Jun 112013
 

I have a wild and precious friend named Joanna. She’s an artist and she’s a sister to Sister and me. I used to take care of Joanna in college. By “take care of” I mean that I would kick anyone who looked at her wrong, (yes- I mean that literally – I haven’t always believed in non-violence- actually I don’t want to talk about it) and I’d listen to her. I’d listen and listen and listen. That’s all I was capable of at the time and luckily, whatever we’re capable of is always enough.

This morning Joey sent me this:

Four years ago this Friday I wrote Joey that email.

Listen.

  1. That Thing you want to start, don’t wait till you’re ready. You’ll never be ready. Start it now. The time to start is always before you’re ready.
  2. If you don’t know how to start your Thing – ask a friend to help you.
  3. Don’t worry about whether or not people will like your Thing or you. If you start, you will like you. That is all and that is everything. Last night I read this quote, “In this life, people will love you and people will hate you and none of that will have anything to do with you.” (Abraham Hicks)
  4. Whatever the Thing is that you’re starting- whether it’s health or art or service. . . . wait. I don’t know what else there is besides health and art and service. . . is there something else? I thought about this for ten minutes and I got nothing. Anyway- whatever the Thing is – don’t forget that it’s not really about the Thing. It’s not. It’s about LOVE. It’s about allowing the PAIN AND LOVE (same/same) that is trapped inside of you OUT. That’s what folks mean when they talk about “expressing themselves.” That’s what they mean. Get it out. Share it through your Thing. Then travel light.
  5. None of this is as big or difficult as you think it is.  Do you want to know what the main thing is that keeps me from my writing? Do you want me to tell you THE NUMBER ONE OBSTACLE TO MY ART? Is it fear? Is it depression/angst/motherhood/wifedom/the paralysis of exposure? No. It’s not. It’s House Hunters International. And maybe ice cream. It’s that decision I make to stay up an extra half hour to watch strangers walk through houses and wolf down more Rocky Road. The inevitable consequence of this decision is that I’m too tired and sugar hungover to get out of bed early to meet the next morning’s inspiration. People think that artists/writers/ etc are free spirits and often, nothing could be farther from the truth. STRUCTURE LIBERATES. Give up what you want right now (BRAVO AND HGTV AND FACEBOOK and DOUBLE CHOCOLATE FUDGE!) for what you really want (LOVE. To give it and to get it.)
  6. If you need a few more nights, weeks, months of Not Starting – fine. Life will never give up on you.  Life and inspiration are Forever Tries.

Love you.
G

P.S. Do you have a Thing? Do you not have a Thing? Are you doing your Thing? If not, what’s keeping you from doing your Thing? Tell me about it.

And yes, Adrianne… I know. That’s what she said.

 



Carry On, Warrior
Author of the New York Times Bestselling Memoir CARRY ON, WARRIOR
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  342 Responses to “What’s Your Thing?”

  1. Teaching is my thing. And I spent all day yesterday letting the fear slow me down. Fear of failure. Fear of not being enough. The thing is, being a SAHM isn’t enough for me – I need a thing. I recently discovered this for certain, and now I’m in the part of the process where I grieve what I thought would be and embrace what is and take the hard, beautiful steps to live my authentic life. Every time an opportunity comes up with my Thing, my excitement and joy is immediately followed by a crippling fear. Last night I was wondering why it is that some people feel capable all the time, capable of doing great things, and why I never feel that way. I love what you said – you have to be afraid in order to be brave. Thank you for giving me that push that snapped me out of my downward spiral of fear and self-protection to help me choose vulnerability and bravery. You’re amazing.

  2. [...] to be Smarter: Great Read: What’s Your Thing?. [Loved this line: "Don’t worry about whether or not people will like your Thing or you. If you [...]

  3. LOVE this. I started a blog recently (like less than a week ago) and my first post http://simple-life-musings.blogspot.com/2013/06/i-writing.html looks quite similar to this.

  4. I have a thing!!!

    I wrote a memoir on coming to faith and grief, depression and hope, and have been publishing it chapter by chapter on my blog each week since January. In three more weeks it will be finished and I have a copyeditor who believes in it. And then I’m going to self-publish and start writing other books. I’ve never felt more fulfilled than I do now. I never thought I could write a whole book, but I did it.

    So my heart is singing. :-)

  5. I am doing my thing since Feb 2013:
    http://Www.mommytasker.com

    My blog about “having it all” and inspiring busy moms and families to lead active and healthy lifestyles.

    I have never been busier and never been happier :)

  6. Oh wow! This is so perfect for me right now! I am a photographer (I even have ‘proper’ qualifications) but I have always had day jobs because I didn’t think I would ever be good enough to work for myself and actually have a financially viable art business. Recently I decided to do it anyway. It scares the crap out of me to be honest. I am going to advertise to do children’s portraits because I think I actually do have a reasonable shot of making that work. I remember once hearing Dr Phil say something like, “You can’t wait to feel brave to do something. That feeling may never come, feelings are unreliable. Actually doing brave things will make you brave, not the other way around.”

    I guess the fear is of failure of course. What if I do the one thing I feel like I’m good at and it doesn’t work out? But I’m more scared of God asking me why I didn’t use the talent He gave me. Thanks so much for this Glennon x x

  7. Can I just say that is the cutest picture of Chase! He is adorable!

  8. [...] Glennon Melton Doyle:  What’s Your Thing? [...]

  9. [...] come and go with Momastery, but I really related to this post. I have a thing growing in my heart, and I know I’m going to have to buck up and do it [...]

  10. Thanks, Mary! Monkees rock, don’t they?!

  11. I could not have read this at a more PERFECT moment!!!! I am sitting here obsessing over 2, no 3, things that I want to change in my life and I just can’t seem to make it constant and lasting. Almost to the point where I wanted to write you an email and see what your thoughts were. And then I read this. And I need to be BRAVE and take one day at a time. Why am I scared? Because change is scary and hard. Habits are hard to break. I want to lose the weight that I have been holding on to, but when I make attempts to do so, like exercising and eating better and lighter, I can get so far and then I get bored and tired and just stop. I want to stop drinking wine because it makes me feel better when I don’t. But I like it and I like the taste and I like how it makes me feel and I always want more than one glass. But if I stop the wine, then I won’t be so tired the next day and feel guilty. This is HARD for me to write, but I am being BRAVE. If I can be BRAVE enough to write this, maybe I can be BRAVE enough to actually do it for MYSELF, and my DAUGHTER, and my HUSBAND. A happier me is what’s important and what I need and changing these 3 things, I KNOW, will make a happier ME. Thank you Glennon for being BRAVE and sharing your thoughts and being honest…. It’s truly rubbing off on me. <3 Should I hit Submit Comment? I am nervous and a little shaky, but here goes….

    • I’m with you with the weight thing. Food is kind of like a security blanket sometimes. I keep telling myself we can do hard things. We’ll do it together-reply with your email if you want some support.

    • One deep breath after another, Kelly. Baby steps. When I tell myself, “I’m going to stop abc and start xyz,” I somehow seem to do more abc and less xyz than ever. Shaky is okay. A little at a time is okay. Doing it for YOU is the best! Carry on!

    • Your post could have been written by me. I’m so there with you. I get it. I don’t have answers or words of wisdom but, I get it. Just know there is another monkey who is doing the best she can too. Thank you for your honesty and for sharing. I’ll be sending hope and good vibes your way!

  12. [...] book this week, and it freed me. I read that book, and I read one of her blog posts this week on doing your thing, and doing it free of fear of what people will think. Between the two of them, it hit me. It hit me [...]

  13. Okay, I just realized something AMAZING!!! So amazing that I’m gonna let my hair coloring solution sit in my hair for extra time while I share it. I have two Things-one that I started a couple months ago, and one that I JUST discovered!!
    The first is the link to the blog that I started in March, when my husband was diagnosed with AIDS. Here it is. http://[email protected]

    The second is the epiphany that one of the ways that I can use my gift of encouragement is to take the time to read other new blogs and cheer for them as they get brave enough to finally share what’s on their heart. I’ve already started making a list of the new blogs that I’ve come across just from the posts to this article. If anyone else wants a word of encouragement, just post your blog link for me and I’ll go to it as quickly as I can :)

    • I’m less than three weeks into this public blogging thing and so much of it feels like me being a very tiny new plant under a hot scorching sun. So vulnerable.. How could I possibly say no to encouragement? Bronlea.wordpress.com

  14. What a wild four years from “I’m thinking of starting a blog” to this!! Go Glennon! (And go God! What an awesome plan!) I am wildly excited about the gazillion amazing women who are writing, sharing, thinking, encouraging, feeling, discipling, and MAKING ME LAUGH, THINK and FEEL through their blogs. thank you all. Go gals, go! Write gals, write!

  15. THANKYOUTHANKYOUTHANKYOUTHANKYOU!!!!!!!! The universe has been nudging me towards doing my THING, and you just nudged me that last little bit to the place where I crossed the line between thinking about starting a blog, and starting a blog : ) I feel so free!

  16. I’m doing ‘my thing,’ working with people and helping to right some wrongs. It’s a powerful love, these things we do.
    Best,
    Caryl

  17. I’m a faithful reader but have only commented once or twice. And this comment has swirled in my head for a bit now as I’ve decided if I was going to share my “thing” …
    I’m a 32 year old mother of 4 lovely boys. I am now a single mom. On September 30th it’ll be two years since I left my home. I was married, for 11 years to a man who, once upon a time, I thought the world of. But that man, just like any other human, had flaws. Flaws, vices, addictions, and bad bad choices. He choose those choices over his family and over me. All I had ever wanted, since a very young age, was to be that “perfect” mommy. The one with the well dressed, well behaved children. The immaculately clean home that everyone just wanted to come over to. I wanted to be the BEST. And because I was raised a certain way, with old fashioned values I may have had a jaded outlook on how things should’ve been. I was raised to be kind and loving. And those qualities (or defects, depending on how you look at them) caused me to stay. I stayed far to long in a volatile, terribly abusive marriage. It wasn’t until I received a text message from a family friend that I began to see how wrong things were. But I truly feared for my life. And the lives of my four children. My dear friend guided me, taught me, and protected me. I grew up in a home with NO GUNS, but my friend told me if I truly feared for my life the best protection I could have is to be familiar with a firearm. He taught me many things. And all of those things saved MY LIFE. And every day I thank him for this. I thank him for saving me, or as he says, giving me the power to save my self.

    So my thing is wanting to help other women who may be in a similar situation to what mine was. I want to arm them with the knowledge I was armed with. The things not many people are quick to share. The instruction to protect themselves in whatever way they may choose. And I want to be able to provide all of these things under one roof. Relaxing comforting play rooms where tired moms can take a break and just talk with others. Class rooms, a gym, conference rooms, computer lab, shooting range, and helpful, loving, caring people that are there to guide these women. There is no such place like the one I dream of. Believe me, I’ve looked high and low in many different states. But this is my thing and though it’ll take far more financial resources than I currently have I’m still working on my thing. I’m studying and studying so that I can be an instructor. So that I can personally be one of the caring people to help guide these women.

    This thing is a BIG thing. It’s a big deal, alot on my plate. But I figure I’m only 32 so I have a lot of time to try and accomplish this. Your post was another little nudge on a day I definitely needed one. So, thank you! (And wish me luck!)

    • Wow, what a powerful dream, J! I know there is a verse in the Bible that talks about comforting others with the comfort you have received. I, too, stayed 11 years in an abusive marriage because my traditional values and responsibility to be “good enough” kept me prisoner. I will lift you and your Thing up in prayer daily. Warrior On, Mamma!

      • Hi Brianna,

        Thank you so much for your kind words and prayers. I hope that you’ve been able to find comfort and safety after leaving your marriage. It takes a brave and strong woman to do so. And to finally realize we are indeed “good enough” just as we are.

        Love to you xoxo

    • So brave! Good Luck! I will be rooting for your success. XOXO

  18. [...] it’s time to share. Glennon Melton over at Momastery wrote a post recently and she said to do your Thing. I’m a writer (not a great writer, but not a bad one either) and if I put off really sharing my [...]

  19. I started a blog today. Thank you. I need to write. Not to write the next bestseller but for me. I’ve used it as an outlet in the past and I think it’s going to help me find me again which will help me find my Thing. Because I don’t think I can find my Thing until I can fully find me again. So thank you for the push. I needed it.

    http://littlefierce.blogspot.com/

  20. Right now my Thing is I’M COMING TO THE CONNECTICUT BOOK SIGNING NEXT TUESDAY!! Until then, my Thing will be to finish COW (even though you know I’m afraid of it!) and I’ll listen to Brave as I read :)

    Can. Not. Wait. To. Meet. You.
    Tracie!

  21. Oh, you’re so inspiring! You always make me want to go write that post, that I’ve been scared to write. Thank you for reminding me that being brave is GOOD and that I can do it. Lots of love!

  22. Dear Glennon, Your note has resonance in my life right now and I welcome the opportunity to share it! I’ve been ‘working on’ my PhD for four years now and have just nine months to complete it, which should be easy given how much time I’ve already had. But I’ve gotten really good at filling that with baths and beer and even spirituality. But that Thing is saying its time. And I figure if nine months is enough time to make a human being in the womb, it must be enough time to form a dissertation. Thank you very much for your words of encouragement. They are always so prescient and beautiful. Love, ‘Bala’

  23. I am so lucky to be able to do my “thing.” I teach 8th grade math and I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT!!! Every day I have so much fun with “my kids” at school! 2011-2012 was my first year back after taking time off with my little girls at home. It also happened to be the year that an amazing teenage boy needed a stand-in mom. We got very close during the school year and near the end, he got kicked out of his relatives’ house and sent down to a border town in south Texas. It was so dangerous down there, even the schools, that he desperately needed someone to stand in the gap for him. I wanted to be that person and my wonderful husband agreed! Now I have two little girls, 9 and 6, and a 16 year-old Mexican boy!! Having him in our house, as part of our family, showing him love, grace, generosity, consistency, and support has been life changing for all of us! It is the best and the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I think that is the definition of brutiful!

    • You are awesome! Will be praying for you!

    • Jess.
      This Thing you are doing is wonderful.
      Just Wonderful.

      • Thanks! It was something in my life where I didn’t really feel like there was a choice to be made. The only right thing I could do was to take him in and love him. (Not saying that everyone should go out and find their own troubled teen to take in!) It was just something God put in my lap and then quietly whispered to me what He wanted me to do with the opportunity. I have no idea how it will all turn out, but I do know that for whatever length of time he is with us, he will know love, grace, trust, and how a family should function. I love him like my own son and sometimes things are so good that I feel like my heart is so full of happiness that it could explode and other times, when things are not so good, I feel like my heart is broken into so many little pieces that I could never put them all back together again. Whew! Brutiful…

  24. I don’t know what my “thing” is??? I’ve read self help books, inspirational books & have watched every single episode of the Oprah Winfrey Show…& I still don’t have a clue?! I’m so envious of people who know what their “thing” is! I want to know what my “thing” is too!!!

    • I’m right there with you Tanya.

    • Me too Tanya and Leah, but I think that’s ok for some of us, like Glennon said “life and inspiration are forever tries”. I don’t have a wildly successful career, I don’t complete or even participate in awesome service projects, I try to work full time and take care of 3 kids and a husband as well as a dog and cat! I’m the stereotypical soccer mom, my social life consists of soccer games. But right now my family is the only “thing” I have time for, but when my teenage daughter is willing to stay home and watch TLC with me on a Friday night, or my teenage son wants me to watch a special on History Channel (we do like TV a little :)), and my 10 year old still lets me kiss her soft cheeks as much as I want, I think it will all be ok, and someday that “thing” will occur to those of us that think we haven’t found it, or we will find we were doing it and didn’t know it. Some of us are doers, some of us are thinkers, some of us are supporters, it’s all good. We will find our thing someday!

      • Wow! I love how you said this. Taking care of a family is definitely a Thing! I also like that you said, “Some of us are doers, some of us are thinkers, some of us are supporters, it’s all good.” Everyone’s Thing is different. Usually if we pursue what we inherently love to do we eventually find our Thing. That means it’s not really work to find it. We just start doing things we like to do already and run smack into the Thing. Good luck! Also, don’t feel bad if you can’t identify a Thing! Live your life well, with love, and you’ll have a huge impact!

      • Love this. :)

    • I’m there too. I thought I found my Thing, my career and passion and since a work related injury I’ve lost that. Can’t seem to find a Thing that is safe and fulfilling.

      You’ll find it one day, when it’s supposed to happen.

      Tracie

    • Tanya,

      You’ll find it. You Will.
      We all have a Thing. We all have a special gift given just to us. Sometimes it’s hard to hear the whispers guiding us, but if we listen carefully, we eventually recognize that voice. And then we realize that it was there all along and every step we took was guiding us closer and closer to the joy of discovery.

      My Thing keeps changing, But it also sort of stays the same. That’s how I know I’m on the right path. The rightness I felt years ago is still there, even when it looks completely different on the outside. It’s tricky, though, because I have to make time for the quiet to even hear the whispers. Making time for quiet is hard. But, We Can Do Hard Things!

      Thinking of you, Tanya!
      Much Love,
      Holly

      • Thank-you for all of your encouraging words of wisdom & love! I love my family to no end, but outside of my home & family I’m lost? I have always been envious of the ones who have found their thing! I will wait patiently & listen carefully for the signs & the whispers…peace & love to all of my sister-monkee’s!

    • I’m right there with you, ladies. I have a career, and a family, and some skill sets that do not include baking. But as far as a Thing? I haven’t a clue.

  25. THANK YOU! I think I’m doing my thing, finally. I moved from legal practice to academia/counseling at a law school recently and I LOVE IT. I love helping these students. But yesterday, I spoke to someone from my old life and I could hear the condescension dripping from his voice. But you know what? This isn’t his thing – it’s MY thing. And I’m good at it. And I’m helping people. And I’m fulfilled. Who gives a flying flip what he thinks or anyone else? Thank you, sister. Keep preaching!
    Laura

  26. My thing is connecting people who want to help with others who need help. My thing is doing this in pairs, or trios or quads, mothers and sons. Not in a wonderful big event make a difference kind of way, but in an equally wonderful make a difference an hour at a time kind of way. We are entering our 4th year of volunteering together and it is exciting to have my thing be the thing of 200+other moms.

  27. Fear is so my block! Two years ago I faced the fear of starting the blog. But now I must face almost daily, the fear of rejection, the fear of sharing too much, the fear of it all…. Thanks for the encouragement.

  28. My thing is horses. Big ones, small ones, bad ones and good ones. It’s not the worldly task of raising humans, saving lives or even making money. It’s wealthy peoples hobbies, greedy competition and lots of disposable income. I struggle with this, more  than once asked/ disscussed/ pondered am I doing Gods work? Shouldn’t I be doing something more uselfull? Yet here I am. Dirty, exhausted, broke and so fing happy. I too am an exteremist I call myself hi-lo. And after many flirty trips into the darkness, I still sometimes find getting out of bed arduous and panic induceing. So i just I think to myself “get to the barn” “feed the horses” somehow someway it works. And there I am ok. It all has to be ok. God made these beasts therefore he made me to take care of them. So I do. All day, into the night. I sweat, I cuss, I labor till they are happy, clean, fed, ridden, and watered. They save me. Over and over and over again. Daily I am in awe of their strengh, power, beauty and grace. I find solace in their breath, kindness in their eyes and patience in their hearts. To do one’s Thing is painful, taxing and very very misunderstood. But here I am after four attempts at college, two major accidents, depression, family drama and countless dark days I am here. My best friends are here, my second family is here and He is here. This is my thing. The grace of turning 30, this blog, and time makes me just a little surer everyday I am where I am supposed to be. Love is here. And love always wins.  

  29. I learned this word today: Numinous. I am always floored when I hear or see a word that I never even knew existed before. Just proves how much of the world there is to learn. Numinous means: describing an experience that makes you fearful yet fascinated, awed, yet attracted —-the powerful, personal experience of being awed and inspired.

    Sometimes that happens to me watching House Hunters International. Usually it happens on the beach or by a really big tree or when I read or when I write.

  30. my thing is writing poetry. love it. live it. do it all the time. even if the words just float through my mind and never see paper or pen.

    so many of the people in my world ask me, “when are you going to publish?”… actually it is no longer a question, it’s much more like a demand “publish this dammit”.

    for whatever reason, my thing doesn’t involve publishing. i’m not trying to make a career of it. i just want to write poetry. whenever i feel like it. now that doesn’t mean i haven’t published online lit zines here and there, but it’s not something i look to do.

    lately, i have been contemplating what my reasons are… why hang on to the results of my oh so fulfilling and favorite hobby so tightly when its so inspired by the world around me? shouldn’t i share it??

    i don’t have an answer yet. i think back to a billy collins poem when i get into this head space, …
    “…but all they want to do
    is tie the poem to a chair with rope
    and torture a confession out of it
    They begin beating it with a hose
    to find out what it really means.”

    • It isn’t a demand, Chimmy. It’s a plea. And a beg. Because your work is amazing and emotional and evocative and just outstanding darn it. Share it with everyone. Everyone. Everyone. Everyone should be lucky enough to see the world through your gifted eyes. That is all

      • i <3 you, carin!!!

        it's on my decade list (some people call it a bucket list, but i think it's a list of stuff i want to think about and maybe pursue and update every decade).

        of course, i am doing my thing which is all that matters.

        • Definitely do your Thing, Chimmy.

          But, can you share your Thing, too? Because one of my Things is to love the work of writers. And I really want to love yours.

  31. oh how timely — and for some reason how tear inducing for me. I am a mother on a the verge of redefining myself, finding my new groove, a new “identity” and new Thing…. and if feels selfish, lonely and so much like what I desperately need. we have had a good run at the old thing — but life is shifting , both kiddos will be in school all day, the husband’s job has a new rhythm for our life and that question “so what are going to do with all your time” from every well intended soul both exhilarates and terrifies me. I am currently in the woe is me phase— not finishing to strong in the old Thing , do I really want to take on a new Thing? and if I do dare to launch into this self recreation —- what oh what will it be. I am desperate to have one, a THING that I do with abandon and passion and fear and angst and joy ….. but what of the many things will become my THING .. I don’t yet know and the wait and the journey is getting tiresome…..So after all this rambling — thanks, I needed this, I need to find my new groove … you can bet that her little email will be printed off, high lighted , hung on the bathroom mirror and pondered….thank you.

    • Yes, Meg.
      I’m here too. I love how you call it finding your groove, because sometimes our Thing is not the same as finding our groove in life.

      I need to find my groove, too, now that youngest is off to all-day Kinder. It’s quite possible, likely, actually, that my Thing and my groove are related. But I don’t think that always has to be the case.

      Thinking of you as you ponder….

  32. Ohhhh Lady… You are always so right on… Your words so often come at such perfect times for my life! You are definitely doing your thing!! I know I’m not the only woman who thinks you are speaking only to me! I’m buying a building in my city to open a coffee shop… It always sounds so crazy when I tell people I want to open a business so I can have a place to grow community (I mean, I do love coffee and cupcakes too… Don’t get me wrong)… I love seeing women get together to chat about their “hard” stuff… I love seeing them support each other… I love community :) that’s my “thing” thanks for this blog!!! You are such an inspiration :)

  33. I really needed this encouragement yesterday. What my “Thing” is was never the question. Sometimes, the finding is so easy. For me, the doing has been the hardest. I have desperately wanted my own Interior Design business since long before I ever watched anything on HGTV. Unfortunately, we all have setbacks and fears (especially fear of failure!), and sometimes they cripple us. Thank God I never let go of my dream. I was the primary breadwinner in our family last year when I quit my job to be a stay-at-home mom to our 3, AND to finally follow my dreams. It’s still hard, and I still fear failure. But we’re pretty much at the bottom of the barrel as far as income goes, and we’re still making it. Every design job I get is another breath of fresh air. Every new client gives me renewed hope. I love design. It’s in my soul and I haven’t ever wanted to do anything else. I’m not giving up.. Not when my Thing is so rejuvenating and meaningful to me. I think God gives us these desires for a reason. Thank you so much for the affirmation, Glennon.
    Here’s where my Thing (mainly) lives:
    http://www.facebook.com/CDHDesigns

  34. I know my thing, I am just (not-so-secretly) waiting for someone to tell me that it’s my thing! I want someone (else) to believe in me so much that it makes me believe in me, too. The part about not doing it to be loved or hated, but doing it to get out what is in is what I need to remember, remember, remember. I love to express myself through song, and I dabble, but I would love to devote. I love you, Glennon. Thank you for speaking your truth… and helping me think about mine.

  35. SO VERY TIMELY THAT I CAN BARELY BREATHE!!!!! Thank you!!!!!!!

  36. Glennon, I actually started doing my “thing” indirectly because of you, just a couple of months ago. I am suffering from bipolar disorder and my husband and I separated last year, and I thought my life was over. But my very best girlfriend of 35 years encouraged me to start a blog. I was worried I couldn’t do it. I was ashamed of my mental illness. I was afraid nobody would read my thoughts. She thought it would be good therapy for me to write out my feelings and maybe feel some release from my sad burden, and told me maybe I could help some people along the way suffering from the same issues. She referred me to “Momastery” to see what could be done with a few well-placed words, a big heart, love and good intentions. She told me you would inspire me.

    And she was right.

    You and I actually met at your Denver book-signing. I cried at your little table and told you thanks for helping me to keep going. My blog has, indeed, been very therapeutic. It has also received a wonderful and positive response from the mental health community, both providers and patients. I feel like I’ve been able to share my story and inspire others to step forward with their mental health issues and not feel ashamed.

    You are right, Glennon. This is about getting the pain inside of me out. And it’s working. Thanks for continuing to inspire me. You’ve helped me to be unafraid of my illness and my status. You’ve encouraged me to be “me”, and to be truthful to myself and to my readers.

    I hope you’ll check me out someday, and see what you’ve inspired me to create. You can find my blog at:

    crazyaboutbipolar.wordpress.com

    I hope to see you there someday.

    xo

  37. I used to be afraid but somehow I got through by being the life of the party, the one who drew different groups of people together and it seemed like I had it all! I was lost, scared and wanted to be an addict or bulimic but I failed at that too because of the FEAR! I know that Iam smart and talented but After all these years I remain stuck. I am NOT DOING MY THING! I loved acting and presenting and I instead I am angry and watching my life go by. I know there is a thing waiting for me. I just don’t know where to start so I will keep reading your blog and eventually I will stop being angry and do my thing. I hope…

  38. This is so beautiful, it makes my heart weep. I have a thing. I’ve had this thing so deeply embedded in my heart for as long as I can remember. I kept trying to stuff it down since it was such an inconvenient thing, a thing that didn’t pay a fraction of my big corporate America job that was literally killing me, a thing that would take a toll on my family and require them to be cool with mommy running off at all hours of the day and night without any warning.

    Stuffing it down just doesn’t work. I was doing it secretly on the side for my closest friends. That just wasn’t enough either. Just enough for me to know how dead I was without it. So the Universe and God created a situation that is allowing me to take the biggest leap of faith of my life. A massive corporate layoff with a bit of a severence package…it’s time, so off the deep end I dive. I have launched my longtime vision of a business providing Doula, Childbirth Education, and Concierge services. The short of it: I show up for women and their families in their most vulnerable life moments, and I do whatever they need, providing nonjudgmental support. Magic happens when I attend a birth. I feel God work through my hands, creating clarity, time stops. Before even officially launching, so much has unfolded in front of me.

    My best friend gave me Carry On Warrior as I was taking my leap, I can’t tell you how amazing and perfect your words have been along my journey. Last night at dinner after attending a beautiful cesarean birth of a 34 week baby my husband asked how my day was. I said, “I am so happy, my heart feels so free, and I am constantly in love. I get to watch life enter this world every day. I watch men become daddies and women become mommies. I love what I do.”

    You must do your thing. You must!! Thank you Glennon, for being you, and for doing your thing, and for your work of love to fall in my hands when I needed it most. You’re an inspiration!!

  39. So, what if your Thing cannot pay the bills? What if you cannot give up your ‘real job’ to do your Thing because your Thing doesn’t pay the mortgage? What if you cannot develop your Thing because by the time you get home from your ‘real job’ you are exhausted and there are not enough hours in the day to now bring your inspiration to your Thing? What then…?

    • I hear ya, sister!! I’m the homeschooling mama of three, with a full time job courtesy the crappy economy, and I run from one thing to the next thing to the next thing all day long. For years I put off doing my thing until I could “find the time.”

      For me, recently, I’ve found the answer to the question, and it’s been incredibly liberating. For me, it’s doing my thing FIRST, before anything else. Before the kids are up. Before the dog is walked. Before I get dressed or go to work. Often before I even get out of the bed (my thing involves being on a computer, so this is actually feasible for me). Usually I go to the bathroom first though ;).

      I look at my schedule the next day and calculate when I need to be up to get everything done, and then I set my alarm for one hour before that. And I get up and write.

      I think my thing deserves the first hour of my day, you know? Like, I felt guilty before giving it that, because there is always so much so much so much to do. But people like Glennon inspired me to realize there is NOTHING more important in this world than each person’s precious thing, including mine. And so that is how I justify that one hour.

      Oh, and yeah. I’m tired all the time now. I fall asleep in the middle of the day. Because my body really kinda needs that hour of sleep. The nice thing about sleep, though, is you can catch up on it on the weekend, no matter how tired you are from the week. You can’t do that with your thing. You have to do the thing when you’re fresh.

      Hugs! Your thing is worth it. YOU are worth it. And when you’re ready you’ll figure out what you need to do to do your thing. Love!

    • The book “Quitter” by Jon Acuff talked about this subject and was very helpful to me. I learned about it from a Dave Ramsey show and it talks about strategies for moving toward your bliss and the work you feel drawn to without putting yourself and your family in the poor house. Good stuff.

    • It is really hard to balance our “things” with our daily responsibilities.And your thing might never pay the bills. (I am struggling with this too.)

      But is there a way for you to carve out SOME time somewhere?

      Some ideas (keep in mind that I have no idea what your thing is or what your situation is like, so these are just ideas – and they’re for me too!) –

      – Add 10 minutes of meditation or prayer to your day so that you can let your brain and heart relax and create some space for that inspiration you need.

      – Take a hard look at your daily schedule. Are you doing too much? Are you saying “yes” to everyone else, but not yourself? Are your partner &/or kids not taking responsibility for caring for themselves? Maybe some changes need to come first before tackling your thing. E.g. do you HAVE to make dinner for your family every night, or is it just expected?

      – Spend money on your thing. It’s amazing how we can find time and energy when we PAID for something. Maybe a class related to your thing?

      Best of luck to you! I hope you find a way to start your thing :)

  40. Glennon and Monkees, I think I have a thing. I think maybe my thing is encouraging. You see, I don’t know. Because I put myself away and told her to shut up. I told her because I screwed up and ruined everything, she had no right to exist. You see, I was going to finish school, get a good job, find a husband, buy a house, and raise my children. I am 32. I am single. No house. One sweet baby. Not how it was supposed to go. Then I met Monkees. I met Glennon and I read her wild geese essay. I suddenly realized that if I didn’t take my place, no one ever would!! So I started showing up. And I kept showing up all broken and undreamy. But I started seeing more people who were showing up. And they were broken too! I started wondering if Ishould do something…and I welcomed a new Monkee! It was amazing!! I felt better… I started being brave and welcoming more Monkees! And it became very important to me that Monkees should never feel unwelcome or lost! So I amthe crazy welcoming Monkee. I have not been around as much as I should be lately, and I apologize. I’m a child welfare worker and OMG we have been busy here! But I have realized thatthe times I feel the most alone are the times I need to reach out more. So if you get a random message or comment from me know that there are two super important reasons for it. 1. You’re on my heart and you need it, and 2. I need it. Love you all so much! I am looking for my thing…. I can’t wait tofind it!!

  41. This post is wonderful. And reminds me of the Neverending Story (I know, the movie is kinda lame, but READ THE BOOK.) The hero has just discovered that his magic Amulet has the inscription “DO WHAT YOU WISH.” :
    “Bastian had shown the lion the inscription on the reverse side of the Gem. ‘What do you suppose it means?’ he asked. ‘”DO WHAT YOU WISH.”

    That must mean I can do anything I feel like. Don’t you think so?’

    All at once Grograman’s face looked alarmingly grave, and his eyes glowed.

    ‘No,” he said in his deep, rumbling voice. ‘It means that you must do what you really and truly want. And nothing is more difficult.’

    ‘What I really and truly want? What do you mean by that?’

    “It’s your own deepest secret and you yourself don’t know it.’

    ‘How can I find out?’

    “By going the way of your wishes, from one to another, from first to last. It will take you to what you really and truly want.’

    ‘That doesn’t sound so hard,’ said Bastian.

    ‘It is the most dangerous of all journeys.’

    ‘Why?’ Bastian asked. ‘I’m not afraid.’

    ‘That isn’t it,’ Grograman rumbled. ‘It requires the greatest honesty and vigilance, because there’s no other journey on which it’s so easy to lose yourself forever.’

    • Grace, this is SO COOL. Loved the movie…and now I have a feeling I might LOVE the book. Thanks for sharing! I am *loving* this excerpt!

      • I’m glad I shared it! :)
        It’s a really profound book. Way deeper than the movie can really go. Enjoy!!
        (The author is Michael Ende.)

  42. I am a new SAHM in Seattle and started a blog about 6 months ago. You’re welcome to visit it at writeasrainblog.com. It ebbs and flows, and my biggest challenge is finding the strength to continue to get back up and write for ME, whether I have 2 readers or 200. I think we all want to feel encouraged and heard when we put our hearts out there.

  43. This post is coming at a very interesting time for me. I have known what my “thing” is since an experience that I had in 1992. So, I’ve been stalling for 21 years. Well, maybe not stalling but letting other things take priority. First, I needed to finish college and then a year of service and them grad school and then work and then a second master’s degree in the field I really wanted. And now, I have a family and a job with a lot of perks including a flexible part time schedule. One of my challenges is that I tend to be good at the jobs I take, so then I get praised and encouraged (and sometimes promoted), so I don’t leave. And all the time, that “thing” sits in the back of my mind. And I read newspaper stories that show what happens when no one is doing my “thing” and I feel sad and discouraged, because I’ve had this dream for so many years and still haven’t fully embraced it. I even started my own nonprofit so my “thing” would have a home, and I took on a related project, but I found that I work best as part of a team versus solo. The project quickly outgrew our resources so I ended up convincing a local agency to take it on because I knew they could serve more people, and it wasn’t my “thing” anyway. I think it’s mostly fear that holds me back – fear that I’ll follow my dream only to find that my “thing” is harder than I imagine or that I don’t even like it. And fear that my plans will fail. Fear is a powerful force against motivation. This post may be a wake up call for me, because I’m on the verge of committing to doing something that I do well but isn’t my “thing.” I’d like to at least commit to talking to someone I know who runs an organization that comes pretty close to doing my “thing” to see if there may be an opportunity for a partnership. If I can just get over this fear bit…

    • Oh yeah, that’s a crucial fear! That I won’t even like it! I’ll have given up everything safe and secure, and for what? A different job/pursuit that I don’t love?

  44. Oh my goodness, Glennon! The things you mention are keeping me from my thing. Seriously, do I need to see one more house for sale on an island, when I could be writing? Gah.

    • my thing is writing poetry. love it. live it. do it all the time. even if the words just float through my mind and never see paper or pen.

      so many of the people in my world ask me, “when are you going to publish?”… actually it is no longer a question, it’s much more like a demand “publish this dammit”.

      for whatever reason, my thing doesn’t involve publishing. i’m not trying to make a career of it. i just want to write poetry. whenever i feel like it. now that doesn’t mean i haven’t published online lit zines here and there, but it’s not something i look to do.

      lately, i have been contemplating what my reasons are… why hang on to the results of my oh so fulfilling and favorite hobby so tightly when its so inspired by the world around me? shouldn’t i share it??

      i don’t have an answer yet. i think back to a billy collins poem when i get into this head space, …
      “…but all they want to do
      is tie the poem to a chair with rope
      and torture a confession out of it
      They begin beating it with a hose
      to find out what it really means.”

      also is it okay to have many things? my thing is writing poetry. my thing is volunteering. my thing is being there for people. my presence. not in a kanye west kinda inflated ego kinda way, but being there not just for people, but with people. when they let me.

      oh and my thing is also stalking every hgtv house hunter through european homes that are a lot smaller than they thought and island homes i keep adding to my wishlist… and um drooling over everything that candice olson touches? because she’s everything. and hanging out here. so glad the site didn’t crash on me today. it always throws me off ;) love love love that thing you do, g.

  45. Shoot, I think my comment has now been erased three times. I will make it short. My thing is writing. I created a blog http://denvermommy.wordpress.com. My writing fell out of the sky, something I always loved, but never felt I was good at. It was an answer to my SAHM identity crisis, which consumed me for a bit. It has also been the answer to getting through the aftermath of my dad’s death. The last words my dad said to me were “you are a writer” and “I am so proud of you.” I try to carry that with me, when I feel shame at exposing myself so honestly to the world. I wish I could learn from Glennon and let go of my shame and fear of disapproval, but that is easier said than done. Thanks G.

  46. I am a quiet observer (usually)! My Thing is being a mom and a daycare provider. I feel the need to be surrounded by children (or gnats, as we sometimes refer to them. They are always swarming about). I love what I do. My days are far, far from perfect. I am tired at the end of the day, but it is happy tired. I look to Warriors and Monkees for my adult time during the day. The conversations are enlightening and insightful. Carry on Sisters!

  47. I am working on some little and some Big Things and needed this boost/reminder to just try. I want to blog and do you just opened that door with the first part of the post. Now it’s my job to wall through it. I want to be creative but not sure what medium- maybe I will have to pick up several things before I find the Thing. The other Big Thing is that health and service thing combined. All lot to deal with but as you keep telling me forever tries and I can do hard things.

  48. Amazing that you are writing about this. Amazing. I have seen this manifest in my life so quickly and magically in the last two months, and it made me realize something really fundamental, something that’s gonna sound really stupid. It is this: I’M STILL ALIVE and that means I’M NOT DONE YET.

    We live in a culture that celebrates youth to the exclusion of all else. If you aren’t successful/ rich/ thin/ beautiful and younger than, oh, about 23, you are a failure. That’s the message, anyway. Why else are success stories like Susan Boyle’s such a big hit? That which celebrates something outside the youth success template is so rare it has become novelty.

    I am 32 years old, and a dream that I have had for a very long time is beginning to–slowly, cautiously–come true. Just a little at a time, but still. Thank you for reinforcing something I have only just realized in my own life. Thank you for showing your community, again and again, that no matter how circumnavigatory your path, you will always end up where you’re meant to be. <3

    -Lauren

    • Lauren, your comment gave me chills and made me cry! I am also 32 and not thin or rich. I feel like your comment about “I’m still alive so that means I’m not done yet is the most beautiful hopeful thing my heart has heard in a long time! Thank you so much!

    • This feels like me, only I’m older than you are. By about a century. Keep going!

  49. This is EXACTLY why you inspired me Glennon!!! Your openness gave me the strength to finally start my THING. My blog. I certainly don’t have the following that you do, but it does matter. Writing is so freeing to me. It really does help to unload the burden and help keep the load lighter. Thank you so much for putting down the rocky road, clicking off the tv, and finding time to inspire!!! <3

  50. So I have been needing to hear this so badly. Over the last few weeks I have found out that my thyroid was completely out of whack. I have started having anxiety attacks (in Target of all places, isn’t that supposed to be a happy place?) and depression (I don’t think I have ever cried so much in my life). I am working on these things, by taking meds, exercising, eating better, and trying to fight and push through every day. Some days are great and some days are terrible. But I know if I just keep showing up this will eventually get better. I also know that I feel so much better when I write, I love to write, it soothes my soul. I haven’t written in two months. and in those two months I have gotten worse. I also have been struggling with faith and I just don’t know what to do with that one at all. I am just trying to ignore it for now. Anyway thanks for saying this today because who cares if no one likes my stories or the things that I have to say. I still need to put them on paper for me and if they speak to someone else then great. It is going to be easier for me to say this than to do it. But I am going to try. Thank you, G!

    • I’ve had hard-to-get-through times like that, too, Leslie, so I can truly sympathize. My thyroid has been checked numerous times, but the doctor and nurse practitioner I see (two different practices) seem to think that’s not it. I *know* how hard it is to keep showing up!

  51. So often your writing is the light coming through the cracks. It is a gift and a relief. So grateful to read this today.

  52. I feel like I have a Thing. Getting started is a problem, because I spent all my money, time, and resources finally knowing what my Thing is. So now I have a Thing, for sure, and I’m glad– you can lose everything and still have your Thing. I just have no way to move forward. I am qualified for jobs, and they like my Thing, but then they look at my past when I was figuring out my Thing and decide I’m too big a risk.

    So, now my Thing is hope, I guess. Not a bad Thing to have. It’s an improvement, in fact, because for a while hope feels like running into walls. And I don’t want *that* to be my Thing. So, hope it is. And the other Thing, when I get the chance.

  53. Brilliant advice!! Thanks for sharing so much of YOUR greatness with us!!

  54. There is a GREAT book about this – a quick read, funny, real, true – called The War of Art. I can’t remember the author, but it’s the same person that wrote The Legend of Bagger Vance. He calls the fear resistance, but it’s all the same. Yes, yes, yes!

  55. Glennon, are you reading these comments??!! This is just amazing, you have inspired so much conversation about finding that ‘thing’ and leading an authentic life! This is the revolution in action! I’ve been reading through all the comments and I send my love and encouraging vibes to all you Monkees poised for action or sitting in your decisions. Its totally okay to sit in your decisions for a little while. When we sit and listen to ourselves, true inspiration comes.

    okay, tangent. Now that I”ve read all the amazing Monkee stories, I’m going to go follow some links to see what they’re up to!
    Here’s mine! lol

    creatingmomology.blogspot.com

    • I read every single comment, sister. every single one for the past four years. You people feed me in a way I can’t really feed myself. And not just cause I can’t cook.
      LOVE.

      • omg i love you so much. Glad you are getting fed back- you struck a GIANT chord with this one!!!

      • You are amazing, thank you for caring about all of us and reading every single comment and giving all of us a place to be sisters together. I don’t have any biological siblings, but I have lots of sisters in Momastery.

  56. Um. WOW.
    Every day, as I struggle to get the necessary done so that I can hope for a minute of the “working in my dreams!” time, I choose steps away or towards (generally: FaceBook, browsing, arguing, ignoring). It’s SO easy to blame my kids or house or husband, but I have just as much time in the day as Glennon or Ghandi or The Christ! Whoa. It’s just how and IF we choose to do our thing.
    Thanks G’!

  57. Glennon and Monkees,
    I have a Thing. Actually, I have a couple of Things. I love to scrapbook. I love to quilt. I love to move my furniture around and re-stage my house. But my REAL Thing: I LOVE to teach. And I have been doing that since 2001. But it just wasn’t ever right. I had this small problem of consistantly getting fired. I’m not kidding. Every job. Three different high school teaching jobs, 4 years, 3 years, 2 years. Fired, fired, fired.

    So I broke. I had disappointed myself. I had made my family suffer. I had so much shame that I felt like I no longer desrved to be in the classroom. Yet my husband and my former students (so many of whom I was still in contact with) continued to encourage me. But I was still broken. I looked everywhere for a different kind of job.

    Ya know what I found? I found that any job that even remotely interested me had SOME kind of a teaching element. I even thought about teaching at the prison! Husband said no to that one. Then I realized it. I did not choose teaching as a career. Teaching is a part of my soul. “Teacher” is who I am. So I kept looking. And I took a crappy job for about 12 bucks a year. And my husband cheered for me. And I loved it.

    And as of last week, I am now the newest full time member of the Communications Department at our community college. And I could NOT be happier. Finally, my Thing and the Universe worked together. My path here was long and brutiful and painful and great. And now I’m here – where I have wanted to be since I was a Junior in high school. I am a collge professor!

    So if your Thimg doesn’t seem to be making any sense to you right now…hold tight. Warrior on. It WILL become clear. Just continue to guard your Thing.

    Sorry about this little novel. But I feel such a connection to you Monkees, and I want all of you to believe that your Thing can endure if you can. That and my 3 year old little has been snuggling me for the entire time I’ve been typing this. so I just could’t bring myself to get up.

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