Rev. DiAnna Ritola
Founder of "Call Your Facets Home"
Speaker & Pastoral Counselor
Rev. DiAnna Ritola is an ordained Interfaith Minister and Dianic Wiccan Priestess and author of the book Mismatched Luggage: Unpacking Your Sexual Baggage for Your Spiritual Journey.
Her work is about shifting the focus of our individual prisms, finding new facets from which to shine while staying centered in the truth of our deep Self to celebrate what shines most clearly and brings the most pleasure: to Call Your Facets Home.
Find her on the web:
Highlights & Imperfect Transcript
Shame often comes from secrets.
Many of those secrets were inculcated by people who didn't love us well or didn't love us at all.
I just chose to ignore the physical signs because I didn't want to deal with the fallout being a disappointment.
I'll come up with other excuses so that I don't have to look at what hurts.
That idea that you’ll stumble if you don't pick out the pebble in your shoe, you might fall over or you might see your face first into the wall.
This image I've created for myself, this way that I've let other people see me has to die in order for me to actually be the person that I'm meant to be.
No one else is paying nearly as much attention to your bullshit as you are.
You cannot be the shiny facet without being the smudgy facet.
Life is the middle and some days it's shining and some days it's hard.
Guilt is the pricking of your conscience that says you have stepped out of your integrity.
Shame is the place where your soul gets crushed.
Shame is the place where you are not good enough for anything, including life.
I learned that the promises you make from a certain place don't have to be the promises you hold when you have evolved.
Integrity is the alignment of who you think you are, who you say you are, who you feel yourself to be, and the behavior that shows that.
PAIN: Please Acknowledge I'm in Need.
Whatever that pain is, when you can recognize it, I'm in need. Some part of me needs some love, to be seen, to be acknowledged because it's out of alignment.
That comparing game, we never win. We're either comparing ourselves as better or less than and neither of those is helpful.
I believe if I really want it, then it's in my capacity to have it. Where it's tricky for me is that it's not the same pathway.
If I'm doing myself justice and I'm treating that person that I know well, then we ripple.
I ground myself in the natural world.
DiAnna’s dad: Warm water, put peroxide, duct tape, or go to bed.
We have to take 100% responsibility for cultivating, navigating, claiming, looking for, creating relationships because they don't just show up at your door.
Cheri Honeycutt: Oh my gosh, you guys, this is going to be so much fun. I say that at the beginning of every podcast, but it's absolutely true. You don't know this, but I'm looking at a screen with my dear friend and someone I already know in my heart of hearts. We're about to have a conversation that's going to be amazing. I've got DiAnna Ritola, someone I've known for like 97 years. No, not really. DiAnna, how are you?
DiAnna Ritola: I'm so good, Cheri. It's wonderful to see you and be with you.
Cheri Honeycutt: I know. You know, this podcast is really all about me. It's like, how can I get my friends to get online and talk to me? No, just kidding. (Laughs) We haven't seen each other in a while. But I have been watching DiAnna. DiAnna and I have stayed in touch via the Bookface. And I've been watching her emerge and bloom and have impact on a larger and larger scale.
But more importantly or equally as important, I've been watching Diana craft and curate a life that seems to be really in alignment with what I know she wanted. I know from my early years of conversations, glasses of wine and sitting on someone's back porch, the life she's living now is something that she's put in motion many, many years ago. Do you see that about yourself, DiAnna? Is that accurate?
DiAnna Ritola: Oh, absolutely. Yeah, absolutely. It's been a 20-ish year journey.
Cheri Honeycutt: Yeah. It's a journey. It's a journey. Well, before we get into conversation. I do want to give you a little bit about Diana. And also to know that just as always, there's a lot more details in the show notes where you can find her, but I was gonna write my own little introduction. But golly, the words on your website that you have crafted about your mission, I'm just going to pull from those if that’s fine.
And these are these are DiAnna, “I’ve helped thousands of people reclaim the parts of themselves that have been cut off, ditch their shame, learn to ask for what they want, embrace their sexual desires, deepen their spiritual practice, integrate their fragmented pieces, and love themselves back into the power of embodied wholeness.” Holy cow. I mean, did you really write this? And I know you do that. What resonated for me or what really pinged me and that is that just how many of us live in shame are not embracing our desires, all of our desires, including our sexual desires have lost or never had a spiritual practice, have not integrated the pieces of us, and you do that magical work.
She's also an ordained Interfaith Minister. And how do you say this Dianic Priestess and the author of a book, Mismatched Luggage: Unpacking Your Sexual Baggage for Your Spiritual Journey. Are y'all just so excited? I can’t wait to hear. I wanted to cue this up is like the most amazing conversation that's about to happen. DiAnna, where do you want to begin with that?
DiAnna Ritola: Let’s talk about shame?
Cheri Honeycutt: Let's talk about shame, baby. Let's talk about it. What's on your mind about shame? God, it's a powerful one.
DiAnna Ritola: Shame often comes from secrets. Secrets make sickness. Shame is the sickness that we live with. From that sickness, we have the symptomology of addictions, and hiding, and lying. All of those things that we do in our regular everyday life are because we don't want to be seen. Because if you see me, oh my gosh, it's gonna be ugly and you aren't gonna run for the hills.
Cheri Honeycutt: Don't see me because there's something wrong with me. There's something inherently wrong with me because if you only know the secret I'm hiding. Wow.
DiAnna Ritola: Right. Absolutely. And what we forget is that many of those secrets were inculcated by people who didn't love us well or didn't love us at all. And they were given to us without our permission.
Cheri Honeycutt: Wow, let's let that soak into. We’re given these ideas about these things about us by folks—and I love how you said this, this is the hard one—who didn't love us or at least didn't love us well, didn't love us correctly.
DiAnna Ritola: Maybe with the best of intentions did what they understood to be loving.
Cheri Honeycutt: Sure, sure. Yeah. How did you come to this? How did you come to this knowing? How did you come to this, even the place where that's where you wanted to start, this conversation? Can you share a little bit about that?
DiAnna Ritola: I can. When I was 29, I was married to a man, had been married since I was two weeks past 23 knowing that the red flags were flying like there was a gale force wind. But when I was 29, I became ill. My body started to rebel. I stopped digesting food efficiently. I was in pain and my back test up to the point where I was unable to bend down to tie my shoes. I couldn't pick up my children who were toddlers at the time. I realized that what really happened is that I was turning on myself.
Cheri Honeycutt: Say that one more time.
DiAnna Ritola: I was turning on myself.
Cheri Honeycutt: Turning yourself.
DiAnna Ritola: Yeah. The biggest issue was that I had been living a big, fat, embarrassing lie, that I was straight. It was embarrassing because I wasn't supposed to be a lesbian. I wasn't supposed to like women in that way. I wasn't supposed to have those feelings for anyone who was not my married partner, but also not a man.
Cheri Honeycutt: So you're breaking two rules here. Probably many.
DiAnna Ritola: Start the list. Start the list of brokenness. But because I wasn't able to hold on to my own health. That is the reason that I started realizing that if that's not right, other things are not right. And I have to pay attention.
Cheri Honeycutt: DiAnna, you don't know this, but I've been recording a lot of these podcasts with friends and I just recorded a podcast with another lesbian woman who shared a similar story. Similar in that it was a physical sign. And then another woman yesterday. So I'm curious, this physical symptoms got your attention. Had there been signs before that that you just didn't see in hindsight?
DiAnna Ritola: I saw them. I just chose to ignore them because I didn't want to deal with the fallout being a disappointment.
Cheri Honeycutt: Yeah, aren’t we humans fascinating? We're like la, la, la, la. Stick your fingers in your ear. That's not…
DiAnna Ritola: My husband gets silent when I don't do what he wants me to do and he punishes me by withdrawing attention and affection and communication, which he knows is vital to how I work. But I'm not gonna pay attention to that because I really have these children to take care of and their well-being is more important. And, oh, I got to get dinner on the table. And oh, I might need to do a load of laundry or six. I'll come up with other excuses so that I don't have to look at what hurts. Until it hurts so bad. That idea that you’ll stumble if you don't pick out the pebble in your shoe, you might fall over or you might see your face first into the wall.
Cheri Honeycutt: You know, it's so funny, you brought up the pebble in the shoe. I was talking about that when clients show up for me, and all of a sudden they're like, “My life is a shit show. It fell apart.” And I'm like, “Yeeeey!” It’s was like you've been walking around and all of a sudden this rock in your shoe becomes so painful. I used to joke that I would have these moments, these insights. Yes, this is a painful rock. I would sit down and I'd take the rock out, and then I'd find the edges off, and then put it back in my shoe and just keep walking because to really face it was just so scary. Terrifying.
DiAnna Ritola: It's terrifying. There's part of ourselves that think we will die. It is an ego death. This image I've created for myself, this way that I've let other people see me has to die in order for me to actually be the person that I'm meant to be. That's just as scary a death in many ways as physical death.
Cheri Honeycutt: I'm just repeating this because it's so profound. “Something has to die for me to be who I'm intended to be.” Is that what you said or who I am meant to be?
DiAnna Ritola: Meant to be. Yes. All of those.
Cheri Honeycutt: But it is equally as scary, maybe even more than a literal death because you gotta be present for it.
DiAnna Ritola: Well, you got to show up the next day, and the next day, and the next day. You have to tell people that what you were doing before isn’t true. Not that it wasn't true to your best ability at the time, but that you have a better knowledge. Let's just equate it to what we're finding out about the pandemic. Six months ago, we knew X amount. And now we know more because we have lived into this experience and we have more people looking at it and we’re gathering more data. What I do with my life is I gather data. I run it through the filter of my embodied experience, to say, “Does this ring true for me?”
Cheri Honeycutt: I love that. All these quotes, all of a sudden, Maya Angelou’s “When we know better, we do better.” (Inaudible). So that when we look back or maybe even in the moment, we're like, oh my God, I've just had this insight that I've been doing it this way, but I get to choose to do it another way. To spend time flogging ourself for having done it the old way based on the old information, we couldn't have done any better.
DiAnna Ritola: Right. But that's a very human thing to do is to spend some good, old-fashioned berating time. Because how do you know you're really good enough to make the change if you haven't atoned for the sin of being whatever it is that you did before. And so that comes along with what the spiritual aspect of my work is that we have been given this spiritual dynamic many of us growing up especially in Abrahamic faith of sin and shame and not good enough.
You have to do all of this extra work to make sure that when you get to the other side of it, you actually deserve the life that you have imagined for yourself or that you want. While that holds true in that you need to learn new ways of being, the self-recrimination and the emotional flogging that we do to ourselves is unnecessary, and actually holds us in that place of stuck.
Cheri Honeycutt: Exactly. I'm so glad you said it that way. It serves a purpose for like a moment to sort of… Do you know what I mean? It's like, oh, there's a reconciliation. You check it out. You may not agree with me here. But you check it out, you look at what do I need to learn from this? How do I need to do better? And then you got to get off the cross because we need the wood is the thing and move.
DiAnna Ritola: Well, and to know that you'll come back and visit it when you make your next mistake. Because you're a human and we're not designed to be 100% perfect in all ways, so you're going to come back to this and go, oh, I messed up again. Look it there. I did it again. I hate when I do that. And you might say a few choice words because they're fun to say and they give a good emphasis to our disappointment in not being perfect. And not meeting the goal or whatever. But again, no one else is paying nearly as much attention to your bullshit as you are.
Cheri Honeycutt: As you are. Exactly. No one is really hyper following you. Right? But in that moment, let's have some compassion. I know you are here. So here's DiAnna, back in the day, you're 29 or 20, you know, that 23 through 29, and you've got this internal conflict to whatever degree you were aware of the secret, whatever pieces. Nobody else really was watching you, worried or concerned about your sexual orientation or your integrity. Right?
DiAnna Ritola: No, no. I mean, you know, probably my husband. He’s probably concerned about that. But again, we didn't have a conversation about it on a weekly basis, whereas I was having many conversations with myself about what would it be like if I were to actually be this person?
Cheri Honeycutt: So what took you? I like to say it like this. That my work is to help people stop living by default, to not just accept the factory settings that somebody else gave them. You know what I mean? They’ll talk, “Oh no, you can customize the setting on your own computer. Thank you very much.” And in fact, that this default is easier in some ways, but it comes at a cost. So how do you choose and move and live on purpose? Obviously, it's not all bliss, right? No. So what happened as you look back on that that made you go, “Okay, it's worth this pain that I'm perceiving will happen.” What happened?
DiAnna Ritola: I was standing in my kitchen and it was about 30 minutes before my ex-husband was to get home from work. And I might have been 30, 31 at the time. Things have progressed. I had figured out some new ways of eating. Basically, I cut everything out, but like saltines and boiled chicken for six months and then started adding stuff back and discovered I was lactose intolerant, which lasted for a year and then disappeared because I started paying attention.
But fast forward a year or so later and I'm standing in the kitchen, starting to prep dinner, was about 30 minutes before he got home from work. I noticed that my shoulders were so tense that they ate my whole neck up to my head. I thought I am miserable.
I realized that I had been saying “I am miserable” for a very long time, months or years. All of a sudden, I realized that if either of my daughters came to me and said I am miserable, this is what I feel, and I couldn't give them an example of how to break misery, then I was a bad mom, in my opinion. I did not want to be that mom. I did not want to have my children not know what integrity looked like and not know what saving yourself looked like.
I will share with you that a year before that maybe, a year-and-a-half before that. I had said to my own mother, “I'm miserable.” And she said you just need to pray harder. I said, “Don't you think I've been praying?” That was the beginning of the end of my relationship with my mom. She was unable to hear my pain. I know she had her own reasons for that. But I needed her and she wasn't there. I realized that if I wasn't there for my own children, I was going to be doing the same thing. I wasn't willing to do that. Then I took it. Then I was like, “Gosh, now what?” Hello insight, continue to make dinner.
Cheri Honeycutt: Yeah, how that's what happens. We get those insights, but then we have to figure out what to do with them. I want to say a couple of things. First of all, my heart is just so I want to give compassion back to that DiAnna, in the past, who went to a dry well when you were thirsty. How many of us have examples of we go to where we think we’re going to or should even get the kind of compassion and be held in our darkest pain and I'm just sad for that part of you that didn't experience that with your mom. I bet there are others who are hearing this.
However, and what it did for you, at least in my observation, is you tell the stories like and I'm not doing that. That legacy of not being there and for in a beautiful way for the children stops here. It's interesting to me, I think that from where I sit, that brought you along that journey of even the more urgency of stepping and owning this insight because you weren't going to do that again for your children. Is that a fair interpretation?
DiAnna Ritola: Absolutely fair. And they're now 24 and almost 22 so we've lived into a different kind of relationship.
Cheri Honeycutt: And I bet you, of course, I look at them on Facebook which is 100% true.
DiAnna Ritola: Absolutely. I only post the very truest of true things on Facebook.
Cheri Honeycutt: But you know how you can see things and you have a sense and watching and being your friend from afar for a sense, I do sense that there's a deep relationship you have with your children and I would bet money, real honest money that they would say that they know their mom has integrity. She's lived into who she really is.
DiAnna Ritola: I would say that they would say that.
Cheri Honeycutt: That's beautiful. Congrats, mom. Congrats, mom! Because that doesn't necessarily happen by accident. You were very intentional to keep coming back to the words I used in here, the very purposeful in how you wanted to parent, which then really said, “Okay, I've got to step up as who I am as an individual. I'm going to be a better parent. I have to be a better parent.”
DiAnna Ritola: Right, because I am not only a parent. So my catchphrase—
Cheri Honeycutt: I'm gonna write it down. Pen ready.
DiAnna Ritola: It's “Call your facets home”. It speaks to all of these pieces of myself in my personal prism are my home. I show a different facet or several different facets when I'm on stage doing a talk versus when I'm doing a wedding versus when I'm talking to my wife or my children or my sister or whatever. All of these facets of me are equally true, but they are not all the time visible to all of the people because that's how a prism works. So calling my facets home means I get to be all of these people within myself and I also call every other piece of myself that I might not be acknowledging back into myself. It is a call and it is to call.
Cheri Honeycutt: Oh my god, there's so many things I love about it. First of all, I'm embarrassed that I didn't bring that up at the beginning because I loved this “call your facets home,” but I love how it worked in here. And just when you were doing that little motion, you all can't see this. You're just listening, but she was pulling, kind of bringing her hands in as you call in these parts of yourself.
I'm reading right now, Martha Beck's The Way of Integrity. So this idea of wholeness and Brené Brown’s idea of wholeness, wholeness isn't just the pieces you like or isn't just the piece that are (inaudible) to society. No, they're the whole thing. It's like the crabby, bitchy, taskmaster part.
DiAnna Ritola: I like to call that the general. (Interposing) Snap my fingers because these are not moving.
Cheri Honeycutt: And then the one who keeps score because I need to keep score. And then the one who, oh my god, I color code the list. If you need me to give you a list, man, you know, we mean her, but then there's the parts that are tender and vulnerable or the part, just all of us. And you're saying all of that is part of the whole.
DiAnna Ritola: All of that is part of the whole. I argue that you cannot be the shiny facet without being the smudgy facet.
Cheri Honeycutt: Exactly. I love that the shiny and the smudgy. I said this the other day to, I think, a client that if you want the sun to shine really brightly, then the shadow is going to be exactly the same intensity as the sun. The only way to not have the shadow is to have no sun. And that is to live in the gray. They are in tandem.
DiAnna Ritola: And it's okay to be in the gray for a while. That's the other thing with people, they’re like, but if I'm not shiny or I'm not focusing on my sad or my upset, then it's not okay. But we all need the transition spaces just as much.
Cheri Honeycutt: Thank you for saying it that way.
DiAnna Ritola: That’s where the rest happens. The literal, “Oh my gosh, I need to take a nap rest and the rest of our lives.”
Cheri Honeycutt: I'm so glad you said that. The Rest. I call it The Middle. My friends joke me and they're like, you hate the middle. I'm like, I hate the middle. I like the start up. I'm like I want to buy the shoes for the marathon and I want to cross the finish line. I don't really want to run the race. But life is the race. Life is the middle and some days it's shining and some days it's hard. I want to come back to your “call your facets home”. What I wrote down when you said this personal prism is “authenticity”. I know that's a buzzword, but it's a good one.
DiAnna Ritola: I haven’t come up with a better one. Well, you could call it “trueness” or “integrity”. It's about being all of you and acknowledging all of you and understanding that shame exists because someone, somewhere, told you that that part of you that they didn't like was morally or ethically or spiritually just bad.
Cheri Honeycutt: At least it's inconvenient or it could be really bad.
DiAnna Ritola: It's inconvenient for me that you have me.
Cheri Honeycutt: This is this is harder for me that you need to be something different than what works for me, right?
DiAnna Ritola: I had an agenda and you’re not following my agenda.
Cheri Honeycutt: Exactly. You know, I see myself as a mom of this kind of children. Would you please be this kind of child for me so that my vision of myself as a mother fits, you know, this doesn't post well on Facebook. (Laughs)
DiAnna Ritola: You're not curating my Instagram separately as a child or business. My business is not behaving in the agenda to which I require and therefore I'm not good enough. I should probably just hang this up.
Cheri Honeycutt: Just hang it up, just give it up. And so going back to the very word, you started with this sense of shame. Shame is a word, at least from where I sit, is really saying that some part of you is wrong. And when you believe that, you hide in your secrets, like you when you started this conversation with us, and then those just fester, they just fester. They don't go away, do they?
DiAnna Ritola: No. They’re the blister on the bottom of your foot that becomes like an open gaping wound. And I want to say that there is a difference between guilt and shame because we often conflate the two. “Oh, I feel guilty about this. I'm so ashamed.” They’re very different. Guilt is the pricking of your conscience that says you have stepped out of your integrity. You are not in alignment with who you say you are. And therefore you need to fix it. Make amends to somebody. Go back and erase the thing and rewrite it or just do it differently the next time if that's not possible. Shame is the place where your soul gets crushed. It's the place where you are not good enough for anything, including life.
Cheri Honeycutt: Yeah. I look at it. And when I've tried to show the difference to my children… My kids, you know, have some special needs. So one of the gifts of parenting my kids is I've had to practice taking kind of complicated concepts and make them be more understandable. I said, you know, sometimes it's totally appropriate to feel guilty if you've done something bad. That is an appropriate emotion. “Oh, I did something wrong. I hurt someone. I could have done a better job.” And then you atone and then you let it go.
Shame is when you feel like you're not okay as a person. And those are two. But you're right, as the culture, we lump those together. As you're listening to this, my guess is you can probably think of a time where you've actually sat in the quietness, recesses of your mind and just not felt like you were good enough. That's what we're talking about with shame.
Brené Brown talks about the shame storms that happen. Sometimes we'll do something that we feel embarrassed by or somehow society has held up a mirror that says we're bad for who we are and we'll just beat ourselves up. Do you know anything about that, DiAnna?
DiAnna Ritola: I would say yes and no. Like, yeah, I read that the shame storm comes from when I bring up everything I've ever done wrong in my entire memory and lump it with everything I might screw up in the future. I might as well just sit in a dark hole eating dirt. What was the thing that we said we were kids? “Nobody likes me. Everybody hates me. Gonna go eat some worms.” It's kind of like that. We get caught up in that blindness.
Cheri Honeycutt: I know that you, if we fast forward and I see your life now. And this is the tricky thing when we're just talking for 30 to 45 minutes, and I'm bringing on these amazing guests on like, “Oh, I had this dark night of the soul and we fast forward and I've got a website and fantastic business and I'm married and happy.” The end.
We know you've already said it was a journey. We already know that that this was a path. This was not overnight. We're not stupid, you know? But what are some things that as you moved into being more in integrity, more authentically who you were, your truest self, when you brought back in all the prisms of who you are, what are some things that you learned or things that come up as I say that that you want to share? What are some tips, if you will?
DiAnna Ritola: Oh, I like this. I could do a list!
Cheri Honeycutt: Pen ready!
DiAnna Ritola: So I learned that the promises you make from a certain place don't have to be the promises you hold when you have evolved. I didn't have to keep that promise to stay married to him because the person who made that didn't have all the information. The person that I became could not in do in due conscience, stay married and live that life, in that lie anymore. I had to forgive myself for breaking a promise--a promise that I had been taught was the most sacred promise you could ever make. And that if you break it, you will probably go to hell, probably die.
I had to understand that spirituality was more than rules. That it was about my relationship with the divine, including the divine that lives within. I had to understand that I was still going to make dumb mistakes because I didn't want to look stupid. So I would make a dumb mistake to not look even dumber, and then I ended up having to fix that one anyway.
Cheri Honeycutt: Can you say more about that? That's intriguing.
DiAnna Ritola: I still screwed up parenting my children and had to apologize to them. Like I still would say things out of reaction or parenting my mother, my father, my culture, whatever, and then go away. But I don't actually even believe that. I am so sorry that I yelled at you or I told you couldn't do this thing for no real reason other than, oh, that was my knee jerk reaction because that's what was told to me. So I was given the daily sometimes opportunity to go do you really believe that? Is that who you say you are? That is the other thing that I think is one of my hallmarks is who do I say that I am? And then would anybody know that about me? Because if I think that I say I'm a person of integrity, does anybody else know that or am I keeping that a secret too?
Cheri Honeycutt: Yeah, that's powerful. Who do I say that I am and would anybody know that about me? Because if we're living in our own head, especially those of us who can spin around, we make a couple of assumptions that everybody else is hearing all of that, right. And we may even be blind to what we're actually putting out in the world. We may actually be living completely different than what we say to ourselves.
DiAnna Ritola: Yeah. So when I have counseling clients and we talk about integrity, I'm really clear that integrity is the alignment of who you think you are, who you say you are, who you feel yourself to be, and the behavior that shows that. It’s living within that direct line within the center of yourself to your soul. And who do you say that you are to the deity of your understanding, even if that is no deity at all, but to the natural world around you.
I'm a person who thinks that Mother Nature lives, breathes, and wants right through my cells all the time. And if I believed nothing larger, more expansive than that, that is a really good indicator of am I in alignment in my integrity? Can I live in the natural world?
Cheri Honeycutt: I love this. So what you think, what you say, what you feel, and what you do -- integrity is when all those are in alignment. I feel compelled to say this and feel free to jump in here or correct me, but there may be moments where you're listening to this and I can think of times where I am not in alignment, that what I'm thinking, and what I'm feeling is not what I'm saying, and it's not what I'm doing. That doesn't mean I'm less than whole. Right? No. Our goal might be is you know, where--
DiAnna Ritola: Again, there's no way you're ever going to stay on the perfect straight, narrow path to your one true goal, like the perfection of you and never stray. How else would you know you're not there or where you want to go if you don't step off on the side route?
Cheri Honeycutt: Exactly. That's how you know you’re off.
DiAnna Ritola: My brother, several years ago, after a night of hard drinking, he and I were having a conversation and he goes, “Well, sometimes you need to cross the line to make sure it's still there.” And I said, “Well, I guess that's true.” And let me just be frank, I was the person who was calling with the hard drinking and the head. I'd like you to think that I would never do such a thing because I always know tolerance, but that's absolutely untrue. I have had the times of, you know, I think the nice way of saying is I got over served but no. The real (inaudible) was I over served myself.
Cheri Honeycutt: Your elbow bent a lot. (Laughs)
DiAnna Ritola: It did. And in paying the consequences in my body of that, I got to revisit “How do I mean to show up?” Oh, yeah, there's that line.
Cheri Honeycutt: Absolutely. There's that line. Yes, my friend used to say. She talked about feeling balance. She said, “I know what balance looks like as I swing past it.” And that’s where I go you know, I know where those lines are off and I see them only as I swing past them.
Then I have another acronym that I use at least for myself is this idea of PAIN, Please Acknowledge I'm In Need. So sometimes when we have that pain, whether it's a pain from a hangover or it's “oh my god, my checking account is on zero again because I over shopped” or I'm looking at yet another friend who wrote a book and I haven't sat down to write yet.”
Whatever that pain is, when you can recognize it -- that discomfort, that pain, that squinchy, that secret, that you can't digest anything in your body (inaudible) -- I'm in need. Some part of me needs some love, to be seen, to be acknowledged because it's out of alignment. Does that ring true?
DiAnna Ritola: Oh, yeah. And I find that the older I get and the more I practice this because of course, it's a spiritual practice to stay within yourself, I find that I notice stepping over the line much faster. I don't need to be in as much discomfort or pain before I go, “Oh, wait a minute!”
Cheri Honeycutt: There it is.
DiAnna Ritola: Well, there it is. I definitely need to pay attention more. I need to know myself. And most times that involves stopping. It means, “Whoa, sister.” You don't need to continue going in this direction because it already doesn't feel good. You don't need to try to make this person your friend even if you admire her, think she's fabulous. I am not going to meet Glennon Doyle in this lifetime. I can admire her from afar. I don't need to pretend that we're Instagram buddies because who cares?
I use Glennon Doyle as an example because I am a person who lives her life, except I didn't marry Abby Wambach. I married Michelle Fitzsimmons. I could go on and on about how fantastic and wonderful and accomplished my wife is, but I'm not in competition with Glennon Doyle. I'm actually not in competition even with myself. That is one of the hardest things for me to remember.
Cheri Honeycutt: Right. I’m so glad you brought that up because I told you I made no notes really before we got together, but I lied. I made a few notes. Because I loved what you said, you guys are listening, I asked my guest to just fill out a questionnaire and one of the things you “copped” to, which I loved, was your challenges, number one, you wanted things to move faster than they perhaps were in your life. And then I love this one, comparing. You spend some time comparing, which you just brought up. And then, this facade of coolness. (Laughs) Do you remember writing that?
DiAnna Ritola: Yes. Because I would love for you all to think I am super cool. Super cool. And let us just be frank, I wanted that. I have wanted to be super cool since what sixth grade. So in sixth grade, here's the example. The cool thing to wear in my school was a crewneck sweater that had your initials embroidered, monogram.
So what I got was the knockoff version of that. Instead of my three initials with the last name initial being the large one and your first name and your middle name in smaller script on the side. I got a big old D in the middle, which wasn't quite as large as L for Laverne and Shirley. But it was not cool. It was very obviously not cool. It was very obviously trying to mimic what the cool girls were doing. That would be sort of the descriptor of much of my existence in that kind of realm is that I had often felt that I was two degrees off of cool. But I was trying real hard and somebody who didn't know what cool really looked like might think I was cool.
Cheri Honeycutt: Yeah. Right. You were cooler to the folks who were four degrees off cool.
DiAnna Ritola: Exactly. I had semblances of cool. But ultimately, what I have understood is that cool often isn't something that I even want to attain in the same way that I used to. I want to look good for myself. I mean I do like an admiring glance. I do you like someone to say, “Wow, that shirt looks awesome on you. I like your hair.” And I will tell you that my hair is my crowning glory because I am now getting these fabulous gray streaks to it.
Cheri Honeycutt: Don’t even start. I'm so jealous of your grays.
DiAnna Ritola: I just love it. I highlight it. Let's just be frank, I'm going to play up my best parts because I'm human and that's what we do. But I will also at the same time, gracefully and graciously, acknowledge that I'm not very cool. I get really upset about the world. I still want some people to be my friends when they're too busy or too distracted or whatever. I get my feelings hurt. I wish that my children were doing this, that, or the other time to make me feel better. I mean, I'm not above any of that. When I say I’d like to be cool, sometimes it involves looking at being somebody else. And that never feels good for a very long anyway.
Cheri Honeycutt: I think about clients who come to me and folks who might be listening to this podcast, this sense that a couple of things you've just said here, we often look way outside of ourselves, we pick the best things that somebody else is doing. Like, I might pick the person who faithfully exercises and she's in her ideal weight and she's perfect. So I'm going to compare myself to her one. And that may be the only sliver of her life that's actually working. She could be, you know, a hot mess. And where I have a phenomenal marriage and she may be… I don't know the backside, right?
I do this in business. I look over here and look at how they've got this and that and that. That comparing game, we never win. We're either comparing ourselves as better or less than and neither of those is helpful.
DiAnna Ritola: When I find myself comparing that's when I end up getting on that crazy treadmill of like what if I just move at faster? Then I could have the success that that person has or that I think that that person has. Or I can outrun the failure that I would just watch somebody go down in flames about blah blah blah because I am moving faster. It is never about that other person and their accomplishments. I'm just so much happier when I go, “You know what? Good on you. I'm super glad that you have done that. I'm going to sit over here to do my thing.”
Cheri Honeycutt: Yeah. Now, I do think and I believe you would agree with me here that we are often shown examples of what's possible. And so when I look at folks, and I go, all that is possible. And if I see something that somebody else has, and it pains me, then that is showing me something I want. I believe if I really want it, then it's in my capacity to have it. Where it's tricky for me is that it's not the same pathway. It's not the same path.
DiAnna Ritola: That’s it and it won't look the same way. Brené Brown writes yet another fantastic book that makes us all feel like “Oh, I'm so seen. She totally she gets me. And why am I not writing that book? I know these things. I could write these stuff all the time.
Cheri Honeycutt: Do you not read every chapter and like, I could have written that. I'm like that's good.
DiAnna Ritola: I've already said that to 16 clients this week. But understand that we are all given a different path. And the people I'm meant to work with the people I meant to have an impact upon need me in way--
Cheri Honeycutt: In a way and the way that you're doing that.
DiAnna Ritola: Yeah. They have already figured out that that is something that matters to them. Brené Brown doesn’t do one-on-ones with folks that know me.
Cheri Honeycutt: Right. Yeah. We need all of us at all levels. I'm thinking about this morning and before this podcast, really realizing that that I'm, of course, inviting people on this podcast right now, folks who are in business, or part of their personal mission is also sort of out there in the public eye, but it's really important for folks who listen to this is that that's not the goal. It's about living your life. If you serve lunch to the elementary school or if you drive the bus for your community or if you are doing volunteer work or you're a nurse during the pandemic--all of that is where you're supposed to be.
DiAnna Ritola: Entrepreneurship is not for everyone. And it's not even for me most of the time. I accept that the alternative is I'd have to have a boss who would tell me what to do. I like that less.
Cheri Honeycutt: Yeah. I like that less, too. Same here.
DiAnna Ritola: I have clients who are like, “I would never work for myself.” My wife, she works for the fire department. She likes knowing when she goes in, when she's done, what the scope of her job is, and that there are chains of command because it's paramilitary so there are chains of command. She says, I couldn't be self-directed like you are. I couldn't make myself write this thing or plan this event or run this retreat or whatever. I am on the path that works best for me because I've tried others and they don't fit as well.
Cheri Honeycutt: Exactly. So in that sense of sort of beginning to land our airplane here together, that sense of living on purpose, designing our life on purpose, is as trite as it sounds, first of all, it's a journey. If there are secrets or if there are parts of yourself that you hold disdain for or at the very least make you uncomfortable. Those secrets or those denying of yourself can lead to sickness, if you're not willing to take a look at it. But the quicker you look at your desires and you can then pivot and build more of what you want, the happier, the more integrity you have. And as weird as it sounds, the happier we are, the better the planet is. I kind of even roll my eyes when I say it. But it is really true, isn't it?
DiAnna Ritola: It is because of the ripple effect. I'm not going to know someone in Paraguay, but I might know someone who knows someone who knows someone who knows someone. And if I'm doing myself justice and I'm treating that person that I know well, then we ripple. We can't help but do so.
Cheri Honeycutt: We're rippling whether we want to or not. It's are we going to ripple positive or ripple negative. And so that sense of happiness and that sense of we're worth it, that work that we do on ourselves that the effort that we make to release old patterns so that we don't repeat them for the next generations. All of that is time and effort well made. The pursuit of happiness, which I call happiness, I don't mean bliss. I mean, happiness meaning contentment on some levels and joy is a noble pursuit, is a noble pursuit.
DiAnna Ritola: It is. In Hinduism, they have multiple levels of spiritual advancement. And really one of them is finding pleasure and filling your body with pleasurable experiences. In Dianic Wiccan, The Charge of the Goddess says, “All acts of love and pleasure are my rituals.” And that changed my entire life when I figured that, when I read that, when I was in my early 20s. All acts of love and pleasure are my rituals. Because I was brought up in religion that said, “Oh, no, if you're happy, something must be wrong because you're not right.” You better be sad and you better be flogging yourself. You better get atoning.
Cheri Honeycutt: So that flew in the face of what were raised.
DiAnna Ritola: Right. And so when I realized that by feeling pleasure in my body, whether that's I had a nice, warm drink. I had a nice, cold drink. I have good food. I'm making love. I'm hugging my friends, you know, vaccinated. (Laughs) I am enjoying what this particular experience is in my body I have also connected yes to my divine purpose.
Cheri Honeycutt: Absolutely. Absolutely. Because we are I don't know how to speak to this in any way that's articulate. But on a quantum physics level, we are cells. We are connected. We are connected, DiAnna. That sense of when we really get our head around that, it's kind of mind blowing. It's mind blowing. It's also makes it pretty simple in some ways. It's taking charge and responsibility for how do I feel better? How do I feel as good as I can? That's by first and foremost not denying the things that bring us pleasure? Awesome.
So I've got a couple of questions for you that I'd love to wrap up and end. First of all, is there anything that I haven't asked you that you'd like to share? Here's your opportunity.
DiAnna Ritola: Of course, my mind goes blank.
Cheri Honeycutt: Of course. And everybody, you know, it's funny, I might even start to take this question off because everybody kind of goes blank when I ask them.
DiAnna Ritola: Well, sure, I mean, because we could talk for another four hours and everything would be just as juicy and fun. Yeah. I think that the only thing that I would just reiterate. Secrets are sickness. Even if you only tell yourself the real truth, it will ripple out from there.
Cheri Honeycutt: Beautiful. Yeah, I love that. I wrote that with a big star beside it here. I love how you've qualified it even as it doesn't have to be a billboard. It doesn't have to be anything more than you just look in the mirror and have integrity with yourself. Awesome.
When you're starting to feel yourself as we were talking about swaying past that line when you're starting to feel yourself being less centered, less on purpose, less driven by some of the things that are not in your best interest, what do you do to get back on track? What are some rituals?
DiAnna Ritola: I stomp my feet.
Cheri Honeycutt: You stomp your feet.
DiAnna Ritola: Or just try to get my feet on to dirt. I just get barefoot and I go on to dirt. I put my feet in water. I am a big fan of sitting by a river. I don't currently live near any but water. I ground myself in the natural world. That's a big piece. I take a nap. Because very often, when I'm feeling very spinny or not in control, what I am is exhausted. I take a nap even if it's just I lie down on my bed or on my couch for a few minutes. You know, like I don't always fall asleep.
Cheri Honeycutt: No, but you've stopped.
DiAnna Ritola: I stopped the stimulation. I stopped. I stopped looking at the computer or my phone. I stop listening to whatever's coming in that is overwhelming my ability to be centered in myself.
Cheri Honeycutt: I love it. Unplug.
DiAnna Ritola: Unplug. Yeah.
Cheri Honeycutt: What I say to my kids is like no more screen time. Overstimulated. You just reminded me of a good friend of mine. Her motto is kind of like whenever she's stuck, she's like, “Go drink a glass of water and try to poop. And then we'll talk.”
DiAnna Ritola: Yes! My dad's an interesting man. Let’s just put it that way. He is like many men and many men of his generation incredibly opinionated, but he had some simple rules about how to fix things when they were not going well. If it was internal, you drank a glass of warm water. If it was external, you put peroxide on it. If it was not your body, you use duct tape. And in all else fails, go to bed. I will tell you, I don't know where he came up with it. But he said it and we laughed and laughed and laughed as kids. And by golly, if it is not the most true thing.
Cheri Honeycutt: Is it not? So it's warm water…
DiAnna Ritola: Warm water, put peroxide, duct tape, or go to bed.
Cheri Honeycutt: You know what, that is your best seller. That is your best seller. I'm just saying.
DiAnna Ritola: My next book.
Cheri Honeycutt: I'm just saying. I'm not even joking. Oh my god. So I'm Lola, if you had to put your motto or saying you'd want to put on the back of your car, you know, in a couple of words, what would be the motto you'd want to have on a bumper sticker? On the back of your car? This is a hard one too.
DiAnna Ritola: Well, because Call Your Facets Home really is—
Cheri Honeycutt: That's it. Beautiful.
DiAnna Ritola: I also used to use “Life is relationship.”
Cheri Honeycutt: That's a beautiful one.
DiAnna Ritola: It works a lot. We're never not in relationship even if it's only relationship with the memory of something or the idealized version of someone, including ourselves.
Cheri Honeycutt: But I would circle around that idea of Call Your Facets Home. That's a beautiful one. That's a beautiful one. Who were your mentors, authors, go-tos that inspire you? Who do you run to, their books when you need something?
DiAnna Ritola: I run to Esther Perel. She wrote Mating in Captivity. She talks about keeping sexual tension and excitement alive in long term relationship. Also, the Gottmans--John and Julie Gottman. These are sort of my relationship people.
My spiritual people. Ruth Barrett, Byron Ballard, Starhawk. I go with them a lot of my psychology people—Bessel van der Kolk, Brené Brown. I really value the women in my life, who consistently show up for me—so my wife, my bestfriend from seminary, (Inaudible), who's a minister in Minneapolis. Like the people that I can call and say, I need to talk about what and they will do that. And it's not a judgment. It is not a “you need to try better” because I already know I need to try better. But allowing me to process through what I know isn't working or the way I stubbed my toe again is one of those things that is invaluable.
Cheri Honeycutt: Beautiful. Again, I've mentioned a couple times, there's these things that are emerging as I talked to folks, and one of the things that folks who have found their way on this podcast with me have spoken to the value of having their people, some people, a few many where are they are really, truly accepted as who they are cultivating a tribe of sorts.
DiAnna Ritola: I had never understood how valuable it was until my mom wasn't there. She couldn't be there and because she had been my big cheerleader when I was having babies. When I was fulfilling the agenda, I was awesome. If I couldn't be that person, and she couldn't be the person that I needed to step into that next evolution of myself, the self I needed to grow into, then who would be there?
Cheri Honeycutt: Right. And so for anyone listening to this, this is this is something I feel really compelled to just reiterate. We're not necessarily by default, given the people we need. In fact, more times than not. We have to take 100% responsibility for cultivating, navigating, claiming, looking for, creating relationships because they don't just show up at your door.
DiAnna Ritola: And sometimes they’re people you overlook initially. I have developed a very close relationship with my aunt, my dad's sister. She has been the cheerleader than my mom couldn't be. My sister and it’s just lovely to remember, all these people also hold parts of myself. They have memories that are similar to my memories, but from a different perspective. It is so vital for us to have people who hold the memory of who we used to be, who can celebrate us into the person we have been or we are becoming and who also hold that vision of like, and now what? Right? Because you’re not done and we don't know where this is going exactly. But now what is exciting and interesting and vital to you to express within yourself and to and to experience and to learn.
Cheri Honeycutt: Oh so good. Congratulations. And I say that because like I said, you went to a dry well at one point at a real significant point, but that you didn't give up. You found folks both in your family and outside of your family, DiAnna. You're curating a beautiful, very intentional, lovely life. You're impacting thousands and like that ripple effect, we can even say millions because we don't know where it's all gone. That's not hyperbole. That's true. The ripples, the ripples, the ripples.
My final question? If given a choice, is it dark chocolate or milk chocolate?
DiAnna Ritola: It is dark chocolate every day of the week.
Cheri Honeycutt: I'm glad we can stay friends good.
DiAnna Ritola: I don't mind if milk chocolate passes my lips. I'm not going to kick it to the curb.
Cheri Honeycutt: If given a choice…
DiAnna Ritola: And thank goodness, I live a life where choice is something I have also curated very well.
Cheri Honeycutt: Very good. DiAnna, I know that I have been touched beyond belief. Golly, I tell you, I'm leaving this conversation feeling immensely grounded and grateful and inspired. I say this, if you've listened to any of the other podcast, you may have heard me say this before, but I really want you to trust if you've been pinged at all about something, I'm going to invite you to take a few minutes in a few time write it down, do a little time to explore if DiAnna said something that pinged you, that needs a little more exploration. Give yourself that gift.
I'm going to encourage you, particularly if you've been pinged to reach out to DiAnna, with technology, you could find yourself in a phone call with her and within a couple of days. That's how the world works? If you've been paying to talk to me about something to make a comment, I don't know. Just follow those inspirations and those nuggets and give yourself the gift of curiosity and love and attention for anything that might have been stirred up today. That would be my encouragement.
DiAnna, thank you so much for walking your walk and doing so in a way that models that for others. Thank you.
DiAnna Ritola: You're welcome. And I'm glad to be here.