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)

*
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if it pleases the king, let him issue a royal decree, written in the laws of Persia and Media, which cannot be repealed, that Vashti is never again to enter the presence of King Xerxes.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…

***************************

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.

***************************

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.

***************************

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.

***************************

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. 

Share
Click any and all of these buttons to share! Thank you!

    { 2 comments }

     

    Tanya Geisler is a woman you want and need to know. More, she’s a woman who offers business / professional / transformational coaching that changes everything. I’ve had the privilege of listening to her heart on multiple occasions. On Whidbey Island a few years back when a small group of women gathered. As I “channeled” Eve and she spoke of Owning Our Aurhority during our TEDx talks on the same stage. When I flew to Toronto to hang out with her and her beautiful family for a long weekend. And as often as we can make it happen on Skype, via text messages, and email (when we must resort to such). I love her. I respect her.

    I wish for any and every entrepreneur I know to have the opportunity to learn and grow under her radiant brilliance and strength.

    *
    Step into Your Starring Role
    is the best way for you to do just that. Registration opened Monday, March 17. Only 30 spaces are available. One of them should be yours.

    We talked for just 10 short minutes about this course, why it matters to Tanya, and why it might just be (and probably is) perfect for you. Click here or on the image below to watch that video.
    *

    There’s so much more to read, to learn, to consider. But let me tempt you just a bit further with these module names:

    1. Decide to Strive ~ Make a declaration to yourself, to me, and to the world that you’re ready for more.
    2. Meet the Critics ~ Cast off the negative thoughts that hold you back.
    3. Bolster Your Authority ~ Understand the facts behind why this is your time.
    4. Assemble Your Cast ~ Don’t try to go it alone. Gather the people who will support & nurture you in the spotlight and out.
    5. Jump & Do the Work ~ Make it happen!
    6. Celebrate ~ Allow yourself to bask in the glow. You’ve earned it!

    I want to see you Step into Your Starring Role. Tanya’s the one to usher you right onto that stage.

    *
    May it be so.

    *

    Disclaimer: I am an Affiliate for this program on Tanya’s behalf. But more than that, I’m an Advocate. Any money that comes my way because you (or others you might recommend) sign up through me is bonus, truly. What I want most is your success, your awareness of just how amazing you are.

     

    Share
    Click any and all of these buttons to share! Thank you!

      { 0 comments }

       

      Here’s what transforms: the sound of women’s voices. And because I cannot be swerved or moved from this belief, I am now – consistently – ongoing offering you my voice; the audio version of the post that follows. Click to listen or read on…

      Transforming Your Story – The “How”

      The tagline on my website says Transforming Women’s Sacred Stories. Inviting Yours. It’s what I want for you: that you would see your life as story, step into it with the same intent and curiosity, and even more, go about writing/living it with passionate intention, desire, honesty, and hope. And so, this series. 12 posts scattered throughout 2014 on Transforming Your Story.

      Part 1 – the “what:” To transform your story means that you are awake to and aware of the book in which you find yourself and the pages you are writing.

      Part 2 – the “why:” This is your story. You’ll decide where it goes from here. 

      And now, Part 3 – the first of a number of posts on the “how:”

      In order to know how to transform your story, you need to consider how you came to tell it the way you do.

      *
      Have you ever listened to yourself tell a story about something that happened to you and wonder why you chose to tell it the way you did? Why you used humor, sarcasm, dismissal, emotion, or any other myriad of devices? Whatever choice you made in that moment is not objective. The ways in which you experience the events of your life and the way in which you interpret, translate, and tell of them is always subjective; always influenced by the lenses that are yours. And one of those lenses is the assumptions you make.

      We all make them: assumptions. We jump to conclusions, have opinions, feel our gut response. We can’t help it, really. It’s knowing what they are and where they come from that makes the difference. 

      *
      Here’s a quick exercise to prove my point:

      • When you see an online personality who appears to be completely put together and undoubtedly successful, what thoughts run through your mind?
      • When you spot a composed, attractive, and perfectly thin mom at Starbucks with her well-behaved, well-dressed children, what do you think?
      • When someone passes you on the freeway, what is your directed response toward the other driver?
      • When you hear someone mention the word “God,” what happens inside?
      • When you watch a political debate, what thoughts formulate concerning the “opponent?”
      • When you walk past the Victoria’s Secret store in the mall, what conclusions have you already made about the customers within?
      • When following a truck with bumper stickers that offend you, what do you already know about the people inside?

      I have no agenda inherent in any of these statements; rather, I list them to show how our brains so quickly leap to what we think we know, what we think we understand, what we’ve sometimes been indoctrinated to feel. Assumptions form quickly, naturally, and make their presence known. It can be a little scary, really. These unconscious perceptions and preconceived notions have been developed and highly-honed over time – through our own and other’s voiced experiences; through the particular circumstances and cultural realities that have influenced and shaped our lives.

      If this is true as it relates to the things and people external of you, it is just as true, if not more so, within. You have interpreted the events in your past, in your own story, in a particular way. You experience the day-to-day aspects of your life with a learned-perspective. And you even consider your future with pre-determined beliefs about what can and will happen (or not).

      You are living (and telling) your story within a swirl of assumptions.

      *
      Knowing the assumptions you have and do make within your own story is one of the most profound ways to transform it – past, present, and future.

      ************

      A personal example:

      NOTE: My theological perspective has shifted more-than-significantly since the following story occurred, but it serves in this context.

      I assumed, during my excruciating years of infertility, that it was, apparently, God’s plan that I not become a mother. It was not mine to question, to doubt, to feel anger over. And this created incredible angst and nearly insurmountable levels of ambivalence for me. If I believed that God was in control of all things, then this too, had to fall under “his” purview. And if that assumption were true, then who was I to question, to rage, to exhibit pain? I needed to suck it up and accept God’s will as best for me. And therein lied the problem: I couldn’t – at least with any degree of honesty.

      Adjectives that describe those years are words like gray, bland, and flat. It’s true: I was sad when the clinic would call to tell us the latest insemination attempt hadn’t worked. And yes, I was devastated, at least momentarily, when I was reminded of my fate every 28 days. I even recall expressing tentative anger with the-God-I-thought-I-knew through my journaling, but quickly talking/writing myself out of such by listing all the ways in which I was grateful; more, the ways I clearly needed to change my attitude, my perspective, my response. I argued with myself incessantly. I fought every temptation to despair. I kept a stiff upper lip and marched onward because to stop long enough and actually experience, let alone express my anger and anguish would have undone me…or so I thought. The assumptions I held and the beliefs they perpetuated (or maybe the beliefs I held and the assumptions they perpetuated), reeked havoc in my mind and soul. They shaped my story in marked and undeniable ways during those years. And if then, how many times before and certainly after?

      Herein lies a pathway for me to look at my story anew: to wonder about where grief remains to be expressed, where true emotions have been hidden under layers of practiced behavior, where learned-belief has superseded lived-experience. And the more of these layers I uncover, the more profoundly my story – as I’ve been telling it - becomes clear to me; the more ability I have to tell and live it as I prefer – to transform it – with beliefs chosen, assumptions put aside, new lenses donned. I can re-play that tape in a much different way today. I extend myself considerable consolation and kindness. I grieve after-the-fact. I wonder anew about where the divine was showing up all the time – but in ways I couldn’t see…yet. I look with appreciation and gratitude at the infinite strength of my heart to endure, to persevere, to hold on to hope. And I look at my two daughters with infinite amounts of awe – continually amazed by their presence in my life; miracles, both.

      ************

      In my story – and maybe in yours – to get underneath assumptions, acknowledge them, and then gift ourselves with new and ever-deepening understanding – might be the most transformational thing we could ever do.

      *
      My story is worth that. Your story is worth that. Even more, you areNot assumptions, facts. 

      May it be so.

      *******************

      Step Into Your Starring RoleThere is a whole slate of assumptions we hold about ourselves – particularly as women entrepreneurs. Many of them keep us from stepping into all that we have the capacity to do and to be; the life and business we have the capacity to create; the gifts and talents we are to offer the world. Tanya Geisler knows a lot about this. She’s fabulous. I trust her implicitly. And with NO reservations whatsoever, I heartily endorse and encourage her program: Step Into Your Starring Role. Registration opens today.

      And coming up in just a day or so, me and Tanya, split-screen, talking about all this and then some! Stay tuned!

      Share
      Click any and all of these buttons to share! Thank you!

        { 0 comments }

         

        There’s power in hearing a woman’s voice. It changes everything, quite frankly. Click here to listen to my audio version of what follows.

        About oracles, cookies, cigarettes, and the only piece of wisdom you will ever need:

        *
        I (re)watched The Matrix a few nights back. I hadn’t seen it for years and it was even better than I remembered. Enraptured by the Oracle, I saw an aging woman in an apron bake cookies while she smoked cigarettes, tssk-tssk at various things, make jokes, and surreptitiously, almost nonchalantly supplant her wisdom into Neo’s mind. It hardly seemed spectacular, but that made it  no less true. And it was what eventually enabled him to step into his role in profound and world-saving ways.

        We often wish for an Oracle that is ours; to sit at the feet of wise and beautiful crones, soaking up their wisdom, asking them questions, getting their advice, reveling in their presence, and hearing exactly the words we need in order to be compelled into our future, our destiny, our life’s work in profound and world-saving ways.

        Believe it or not, I have an Oracle. Actually, I have lots of them. Countless women who surround and support; who, when I’m ready to listen, tell me what I most need to hear. And so do you.

        Let me introduce you to just one. Her name is Anna.

        She lived in a time long ago, or maybe it was yesterday, or maybe yet to come. She was 84 years old at the time of this particular story, but had lived countless stories beforehand. Married only seven years until her beloved had died, she sought solace and refuge in the only place she could find: the temple. And every night and day since, she’d never left; endlessly worshipping, fasting, and praying.

        People came and went. Sacred feasts. Sacrifices. Praises uttered. Alms given. Baby boys consecrated and circumcised. Parents looked away while others looked for miracles. But all of them came seeking. She could see it in their faces. She could feel it in their souls. And she both knew and had what they sought. But rarely was she asked, so rarely did she tell.

        Until one particular day.

        She spotted the couple immediately – walking through the maze of activity and din of noise. And she saw Simeon, the old priest, talk with them as he held up their son for all to see. Their son. She saw him. Time stood still. Silence enveloped. Everything stopped. And words came from deep within her. She hadn’t anticipated them, hadn’t rehearsed them, hadn’t thought them through in advance. She didn’t need to. The deepest truths require none of this.

        Were you to ask her what she said that day, she would tell you it was only one thing, just a small thing, and just the right thing…
        *

        In The Matrix, after all the build-up and anticipation of what the Oracle would say to Neo, it came down to this:

        “I wanna tell you a little secret. Being the One is just like being in love. No one needs to tell you you are in love. You just know it, through and through.”

        The prophetess Anna said almost exactly the same thing.

        What Anna saw and named in that child so long ago, was no different than what the Oracle named in Neo. That young boy held within all he would ever need. Full of the divine spark. A birthright of wisdom. Profoundly gifted. Whole and complete. The sacred in our midst. On the planet for a distinct purpose. And his only work, just like hers, would be to live what he already knew, through and through.

        Anna whispers (and sometimes shouts) the same to you:

        “You hold within all you will ever need. You are full of the divine spark. You have a birthright of wisdom. You are profoundly gifted. You are whole and complete. You are the sacred in our midst. You are on the planet for a distinct purpose. And your only work is to live what you already know, through and through.”

        It’s not a secret: this deep, before-the-dawn-of-time, Oracle-like wisdom that this prophetess (or any wise woman) holds and offers. It is simply and profoundly this:

        “You already know, through and through.”

        That’s it. Your wish for the wisdom of the (s)ages and the seeress, the accumulated brilliance of all women throughout time, and certainly Anna’s, is encapsulated in these few words. This one sentence. All that you will ever seek, everything you long to find, the only thing you will ever need.

        “You already know, through and through.”

        So sit at the feet of any and all women you can find. Soak up every word they have to offer. And realize that all of them, every one, whether mythic, legendary, archetypal, or even apron-wearing-cookie-baking-cigarette-smoking, will tell you the same thing: “You already know, through and through.”

        There is only one catch: you have to believe what they say.

        May it be so.

        ***********************

        I invite you to know and experience the ancient, sacred wisdom of women’s stories through SacredArt – a collaborative project with Atlanta artist, Callahan McDonough. Her vivid renderings are paired with my words to create a nearly icon-like representation for your home…and your heart. Thus far we’ve birthed Eve, “Extravagant,” Elizabeth, Deborah, and Mary (pictured here). They surround me every day and, in Oracle-like ways, call me to what they knew; to what I already know, through and through. They will do the same for you. Click here to learn more.

        And if you’re not yet signed up, click here to receive weekly Blessings from these stories. The voice and wisdom of a woman who speaks on your behalf, including Anna. Completely free. A gift from me to you. Subscribe.

        Share
        Click any and all of these buttons to share! Thank you!

          { 4 comments }

           

          Because voice matters, because my voice matters, click to listen to the audio version of this post.

          What I know for sure about women; about us:

          When I read the ancient, sacred stories of women I am ever-finding intimate, generous, wise companions who come alongside to strengthen me; who make sense of the circumstances in which I find myself; who soothe my tired brow, who bless me, and who provide me the encouragement I need to continue on. Sometimes their stories enrage and embolden me – their circumstances so much harder than my own, their silencing so much more blatant than mine has ever been, their marginalization and dismissal so much more excruciating than I can begin to imagine. Either way and in all ways, I am compelled in nearly out-of-body ways to tell these stories, to tell of these women, to hope that you will come to know and love them as I do. They deserve that. And I believe that you do, as well.

          Whidbey WomenIf I could, I’d tell you story after story from my life; particular circumstances and scenes in which these ancient, sacred stories of women have been nearly the only thing to sustain me. And if I could, I’d strive to make sure you understand that I do not read or love them because they are housed within scripture. Actually, I read and love them because they exist, period. Because they have survived – despite thousands of years of less-than-stellar tellings. Because if they can survive, so can I. Because they remind me that I am not alone; that I am their daughter, their lineage, their kin.

          In all my reading and telling of their stories, and in the living of my own, there are two things I’ve come to know for sure about women; about us:

          1. We persevere.
          2. We are prophetesses.

          *
          Now, if I thought you quickly and enthusiastically agreed with both of these statements, I could end this post right here, so certain am I of their truth and reality. But I’m guessing you’re not all that crazy about either of them; that to you they sound more like curse than blessing; more like heavy sigh than exultant “yes!” And so, not surprisingly, I have more to say.

          First, we persevere. 

          *Heavy sigh.* Do your shoulders bow at the word itself? Do you feel its ominous weight pressing against your chest? Do you hear the voice within that says, “Please, can’t a girl just catch a break?!?”

          But what if perseverance wasn’t a default setting or a required characteristic; rather, something you celebrated and even aspired toward? Maybe some synonyms will help; adjectives that will serve as strong definers of who I’ll bet you already and always are: Constant. Dedicated. Determined. Dogged. Driven. Gritty. Indefatigable. Persistent. Purposeful. Steadfast. Tenacious.

          To persevere embodies the best of who we are as women – not because we must (though that is true, as well), but because we can. We have the capacity. We have the ability. We will endure – no matter what. And because of such, this is not something to sigh over. Our perseverance is worth celebrating, toasting, and shouting out loud to all who will hear and then some!

          How beautiful and amazing are we? Of this, I am sure.

          Second, we are prophetesses.

          It just keeps getting better, doesn’t it? Mmmhmm. Truth-be-told, you probably don’t want this title or this role. You might think of a prophet as soothsayer, fortune-teller, or predictor of the future. Or maybe you hearken back to old stories about guys in the bible who had a pretty bad time of it – martyred, tortured, and usually dismissed as crazy. Uh, no thank you.

          In truth, prophets have been and are people who tell the truth. They see what is happening around them and name it. They speak and/or act cogently and boldly in response to what is. They articulate the reality within which they live – politically, environmentally, socially, culturally, spiritually, relationally, emotionally. Is it easy? No. Would they often rather just remain silent? Yes. But can they, really, and still be true to themselves? Absolutely not.

          More synonyms to sweeten the pot? Aware. Clever. Discerning. Educated. Enlightened. Evocative. Insightful. Intelligent. Intuitive. Perceptive. Reflective. Understanding. A leader. An oracle. A spokesperson. A teacher. And my new favorite word, a seeress.

          To be a prophetess describes exactly who we are as women; who we are when we are functioning at our best; who we are when we are living in places of integrity and resonance with our deepest wisdom; who we are when we do not remain silent; who we are when we boldly and bravely tell and live our truth – no matter the consequences, the risks, the ramifications. It’s got to be done, we know this, and we are up to the task.

          How beautiful and amazing are we? Of this, I am sure.

          What I know for sure about women, about us, should not be met with resigned sigh, but a resounding-through-the-Universe *clink* of our champagne glasses, the breathtaking sound of our combined tears, the winsomeness of our shared laughter. What I know for sure about women flourishes when we get out of bed yet one more day and go about the work that lies in wait. What I know for sure about women builds in strength and power when we reveal our hearts in risky, passionate ways. What I know for sure about women feels like certainty, center, and home. What I know for sure about women is endlessly, infinitely made known in our grandmothers, our mothers, our sisters, our daughters, our nieces, our mentors, our friends. What I know for sure about women is true about you. It is true about me. It is true, period.

          And that truth is what leads me to a third thing I know for sure:

          3. We are beautiful and amazing.

          *
          As I’ve steeped myself in the ancient, sacred stories of women, I have encountered beautiful and amazing examples of perseverance that would cause the bravest of souls to quake in their heels. I have encountered beautiful and amazing prophetesses who have spoken and acted in such strength, such truth, such power that no matter how their story has been mangled and maligned throughout the years, they will not be silenced. And I have encountered the beauty and amazingness of you: their daughter, their lineage, their kin.

          So come to know and love the myriad of stories that dwell in your midst – at your beck and call to strengthen and guide, encourage and befriend, even enrage and embolden. And while you’re at it, come to know and love your own. It’s just as inspiring, just as important, just as legendary. You can’t help but persevere. You can’t help but be the prophetess you already are. And you can’t help but be beautiful and amazing.

          Of this – and you, I am sure.

          *
          **********************

          While I worked on this post, my mind wandered through the myriad of cards/women/stories I have had opportunity to offer through Sacred Readings. Their relevance and wisdom continues to astound me, even after all this time. All you have to do is ask for all this and then some to be yours. How beautiful and amazing is that? Book a Sacred Reading today.

          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, Unabashedly Female

          *

          And, of course, you can receive the wisdom of these women completely free by signing up for 52Blessings – a gift from me to you. The “voice” of an ancient, sacred woman who offers you the encouragement and truth you desire and deserve. 1 Blessing per week – in both written and audio form. 1 Click, they’re yours.

          *

          Share
          Click any and all of these buttons to share! Thank you!

            { 2 comments }