A Sunday sermon, of sorts, that I hadn’t planned to write…
You know those movies that start with a shocking event? After the scene is set up, the next 90 minutes take you back in time and slowly, bit-by-bit, carry you forward until you can see the event again – this time with comprehension and context.
That’s the way of life, isn’t it? Something shocking happens. We go back in our minds. We pour over every detail, every circumstance, every conversation in order to make sense of things. Simultaneously we are required to move forward, albeit haltingly; we put one foot in front of the other, almost surprised that we can do such a thing until, finally, we catch ourselves in a present moment, clear, awake, and aware.
My shocking event: I resigned from my job on Thursday.
Let’s go back…
Last week I wrote about crossroads, staring over the edge of a cliff, and knowing there will be consequences and costs no matter what decision we make. It was about saying ‘no,’ not compromising, and choosing self – always – no matter what. (And weirdly, wildly…or not…I wrote it before knowing what this week was yet to bring.)
How are we to know if our decision is the right one? How are we to rely on (or cling to) some level of confidence and surety, no matter the s**t storm that is about to descend?
My answer to these questions – for myself (and for you)? We listen to our soul.
I know. It sounds a little bit cheesy. Less-than-practical. “Where are the pro and con lists, Ronna? The Excel spreadsheets? Weighing all the options?” I’m not opposed to any of these; I’ve utilized them myself, believe me. Still…
First, last, always, the soul is where we turn. It’s our deepest knowing. The still, small voice. Or maybe not still and small at all: it’s the voice that screams within. We feel its press, its pulse, its presence. It stays.
Of course it stays. It’s our soul. It is the essence of who we are. It is endlessly intact. It cannot be shaken, shrunken, or silenced. It is our wisdom. Your wisdom. Not conventional wisdom, not objective wisdom, not book wisdom, not dogmatic or doctrinal wisdom. Not wisdom sanctioned by others. Yours. It’s what you know. Even (and maybe especially) if you can’t make sense of it for others, at times, yourself included.
It’s a life’s effort, of course. I have countless stories in which I couldn’t acknowledge my soul’s accuracy and trustworthiness until after-the-fact. I didn’t make the decision I knew I should, but inevitably looked back and said, “I knew. I knew. I knew!” And in that reflection, I learned. I have other stores (fewer of them) in which I took the tiniest, bravest steps forward. It was (and is) scary, foggy, unknown. But with each movement, no matter how tentative, I felt the ground beneath my feet get firmer. I looked around and ahead and said, “I do know. I can do this. I am right.” (My soul was right.)
I’ve been rewinding so many of these stories in past days. In the midst, I have deliberated, crafted pro-and-con lists, and even constructed an Excel spreadsheet or two. I’ve had countless conversations with myself and others. And I have heard my soul speak with impossible-to-ignore clarity. I’m still free-falling a bit, to be honest. But I’m also completely confident the ground will rise up to meet me.
I can hear my soul breathe, ‘yes.’
I could not have done this were it not for so many of my own lived stories – the ones in which I did NOT listen and, thankfully, a few in which I DID. I could not have done this were it not for the beautiful and brilliant tribe of women who support, advocate, and cheer me on. (Thank you: you know who you are.) I could not have done this were it not for the generations of women who have gone before – a chorus of wisdom that dwells within and says, “We are here. We know. We see. We understand. You can trust your soul. You can trust yourself. Hear our ‘yes.’”
And now, one more soul has joined that chorus: Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Shocking. Heartbreaking. Incalculable loss.
But when we rewind, her wisdom and legacy remain and sustain. Her soul speaks to mine (and I’m guessing yours) in ways more powerful and undeniable than ever:
“So often in life, things that you regard as an impediment turn out to be great, good fortune.”
Confirmation. Affirmation. Advocacy. Yes, another ‘yes.’
So, movie over. Popcorn gone. A Monday on the way. And if the film was any good, lots to keep thinking about, feeling into, reflecting on. That’s my plan – accompanied by the wisdom of RBG, so many other women, and what I’ve learned to rely on in myself, my very soul. Hearing ‘yes’ everywhere. Letting it compel the next, tiniest, most hesitant of steps forward…Hopefully for you, as well.
May it be so.
[Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash]