really cool,” you know.


Passionistas: So what do you hope women take away from reading your blog?


CinDiLo: Well, first and foremost, that they're not alone. And some of the lots that they have had or the things that they have gone through, you know, other people have gone through-- well, at least I know I've gone through. And again, little bits of encouragement. That's how I started with my quotes. In my blog, I would always input little pieces of encouragement, which actually, many I got pulled out of my old writings from when I was young. So they're not alone, encouragement, and just finding ways to create life that you want, even though, you know, nobody's life is ever going to be ideal. But if you can input certain things in your life that really bring you joy-- doesn't have to be a lot of things. It doesn't have to be expensive. It doesn't have to take a lot of time. But whatever they are, it really, really fulfills you, and it makes such a difference in your life, and bringing some of your joy, fulfillment and power back.


Passionistas: So tell us a bit about the workshops that you do with Gen X women.


CinDiLo: Okay, well, thanks to 2020, I haven't done one in a while. Actually, right before COVID, I did a vision board workshop in person, and then I did virtual one. So yeah, so one of the things that I do is a vision board workshop. And I've always loved vision boards from when I first learned about them, probably close to 10 years ago. And again, this was all part of my midlife awakening and learning new things and doing things to grow. And at the time, I was going to yoga, which, I'm limited with my physical abilities, but I always just do what I can, and I still love yoga more for the relaxation part of it. So, but they were having a vision board, you know, little class one day, and I went to the. vision board class, and I fell in love with that. And I've been doing them ever since. The other thing that I really love-- and I haven't done a course on yet, but I'm working on a few things-- is for the beginning of the year, I love word of the year, and I've been doing that since 2018 as well when I started my blog, and I really, really love that idea. I haven’t done, as I said, any workshops in a few years, and I do want to get back into that. And there are a few things I'm thinking of and need to work on them and hone in on, you know, topics that I want to take, survey topics. And the few surveys I have done, the number one topic women our age always want is stress busters. Their biggest thing is stress. So that is something that I definitely would like to work on, but I need to structure that. When I first moved here, it was almost like a honeymoon. You know, neither one of us worked or did anything for 6 weeks. And we were still an empty nest at that point, before 2020 hit, and we had one back in the nest. So, you know, we first moved down here, you know, I just felt so free and relaxed. You know, we were going to the beach, going out to dinner, and it was lovely. And now the, you know, life happens again. And you just start getting involved in life again. And just recently I was like, "Okay, we're here 2 and a half years. I think I need a vacation now.” So somehow, it creeps back in. But you have to try to do the best you can to manage it. But I also think it's part of living life. For most women like us, they think that we are blessed to be busy and stressed with things for the most part that we're creating, and we are hopefully enjoying and doing work that we love, and with people that we love. So it's a catch 22. And you know, sometimes they say, “Change your language.” You know, don't say, “I have to go to work.” “I get to go to work.” So a lot of that is mindset as well.


Passionistas: So while we're on the subject of stress, tell us about your Facebook group “Let's Destress Gen X.”


CinDiLo: Funny that you said that, because just a few days ago, I actually closed that group. But I'm doing everything on the main page now, because I was trying to post in too many places. As you can imagine, it was just, I was trying to do social media and that, and there wasn't actually that much interaction. So I decided to just put it on the main page, which, I knew that at least there was some interaction there, and I had a decent amount of followers involved. So yeah, so what I'm working on in 2020 as far as the mission of WhentheClockStrikesMidlife.com and its platform, is midlife wellness, mind, body, and soul. So every day during the week, I try to post something. It might be a blog, or it just might be, you know, an inspirational quote or a product or a book, of something that is going to help us. Mind, body or soul, it's going to nourish you in one way or the other and hopefully get some value out of it. I know if I recommend certain things, like a book or even something as silly as a water bottle, sometimes-- I'm not saying I'm becoming the new Oprah, but you know-- I do feel that people respond to that. And once they get to know you and like you in your work, they're more responsive to that. So I enjoy doing that again. I've always been a connector. And I found too, you know, my friends are that way with me. I, you know, I think for whatever reason, people leave what I say, or they appreciate my point of view, I guess. So, yeah. So that's a work in progress, but that's what I'm focusing on for 2022. And you know how it is. You're always pivoting and figuring out what works. And on top of that, what you're enjoying doing. Sometimes you try something, and it's not working, or you're not really enjoying it, so you have to pivot the other way.


Passionistas: So what inspired you to pivot and write your weekly journal, “When the Clock Strikes Midlife: It's YOUR Time to Shine?”


CinDiLo: Over time, you know, more recently, of course, some of my friends were like, “When you wanna put these quotes in a book?” So what I started to do was actually before I even started the blog. And you two know this because I did the past Passionista summit and did a recording, but I've always been secretive about my work, so I didn't write for 25 years. And then when I did, I still wanted to be secretive about it. So the way I encouraged myself to do it was, I went back to my writings from 20-25 years ago, some of them even longer. I wrote some short stories and things or even poems, and some of the things, I just thought to myself. “Well, I'm not going to write a book or a novel today, so let me just take some of these lines and make them into quotes, because I think some of them are cute, and they're good, and they're inspiring.” And again, I was starting to think along the lines of eventually starting a blog. So what I did was I took some of the quotes, and I took some of my nature photos, and I put an app on my phone, and I took the quotes, and I put them on the photo. And I created what they call “quota graphs,” which-- I did not create that word, but it is a word-- and that's how I started. And I started posting them on my personal Facebook page. And, you know, friends and family were like, “Oh my God, you wrote this?” You know, and that kind of thing. So that gives you a little bit of encouragement, and then eventually, within that year, less than a year by November, I started the blog. But that was kind of how I came out to my writing career and decided to share it. Then when I started the blog, I started putting these little quotes, original quotes, in my blog that had to do with whatever my blog post was about at that time. And people seemed to really appreciate them, and I also used the quotes on social media to promote the blog posts and things like that. So people got to really like them. And 2020 was really, of course, one of the years where I was like, "Okay,” and as many of us have said, the universe all gave us a stop sign, and it's like, “Okay, are you going to do this now, or when are you going to do it?” So I decided to try to figure it out, and I put it all together. I hired someone through Fiber to format it, got all the information together. I sent it to her after a few back and forths and editing. We had a format. The other thing is I used to meet friends through my children. Now I meet them through my dog. So I made a friend at the dog park. And we were talking one day, and I was telling her that I was putting-- actually, I think she showed me. And it's just funny how sometimes, you don't know people that well. And we started talking, and I think she must have told me or showed me something that she drew when I was like, “Wow.” I said, “I need a cover. I'm writing a journal.” And all I said was, “I like the work, the art of Henry Matisse, Henry Matisse, a French artist from probably close to 100 years ago.” And, you know, one of my quotes that is somewhat famous that people really like is, “Be a starfish and find a way to regrow.” And that's kind of like my motto, again, through growth and for my life and midlife is, always try to grow no matter what life throws at you. So she didn't say anything. And about a week later, she showed me the cover that you're looking at, that you have now, just the way it is. Except for, I had her add “By CinDiLo” at the bottom. I'm like. “Oh, my God.” She's like, “Oh, I don't know if you'll like it.” So I absolutely loved it, and she's the one, actually, who suggested the black background, which I wasn't sure about at first, because you read all these things on the Internet like, “No black books,” or, “No white books.” And anyway, long story short, it was a hit. People really love it, and I really love it, for the most part. It really, you know, if you notice, her hair is actually ocean waves, and she has a starfish earring on, and, you know, it’s simple, and we just have the little gold bling, just to shnazz it up a little bit. It was just one of those things, and I love when that happened, you know, serendipity and something just came together, and we've actually become good friends since then, and she was there for the launch. And I just love the way it just seemed to all come together, even though there was a lot of frustrations with formatting, and you know how that stuff goes. It's sometimes more frustrating than you think. And then getting it on Amazon is another, another challenge. But it all got done. It all got done by November of 2021, and I was able to launch it on 11/11. So yeah, so there we are. So I'm really happy with that. And the feedback that I'm getting is, you know, they really love it. As you've mentioned before too is, whether it's the 30 seconds or the 30 minutes, I kind of give you quick prompts, and you can do with it what you like without it being too daunting, because I know some people think, “Oh my God, I don't have time to, you know, color and write and all this stuff.” So people make it what they want.


Passionistas: So is there one particular lesson that you've learned along your journey that really sticks with you?


CinDiLo: The word that's coming to me is flexibility. But that word sometimes has a negative connotation, but I don't mean it in that way, and I think it served me well, and I think because of what I've been through my childhood, and I think also being the third child, I think I just learned that. And while I think it may, at times, and when I was younger, I used to think that that was not a good trait to have. But I think, now that I'm older, it's my sanity, because as you know, you know when we talk, go back to talking about stress, a lot of stress, and I do this to myself. You know, as I say, a lot of stress. Well, all stress is really in our, in our minds. And we are always thinking about it or getting anxious about the stress. So flexibility, especially at this stage, is allowing me to say, “Okay, this didn't work this way, so we're gonna go this way, or, “I'm really feeling now that things happen for a reason,” and that life will guide you. You know you can't control everything. So life will guide you if you have some faith. Be flexible.


Passionistas: Thanks for listening to the Passionistas Project podcast and our interviews with Cathy Gasper and CinDiLo. To learn more about working with Cathy Gasper, visit TheChakraCoach.com. To learn more about CinDiLo, visit WhentheClockStrikesMidlife.com.


And be sure to visit ThePassionistasProject.com to sign up for our mailing list, find all the ways you can follow us on social media, and join our worldwide community of women working together to level the playing field for us all.


We'll be back next week with another Passionista who is defining success on her own terms and breaking down the barriers for herself and women everywhere.


Until then, stay well and stay passionate.

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