The audio version. Click here.

Where is wisdom to be found when you need and want it the most? 

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Here’s the quick answer: within you.
Here’s the more in-depth answer: within you.
Here’s the known-by-all-women-throughout-time answer: within you.

You’ve already got it, woman! All that you need. All that’s required. All the perspective. All the insight. All the knowing. All of it is yours.

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If even the slightest shadow of a doubt enters your mind, I get it. It’s highly possible that your deep, before-the-dawn-of-time knowing has not been honored. It’s highly possible that it’s been questioned, critiqued, even shamed. It’s highly possible that what you thought you understood was said to be wrong, silly, uninformed, and impossible. And it’s highly possible that over time, you began to believe this. The voice got quieter and quieter within as the voices got louder and louder without.

But here’s the good news: Silent, does not mean lost. Forgotten, does not mean absent. Hidden, does not mean gone.*

Here’s just one way to call it forth:

  1. Picture/ponder the circumstance or situation in which you want insight, answers, direction.
  2. Without editing, censoring, or giving one whit of attention to what anyone else thinks (at least for this moment-in-time), say out loud, fast, and clear, exactly how you feel about what’s happening (or not happening). “This makes me feel ______________.” ‘Super-critical that you do this quickly – spur-of-the-moment – with complete freedom and permission to say whatever you want.
  3. Now that you’ve named the feeling(s), articulate what you want to be true – right here, right now. Again, without overthinking or critiquing, fill in the blank: “What I want to have happen is _______________.”
  4. Next, respond to this: “If my want or desire in this circumstance/situation were a reality, I would feel ____________.” (Is it safe to say that you deserve to feel this way? Mmm hmm.)
  5. Far more difficult, but oh-so-important is this: trust that what you long for is good, worthy, and valid; trust that you deserve this to be so; trust that you are right!
  6. Realize, allow, accept, and affirm that what you just said, what you see, what you envision, what you know, no matter what, is true; that it is wise; that you are.
  7. And finally, lather – rinse – repeat.

Honestly, your wisdom is that clear, that accessible, that present. It can be trusted. You can be trusted; for you are so, so wise!  

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It’s true: I can rattle off these 7 steps as though they are the most obvious and simple things to do, but do not be deceived. I have struggled (and sometimes still do), to make these practices my own; to actually believe that my answers could possibly have merit, let-alone the capacity to be real, to be wise, to be lived. It was (and sometimes still is) scary for me to admit what I actually felt and wanted, because it prompted an acute and impossible-to-ignore awareness of the gap between my current reality and what I longed for. It was far easier for me to settle, to downgrade my desires, to work harder to keep things on an even keel with the status quo intact, and no one the wiser. But in making that choice, I lost sight of one critical truth: I AM the wiser!

So here’s what my wiser, wizened self offers you:

Wisdom is your birthright. It dwells. It flourishes. It exists because you do. It’s all within you. Already. All the time. Amazing. 

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May it be so.

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Truly, there is little I love more than talking to women, hearing their wisdom, and being part of calling it forth when it (sometimes and still) slips into the background. It is privilege, honor, and gift to see them rise up into glorious, brilliant, and brave expressions of the Sacred Feminine; the Divine, really. I feel like I am standing on holy ground. I’d love to stand on such with and for you. Learn more. It’s time.

ChristaRonna is one of the wisest, wittiest, warmest women I’ve had the privilege to travel the path with. I cannot imagine a more sage, humble and curious guide for doing deep personal work and answering the question of the call. I am blessed to know her, and will forever be grateful for her company. ~ Christa Gallopolous

One of the other ways in which I experience, see, and hear women’s wisdom is through SacredReadingsI draw a card that holds on it the name of one of the many ancient, sacred stories I love. I listen for what she has to say. And I am always, always moved to tears. The Sacred Feminine shows up; the Divine; really. I feel like I am standing on holy ground. This too, is all for you. All you have to do is ask.

I just received my sacred reading from Ronna. It moved me so deeply, I had to stop reading mid-way to feel everything it brought up. It couldn’t have been more ‘right’. Everything I felt in response was alive, exhilarating, and yes, scary in the way you know the truth has been revealed…a truth I must live. ~ Julie Daley

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    Today is the first day in a long time that I’ve been depressed. I mean really really depressed. Like don’t-want-to-get-out-of-bed depressed. And then, when I do get out of bed, not-wanting-to-do-anything depressed. So I stay home. I stay home and drink a cup of coffee while reading email. Then I take a long walk…I put on my ear buds and selected the happy song play list from iTunes. The music plays but I barely hear it. It is white noise in my ears…On my way back home I stop at Ace Hardware for some dish soap because we’re out and I haven’t done dishes for three days. I do the dishes, and rinse away the dirt. I don’t feel better. I feel worse because I broke a wine glass. And when I’m depressed, I accidentally break things. I don’t know why I’m depressed. Something takes over my mind and I wonder what is the point? 

    So begins Janna Marlies Maron’s book.
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    Not all of us experience depression at a diagnosable level, still, we know its finger tapping us on the shoulder, its whisper in the back of our mind, its crouching in the shadows. It knocks the wind out of our sails and keeps us nearly immobilized. It causes us to lose all energy and motivation. It prevents us from making healthy choices that enable us to turn the tide. Its voice drags us further and further down. Janna knows all of this and then some. And she speaks of it in incredibly vulnerable ways.

    How to Manage Depression Without Drugs is Janna’s telling of her depression. But far more, it’s a profound and empowering story of coming out of the darkness; about how story, music, food, and ritual saved her.

    I met Janna a number of years ago. We sat in a bustling restaurant in Sacramento, eating lunch and hearing each others’ stories. We talked of her recent engagement, her business, her writing, her past. She was (and is) engaging, passionate, and delightful. But even then, she was hurting. Reading her book reminded me (again) that all of us live stories that not all of us see; stories that need to be treated with such tenderness, kindness, and care; stories that even if not heard, need to be acknowledged and honored. And reading her book invited me into places of healing and strength for her, myself, and others in incredibly practical, do-able ways.

    Janna is a brilliant writer, a gifted storyteller, and a woman who offers honesty and hope.

    I cannot recommend Janna’s book highly enough. Her writing swoons with integrity, courage, and hope. She offers a surprising and unorthodox prescription that ushers in light and life. 

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    I believe so passionately in the power and gift inherent in transforming our stories (and those of the ancient, sacred narratives I love). Janna believes this too – and lives it in passionate, powerful ways. She invites you to the same within these pages, within these practices, within her transformed story.

    Click here to read more about her book at her site. Preorder on iTunes. Preorder at Barnes & Noble. Preorder on Smashwords. Buy. Read. Apply. And step into a story of strength and beauty. You deserve that. And Janna deserves to be the one to take you there.

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      Click here to listen to the audio version of this post:

      For such a time as this…

      Sometimes if not oftentimes, the circumstances in which you find yourself are the last ones you want. You look around and wonder how you got here. You look back and see a few crumbs that help make sense of your current reality, but when you look ahead in the hopes of spotting a guiding light on the horizon, there is nothing. You swirl in a messy, oft’ painful, no-matter-which-way-you-turn-it-sucks reality. You want something to shift so dramatically that all the pain, all the frustration, all the darkness, all the fear just evaporates. And you want all of this to happen exclusive of you having to step in and make it happen. *sigh*

      I say “you,” but believe me, I know this all-too-well.

      I feel a sense of helplessness, the lump in my throat, the tears that brim and threaten to spill. I want relief, answers, clarity. And none seems forthcoming. In this place, it is easy to feel immobilized; no action feeling better, somehow, than having to step forward. I stay stuck. I wait. I hope. I might even pray. But despite it all, it appears that the only person who can bring about the needed change is me. At the end of the day, the work is mine. The steps are mine to take. The decisions are mine to make. The movement is mine to compel.

      I don’t like it.

      Truth-be-told, the temptation is strong for me (and I’m guessing you, as well) to feel excruciatingly alone in such spaces and times, but if we listen, we’ll hear a whisper that gently and insistently reminds us that we are not.

      “Hear me,” it breathes. “There have been other women who have known these binds and seemingly no-win situations. They see you. They hear you. They know you. And their stories surround, sustain, and speak – reminding you that, like them, you will survive; that you will make the right choice; that you do have the capacity to step up, step forward, stand tall. Because you are their daughter, their lineage, their kin.”

      For me, there are times when these whispers are corporate: a choir of women’s stories that hover and hold. Today, as I’ve chosen to be still instead of spin, it’s a single voice: the clarion call of Esther.

      She was a woman who had an entire book named after her in Scripture (one of only two who can claim that distinction). And though the well-known aspect of her story is that of being a queen, it holds far more dark realities than golden ones. An orphan, raised by her uncle. Forced to join the king’s harem when a violent roundup of all young girls was made throughout her village. Prepared for a year to provide the most exquisite of sexual favor and delight. Paraded before the king at his fancy and whim. Indeed, chosen to be the queen. Frightened by the discovery of a plot to kill an entire nation of people through genocide. Aware that to not act would cause the death of thousands and that to act would certainly cause her own.

      It was in this place, backed into a corner, and completely overwhelmed by what was required of her, that her uncle spoke these words:

      …if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?

      For such a time as this…

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      This
      is the whisper that Esther breathes into my confusion, reluctance, and reticence. It is her voice I hear when I keep wishing for a savior, a fix, an easy-out. And it is her face I imagine when I take a deep breath and realize that it is up to me to do what needs to be done – no matter the risk, the cost, the consequences. She is the one who assures me I am up to the task.

      I would wonder if Esther’s whisper might be exactly the thing you need to hear right now, too; if maybe you find yourself in a place that feels trapped, damned-if-you-do-and-damned-if-you-don’t, and impossible to come out of without battle scars. I would wonder if maybe you need to be reminded – by her and by me – that you are not alone. And I would wonder if taking ownership in the fact that you are the lineage of a queen who dared greatly, risked profoundly, and dramatically changed the course of events, might just give you the courage you need to choose, to move, to speak, to act.

      • The circumstances in which you find yourself, though not preferred, are the very ones that invite you to be you. For such a time as this…
      • The pain you know and the fear your feel are the very emotions that declare the necessity of your perspective, your heart, your voice. For such a time as this…
      • The risks inherent and the nearly-certain costs you will bear are the very realities that compel you to rise up to your full stature, your royal identity, your core strength and step forward. For such a time as this…

      And in all of this, not alone.

      Esther whispers. Countless other women encircle and chant. The Sacred Feminine swirls, surrounds, and supports. And the blood that courses through your veins carries everything you need to do what must be done. You know this. You’ve got this. You are here for a reason.

      Is it hard? Yes. Is it scary? Undoubtedly. Is it necessary? To be sure. Do you-and-me-both continue to wish that something else, anything else could happen to shift the earth on its axis and prevent what we are called to do? Mmm hmm. But that is not to be your fate – or mine.

      “…And who knows but that [we] have come to [our] royal position[s] for such a time as this?”

      May it be so.

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      You can read Esther’s text here. And if you’re interested, here’s a post I wrote just a week or so ago that tells of Queen Vashti – the woman whose bold stance was what created the context for Esther’s story in the first place.

      If you wonder whose voice whispers on your behalf, you can book a SacredReading with me. One card. One story. One woman. Just for you. And finally (at least for now), far more than a whisper, is the clearest, strongest articulation of my deepest desire on your behalf: that you not feel alone in these situations or any; that you know the women, the stories, the support that stands at the ready; that you step increasingly boldly into your truest and most sacred identity. This is what I do with and for you: SacredConversations. Learn more. It’s time.

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        The 3 Secrets of the Gifted Soul

        1. “Since you were born gifted, you will never lead an ordinary life.”

        2. “Eccentricity is the first sign of giftedness. You are made one-of-a-kind, with all your oddities. They are arrows pointing straight to your giftedness.”

        3. “If you are seeking to be normal, I hope you’ll get over it. Normalcy is the enemy of giftedness.”

        These are not my words – though I wish they were. They are those of Clarissa Pinkola Estes – a woman who knows just a little bit about women, about giftedness, about the power and glory that we possess…even (and especially) if we’ve forgotten.

        I’ve had these three points written out and in front of me for a couple of years now. They encourage. They strengthen. And more than all else, when I really listen, I know them to be true. Deep-in-my-bones true. Cannot-be-argued-with true. A know-that-I-know-that-I-know-this true. I’m guessing you might feel somewhat the same, yes?

        To be given the freedom to be un-ordinary, eccentric, odd, and anything but normal is profound gift and grace. It calls us to be extraordinary, uncommon, and frankly, ourselves!

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        So consider this your permission slip. Print it out. Hand it to the principal. Turn it in to your boss. Slip it under the pillow of your lover. Repeat it to your kids. Sticky-note it to your mirror, your dashboard, your monitor. And tattoo it on your heart.

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        The audio version of this post is here:

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        a BIG announcement:

        One gorgeous revelation of giftedness is seen in the brilliance of Atlanta artist, Callahan McDonough. Together we are collaborating on a gorgeous and powerful project that brings imagery and voice to the ancient, sacred stories of women. If you haven’t had a chance to look at our SacredArt, we so hope you will. Because we are committed to their broader exposure in the world, we’ve made a hugely-significant price adjustment. It’s our desire that people actually have these women – their stories, their presence, their wisdom, their voices – in homes and heart, rather then being in some kind of museum-state, beautiful but inaccessible. Making things even better, we’ve been able to roll the cost of shipping right into the price points for an even deeper savings. I am deeply grateful to Callahan for this. Her art, her original paintings and even prints, sell for so much more. This is gift and giftedness on my behalf. And it feels like grace to be able to offer such to you.

        Hardly ordinary and most-certainly worth honoring, the images and “voices” completed thus far call you to your own giftedness – made manifest by honoring the vast and beautiful lineage of which you are a part. It is our deepest hope that they will grace the walls of your home as they do ours; that their presence will strengthen your heart and daily remind you that you are not alone, that you are supported and seen, that your story matters.

        Learn more about SacredArt. “Like” the SacredArt Facebook page. Spread the word. And most of all, bring it home to your heart…

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          I now offer my posts in audio version. Listen in.

          Standing Your Ground and Donning Your Crown (or maybe choosing to remove it all-together)

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          Once upon a time – or maybe it was just last year – or maybe it is yet to be – there was a beautiful queen. She had power. A full staff served her. Ladies in waiting surrounded. Everything she desired and then some was at her beck and call.

          As the story goes, her husband, King Xerxes, was in the midst of a 6-month party. ” For a full 180 days he displayed the vast wealth of his kingdom and the splendor and glory of his majesty.” When those days came to an end, he threw a banquet that lasted another seven days. All the people from the least to the greatest within his kingdom were there. Wine was served in goblets of gold and each guest was allowed to drink as much as they wanted, for the king had instructed his wine stewards to serve each man whatever he wished.

          Simultaneous to all this, Queen Vashti, was giving a banquet for the women; those who accompanied and served the men.

          On the seventh day, when King Xerxes was in “high spirits” from wine, he commanded the seven eunuchs who served him to bring Queen Vashti into his presence – wearing her royal crown – so that he could display her beauty to the people and nobles, “for she was lovely to look at.” But when Queen Vashti received the king’s command, right there, in front of all the women who surrounded her, she refused.

          As might be expected, the king was furious. he consulted with his experts: “According to the law, what must be done to Queen Vashti?” he asked. “She has not obeyed the command of King Xerxes…” One of his advisors replied, ”Queen Vashti has done wrong, not only against the king but also against all the nobles and the peoples of all the provinces of King Xerxes. For the queen’s conduct will become known to all the women, and so they will despise their husbands and potentially follow her lead… There will be no end of disrespect and discord. Therefore, if it pleases the king, let him issue a royal decree, written in the laws of Persia and Media, which cannot be repealed, that Vashti is never again to enter the presence of King Xerxes. Also let the king give her royal position to someone else who is better than she. Then when the king’s edict is proclaimed throughout all his vast realm, all the women will respect their husbands, from the least to the greatest.”

          The king and his nobles were pleased with this advice, so the edict was proclaimed. Dispatches were sent to all parts of the kingdom, to each province in its own script and to each people in their own language, proclaiming that every man should be ruler over his own household, using his native tongue.

          And Queen Vashti was removed from her throne, from her rule, from her position of privilege and power.

          But that was hardly the end of her story…

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          If you’ve heard this story before it might have been by way of warning: don’t refute the will of the king, men in leadership, and certainly that of your husband. I don’t presume you ascribe to this kind of blind obedience, but that doesn’t mean the residual isn’t still in the water. In Eastern cultures, it’s a given and in many religious contexts even in the Western world, the same holds true. The message is clear: Do what you’re asked and told, or you too, will be deposed and sent packing.

          To be fair, other tellings of Vashti’s story have allowed her rightful and appropriate compassion. Her husband was clearly drunk – as were all of his council. She was asked to parade before a veritable orgy; to show herself as an object-on-display. Stunningly, it was her awareness of her own objectification that caused her to say “no.” And hardly in private memo back to the king. She willingly and boldly, even defiantly, became an object lesson on behalf of all the women who had surrounded her those past seven days; all the women who would later and undoubtedly hear her story. And though a law was passed to teach her a lesson (and any woman who might take the craziest notion to follow her lead), no woman would ever forget her: such raw courage and beauty displayed.

          We would do well to remember her, as well.

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          Imagine that Queen Vashti is sitting in your living room. A cup of coffee or tea, or maybe wine (though not in gold goblets) is poured. She sits as regally as ever. You can viscerally sense the deep, timeless wisdom present in the room; embodied within her and swirling around you. What does she say regarding your current circumstances, the place in which you find yourself, the decisions you are being asked to make, the compromises that loom? Given her willingness to be deposed on behalf of honoring herself, her value, her worth, what risks does she call you to take?

          Hear the voice of this queen. Pay attention to the actions of this queen. Recognize and honor the heart of this queen. The more you do, the more you will realize that this voice, these actions, and this heart are yours…within you…part of you…accessible to call on, rely on, and trust. In other words, this Queen’s blood runs in yours. Vashti’s voice speaks into your deep, timeless wisdom, calling forth the truth you already know, the choices you’re required to make, the story you are destined to live.

          Vashti beckons you to step into your rightful role and stand your ground. And though this may feel daunting, you are not alone. She remains with you – ever present, powerful, brave – and offers you beyond-imagining courage to claim all that you deserve. For you are her daughter, her lineage, her kin.

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          A Postscript:
          Subsequent to Queen Vashti’s banishment, the search began for a new Queen. Esther was chosen: a young woman who ultimately saved an entire nation. Unknowingly, but no less significantly, it was Vashti’s courage that enabled Esther’s. (That tale upcoming in the next few weeks…) Likewise, you can be certain that your story is not told or lived in isolation. When you step into your royal identity and stand your ground, you enable other women’s stories, as-yet unknown, to take the stage, step into the light, and become realized in profound, powerful, and legendary ways.

          Truth-be-told, Vashti’s story is what enables yours. She stood on the shoulders of the women who came before her. And you stand on those that have preceded and followed. Generations of women who, in their own unique and particular ways, have engendered and enabled your strength, your story. This is the heritage of which you are a part; the bloodline that cannot be ignored; the crown that is yours to don – or maybe even remove; a legacy of which you are a part and one that is yours to continue – just by being you and standing your ground for the story you deserve to tell and live.

          When you do, Queen Vashti smiles – her every consequence worth it all.

          May it be so.

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          All you have to do is ask...I cannot begin to tell you how powerful it is – when asked a heartfelt question by a woman desiring this kind of deep, timeless wisdom – to turn over a card and see Vashti’s name or any of the other 51 in the deck of cards I’ve crafted. I am humbled every single time. More, I am emboldened and encouraged. Because every single time the card that is revealed, the story that’s within, and the woman herself, speak profoundly, provocatively, and poignantly. This is their enduring power, enduring worth, and deep, timeless, wisdom; their infinite companionship and kindness. And all of it is yours. All you have to do is ask.

          Learn more about SacredReadings. Book yours today. 

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