May 192010

If I speak in the tongue of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I have to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. 1 Corinthians 13

Revolutions tend to get busy and loud and so it’s important to periodically huddle the team together, look closely at each other, and remember what all the revolting’s about.

Monkees, Huddle Up.

I started this blog because I was desperate for a place where I could relax and tell the truth – a place where I could quit volleying for position and start listening and learning from other women instead. I started this blog to practice loving better. I wanted to get better at loving. Because loving is a skill – a skill that is completely counter-intuitive and needs to be practiced. I started this blog because like me, a lot of women struggle with life, and need shelter from the storm. And I started this blog because I was sad about all the yelling about God. Because I saw the women I knew as a big venn-diagram, each her own hot pink circle of opinions and positions and ideas about faith…. but I detected a sweet spot in the center where all of those individual circles overlapped. And that spot was love and fear and courage and kindness. And I thought, maybe if we made that sweet spot our daily meeting place, it would change things for us. Maybe we’d remember that people are doing the best they can. That we’re okay, each and every one of us. That the time it takes to take care of each other is time well spent.

And it’s happening. People are loving each other well here. And when extraordinary love is created, it can’t be contained. It explodes and pours out into the world.

After all this time,

The Sun never says to the Earth, “You owe me.”

Look what happens with a love like that.

It lights up the whole sky.


And so the love at Momastery seems to be shining and overflowing and causing some Monkees to feel inspired and empowered and ready to run out and change the world. And this is good, it’s gotta be. It’s why they say love is the most powerful force in the world. If you want to see a person explode into a million beams of light and warm up everything around her, remind her, as many times as it takes, of how beloved she is.

And did you get what

you wanted from this life, even so?

I did.

And what did you want?

To call myself beloved. To feel myself

beloved on this Earth.

Raymond Carver

Some Monkees have recently identified a noble cause that we are interested in exploring. Helping orphans, Serving the poor. This is wonderful, and yet tricky. Because the primary point of The Revolution is slowing down, telling the truth, and loving each other without agenda. Service work, though noble, is still an agenda.

Have you ever known someone who had a very noble cause but talked to you about it in a way that made your skin crawl? I have. And I’ve thought a lot about why that is. I think it’s because the moment someone’s cause becomes more important than the person in front of her, her cause is lost.

There’s a story in the Bible in which Mary, a friend of Jesus’, pours an expensive bottle of perfume all over his hair and feet to show Jesus how much she loves him. This was shocking because, well, people didn’t just go around doing that. I mean, awkward. And also because this bottle of perfume was worth a whole lot of money.

Jesus’ disciples got fired up about the extravagance of the perfume pour and may have accidentally gotten a bit self-righteous. They said something like, “Hey Lady! Why did you do that? What a waste! You could have sold that perfume and given all the money to the poor!”

And Jesus said something weird. He said, “The poor will always be with you, but you will not always have me. This woman has done a wonderful thing.”

Now your guess is as good as mine on what he meant. But I have a hunch that one of the many things he was suggesting was this: stay in the moment. Love the one in front of you, because this moment, with this person, will never pass your way again. Don’t hold back. Spend it all. Don’t trip over the person in front of you to get to someone you’ve decided needs love more. We all need extraordinary love. Every last one of us. Because we are all poor, in one way or another. Mother Teresa said “the greatest poverty is loneliness.” So we fight poverty every time we see the person in front of us as a child of God, worthy of all we have, instead of a stumbling block to a different person, a more important moment. We don’t have to save up love because God fills us with more and more each time we empty ourselves. If we concentrate on loving the one in front of us, one person at a time, we can’t go wrong. And we avoid pride. So that’s our cause. The person in front of us, always.

So we try not to be jerks first, and save the world that way, one person at a time. I am starting to think that not being a jerk just means loving people the best we can, one at a time. Loving each moment the best we can, one at a time.

And so some of us will continue on with the project, keeping in mind that the people here are not means to that end.

Two more things.

1. There are a lot of Monkees who need a service project right now like they need a hole in their Caravan tire. They have come here to rest and they feel like they’re getting the old bait and switch. Like Tova did on Giveaway day, they want to say in response to the service project posts… “I ALREADY DID HARD THINGS, DAMNIT!” I get it. I really do. There are Monkees who are dying to jump and Monkees who are dying to lie down. Everyone should feel free to do what she is dying to do. We all know that saying No can be as revolutionary as saying Yes.

2. Also, the Great Shepard Fold in Uganda is as Christian as the day is long. I understand completely that this will be problematic for some Monkees. Please accept my sincere apologies about that. When I emailed the brilliant Ginger Fox, panicked about how some Monkees would feel about this, she said: “I don’t think it’ll be that big of a deal. Just tell the Monkees it might not be the best place to donate their kids’ old Black Sabbath onesies.”

So maybe we could take her lead and just keep our sense of humor.

Tomorrow Mike and Megan will be back. With so much exciting news. And with more ways to get activated immediately, if you’d like. Love the ones in front of you extraordinarily.


May 092010

Except for
the point, the still point,
There would be no dance.
and there is only the dance.
T.S. Eliot

SO. My Still Time didn’t happen exactly as I thought it would. I planned to spend long hours staring at the bay in deep mediation and communion with God. What I actually did was spend long seconds staring at the water and communing with God. But then I got hungry. Every time. So in case He wasn’t done with me yet, I asked Him to please hold on till the commercial breaks of the Kardashians, and I listened really hard then. It all worked out. The thing about God is that He knows what we’re capable of and He rocks it out. He made me a Monkee, not a monk after all.

One of the things God and I decided together was that the Monkees certainly have some work to do together in Rwanda. But that can’t be done right now, so we’re heading over to Uganda first. There are people dancing there and I think we’d be wise to join them.

On Wednesday, you’ll be introduced to some very special Ugandan children, and on Friday you’ll be invited to dance with them.

Now. I heard from countless Monkees last week who explained that they’ve always been afraid to get involved with service projects because they don’t think they’re the charity type, or they worry they might become involved for the wrong reasons.

Well, that’s just great. I can’t believe you’re making me tell this story. Here we go.

One spring break during college, I traveled to an Indian Reservation in Louisiana with a Spiritual Do-Gooding group. I had never met anyone in this group before because they hung out in churches and I hung out on top of bars. The group was traveling because they wanted to teach nutrition classes to a group of extremely poor Native Americans, many of whom were suffering from diabetes. That’s why the others in the group went. I went because I didn’t have enough money to fly to Cancun with my sorority, and I didn’t want to look like a loser with nowhere to go but home. I figured if I wasn’t going to be able to party in Mexico, I could at least get some “Surprise! It turns out I am deep and spiritual and unbelievably selfless!” points from my friends. So I signed up with this group and spent the next two weeks telling everyone I knew that I was choosing not to go to Cancun because I was doing charity work instead. I don’t remember anyone being especially interested except for one frat guy who kept asking me if I would try to score him some peyote. I rolled my eyes and sighed in a patronizing, long suffering manner, but I made a mental note to keep my eyes peeled.

The trip to Louisiana was so long and difficult and chardonnayless that I was shocked and horrified when we arrived at the reservation and it became clear that this group still intended to WORK during our stay. My intentions were quite different. My intentions were to wait this one out. So while they went to work, I hid behind our trailer and chain smoked all day. Although I’ll have you know that whenever an Indian walked by and caught me hiding, I smiled sweetly and offered him or her a cigarette. Which I understand now may not have been completely helpful toward our building healthy habits goal. It really is impossible to get everything right.

On our last day in Louisiana, I decided that I needed a souvenir from my Indian Reservation trip. Not because I wanted to remember the trip, no thank you, but because for the life of me I couldn’t imagine a single reason for all this do-gooding if not to take something home, place it in a prominent spot, and wait for guests to notice it – thus creating the perfect opportunity to tell my guests, shyly and humbly of course, all about my do-gooding, deeply selfless self. So I stopped in the reservation’s community center and saw a little bucket filled with magnet crosses made out of little blue shells. The sign on the bucket said “Made by Our Children. . . $5.” I didn’t have any money, but I decided that because of all of my hard work, it would be okay to go ahead and borrow one forever. So I did. I pocketed a cross. Made, with love, by some poor Native Americans. By some poor Native American CHILDREN. If one were to get nitpicky, one might even call it stealing, but I’m not on trial here, people.

About that little permanently borrowed blue shell cross. It’s been on my refrigerator for ten years. I’ve lost a lot of things in my life. I lost an entire conversion van once. For eight months. True story. But that little blue stolen shell cross has followed me for ten moves and found its way to the top of my fridge again and again. It’s a reminder to me that no matter what I offer God, He turns it into something good. It also says to me each day, “Stay humble, honey, because you really are an idiot. Even so, I am completely wild about you.”

This is a very important thing to remember each day.

Back to the point.

Maybe waiting till you’re the right type of person with the right reasons before throwing your hat into the service ring is putting the cart before the horse. For me, deciding whether or not to serve is a little like deciding whether or not to dance. It’s like we are all scared middle school girls at the Spring Dance, afraid we’ll be left against the wall forever. Afraid no one will ask us to dance, and even more afraid that someone will. And then again and again, He singles us out. He crosses the room, offers His hand, and pulls us out onto the dance floor. And for a few minutes, we stop worrying about our zits and hand-me-down dress and frizzy hair. We just let ourselves feel beautiful, because He’s looking at us like we might just be. And He twirls us around and changes us, a teeny bit, each time we are brave enough to Say Yes and Twirl. I think the changing happens on the dance floor, not against the wall. For me, after each dance I seem to care a little more, suck a little less. Granted, as I re-read that spring break story, I realize it would be tough for me to suck any more. But you see my point.

And I’m not sure you have to worry too much about whether you’re dancing for the right reasons. Even if it should be, my motive for loving people I don’t know is not to save the world from its pain. Maybe someday I’ll get there. But for now, my primary goal is to save myself and my family from triviality. I’m beginning to understand that the point is not that I serve others because they need me. The point is that I serve others because I need them. Because they have something to give me. A little cross. A new perspective. Deepened faith. Gratitude, connectedness, a miracle or two thrown in for good measure. And I am a selfish, selfish girl. I want all the world has to offer. And I’ve learned that when God asks me to dance, it’s best to quit worrying about my zits and what the popular girls are wearing and just dance. He’ll handle the rest.

So anyway. Like Rumi said, there are a milllion different ways to kneel and kiss the ground. Let’s dance today. Love somebody extraordinarily. And if you’re looking for a dance team to join, head on back here on Wednesday. Don’t be afraid to dance with us, for whatever reasons you might have. You can’t screw this up. If you say Yes, if you dance with any goals in mind more noble than:

a) -Scoring hallucinogens

b)Increasing yourself and others’ lung cancer risk or

c) -Stealing from children

….you’ll have gotten yourself off to a better start than I did. And I got invited back. This God of ours has incredibly low standards.



Mar 262010

Hey Sweet Monkees.

It’s come to my attention that many Monkees are also entrepreneurs. One of the rules in our Momastery is that business dies here, which I think is a good rule because it helps us view each other as potential friends instead of potential customers. This is important. But I thought it might be fun if we lifted the ban this weekend and had ourselves a Monkee Business Day, or three. Because I looooove me some women who are moving and shaking and putting some bacon on the table, and I like to support those women. I also loooove women who are providing no bacon, like, for example, me. Please understand that I’m not making a judgment about bacon providers or no bacon providers, God, no. Let’s not go there again. As a matter of fact, I’m not allowed to eat bacon anymore and we all know that even if I were, I wouldn’t know how to fry it. You do fry bacon right? Anyway, enough about bacon. I’m not sure how we got so off topic. I’m sweating again.

I love you Monkees, and I want to help you in any way I can. I think that’s all I’m trying to say. So in an effort to support and honor all Monkee endeavours, let’s try this today… let’s lift the business ban. I’d like to know what it is that ya’ll do and sell because I like buying things from people who are trying hard not to be jerks. I think non-jerks are lovely people with whom to do business.

If you’d like to, please leave a link to your business, non-profit, blog . . . whatever you’d like us to check out and/or a description in the comments section. Also, if you’re looking for a job, that might also be good to mention. ALSO…please leave the same the information on the Momastery Facebook Page and once you leave it there, the page will archive your link and Monkees will be able to search for you at their convenience. Maybe Jeanette or Jennifer could think of some cool way to organize the Monkee Businesses on the FB page because they seem smart at that.

I pray I have offended no one in any sort of bacony way with all of this Monkee Business.

I love you all. Have a WONDERFUL weekend.

Love, G