Warrior’s aren’t born, they are forged from the harsh experiences that shape them as they strive to defend what is sacred and true. And geniuses aren’t born either-or are they? Courtney Ramm would know, as she’s one of 229 offspring born from the controversial “Genius Sperm Bank”, a genetic experiment that existed in the 1980s and ’90s. With a predisposition for “genius”, Courtney found herself driven toward success. Following her passion for dance, by the age of eight she was studying at the renowned School of American Ballet and soon thereafter, performing on New York’s greatest stages. At twenty-five years old, she acted upon a strong inner calling to start her own dance company in Hawaii. When she first locked eyes with Marcus at a spiritual gathering, she sensed something was off in the uncanny intensity of his stare. But she dove into a relationship anyway, not grasping the graveness and outright danger of the decision. Eris Rising is a story of breaking deep karmic patterns, grappling with the calling of destiny, and changing long-held karma into mission. With the powerful feminine warrior spirit of Eris as inspiration, this memoir shows how it’s possible to move forward after life-altering “mistakes”, and recover the true “genius” within.
Born and raised in the heart of New York City, Courtney Ramm has followed her passion for dance since childhood, which led to a career as a professional dancer, choreographer, and teacher. She’s directed dance schools, performed, and taught all over the world, from Singapore to Thailand to Manhattan. With her Master’s degree in Dance Education, Courtney has led wellness retreats in Hawaii, focusing on empowerment and transformation. Courtney is the founder and artistic director of the non-profit dance company, RammDance. She blends her love of dance with holistic healing, and is a certified Pilates instructor, Yoga teacher, Ayurvedic consultant, Theta healer, Master Detox Chef, and Reiki practitioner. Alongside her focused training and career in dance, writing has always been one of Courtney’s passions. She knew she would write a book — although she never imagined her memoir would take such a twisted turn. Courtney is a full-time single mama to two toddlers. “Eris Rising” is her first book. For more information, please visit: https://www.courtneyramm.com
What’s the story behind the story? We’ll find out on Dropping In. Our guests are today’s original thinkers. Conversations that spark new ways of seeing what’s going on. We bring it all to the table. Diverse perspectives, controversy, loving and singular voices. Magically stories reveal the common threads that link us. Experience the joys, the fist pumps, the detours and the hard-won truths of those who blaze the trail so that we might do the same and now here’s your host Diane Dewey.
Diane: Welcome to Dropping In everyone. It’s Women’s History Month but today we’ll be focusing on the here and now. Even with the pandemic don’t despise your own place an hour. Every place is the center of the world said naturalist John Burroughs. You’re always nearer to the true source of your power than you think, the lore of the distant and the difficult is deceptive. The great opportunity is where you are. This morning we’re speaking with Courtney Ramm, author of the memoir Eris Rising. She’s in Hawaii amidst roosters. Welcome Courtney. Welcome to Dropping In.
Courtney: Thank you so much. Glad to be here.
Diane: If we hear any roosters it’s going to be an exciting new day I can tell you. We are delighted to have you with us. You are the author of Eris Rising and an authority on inner power. Born and raised in the heart of New York City. You have followed your passion for dance since childhood which led to a career as a professional dancer, choreographer and teacher. You’ve directed dance schools, performed and taught all over the world from Singapore to Thailand to Manhattan. With your master’s degree in dance education you’ve led wellness retreats in Hawaii focusing on empowerment and transformation. You’re also the founder and artistic director of the non-profit dance company Ramm Dance and the mother of two children Sky, a girl and Ocean a boy whom we know from Eris Rising your first book. I wonder with that introduction Courtney if you would describe yourself for us. How do you see yourself at this point?
Courtney: Well no matter what I’m doing in life I always see myself as a dancer even if dancing isn’t what I’m doing morning to night. It’s something in me. It’s an identity that has shaped me to who I am. Dance is a part of me so I just see myself as a dancer first. After that I’d add on mother because that’s very much my reality right now is mother of two very young children but there’s always that artist in me, that artist, dancer, musician, artist encompassing everything not just the visual arts music and dance. That’s really how I would describe myself.
Diane: Well that’s a beautiful description. We can also look at your website courtneyramm.com. There are beautiful segments there of you dancing. I noticed, couldn’t help but notice that you dedicate your book to your mom Adrienne for helping me back up after every fall. This seems to be in your shared experience of dance. She was a dancer in the Isadora Duncan tradition. Danced all of her life also all around the world. As we hear from Confucius, “Our greatest glory is not in never falling but in rising every time we fall.” there is an ark to your story. You’re back in Hawaii. Is that right now for an empowerment seminar or how do you find yourself there now?
Courtney: As my book kind of tells a story Hawaii was for me like a fall home, a place where I finally felt like I landed home even though I don’t have any Hawaiian relatives I don’t think at least blood relatives. My story takes me to different places. It takes me to Texas and California eventually. Making this move back to Hawaii was something in my heart for years. I will be hosting retreats here but I am here to be here.
Diane: That’s very cool. The arc of the story is that amid a budding dance career Courtney found herself in a whirlwind romance relationship one that resembled a perfect Hawaiian sunset at the beginning and somehow this I’m quoting from Eris Rising, “Only 16 months later resembled the aftermath of a Midwestern tornado, a stark scary scene of desolate destruction.” enter the charismatic green eyed Marcus who you met during your 20s. You were 25 when you decided that you needed on top of the considerable accomplishments you had in dance that it was time to bring a man into your life to complete it. He turned out to be a polyamorous narcissist, a cult follower and something of a sociopath. I would say a sociopath for sure.
Eris Rising is the story of this arc, a story that you describe as breaking deep karmic patterns and changing long-held karma into your mission that the powerful feminine warrior spirit of Eros glad we’re in Women’s History Month is your inspiration. This memoir shows how it’s possible to move forward after life-altering “mistakes” and recovering the true genius within. I just congratulate you on this very brave memoir. It’s something that took me back to decisions that I made in my younger version of self and lots of times we like to keep those under wraps fearing that we look stupid. Your memoir on the other hand is very brave. You completely uncover this chapter of your life. I wondered how the reaction has been since the book came out in fall of 2020. What’s been the response? How has it changed your perception of those times?
Courtney: You’re right. This is a very personal story and there was even part of me that was concerned about writing something so deeply personal, writing things that people that knew me well didn’t even know and yet I was going to put it out to the whole world. There was definitely an element of am I really
Going to publish this. I was just amazed when I started sending the manuscript out to people before it was even published. How much feedback I got that people were relating to my story and it was like, it helped them understand their experiences even things that happened to them many, many years ago. That gave me that confidence that this could be out in the world.
Since it’s been published I’ve had the same experience. I have people messaging me and reaching out that it’s a deep story that they were able to figure out their own relationship issues. It helped them, help validate things for them as well. What was I going to say? The reaction from close family, the reaction from close family that was actually what I was most nervous about. I was like oh my gosh like my own family is gonna, was gonna read this. Like can I like have other people read it but not like the ones who really know me. That response has been incredible like my sister, my aunts and uncles. They’re just like wow, you went through all this like you came out of it and bravo for writing your story down because that’s not easy either just to write it. I was surprised at how much, how relatable the story was to people.
Diane: We surprise ourselves and our family surprises us sometimes with their embrace of difficult truths. You had to really go there. I think you went into a period of time when we’re all really fallible making goofy choices in our twenties not exactly knowing ourselves very well. You happen to find yourself in an obsessive relationship. I wondered if the obsessiveness that drove you to be perfectionistic in dance which is not easy. It requires discipline. You were a student of the school of American ballet in Manhattan, a very prestigious ballet school from the time you were eight years old. The discipline, the setting aside personal life in order to accomplish things in the world of dance did it kind of set you up though in a way of not having a lot of experience first of all and also having a tendency towards being obsessive and perfectionistic that you were somehow drawn.
We hear all the time in songs I’ll follow you to the ends of the earth. Here you were in beautiful Hawaii with your dance troupe. All of this going for you and yet you met Marcus and you did start to follow him to the ends of the earth. I wondered if you felt this obsessive component that you own it now, that you see it for what it is. Did it work to your disadvantage as well as in your favor?
Courtney: That’s a really interesting topic. I definitely was very naïve and experienced because I have devoted my life to dance as you said. I wasn’t having kind of like the normal upbringing of a teenager would have. It was just my choice. I was very focused on ballet at that time and was training all day. Some of my friends had boyfriends and I could see how it distracted them from the training. I was like I don’t want that. Like I don’t want to be obsessed with a relationship like I want to be a ballerina. I need to be in a company by the time I’m 18. I need to focus. I need to stay centered in my training. I didn’t have the normal experiences that a lot of teenagers would have by choice.
Then I had a few experiences. Then when I met Marcus, I just there was something in me that didn’t want to give up so as the red flags started to appear and most people would have just turned away at the first couple. I felt that like obsession to but I wouldn’t at the time I wouldn’t call it an obsession when I was experiencing it but I guess looking back that probably fits that word. It was like this devotion that I had to see it through. It was very, very fast, very intense relationship. I mean by the time I was pregnant that was that was pretty much it. I was like well, we’re gonna just be together like we’re getting married. This is the one like that’s good thing I found him already. He said those words even though it didn’t match his actions at all but when you hear someone telling you exactly what you want to hear it sort of like confirms that that’s the truth. Then you need to stand by it and make sure that is what happens.
The obsessiveness I’d say yes the single focus, the determination that’s like something in me that’s like I’m going to get what I want and this is what I want. I saw this perfect person. I was like this is this is my dream partner that I’ve been wishing for since I was a kid. He just here and forget all the red flags. I mean this is the one. We can fix all those things. There was definitely some thinking that wasn’t quite logical at that point as my heart was invested into that relationship.
Diane: Well love is often not logical and that’s something we all know. It doesn’t mean that we aren’t geared or wired to pursue it. I think that there was also the aspect of Marcus that he was kind of unobtainable. He was also always involved somehow either in flirtations or questionable associations. He was married to in order for a woman to enable her to get her green card. There was a lot that you had to defer or set to one side as this gorgeous man appeared in your life, told you everything you wanted to hear. You began to I think shed your sense of self. We’ve all lost our way at one point or another and needed to take back our own power but for you it was maybe even more pronounced because the idea of accomplishment and genius it’s very much embedded in your biography because and I think much has been made of this but I’m going to share with our listeners what you also describe in your book that you and your brother and sister were one of 229 born from the controversial genius sperm bank.
There was an anonymous sperm donor who created you and your brother, another one who created your sister Landra who has gone on to become an opera singer. She was interviewed by Anderson Cooper. She was on The View. Much has been made of this sperm bank idea, this expectation that you’re going to always excel no matter what you do. It’s going to turn out in this wonderful way. It hardly allows for any human fallibility. That’s the most natural thing in the world at this age. You had to experiment to find yourself. I wonder if you felt like just that was a lot of baggage to be carrying around.
Courtney: There’s a lot of bags to carry around that expectation. If there was like a funny part in my book where I had just I think I just left that whole situation. My sister got a call about an interview about for these children that were born of the sperm bank. I was like okay, don’t talk about me. Don’t mention my life. Don’t hint anything’s going on so this is that image you need to feel like you need to maintain. Well yes, you can’t make any mistakes. Everything has to exactly but everything has to turn out right because you came in with this like predisposition. There’s an expectation set and so if something’s not going right you definitely don’t want to be sharing it especially on a huge like a publication media source, an interview or something like that.
Yes, I feel like the book kind of like maybe humanizes that aspect that it doesn’t matter what your upbringing is. It doesn’t matter how great your parents were or all these like opportunities you can have. You’re still just living your life and you’re gonna end up making mistakes. That’s part of life and then how do you recover from that. How do you use those for your growth that’s really what I wanted to highlight about the genius sperm bank in my book is that coming in with the great start can only give you so much. You have to learn for yourself. You have to try and experience things for yourself to get the true growth.
Diane: It’s self-acceptance. You were keeping it real and this is another reason that I really do say bravo. This book it really, you decided to dismantle this whole image of yourself and deconstruct it in a way so that you could understand yourself better so that those of us who have done obsessive things, been in obsessive relationships and who are perfectionistic and Lamott, the author says, “Perfectionism is the oppressor. It will keep you tied up in knots forever.” if you take these steps to accept and forgive yourself. There’s a lot there. You’ve tapped into a really rich vein. I would think that there are a lot of people out there who will respond to that and also embrace the idea of let’s accept ourselves. Let’s really look at I’m totally over the whole freak show of adoption, sperm donor babies. It’s time to normalize ourselves and to accept really who we are from within ourselves.
We’ve got to take a commercial break but when we come back we’re going to continue this fascinating conversation with Courtney Ramm about her book Eris Rising, a beautiful memoir and we’re going to try to understand the balance of nurture and nature. You did come from an exquisite family, one that helped you come back up from your falls. I’m not sure any or all of them were really “mistakes”. Don’t go away. We’ll come right back on Dropping In.
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Diane: Welcome back everyone. We’re here with Courtney Ramm author of Eris Rising: A Memoir of finding the warrior within. Courtney, it’s a brave book. It’s also an eminently readable book. There’s some humor in it. There’s a lot of touching moments in it. There’s most of all the uncamouflaged you. That is really what memoir is all about. It’s not about the performance which may have comprised a lot of your life as a dancer. You were always performing. I love that you took us behind the scenes, that you took us away from the stage and behind the curtains. I really think there was a lot encapsulated in your quote, “Warriors aren’t born. They are forged from the harsh experiences that shape them as they strive to defend what is sacred and true.” can you tell us a little bit about what for you is sacred and true having gone through all of this?
Courtney: As you’re reading that I was actually flashing back to when I wrote that sentence. I know where exactly I was sitting on the floor of my apartment and it just came out of me. I remember that just like the sense just kind of spilled out of me and I was like that’s interesting. What do I mean by that? What is sacred and true? For me having gone through the experience I did in that book I felt like I mean to be honest I felt like I was victimized. I felt like things were happening to me and I couldn’t control them. Everything that I believed in like a loving, healthy relationship and a family and raising a baby together. It was like almost in everything I believed in and I felt strong value towards that was just like thrown away from me and I couldn’t get it back. It was it was devastating.
Then I had to fight to tell my truth because when you’re in a relationship with a narcissist or sociopath, they turn your reality upside down. Up is down and down is up. You’re confused. You don’t know if they say one thing, they do something else. It’s a very confusing state to be in. For me it was getting back to that sense of who am I and what is my truth and how can I stand by that so that no one can take that from me anymore because it was, it’s a true story. It’s a pretty intense story of what I went through in the relationship and then ending up on a church cult you could say campus living there and having to deal with a lot of corruption going around me and how did I deal with that and live in it and deal with it.
For me it was like standing up for justice, standing up for my child’s safety, my children’s safety. Not giving in anymore to with the easy way or going back to a relationship because it would make my life easier because there would be two parents and not one. It was really standing up for what is right and what is true taking away all this falsity that was placed in front of me and around me.
Diane: Well you were not stupid. These are the fantasies that we all share. We’re going to have a happy life. We’re going to have a partner in life whatever gender. We’re going to maybe have a child. We’re going to create together. We’re going to build a life and a world. I think it’s those fantasies they’re deeply embedded. They are in us from stories from ancestors from all time. I think that to have that shattered and to still come back and speak about it that is true wisdom and that is true strength. I will first of all point out that even though you chucked it all from the serenity and the exquisite kind of creative world you created in Hawaii you left Hawaii at the behest of Marcus. He was the one who went into the cult world of the church. It wasn’t really your bag. It really wasn’t your thing but you stood by him because that’s what we’re taught to do.
You probably figured I’m a strong woman. I will again recreate myself. I will establish a dance world here in Dallas, Texas which as you point out in the book it’s not exactly conducive. You started getting around the big hair and the people with just the phoniness and the mega mansions where you’re trying to just have a walk and you’re just gaping. I can just see it as a removed from the natural beauty of Hawaii where you’ve returned to somehow gives me a good feeling that you’ve done that but I want to go back to what we were also talking about the nature and the nurture. You came from this really great family and you also probably wanted to recreate that. I mean that’s a part of it. You didn’t make this up. You came out of a great place. How did that play in? You had a mother that gave you unconditional love. Your dad is really a cool guy. You of course wanted to recreate that and then you wound up with someone who took away the ability to understand what’s real.
If I can give listeners a kind of a culminating point. At one point you now have given birth to Sky. You’re on the church campus where your husband is, he’s not a husband but your partner is working. He manages to, he’s going to escape before you do. Anyway bottom line he takes the car and he basically attempts to run you over. It’s horrific. When this happens the church goers, the church board of director person with his wife comes out and starts telling you, the victim, that you’re going to lose custody of your child if you say anything about this incident. How do you go about reclaiming the truth for yourself and re-establishing what is real?
Courtney: Yes so you just gave away because that’s okay though. Still read the book. It’s that crucial moment where something, the universe stepped in. There was so much wavering in that situation. Am I gonna stay? Am I gonna go? Am I gonna stay? Am I gonna go? Oh my gosh everything’s going well. There was like these great moments but then it would go back into not great moments. There was so much wavering on my part and I just couldn’t make a decision am I going to stay or am I going to go. I wanted to be able to stay but it was an unhealthy situation and I could see that.
The car incident being basically attacked by my partner in a car which you can’t really fight a car when it’s starting to run you over. That was the moment that switched everything that I could not go back anymore. That was the only way that that was gonna happen. If it happened any other way, if I decided I’m gonna leave I would have ended up going back because I was about two weeks pregnant. I just found out I was pregnant that day of the car incident. It was a situation that, it was very difficult and that those were I’d say the darkest moments after the few weeks to a few months, even days, weeks, months after that were so difficult because of that shattering of my reality.
As you said I was lucky to have a great family so even though I was born from sperm bank I had a dad not my biological dad but a dad who was there. My parents were married for 40 something years until my dad passed away a couple years ago. I had that support so it was like exactly what you said I grew up in it. I had my mom there. I had my dad always there for me. The kind of parents that you could call at like three in the morning I would just be like ready to talk to you which I did sometimes when I was living in different countries and the time changes. My dad would answer the phone in the middle of the night and be like hey, how’s it going like those are the kind of parents that I had that would do anything for their children.
Then I just kind of I thought that’s what I was going into. I thought I was going to have a partner like that. That’s what it was at the beginning so there was a shift. In the beginning Marcus was that person. He was doing everything for me. He wasn’t really doing anything with his life. He devoted himself to my dreams and my dance company and supporting me however he could. Then it flipped when we moved to Texas.
How did I rebuild? I mean rebuilding that I feel like is why I wrote the book because it is a process. It’s a very deep process. It’s like it goes so deep that’s why I talk about karma. Karma into your mission. I was also raised in a Buddhist family which maybe it’s not unusual now in this day but when I was growing up in New York City it was very unusual to be Buddhist and to be chanting a couple times a day when that’s not like the norm especially like growing up in Manhattan. The karma is the what we bring into this life from all of our past lives or past experiences. I had this karma within me to have that experience like it was almost I feel like it was a destined experience. It was destined for two children to come into the world. How do we take the difficult things and turn it into a mission writing a book about it, empowering other people. It’s not just something that I went through and it was really hard and I got through. It’s like how can I make something good out of something that was so bad.
Diane: I’m wondering about the role of intuition. You were not unaware of what was going on. Do you place more significance on your own inner governance and compass and intuition now that you’ve had this experience?
Courtney: Absolutely. I find it kind of funny like I feel like we’re kind of given these opportunities to keep learning the same lessons in different ways until they’re like really learned. I can spot out. My intuition speaks louder now. I mean I’ll just try to give you like an example of going into a lift pretty recently maybe a couple months ago. A lift car for rides in the airport or something like that and having a sense that the driver was crazy. He didn’t really do much that was crazy. He was nice and took my bags and everything. I just got this sense that this person is a psychopath like something’s not right but my intuition just spoke up. I couldn’t put my finger on it because there was nothing concrete wrong with him. It was actually the opposite really. Super nice.
As the ride went on he started telling me about his life and it was very interesting. I was like okay my intuition was right. It gave me that confidence that I can trust it more because I will say after what I went through I was actually scared to trust my intuition. I was scared to follow my heart because I felt like how I can trust myself anymore. Anyway it was it was kind of funny having my experience a few months ago and not really knowing why I felt like my intuition was kind of saying like warning, warning, warning, danger. I have my kids in the car. It’s a dangerous situation.
Diane: What did you do?
Courtney: What did he do?
Diane: What did you do?
Courtney: I made sure to not keep in contact with this person even though that was, he was offering me all kinds of other help I needed. I just was like I had to say no even though there was that part of me that’s like oh but I could use that help and that like tendency to want to accept someone’s offer for help in situations. I had to just like I don’t want to get into any novels being written out of this.
Diane: It’s like a replay. It’s like a replay of the super nice Marcus who then has diabolical. I think you’re correct in you know trusting your mistrust. Really just saying to yourself wait whoa this feels very familiar. That’s what intuition kind of is. It lines up a whole bunch of unconscious impressions with what’s happening and you say wait a minute. This is not kosher. This is not cool. I think that wow, it’s a big thing to overcome a pattern like that, to set the boundaries. It sounds to me as though you’ve learned how to do that for yourself through the inner guidance system that you have of intuition which was pretty good all the way along. When you read this book it will really help those of us who have squashed our intuition, our inner knowing in favor of something else, in favor of something that was on our list.
Here’s what I need to do in life. I’m going to take a job. I’m going to meet a man. I’m going to check these things off doesn’t work that way right Courtney? It’s really much more organic than that and you have to listen to yourself. How long has this process been since the events of the book to where you are now? Just give us some insight. You were studying in New York at the end of the book am I correct? You were in graduate studies again. What’s been happening you in your real life?
Courtney: Actually it’s funny that on March 4th of 2014 now seven years ago is when I first moved to Hawaii. It’s like my seven year anniversary. The events of the book I lose track also. I have to think about how old my daughter is to remember all this because it all kind of feels like another lifetime ago to me but yes, actually it really does. I feel like a different version of myself completely but it was, she’s three and a half so it is a good three and a half years ago I guess. Four years ago, four years ago to three years ago were the events so pretty recently I guess you could say although it doesn’t feel very recently. Then with two babies I moved back to New York. I decided to go to graduate school. I went to NYU which was very kind of radical decision. I had like a nine month old and a one year old, one and a half-year-old and from New York so it wasn’t like I was moving to a totally new place but to embark on being a student again was something I felt like I really needed and actually felt like I needed it for my healing. I felt like I needed it to move forward in my life because the story of what I went through was so traumatic for me it was a 16-month relationship with two children and a move thousands of miles away. It was like it all happened so quickly.
The healing process wasn’t as quick as I wanted it to be. I wanted to give myself two months to be with my immediate family, my siblings, my parents and then just like move back to Hawaii, restart my life and what’s the big deal. Just do the same things I always know. A baby and another baby. I wasn’t really like realizing how traumatic that whole thing was and how long it would take to really feel like I could move forward again. Moving to New York City and going to graduate school it renewed my sense. I love being a student. I thrive on being, I’m studying anything. I love being in school. I love taking classes. It’s like part of me is this lifelong learner. It gave me that sense of just getting to be a student and learn. That’s what eventually led me after that to come back to Hawaii. I felt like I got this this crash course. I kind of renewed myself in terms of dance and teaching dance. That’s a very long-winded answer.
Diane: I love the answer. I love it. I think you’re a student of life for sure and this could echo on for quite a while. We do have to interrupt for a commercial break I’m sorry to say but when we come back we’re going to hear more from Courtney Ramm from her book Eris Rising on soldiering on, on breaking patterns and on finding a warrior within that isn’t the one that’s your enemy. Don’t go away. We’ll be right back on Dropping In.
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Diane: Welcome back everyone. We’re here with Courtney Ramm and we’re talking about the warrior within. There is one kind of warrior that never relents and actually when in the face of when it would be common sense or in your best interest to let go of something says no, never say die. There’s a kind of warrior that is going to fight to the last. That kind of warrior is within us too right Courtney because this is also what you’re battling is this inner warrior. How would you describe the new inner warrior that you’ve discovered?
Courtney: The word warrior has a lot of different connotations. The reason I connected with that word originally was actually to the title of my book which is Eris Rising. Eris is considered the feminine warrior for strength, for standing up for what you believe so I really connected with Eris on many levels while I was going through at the time and I learned more about Eris and her place and the astrology of Eris. For me the warrior within is staying in your truth and not being swayed by those around you which is easy until you’re in love with that person. That can affect that because you want to start to give yourself away. I mean in my case I did. At least I started to give my power away and that experience taught me that that inner warrior stays strong. It doesn’t matter if you’re in a relationship or if you’re not in a relationship or what the other person is doing. It’s like you have to put yourself first. I mean of course in a healthy relationship you’re always thinking of the other person but especially in an unhealthy situation where you can see that and you’re maybe on the verge leaving or staying you have to, your life has so much value. You have to value your own self to be in those kinds of relationships where everyone’s valued. To me it’s really staying true to yourself.
Diane: When you grow up and in your own mind’s eye failure is not an option sometimes letting go of a relationship even though you’re not prioritized in it feels like a failure. It can feel like oh I failed at relationships but it’s the reverse. It’s a success. You have tapped into yourself, your own truth as you say. I wonder at the outset you described yourself as a dancer, as a creative person and certainly there’s a lot of creative inspiration there but I wonder if this warrior, this emanating kind of wisdom that you’ve tapped into. Is it also part of your mission now that you’ve written the book? Will there be other books? How do you incorporate this now?
Courtney: Yes absolutely. Definitely, I feel my book was like the snapshot of one very intense experience in my life and yet on a daily basis there’s and for everyone there’s always stuff we’re facing, challenges and I have to draw on that inner warrior, that strength from within. I mean it’s like life is the endless challenges to overcome. How do you face challenges with joy and not okay, here comes another problem but it’s how do you take each one and really grow from it. Definitely writing the book and having the experience of putting it on paper has allowed me to like sort of understand more of that aspect of myself. Definitely it’s part of this lifetime my mission, my identity as you said in the beginning. Aside from dancer there is that that warrior spirit which is constantly growing through every challenge.
Diane: And healing. I couldn’t help but look at the word uprooting when you moved initially from Hawaii to Texas of all places. When you’re uprooted you are, there’s Thomas Mann who wrote The Magic Mountain. He talks about it a lot like removing an individual from all relationships and being in a kind of free state is like a, it gives birth to forgetfulness. You forget kind of who you are. “Time they say is water from the river but alien air is a similar drink,” he writes. Now you’re back. You’re in your bootedness now. I feel like you’re not gonna be giving that up anytime soon or surrendering your power any time soon. There’s this sense of you being resilient in such a powerful way. I wondered do you feel now that you have come back to a kind of spiritual home and does it now feel as though you’re going to grow in these other dimensions as well as a result and how are the kids doing in Hawaii? All of these things I’m asking.
Courtney: That’s the one thing that’s funny that took me I feel like the longest to really forgive myself for was leaving Hawaii. I had a lot of forgiveness I had to work on for myself. Of course I had to come to terms the fact that I had gone into a relationship with someone who would confess to me they were in jail for 10 years. I mean like that was kind of like really? I did that but I had to but even more than that it was the fact that I gave it for someone, that I gave up Hawaii for someone else and that really took me the longest like I was telling you for I don’t know a very long time I would just say like I made such a big mistake. Why did I do that? Why would I have made that big mistake? Why couldn’t I have just stayed and been a single mom? Why was that not an option for me because for me it wasn’t at the time? I refused to be a single mom. I was like I’m not doing this alone.
I’ll do whatever it takes. I’m not doing this alone and yet that decision obviously it has the outcome of another child now. Okay single mom, two children. I was trying to save myself from a situation that didn’t save myself from anyway. Of course I’m very happy to have two children and I wouldn’t, that’s the gift of all this is that I have beautiful, smart, happy children. It’s just a blessing and also it’s a lot of work. The work is unthinkable. I thought being a ballet dancer was the hardest job on the planet. I really did. That’s the hardest job like we have to wear point shoes. Emotionally, physically on every level being a ballet dancer is a really hard career. Then once you have kids it’s like oh wait, that was easy. I just focused on myself all day. That was so much easier than this like constant needs of babies going a year apart.
They’re loving it in Hawaii. For me it’s so rewarding. I have these moments where I just have to be so grateful because it’s what I always wanted. I always wanted to raise children in Hawaii. I mean anywhere really and not anywhere. Somewhere deeply embedded in nature and with some strong spiritual sense. It’s like this land here is spiritual. I grew up in New York City and for me I went to the beach about once a year with my grandma in Far Rockaway, New York. It’s like Queens. Rockaway, Queens. The water was freezing. I remember it. Actually I loved it but it was like the freezing water. I just thought that that’s what the beach was like these huge waves and freezing water and like eventually get myself in the water once a year in the summer. Then like I crave that all year long. I crave that time at the beach and in the ocean.
As a kid my parents, they had three kids. They were struggling a little bit financially. Their son was autistic. Everyone had their own kind of expensive needs so we never went on vacations. We never went on any family vacations. I never got really anything else except for New York City which I loved but that was my only reality and subways and elevators. To have my children be so immersed in nature whether with horses and chickens and roosters and just like totally and that for me it’s really deeply fulfilling. There is this sense of coming back home. It wasn’t easy. There was reasons why it would have been easier to not make this move because it is an isolated island, isolated place but yet there was something in me that had to come back.
Diane: It’s really a dream come true and it’s coming full circle. That is a beautiful aspect of your story. Also the fact that you resisted so much being a single mom. Now you’re doing it and you’ve probably discovered in yourself unknown strengths that you can do this. It’s kind of an amazing thing when you learn about the repository of what’s inside of you. It’s really just a big affirmation that you can do it. I am so happy that of course the kids are loving it. What’s good for you is good for them. They sense the deep satisfaction in you and this is something that rubs off on them that they start to understand a palpable sense of creating satisfaction and peace for yourself in life. I think that that’s a wonderful role model that you’re creating.
I think accepting and forgiving that is the sort of takeaway. Believe it or not we only have a couple minutes to close. Anne Patchett, another author has said, “The best thing you can do for yourself is just to forgive yourself for every single thing that you’ve done.” Where are you in the progress now? We’ve got about two minutes to go and a parting word from you Courtney Ramm and this beautiful book Eris Rising?
Courtney: I feel like I could say with the publication of the book and returning to Hawaii I do feel that I had to forgive myself for all those questionable decisions I made and that led me to write this book. I could see how it was all ultimately for my growth. That’s what I could say to other people who are
Going through difficult situations or difficult relationships how can you grow out of it because we’re all facing, everyone faces problems. No one’s life is just perfect about problems but how do you take those and alchemize them and transform them into something that’s going to really heal you and help you have that inner growth, that inner strength that you’re going to carry forward for the rest of your life.
Diane: That’s so excellent and alchemize is such a good word. We don’t know how it happens but it does. Thank you very much Courtney Ramm for being with us. You end your book saying, “Forgiveness is giving up the hope that the past could be anything different than it was” which comes from Oprah but you’ve given us a huge gift by being with us. Thank you very much.
Courtney: Thank you.
Diane: Thank you. Find her on Facebook and Instagram. Thanks to our engineers Matt Weidner and Aaron Keller, to our executive producer Robert Giolino and most of all to you, our listeners. Remember to stay safe and find the courage within. Till next week. Thank you for dropping in.
Thank you so much for dropping in. Please join Diane Dewey again next Friday at 8 AM Pacific Time and 11 AM Eastern Time on the Voice America Variety Channel. We’ll see you then.