Jul 192013
 

It’s interesting – being a blogger and author and speaker and public person. It’s fun to watch your book break the top five on the New York Times list. It’s exciting to take on big projects and be recognized and hugged by strangers. It’s an experience to field daily praise and criticism. It is all something. Really- just something.

The problem, as my wise new friend Lissa says, is that there’s no THERE there.

You think there is, you really do. You start writing and you think- okay. If I just get a book deal – then I’ll have arrived. I’ll BE there. But then you get there. The finish line. And somebody moves it. Now the goal is to hit “The List.” And so you get there- the finish line. But then somebody moves it. Now the goal is to stay on the list. And now it is to write another book that does better than the first.

And everything else is like that, too. The speaking. The blogging. The finish line keeps moving and moving. Any sort of celebration for any sort of “success” lasts three minutes and even those celebrations feel like pressure. Because over every celebration hangs the question,“so, what’s next?”  And so there is no satisfaction, no peace. It’s never done. It’s never good enough.

And this is why it is so important for us to take the time to define success for ourselves. Because if we let the world do it for us, the world will keep moving the finish line again and again and accidentally suck us dry. And we might do something awful like make ourselves sick or quit doing what we love to do. The world will NEVER say to us- “Enough, sweetheart. You did well. Relax and take care of yourself and your family and your friends and your dogs. Forever, if you’d like.”

And that’s okay, because it’s not the world’s job to say that to us –it’s our job to say that to ourselves.

During the past year I’ve learned that there is no THERE for me in the world’s idea of success. But thank God, I’ve also learned where the THERE IS in my life.

THERE are the things I do just to do them. There is no NEXT after these things. No THEN WHAT? No striving. No expectations. For me – THERE is on the beach at sunset. There is puttering around my house, straightening things – God I love that. There is writing. Not posting and waiting for responses, just writing. There is in yoga class- when my only job is to breathe. There is sitting in the pew at our church. There is smack dab in the middle of a philosophical talk with Chase, Tish’s bedtime lullaby, or a tickle fest with Amma. Right now, THERE is at a marriage therapy session with Craig – practicing listening and really getting to know the man God gave me to love. THERE is on the floor listening to a few girlfriends talk. Just talk – not about anything important, necessarily. Just listening to real live women laugh and talk. THERE is feeling the weight of my puppies on my legs at night –grounding me while I fall asleep. All of that really sinks in. It makes me who I am.

Those things. I feel good enough in the midst of those things. I feel like all I have to do is be me. Nobody needs anything but the real me. And so there is a THERE, there.

I’m signing off of the internet for 40 days.

I feel something or someone calling me away. Calling me to rest and be still. Begging me to stop producing, stop striving, Reminding me that: what good is it to gain the whole world if you lose your soul, G?

This someone, God maybe, keeps reminding me that one of my favorite things about myself is that I’d give up a million whole worlds to keep my soul.

This morning I was prepping the kids’ lunches and dancing in the kitchen to the Grateful Dead. I was happy. I am always happy when I’m about to take the kids to camp.

And I sang this part really loud:  “first one’s named sweet Anne Marie, she’s my heart’s delight.” I love that line. Heart’s Delight! Anne Marie! And I started thinking about what a precious name Anne Marie is and how much I just LOVE everyone in the whole world named Anne Marie. And then I said a prayer for all the Anne Maries in the world. That they’d have a few brilliant moments today in which they’d feel wildly and completely loved.

That whole Grateful Dead/Anne Marie thing took about five minutes. That five minutes made me so happy. There was a THERE there. Because that was my soul, there dancing and praying for all the Anne Marie’s in the world. I love that wild, nonsensical part of me. I need some time to get back in touch with her- to invite her front and center again because I want HER to lead me through this life. I choose HER- even if she makes no sense to the world at all. She says to me- WHO FREAKING CARES ABOUT THAT THING YOU’RE DOING? COME DANCE! THE ANNE MARIES NEED SOME PRAYERS! DON”T ASK WHY- JUST DANCE AND PRAY!”

The internet, I think – is turning into a compulsion for me. I’m starting to look to it for my own worth. I’m looking to it for comfort and as a balm for loneliness. I’m using it to hide a little from real live people. And I’m using it to numb my feelings. To zone out. All of this scares me because these are all the things I used to use booze for. And these are the things I still use food for sometimes.

The internet is not bad any more than wine or food are bad. But we can use all three in ways that dull our spirits. If we’re looking to find THERE in anything other than within  – we will have no peace. We will be folks in a race in which the finish line just keeps moving till we die. There will be no time or energy left to dance or pray. What will the Anne Maries do?

Every once in a while, I need to silence all the thousands of voices coming at me through the internet so that I can hear God in me. That is the only voice, the ONLY voice, that I can trust will never lead me wrong. And that is the voice I hear in the quiet. It’s time for some quiet for me. And then after the quiet it’s time for some real conversations with the people I love. Sometimes with our access to so MANY people, we end up serving our outer circles instead of most inner ones. Sometimes we’re so busy responding to strangers that we forget to respond to the people right in front of is. And we forget who we are a little. And instead of feeling grounded into our real lives we start feeling untethered, like satellites out in the cyberworld. As if we actually ARE our profiles and our worth actually COMES from how many “likes” we have. No. There is no THERE there. There’s not and there is never, ever going to be.

The people I trust the most are the folks who feel and respect the rhythm of life. Nature tries to teach us how that works. Like the ocean waves – how they gather power and then roll in, and back out. In, and back out. And how the trees respect life’s seasons. How they blossom and then go dormant. They know that creating beauty is not about pushing through. It’s about respecting the seasons. I don’t think the trees spend a whole lot of time worrying that if they rest – if they go dormant for a season like they were made to- that they’ll become obsolete. They know life will go on without them for a while and that’s okay with them. They will blossom again when it’s time. Trees have faith.

But we don’t. When our bodies tell us it’s time to rest – we pop pills and chug more caffeine. We think something’s WRONG with us. We push through. At a cost maybe.

In twenty minutes, I’m going to publish this essay and then I’m going to disable the internet on my phone and my computer. No blog, no Facebook, no Twitter, no Instagram, no email. I’m going to drop out of my online life so that I can drop fully back into my real life. It’ll be hard at first. I’ll get nervous and twitchy and I won’t know what to do with myself for a while. That’s okay- I’ve made it through withdrawal before. I know how to sit with the discomfort of being disconnected to the identity I’ve clung  to so tightly for so long.  And I know that sitting with the discomfort of releasing a false identity is the only way back to my real-est identity. Which is a child of God. And as a child of God- I don’t have to produce a damn thing to be worthy. I just AM. I just have to remember that. That truth is uncomfortable at first – and then it turns into the only lasting comfort on Earth.

Like my new shero Pema Chodron says:

“So even if the hot loneliness is there, and for 1.6 seconds we sit with that restlessness when yesterday we couldn’t sit for even one, that’s the journey of the warrior.”

Carry On, Warriors. See you in 40 days.

G

PS. Anne Maries – if you have an extra good day, you know who to thank.

 

 



Carry On, Warrior
Author of the New York Times Bestselling Memoir CARRY ON, WARRIOR
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  270 Responses to “Goodbye Internet”

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  4. […] And the wonderful Glennon Melton, Momastery, on There is no THERE. Stop trying to get there. There is no there. Enjoy your life fully now, because you are a child of […]

  5. […] Facebook accounts, others limit their usage and one blogger that I love to follow actually took a 40 day fast from the internet because she recognized some compulsive tendencies creeping in and wanted to reconnect fully with her […]

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  7. […] in July when I was reading Glennon Melton’s Momasery blog.  She had written a post  called “Goodbye Internet” where Glennon announces that she is quitting the internet for 40 days.  40 days!  When I read […]

  8. I just found your blog today. You are making me cry, woman. I have no way to know what you’ve been through in your life, or how it feels getting over the things you have, but I’m struggling with my own demons, so to speak. I feel inspired by this post about leaving the internet for a while. I think it’s time for me to do something like that, taking the things out of my life that are keeping me numb. I need to get back to God, to the person I was heading towards being when I was closer with Him. Thank you for all that you do.

    <3 Emma

  9. As an Anne-Marie, I have to tell you that I read this post yesterday and I needed it. I needed to be prayed for and loved on and it was absolutely AMAZING to read this post. Thanks for praying for me and dancing wildly in your kitchen. You made a random girl in Tennessee feel very loved. :)

  10. Wise, wise words. Thank you!!

  11. I am also a recovering alcholic/drug addict and can so relate to you. My sister actually got me reading your blog and book because you reminded her of me. Thank you for your honesty. I bow to you.

    I have come to realize there is no “there” in life. I always think.. If I have the right job, the right relationship, the right dog, the right kids.. THEN I’ll have arrived, I will be happy. But when I get what I think I want… it’s not it. The line has moved. The best I can do is try and be present in my life today. Be happy with what I have today and enjoy this. This won’t be here forever and right now is all I have.

    Peace and love to you and your family! <3

  12. Hi, Glennon, my name is Anne-Marie. Your article resonated with me in a really remarkable way and I just wanted to take a moment to share it and say thank you for when you get back online.

    I’m a 39 year old Deadhead married mother of two girls and I’m a therapist. I’ve also been battling autoimmune disease for 6+ years. Exactly one year ago I started a crazy hard diet for healing autoimmune symptoms (it’s been so helpful I want to plug it – the Autoimmune Protocol of the Paleo diet – look up Dr. Terry Wahls for more info). It has been a year of serious physical, emotional, and spiritual challenge and change and there are still more years left to come of this.

    Yesterday I had another flare up which has rendered me incapacitated. I am feeling frustrated and, to be perfectly honest and vulnerable, scared. I have been working so hard to just Trust, to surrender, and to allow, but sometimes it is easy to start wondering if there is hope.

    Yesterday my friend posted a link to this article and today she tagged me so I would actually pay attention and read it. :-) When I read your reference to one of my favorite Dead songs (of course) and then, “… I started thinking about what a precious name Anne Marie is and how much I just LOVE everyone in the whole world named Anne Marie. And then I said a prayer for all the Anne Maries in the world. That they’d have a few brilliant moments today in which they’d feel wildly and completely loved…” my heart and soul did a little dance of joy. And by the way, the date on your post just happens to be my birthday. I know some would call it a coincidence and that’s fine. But I choose to see it as a little pat on the back, a few words of encouragement, and a reflection that somehow the divine DOES hear my need for help. After all, in the psychology world we talk so much about finding meaning in life and how our thoughts and beliefs can either positively or negatively affect our mental AND physical well-being. So the way I see it, you unwittingly made a significant positive difference to me today and I want to return the favor by saying, “thank you, you don’t have to be bigger or better, you ARE already there, already enough, already doing amazing things that you aren’t even able to know about.”

    Gratefully,
    Anne-Marie
    Boone, North Carolina

  13. [...] together, about my jostling priorities and just being real about my time. To tell you the truth, this post I came across is rad and sums up some of what I’ve been feeling (I eeked out some blog [...]

  14. [...] if others were getting annoyed with me.  I was getting annoyed with me.  Afterall, Glennon has turned off the Internet for 40 days to get closer to Zen or spend more time with her kids or to be “present” or something [...]

  15. [...] Goodbye Internet by Glennon Melton at Momastery Glennon is taking a 40 day internet sabbatical and this post makes me think, about a lot. [...]

  16. God keeps setting you in front of me in different ways than the internet. First I received your book from the local library and when I finished that, I found you in this month’s Woman’s Day. So, I’m getting enough of your thinking to keep me going until you come back here once again. You have a way of making me think, laugh, and smile. I love that about you.

    Connie

  17. [...] space offer a good amount of cooling this may not be as regards to your prized build qualificatio they likely end up buying an additional used suv by $22 in lonesome confrontation there is no reason to be [...]

  18. Has it been 40 days yet? I really hope you are having an awesome break, but I Miss You. I really need a funny Mom story to remind me that we are all doing the best we can.

  19. I love your boldness. Your truth. Your honesty. It’s heart warming. It’s eye-opening. I’m proud of you for not pressing on to what you don’t need to press on for. Rest in God and rest on your couch! Enjoy! And thank you for your writing, it resonates deep.

  20. I’m so glad you’re getting a much needed break. But I’m really starting to go into withdrawl over here. I’m just sayin’. Because it’s all about me after all. :) Really hope you’re doing well and getting the rejuvenation you needed.

  21. It feels like you’ve been “gone” forever and it’s not even a month yet!! We miss you!!

  22. Miss you so!

  23. Good for you G
    I’ve just returned from 3 weeks of high living,high as in Being in the rocky mtn sort of high..I suggest to all my friends they try it at least once in their life.
    at times it was brutal up there but……………..it was all good..
    Rest rest my dear,you’ve done good and seemed to have learned some valuable life lessons
    along the way. kepp taking care of your [se;lf] G,
    much love your way,
    stan n

  24. Thank you for my prayers! You’re doing the right thing. If it’s in your gut to do it then it was put there by God.

  25. I started really missing you and your words today and I thought, SURELY it’s been 40 days, right??! Then I looked at the calendar. Nope, only 21. Sheesh, 40 is a LOT of days.

  26. I keep checking your blog to see if it’s been 40 days yet. I really miss your insightful and reassuring posts. I could use one today. I think your readers are really feeling your absence–proof that there is some THERE there, at least for us. I’ve only been reading your blog for about 6 months but I am hooked.

  27. Hi Glennon. I just read your book. I definitely enjoyed it. I guess I wanted to say that you HAVE made it. By any standard. Book. List. TEDtalk(!). Continued blogging. Book still selling. (My local library just bought (another?) copy — that’s how I read it (sorry! i quit my job and now i can’t afford to buy a book when i can borrow it).
    Anyway, this little soul in the world wanted to say that yes, you may stop. Stop. Be. In fact, as I read your book, I wondered what you were up to since the book was finished. I worried about you. Really. You put yourself out there and you moved a lot of people by sharing your life and… now do you feel pressure to keep sharing your evolving life? You don’t need to. Be you. You are funny and you have a wonderful family (I guess maybe those go together? — I think so because I’m still laughing at your sister’s line about Triple A, which is brilliant and hilarious.)
    Maybe you’ll write another book. Maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll write a totally different but I’m sure hilarious book. Whatever.
    Thank you for your book and your blog. Best of luck to you warrior. We all need it, right? I know I do.
    Sincerely,
    Karen
    p.s. I wish you lived on my block. My playground conversations have always sucked.

  28. Man, this 40 day thing seems like a really long time. We miss you!

  29. Wow. I am one of the “Anne Marie”s you prayed for last month….you even spelled my name exactly right. Thank you so very much. July was hell for me. But, some pretty amazing things have come out of it all. Wish I had read this sooner….but I have had to hold the Internet at arm’s length myself. Thanks agin for sharing all your wisdom. Wishing you peace and joy. What a brilliant post.

  30. Has it really only been 20 days?? Sigh… Clearly I have my own internet addictions to deal with…
    See you in 20 more days.

  31. The internet is so lonely without you. *sigh*

  32. I hope you’re finding what you need. But I miss you,G. And I could really use you right now. :(

  33. I just met you watching Marie on the Hallmark channel. I so wish that there was an Internet where I could read your amazing messages when I was raising my quadruplets twenty years ago. I do believe you would have helped me get through those really rough days, and there were many. Thank you for doing the work you were called to do. You are serving and blessing so many.

    Terry

  34. I completely understand and respect your decision Glennon–I think more of us should follow in your footsteps and take a minute to reflect like you’re doing. Missing your posts though!! I have a blog as well (check it out here if you want http://www.beautifullifemadeeasy.blogspot.ca), and there are times when I feel the same way–you’re very wise!!

    Erica xo

  35. [...] Need an internet break? Glennon bravely leads the way here. [...]

  36. I miss you, G! I totally respect what you are doing and hope you are feeling energized by the internet break. That being said, I can’t wait until it’s over! :)

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