In one short conversation with Ronna Detrick, I was immediately aware that this woman is big. Like, BIG. Not big, LOUD. But big, POWERFUL. Honest. Bold. Compassionate. A champagne-loving sister.
More conversations were quickly scheduled. (Including this one about faith and congregation.)
In no time, she became my go-to High Priestess of Truth-Telling. This is significant, ‘cause I’m honest. Well…largely. There are places within me that still harbour untruths. When I speak with Ronna; when I look her in the eyes; when I am graced with her PRESENCE (and oh yes – she’s got herself some presence); I get curious dig in, dig down, and yank it out. Like a dandelion’s deceptively deep root.
Kinda like thing-finding, non?
Her writing stirs my soul. Her grace stills my heart. Our conversations feed my mind. In soaking her up, I get to rest in the quiet place of integrity, courage, peace and fullness.
These are the cornerstones of the truth-filled life.
And it’s her Thing.
Interview with Ronna Detrick for Thing Finding Thursday
Acknowledge the disconnect between what’s going on internally vs. what you’re putting out externally, ask yourself what you really (REALLY) want, decide upon baby steps and move into your truth. You will survive. And thrive. Because:
Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth. - Buddha
Truer words were never spoken.
Tweetworthy Ronna-isms (for your sharing pleasure)
- I can’t really expect people to be in authentic relationship with me when I’m not really being authentic. (TWEET IT)
- If you could say anything you wanted to say, no risks, no consequences, no ramifications, what would it be? (TWEET IT)
- As women, we feel a deep responsibility to the sustenance of relationships. (TWEET IT)
- Can you acknowledge that there IS something in your core that knows + is trustworthy? (TWEET IT)
- Truth–telling is about knowing that the way that other people experience me is consistent with who I actually am. (TWEET IT)
- What if you had permission to not hold it together, but rather, to fall apart? (TWEET IT)
Transcript of edited interview (for your reading pleasure)
Ronna: — I think my thing is telling the truth. And when I say that I don’t mean not lying. What I mean is really being in touch with the stuff that matters most to me, and knowing that I’m living that out. Knowing that I’m expressing that, knowing that the way that other people experience me is consistent with who I actually am.
And I land on that over and over and over again because I’ve been so aware in my own life of places where that’s not been true. Where I’ve had one tape running in my head, and other words coming out of my mouth. Or one way that people are experiencing me but a whole different set of feelings internally.
And so the more and more I became aware of that a number of years ago, the more I started thinking to myself—hey, this isn’t okay. This disconnect. Because I can’t really expect people to be in authentic relationship with me when I’m not really being authentic. I can’t really hold them hostage for not treating me, or not loving me, or not respecting me, or seeing me the way that I want them to when I’m not actually being that person.
And of course the risk that is inherent in that is that when I show up, when I really say what I want to say and tell my truth and live that, people might not actually like that. And I have to be willing to take on that risk as well. So that comes just out of my own chronology, my own story, my own experiences.
And because that has been super significant for me and very, very life changing, it’s what I talk about all the time.
Tanya: So how do you help people to access that truth telling?
Ronna: We have to acknowledge it. That there is a gap for us, right? That where we want to be or how we would want to be experienced isn’t where we are. So will we tell the truth and name that for ourselves to begin with. I think for me that was a huge piece in my own story. Was having to really tell myself the truth.
Like, I’m in a world of hurt here. Or my relationship really sucks. Or I don’t like my job. Or I don’t like my body or whatever. You know we all have our own—all of those things and individual stories.
The second thing that I spend a good amount of time doing is asking people just rhetorically—like if you could say anything you wanted to say, no risks, no consequences, no ramifications, what would it be? What would you say or what would you do? And usually we feel like really nervous when we get hit with that question. But I really want people to answer that as fast as they possibly can. Because I think that’s the thing. Right? That’s the core truth.
And maybe we don’t go there right away. Because there’s work to be done before we can completely upset the apple cart. Or walk away from our job, or end a marriage, or step into a relationship or whatever—
Ronna: —these circumstances are. But when you hear yourself say those words, even written. Then you go, ooh, wow, really? That’s where I go? Note to self.
I think sometimes we dismiss it because we start saying, well it doesn’t really matter what my answer is because I can’t have it. I’m like, that’s not what I asked you.
Tanya: So you mentioned some baby steps that people would take to have them move towards that place of truth telling in their own lives. What might those look like?
Ronna: For me, when I first began to recognize this disconnect, this gap, between what was going on internally and what I was experiencing externally. I was commuting a long distance up to work and back every day. And I realized as I got closer and closer to my house that my anxiety level was going up higher and higher. And that I was stepping into this space of having—of kind of changing who I was. Like literally in my head going—okay, 20 miles to go. Are you ready? Do you know what this will mean? Kind of get—you know—and I would work myself into this place of being who I needed to be in that space which really was so disconnected from who I actually was.
So when I began to recognize this, what I—one of the small, small steps that I started taking was I would say to myself as I was parking the car and walking up the steps. Just one time tonight Ronna. Could you say exactly what you feel? Just one time. No more than that—just once. When some—when you start editing in your brain or you start recognizing that you have a reaction, but you’re not expressing it. Just once, could you do that?
And I thought to myself, I could probably do it just once. But even though once felt so scary to me at first. Because I thought all hell was going to break loose. Well it didn’t—right? Now eventually lots of things occurred over time in that process of testing those waters and then finally diving off the deep end in that regard.
But it was valuable for me to see that I could actually bring some consistency and some resonance there, and not fall apart. I didn’t fall apart, the world didn’t fall apart. Might have been a little dicey. But I went huh, I’m okay. Maybe I could do two things tomorrow right?
It’s really like trusting this deep knowing. And I think we lose touch with that. Right, we listen to all the data that comes in from the outside and we gauge our relational worth and our value on how other people are experiencing us and over time we’re completely disconnected from this sort of intuitive, internal, even embodied kind of knowing. And so when I ask that first question—like, you know—if you could do or say anything, what would it be?
I think that’s that voice speaking really powerfully. But we immediately go, woah I can’t trust that. Because look what would happen if I did it. And so the process is one of really beginning to acknowledge that hey, maybe there’s something in my core that is really, really trustworthy. That is stronger and wiser then all this other stuff that I take in and all these constructs that I’ve built around me. What if that were true?
And the more that we ask ourselves that question, and the more that we practice that, I think that moves us as women closer and closer and closer to just being these amazing goddess-like creatures. Because that’s—that’s like this DNA that I think we have within that we can trust.
Tanya: And what is the distinction that we often like to collapse in with truth. Is that there’s going to be a negative consequence if I tell this truth. Or what are some other distinctions that might be kind of stuck in this place of I can’t do that.
Ronna: “If I were to tell the truth, or if I were to be really, really honest and authentic in the context of my relationships, I’d be too much. Like you couldn’t handle it. Or you’ll leave me, or you won’t really like who I am. Or I’ll hurt your feelings. Or it’s going to make us uncomfortable for a while until we figure out what this new thing means.”
And it’s just—it’s craziness.
So I think for most women that’s the thing that gets us. Is that we feel a deep responsibility to the sustenance of relationships. Which is a beautiful thing. I mean that is a true thing for our hearts.
But not at the expense of our hearts, right? And often times we’re sustaining relationships that really are not nurturing us. And really are not completely whole because the person that we’ve chosen to be isn’t all of who we are.
Tanya: There like a cousin to truth, and it feels like respect. And I love the way in which—you know—by stepping into your choice, you’re actually offering your partner a choice too. A full choice. Would be the full complement of who you are then he gets to choose that’s who I want to be with or not. And that’s a very respectful place because I do think that we tend to be—you know—trying to hold a lot of things assuming that we are required to hold it all together.
Ronna: Yes, so we think.
Tanya: Yeah. And not giving anybody else the opportunity to sort of step in and be the full expression of who they are.
Ronna: Right. And to give ourselves permission to not hold it all together, but to fall apart, right? That’s the other side of it.