5 lessons I learned from Dolly
Last week was truly transformational for me. I went on retreat with a dear circle of women in North Carolina. I left feeling more of who I truly am. More than this, I left our circle feeling into the power of what I and all women have to offer our world at this time in history.
On my way home I stopped in New York City to visit my in-laws and see Dolly Parton. My sister-in-law, Maeve, a tried and true Brooklynite, is obsessed with Dolly Parton. And Dolly was playing in the city. So the decision was made for me.
I thought I was going to watch Maeve watch Dolly. I thought it would be fun and sweet and hilarious. But let me tell you, Dolly brought me to CHURCH, and I’ll never be the same.
5 LESSONS I LEARNED FROM DOLLY
Lesson 1: Honor where you came from with total reverence.
Dolly told us stories of her childhood. Her parents married when her Mom was 15 and her Dad was 17. They had 12 children together and raised them in a small house in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee without electricity or a working bathroom. Dolly shared her childhood with reverence, honesty, and total love. Zero judgement.
I know that it’s easy to think you need to bury things from your past in order to be okay and move on. I’ve had plenty of things I’ve wanted to bury, but this is not the path to freedom.
Freedom comes when you no longer try to deny where you came from.
Freedom comes when you fully honor where you came from. Freedom comes when you own where you came from. Freedom comes when you untether yourself from the disempowered meaning you once made about any wounding from your past. Freedom comes when you stop the silence of shame and speak to the shadows of what once was. Freedom comes when you take ownership of who you are now.
Just like Dolly, tell your story today from a place of empowerment, love, and gratitude.
Lesson Two: Without apology, be who you are now
Without apology, Dolly fully owned who she is on that stage. She laid it all out for us to see. She fully expressed her mastery as a musician, singer, and storyteller. She honored where she came from and was fully in the magic of who she is today. How did she do this?
Dolly showed up with humor, humility and grace. And these three ingredients conspire to create pure magic.
Just like Dolly, fully express your mastery without apology.
Whatever it is that you’re brilliant at, let it shine. Whatever it is that lights you up, share without trepidation. Be humble. Laugh at yourself and your quirks (e.g., Dolly on her plastic surgery: "It costs a lot of money to look this cheap.") And choose grace over fear.
Lesson Three: You can be playful and soulful all at once
Dolly weaved a magical mix of play and soul that night.
She was playful and filled with childlike wonder. In one song she hilariously (and masterfully) played the guitar, banjo, violin, and saxophone (studded with rhinestones of course). In the next song she embodied soulful wisdom, all-loving grace, and reverence for life. We went from laughing to weeping to dancing and back again throughout this concert.
If we are to think of archetypal energies, Dolly embodied both the Queen and the Maiden that night. She owned her mastery as a seasoned woman and shared it graciously with everyone in that stadium. And she was alive with the Maiden energy of play, childlike wonder, and joy. These two energies brought healing and joy to everyone at her concert.
I believe with my whole being that you too can embody soul and play in your daily life.
Queen hand in hand with Maiden.
Gracious giving and joyful playing.
Lesson Four: Make all beings in your presence feel at home
All that anyone really wants in this life is to feel safe, loved, and accepted for who they are. We all want to be home.
On that warm night in Queens this religious woman from Tennessee made a bunch of hipsters, gay men, and people of every walk of life that inhabit New York City feel completely at home in her stadium.
Just like Dolly did at her concert that night, live with the intention that all beings feel accepted, safe, and at home in your presence.
Lesson Five: Take up space
This was the lesson that hit me the hardest. I learned in adolescence that it isn't safe or okay to take up space. If you're a woman reading this, you likely had your own lessons about why it isn't okay to take up space, too.
When I was young I learned that I'd hurt other women if I let myself "shine too bright." I learned that I'll attract broken men if I let my inner radiance out into the world. Although these beliefs are outdated they've done a good job of holding me back in all sorts of ways over the years.
What are the outdated lessons you once learned that left you thinking it's not okay to take up space in this world? Are you, like me, ready to once and for all release those beliefs?
To my utter amazement, Dolly helped me see that when you take up all of the space you need to be in your full expression, you are nothing but a gift to everyone in your presence.
Now we're not all meant to be performers, we may not all need the space of stadiums for our full expression.
But imagine if Dolly Parton didn't give herself permission to take up BIG space as the performer that she is? We wouldn't be able to receive her gifts!
I want to know. What are your gifts? What is your truth? What is your mission? What do you want to express?
Just like Dolly, give yourself permission to take up all of the space that feels big enough for your full expression.
Let your inner radiance take up all of the space required to be in it's FULLNESS. This is where your greatest impact lives.
Just like Dolly, do you to the fullest. Seriously. Life's too short for anything less.
With warmth & light,