There are very few women who could convince me to join them on the other side of the continent for a weekend in one well-crafted email. But Ronna Detrick is that woman. Powerful, brilliant, persuasive and an Empress. I love her. And I have since traversed the continent again, beguiled by the crook of her finger and the assurance of good conversation and the sisterhood of phenomenal women that she manages to summon. (The first weekend on Whidbey Island, I got to play and pontificate with Tara Sophia Mohr, Julie Daley, Lianne Raymond and Andrea Olson. The next time, we hit Seattle and I got to swim in wonder and wisdom with Tara Gentile, Amy Oscar, Callahan McDonough, Andrea Mee Maurer and Andrea Olson again). There will be many more such weekends. Oh yes indeed. It was during this second visit that she gifted me with “Extravagant”, an exquisite piece conceived in collaboration with Callahan. They are creating and curating a collection of 30 unique paintings inspired by Ronna’s writings about women in Scripture. It all started (as it would) with Eve. Ronna authors the narrative, Callahan interprets and paints the accompanying diptych. Artful, meaningful synergy.
The pieces are just sublime, to be certain. And the beauty of the art and the words continues to still me.
When they presented each of us with our respective diptychs that morning in Seattle, they both spoke to their work, their art, but what struck me was the reverence they held for each other’s genius. The delight they took in each others’ brilliance. THAT’s what I’m talking about. Witnessing these two powerful women co-create in such a magical way thrills me to no end.
Sisters, I believe that we must collaborate together. Not just for funsies…but for healing. For our deep work to commence in a meaningful way.
“You put women together, they make peace. Women are the leaders of the future.” - The Dalai Lama via Danielle LaPorte
And I’ve invited Ronna to share more about her work with Callahan, why collaboration matters and the power of being with. Because she KNOWS.
just-spending-time (or: how to change your entire life)
There is a way in which to garner more creativity, more support, and more love than you could possibly imagine; a way to change your entire life. And yet, most of us struggle and strain nearly all the time. Want the answer? The secret? The three-step plan?
It’s way simpler than three steps and there is no secret. But here’s the answer: just-spending-time (with women).
I mean it. Not at networking events (though those are great). Not in coaching circles (though those are invaluable). Not at your kids’ playgroup (though thank goodness such exist). Not on Facebook or Twitter or Pinterest (though these are amazing and lovely). In each other’s homes. The living room. The kitchen. Across the table. Coffee brewed. Or wine poured.
In the press to build our business, write brilliant prose, create incredible online offerings, and oh yes, make money, it is beyond-easy to swirl in a world of work, or at least effort. And it deceives us…even slightly…because so much of it has us connected to an entire world of (online) women.
But what we need – desperately and definitely – is in-person, up-close laughter and honest conversation and sometimes confession and even tears. What we need is each other. And the best (if not only) way to make that happen is by just-spending-time.
More valuable than any strategy, any professional development, any coaching or counseling, even any hard-work to generate revenue, it has been the gift of just-spending-time with women I love (and who love me back) that has merited the most profound and significant results in my life.
I’ve spent hours and hours (and hours and hours) at my friend Andrea’s house or her at mine. We could not count (without some level of shame) the bottles of wine we have consumed. And we have talked of everything – kids, parents, work, relationships, life, money, and yes – online business development, product creation, social media strategy. In the process of just-spending-time I have become clearer and clearer on my brand; but more, clearer and clearer on my priorities, my purpose, my sense of well-being and strength and value.
I’ve spent two weekends now with Tanya. (I can barely keep tears from falling as I type those words; so grateful for her friendship and love.) No agenda. No content. No purpose – other than just-spending-time drinking good wine, eating good food (she makes some mean Kale chips), and yes laughing – crying – dreaming – sighing – hoping – loving. And every time I picture her face and imagine her hugs, I feel more loved, more capable, more possible than ever before and over and over again.
I’ve begun a beautiful and extravagant art project with Callahan McDonough. She lives on the other side of the country. We found each other through Facebook. I tell stories. She paints them. Eve. Elizabeth. Extravagant (of which Tanya spoke above and of which I’ve written). All-in-all, a 30-piece collection of Sacred Art. But so much more, a friendship between two women. I’ve flown to Atlanta to meet her, to be in her home, to be in her presence. She’s flown to Seattle to be with me, to picture the space in which I work-and write-and live. We love each other. We talk of everything. And in the midst, I am changed-strengthened-empowered by just-spending-time.
In a world that presses on us to do more, be more, spend more, make more, more, more, more, just-spending-time can be difficult, if not (seemingly) impossible. It requires that we slow down, that we craft relationships just for the sake of them, and that we have faith that above/beyond all the things that need to be done-created-built-sold that just-spending-time with other women is what will sustain, last, and ultimately matter most when all else falls away.
We deeply and desperately need to be just-spending-time with other women. It’s what changes us, our relationships with others, our work, and our world.
And it requires something of you: your willingness to ask – and then trust. Trust that the time is more important than the outcome. Trust that the relationship itself is more valuable than anything that might come of it. Trust that you – across the table from another woman – is what will change you, transform you, and invite you to more than you could have ever imagined. Trust that if you ask you will actually receive a “yes.”
How could I have known that hours of just-spending-time with Andrea would merit some of the best posts I’ve written and products I’ve created? How could I have known just-spending-time with Tanya would compel me through veritable walls of self-doubt toward the writing of a Book that she’s convinced the world is waiting for? How could I have known that just-spending-time with Callahan would walk me through a season of grief and sadness with perspective and strength previously unknown – not to mention the creation of such extravagant beauty in business and art? And how could I have known that just-spending-time in the pages of the stories I love could have invited me into a world of women who have companioned me, supported me, loved me, changed me?
This is collaboration at its best and most brilliant. This is all yours for the taking, yours for the knowing, and undoubtedly, yours for the giving – lavishly, profoundly, and without restraint. This is the simplest of things: just-spending-time And all you have to do is ask – and then trust.
What are you waiting for? Your whole life is about to change! And, if that weren’t enough, you are about to change the whole life of those who have the privilege of just-spending-time with you. Even more, when our lives are changed as women – because of women – we are the ones who change the world. That’s worth just-spending-time on, yes?