Nov 132012
 

I never give parenting advice, for obvious reasons. This comes as a disappointment to folks who find this blog hoping it’s called “Mom-mastery.” As in MASTERING MOTHERHOOD. Oh, God. It makes me shudder every time that’s said, and it’s said a lot. We don’t master motherhood here. I really don’t think that’s possible. I like the quote that there is no way to be a perfect mother and a million ways to be a good one. I think that’s about right.

Also, I would like to publicly state my secret opinion that it is a BAD PARENT thing to do to try to be a PERFECT PARENT. Because our kids might grow up to be parents. And they will likely compare their parenting to how we parented them. And if they are under the impression that we were “perfect,” their parent guilt will be through the roof and will likely need even more pills and therapy and financially irresponsible trips to Home Goods than we do. And so I think it is a GOOD PARENT strategy to let your imperfect flag fly and make lots of mistakes and relax a little too much, so that our kids have a lot of room for improvement. So that eventually they will feel GOOD about themselves as parents. Don’t steal their future thunder, is all I’m saying. Take a load off, for THEM, and their future credit card bills.

NOW, welcome to the one time a year when I DO offer an idea about parenting. It’s just about the one little family system we use that actually works consistently for us. It’s about the holidays, and how to keep the time between Thanksgiving and the December holiday you celebrate holy instead of holy hell.

Here’s how it goes for us.  About two weeks before Thanksgiving, the first “Christmas toy catalog” accidentally finds its way into the house and all the kids get the GIMMES. Suddenly, they “want/need/must have” many things that they were blissfully unaware they needed the moment before they saw the catalog. I sympathize with this situation, since it is the story of my life.

For most of the year- I find myself thinking I’m doing all right generally, but then I see a J Crew or Pottery barn catalog and I immediately feel like a shabby piece of crap. It becomes crystal and relentlessly clear that the only thing that will restore me to wholeness is a new slipcover or neon yellow scarf. It’s ridiculous, but true. The catalogs are the bosses of us. They tell us we are less than, so we need to buy more. They promise us happiness, but they lie. Trust me, I KNOW they lie. I have bought almost ALL of their happiness and it only lasts for about twenty minutes because they keep CHANGING the definition of happiness every month (Skinny jeans! NOT SKINNY JEANS,  WIDE LEG JEANS YOU SHABBY PIECE OF CRAP! UGH, NOT WIDE LEG JEANS, BOOT CUT JEANS, YOU MORON!)  and so it’s really a hamster wheel aimed to distract us from things that might actually make us happy and ending in ickiness and bankruptcy and frankly, way too many pair of jeans. Especially for someone who only wears yoga pants. It’s ALMOST like these companies are not even WORRIED about our happiness. It’s almost like what they really care about is tricking us into giving them all our money. I know. CAN’T BE. But it sure feels that way sometimes.

Even if we can’t stay off all year- the holidays are a great time to practice jumping off the consumer hamster wheel. To shut it all off and down and look at our blessings, right in the face. To make room in our lives and our hearts and the Inn for God to come. I think she tries to come, but when she knocks we are off at the mall.

So here’s what we Meltons do. A week or so before Thanksgiving, we have the kids write their “lists.” They are pretty short at this point in the season, because the barrage of ads hasn’t started so they haven’t been TOLD yet what they want and need. They actually have to think about it. Here is Tish’s list.

 

 

You will notice that Tish has asked for both a Bible and a pagan. I am not sure what her plans are for the pagan. I’d like to think she’s just spiritually adventurous, like I am, and wants to learn from all types. But Tish is unpredictable, so Craig and I both fear that she might try to sacrifice or evangelize the poor pagan, so we’re going to leave him out of it. No pagan for Tish. See, as parents we get to say no to whatever we want to on the list, so that’s good.

Craig and I choose three things from each kid’s list and order them right away, before Thanksgiving. Three gifts for Jesus, three for each kid. We haven’t gotten any complaints about the number of gifts yet, but if we do, we’re prepared with our, “SO YOU THINK YOU DESERVE MORE GIFTS THAN GOD?” speech. If you are Buddhist or one of Tish’s pagans or Jewish etc, etc., I’m sure the limited amount of gifts idea will work for you, too – because I don’t know any spiritual tradition that teaches that more crap from Toys R Us will bring lasting joy. After we choose our three gifts, we send the rest of the list to extended family so they don’t have to think too hard. (Sister- good luck finding the pagan!)

Here’s what happens because of this plan. We don’t shop in December. We’re done. The kids don’t react with the GIMMES to the barrage of December advertisements, because they know Santa already has their list and that’s that. The month of December becomes about time together. We usually end up doing some sort of small service project that we wouldn’t have had time for otherwise. We don’t go to the mall. We watch Christmas specials and bake cookies which we immediately throw away because they are always disgusting since baking is rocket science.  I don’t feel stressed and exhausted and bitter by Christmas morning. We focus a little more on what we already have – each other – than what we don’t have and don’t need – anything else.

It’s just an idea. As Rumi says- there are a million ways to kneel and kiss the ground.

 

LOVE.

GDo

 

Nov 182012
 

 

Hello Friends. It’s me again –  Glennon.

My brain is quite slow and foggy this morning, so I probably shouldn’t be writing. But, the rule here (and maybe everywhere) is just show up and believe that whatever condition you are in, you are enough. So here I am.

Things at our home are beautiful, devastating, hopeful, hopeless, warm, and ice cold, depending on – I don’t know what. Things seem to be going along fine and then all of a sudden they’re not. Craig says something that reminds me of something else that sends me straight back to The News and I start feeling excruciatingly uncomfortable. In the past, this uncomfortable moment is when I would typically announce that I was very tired, and scurry off to hide in bed. But I am starting to learn that “tired” is not really a feeling. For me, it’s a shield that protects me from feeling other things. It’s too much to sort out- hurts too much – I’ll just sleep through it. It’s like when I was younger and someone would ask me how I felt and I would say, “I feel fat.” Well.  Fat is not really a feeling is it? Perhaps I meant lonely, angry, empty, excluded, out of control or unworthy. Probably. But I recognize “tired” as the same sort of misdiagnosis. So I’m trying to stay awake long enough to recognize the feeling that is making me so damn tired. It’s working a little. I’ve been able to recognize, acknowledge, and express anger, fear, and pain to Craig. Then I’m REALLY tired, so sleep it is. Progress, though. Good progress.

I’ve been fielding some criticism and advice about the way I’m handling The News. Some folks think I shouldn’t be talking about this at all. Kay. Here’s how this is gonna play out, Concerned Lovies.

I spent the first half of my life in the dark. Hiding parts of my self that I thought were too horrible to let anyone see. Hiding and pretending. This hiding and pretending made me very, very sick. Almost dead- sick.

Then I decided that there is nothing shameful about being human. That we are each broken and each beautiful, and that we really do have similar longings, feelings, traumas, flaws, gifts, fears and secrets. And I learned that we stay as sick as our secrets. So I turned my insides out and I started writing. And my truth started setting others free to share their truths. And with that, I did my little part to help the world be free-er. That’s what I do here. I do my part.

Now. If SHAME thinks that I can be scared back into my corner of hiding by trying to convince me that Craig, my marriage, or The Truth are too “bad” or scary to discuss publicly, ooooooh, Nelly.  Shame’s got another think coming. Back off, shame. I feel you and I hear you trying to silence me again, but the thing is that I KNOW you too well, shame. Get behind me. You are dead to me.

There is no use living out loud if you only do it when things are going smooth as silk. Lord, who learns anything then? That’s like being brave till things get scary.

Craig and I will handle our business with grace and truth and great respect for ourselves, our children, and the world. But there is nothing, BUT NOTHING, that will put me into hiding again. Just want to be crystal clear about that. I am a shameless truth teller and hope spreader. Nothing that happens around me or to me will change that. I am not a reflection of my circumstances or husband or children or home or job or friends or closet. I am just a soul trying to live IN THE LIGHT. Trying to follow the bread crumbs that God leaves for me. One crumb at a time. BELIEVING in myself. Believing in the truth to set captives free.

Although I’ve read everything Ekhart Tolle’s ever written, I never really understood the appeal of living in the moment. Seems too hard. ALL moments seem hard to me so really the idea of staying present and living in each of them doesn’t seem like much fun to me at all. But THE NEWS. It took the The News for me to finally get it. I get it now.

I have NO PLAN. I cannot tell you what my family will look like in five years or  two weeks. I cannot tell you what my career will be or where I will live or how I will live or who will be healthy or who my closest friends will be a year from now. I am forever finished with the “five year plan.” I am making no decisions.  We make our little big decisions and we are so sure of ourselves and our convictions and our “I would nevers and I will always”es, and God giggles.

All I know is that this morning, I will do what I know how to do. I will write. Then I will probably sleep. Then I will try to choose love and forgiveness a million times today.  I will screw up. I will forgive myself. I will tell myself again and again that I am a warrior. That I am strong and healthy and full of grace and wisdom. I will invite God in to help me every moment of this long day. I will yell to Him: COME IN! COME IN! I will try to notice the little kairos moments. I will remember that those, just like the tough moments and feelings, will quickly pass.

Tomorrow is miles and miles away. Just today. I can do today. So can you.

Love,

G

 

*photo credit: http://openclipart.org/detail/65143

 

 

Nov 192012
 

 

 

 

Synchronicity is writing this post yesterday morning and starting (and finishing) this book last night.

 

This book made me feel like this:

 

 

I need every Monk to read this book. I actually cried reading it.  This brilliant, funny, REAL woman, Brene Brown, has been SCIENTIFICALLY PROVING all of these HUNCHES we’ve had forever. Her work names and validates feelings and experiences that can’t quite access but can FEEL deep down. SHE EXPLAINS, with SCIENCE, why we’re so tired. Why we’re medicated. Why we’re angry.

Today, during Thanksgiving week, I am GRATEFUL for Brene Brown. Deeply, deeply grateful that she steps into the arena every morning and gets knocked down and around and then gets back up. And back up again. Because by being brave, by Daring Greatly, she has helped me stay brave. WE WOMEN ARE HERE TO HELP EACH OTHER BREAK THE “RULES.” Here are the rules, according to Brene:

 

I almost killed myself trying to follow the first three rules, and now I’m paying for breaking the “stay quiet” rule.  I’m okay with it now – now that it’s been named. Have you ever paid for breaking one of these “rules?”  I bet you have. I bet we all have. SCREW THE RULES. We must HELP EACH OTHER break out of these boxes so that we can be free-er AND so that our daughters’ and sons’ boxes will be a bit bigger. With more room to breathe.

Brene- if you get a chance to read this, please accept my deepest thanks for your HUGE brain, courage, heart, and work. Please extend my thanks to your family and closest friends, for helping you become and stay you. God, I needed you yesterday. Thanks for showing up for me.

 

Monks- If you can afford to buy this book, please buy it. You won’t regret it. I believe in honoring the hard work of artists and writers by paying for their work. If you can’t afford it, but know in your heart that you need to hear Brene’s life saving and life giving message ASAP- no worries. I’m going to order five copies TODAY and send them out to the first Monks who write “I need it!” in the comments section and EMAIL ME RIGHT AWAY ([email protected])  with a mailing address. Please write Daring Greatly in the subject line of your email.

I am going to send a copy directly to one Monk along with four more Monkee addresses. It will be the first Monk’s responsibility to write those four addresses in the front of the book, and then send it along to the next monk on that list. I want this book crossing the country back and forth and freeing one Monk and then another.

I’ll let you know when we’re done with the give-away, I assume it will be almost immediately after I hit publish this morning.  After it’s over, don’t give up. Put it on your Christmas list, call your library and put it on hold. Ask on your FB account if anyone has as a copy you can borrow.

I love you. Let’s break these stinkin’ rules together and then help each other endure the inevitable backlash.

I LOVE YOU.

THANK YOU, BRENE.

Love and Courage-

G

 

Here is Brene giving her now famous Ted Talk about vulnerability. Cannot express how much I LOVE.

 

POST SCRIPT!!!! GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED! Please start your own Daring Greatly Tree!!!!!! Love and Courage- G

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