Aug 082012
 

When Farah, the editor-in-chief of Huffington Post Parents, sent me this essay, I read it aloud to Sister through tears.

We really are all in this together. I’m thrilled and honored and humbled, and by humbled I mean wickedly proud of all of us Monkees and parents.

A couple Kairos moments a day. Good enough for me.

Congrats Farah and Lisa and Happy Birthday Huff Post Parents!

Love, G

Aug 142012
 

These are some things I just figured out. You probably already know them.

 

  1. You do not have to change in order to love yourself. You have to love yourself in order to change. That means embracing yourself completely, right now at this moment -as a bitter, scared, disorganized faithless mess. This is called radical self-love and we will be practicing it here. After you have learned to love yourself completely, just as you are- good change comes. Only then. Loooooove then change, not chaaaange then love. We must stop loving ourselves conditionally. We MUST stop being such jerks to ourselves. We must treat ourselves how we’d like others to treat us.
  2. No one can have it all and people should just stop saying that already. I just listened to a woman give a speech the other day about how you CAN have it all. You can be a GREAT MOM and a SUCCESSFUL BUSINESSWOMAN and a SEXPOT with your husband and a SOCIAL BUTTERFLY and THERE! You have it all! (Apparently, those four things are It All)  IIIIIIII have it all, she said. Look at me! If I can do it, so can you! I watched her dispassionately, eating my gigantic bowl of popcorn.  I’m sure she meant well, but I kept thinking: you don’t have it all, lady. For example: you’re not a fisherman. Fishermen get up before sunrise and pull on their plastic gear and head out onto the bay before anyone in the whole world has woken up. They glide through the water and they sit, and they wait, and they work, and they watch the sun rise over the water and they say good morning to God first. And that is their slice of happiness. Made just for them. Not you, not her, not me.

Each of us has our own slice of happiness, and nobody, but NOBODY, gets the whole happiness pie. After Rebecca Sono won her second gold medal, she said that her strategy was to “keep her mind in her own lane and not worry about what the others are doing.” Brilliant, Rebecca. We just get our own lane and there is enough brutal and beautiful ahead of and behind us. You can’t have her lane and she can’t have yours. Nobody has it all. We each just have our own lane of the big old pool and our own slice of the happiness pie, and that is quite enough. Others will have things and experiences and successes that weren’t meant for us. Vice versa. Good design. I don’t want it all. I’m sufficiently enthralled and exhausted just finishing my own lap in my own lane, thank you very much.

3. Don’t go to a park with your four year old, buy her a gigantic soft serve ice cream cone, and then deposit her directly on the merry go round. Just don’t. Bad news, bears.

 

There is so much going on in Monkeeland. I’m swimming a bit. Just keep swimming, just keep swimming.

 

Here goes:

 

Monkee See  – Monkee Do has applied to become a real life 501(c)3. This means lots of important things, all of which I will have other people eventually explain. In the meantime, your donations continue to do incredible good behind the scenes. During the last week, we’ve purchased a gravestone for a mama who couldn’t afford one for her son. We’ve helped a Monkee mama (who bravely escaped an abusive situation) get an apartment and a fresh start. We’ve also begun a project with a little company called Microsoft. They reached out to us  -wanting to help the world through US  – and we have paired them up with a special needs school in Baltimore. Monkees – JUST WAIT ‘till you see what’s gonna happen next. We’re talking miracles, friends.

 

Also- next week we will reveal our new book club pick which was written by a Monkee and International best selling author. When we’re done reading the book together- we’re going to change the world together. Seriously, we are. Along with the author. I mean, it’s all too much, really. It’s RIDICULOUS what’s going on through you Monkees. So much more info to come soon, promise.

 

Another thing – some Monkees have been noticing and alerting me to the fact that lately I’ve posted things with typos. It’s a pet peeve for many Monkees and I GET IT because it used to be one of mine too. I used to fancy myself a total grammar snob. But I’m getting over it. Because there is so much need for love and inspiration that there is no time to wait for perfection. If I wait till I get things perfect, I’m afraid I’ll never share. I mean this in the broadest sense. And so as Momastery grows and there are more demands on my time and my heart, expect me to love and write with more love and less perfection. That’s where I’m at.  See how I ended that sentence with a preposition? Don’t care. Mistakes are okay. Let’s consider them endearing, in general.

 

One more thing. As I enter this time of my life- publicity for the book- a teeny bit of “success pressure,” etc etc…I sense something happening to my heart. I think competition is trying to sneak in. Insecurity. Worry. Last night, for the first time-  I read one of Cheryl Strayed’s books. I’ve never read her before. Dear God, she’s amazing. And I felt myself start to panic a little. OH MY GOD. SHE’S SAYING ALL THE THINGS I WANT TO SAY, BUT BETTER.  I actually thought about CLOSING her book and NOT reading anymore because my heart was panicking and shriveling a bit.

 

AND THEN I HAD A LITTLE TALK WITH MYSELF ABOUT ABUNDANCE. About my own lane. About plenty of pie to go around.

 

I will NOT let my heart shrivel like the Grinch in the face of others’ beauty and talent and glory. I will SHOUT IT FROM THE ROOFTOPS instead. I will celebrate the success of other writers and artists because IT IS GOOD. Because there is enough for all of us and each of us. We each have our own lane and so we can cheer each other on loudly and with total abandon.

 

So I posted the cover of Cheryl’s book, Tiny Beautiful Things, which is tearing me UP, and this morning she posted this:

“Oh, you are all so sweet. You made my day on a day when I truly needed it. Thank you!” on our facebook wall. CHERYL STRAYED posted that. She needed US today. Wild. Which is her other book, by the way. Ordered this morning.

Please, do yourself a favor and get your hands on some Strayed. She’s already changed my heart and head for the good and for good. She is raw and wrenching and sometimes her essays actually sort of HURT they’re so beautiful. Thank you, Cheryl.

 

One more thing: my family is going through some health things right now which I won’t discuss in any more depth than to say that it sucks a bit. A lot. Life can be so hard. We are waiting for some test results right now and I fell asleep last night thinking about how I am totally sure it will be bad news. And then I woke up considering what a fraud I am, writing about faith when it is so clear to me that I have, like, none. When anything’s about to hit the fan, I’m always pretty sure it’s gonna be you know what. I never really believe we can pray bad things away. I don’t have that kind of faith. Bad things happen. God doesn’t protect us from them.

 

But then I thought that maybe I do have faith, it’s just a different kind of faith. I believe that shit happens. But that with the right eyes, ears, patience, and perspective, that shit can become Holy. I just read this quote from Robert Frost… “In three words I can sum up everything I know about life: it goes on.” I think that’s so beautiful. Makes me think about Anna’s Jack.

Right now, if I had to define life – it would be this: Holy Shit.

It’s all holy. All of it, especially the worst of it. I know this. Just gotta keep reminding myself.

 

I love you.

 

Off to California in a few days to meet with some Hollywood producers. Any fabulous ideas for Monkee-like shows, movies?

 

Love,

G

 

 

 

 

Aug 232012
 

School is beginning.  Many of you have written to ask me what our family “Back to School” traditions are. If I haven’t responded, it’s because I stared at those questions and thought: CRAP. I’m supposed to have Back to School traditions???

If any, I suppose our traditions are getting crazy excited (Craig and I, not the kids), cursing through Target on the hunt for specific brands of scissors, and MAKING LUNCHES again. Why is making lunches SO hard?

Also, this: The Talk. We have The Talk with each child at the start of every school year. Our approach changes, but the story doesn’t. The story is always about Adam. Chase knows Adam’s story by heart now, and that is the point.

Please don’t forget to have The Talk. Below is how I do it, but like Rumi said, there are a thousand ways to kneel and kiss the ground.

One way is to copy and paste this letter, change Chase to your kid’s name, and read it together. That’s what my girlfriends do. Totes fine with us.

Love You So. Happy School. And to those Monkee Mamas who left their littles at college this week. Well done. Well done, mamas. You can love them just as ferociously from a distance, right? With more time for manicures and books.

Carry On, Warriors.

Love, G

originally published on august 28, 2011

Dear Chase,

Hey, baby.

Tomorrow is a big day. Third Grade – wow.

Chase – When I was in third grade, there was a little boy in my class named Adam.

Adam looked a little different and he wore funny clothes and sometimes he even smelled a little bit. Adam didn’t smile. He hung his head low and he never looked at anyone at all. Adam never did his homework. I don’t think his parents reminded him like yours do. The other kids teased Adam a lot. Whenever they did, his head hung lower and lower and lower. I never teased him, but I never told the other kids to stop, either.

And I never talked to Adam, not once. I never invited him to sit next to me at lunch, or to play with me at recess. Instead, he sat and played by himself. He must have been very lonely.

I still think about Adam every day. I wonder if Adam remembers me? Probably not. I bet if I’d asked him to play, just once, he’d still remember me.

I think that God puts people in our lives as gifts to us. The children in your class this year, they are some of God’s gifts to you.

So please treat each one like a gift from God. Every single one.

Baby, if you see a child being left out, or hurt, or teased, a part of your heart will hurt a little. Your daddy and I want you to trust that heart- ache. Your whole life, we want you to notice and trust your heart-ache. That heart ache is called compassion, and it is God’s signal to you to do something. It is God saying, Chase! Wake up! One of my babies is hurting! Do something to help! Whenever you feel compassion – be thrilled! It means God is speaking to you, and that is magic. It means He trusts you and needs you.

Sometimes the magic of compassion will make you step into the middle of a bad situation right away.

Compassion might lead you to tell a teaser to stop it and then ask the teased kid to play. You might invite a left-out kid to sit next to you at lunch. You might choose a kid for your team first who usually gets chosen last. These things will be hard to do, but you can do hard things.

Sometimes you will feel compassion but you won’t step in right away. That’s okay, too. You might choose instead to tell your teacher and then tell us. We are on your team – we are on your whole class’s team. Asking for help for someone who is hurting is not tattling, it is doing the right thing. If someone in your class needs help, please tell me, baby. We will make a plan to help together.

When God speaks to you by making your heart hurt for another, by giving you compassion, just do something. Please do not ignore God whispering to you. I so wish I had not ignored God when He spoke to me about Adam. I remember Him trying, I remember feeling compassion, but I chose fear over compassion. I wish I hadn’t. Adam could have used a friend and I could have, too.

Chase – We do not care if you are the smartest or fastest or coolest or funniest. There will be lots of contests at school, and we don’t care if you win a single one of them. We don’t care if you get straight As. We don’t care if the girls think you’re cute or whether you’re picked first or last for kickball at recess. We don’t care if you are your teacher’s favorite or not. We don’t care if you have the best clothes or most Pokemon cards or coolest gadgets. We just don’t care.

We don’t send you to school to become the best at anything at all. We already love you as much as we possibly could. You do not have to earn our love or pride and you can’t lose it. That’s done.

We send you to school to practice being brave and kind.

Kind people are brave people. Brave is not a feeling that you should wait for. It is a decision. It is a decision that compassion is more important than fear, than fitting in, than following the crowd.

Trust me, baby, it is. It is more important.

Don’t try to be the best this year, honey.

Just be grateful and kind and brave. That’s all you ever need to be.

Take care of those classmates of yours, and your teacher, too. You Belong to Each Other. You are one lucky boy . . . with all of these new gifts to unwrap this year.

I love you so much that my heart might explode.

Enjoy and cherish your gifts.

And thank you for being my favorite gift of all time.

Love,
Mama

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