Limitless family, it’s Women’s History Month & what better way to celebrate than to feature a new phenomenal & inspirational Limitless Lady! Renée McRae, the Poet is an author, motivational speaker, & spoken word artist who is living the epitome of a #LimitlessLifestyle. Check out her amazing interview below & learn how words truly have the power to steer you in the direction of success. Also, download her newly released single “You Can Live Your Dreams” which are her motivating words to girls & women set to music! Available for download on iTunes & Spotify. You can also view the full music video at: https://bit.ly/2unTIjt.
1. What does it mean to you to live a "limitless life?"
For me, personally, being a “Limitless Lady” means to be living your dreams. In general, it means to push the envelope; to constantly, consistently & consciously not only think outside of the box but act outside of the box, as well. “The box,” meaning within the limitations of what is most commonly accepted as the “norm,” whether it be from one’s own mind or imposed by societal expectations.
Most of my life I have been perceived to be a risk taker. I never thought of myself as such, but in retrospect, I guess it is probably true. I’m not sure if that is a good thing or a bad thing because taking risks, doesn’t necessarily guarantee everything will turn out right or the way you want it to. But hey, no guts no glory, as they say! I’ve always felt, if I say “no” to something, the answer is automatically “no,” & it remains as such. So I say “yes.” Yes, through my fear; yes, through my limiting beliefs; yes, through my doubts; yes, through my learned habits. I prefer to look at it from the perspective that my mission is bigger than me, & thereby must take precedence over my insecurities. If that makes me a Limitless Lady, then I’m good with that.
2. You are a bold advocate for self-exploration, self-awareness, & self-acceptance. What has been your greatest victory with discovering who you are & what has been your greatest challenge?
Discovering who I am is actually an ongoing process, & the victory really is in understanding that & accepting it. In our current society, unfortunately, we want it right away. Success can’t be microwaved. Even the word ‘patience’ points to some calm level of impatience. However, success is directly affected by one’s awareness of self, understanding of self, acceptance of self & control of self. This is why I am such a “bold advocate” as you say. My work in schools, whether I am facilitating a student workshop, professional development workshop, parent workshop or an assembly program, is to assist others in embarking upon & understanding the process of self exploration. To discover or uncover, one’s own habitual patterns of thought, beliefs & behavior is paramount in becoming self determining.
Simply put, my greatest victory with discovering who I am was back in 1998. I had just quit my job in NC & moved back to NY to “find myself”. I was always looking under every rock & pillar leaving no stone unturned to find out who I am and what I am supposed to be doing with my life. My mom thought I was crazy – “You quit your JOB?!” was her reaction & is still seared into my memory. But there I stood, lock, stock & barrel on her doorstep with all of my belongings. I did temporary work as a legal secretary while I pondered my fate & questioned my destiny. “You said No? They offered you HOW MUCH MONEY?!” Yeah, I really put my mother through it as I searched my soul without wavering. My only reply was, “If I wanted a job, I would’ve stayed where I was.” I didn’t know what I wanted or what my future held but I had faith - unwavering faith. And then one night it happened. I woke up in the middle of the night from a dream in which I was in a classroom. I was teaching! Not English, math, science or social studies - I was teaching LIFE, & I was doing it through RHYME!! I remember thinking to myself as I sat up in my bed, “That felt so REAL, like that is who I really am!” Of course, my next questions were, “But who DOES that?” & “How am I going to do THAT?” The rest is history!
So, my greatest challenge, on the other hand, has been in accepting the process, trusting the process, understanding that every lesson is a blessing, & remembering that everything that is happening to me is happening for me. We won’t talk about what it takes to allow your children to learn that while you watch.
3. Your original poetry & spoken word is extremely healing. How has the power of words helped you in your journey through life & how could it help other women heal?
First of all, thank you for that compliment! Poetry happens to be the vehicle I use to communicate these otherwise widely-resisted concepts. Aside from the fact that according to the Bible we are made in God’s image, & God spoke reality into existence, I have found words to be the steering wheel in the car of my life. If I tell myself something negative about my day, my husband, my career, the driver next to me, I experience that reality. If I tell myself something positive about my day, my coworker, my mother (you get the drift) – I live that.
Words literally become the reality we experience, whether it’s true or not. It doesn’t have to be true to be the reality we live. Many women have limiting phrases stored up & waiting for the right moment: “All the good men are taken;” “It’s such a man’s world! “I’ll never get ahead!” “My kids must think money grows on trees!” etc. Whether you are consciously speaking/thinking these things or not, is irrelevant. You get what you pay for, & we are paying with our attention, we are paying with our beliefs, & we are paying with our words, all the time. Ask & ye shall receive.
That being said, I have been saved on many occasions by these poems, & I think other women can certainly find solace, comfort, peace & understanding from them, as well. I was at a workshop recently & an older woman approached me & said, “I met you 2 years ago & I purchased your CD - Truth Be Told. I listen to it every day in my car on my way to work.” She continued, “even when my friends get in the car, they say, “Are we listening to that again?!” I was floored. She said it makes her feel good, like she can do anything she puts her mind to. I’m often told, “You spoke my life!” or “Oh My God, I have to have a copy of that one you did about …[topic].” It is not uncommon for healing to take place while listening to or reading these poems because healing comes from within. The very human mechanism that holds us in our dis-ease, our dis-order, our lack, our reality, is the same mechanism that will set us free; & very often when the poetry is speaking to the right brain, the left brain becomes disengaged, & BOOM! - the healing begins. It only takes a moment for your guard to come down, & that is when it happens. You just feel better.
4. Finally, what goal or vision have you set for yourself in 2019? What are you doing on a daily basis to prepare to make this goal/vision a reality?
Interesting you used that phase, “goal/vision a reality” as I have just this week created (and booked) a parent workshop entitled “Vision to Reality.” But to answer your question, 2019 is the absolute FIRST year that I actually have made a commitment (not a resolution) to accomplish as much as I could & to be the best that I could be. I know that sounds vague, but I think this is the first time my fear of not achieving, is dictating, overriding & fueling my desire to achieve. My fear of having a plethora of unfinished projects around me, & ideas in my head not acted upon, has pried open the hands of my inhibitions & released its grip on my actions.
I am determined to travel to schools around the country this year & provide meaningful, life-changing workshops, assembly programs & performances. For the past 6 years or so, I have confined my services to schools in NYC, but I no longer want to stay in one place. I feel a calling that is stronger than my fear. To that end, I have been going to the gym at least twice a week, something I’ve been long avoiding & ignoring; I’ve been meditating daily & giving myself much-needed personal time. I even hired a speaking coach & joined an online support group for speakers who travel to schools. Additionally, my most recent unplanned project, “You Can Live Your Dreams” (poem-turned-song-turned-video) seems to be taking on a life of its own. I now have an assembly program which I actually presented in two middle schools in Las Vegas just last week, & I definitely want to do more of that. So, to wrap it up: Yup, my goals seem to be already happening!