This episode is a beautiful reminder that the things we assume are fixed in our 50s and 60s may not be so, and there’s always room for growth, healing, and transformation, no matter how old we are. Joining the conversation today is Dr. Cynthia McGrath, an author, WomanSpeak Coach, Sacred Embodiment Specialist, and NLP practitioner. She’s 71 years young and still on her healing journey, inspiring women aged 50 and above to continue learning, growing, and expressing themselves on their terms. 

Throughout our chat, Cynthia shares stories from her experience as a nurse practitioner, discussing patients who have remained vibrant and active well into their 80s. We also touch upon Cynthia’s passion for Enneagram for increasing self-awareness and compassion for others and how it can help us appreciate the uniqueness of everyone around us. Plus, Cynthia highlights how living in embodiment has impacted her role as a wife, grandmother, and music lover.

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In episode 449 of the Embodied Podcast we discuss:

  • Cynthia’s experience with transformational NLP and Sacred Embodiment to cultivate a deeper relationship with her body and emotions 
  • Being a “mystical crone” 
  • How Cynthia approaches menopause, perimenopause, and aging
  • The origin of the Enneagram symbol and its ancient mysticism 
  • The ways Enneagram can help us understand and appreciate individual differences 
  • The role of embodiment in being a mom, wife, and grandmother
  • Cynthia’s goals and dreams at the age of 71

Resources mentioned in the episode:

Connect with Cynthia:

Work with me:

Free resources:

Stay in touch:

Quotes from this Week’s Episode of the Embodied Podcast: 

  • The body will have its experience when estrogen is leaving. Things happen. It’s what we make of the experience and everyone’s experience is unique. – Cynthia
  • Understanding the Enneagram has given me a profound appreciation of how we are all unique, we are all different, and we’re all different expressions of our type. – Cynthia
  • The things that we may think in our 50s and 60s are just the way they are – that’s not necessarily so. – Cynthia
  • I could live 30 more years. How much life do I want to pack into those 31 years? How much joy? What do I want to experience? I get to create it, and it’s really liberating. It’s exciting. – Cynthia

How was this episode for you?

Was this episode helpful for you today? I’d love to know what quote or lesson touched your soul. Let me know in the comments below OR share the episode on Instagram, tag me your stories @elizabethdialto, or send me a DM!

About the Embodied Podcast with Elizabeth DiAlto

Since 2013 I’ve been developing a body of work that helps women embody self-love, healing, and wholeness. We do this by focusing on the four levels of consciousness – physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual.

In practical terms, this looks like exploring tools and practices to help you tune into the deep wisdom of the body and the knowing of the heart, which I believe are gateways to our souls. Then we cultivate a new relationship with our minds that allows the mind to serve this wisdom and knowledge and soul connection, rather than override it, which is what many of us were taught.

If you’ve been doing self-help or spiritual development work for a while, these are the types of foundational things that often people overlook in pursuit of fancier concepts that often aren’t practical or sustainable. Here, we will focus on building these strong foundations so you can honestly and thoroughly embody self-love. If you’re feeling it, subscribe to the show, and leave us a review wherever you listen from. You can also keep up with show updates and community discussions on Instagram here.

Transcript for Episode 449 “Healing Conversation with Cynthia McGrath“:

Dr. Cynthia McGrath  00:00

I could live 30 more years, Elizabeth, I could, how much life do I want to pack into those 31 years? How much joy? Like, what do I want to experience? And I get to create it. And it’s really liberating. It’s exciting.

Elizabeth DiAlto  00:23

Cynthia, we did it. Yes. So I have an opening question. But before I do that, you know what, I always for some reason think we started working together in like, 2017. But that’s only when we started one on one work. You’ve been in the world longer than that, right?

Dr. Cynthia McGrath  00:39

Oh, yeah. In fact, I looked it up. I found you in 2014. Wow. Yeah, I found you and wild soul movement. And the rest is history. We’re almost a

Elizabeth DiAlto  00:55

decade into this relationship.

Dr. Cynthia McGrath  01:00

We’re just getting started

Elizabeth DiAlto  01:01

just getting there. So the opening question for these scaling conversations, which I’m loving, loving, hearing everyone’s answers to? Or what are you most proud of yourself for healing? Oh,

Dr. Cynthia McGrath  01:13

gosh. So that implies that it’s done, right. I mean, I know. I’m gonna say it is my sense of relatedness. And what I mean by that, is so multi layered and leveled. But it’s first and foremost, the relationship to myself, my body, my voice, my sense of worthiness. Like, it’s like a beautiful vine with many little flowers and fronds, and there was a lot around with myself, but then also to life, relatedness to life, to others, and to the things that I wish weren’t happening. It’s hard to be with all of that, rather than the turtle mode, which was a very favorite mode of mind for a lot of lives.

Elizabeth DiAlto  02:16

What is simple and beautiful way of putting it, the things I wish weren’t happening. Because that encompasses a whole host, a whole range of things. So tell the dear listeners how old you are.

Dr. Cynthia McGrath  02:30

I am 71 years young, on the planet.

Elizabeth DiAlto  02:35

And here’s what I love about this so much. You are one of our elders, you are one of our beloved krones in the community. And I’m always just so it makes me emotional to think about how many people I’ve encountered throughout the course of my life, whether it’s within this body of work, or my personal life, who just quit working on themselves, or refuse. And here you are out here, doing sacred embodiment, specialist training, I have to remember in the community signing up for by love and reverence and power. And you’ve just been I know, You’ve been here with me doing all the things for all these years. But you also, you do so many other things, too. And lately, you know, we’ve been talking a lot more about sacred weaving and you’re such a sacred Weaver. You have, from your background as a nurse practitioner and a teacher or professor, were you teaching the students like the

Dr. Cynthia McGrath  03:26

Yeah, I was a professor of nursing to nurses who were becoming nurse practitioners and other leadership roles.

Elizabeth DiAlto  03:35

Yeah. And obviously having your own practice which we’ll get into this, everybody. But one of my favorite things about Cynthia is the number of years we spent preparing for her retirement. Probably since 2014. She was kicking and screaming, did not want never forget that. But you said it. You did not want to be sitting in that rocking chair on the porch.

Dr. Cynthia McGrath  03:58

No, no, I didn’t you know, life sort of plopped me there a little bit this year, right.

Elizabeth DiAlto  04:03

Right. You injured you broke, it was your foot of your ankle, my

Dr. Cynthia McGrath  04:08

foot my broke my foot, and sprained some ligaments that connect my foot, my ankle for pretty much that’s how life has spoken to me is through my body. And unfortunately, I’m one of these people who used to override override, force myself, do the thing, productivity. And life really stopped me a couple of times since I retired. You could say I’m a slow learner

Elizabeth DiAlto  04:40

at your own pace, but you’ve also what are some of the other things I know you’re big in trainings, other healing modalities and stuff like that. Tell me all about your weaving. Yes.

Dr. Cynthia McGrath  04:51

Well, so since I retired, and actually I retired in June of 2020. ones for two years ago, and I started my weaving earlier, I started in January with really reconnecting to music and singing. So I did a training to be a song circle leader for women singing circles. I have been deep in the Enneagram for two years, and not so much the Enneagram of personality. I mean, that’s a lot of times, that’s how we meet the Enneagram. But really, for presence and for healing. And that’s really made a big difference for me. And currently, I’m studying a modality called transformational NLP, which is not the kind of manipulative kind of NLP that maybe some of us have.

Elizabeth DiAlto  05:45

When you said this on one of our calls a couple of weeks ago, I was curious, because that’s the only kind of NLP I’m familiar with.

Dr. Cynthia McGrath  05:54

Yes, I know. And I would have run kicking and screaming, but I don’t know if you know, Liana Silva. And she’s been a mentor of mine. And she wrote feminine genius, right around the time your book came out your first book, and I’ve had some sessions with her, and she is trained in this. And finally I said, Leanna, these sessions are so magical, what is your secret sauce, and transformational NLP, and it’s come, it’s out of Marin, California. And it’s really a profound body of change work in which I have learned in the past year, anything can be changed anything. So I’ve had some really entrenched habits and beliefs that are softening that are shifting like, that’s, you know, when I said my relationship to life, that’s where my relationship to life has really changed. Because I can get in these spirals of this is just how it is, and you just pick it up, you know? Which isn’t exactly inspiring. I’m

Elizabeth DiAlto  07:04

really curious. And I’m not asking us to be self serving, I’m asking it out of genuine curiosity, because one of the things we hear from people for the last decade, with our embodiment work with our movement methods, and our frameworks, meditations, you know, all our the different types of practices that we give people, is that it makes integrating other things easier, or it just makes you a person more available to integrate or soak in or take things in. So I’m sure and it’s totally fine. If the answer is no, but I’m curious how, if any way, this transformational NLP, if your sacred embodiment work has helped you or amplify that in any way,

Dr. Cynthia McGrath  07:48

I don’t think that the word I would use would be amplified, I would use the word more like paved the way for cultivated a relationship, you know, I was pretty much a walking head. You are,

Elizabeth DiAlto  08:01

I love when you say that you really learn.

Dr. Cynthia McGrath  08:03

I mean, that’s been my safe place. Like, I’m gonna learn it, I’m gonna memorize it, and I’m gonna know it, and then I’ll be safe in the world. Well, you know,

Elizabeth DiAlto  08:14

that worked out. Well. And also that’s medical training, right? What is it like 40 years? Or do you say pretty entrenched is an understatement?

Dr. Cynthia McGrath  08:25

Well, so is 18 of those years was in the emergency room as an emergency room nurse, and 26 were as a nurse practitioner will actually 28 Whereas a nurse practitioner and whatever is in the middle is this little stint that I did while I was becoming a nurse practitioner. So I don’t know what the math adds up to. Right. But you had to know it. Like I had to know I had to have that. However, my body was like a sausage stuffed full of unprocessed emotions that showed up in chronic pain and unexplainable diseases. And I knew about the mind body connection, right? I knew about mind body connection. But what your work did was gave me the felt experience of the mind body connection. And that’s where I would say, transformational NLP, if I didn’t know the sacred embodiment body of work and didn’t practice it, it would be another head trip, it would be another thing I would have to get right. Yeah. As I know that, the summarization the feelings of my body, and I incorporate that in my sessions, you know, with others is the the body not just the methodology? Yeah.

Elizabeth DiAlto  09:45

Yeah. Yeah. I love to hear this. And thank you for putting it that way. Because that’s really, you know, one of our taglines forever is, get out of your head and into your body. Because the wisdom everything in this fictional that you’ve given us Have being like an emotional sausage. But it’s so great because it is it’s like stuffed with unprocessed instead of like meat, emotions. And that really wreaks havoc. And as much as I’m not a fan and you know this, of like law of attraction teachings and stuff like that I am a big practitioner of many modalities of energy work and emotions have energetic impact and consequences, right different things they get stuffed up, I mean, me having emergency gallbladder surgery, the beginning of 2022. And you know, many traditions talk about this in Chinese medicine, the gallbladder, liver is anger. gallbladder is like resentment, and a muscle. Where did I have so much resentment built up that I needed to have organ removed? And then also, I mean, I can’t even tell you the way I felt. As soon as that thing was out of me. I was like, Oh, yes, that thing was really store it up. All kinds of stuff. And I bring that up, not to center myself. But to remind anyone listening, that doesn’t matter how seasoned you are, how spiritual you are, how deeply practiced you are. None of us are above, you know, the foot fracture, the ligament tears the gallbladder removal. You know, if there’s just something that you’re not getting to in life, life will make sure you get to it. Yes.

Dr. Cynthia McGrath  11:31

Oh, I love that so much. That my lesson has totally been in the body. Like you say life will make sure you get to it my body make sure I get to it, you know, integral

Elizabeth DiAlto  11:41

aspect of life, right? Yeah. So what are you up to now? I love it. I remember. And you know, you’ve had many iterations of the work that you’re offering into the world and you so many skills and talents and I know fun things that you’re working on. I always forget, I’ll never forget when you when we started. In 2017. We’re doing one on one you were wanting to create something called was it sovereign and silver?

Dr. Cynthia McGrath  12:04

Yeah. Yeah. Wow. Good for you. Well, you

Elizabeth DiAlto  12:08

know why I always remember it. Because back in the day, when I was a personal trainer, there was the SilverSneakers, which was the little group exercise classes for older people. And I always, that was so precious. So I that’s what I associated it with. But I know you were coming into that layman that crone space. What is everything called now? And what’s what’s the evolution been like from there?

Dr. Cynthia McGrath  12:28

Yeah. So the sovereign silver was the opening, kind of was my first website. I was still working full time. And when I think back to it, what was I thinking like, this 36 Lane superhighway job, right? But no, I’m going to create a business. And of course, I did a lot of writing, I did a lot of dreaming, and I did a lot of just talking about it. And what it did was I called in amazing women patients during that time, and really got connected with the beauty of the woman over 70. And I would see the ones who, you know, were just defined by their ailments, they became their ailments, which is what you refer to in the beginning of our conversation was but but then I also I had a patient who was 85, who was writing books, and who was interviewing people, and, you know, and I would like hear you get, you know, 20 minutes for a visit. And I would want it it’s like, well, still, how come you’re so cool. Tell me your secret, you know, that we would have these little, I would just try to get a few little, I wanted to mirror back to them how inspiring they were and to keep going, you know what i That was the sovereign and silver timeframe. Then after I retired, it became the mystical crone and I did several events this year for Crohn’s for women, and to kind of work my way through that. And now I’m really focusing on speaking and voice and full and full expression for women. And I’m completing a training called woman’s be coaching. Yeah, it’s oh, it just minds the gems of a woman’s message and things that she believes in that she doesn’t even know. And it’s like, I just see them light up in front of me. And it’s beautiful. It’s really beautiful. So I’m

Elizabeth DiAlto  14:32

known Casey for many, many years, I’m sure. I imagine she has been on the podcast at some point in the last eight years. Although it’s not jumping out at me right now. I love this. Tell me about your mystical crone events. What are the things why this like? It makes me emotional, and I get so excited for you excited for anyone that gets to encounter you is because you know, and I’ve spoken about this on the podcast to a certain extent, but I have a tough relation. kinship with women in my family, no, and a lot of people who are rooted in, you know, oppressive ideologies, very restrictive religions, very conservative types of things. And, again, I just I love. And we’ve had women over the years in their 50s and 60s, couple over 70 in our spaces. And it just brings me so much joy and so much hope. And I have so much respect that even decades after society has already started to write women off, because that happens in the 40s, even the late 30s. In the industry, you are like, Oh, no, there is much to be done. And we are not slowing down or stopping. I rambled a little bit there. Are you getting mostly like older What, What’s What’s the age range? Is it why is it mostly 50? Plus, or what was it like?

Dr. Cynthia McGrath  15:58

I would say 55. Plus, I’m at ILM, and I had a couple who were 74 Oh, my goodness. And yeah, and you know, the thing is, I had a really large event, in February of this year, virtual I had 18 women, and then my vent numbers got smaller, but they would message me and they’d say, Oh my gosh, I’d love to be there. But I’m doing this this this season, women are really busy living life, love traveling, and just enjoying experiences. So that’s where I thought, well, they I’m gonna focus it on this body of work with speaking that I love and work with women 50 Plus, who really have a message inside that really want to want to bring that forward. But we had great discussions with my mystical Chrome’s on aging on what is an archetype? What is the Crone? And that was one of the big things was, well, you know, when you look up Chrome, the first thing that comes up is whether an old woman, right, it’s like

Elizabeth DiAlto  17:07

hat, right? Yes.

Dr. Cynthia McGrath  17:11

So we had a lot of discussions about the power of reclaiming that archetype. Yeah. And just being who you are, there’s a freedom in, oh, it’s a hey, whatever. It’s just like, I’m here. I’ve earned it, I got my wrinkles, you know. And I’ve got things to say and the things that I know and move the depth of our conversations was really beautiful. I

Elizabeth DiAlto  17:37

am curious, and especially because you have exposure to so many different types of women, you know, through your nursing practice over the years, I’m sure in your own, you know, family community and stuff like this. What do you notice are like distinguishing factors between women, you know, like you are your mystical krones, who are out here, live in life still, like learning, growing, communing, wanting to express themselves. And women, you mentioned earlier, people who might over identify with their ailments or believe what society tells them about age for women. And we’ll just Asterix aside from privilege, right? Because, of course, there’s going to be, you know, people who have different access to things and all kinds of stuff like that. And I don’t say I don’t push it to the side to dismiss it. But I’m more curious about other qualities of the actual person that you notice consistently.

Dr. Cynthia McGrath  18:35

The person who’s coming to my events. Yeah. And like

Elizabeth DiAlto  18:39

these women, these older women, these mystical crowns who are out here, going strong, experiencing life. Yeah,

Dr. Cynthia McGrath  18:48

there’s an openness to life. And also, what would be the word, snot, resilio. Resilience. It’s stronger than resilience. It’s a forward momentum. I have things I want to do. One of my women thought she was having a cancer diagnosis. She had some physical problems, and we had some phone calls. And she just said, you know, I have things I have to do. I want my grandchildren to know me, and I am not going to let this get at me. Now. It turned out that wasn’t it. But there’s a beautiful quality of perseverance, but perseverance does sounds like struggling. And so there’s a word that Lizabeth and I’m just not coming up. It’s fortitude, the flavor. There’s fortitude, and there’s but there’s a juiciness to it. I mean, like, it’s not an endurance, it’s a juicy fortitude.

Elizabeth DiAlto  19:46

It also feels like seasons determined, like I don’t know what the word is either. This irrepressible

Dr. Cynthia McGrath  19:52

is it. Oh, that’s it. That’s totally in love. Yeah, and Do I mean, I’m talking about my women who are who are thriving, who are going, they’re engaged. You know, they’re they don’t dwell on what’s wrong. There’s no, I mean, fix things wrong. But we don’t want to spend all our time talking about that. And I will say, interestingly, is that I’ve been wearing this boot, because of my foot fracture since September, late September. And it’s so interesting. I’ll be in the grocery store somewhere, and someone will come up to me and say, Oh, what happened to you? And then of course, they want to tell me what happened to them. And those people often say, Isn’t ageing, fun? Welcome to the club. And it’s kind of like this icky, welcoming, like, you’re not immune from it. Like people I don’t even know. Do you know what I mean? Like

Elizabeth DiAlto  20:52

you were I can relate to this being 40. Now, people are already trying to put perimenopause on me. Like, calm down, okay. Like, my cycle is shifting a little like, I just have not a friend of mine who I think she’s 60. Now, I remember her saying that she just didn’t do menopause. And oh, she’s like, I just didn’t, I didn’t think about it the way other people thought about it, even like some discomforts and things. I just didn’t subscribe to, like, the messaging right behind menopause. And I’m like that. I’ve always been so inspired by that. Yeah, it was Betsy Blankenbaker, who goes by Betsy Murphy now who has been on the podcast, and I need to get her back on to she is an incredible, also, like, mystical, crone type person. And I’m gonna be like, that’s an option. That’s an option to be like, Nope, I refuse to experience this the way other people do. Not an arrogant way. I wonder if there’s anything, especially as a medical professional, that, you know, the mystical and the medical where these things mean, it’s nothing like an arrogant way, not in a bypass away, but just being like, and I have a feeling this, there’s probably some roots in the transformational NLP with this too, because like, I don’t have to think about this, the way other people do or the way I’m told I’m supposed to, and that in and of itself will allow me to have somewhat of a different experience. We think about that. I

Dr. Cynthia McGrath  22:27

have to tell you, I love it. In one of the wisdom women that I turned to do you have you heard of Joe and Boris Cinco? Now, she’s probably upper 70s, if not really 80s. And she is a neurologist in a neurobiologist out of Harvard or Yale. And she did work with Jon Kabat Zinn. I’m sure you know, Jon Kabat Zinn and not well, wherever you go, there you are, he wrote that they brought mindfulness meditation to Western medicine in Boston. Yeah. And so Joan has done a lot of pioneering research. And I was listening to a lot of audios, which was that cassettes because that what was going on when I was going through perimenopause, and she gave me this image of a hot flash being like a fire and what do you want to throw into your fire an arrow time you get a hot flash, just surrender to the hot flash and just release something into this fire.

Elizabeth DiAlto  23:30

I love you know, I love that. And

Dr. Cynthia McGrath  23:34

yes, I mean 100% Change my experience, change my reality of menopause of perimenopause, you know, I would say that the body will have its experience when estrogen is leaving things happen. And it’s what we make of the experience and everyone’s experiences unique. But I love that example, Elizabeth, of how we kind of welcome somebody into the club of misery. And it does not have to be that way

Elizabeth DiAlto  24:06

that I had one friend in particular, I remember the way she said it to me. I was like, am I do and this might not be about like, I literally actually it was more of a boundary. I had to be like Don’t say stuff like that to me. Good. Because people will try to put it out like they want to be like you said they want to be in a club. Yes.

Dr. Cynthia McGrath  24:26

I mean, there will be even expressions of Glee from some of the people that I know are like, Oh Ha ha, awesome. Yeah, you fell down you got Yes. It’s like, oh, hey, it’s like it’s an initiation into the land of this sucks. Hill and I do not subscribe to that

Elizabeth DiAlto  24:48

either. You imagine though being excited that your friend got hurt?

Dr. Cynthia McGrath  24:53

No, honestly, one of my closest friends who has suffered a lot of a fear ethical challenges was kind of snarky about it. Oh, this has been one hell of an experience. I haven’t this foot going on. But yeah, other thing is, it’s really taught me a whole new way of accepting of relating of loving myself through this, of defining what it means for me and of slowing down and letting it be what it is. And yeah, it’s simply that it was a way that I was overriding, and I wasn’t paying attention, and I fell. And, to me, it’s not an initiation into anything other than, wow, I need to really be grounded and present. I need to feel my feet, I need to be here in my body. That’s what it means to me. And you know,

Elizabeth DiAlto  25:49

this year we’ve had I just in the last few months, broken leg and other broken foot, I fit in one more like ankle. Not a couple people in the community haven’t leg ankle foot stuff. So that’s an interesting and I’m sure people listening have their own things. That’s just a beautiful reminder. Again, this isn’t to diagnose, right? Like, I tell a story sometimes this is a funny story. When I lived in San Diego, a friend of mine at the time, was at some event and she tripped some woman wasn’t like, had her foot like out an aisle or something. My friend tripped sprained her ankle on this woman’s phone, right. And so sitting in the back of the room with her leg elevated, someone had gotten her eyes. And later on, the woman came up to her and was like, Oh, it was your left ankle? Well, that’s the feminine side. So you might want to look at what’s going on with your feminine energy. This woman didn’t apologize. She just wanted to let my friend know that her feminine energy might be fucked. Like, stop it like so there’s a difference. And I hope people listening can feel the distinction between being in an experience and going ha like, what might be the message, what might be the lesson? What’s a reminder here? Maybe I need to slow down maybe whatever. But like, just putting things on people or there’s a difference between making meaning and feeling into the truth of something. When the time is right, right? Like right when you do it when you’re like in the emergency room or getting your X rays. Maybe just get through that before we go try to figure out if there’s a message for you.

Dr. Cynthia McGrath  27:19

Yeah, about 11 weeks in? And yeah, I totally agree with when you’re writing off the floor and paid

Elizabeth DiAlto  27:29

not the time. Not and certainly not the time for anyone listening to be letting your friends know what you think. If it’s certainly not going, Oh, not reveling in your friend’s misfortune. Thank goodness,

Dr. Cynthia McGrath  27:50

our listeners would do that though.

Elizabeth DiAlto  27:55

Tell me about the Enneagram. That’s something I’ve never really gotten into either. I know I’m an eight with a seven wing. I only mildly even know what that means. Ah,

Dr. Cynthia McGrath  28:05

okay. Well, I will start by saying that my orientation to it comes from Ross Hudson, who was two people removed from George Gurdjieff, who brought it to the west.

Elizabeth DiAlto  28:20

Okay, from where where does the Enneagram come from?

Dr. Cynthia McGrath  28:24

So it’s somewhere in the east, like its origins are somewhat mysterious, interesting. But it’s a really beautiful symbol and symbolism. And it can liberate us from our patterns like it gives us insight into how we check out from life. I’m a nine, which is the peacemaker. And when I test I’m a four, which is the individualist and I certainly have a lot of that. But there are nine types. And the type is just the beginning of the relationship with the symbol. But there’s movement, you know, the lines that go across? I don’t know if you’ve ever even looked at the symbol. Oh, not really. Yeah, but there are some elements similar to human design a little bit with astrology, like I see a lot of like, it’s an ancient symbol. And actually it goes back to like the first century, after Christ. When the desert mothers and fathers were in the desert, trying to be mystics. They were trying to pray and fast and commune with God, their stuff. And I don’t know what all their stuff would be. But they noticed these patterns. And believe it or not, there were nine kind of universal patterns for how they fell out of presence for how they fell out of connection. So the thing that I would say about it, Elizabeth, is that it’s a way to know yourself, but it’s not a way to get to say well I’m this and this No, I am and I’ll be, but it’s a way when you can kind of see your patterns, like, one of my patterns is a nine is checking out is not being here. And that’s exactly what i, where i was i was checked out when I fell, and I hurt my foot, you know. And when I said to you that I used to go into turtle mode a lot. That’s my Enneagram style checking out like, Ah, this world is just too crazy. Let me just come over here and read my book. And just, I’ll see you all later. And so each of the types has beautiful gifts that they bring. And that’s the other thing, there’s really a gorgeous contribution of each of the types. It’s not just, you know, your One

Elizabeth DiAlto  30:42

type is not better than the other. So there’s a couple of things that you said, first of all, I always have to acknowledge earlier this year, there was a trend of memes like The Little Miss data dot Little Miss whatever. But then I saw one just a couple of weeks ago that was like Little Miss always has to spoil the mood by bringing up colonialism. And I’m like, if I write and insert colonialism, capitalism, white supremacy, like all the things, right? So when I asked you where it comes from, and you were like, well, it’s the origins are kind of mysterious. I’m like, someone probably swiped it from books. Why washed it and air quote, brought it to the west. And it’s not funny. Like, I don’t think that’s funny. But I do think it’s funny. I haven’t looked this up. So I could be totally wrong. But I’m also just laughing at myself that that’s where my mind goes. I’m like, freaking assumes that like, oh, yeah, air quote, mysterious. Colonialism is so mysterious. And listen, I could be wrong. But that was on my mind that I had to say it

Dr. Cynthia McGrath  31:45

was actually a thinker. juF was a Russian Jew, you know,

Elizabeth DiAlto  31:49

who knows? But yeah, this is also I laugh at myself, because that’s also a bias. Right? Like, why didn’t it be like, I’m sure someone tell, you know, like, who knows. But um, I also really appreciate and I feel like this is timely to be talking about and remembering. You know, you talk about patterns, right? And different types of people. Whether you kind of learn your patterns, or your natural orientations, your nature versus nurture, through Enneagram human design, Myers Briggs, astrology, whether you do Vedic Astrology, I mean, there’s so many different types of astrology. What else I’ve been into the jinkies. Lately, there’s the the eaching, which the gene keys are based on, we to all have these kind of innate built in patterns. At times like this, where there’s stuff going on in the world, like you said, your innate pattern is to hermit to turtle right to like, check out because people are very harsh and judgmental about folks who look away. But there’s so many reasons why people look away, that also deserve our compassion. We’re not celebrating it. We’re not justifying it. We’re not saying it’s like, right or wrong or anything like that. But some people, that’s just the pattern. For some folks, it’s more of an innate thing, like maybe for you, for some folks is gonna be a coping mechanism. It might be PTSD, or complex, PTSD thing. And, you know, this is really something I gave my TEDx talk recently, on the Medicine Wheel knee, which is sacredness. And one of the threads of sacredness, I offered my talk was really compassion and curiosity, right, rather than just assuming that people don’t care, or they’re just retreating into their privilege. Listen, some people are, for some people, it is very intense on their system, for whatever reason, to stay engaged, right. And so increasing their capacity for not turning away is their work to do. But who are we to be like, usually better at this, when we don’t know why they’re not good at it already.

Dr. Cynthia McGrath  33:51

I love that you said that. Increase your capacity for doing it better. And that’s what the Enneagram study has done for me. And the thing I will say is that our style goes back to sometimes in the womb, it’s, it’s our survival style. That’s what the Enneagram shows you is what you thought you had to do to get love or to survive whatever childhood you experienced. It doesn’t mean that all of us were abused, or but we pretty much know no one had a perfect mother and father, right? Yeah. And as an infant, we’re always we’re making meaning and understanding of the world. And so for me understanding the Enneagram not that I go around typing people, but it’s kind of given me the appreciation really a profound appreciation of how we are all unique, we are all different. And we’re all different expressions of our type. Like all nines don’t look like all eights with seven wings don’t look alike. But it’s helped me especially in the last three years with all the craziness in the world. It’s helped me have more compassion. For people who are vastly different than me, yeah,

Elizabeth DiAlto  35:03

that’s my favorite thing about any of these systems, these typologies just the constant reminder that we’re all built so differently. And also, when we get to see, Damn that person’s way different than I am, instead of being like, fuck that, blah, blah, I just get to decide how, or whether or not I want to engage with it. Yeah, for me, there’s like, it’s a short list. It’s not a long list, there’s a short list of qualities and people, I consider it like, it just doesn’t work for me. Right? It’s so agitating. Not triggering. And I think that’s important, right? Where every agitation is not a trigger. Yeah, but some things are just agitating, and they just don’t mix. They’re just not compatible, or not workable. We still we live in such a time where people are so I don’t contentious isn’t necessarily the word. But people are. People are your ear. But people also want to like be in the right. Oh, yeah, it’s not we’re just, we’re not compatible, like, people’s intense need for supremacy. And superiority, to me, is one of the biggest barriers to all kinds of connection, healing and liberation, because it’s like, why do you need to be better? Can you just be different? Rats will react that has nothing to do with you. But thanks for welcome the tiger

Dr. Cynthia McGrath  36:30

family to apply?

Elizabeth DiAlto  36:33

What is it like in your family? What’s it like being a mom or wife or grandma all these incredible roles you have, since you have more into your body since you’ve retired, since you’re just operating differently,

Dr. Cynthia McGrath  36:49

this really sweet. And I will say so my husband is a type one, which is the reformer, everything like has to be a certain way and lie learning the Enneagram and him kind of coming around to his type on his own. Like, I don’t force this on him. He’s kind of come to it through a group that he’s in. And we can kind of like the ones have just a terrible inner critic is always going 24/7 More than anyone else. And so we’re together a lot right now. And I’m telling you, it’s really sweet. And I’m so happy to say that after 51 years of marriage, you know, that’s another thing people warn me about, oh, boy, you’re gonna be home with your husband all day, you know, get ready for that. It hasn’t been that way at all. We got it worked out. I mean, you do have to work some stuff out, you know, you’re both in the space you didn’t used to both be in the space, right? We both would go off all day and come back and share the day. A lot of sharing the day at the end of the day, because we’ve shared the day all day, right. So we have just these little moments throughout the day. And I just feel me he had a sudden cardiac arrest in 2016, which means he was standing in line in a hotel in Florida checking in, and he just like a tree went straight back. Wow. And paramedics were in the line next to him checking out while he was checking in. So a whole store I think, a lot of little mystical events. And I am grateful every day that he’s here. And that was a really beautiful blessing like our family. I think from that moment, my two sons join me down there in Florida. I was here in Illinois, my daughter was like six months pregnant, couldn’t travel. That was a very bonding and unifying moment where we really like he was on life support when we walked into his room. And so there was that piece. And then since then, I’ve had three more grandchildren born and another one on the way. And I love the role. They call me nanny. And I just love this role of getting to know each one of them. My oldest one is driving he’s he’s just gotten his permit, my eldest grandson, and I love I didn’t have that with my kids because my mom died when my youngest was 18 months. So I really have that with her. And I love being in their life. I love watching my children be parents and I love just being able to hang out being able to help them if they need me. You know, it’s really fun. I don’t know there’s just nothing like it. And each all four of them are so different. And I love especially like both my kids but my son and his wife. They do this gentle parenting and they they let their daughter feel her feelings and their two year old has his biting problem and He’ll bite his older sister. There’s no shaming. It’s just like, Landon, you’ll let’s go over here. I mean, it’s beautiful. Now, it’s just beautiful. So the answer to your question is what it’s like is it’s really a sweet, sweet time. It’s yeah. Do

Elizabeth DiAlto  40:20

you have siblings? Do you have any nieces? I

Dr. Cynthia McGrath  40:23

have a sister. So I have two nephews one there. They live out of town. So I don’t see him very often.

Elizabeth DiAlto  40:28

I’m curious. And I don’t know why I’ve never thought to ask anyone this question before. But as you were describing, being a grandparent, I was like, I enjoy that about being an aunt as well, right? I don’t have to be all up in I could just be another adult in their life. And you have a fresh little nephew. Now I’m actually going to meet him this weekend at the time I’m recording this. But I’m curious. What are the differences? Obviously, aside from me being a child free auntie, like not having been a parent myself? But what are the differences for you between being like an aunt and a grandmother?

Dr. Cynthia McGrath  41:03

It’s kind of like, you know, like, when you’re, like second cousins once removed. It’s like, there’s a removal. I love my two nephews. And they each have two kids. So that’s really fun. And it’s very different. I don’t feel the personal investment in them. That I do with my grandkids. I guess I would say, I love them. I wish them well.

Elizabeth DiAlto  41:28

But it makes sense. I like the word removal makes sense. Because yeah, there’s I mean, it is a direct line to the grandchildren. And it’s an indirect line to the nieces.

Dr. Cynthia McGrath  41:37

Yeah, like during the pandemic, I was reading with my grandson. You know, we would we did zoom, we read zoom. I remember. Yeah, yeah, we did that. And now I’m going to do some driving hours with them. Because in Illinois, they up to 50 hours, which is not nearly enough. And I think another thing, though, really, Elizabeth, is that my nephews have always lived really far away. Yeah, yeah, seeing them. Then what they were little there. You know, there wasn’t Skype and zoom and FaceTime and things to stay connected. So as I’m speaking to you about, that’s a really big factor. And this new grandbaby that’s coming in May is in San Francisco. So this is going to be interesting to create this relationship at a distance. And then how often do we visit?

Elizabeth DiAlto  42:24

Because or your your other grandkids are local? They’re near you? Yeah, yeah. England,

Dr. Cynthia McGrath  42:29

too, are just an hour away. So

Elizabeth DiAlto  42:32

yeah, yeah, that’s interesting. I navigate that and FaceTime is such a miracle. Right? Like, I see my niece, like a couple times a month because of FaceTime. And we follow you. She’s five now. She’s an adult. Five year olds and 2023 are grownups. I don’t know. She obviously it’s an exaggeration. But you know, talking to her is like, and it’s funny, because everyone my family is like, this is just, this is exactly how you were like, she was the oldest, the one and only for like, four years. That was me till I had a cousin. So wild. It’s funny, but I feel

Dr. Cynthia McGrath  43:08

like wow, this is a younger version of myself. Do you feel that?

Elizabeth DiAlto  43:12

Sometimes I do. Goofy, very different, very different from me. And then they went ahead and had a little brother for her. The same age distances, me and my brother, like about five years. And I’m like, wow, it is a little freaky. I’m not gonna lie. And then I feel like I’m getting this experience. You know, how they tell you in parenting? As as your kids reached the age, where you were, your stuff from that age will come up, right? Yes. Yes. Part of you is like remembering. And I have to tell you watching my niece with this new little brother is absolutely reminding me of when my brother was born. Wow. Really fascinating. Wow. Same distance. I mean, yes. And because you know, things, my family, we have challenges. Oh, well, yeah. You know, there’s things there’s ways we all might have hoped things would go. And then there’s the way things do go up or up become their own people. Right. This is what you said in the beginning, I wrote this down. The things I wish weren’t happening. There’s a lot of things I wish weren’t happening, but they are so we figure it out. You know, I

Dr. Cynthia McGrath  44:26

know when we relate to them. We’re lanes.

Elizabeth DiAlto  44:31

What else anything I haven’t asked you that. You were like, Oh, I hope we talk about this. Oh,

Dr. Cynthia McGrath  44:36

let’s see. We talked about the body. We talked about a motion. We talked about what I’m up to. Hmm. I think the one thing that has surprised me my since I retired is how important music has become and I love it. It has become it was always a part of my life. But it was more Oh, yeah, that thing that I do when I’m not working. And I gotta tell you, I stopped singing in about 2016 2015 in there, because my voice, so I thought was affected by menopause. And by talking all day, then I just had lost my range. So I spent 2021 2022 rehabbing my voice, my signal. And I got it back. That’s amazing. I sing it funerals. I sing it a friend’s funeral in September, two days before I broke my foot, my kindness. And she was exactly my age. I think she was like a month older than me. And so I would just say that relating to a part of me that I thought was I had was done with and rehabbing that at the age of 6970, as felt miraculous. Miraculous. Yeah. So I offer that, in the sense of the things that we may think in our 50s and 60s are just the way they are. That’s not necessarily so I love

Elizabeth DiAlto  46:14

love here. And again, even for people in their 40s. You know, like I hear people sometimes speaking or even I’ve had friends who say things like, thrown up their arms like this is it now this isn’t like, this is pretty this is whatever. And I mean, this is one of the reasons why I appreciate you and I have so much respect. Like, I know y’all, I got a 71 year old lady who’s out here doing all kinds of things. I just can’t imagine, with 30 years to go that idea to give up on so many things you

Dr. Cynthia McGrath  46:46

do not. And here’s the thing, like it kind of came to me. I could live 30 more years, Elizabeth, I could then how much life do I want to pack into those 31 years? How much joy like what do I want to experience and I get to create it. And it’s really liberating. It’s exciting.

Elizabeth DiAlto  47:09

A couple of friends who were like not that we get all like doomsday like, but we look at the state of the world. And we’re like, Listen, I got about 20 more years of this in me, you know, like, joke like that. I’m like, I’m 40 I can maybe hopefully, I was really joking when I turned 14, I probably shouldn’t be like, I really hope this is not midlife. Because I don’t know that I want to do this for another 40 years. 40 years as I’m looking back on my fabric a long time already. I’m like I thought I packed a lot into a short period of time I got about another 20

Dr. Cynthia McGrath  47:47

You won’t be like that.

Elizabeth DiAlto  47:48

None of us. None of us nothing is nothing is promised or guaranteed. Was that’s a ridiculous thing to joke about, especially when there are people in the world that are having life just swiped right out from under them. But you have to have some jokes, we have to have some humor, we have to you have to laugh about stuff, even if it’s dark sometimes. Thank you so much. I knew this was going to be such a wonderful conversation. I hope everyone listening you know, no matter how old you are, or feeling, you know, inspired by Cynthia or I’m biased. I’m always inspired by Cynthia. Thank you again so much. We’ll put it in the show notes and everything like that. But is there a website and email or social media where you’re doing your thing these days? Yeah.

Dr. Cynthia McGrath  48:28

Cynthia is where I am. And then the email is Cynthia at Cynthia Yeah, and I just want to thank you, Elizabeth. I felt thrilled that you invited me to be on this podcast. It was really it just touched my heart so much. And thank you so much for that.

Elizabeth DiAlto  48:49

All right, everybody at the time that you’re listening this I mean, anytime anyone’s ever listening, anything that’s going on in the school of sacred embodiment, can be found at untie forward slash links. It’s the month of December we always have some end of the year stuff going on. And you know us we do not rush into the new year. So take your time we have some practices for all that. Make sure you check out our wild Soul Sunday services, which are our free Sunday offerings now, which again will also be along with the show notes for this podcast at untamed forward slash links. We’ll see you later.