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See yourself as a miracle

When I was 8 or 9, my newborn sister went into the hospital. I don’t remember the details. I don’t remember ever visiting her there. I don’t even remember what was diagnosed. What I do remember is seeing my mother cry for the first time. She and my father stood in a corner of the living room — her shoulders hunched over as she shed close-to silent tears; his arms around her — trying to console. And I vaguely remember one of them telling me that Lorri was sick.

I can imagine they would have done anything remotely possible to have her back. I can imagine that their desperation would have driven them to cling to the smallest of options. And I am certain that they prayed — asking for her healing, longing for a miracle.

There’s an ancient story told of a father and his daughter. She was only 12 years old and dying. Desperate, the father went in search of a healer he’d heard rumor of, then begged him to come back to his home and heal his girl. As they set out together, messengers arrived saying, “Don’t bother the teacher any longer; she has already died.” The healer paid no attention, saying, “Don’t be afraid, only believe.”

When they arrived at the man’s home, there was nothing but confusion and wailing. Again the healer spoke: “The child is not dead — she is only sleeping.” When people started making fun of him, jeering at what he’d said, he sent them all away and went into her room — along with three of his disciples and her mother and father. He took her by the hand and said, ““Little girl, get up!” She got up at once and started walking around.

I imagine her skipping out of her room and into the crowd of people, all smiles, oblivious to both their shock and overwhelming joy. She probably asked for a snack and then wanted to go play with her friends. Just like that — all was as it should be.

She was a living, breathing miracle. From the age of 12 and for the rest of her life, this would have been her identity — the way in which she was known by others, the way in which her parents would have seen her, what would have been whispered about her as she walked down the street, grew, lived her life. In some ways, we might guess this was a burden to bear: others expect too much of you; an average life will not suffice.

What if she had a different perspective? What if being a miracle was what opened her up to a life of possibility and joy and expanse? And what if that’s exactly what she offers you today?

*****

Yes, you.

Imagine it. Dream big. Dig deep. Ask yourself: If I believed I was a miracle, I would…

Every answer that shows up is your wisdom speaking; your desire, your heart, your longing, your truth. And you can trust it. Because you are a miracle. Now…to believeing it and being it!

May it be so.

How to Trust Your Inner Wisdom

I could offer you a whole bunch of reasons why you can and should trust your wisdom, why it’s reliable, why it’s “right,” why that know-that-you-know-that-you-know voice within never leads you astray. But I’m guessing you already know all that.

Few of us are unclear that we should trust our wisdom. It’s the doing it that is problematic!

(Or so we fear…)

And our fear is real! We have experiences, stories, memories, and built-in-lessons-learned that have taught us that when we do trust our own wisdom things get hard, misunderstanding reigns, feelings get hurt, relationships struggle if not break, expectations are disrupted, disaster befalls…The list goes on.

I know. Believe me.

Though I have a gazillion stories I could tell, the one that comes to my mind happened 15+ years ago. I was about 18 months post-divorce and decided to try dating again. I met a man. We hit it off. It was fabulous and fun and easy. We laughed all the time. And we talked about everything: our past, our family of origin, our heartbreak(s), our marriage, our divorce, our kids. We also talked about faith. And sadly, those conversations often became heated, argumentative, not fun at all.

Around the same time, I was preparing for the HUGE honor of giving a TEDx Talk. It was about Eve: the way her story has been told throughout time, how it has defined and harmed women for centuries, how it has shaped the world in which we live. And it was about how I wanted Eve’s story to be told — as expansive and rich and beautiful, as model for who women are at their best, their most brilliant, their most wise.

We talked about it once before I gave it (despite the fact that I spent hours and hours and hours preparing — which he would have known about, of course). And we talked about it once after I gave it; I told him what it had felt like for me to be speaking on a stage about my deepest passion; how it was both the most embodied I’d ever felt and, simultaneously, almost an out-of-body experience; how it felt to let Eve’s voice be heard through my own. I remember that he said, “I’m glad.” And that was the end of it.

Until the video was released and made available months later. I was so excited to show it to him, to watch him watch me — certain he would finally understand and finally celebrate; certain this would shift our shut-down conversations about faith from this point forward. He watched the first two minutes, closed his laptop, and we never spoke of it again.

OK. Back to trusting my own wisdom.

I heard my inner wisdom — no doubt about it: This is NOT OK. This is not sustainable. This is not acceptable: not even being honored enough to be curious, to listen, to try and understand. And this is the tip of the iceberg. If we cannot come to even agree-to-disagree terms on this, there’s going to be more down the road that’s going to be even harder. (There was more, but you get the idea…)

We dated for another four years.

Here’s the point (if you haven’t already landed on it): I heard my wisdom early on — and ongoing. But to trust it meant that I would have to a) have even harder conversations and b) be prepared for what that would lead to…ultimately, our end. And I didn’t want to do or experience any of that!

The issue for most of us is not hearing our wisdom, it’s trusting it! 

Because to trust it means that hard conversations may have to be had, that things might change, that everything we’re trying to sustain and juggle and keep spinning might come crashing down.

I know. Believe me.

I did eventually end the relationship. It was hard. It was painful. It was heartbreaking. And I trusted myself (and my wisdom) enough to know that there was really no other choice to make. Finally.

If I am going to bear consequences either way, I do NOT want to live with the ones that inevitably come when I compromise, comply, and not trust my wisdom or myself.

I can see, with hindsight and perspective, that my wisdom WAS worth trusting. Every. Single. Time. Not just in this story, but in SO many more.

The risks and costs have not gone away. But (most of) my fears about whether or not I can handle them have. And, in many ways, I now know that the higher the stakes, the greater the perceived consequences, the MORE trustworthy my wisdom actually is!

So, what is the takeaway in all of this for you?

Stated simply, it’s just this: you CAN trust your wisdom. It knows of what it speaks. It is reliable. It is right. It will not lead you astray. And inventorying the inherent risk is EXACTLY what makes your wisdom even more clear, more certain, and more trust-worthy.

No silver bullet. No magic pill. No easy answers. But no less true.

4 Way to Hear Your Own Wisdom

It’s taken me years (and years and years) to acknowledge that I had wisdom that was uniquely, distinctly mine, let alone hear and apply it! I have stories attached to why: why it has been so hard for me, why it took so long…

I doubt my story is all that different from yours.

If you grew up in the Western World, reason, facts, and objectivity reigned. There were laws: gravity and perpetual motion. There were those who wrote the laws: our Founding Fathers, God (him)self, maybe Moses. And there were those who interpreted or enforced the laws: parents, priests, pastors, police, politicians, patriarchy…

The consistent message was this: The answers are obvious; just find and apply them. To think for yourself, let alone trust what you think/feel is way outside preferred and acceptable behavior.

It took me a long time (and lots of heartache along the way) to believe anything differently, let alone do anything differently. But I have learned. I have changed.

A quick story:

Close to twenty years ago, still married, my daughters very young, I began to notice that the running dialogue in my head was distinctly different from the words I spoke or the actions I took. At first, I disregarded it. But over time, the noise was too loud and the gap between who I was being and who I wanted to be was far too wide.

So I started writing it all down (with password protection). I let myself speak – finally, freely, unedited and unrestrained. And though every bit of it felt way too dangerous and way too risky to actually do anything about, I began to hear something – like a heartbeat.

I recognized that I wasn’t “wrong” or “crazy” for what I was thinking. I was actually right!

For a long time, what I heard within (and wrote) was completely counter to what others expected of me and, it seemed,, highly risky. It was close-to-impossible for me to trust what kept coming up, showing up, and speaking within. But eventually, I recognized that the more disparate my thoughts from the status quo and what others wanted/expected of me, the truer (and wiser) they were – FOR ME.

And now? Thankfully, I hardly ever notice a difference between what I hear within and what I say or do. Sometimes. Every once in a while. And then I remind myself, yet again, that what I know is right. I am right.

(This is not to say that I never make mistakes, that I am right about every opinion I hold, that I cannot be changed. It IS to say that the voice/heartbeat I hear within is right – unquestioned, reliable, mine.)

So, the how-to’s for you?

1) What shows up for you if you incorporate, even believe that the more crazy or countercultural your thoughts (your inner wisdom), the truer and wiser they are?

2) Pay attention to, even list out (with password protection, if needed) what you really think, what you really feel, what you really know. Let yourself literally hear (or see on the page) the wisdom that is yours – that know-that-you-know-that-you-know voice within. OR record yourself on a Voice Memo on your phone. Let yourself speak. Say what you actually want to say! Then listen back to just how clear and certain and yes, powerful your wisdom actually is!

3) Track what (and who) gets in the way of you actually speaking the wisdom that you hear. Pay attention to those gaps.

4) Extend yourself grace. Believe me, I don’t have this whole hearing-my-wisdom thing down. I still struggle to hear the wisdom I KNOW my body offers me. I still struggle to be quiet or still or meditative long enough to let silence carry me to deeper truths and knowing. But that know-that-I-know-that-I-know voice? Yeah. I hear that one. All the time. And it’s really, really wise.

That voice? That wisdom? Hearing (and trusting) it as your own? 

Mmmmm. May it be so.

*****

If this feels challenging for you – and compelling at the same time – I’d love to talk with you more. These are (thankfully) the kinds of conversations I have with my clients. I offer free one-hour calls. Not for discovery. Not to sell you on anything. Just to listen for the wisdom I know is there and invite you to even more.

Every Monday I write (and then email) a letter…to you! It’s filled with more of my stories (like the one above), the stories of other women who offer us their wisdom and call us to our own, and as much encouragement and hope as I can possibly muster. Oh, and I also include what I’ve been reading, watching, listening to, even baking lately! Gift from me to you. And…because it’s written to/for you, I just need to know where to send it! SUBSCRIBE.

Remember Who You Are

I talk about sovereignty all the time. It’s a program I offer. But more than all else, it’s a reality, a truth, that I see and understand as *just* a given.

Let me explain.

I believe that you — fully yourself, fully authentic, fully honest, fully aligned, fully in your integrity, fully present (I could go on) — already ARE sovereign.

I believe that sovereignty is inherent, implied, implicit, irrefutable, intact within you. It IS you.

And this means that

there is nothing you need to strive toward, do more of, fix, solve, remedy, purge, add, or somehow overcome in order to be sovereign.

Did I mention? You already are.

So, the “work” of being sovereign is about remembering that this is true, that this is who you are — bottom line, underneath it all.

  • Underneath all the messaging you’ve absorbed (and even believed) from culture and family and religion and patriarchy.
  • Underneath all the chatter in your own mind — about how you are not enough or, more often, too much.
  • Underneath all of the fears and risks and costs and consequences that you are relatively certain will ensue IF you are fully sovereign, fully yourself.
  • Underneath all the ways in which other people perceive you (whether that’s in alignment with what you know/believe/feel, or not).
  • Underneath all the roles and titles and responsibilities.

Ahhhh. There you are! You: completely yourself, all of you, sovereign — already and always. Remember?

Rarely do we stay in this place, this state, this awareness in a 24/7 sort-of way. I have to remember — over and over again. And when I do, I can see that it shows up for me in glimpses and glimmers:

  • When I’ve taken the leap and expressed my true feelings in a relationship (instead of the ones I thought the other person could handle).
  • When I’ve expressed my (unpopular, but no less true) opinion at work.
  • When I’ve stepped onto a stage and somehow, miraculously, overcome my insecurities and fears — even for those minutes.
  • When I’ve watched a Netflix series, start to finish, with one of my daughters — looking over at her and feeling so profoundly grateful that she is who she is and that I get to be me, fully me, in her presence.
  • When I’m talking with a friend who has enough history with me that she notices and names what she sees in me, when she calls me to more, when she reflects back what she knows to be true. (And when I can do the same.)
  • When I am writing — especially in those blessed moments when I am unimpeded by my inner critic or Resistance — putting every bit of my head and heart on the page.
  • When I am in conversation with a client, listening deeply to their heart and simultaneously hearing the know-that-I-know-that-I-know voice within me; being clear in that moment about what is mine to say, what grace is mine to extend, what wisdom is mine to offer.
  • I could go on.

All of these are moments. But, when added together, they create markers along the way, plumb lines of sovereignty’s presence, me — at my core — being all of who I am.

Ahhhh. Right. Now I remember.

And this is what I’m inviting you to, as well. Remember who you are when you are most yourself, underneath it all, and yes, worth stating again, sovereign — inherent, implied, implicit, irrefutable, intact, through and through. 

This is what we look at together, talk about together, and remember together in SOVEREIGNTY — my live, 9-week program. An open invitation into all of who you, you as completely yourself; calling you into, up to, forward to your fullest self: all of your wisdom, all of your agency, all of your courage, and endless, endless hope. It’s beautiful. You are. Remember?

Join me.

Registration closes on Monday, 9/6/21. We begin together on 9/9/21. All the details are here (including a payment plan, if helpful).

You ARE sovereign — already and always. I’m right about this. Let’s remember our way back, together.

May it be so.

Your Inner Dialogue & the Voices in Your Head

Maybe it’s only me, but no matter how long it’s been since some of my less-than-stellar stories took place, I still hear an inner dialogue, an incessant chatter, that keeps droning on.

An example:

I was incredibly insecure as a teenager. I didn’t go to more than a couple dances, wasn’t invited to the weekend parties, and never had a boyfriend. I was convinced that all of this was because I wasn’t good enough, pretty enough, enough-period, to merit any of the privileges that were reserved for those who clearly were good enough, pretty enough, enough-period. (I agree: pretty typical teenage angst.)

Here’s the irony: at the very same time that I bemoaned virtually everything about my life, I was getting straight-A’s, performing in piano competitions, and fulfilling multiple leadership positions at school.

Somehow, the latter didn’t make up for the former. Despite the good things happening around me, to me, even because of me, the “noise” of feeling not enough drowned out nearly everything else.

And that noise was (and is) the story I told myself — over and over again.

Even more ironically, no matter the ways in which my life has changed over the many decades since then, no matter how much data I have accumulated as evidence of my inherent value and worth…

I still hear that voice inside. It still chatters away. It is still a story I tell myself.

Maybe you can relate?

You have your own version(s), I’m sure. Stories you told yourself as a teenager, even younger, and certainly ongoing, that have not remained isolated to those years alone.

The stories we tell ourselves, no matter how long ago, persist, inhabit, and stay. They keep on chattering…

And despite the effort we’ve extended to not give them space or thought or energy, they just. keep. talking.

We believe them: these stories we tell ourselves.

Here’s the thing: I don’t want to be controlled by default, or live a story that is not one I intentionally choose.

And so…

I listen even more closely…

  • What is this story really about? When I pay close attention to the internal dialogue and incessant chatter, what do I actually hear?
  • What beliefs about myself have I formed (and reinforced) because of its presence?
  • Are they actually true?
  • What IS actually true?

Once I am willing to see, name, and acknowledge the stories I’m telling myself, then and only then, can I respond, change, and choose what I’ll hold on to — or not.

I get to choose what I am willing to believe…and what I can now release.

Mareo McKracken said

“Our reality and our actions will always match the story we believe.”

Mmmmm. Indeed. We get to decide about the stories we believe — the ones we’ve been told and the ones we tell ourselves – along with the chatter that accompanies. And then we can just. let. go. and instead, hear our own voice, our endless and infinite wisdom and truth. Ahhhhhhh. 

*****

The ongoing work of looking more closely at stories — those that you’ve been told and those that you tell yourself — is an important part of SOVEREIGNTY: my 9-week program.

I am convinced that those stories are often the very things that determine sovereignty’s absence instead of its presence, that hold you back from being all of who you know yourself to be.

And this is what I want for you! Authenticity. Alignment. Full integrity. EVERY BIT of who you are – showing up in all your amazingness and gloriousness!

May it be so.

I cannot recommend Ronna & SOVEREIGNTY enough. Through the nine weeks together, I rediscovered the Sovereignty that has always existed in me, but was buried through conditioning and fears. Ronna seamlessly weaves structure and a framework, along with ancient, sacred stories of women — some of which I knew, others I didn’t. By reclaiming those stories of silenced women, we learned as participants to reclaim ourselves — to tell our own stories, to claim our own stories, and to claim our sovereignty. Every week I looked especially forward to these stories, which now feel a part of me. There is SO much wisdom through the container that Ronna provides.  Beyond grateful.Tricia Bolender, Executive Coach

All the details are here. Registration closes on Monday, 9/6/21. 

The Power of Childhood Stories

We rarely give a second thought to the stories of our childhood. Fairytales, religious myths, favorite books, legend, lore, or those that just seemed to be “in the water” — the stories of our family, our culture, the systems and structures within which we lived.

But in not thinking about them – and with intention – we are prone to repeat the messages hidden within, often unwittingly, over and over again, no matter how many years have passed since those stories were told. The plots, the protagonists, the antagonists, and the morals/messages remain in our psyche, our way of viewing our world, our very DNA.

An example:

Cinderella. One of my favorite stories growing up – specifically, the Rodgers and Hammerstein version that played on TV only once a year.

The takeaways:

  • You can always count on something magical to make everything better.
  • Everything is better when you are pursued and chosen by a prince.
  • Yes, you feel forgotten, misunderstood, and unseen, but that will change when a prince sees you for who you truly are.
  • Yes, you’re sitting by the cinders, put upon and all alone, but it’s just a matter of time before your fate completely turns around.
  • When you are beautiful, everything changes.
  • Happily Ever After is a thing.

Underneath each of those, exist a few more:

  • Look outside yourself for answers, solutions, and the life you long for.
  • Being chosen by a prince (translate: man) is the penultimate goal; it gives your life meaning and value.
  • Just keep hoping and wishing for things to get better.
  • Buy the makeup, the clothes, play the part: you’ll be noticed, valued, and loved.
  • When you are beautiful, everything changes (Wow, does this one embed!)
  • There is a “someday” that will solve every problem, heal every hurt, and make you whole.

Made manifest in my life:

  • I don’t trust my own wisdom.
  • I see marriage (and the man) as the goal, the aspiration, the answer; he determines my value and worth, my lovability, even my beauty.
  • When things don’t change, I’m convinced that’s because I’m not pretty enough, thin enough, beautiful enough, perfect enough.
  • Because, after all, if I were beautiful, everything would change!
  • I chase the promise of Happily Ever After through relationships, jobs, money, courses and programs, shopping, you name it. I can’t settle into and be satisfied with who I am.

This is but one example! Clearly, I could go through the very same process with Snow White, Hansel and Gretel, and Eve (which I have done, many times).

The stories you’ve been told, even if they were many, many years ago, lodge themselves in your understanding of self, your understanding of the world around you.

You don’t have to think directly about Cinderella to have her show up in your deepest beliefs, your most painful insecurities, or your hopes for your future. (Bibbidi, bobbidi, boop!)

I have no critique of Cinderella. In fact, years later, I watched the Disney version of the musical with my girls — over and over again. Brandy replaced Leslie Anne Warren, Whoopie Goldberg played the queen, and Bernadette Peters was the wicked stepmother. It’s less about the story itself and more about a closer look at ourselves via the stories.

When you name and acknowledge the stories you’ve been told, you can unravel them enough to then proactively weave the story you desire and deserve.

Consciously. Intentionally. With agency and sovereignty and will.

You are shaped by the stories you’ve been told. Fairytales. Bedtime stories. Bible stories. Disney. Nickelodeon. Netflix. Novels. Around-the-table talk of family. The over-story of your predominant culture (patriarchy, racism, misogyny, colonialism, capitalism, etc.)

Knowing them, looking at them, and then choosing what serves and what does not, makes all the difference. The stories that make you you are worth your every effort. YOU are worth your every effort! Always.

*******

I believe that the stories we’ve been told (and the ones we tell ourselves) are almost single-handedly responsible for sovereignty’s absence. Its presence is what you deserve. Join me for SOVEREIGNTY — my live, 9-week program.

All the details are here. Registration closes on 9/6/21.

This program was way more and way better and way deeper healing than I knew to ask for. Though I had an idea it would be awesome, what I got was a gift I didn’t know to ask for, much less receive.  I’m so grateful I said, “yes.” ~ Sheri M.

SOVEREIGNTY was a “yes” for me because I wanted the opportunity to learn from Ronna. The most valuable impact from the 9 weeks was being able to acknowledge that in many, many ways I already am sovereign; that I contain all the necessary components. Jennie Alexis, Values Leader