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Episode 108: Microjoys: Finding Hope (Especially) When Life Is Not Okay with Cyndie Spiegel

Brief summary of show:

Have you ever experienced profound loss and struggled to find joy in the midst of it?

In this episode, Cyndie Spiegel shares about her new book, Microjoys: Finding Hope (Especially) When Life Is Not Okay. She also talks about the concept behind the name of her book and talks about how fear and gratitude can in fact co-exist at the same time.

She gives practical tips on how to create more microjoys in your life, and how to embrace 'the pivot' when faced with unexpected changes.

Cyndie Spiegel is an in-demand keynote speaker and a true force of nature who rallies audiences to lead more boldly and refine their mindsets for good. She is also the founder of several communities for women including Dear Grown Ass WomenTM, a community platform elevating women over 35.

Prior to building a successful consulting & speaking practice, she spent fifteen years in the New York fashion industry. In addition to holding a Masters Degree in Global Business, Cyndie is also a TEDx speaker, a former adjunct professor at Parsons, the New School for Design and Fashion Institute of Technology, as well as being NY certified in Applied Positive Psychology and a 500-hour trained yoga and meditation teacher. She is also a scholar of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program.

She is a sought-after facilitator and transformational speaker for creative conferences, brands and organizations and has been featured in Entrepreneur, Forbes, Glamour Magazine, Teen Vogue and The Huffington Post.

Listen in as we talk about:

  • [2:40] The premise of the book and why it's built upon loss

  • [4:10] ​​The concept behind the name of her book

  • [7:15] Can you have fear and gratitude at the same time?

  • [8:35] Getting through feeling like you're being punched in the gut

  • [11:20] ​​Tips to create more micro joy

  • [18:20] How to embrace ‘the pivot’

Notes from Natalie:

Connect with Cyndie

Connect with Me

View Transcript for this Episode

Natalie: Transform your thinking with micro joy is a great way to find peace and positivity in life's difficult season.

Natalie: Hi everyone, it's Natalie. Hope you're doing well and your week is off to a nice start. We all go through it. Illnesses, relationship issues, work problems, money issues, you name it. It's really just a part of life. I hear you. I wanna help you today. You're gonna love my guest. I enjoy talking to her so much because no matter what season of life you are in, Cindy Spiegel is there to help.

And her book is a perfect example of that. She is a renowned author. And thought leader. She's quite a story to tell about her season of hardships from a death in the family to a medical diagnosis. A very scary one in fact, and yet she found a way to get through that storm, and now she's helping other people do the same.

She's the author of the book, micro Joyce, finding Hope, especially when Life is Not Okay. One Reviewer says this Full of heart and truth. This book is an essential companion to remind you. That you're not alone. So thank you for listening today. Be sure to share this episode with someone you think might need to hear it, and go to the show notes today to subscribe to my newsletter and for a whole lot more information.

Let's get to the interview with Cindy Spiegel.

Cindy, what a pleasure and a joy I'll say to talk to you. I'm excited to hear about the process of micro joys and what it means and what we can learn from everything you've put into

Cyndie: your book. Ah, the process of writing micro joys was really special to me because, and actually before I get into that, I'll just share a bit about what Micro Joys is, right?

What I'm referring to when I say micro joys are these easily accessible moments of joy that are available to us regardless of our current circumstances. Mm. And the reason that matters is because even when we are struggling and we are going through difficult things, we can still find moments of respite in micro joice.

So the, the entire premise of, of writing this book for me was about healing after going through a whole lot of things in a very short amount of time in 2020 where I experienced profound loss. My nephew was killed. Four months later. My mother passed away a month after that. My 48 year old brother had a stroke and went into cardiac arrest.

After two and a half months in the icu. By the grace of God, he made it home. And within a month of that, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. So I share that to say that this book came out of that experience. And. You know, I've always been an optimist. I've wrote a book about positive thinking, like that's my jam.

And when I was in the midst of the hardest things, I could not, and I did not want to positive think my way out, and Micro Joys really became my way of accessing some version of my myself. That I recognize because truly when we're going through that much, we don't recognize ourselves. Mm-hmm. And I didn't recognize myself.

And so the process of writing this book happened within the same year of my breast cancer diagnosis. Mm-hmm. And it really became quite healing to share these essays and these stories. And when I set out to write this book, you know, I don't even know that the word micro joy was, was intended to say, yeah, where did that come from?

Natalie: I love, I love

that, but where, where did you get that

Cyndie: concept? In name? You know, the concept itself is nothing, and I say this in the book, I didn't make up the concept. I think I just, you know, I sort of came up with a name that made sense to me for what the concept was. Mm-hmm. I. After my nephew passed away, we were, as a family, obviously very actively grieving and going through a photo album and laughing through the tears.

Right. And in that moment what I recognized is we could hold two different truths at the same time. Mm-hmm. We could hold two very different feelings at the same time. Joy in one hand and grief in the other. And so I very publicly on social media, started to move through my. Looking for whatever, not even looking, but noticing what was directly in front of me, even in the midst of my own sorrow and grief.

And I, I just started calling them micro joys because it was the first thing that came to mind. Mm. And they weren't always necessarily, Small, but they were easily accessible. And so after calling them that for maybe a few months on social media, people started to instant message me. You're well. I just really showed my age.

Instant message. Is that a, I think it's DM now. Who was Im

Natalie: Yeah, I knew what you were talking about.

Cyndie: Right? Of course you did. They dmd me and, and shared their own micro joys and so it sort of, sort of grew out of. Over the next few years and, and that's, that was the origin story of it, at least.

Well, a few

Natalie: things that come to mind with all of this.

First is this concept scientifically in your brain that you can't have fear while

Cyndie: also having gratitude.

Natalie: Like those things don't coincide. And I've heard that. I've never looked up the research of who, who discovered that. Mm-hmm. But I love that concept. Mm-hmm. That they can't coexist at the very same.

And that's, that's what I see in what, in, in everything you're doing is if you Sure. Positive thinking, but if you're turning that fear or that whatever it is into something else, then you're, you're just changing that, those neuro pathways in your brain.

Cyndie: Yeah. And I think it happen, you know, it doesn't happen overnight.

It happens over time. Yeah. But the, I, the idea with micro joys is really also I think allowing ourselves to simply, Feel the difficult things and feel the beauty in spite of it. Mm-hmm. If that makes sense. Mm-hmm. Yeah. You know, so, so it's sort of saying even when I am going through the most ordinary of days, what already exists that I could notice, because it really comes down to presence and noticing what's there when, when it, when it comes to recognizing micro joice, you know, did you, and we do.

Natalie: Did you get to a place as many of us do where it just feels like you're being like punched in the gut? Like, I mean, obviously one thing after the other, and we all go through seasons of difficulty like that, like you're going along for a year, you're like, Hey, things are okay for a little bit, and then you get punched in the gut and then another one, and you went through that all within a shorter period of time.

did you have a point though even being, being a positive person where. Wanted to give up.

Cyndie: I don't think I ever wanted to give up, but what I was clear on was I didn't recognize myself and I didn't know what to do with that. So giving up wasn't necessarily part of it, but giving in was. So there was a complete sense of surrender, meaning I had to step back and say, Cindy, you are not in control of any of this.

And the more. Sort of pushed up against that. The more I needed to be in control, the harder it was, you know? And so there was this moment, and I think it was really after my diagnosis that I just said, I'm, I give, I give in. Like whatever this is, I'm gonna manage it the best that I can. I'm not going to try and find a silver lining.

I'm simply going to be, what, what is, oh, that's

Natalie: interesting. I'm not gonna try to find the silver lining because I do, I, I try and I think a lot of us go. Stinks or sucks, whatever you wanna call it. Yeah. But there's gotta be some good, and we look for a silver lining instead of just accepting and saying, this is just my path.

Yeah. This isn't what I thought it was going

Cyndie: to be. And it's what I'm going through, right? Like I think, I think sometimes silver linings can be helpful, but oftentimes they start to lean towards toxic positivity because they don't allow us to simply feel the difficult things. And for me, feeling the difficulty is what allowed me to move.

Forward slowly. I'm still moving forward, but the idea that I should push those things down and look for something good in that moment, I think is inherently a bit dangerous because we really do need to feel all of it. And if we don't feel it now, it's going to come up in other ways. Yeah, and so as much as I love the idea of finding a silver lining, I also have really come to appreciate that we don't always have to do.

Natalie: Yeah. Okay. Let's, let's get some more tips Yes. From your book, from your experience, ways

Cyndie: to do this,

Natalie: you know, without being just, Pollyanna about it. If we wanna say like, like sometimes I simplify it maybe too much. I'm having a bad day and I'll stop and go. At least the sun's shining, you know?

Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. The air is clear, like I just kind of have to switch my.

Yeah. But give us some tips, some ways to start doing this and get

Cyndie: started. Yeah, so I think the very first thing that I always think about when it comes to micro joys is allowing ourselves to fully be present. Now that sounds very easy.

It sounds like something we know how to do, but the truth is, is that we are so busy all the time that we're not paying attention to what's around. So there's this beautiful anxiety activity and it's called the 5 4 3 2 1 method. Are you familiar with this? No. Give it to us. It's like, it's like for look at, you see name five things that you can see, four things that you can feel, three things that you can hear, two things that you can smell, and one thing that you can taste.

Okay? And believe it or not, you can do all of that in under two. But what that does by using your five senses is it inherently brings you back to the present moment. Mm-hmm. So you're noticing things that you hear that you otherwise may be moving too quickly to notice. You're noticing things around you that you otherwise would be moving too quickly to be aware of.

Like the other night when I was walking again, generally I'm going, going, going, I'm from New York City. We move and there was a little bunny that ran past. And I thought, oh my goodness, how sweet is this moment? And I could have easily missed it. Mm-hmm. So that 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 exercise is actually a really easy one to practice every day.

Even if it's one time a day for two minutes, just notice what's around you. Because micro joice, again,