Marla Cilley is The FlyLady.
And like it states on her website: “She does not fly a plane! Marla is a SHE (Sidetracked Home Executive).” The interview, as you will read will give more context to how she got her name and the evolution of the meaning of this intriguing name – and how she helps hundreds of thousands of people every day.
I discovered Marla through Facebook as a result of all these “FlyBabies” kept responding to a post on the Mindful Muscle fan page. I was like, what in world is all this “FlyBaby” business? So I looked into it and found out what it was about, and who was responsible for all of this life-changing energy I kept reading about.
So, I reached out to her and discovered that she has been meditating for over 20 years, and that it had changed her life forever. I had to interview her. And so, here we are. We actually did a phone interview, which I transcribed into this post – and we had a discussion prior for over an hour. Marla is a sublime force and positive influence in this world, and I’m honored to share this interview with you. Enjoy, and stay mindful my friends.
Interview: The FlyLay (Marla Cilley) – Behavior Modification Expert and Meditation Practitioner
What is “FlyLady” and what are its origins?
I use to teach people how to fly fish, so that’s the origin of name. Then one of my ladies suggested the acronym Finally Loving Yourself.
It all started when someone needed my help on December 7, 1999 and then I setup an email group and it all went from there.
We do behavior modification via email.
In a month 100 people signed up, then ended up spending 16 hours a day answering emails, then I got some help because it grew to 10K+ people the first year, and then 60K+ the next year… and we now have 800K+ people, and 300K Facebook fans.
Could you tell us what your religious background is and how meditation may have saved your life?
Growing up in the south I had a strict religious background, we are taught that GOD doesn’t talk to us. I was going through a bad marriage, depressed and suicidal. I went to a doctor, took a test and they wanted to put me in the hospital.
I told husband and he said if you check yourself into the “looney bin” don’t bother coming home. It was a good experience and I learned about anger management and calming myself. When I got out of treatment that’s when I pursued how to learn to meditate and I’ve been meditating ever since.
Could you tell us how you went to meditation initially to learn how to relax, but you ended up finding GOD there as well?
Meditation slows your brain down, and when your mind is ping ponging all over the place it’s hard to calm down. And I needed to practice slowing my thoughts down. I picked my own mantra and I just focused on breathing in and breathing out, and my mantra is back in 1990 was “I love myself.”
Breathe in: “I Love” – Breathe out: “Myself”
I did this at a slow consistent pace until I dropped off into meditation. I think mantras tap into the flow of universal consciousness
What are your thoughts on how sometimes people’s religious backgrounds prevent them from practicing meditation?
I believe prayer is meditation and the bible talks about going into your closet and praying and meditating – I believe it’s biblical.
I never set out to have a religious experience of any kind, I just wanted to relax myself. When you slow your thought processes down, it allows your consciousness to be able to hear what is going to come your way. I don’t know if it’s GOD talking to me, but I get a sense of something, and I don’t know what it is, and I don’t have to know to know that I feel more connected to God than I have in my whole life.
How else has meditation positively affected your life?
I never really knew what I wanted to be when I grew up because I never slowed down long enough. I was good at lots of things, but I never slowed down long enough to figure out what my passion was, and with meditation it opened up areas where I could find my passion.
I tapped into parts of my brain… I always knew I was a teacher of some sort, I just didn’t know what kind of teacher, but I never knew what my purpose was until I started meditating.
What advice do you have for those you are just starting or want to start meditating?
Don’t get stuck in perfectionism. Everyone has to find their own little path.
Final thoughts on meditation and the mind-body connection?
When you can tap into what’s going on in your brain to calm your body down, I think we can relieve a lot of chronic illnesses that people are suffering with every single day. It’s just tapping into that calmness, it’s a powerful tool.
(you can reach Marla Cilley aka the “FlyLady” here: www.flylady.net)