Oct 252012
 

Nothing fancy to say today, I just wanted to check in and tell you that I’m okay-ish here.

I’m really, really tired, because being sad and confused is exhausting. Also, because I just got back from New York City, where I was giving speeches and meeting incredible people and discussing all the fantabulous plans for our book. This was my facebook status update  the second day of our trip:

Okay monkee monks. Day 2 in NYC. Speaking to reps of O mag, People, CBS, Today show, Redbook, LHJ, assoc press and more. Also, I didn’t sleep all night because, you know. But.. NYC lesson #2…We show up. Even when we are tired and broken and our faith is shaken. We show up and we say what we need to say. I feel you with me. I shall do you proud, with the help of lots of coffee and visine. Love you forever.

I did feel you with me. And I think I DID do you proud. New York was wonderful. But very, very fast.

To be fair, I live in what is basically a retirement community (for real) and the eighty year olds HERE are often a little too fast for me, with all their tennis and golf and water aerobics. LAY DOWN, EDNA AND FRED!! It’s a pool!! It’s for laying DOWN! C’MON HELEN, PUT DOWN YOUR FOAM DUMB BELLS AND ORDER A DIET COKE WITH ME! It’s a retirement village not the OLYMPIC VILLAGE, RUTH!  Jeez.

So  - New York City. Oh My God. It is EXACTLY like those Running of the Bull things you see on TV each year except I can’t find any bull. The people LOOK like they’re walking from afar, but the “walking” pace you are expected to keep is that of an Olympic track star. I have very, very short legs. And now my feet hurt so badly that I am wondering if some sort of surgery will be necessary.

And so I was just thinking, New York City. I love you. But I was wondering if maybe you could try this: perhaps tomorrow all you New York City people could set your alarms just ten minutes earlier than usual. Just ten. And THEN, you see, when you get off your train or bus or space shuttle or WHEREVER in the SAM HILL all you folks come from, you could look at your watch with great surprise and pleasure and see that you are ON TIME! And then you could stroll at a leisurely pace and enjoy your beautiful city.

I would also like to suggest cozier clothes. I think it will make you happy. Look at me. Like this, see? You are welcome, Mayor Bloomberg.

 

But I love you, New York. You left this for me, waiting on my hotel bed.

 

And your cabs are so damn terrifying that I got lots of chances to squeeze Sister’s hand tight.

 

 

You took really good care of me, after all.

 

Monkees, your love keeps pouring steadily and mightily into my inbox. That love is what is keeping me afloat. The net we’ve weaved these last four years is saving me. We were all strangers and then I threw you a story like a life line and you threw one back and then we all kept throwing each other lifelines until we’d built this solid, beautiful, strong net, like fisherman use, with a Monkee at every inch along the wildly wide diameter. I’m just sitting in the middle now. With lots of other Monkees. We take turns holding up the edges and sitting down in the middle. In the middle, we wait for some clarity. We give ourselves some space. We let ourselves be carried and watched over and protected.

I love you and I love our net. Nobody’s gonna slip through. We’re all gonna make it.

 

 

LOVE.

G

 

PS. Tish made me this welcome home sign:

 

 

Okay, Sister Tishy. I will.

 

Oct 192012
 

**Guest Post by Sister and ** Liz, ** Monkee See — Monkee Do Board member and Ringleader of the Microsoft – Battle Monument Love Circus**

 

We Take Care of Our Own

 My sister, Glennon started this blog with an audacious dream: if she told women her truth shamelessly, they would feel freer and more connected to their own truth and to the women who shared it. They would fill themselves and each other up with real things. And all that filling up would spill over.   We would take care of our Own.  And the world would be the better for it.

In the four years since Glennon began this wild Momastery experiment, you have built –through love and honesty and respect and restraint – a community of women taking care of ourselves and each other.  We take care of our own.

Two nights ago, Glennon shared with you her scariest, most intimate struggle yet and you responded to her bravery and brokenness with a wave of strength that will carry her through to the rising tide. I am deeply grateful to you for the way you are taking care of my sister.  You are proving, every day, that wherever the Momastery flag is flown, we take care of our Own.

One of the most important things my Sister has taught us is that our Own is everywhere. Our Own has been an embattled mother fighting for her life whom we’ve never met but whose desperation we share.  Our Own has been hundreds of neighbors throughout the country whose fears we eased through Holiday Hands serving their children, their health and their futures with whatever they needed.

Here, we take care of our Own even when she is a Stranger, because we know that when we see another through eyes of a sister, a daughter, or a mother, there is no such thing.  And we take care with small, persistent acts of love, because we know that is the only way to make a good thing.  No heroic cavalry to the rescue, but hundreds of broken, overflowing hearts rushing in.

A couple of weeks ago, Glennon introduced us to Battle Monument School in Baltimore County and the amazing staff and students there.

Battle Monument is an under-funded public school for students between the ages of 3 and 21 with severe and profound mental and physical disabilities.  Many of the children have cerebral palsy, Down Syndrome, Autism, and other severe medical complications. Many of the students are in wheelchairs, the majority of them are non-verbal, and a good number of them have visual impairments as well.

Remember that it was a Monkee named Natalie who introduced us to this wonderful school where she worked as a physical therapist. We introduced Battle Monument to Microsoft. And all three of us have been falling in love and making each other our Own ever since.

Monkee Natalie with sweetheart Victoria.  Last year Victoria’s walking was slow and deliberate. This year?   You better move fast if you want to catch her!

 

 

The reality is that it is impossible to be around these courageous, joyful students and this selfless, devoted staff and not recognize them as our Own.  The students smile as they endure daunting tasks. They are learning how to talk.  Learning how to walk.   Learning how to live. They are doing and teaching hard things over there at Battle Monument, and they are doing it with great love and joy.

 

 

This is lovey Josh – PURE joy.  He was the Student of the Month last month, and with that smile, how could he NOT be?

Dedicated Microsoft employees are giving countless hours and thousands of dollars to this project.  We at Monkee See – Monkee Do are working every day with the school to identify the specific needs of these brave kids, and to see how we can help take care of them.  And monkees have come forward too to give their time, talent and resources to these students and staff.

Monkees Lauren and Chris at kodokids.com donated thousands of dollars of educational materials customized to these particular kids.  Sensory materials, adaptive materials; materials these children need and would not have had if Melissa and Chris were not moved to take care of their Own.

Monkee Jane, from Jane Interiors NYC, is working with Microsoft to help revamp the school’s Apartment 108 – a place where the students learn life skills such as making a meal, making a bed and turning a lock.   Jane is donating her time and talent in honor of her sister Emily who lived a beautiful life with Down Syndrome and who died two years ago.  Jane takes care of her Own.

So many more monkees have come forward with help and with desires to help.  We have some good news.  It’s time.  And we need you.

First, the school staff has created “Dream Lists” of things that they need to make a big difference in the students’ lives.  We’ve put them in an Amazon.com registry.   All items will go directly to the school so they can start using these tools right away.  We need art supplies, music supplies, adaptive toys, and much more.  These vital treasures start at $5.   Here is the registry. If you can provide any of these little dreams to the school, it would be a miracle.

We can do no big things. We can only do little things, with great love. That one’s Mama T’s but we’ve adopted it. We were allowed to because there were no background checks.

 

Meet Michael – making his masterpieces with washable paint! Artists need supplies!

 

Second, we’re heading to the school on Sunday, October 28th, to donate our time working side-by-side with Microsoft volunteers for the day.  The Microsoft employees are going to install the donated technology and teach the staff and students how to use it.   Monkees will be working on projects identified by the school.  We Monkees may not be skilled labor, but we are laborers of love, and that will make all the difference.   If you are local and want to join us in volunteering at the school on that day, please sign up here.  We need about 50 local volunteers, and we’re making teams to do painting, gardening, and cleaning/organizing.  If you have a preference for one, please sign up in the desired time slot for that activity.

 

Students at the School Play.  Parents come twice a year and watch their child be the star of the show.  We’re giving them another chance to be the star of the show.  This show is all about you, lovies.

 

Monkees, let’s fly our flag.  Let’s take this chance to make the big world smaller and the circle of our Own bigger.  These kids need our little acts of love for their own.

Love,

Sister and Liz and TWMF and Microsoft

Oct 182012
 

**photo credit - https://www.facebook.com/avisionphotography.

 

******

Dear Glennon,

I’m still in my pajama/yoga pants that I rolled out of bed in and then took my kiddo to school in, I am drinking cold tea because warming it up is well, hard, and am eating a chuck of cheese out of the fridge for my breakfast/lunch. This is not one of my bad days. It’s just, you know, where I’m at today. I should be doing a million things but I am here, nursing my cold tea, because Momastery sustains me, and I hadn’t read it in a while. I’m glad I came today. I want to join you for a bit.
But first I have to tell you something awful. I’m embarrassed to admit that I used to get ugly jealous of your beautiful family. I’m ASHAMED to admit this. I’d think, well sure, Glennon can know that she’s enough but not TOO much because she has her peeps. And for me, it’s just me and my kiddo, and sometimes it is just too lonely for words. Just the other day, I was in another situation where I was just too much, I feel too much, I laugh too much, I cry too much, it’s just too much for everyone around me, and yet somehow I used to always feel like I was just never enough either. When I would be reading Momastery and embarrassedly think, ‘I can’t possibly think I’m ok, because I don’t have my own Sister or Husband or Bubba’ I would have to LAUGH at myself, at the silly, irony in my statement, just laugh. Because I had you, I had this place. I had this space I could come to at 3am and cry and laugh and be enough, but never too much.
Over the past year and a half, I have found solace and healing in the dark places because you have not been complicit in the darkness. You have shed light and with light comes healing. This place, this circle of Monkees have shed sacred light on so many of our dark places. In her book, Circle of Stones (not that I’ve READ the book, but I like the quote) Judith Duerk asks,

“How might your life have been different if there had been a place for you? A place for you to go… A place of women, to help you learn the ways of women… a place where you were nurtured from an ancient flow sustaining you and steadying you as you sought to become yourself. A place of women to help you find and trust the ancient flow already there within yourself…waiting to be released.”

I don’t have to wonder any more how my life might have been different if there was a place for me, because now there is. I thank you and all the brave warrior monkees for sharing your true selves.
The parts that seem battered and broken also tend to be the ones that shed the most light, don’t they? And then when I think that, I think well dammit, that is just NOT FAIR. And it’s not, but it doesn’t matter because it just is. And so today, my heart breaks for your heavy place, but it is also grateful for your light. So many of us have received our own News. I won’t get into the terror of my News or the healing journey of my particular story. The details are not important. What is important is that right now, here, breathing in and out, you are enough, but not too much. Right now, right here, you are sacred and loved. Glennon, my beloved, your light brings healing to us. And then our light reflects back. That’s part of the Monkee way this giving and receiving that is always mixed up and circular so that in the giving we are receiving and in the receiving we are giving.
With all these thousands of messages, we sit with you, our own small lights together creating a huge glowing space that surrounds you, until your breath reminds you that you are perfectly whole. In the midst of this yucky yuck yuck bullshit, you are doing the exact right things, whether that is biking through Target or crying through the afternoon, it is exactly right. We will sit encircling you until your breath comes more easily. Until the minutes don’t seem so long. Then we will sit some more. With virtual cups of tea, we will sit and keep your house cozy and safe while you solo out on your bike so that when you return home again you don’t have to feel emptiness. Sorry if we added to the crumb collection on the carpet though, Monkees can be a little messy. When you need company, we will ride with you in a kind of critical mass of broken mamas, perfect with our scars, singing the Rainbow Connection at the top of our lungs.
Glennon, I can’t promise you that we will be neat and I know I will be clumsy, but I can promise you that we will, that I will, do my best to try to be that place where you can be “sustained and steadied as you seek to become yourself.” I am wrapping you in love and light, breathing in and out with you, and praying for your highest good, for your family’s highest good, for Craig’s highest good (and I can tell you Mama, that last one is a little hard, but I can do hard things). Sister on, Glennon. We are Sistering right along with you.
Love, love, love,
Margaret
P.S. “There’s a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” -Leonard Cohen
“The wound is the place where the Light enters you.” -Rumi.

***********

 

It’s 5:30 in the morning, pitch dark outside, and I’m in my yoga pants and hoodie. Before I got my coffee, I rushed to my computer, because this is where God is these days. He/She sends me love through here. I woke up to 200 new comments and 40 new emails since last night and I read each one slowly and found myself thinking- “I am the luckiest girl in the world,” which is a strange thing to think at a time like this.

But somehow I missed Margaret’s comment, and I saw an email from Bubba that said “just in case you missed this one,” with the above beauty attached;

In her book, Circle of Stones (not that I’ve READ the book, but I like the quote) Judith Duerk asks, “How might your life have been different if there had been a place for you? A place for you to go… A place of women, to help you learn the ways of women… a place where you were nurtured from an ancient flow sustaining you and steadying you as you sought to become yourself. A place of women to help you find and trust the ancient flow already there within yourself…waiting to be released.” I don’t have to wonder any more how my life might have been different if there was a place for me, because now there is. I thank you and all the brave warrior monkees for sharing your true selves. – M

Margaret- I didn’t really know until I read your email that everything you wrote- it’s MY DREAM. The book is not my only dream, the mini-fame is not my dream, the “perfect marriage” isn’t even my dream. THAT. What you just said, is my life’s dream. Creating a place for you is my dream.As my Tish says, WHAT ON THE HECK??”  Apparently it took the crumbling of my old life, the crumbling of the walls all around me, to see what was built outside. A city of women loving each other was built. Standing strong for each other. A circle of stones. For us.  JESUS. It’s a freaking miracle. I’ll take it, M. I’ll take The Crumbling to have learned that this circle is REAL.

Dearest M and all of the Monkees –  please know that you have made this okay for me. I do not throw that out there lightly. I have read and reread and rereread your stories and I know the road that’s coming is a doozy. But I WILL WALK IT WITH YOU. AND I WILL WALK IT IN THE LIGHT. No hiding. No shame. No pride. So I will be okay. I have my circle of stones. I don’t have to pretend that being a woman is anything short of WARRIORISM.

One more thing. Craig is at a place where they have “family week” coming up. He has asked me to come. I refused. No way, Jose. (‘Cause let’s face it, his real name might very well be Jose. Who knows?) My parents wanted me to go, everyone wanted me to go, but I said NO. NO, NO. I am taking CARE OF MYSELF FROM NOW ON.

I want you to know that something about your cumulative messages has changed my mind. I’m going. I’m going to bear it. I am NOT going to grin and bear it, but I am going to bear it. My Adrianne said- “G- when you are falling off that new bike of yours, steer TOWARDS the fall and you’ll be okay.” She probably meant that literally, because I am horrifically clumsy and un-athletic, but I accepted it as relationship advice. And then my special, special friend, Mr. Ruble said, “There is a great deal of pain in life, and perhaps the only pain that can be avoided is the pain that comes from trying to avoid pain.” (R. D. Laing)

So because of them and you, I am going. Whatever pain there is, it’s time to face it head on. There might be a time to walk away, but that time is not now- and this is all about timing, I think. One little decision at a time. And you know, the truth is that I have less to mourn than I originally thought. Because what I thought I had wasn’t real. So now I have a chance, whether it’s with Craig, or by myself, to have REAL. We need real. We just need REAL. We’ve learned that here, right? That’s all we need.

I don’t know how to say thank you. How does one say THANK YOU for all the time you’ve taken out of your busy, full lives to write, to pray, to cry for me and my family? I can’t. I’m crying now. Not heartbroken tears, but heart-broken-open tears. Different.  I am just forever, forever grateful for you. You’ve made me feel brave again. I AM BRAVE AGAIN! I can do this. I can do truth and real, even if it’s brutal. Because we know where there’s brutal, there’s beauty. We’ve already found it.

I LOVE YOU. I NEED YOU.YOU ARE MY DREAM COME TRUE.

Love, G

 

Thanks
Listen with the night falling we are saying thank youwe are stopping on the bridges to bow from the railingswe are running out of the glass roomswith our mouths full of food to look at the sky

and say thank you

we are standing by the water thanking it

smiling by the windows looking out

in our directions

 

back from a series of hospitals back from a mugging

after funerals we are saying thank you

after the news of the dead

whether or not we knew them we are saying thank you

 

over telephones we are saying thank you

in doorways and in the backs of cars and in elevators

remembering wars and the police at the door

and the beatings on stairs we are saying thank you

in the banks we are saying thank you

in the faces of the officials and the rich

and of all who will never change

we go on saying thank you thank you

 

with the animals dying around us

our lost feelings we are saying thank you

with the forests falling faster than the minutes

of our lives we are saying thank you

with the words going out like cells of a brain

with the cities growing over us

we are saying thank you faster and faster

with nobody listening we are saying thank you

we are saying thank you.

 

W.S. Merwin