Amelia Earhart. Agency. Taking action.

Amelia Mary Earhart was born July 24, 1897. In her short life, she was the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean and set many other records. She wrote best-selling books about her flying experiences. And she was instrumental in the formation of The Ninety Nines, an organization of female pilots. After disappearing on July 2, 1937, she was declared dead on January 5, 1939.

As if all that weren’t notable enough, there’s this quote of hers: 

The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure, the process is its own reward.

Wow.

 

The word I use for this is “agency” – not only knowing I can choose but actually doing the choosing itself, acting on the decision, taking action.

We have agency. But oh, how tempting to believe otherwise.

I’m a perfect case study.

love to deliberate, to consider all the options, to weigh every pro and con, to journal, to reflect, to be curious, to wonder if I have enough data or resources or wisdom, and to then take every bit of all that pondering (and all that it subsequently invites) as permission to keep my head in the clouds instead of landing the damn plane. 

But as long as I circle, as long as I allow myself to stay in deliberation, I don’t take action.

And why would I choose such a thing?

Easy: fear.

(I’ll keep speaking for myself, but I’m guessing you can relate.)

I fear that if I not only listen to, but actually trust and act on the wisdom that is mine (not all the perseverating, but the deeper know-that-I-know-that-I-know voice within) there will be an onslaught of risks, costs, and consequences that will show up and undoubtedly subsume me. Disaster will befall. Relationships will crumble. The world will come to an end. 

Yep. That sounds about right for starters.

Of course there will be risks and costs and consequences to actually trusting and acting on my wisdom! That is always the way of it! It inevitably leads me into brand new territory, change, and transformation. (Which means that people, systems, and institutions around me will have to change, too. Yikes: more risks and costs and consequences!)

What if the awareness of risks and costs and consequences was the very thing that compelled our actions – instead of stopping them?

The best case study?

Back to Amelia Earhart. I’m thinking she was pretty clear on the risks and that those were the very things that kept her going instead of holding her back; that compelled her instead of stopped her.

Right.

So, bottom line?

Amelia Earhart invites you (and me) to choose – and then act on that choice; to decide – and then act on that decision; to acknowledge and USE the agency that’s yours.

Amelia Earhart invites you (and me) to land the damn plane. Or maybe start flying it in the first place! To push the boundaries, the limits, any and every restraint that’s kept you grounded. Say what you feel, what you mean, what you know. Trust your voice (and your wisdom), your creativity, your value, your worth. Be completely, fully, authentically you – all the time.

One might say this looks and sounds a lot like sovereignty.

Yep.

 

*****

 

These choices? These decisions? Hearing your wisdom in the first place? Having the courage to trust it – and yourself? Smartly acknowledging the risks and costs and consequences and choosing agency? Holding on to hope in the midst of it all? This and then some is definitely part of sovereignty – embracing it, practicing it, and yes, the 9-week program itself.

Registration is open for the next cohort of SOVEREIGNTY. We begin together the week of May 10. The cost is $450. Your sovereignty? Invaluable!

Learn more, book a call so we can chat, and/or register today. CLICK HERE

Hearing Voices

I am neck-deep in manuscript-writing these days. This book, my book, this thing I’ve been nurturing and holding and holding back for years (and years and years) is now making its way into the world. Much like labor, I can’t stop it now – nor do I want to.  

The section I’m working on currently tells the story of a young woman whose life was violently, brutally ended.

I don’t like the story at all.

I wish it didn’t exist.

There’s no justification of it, no making sense of it.

And though I might wish to just ignore it – to dismiss it as one more piece of evidence against the text within which it’s found – that only perpetuates her harm. Which isn’t acceptable to me.

It is in telling women’s stories – even and maybe especially the most painful ones – that we invite the healing we desire and deserve.

When I calm myself down, at least for a bit, about the injustice and senselessness and violence, I can hear a different voice; I can hear hers. The one that was snuffed out. The one that was permanently silenced. The one we’ve rarely-if-ever bothered to listen to. The one that I imagine she’d speak on our behalf if only we could and would hear.

This is what I believe she’d say:

  • Fear is not your birthright.
  • Do not hold back – no matter the danger or risk.
  • Pursue what brings you life.

I am clear that these three statements are, indeed, the wisdom she longs for all of us to embody – in honor of her sacrifice, in honor of her story, in honor of her, and most of all, in honor of the life and story that is ours.

I am clear that were we to follow these three statements as gospel, it would be our own healing and that of our world that we would enable, invite, witness, and proclaim.

And I am clear that if I were I to imagine her saying even a bit more, it would sound a little something like this:

I’m right about this! Fear is not your birthright. But courage is. Write. Speak. Say. Do. Be. Say “yes.” Say “no.” Quit. Continue. Decide. Whisper. Roar. Love. 

Risk is a given. To try and mitigate it, lessen it, create a balance sheet to show you exactly what might happen if you move this way or that is not the the least bit practical nor remotely close to your destiny. Do not hold back. Let risk and danger be the signs that you are moving in the right direction. And then read the paragraph above over again so that you can remember that fear is not your birthright.

Learn from me. Let my life (and death) offer you invaluable perspective. Cherish every moment. Pursue all that is yours, all that awaits you, all that exists within and around you, all that you desire and deserve. And then read the two paragraphs above over again so that you can remember that fear is not your birthright and you must NOT hold back, no matter the danger or risk!

Of course we wish that stories like hers did not exist, then or now. We must rage (rightly and justifiably) against violence. And in the midst of both, we must honor the voices that can no longer speak, the stories that are rarely if ever told.

We must use our own voices and live our own stories in ways that are courageous and risky and full of life.

 

And when we do? Well, Jepthah’s Daughter smiles and says “Thank you.” Oh, and this:

Read the three paragraphs above over again? And then maybe a few more times? 

With her wisdom as rubric, encouragement, and hope, I labor on – knowing and trusting that the imagined words of even one ancient, sacred young woman might strengthen you in the labor that is yours, in the story that is yours, in all that is yours to birth and live and heal.

May it be so.

 

*****

 

Just last week, inspired by stories like the one above, it struck me that what I want most of all is for more women to have access to all this and then some (courage vs. fear, the ability to take risks, pursuing life, etc.) So I decided to dramatically reduce the pricing of SOVEREIGNTY from $1995 to $450. I know! It’s a lot! No worries: it’s not a fire sale or a drastic, last-ditch sales effort. All is well. It’s just me, listening to my own sovereignty, and wanting to do everything I can on behalf of yours.

The 9-week program begins with a new cohort of women on May 10. Learn more. And if you want to talk, ask questions, discern whether it’s right for you, etc., don’t hesitate to book a free call with me. I’d love that! No pressure. Just sacred conversation together.

 

A late-night text

I’ve been thinking about the wisdom that has shaped much of my life. I’m grateful for some of it, to be sure. There’s been a lot more that I’ve had to intentionally dismantle and deconstruct.

I was raised in the church. Both consciously and subconsciously it inferred, offered, and proclaimed Wisdom – as an institution, within its sacred text, because of its God. And not just a  wisdom, the wisdom. It was the only wisdom that I was to rely on, turn to, and build my life upon. I was dutiful. I was obedient. I was disciplined. And to be fair, it was this wisdom to which I turned, on which I relied, in which I took solace. The darker side was also true: when I didn’t turn to it, rely on it, or took solace anywhere else, I felt vast shame and guilt.

But it wasn’t just the church, religion, or God as wisdom source – it was men. (White) men were seen as the experts, the holders of authority, the ones I could and should trust. In completely transparency, for a very long time, I rarely-if-ever thought to consider anything else! They had the answers. And because that was so obvious, it was just as obvious that I did not have answers – or wisdom; that my thoughts could not be trusted, that I could not, should not trust myself.

Then there was academia. It would have never crossed my mind to question why all of the things I was learning were from (more) white men. Yes, I had a few women teachers along the way, but they were instructing me from textbooks written by white men. Even in college, as a Business and Communications major, everything I learned was from a man’s perspective, man-as-wisdom. I didn’t question a bit of it. I appreciated what I was learning. I took it in as gospel.

By the time I got to my Masters Degree (with a nearly-20-year break in the middle) very little had changed. The professors and authors were still almost exclusively white men – in my studies of both theology and therapy (especially theology). But it was also during this time that things began to shift. I took a class called Feminist Critique (taught by a visiting professor who was a woman and only assigned texts written by women) that opened me up to a wisdom that made me really, really angry.  She systematically revealed the white/male lens everywhere, influencing everything. And that lens was not mine.

At about the same time, probably not at all coincidentally, I began to experiment with the interpretation of women’s ancient, sacred stories through a non-male lens, through a woman’s lens, through a feminist lens, through my lens in order to pull forth something different, anything different. And it was this effort that became a practice that became my everything that enabled me to find, hear, and actually trust my own wisdom. For the first time.

A few weeks back, I woke up in the middle of the night and typed a text to myself – just so I wouldn’t forget the thought that was keeping me from sleep:

We need sources of wisdom that are distinctly feminine. Only they can mirror our experience in ways that allow the wisdom to actually land, to be relevant, to support and strengthen us.

I was pretty happy to see that text waiting for me the next morning.

I’m not opposed to the wisdom of men (well, maybe a little). What I want, though, is the wisdom of women – not in opposition, but as obvious choice.

Without such, it’s no wonder we walk through our lives doubting ourselves, not trusting our intuition, flailing in relationships, putting others ahead of ourselves, tamping down our desires, and wallowing in (often) self-inflicted shame. Everything we learn is not who WE are. Everything we compare ourselves to is not who WE are. This is the patriarchy, of course; the water we swim in, the air we breath, its insipid presence in everything we do, think, and feel.

But…

If we had feminine sources of wisdom – and saw them as reliable, trustworthy, honorable, valuable – we would have a template through which to understand ourselves that syncs with who we most closely are, who we most closely resemble, how we most often act, think, and feel.

Imagine it for a moment.

If I had grown up in a goddess-worshipping coven, it would have been normal for me to trust my body, to eschew anything that smacked of self-contempt, to always look within for answers, comfort, and strength. Even if I don’t take it to that lovely extreme, let’s say I grew up in a Christian home, attending church, going to Bible studies, but everything was focused on women. At church I would have heard stories that were not about a woman’s sin or shame; rather, their magnificence and strength and power. I would have never heard a single message – spoken, assumed, written, or preached – that told me I should be more submissive or more humble or more obedient; rather, I would have been extolled and encouraged to trust my voice, my heart, and yes, my wisdom. I would have grown up reading books written by women, novels about women (written by women), and even if my teachers and professors had remained mostly white men, that input would have been consistently “countered” by the reminder that at the end of the day, what I thought mattered. When I watched TV or read Seventeen magazine, I would not have been inundated by women’s objectification; instead, I would have known and understood that women’s bodies are our own, that they matter, that they are beautiful and perfect  – in every way, shape, and form. And I would have been very clear that attracting me was the end-all, be-all – not attracting a boy, a man, or a prince. Can you even imagine?

We need sources of wisdom that are distinctly feminine. Only they can mirror our experience in ways that allow the wisdom to actually land, to be relevant, to support and strengthen us.

This wisdom allows us to see ourselves in the mirror, to listen to the voice within that not only makes sense, but is 100% true and right. This wisdom teaches us to trust ourselves – which leads to agency and power – which leads to doing the unexpected thing, to rising up, to speaking out, to resisting anyone who tells us anything different – which leads to a disallowing of violence because of race or sexuality or difference of any kind, sickening entitlement because of gender or power, and ignorance based not in wisdom, but foolishness! 

 

So find that wisdom. Be that wisdom. Be that wise. It’s all within you. It always has been – for generations and generations, from the beginning of time. And it’s all yours to offer us. Imagine the world you’ll change, create, and birth along the way.

*****

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

What’s left on the cutting room floor?

Each morning, lately, I have been reading from a book with 365 reflections. Some I resonate with; others, not so much. And some surprise me. Like today’s… 

The author began by telling a story of having once interviewed the runner up of The Bachelor (the last one standing besides the one who gets the proposal). She asked how much of what we saw on the show was real, and how much just reality TV. Not surprisingly, the woman confirmed what all of us already knew (right?!?): she was not seen for who she was – not really. Every clip of her being anything other than how the producers wanted her dipicted (partying, disruptive, etc.) had been left on the cutting room floor. 

Ouch. 

We would be wise to name the “producers” in our world – those who are intentionally shaping the narrative, the story, the plot they want us to believe and buy – whether media, religion, politics, our family of origin, even those closest to us. We need to ask ourselves what’s being intentionally left on the cutting room floor so that we comply, stay in line, and don’t make waves.

We would be wise to ask ourselves how many women, how many stories, how much wisdom has not been ours throughout time. And we need to pay attention to how that has impacted us – dramatically and definitively. Because we’ve not seen those reels – the raw vs. edited footage of  Eve, Mary Magdalene, Tamar, Hagar, and so many more, it’s not surprising that we often feel isolated and alone (part of the producer’s plan, no doubt). We have not been given access to the legion of women who long to speak, have much to say, and stand alongside us even still. 

We would be wise to wonder about how we produce and edit our own stories. On the cutting room floor lie reels and reels of what we don’t want others (and sometimes, even ourselves) to see, what doesn’t “fit” with the story we’re telling, what feels better left unsaid, hidden, even thrown away. 

For every scene, every conversation, every part of us that’s been discarded – whether by choice or under duress – the woman others do see is not complete, not whole, not all of who we are. And that is both excruciating and untenable. 

We would be wise to consider:

  • what we intentionally cut out of our own story so that we better meet the “reality TV” ideal, the IG influencer ideal, our culture’s ideal, even the ideal of our boss, our peers, our significant other…
  • how feeling the pressure of other “producers” or “editors” in our life has translated into compromising the story we want to tell, the life we deserve and desire to live. 
  • how the reels and reels on the cutting room floor might, in truth, be exactly what and who deserves to be seen and heard.  
  • what we are most afraid of if fully seen, fully ourselves, unedited, unrestrained, untamed.

…what the world needs right now in order to evolve is to watch one woman at a time live her truest, most beautiful life without asking for permission or offering explanation. ~ Glennon Doyle, Untamed

That woman leaves nothing on the cutting room floor.

May it be so.

 

*****

 

Yes, Glennon Doyle’s words, but worth repeating as a clear and concise definition of sovereignty: living your “truest, most beautiful life without asking for permission or offering explanation.” This is why I have created SOVEREIGNTY: a 10-week program. It’s what I long for on your behalf – and what you deserve. We begin on March 1. Learn more.

[Photo by John Moeses Bauan on Unsplash]

The stories we tell ourselves

I’ve been thinking about the stories I tell – those of ancient, sacred women who have been absented from our known-and-relied-upon lineage.

I think about them all the time, truth-be-told, but in the past couple of weeks, while working away on Readings and being deeply “with” them, I’ve had another thought:

The degree to which we are supported by the stories of strong and amazing women who have gone before us – the shoulders upon which we stand – is directly related to the quality of the stories we tell ourselves.

Said in reverse, it sounds like this:

The stories we tell ourselves, the ones we live (too-often filled with self-contempt, shame, and silence) are directly related to the absence of stories of strong and amazing women – those in our lineage – who refused all of these realities and then some.

 

Think about it…

When the stories we learn as young girls include Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, even Eve – we incorporate beliefs about ourselves because of such. They’re subtle. Subconscious even. Until they aren’t.

It’s not surprising that we struggle with a messy soup of assumed-truths that include “someday my prince/ess will come,” “someday I will awake from this sleep only to find all my dreams fulfilled,” and “its my own fault I’m living in this East of Eden reality.” It’s not surprising at all – given what even these three stories affirm and teach!

Let’s work only with Eve here for a minute…

When you were growing up, what if you learned of her as a bold risk taker? A woman who followed her desire, no matter the cost? The first woman in this recorded text to actually speak of her beliefs, her ideas, her understanding of the divine? A woman whose courageous choice enabled the furtherance of an amazing world?

There’s nothing in that telling that would ever lead you to self-contempt or shame; certainly not silence. Instead, you would have learned to honor and trust risk-taking, your own desires, your own beliefs, and your own choices.

Here’s the good news, as I see it:

If the way one woman’s story has been told (whether Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Eve, or countless others) has had the power to shape everything, then the way that same story is reimagined, redeemed, and retold has the power to do the same.

And that is good news!

The same is true for your story: those tales you’ve been telling yourself, believing about yourself, holding on to like they’re sacred writ? They can be reimagined, redeemed, and retold, as well.

 

And even more good news?

When we retell, the old stories – like Eve’s and so many more – we realize that we’re not alone…that we never have been…that we stand on the shoulders of a long and illustrious lineage of strong and amazing women who offer us all the advocacy, wisdom, and grace we desire and deserve.   

 

No surprise that this is what I do.

I believe-believe-believe in the power of these women’s ancient, sacred stories: not because of how they’ve been told in the past (interpreted through and lost in the lenses of doctrine, dogma, and of course, patriarchy), but because of how they can be told anew. Because of all they have to say, long to say, need to say! Because they have the power to change everything!

These stories – when they are known, heard, and honored – are directly related to your capacity to be known, heard, and honored. I’m certain of this. 100%.

 

*****

 

I’d love to provide you a 2021 Reading: one of these ancient, sacred stories – reimagined, redeemed, and retold – so that your story can be, as well. The 50% off discount ends at midnight – Monday – 12/14/20. CLICK HERE.

(They’re also available as gifts…)

[Photo by Jan Mellström on Unsplash]

My grown-up Christmas list:

One of my favorite Christmas carols by Amy Grant, offers these lyrics:

“No more lives torn apart,
That wars would never start,

And time would heal all hearts.
And every one would have a friend,
And right would always win,
And love would never end
This is my grown-up Christmas list.”


Who doesn’t wish for these things – every day of the year – and especially after this year: the pandemic, the election, racism, and so much more?

If I could, I’d wrap up each of the above and have them delivered right to your doorstep.

In lieu of such, I offer you Readingsa way in which I can, at least in part, heal your heart, offer you a friend/advocate/muse, remind you of what is “right” and amazing about you, and give you love, love, and more love.

Yes, I’m horribly biased. But isn’t that how a person should be when they’re giving a gift?

 

You can hardly wait until the other person opens it because you KNOW they will love it, because you KNOW what you’re offering them is perfect for them, because you KNOW that what’s inside is but a tiny reflection of just how much you would give them if you could.

 

I KNOW Readings all this and then some. Thankfully, I’m not the only one. Here’s what a few others have said about their Reading (gift to me, to be sure):

  • You know when you scratch an itch that you didn’t know was even there? That was my Reading, the soothing of a deep soul itch. I expect nothing but impeccability when it comes to Ronna’s work. It left me teary-eyed and truly breathless. Truth’s like that. (Tanya Geisler)
  • From the first page to the last, my Reading spoke to an area of my life where I had substantial questions and doubts. Somehow, the whole Reading addressed them all. I’m a VERY private person, so there is no way Ronna could have known what to mention or how to address it. Spirit is alive and well in her Readings. (Lena West)
  • I bought a Reading when I was at a huge turning point and had no idea what a transformational year lay ahead of me. My Reading was exactly what I needed to hear to help me finally publish my book, and believe in how important my own journey is. (Meghan Genge)

You can read even more lovely words, here.

So yes, a Reading is on my grown-up Christmas list for you. (And perhaps on yours for someone else; you can definitely gift them!) To make things even sweeter and more festive, they’re 50% off…but just until midnight, Monday, December 14.  

I hope you’ll accept the gift that’s yours – the advocacy, wisdom, and grace you deserve for the year ahead; my heart on your behalf.

 

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

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