Mar 092012
 

 

Where to start?

This morning I’m exhausted and exhilarated and terrified and peaceful and in a state of utter disbelief. In short, I am just myself.

As you know, Sister and I set out for New York City on Monday morning for a three day whirlwind of meetings with the potential publishers of our Momastery book.

I have been working on my writing and this community for three years, and the most difficult part of the entire journey- by far- has been trying to figure out what to wear to these fancy meetings in NYC. After seven- YES SEVEN  –  trips to the mall . . . I still wound up in jeans. All week, every day. Actually THE SAME jeans all week. Fine. Clothes are like cereal and there are just too many damn choices and flavors and ingredients to consider and it’s all overwhelming and I’ll just stick to Kashi and jeans, thank you very much.

And no, for you newbies, Kashi is not paying me to say that. No one pays me here, ever. So while we’re discussing free product placement I MUST tell you that the most important thing I learned this weekend is THIS.

MITCHUM DEODORANT is THE HOLY GRAIL.

Oooh. Eeem. Geee. I’m a sweater. Sweat-er maybe? Pit stains are my nemeses. The second I get nervous my face turns red like really ripe tomatoes and my armpits start pouring like Niagara. In buckets. It’s Just AWFUL. A big life problem, in a first world kind of way. Grey shirts – Never. Patterned shirts- Perhaps.

We had two phone publisher meetings before we left for NYC and after each of those calls I had to CHANGE clothes. I even sweat watching talk shows. I get so nervous for the interviewers and the interviewees and all the awkward moments between them that I just sweat and cringe and duck behind my pillow and Craig says GLENNON: TELEVISION VIEWING IS NOT SUPPOSED TO BE AN ACTION SPORT. And this is one of the million reasons I love Ellen. She NEVER makes me sweat. She always offers her guests a soft place to land and awkwardness is so limited that I never have to change shirts after watching her show. Thank you, Ellen.

My point is that I was VERY nervous about my sweating problem when I considered TWELVE meetings with big time publishers. Then my friend Gena told me about this Mitchum. It’s a man’s deodorant, of course, because we ladies are supposed to have no sweat glands or at least pink or powder blue sweat glands. We are supposed to sweat pretty, I suppose. But I don’t. And you guys: MITCHUM. Go get it. Yesterday I had SIX MEETINGS in a row with very fancy people at very fancy huge tables (could you even see over them? Craig asked) and at the end of the day: no pit stains. I’m just saying, this stuff is a game changer for me.

Kay. Back to the trip.

I was nervous on the train ride up to New York. I mean, here I go…to some of the biggest publishers in the world  . . . to REPRESENT MONKEEDOM  and to attempt to put our magic into SPOKEN (not written!) words. Impossible.

Luckily . . . as they say: We can do hard things. Impossible things just take us a teeny bit longer. Teeny bit.

Still, I was slightly nervous and by that I mean paralyzed with fright.

But when I stepped out of Penn Station and smack dab into to the lights and frenetic energy of NYC, my panicky heart stopped panicking.  Because this is the first thing I saw.

 

 

Look at how sad Jesus looks. I think maybe he’s cold. That Jesus needs some sauna time.

But when I saw him I thought . . . if there can be a Monastery holding its holy ground in the middle of this city’s mayhem, then maybe my quiet, still, strong little heart can hold its ground, too. Maybe I can just carry my quiet around with me, in this noisy place. Maybe I can pack my heart in indestructible quiet like wrapping a treasure with enormous amounts of bubble wrap. Maybe I can Be Still and Know what I know.  And I did, immediately.  I looked at that Monastery and demanded myself to remember that I was in New York to represent love and peace and humor and disarmament and community. That I was just a little representative of those big universal ideas. Nothing new here. So let us begin.

 

And begin, we did. Sister and I checked into our fancy hotel and then we jumped into a cab and toward the Huffington Post. I was afraid because it appeared that the cab driver was actually trying to murder us, but Sister said that’s just the way they drive. Good Lord. No wonder the New York Momastery Jesus looks so concerned.

When we arrived at Huff Post, Farah, who runs the Parents Department met and hugged us like we were family and showed us around the amazing huge office where, as Farah said,  folks  “make the internets.”  Farah shares an office with Lisa Belkin. I love her and it turns out that I love her even more in person. She  gives good hugs and tells great stories.

Farah told me that we at Momastery are the heart of Huff Post parents. Yes, she said that to me. She also said she’d love to partner with us to pull off a humungous Love Flash Mob for Mothers Day. Really? I said. Really, she said. I can’t wait. Maybe we should have a single mom Flash Mob? Not sure yet. It’s just exciting, isn’t it? Our passion for caring for strangers is contagious. New York loves it. I heard they were tough up there, but honestly? That’s not what I saw. I met a bunch of soft hearted puppy dogs, really. Before we left, Farah asked if we’d like to meet someone and we said yes, of course we would – because that is how one should always answer that question.

Then Farah took us to Arianna Huffington’s office. And Ms. Huffington floated out and hugged us and told us that she loves our blog and writing. And she gave us signed books and asked for a picture with us. Unfortunately I said no words at all because she was so tall and beautiful and powerful and Arianna-ish that I was unable to make noises other than tiny squeals. I hope she didn’t notice.

 

Then Sister and I left the office and walked on air to dinner. Dinner in New York City, just the two of us. We held hands the whole way and she watched where we were going so I could stare straight up in the air because how on Earth do they make buildings that tall? How? People are amazing.

Then we got back into a cab and we hightailed it (NEW YORK IS IN A HURRY LIKE THEY’RE ALL TRYING TO ESCAPE A FIRE) back to the hotel. And we got into our jammies and made hot tea and snuggled into our beds and looked outside our floor to ceiling windows at the lights and the buildings and the energy and it was SO unbelievably and surprisingly comforting. Like listening to the ocean is comforting, but different. Listening to the ocean is wonderful, but always a little bit ominous, because the ocean is a little bit ominous. But listening to oceans of people wasn’t ominous at all.  It felt like I could go to sleep and everyone would keep taking care of things out there for me. And also, they’d be right there -still – when I woke up.  So I went to sleep, at eight o clock. This week I disproved the theory that New York City never sleeps. It is actually LOVELY to sleep in NYC. I want to go back immediately, just to look out the window and drink tea and then go to sleep.

But then all of a sudden it was morning and we woke up. And it was time.

To avoid this post becoming the actual length of our book, I will just tell you that the meetings were NOTHING like I expected them to be. The meetings were largely like sitting down with a group of brilliant and passionately interested friends, who would just like you to talk about yourself and your people for a long while. So it was heavenly, really. We didn’t talk business much or strategy or other things I don’t know about. We talked about writing and life and YOU. We talked SO MUCH about you. About our community and about how it is both magic and common sense. How it is proof that most women are not as competitive and polarized as they are portrayed to be in the media and how most people of faith are not as angry and vicious and close-minded as they are portrayed to be in the media. We talked about how most of us would like to learn from each other, would like to find in each other soft places to land. We talked about truth and love and peace. In one meeting, we talked about how Life is Not Hard Because You are Doing It Wrong, Life is Just Hard. I hadn’t really figured that simple thing out, exactly, until the moment it came out of my mouth. But the meetings were like that. The fancy people that I was nervous about all turned out to be Monkees, under all and after all. And you know what? You know what all of these meetings made me ridiculously excited about?

Meeting YOU. That’s what Sister and I talked about. How this book is going to be the excuse and vehicle we need to travel around the country (world?) to all of your cities and MEET and hug and look right at you.  I used to be really afraid of that idea, but I’m not anymore. Maybe because of the Mitchum.  I can’t wait. I’m ready.  I want to hear your stories in person and see your eyes and your kids and meet your friends. It’s going to happen. I can’t believe that.

On the way home from the first day of meetings, I realized it was 7:30 and time to call home and sing “You Are My Sunshine” to the girls, because it’s their bedtime song. So I had to sing right then and there, in the otherwise silent cab. I did not think that it was possible for that man to drive any faster, but as soon as I started singing, he sure did.

Right now, there is an auction going on for our book. I called it “our book” the whole time, because it is. We don’t know with which publisher we will land but the incredible news is that I can say with certainty that we cannot go wrong.  This is due to the diligent and loving and exactly perfect work of our Monkee agents,  Sally and Trena.  I PRAY that you will meet them, too. They deserve their own post, but just know that they are very, very special and will be my dear friends and sisters for as long as they’ll have me.

As soon as I know where our book will be born, and I’m allowed to share the news, I will.

For now, I just want to say THANK YOU. Thank you for believing in me and in YOURSELVES and in Love. Thank you for showing up here day after day and volunteering to do the hard work of creating community. The world has noticed your beautiful work. You have built a cathedral, a school, a zoo, a home, a deep, deep well from which thirsty people can draw.

This Momastery we have all created is beautiful, and it is enough. Apparently, it is also just beginning.

I love you.

G

Mar 152012
 

A BOM from March 18, 2011 . . . I like this one.


Last week, Annara left this question in the comment section:

 

How can we give our children the confidence they need to survive on Earth and still encourage the humility that I believe is pleasing to God?


 

For the past week, my little brain’s been flipping this question over and over like a pancake that won’t quite cook through. I think it’s one of the most important questions anyone’s ever asked me. I haven’t been thinking about it in terms of parenting, though. Usually, when someone asks me a parenting question, I switch it into a grown-up question. How do I encourage my child to be kinder to others? becomes…How do become kinder to others?A few years ago, after reading the sixteenth parenting book that contradicted the first fifteen, I quit trying to become a better parent and decided to just become a better person.

We usually think of confidence and humility as character traits, right? She’s so confident…he’s so humble. But here’s my problem . . . these character traits are easy to fake. Sometimes it seems like people who are quite insecure hide it by boasting, and others call them confident. And other people hide their pride behind false humility. It’s like the more insecure a person is, the more likely she is to behave confidently. And vice versa. Tricky.

And some people, like me, just get the two constantly mixed up. Like when I write an essay about humility and then spend the rest of the day wondering whether it might actually be the best humility essay ever written by anyone in the history of the world. I will tell you right now that the character trait I am most proud of is my humility. It’s true. I am so humble, it’s not even funny. Seriously, just don’t try to out-humble me, okay? I will wreckyour teeny little humility with my HUGE HUMILITY.

So – yeah.

Even though I feel like a lost cause sometimes in regard to this confidence/humility issue, I do think it’s an important thing to figure out. Maybe the most important thing to figure out. Because if we are humble without confidence, we miss the opportunity to become what we want to be when we grow up. And if we are confident without being humble, we miss out on becoming who we want to be when we grow up.

I think about it all the time as a writer. Spilling myself like this…is it an act of humility or confidence? I share my faults and flaws with you, which seems humble . . .but isn’t the fact that I assume you will care enough to read and maybe even find my flaws charming betray the confidence behind my humility? So writing in itself . . . living out loud . . . is it an act of humility or confidence?

Yes. It’s both. That’s what I’ve decided. To me, confidence and humility are two sides of the same coin. They are character traits that stem from the two beliefs I hold most dear. I think most of our character traits are simply manifestations of what we believe to be true.

 

I am confident because I believe that I am a child of God. I am humblebecause I believe that everyone else is, too.


They go Hand in Hand. They’ve got to.

 

If I am humble but lack confidence, it is because I haven’t accepted that there is a divine spark inside of me. If I am humble but not confident, it’s because I don’t believe in the miracle that I was made by God for a purpose all my own, and so I am worthy of the space that I occupy on this Earth. And that as a Child of God, no one deserves more respect, joy, or peace than I. As a child of God, I have the right to speak, to feel, to think, and to believe what I believe. Those dreams in my heart, those ideas in my head, they are real and they have a divine origin and so they are worth exploring. Just because I am a child of God. And thankfully, there is nothing I can add to that title to make it more impressive. There is also nothing I can do to lose that title. I am confident not because I am pretty or smart or athletic or talented or kind. Those things change and can be given and taken. I am confident simply because I am a child of God.

That is why I am confident enough to write so honestly to you. Not because I am a good writer. There will always be somebody better. So instead of relying on my writing abilities, I rely on the belief that I am a child of God, and as such, I have right to speak my mind with love. This writing thing, it’s one of my dreams. And I act upon my dreams because I believe that God is not just with me, but in me. I believe that He is the creator of my dreams. So it follows that when I act on them, magical things will happen. How could they not? Being a child of God is a free pass to be brave and bold and take great risks and spin around in circles with joy. If and when I fall, who cares? He will always be there to pick me back up. That’s his job. He’s my Father. So if I seem non-competitive, if I seem like I don’t care if I’m the “best” parent or housekeeper or dresser or whathaveyou . . . it’s not because I don’t care about being important. It’s because I believe I am the most important thing on Earth. Why would I care about competing in any other category when I am already a child of God? Why would I argue over a penny when I have already won the lottery?

 

And.

 

If I am confident but not humble, it is because I have not fully accepted that everyone has won the lottery. Because everyone has the same amount of God in her that I do. If I am in the habit of turning my back on others, it is because I haven’t learned that God approaches us in the disguise of other people. If I am confident but not humble, my mind is closed. If my mind if closed, my heart is closed. A closed heart is so sad. It is the end. A heart cannot grow any larger if it decides to let no more God in. There is always room for more. A heart expands exactly as much as we allow it to.

Humility is how I survive praise and criticism of my writing, ideas, and beliefs. Because I remember that neither praise nor criticism is really about me. We are all just trying to find the truth. And so I try to remember that I am on no one’s side. Not even on my own. I am just on Love’s side. And so I try to see different points of view not as reasons to step back further into my corner, but as reasons to take baby steps toward the middle of the ring – if for no other reason than to see my opponent a little closer. That perspective change is usually all it takes to remember that I have no opponents, other than my pride. I am child of God, and so is everyone else. Which means we are all on the same side. And so in each new person I see an invitation to know a new side of God. There are as many sides of Him as there are people walking the Earth. I think that’s why He keeps making people. He’s not done telling us about Himself yet. And so I remember that each person I meet or hear from, even if she’s not yet treating me the way I’d like to be treated, is the most important thing on Earth. There is no hierarchy of importance, of brilliance. We are each infinity importantBrilliant the last number. Because each of us is A Child of God. So we better recognize.

 

Those are the two sides of the Golden Coin I’d like each of my children to keep in her pocket forever.

 

Be confident because you are A Child of God. Be humble because everyone else is, too.




Love, G


Mar 182012
 

 

 

It’s been hard for me to write this week because big things are happening behind the scenes that I’m not permitted to share with my sweet Monkees yet…and that is WEIRD. You know I’m not used to holding back. All the info is coming –  there is nothing you won’t know – but I have been instructed to hush until everyone’s ready. For once in my life, I am considering following directions, but ONLY because it is for the good of all Monkeedom.

 

The past two weeks have been strange for our family. I have gone, overnight, from being a stay-at-home mama with a blog, to being a paid, full time writer. With deadlines and appearances and THINGS.  The first thing I told my husband upon this news was that we would be hiring help with the kiddos immediately, because one thing I refuse to be is a full time working, full time caretaking mama. I know some women who handle this very situation gracefully, but I also wonder if their graceful lives will be cut a little short by the stress because WOWZA.

 

So, we’ve been searching for a nanny. We found one upon whom  I have a bit of a crush and she’s coming over this afternoon. I’m nervous, thrilled, confused, stressed and worried. In short, I’m myself again.

 

I’m excited because, WOW, a nanny, right? I mean it’s a DREAM in so many ways. Another mama. Another wife. Another hubby around.  It’s gotta make things easier. And I’m going to WORK! I am going to put on something other than yoga pants and go somewhere and WRITE and it’s going to my JOB. Actually I’ll still wear yoga pants, obviously. Best perk of working as a writer.  And all of this is really exciting for someone like me, who hasn’t really left the house in a decade. I’ve been thinking that maybe I got my wires crossed with that whole adoption thing. Maybe God wasn’t telling me to adopt a baby- but to adopt a baby SITTER. That really makes more sense when you take a good look at the state of my already existing family.

 

But it’s odd, because I didn’t DECIDE to make this huge transition. The blog went insane and New York and Hollywood and all ends of the Earth called and in a whirlwind I became employed. It was a miracle, but sort of like the miracle when Dorothy returns to her bed after the tornado and her trip to Oz and she is thrilled to be home but also quite disoriented. My life has changed completely without my express permission and now we have landed in a world of nannies and ARE YOU MOMASTERY??? at the grocery store and some stress. Beautiful stress, but still – stress that doesn’t have anything to do with my immediate family and stress that didn’t previously exist.

 

We mamas seem to have issues surrounding the time we do and don’t spend with our kids. I’ve got this argument figured out perfectly in my head, it all makes sense there. But my heart has a tough time catching up. Like, my oldest got in a bit of trouble at school last week, and my youngest is being extra whiny and clingy lately. Usually I would think hmm, everybody’s jacked up this week. But now I think – hmm..everybody’s jacked up this week because I’m distracted. Because I’m working now. Because they need me and I’m not all there, not all here. Not all anywhere. There’s that extra part that didn’t exist as strongly before.

 

My head doesn’t even think that extra part is real. My head knows that I am honoring my children by writing just like I was honoring them by staying home. Because both were my dreams at the time, and I want to teach my children to follow their dreams. And because both were ways of providing for my family- and that is always honorable.It just gets complicated when it starts to FEEL like my dreams and ways of providing lie in a different direction than my actual babies.

 

Still. I will tell you that today, right now, my excitement is beating out my guilt. The one I feed will win, right? I believe that right now, all is happening as it should. Like this, this helps:

Desiderata

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and ignorant; they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble, it’s a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, it is as perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy. 

 

-Max Erhmann

 

The universe IS unfolding as it should. I did not make the trees or this blog or my babies or any opportunity which presents itself. I just respond and try to keep my peace. But I’m not trying to fix my confused and contradictory feelings. I’m just noticing that they’re there. Acknowledging them. It’s clear to me that life, God, fate, whatever you want to call it, has decided that now is the time for me to work. And I will. And I will still love my children, maybe better in some ways, because a scarcity of time encourages me to pay better attention. Keeps me awake when we’re together.

 

Parenthood is hard, whether we’re home or away or single or married or rich or poor. Parenthood is hard, not because we’re doing it wrong. Just because it’s hard. Like life. Both are hard because we love them so much. We love life and we love parenthood, and so we want to do it RIGHT.

But I’m not sure there is a way to do it right. We just listen to life as it makes its demands and we respond thoughtfully and we remember that sometimes, the more out of control things feel the better, because the less easy it is to pretend we’re in control.

We’re not in control. We’re just not. And that’s really more a relief to me than a problem.

I’m a mama and a wife and a writer and a woman and a sister and friend and a neighbor and everyone is just going to have to share me.

 

Hey WORLD- You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit.

 

New Monkee T-shirts, perhaps?

 

You too. You are enough. You can be shared, and all who share you can have enough. We must think abundance when it comes to ourselves. There is enough to give and enough to keep.

 

Don’t worry. Strive to be happy. The universe is unfolding as it should.

 

I love you with a deep, endless love. It’s true. Thank you for accompanying me on this definitively pre-destined journey.

 

Love,

G

*photo credit flickr

 

P.S. I know the website’s all jacked up this week, like my kids. We’re working on it, all is unfolding as it should. If you can’t comment here due to tech problems, comment here and I’ll pull them over when we get everything fixed. As if we’ll EVER get everything fixed. Ha. Life. 

 

P.P.S. Also, please pray for Anna today. Jack’s birthday. Love.

 

 


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