Sep 152012
 

 

**Kay- I’m on Craig’s computer and I’m pretty sure all the text and pictures in this post are going to be a bit screwy. Let us consider it an opportunity to embrace imperfection.

I brought home a copy of Carry On, Warrior last night. It was in my hands. A real BOOK. It’s not finished, just an early copy to distribute to booksellers, but still. It is now something to hold, to show to my family. It’s a real thing. I brought it to Tish and Amma and held it up to them like it was a newborn baby. I said, “Look! It’s mama’s book!” Tish looked at it, smiled and said, “Oh! Is that what you’ve been doing instead of playing with us?”

I hear you, Mommy Guilt. They didn’t used to listen to you, you know. Mamas used to have their babies and let them do their kid thing for twelve hours a day while mamas smoked cigarettes and played bridge or worked all day and then made Hamburger Helper. I think all this obsessive Mommy Guilt is relatively new and I am going to try every day to silence it. I will not let you take me down, Mommy Guilt. I did a good thing. I’m proud of myself. I wrote a book that is going to help people take it easier on themselves – and maybe one day one of those people will be Tish. Shut up, Mommy Guilt. I’ve got work to do and kids to raise and honestly, neither job needs my UNDIVIDED attention to thrive. There is nothing about me that is undivided and there never will be. I am a woman divided. Wouldn’t have it any other way.

Okay- I’d like to catch you up on all that’s happening in Monkee Land- a State of Our Union, if you will.

Sister and I have been traveling- first to LA again, where the president of a very humungous network may or may have not told us that the Monkee Revolution is the VOICE OF OUR GENERATION. Kay. Things are happening there –I will keep you updated.  Also- I saw Lieutenant DAN! He smiled at me. I was totally bummed that he had legs.

 

 

We left LA, excited about our little celebrity sightings. And then The G to the O to the D put us in our place by introducing us to some REAL CELEBRITIES. These guys. It was September 11th, and we were at the airport getting coffee and waiting for our plane. And these men walked in. They are highly trained firefighters from all over the country who spend their FREE TIME and OWN MONEY to travel and train firefighters all over the world. We sat down with them and talked about September 11th. Most of them, upon watching those planes crash into the Twin Towers, dropped everything and drove to Ground Zero. They just went and saved people. They literally didn’t sleep for days. One of them told us that he didn’t sleep for four straight days.

 

 

We thanked them and they blessed Bobby. It was something. It was really something. There are such thing as heroes.

 

 

 

Next I traveled to Virginia to speak to group of moms about Life. It was a BIG group of moms so I was kind of scared. But my best friends all came and sat right up in front. Anna came, too. And Bubba and Tisha came and sat in the back of the auditorium so Bubba could wave his arms frantically whenever I started to get off point. Truth. You guys- it was magical. It was just like Momastery except in real life. I spoke for a little while about the bruty of it all and then I read a little from Carry On and then the best part- questions and more questions time. I can’t really call it question and answer time, because obviously I don’t have any answers. But the important part is during that time the whole crew realized that we all have the SAME questions. How do I deal with mommy guilt? How am I going to survive my colicky baby? How do I help my hurting friend? How do I encourage my girls to develop healthy body images? How do I find my passion and then follow it? What deodorant REALLY works the best? There was a whole lot of laughing, a little crying and that beautiful, comforting energy that always accompanies choruses of me too me too me too me too. What is that quote? The secret of life is not to find the answers, but to ask good questions in good company? It was like that. It was my favorite thing.

Email me and bring me to your events. I want to meet you. It fed me and encouraged me in a way that I can’t really grasp sitting behind this screen.  I love you, Mothers of North Arlington!

 

It’s fall, Monks. Fall is our season of filling up and overflowing. During my trip,  the Monkee See- Monkee Do board held a five hour meeting and Lovies- we have so much amazing work coming up during the next few months. AMAZING things are about to happen. I know you’ve been waiting patiently to love on some Mama Monkees and you are going to get plenty of chances during the coming months. Get ready. The Love Revolution IS ON FIRE.

Kay. Last, but totally not least.

Remember how I was going to the doggie shelter every day to comfort myself? I accidentally fell in love.
Here’s how it happened. I tried to sneak out of my house one afternoon, but Craig caught me getting in the car and said “where ya heading, honey?” Obviously, he knew exactly where I was heading, but I mumbled something about groceries and sped away.

I went to the shelter. This little one was in the first kennel.

 

 

She had arrived a few hours before from Puerto Rico. Apparently Isaac hit pretty hard there so they got as many strays off the streets and sent them to Naples. This lovie had never had a home before. She was a street dog. I just decided to play with her for a little while. An hour later I looked through the window and CRAIG WAS STANDING THERE WATCHING US PLAY. Busted. Note to self- if you are going to lie about where you are going- mention a place you might ACTUALLY be going, not the GROCERY STORE for goodness sake.

 

 

Craig came in to our little room and I told him all about this new little Puerto Rican. Craig sat down and started speaking to her in Spanish, “Hola! Me llamo Craig! Siente te!” Then he pulled out his iphone and played some Shakira for her. All three of us danced. Chase later told us that Shakira is definitely not from Puerto Rico.  Whatevs. It was festive.

We brought the kids to meet her and then took her home. She is ours. Her name is Monkee, of course.

On the way home, she sat in my lap and I said, “YOU GUYS! WE FINALLY ADOPTED INTERNATIONALLY!”

Craig smiled. Chase (aka the peanut gallery) said, “Um. Mom. Puerto Rico is not another country. It’s hard to explain, but it’s, like, part of OUR country.”

DAMNIT!!!!!!!! Foiled again. Oh, well. We are proud to be Americans.

 

Love you so much Monkees. So many exciting things are just around the corner for us.

It is true that we can do hard things, but do something easy today, okay?  That’s important, too.

LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE!

G

Also – THIS.

 

 

 

Additionally- please don’t forget to Fight the Power.

 

 

Love, G, Sister, Bobby, and Monkee

Jul 212012
 

Here I am, and I’m so excited to be here. It feels like forever since we’ve talked. When I opened the page this morning, I got the same feeling I get when I walk into a coffee shop to meet a friend I haven’t seen for too long.

Where shall we start? How about here:

 

Please meet my nephew, Robert Doyle Lynch. He is named for his gentle, forever smiling, baseball and family loving grandfather, Bob Lynch, who died two weeks ago and is now Bobby’s Official Guardian Angel. He gives and takes away, sometimes at the very same time. It has been a brutiful month.

Monkees- how do I describe watching my Sister turn into a mama and my brother turn into a daddy? The answer is I can’t, yet. I’m storing it all up inside and letting it do what it does. I imagine it will all crystallize into a million stories soon.

I can tell you now that Sister is different. She is a different Sister than she was forty eight hours ago. And right now, our relationship is different. We can’t talk much. We pass Bobby back and forth and we stare at him and utter short, shallow sentences to each other which is the opposite of how we have communicated for thirty three years. For the first twenty four hours after Bobby was born, we couldn’t even make eye contact. It was like when Moses asked God if  he could see His face and God said no- because God’s face is so bright and so full of STRAIGHT LOVE that a mere human being wouldn’t survive a full on stare. So God tells Moses He can only allow him to see where He’s just been. It’s like that right now. Bobby is where God’s just been. It’s fresh, sacred ground, and I’ve still got my shoes off.

One evening there was no Bobby and the next morning there was Bobby. And I can’t stop thinking about him so comfortable in the dark, cramped space of Sister’s womb, knowing that small spot was the whole wide world. And then –  discomfort, pain, chaos, and bright, blinding light –  then the strong arms of a Mother and a Father that Bobby could SEE and a whole new previously unimaginable world that is all Bobby’s. Full of love and light.

Let’s just say Bobby’s arrival has pushed back, a teeny bit further, my skepticism about heaven.

 

 

But we know that Bobby is not all we have to discuss today.

The shootings are in our hearts and heads. We’ve imagined ourselves in that theatre again and again. Yesterday evening at Tish’s VBS concert, I found myself imagining how I’d react, how I’d get to all three kids if someone started shooting in the sanctuary. I couldn’t help but notice the irony of listening to the children smiling and singing about how God is in control and about how He will always protect us. I wondered if the other adults were thinking what I was thinking which was . . . weeeellllllllll???

Lots of you have emailed to ask how I’m handling this with Chase and the girls and the truth is I haven’t had to handle it. We’ve kept the news off. Chase says “the news is for people who are nosy.” I mean, it’s kind of true. I know enough. I don’t want to know the shooter’s name and I don’t want to hear from his third grade teacher and his long lost aunt and all the organizations who will pounce on this tragedy to further their political agendas –  warranted or not. The older I get, the more convinced I am that our problems will not be solved by politicians or PACS  or the media or the Big Bosses. They will only be solved in our own hearts and families. Bottom to top. And so I don’t want to bear witness to the media circus. This is no time for a circus. It’s time for the opposite. It’s time for a reverent hush to fall over our country. It’s time for self-reflection and prayer and extra-ordinary kindness.

I guess this is how I reacted: Yesterday, I was in a rush and I had to stop for gas, which I HATE for some reason. Again, I can do hard things, but not easy things, like gas getting. I spent five minutes at the pump punching buttons and finally realized it didn’t work. I went into the gas station and asked what on the heck was going on. The attendant said, “Oh, that pump doesn’t work. Use a different one.” And I got pissed. Because this woman had wasted five minutes of my precious time. So I rolled my eyes and said something like: well why don’t you have a sign on the pump?? And I said it in a very sweet, patronizing, rude way. And then I drove away.

Halfway to our destination I turned the car around, and I went back to the station. I walked in and waited in line, and when I got to the front I looked the same lady in the eye and I said, “I’m sorry. I’m sorry for being such a jerk and making your day harder.”

I didn’t add anything else. Because an apology with an explanation attached is not an apology at all. Then I left.

That was my response to the Colorado shootings. I have no explanation. There is no way to make sense of it. So first, I want to do no harm.

I want to be kind to the people who cross my path, because just like that shooter changed the world- so can I.

 

When the world feels loud, we must be quiet. When the world feels violent, we must be peaceful. When the world seems evil, we must be good.

 

Love,

G and Bobby

Jul 102012
 

 

Last week, after announcing my latest disease –a sort of Lyme co-infection parasite called the “Frye Bug,” –  I asked the Monkees on our Facebook page to name him. We decided upon Alejandro.  We needed something we could stop and sing. And really, you can’t say Alejandro without feeling a tiny thrill wave inside.  Thank you, Lady Gaga.

The next day I received an email from a woman who has Lyme and Frye. These diseases have destroyed much of her life. She told me that I had done a disservice to people with Lyme by naming my parasite. She said making light of something from which so many people are suffering was offensive and irresponsible.

So. After three years of receiving messages from people I’ve accidentally offended, I am getting used to the drill of my reaction. It’s always the same.

I am surprised and hurt. Then annoyed, then defensive. We must go through these things, of course.

But I have to go further. Momastery is where I practice peace making. Peace making is an active, TOUGH process similar to changing your eating habits. It requires a complete analysis and rewiring of one’s knee jerk reactions. I think there’s a reason those immediate reactions are called “jerk reactions.”

So I got through my jerk reactions, which are always the same.

No one understands me.

This is MY BLOG.

This is MY DISEASE.

And then:

Well, sort of. But not really. It’s our blog, I’ve said a million times. And it’s a lot of people’s disease.

 

Growing Up, Bubba taught me that there are two human reactions to being physically or emotionally threatened. Fight or flight. We are wired to decide fast. Will we stay in the confrontation and FIGHT back? Or will we RUN away from the confrontation? Ignore it and leave it behind us? Cause that always works.

BOO to both of these reactions. I think there is a third option. I think in order to grow and to foster understanding and relationships among people I need to practice my third option more often.

I propose Fight, Flight, and Right. You know, because if it rhymes it means it’s true.

To me, Right usually means first- take a deep breath and wait.

Go ahead and have a jerk reaction, but not out loud. Or maybe have it with your best friend, but don’t spew it on the person who confronted you. Don’t fight. Take a mini-flight. But while you flight, think. Stay with it. Stay open. Look inward instead of outward. WHY is this upsetting me so? What can I learn from this? What is this person, this confrontation, this discomfort trying to teach me? No dismissal. No counter-attack. Slip on the shoes of the offended. Walk around in them for a while. Then sit down and take a good look at yourself from her couch.

I did all of that. And then I sent her an email immediately and apologized for hurting her. I said I needed some time to think about what I’d done and if I could or should have handled things differently. Her response to that email was so kind that it made me want to think harder and stay open longer.

I’ve been thinking for a week now. Here’s where I am with this.

I really DO understand her perspective. What if I had AIDS and was making AIDS jokes? My Lyme, My Frye- they’re my diseases, but not just mine. My condition is a shared condition, and I am grateful for that. I don’t want to be alone in this. I want to take care of the people who hurt in the same ways I do.  Since I’m a public-y person now, I have a responsibility for what I say and how I say it. I want to be careful. Full of care.

AND. I also understand that people handle the brutal in their lives differently.

I use humor. It’s an approach to life that I’ve thought through carefully. I don’t take humor lightly. I believe it to be a key survival and connection tool.

My humorous approach to my disease –  it helps me hate it less. I know that for lots of people, declaring war on disease and hating its guts is the best approach. It lights a fire under their precious bottoms and helps them Carry On, Warrior. But that approach, that FIGHT approach doesn’t work for me.

Ekhart Tolle said that when we declare war against anything, that other thing grows bigger and stronger. It fights back harder. I don’t really get that, I just believe it to be true somehow. And so I don’t want to be at war with my Lyme or my parasite. They will go when they have taught me whatever the hell they are here to teach me. So far, they have taught me that life is not about doing, but being. They have taught me deep compassion for people in all different types of pain. They have taught me to savor healthy days. They have taught me that I am surrounded by people who will take care of me. They have taught me gratitude. Not too shabby. I hope they’re done teaching me soon, but I know I’ve become better since the wise little bastards have arrived.

And so I don’t want to hate them. It takes too much of my energy. I will not be at war with my own body. I will keep laughing. I will joke. Because to me – laughing is not a dismissal of life’s pain, but an acknowledgement that we can live, even just momentarily, beyond pain. Laughter is proof that we walk the path we’re given any way we choose – whistling, if we’d like, in the face of perceived danger. Connecting with others through laughter is my favorite thing to do, and I will not wait until All Is Well to do my favorite thing. All is Never well. There is always something to fear. But laughter is a defiant dance in the face of fear. It’s a mocking of hopelessness. It says we are more -we are MORE – than our circumstances. This life- it is too important to be taken seriously. Our bodies and hearts might hurt, but our souls are in perfect shape, always. And laughter is from the soul. No matter how beat up the rest of our parts might be, the soul can laugh, because the soul is ALWAYS as healthy and whole and strong as it was on the day it was born.

But see, the woman who wrote to me – she did not know all of this about me. She did not know that I’d thought it through, that I’d made a decision about how I’d handle my disease. That it would be my path, different from anyone else’s. That it was not right or wrong, just mine. And she didn’t know that I understood that she has the right and responsibility to approach her disease in the way she was meant to, and that I respect and honor and CELEBRATE that.  I celebrate HER- for being such a Warrior- for fighting her disease and for standing up for herself and others, even to me.

If she’d never written, or if I’d have fought her back, or ignored her – I’d never have explored my desperate need and insistence upon laughter. I wouldn’t have understood myself the way I do now.

And we wouldn’t understand each other. A crack would remain where now stands a bridge.

 

Peacemakers cannot be aggressive, passive aggressive, or defensive.

Fight, Flight….RIGHT.

 

“We have not even to risk the adventure alone, for the heroes of all times have gone before us. The labyrinth is thoroughly known. We have only to follow the thread of the hero path, and where we have thought to find an abomination, we will find a god. And where we had thought to slay another, we shall slay ourselves. Where we had thought to travel outward, we will come to the center of our own existence. And where we had thought to be alone, we will be with all the Universe.”

-Joseph Campbell (via Broken Open by Elizabeth Lesser. GREAT BOOK- thank you Monkee Dan!)