Apr 102012
 

 

Hi Precious Monks.

Tomorrow is going to be a BIG DAY for US. Tomorrow a press release will go out to the Wonderful World announcing our partnership with a ridiculously amazing publisher whose name I will finally be able to share with you. Our book, along with its title, release date, and peeks into the content will be in the press release. YOU will be in the release. The magic of YOU, the magic of this community is at the heart of the release and will be at the heart of our book.

I know we think we’ve already exploded, but I’m afraid not. You should get ready to see yourselves, The Monkees, all over the damn place, starting tomorrow.

Now. Here’s what I think we need to talk about pre-circus. While everything changes, nothing is going to change. We are going to be the same group of people telling each other the truth and trying very hard not to be jerks. Our group might get bigger and some people might not follow our rules, but we have had enough practice to handle that. We’ve got that. The timing is good. The people that don’t yet follow our rules are the people who desperately need us to keep following our rules.

 

Everyone is invited.

Treat others how you want to be treated.

Love and self-control can overcome differences.

Be truthful, gentle, and fearless.

 

Here’s another thing that is important for you to know. To my great distress, neither the book contract nor the media attention have changed me A BIT.

You know how when you’re little, you look at grown- ups and you can’t wait to “become” one? Like grown-upedness is something that one day just “happens” to you. As if one day you’re a confused kid and all of a sudden, maybe when you’re like twenty five or so – someone hands you the keys to adulthood and  bippety boppity boo!  You Cross Over to the Other Side. The Grown Up Side. Where you know everything and calm down and stop being so damn insecure and jealous and nervous all the time.  You are Now A Grown Up. Like a caterpillar becomes a butterfly. Complete metamorphosis. Done. Fly.

But in my experience there’s been no bippity boppity boo metamorphosis moment EVER. I never became a grown up, really. I just kept having birthdays and became an older version of my own self.  No magic box, no keys, no secrets. Just me. Five steps forward and four steps back. Trying, failing, trying again. Feeling like an imposter at parent teacher conferences and dental exams. Is this teacher talking to me? Am I seriously the MOTHER in this scenario? You’ve got to be kidding me. Still insecure, never calm. Maybe a little wiser each day? God, I hope so. Biggest changes I’ve noticed are a greater need for naps and botox.

Here’s where I’m going with this: I thought when I hit the big time with my writing – when I got a big book contract, when fancy people told me I was good, when I started getting recognized and talked about behind my back that I Would Be Different.  Bippity Boppity Boo!  Author.  BAM! That someone would place that Title upon my head like a Tiara and I would finally feel as if I had arrived. I would finally realize that All Was Well and I would find that elusive self-confidence and peace and PHEW. That with a little recognition and official validation, I would become a different person. Metamorphosis.  Long ago I would have told you that I knew that wasn’t true, St Anne  PROMISED me it wasn’t true in Bird by Bird . . . . but deep down I still thought it was. I thought THAT’s what I needed. All my other problems would melt away like Cinderella’s tattered clothes.

Grown Up. BAM. Mother BAM. Author BAM.

Listen. No BAMS. It’s not true. I am still the same damn person, full of insecurities (maybe more) and anxiety (definitely more) and tons of guilt and insanity. And love and joy.

I’ve been writing some pretty heavy (and funny) new stuff for the book and all of this going even deeper is hard on me and my marriage. It’s like intense therapy with no therapist there with me. It’s like opening Pandora’s box. Exactly like that. Dangerous. There is no end to it. And I think you have to open that box if you’re a writer, but if you are not a writer I really recommend just upping your meds and keeping Pandora’s box SHUT NICE AND TIGHT when it comes to your relationships and your own psyche. I have done both, for the record. Opened and Upped. And hired an individual therapist in addition to a marital one. It’s getting hot up in here.

And I’ve become a full-tile working mom. With a babysitter here with us all day. I need to think of a good title for Sarah because babysitter is NOT the right word, since she’s a professional and because she’s becoming part of our family. And I don’t like nanny because it feels fancy and we are not fancy. Sarah is a dream, and even so, it’s been a hard transition for us. My kids are confused, and they cry for me a lot. I am  every other mother who has transitioned back to work. Full of confusion, guilt, and sadness. And relief tinged with ecstasy.

When I was finishing my book proposal- both of my little girls had a viscous flu. My parents were here to help, but the girls wanted ME. And I was on a deadline. So the three of us stayed up in my bedroom all day, and I’d finish a sentence and run over to hold back Tish’s hair while she threw up. Then I’d run downstairs, clean out the pan, run back upstairs, finish another sentence, and run to Amma to hold back her hair while she puked. Then I’d rub her back while she cried and think . . . how long do I have to hold her? I need to get back to the computer. Is this long enough???  Glamorous and endearing stuff, working and momming.

And even when there IS glamour, there are problems. Sister and I spent a weekend in a very fancy hotel in New York City recently, meeting with ten of the biggest publishers in the biz. They all wanted our book. We met with amazing people, ate at incredible restaurants, spent a lot of time being told how wonderful we were, and had organic juice smoothies delivered to our hotel room each morning. It was time outside of time. After the first few hours, I became convinced that I was as wonderful as everyone was telling me I was. This is dangerous territory. You must never believe anyone who tells you that you  are AMAZINGLY PERFECT or you’re HORRIBLY TERRIBLE. We are all somewhere in the middle. But I forgot this rule, and  as we were leaving one swanky New York restaurant, the elegant host nodded and said “Congratulations and Good Luck, Ma’am.”  I smiled demurely and said , “Oh. Thank you. Yes.” When we stepped outside I tackled  Sister and said OH MY GOD! Even the WAITERS know about us!”  And sister said, “Glennon, he was talking to the pregnant lady behind you.”

Still. It was like that. I was kind of famous for a weekend, if only in my own head.

But when I got on the train to come home, I checked my phone and saw that I had several urgent texts from friends. My kids had missed three birthday parties that weekend. Craig and I had crossed wires, and I let down some good friends that weekend. We just didn’t show up for their kids. Because, you know, I was in New York being fancy. The whole way home from that life changing weekend I felt like crap. I carried that pit in my stomach- the one that says- you can’t do it all. You just can’t. Not all at once, at least.

And that’s okay. That’s okay. We don’t have to do it all at once. The head knows that, but the heart is a jerk and a half.

Anyway. I do have a couple points here.

My first point is that I am afraid there is no one thing For Which We Are Waiting That Is Going Make Things All Better. One day we will get that thing we thought would fix everything (we will get married, we will have that baby, we will land that job, lose those twenty pounds) and we will find that we are still ourselves. Wherever we go, there we are. Maddening. Here’s one of my favorite worksheets of Chase’s. I think he had this concept down in second grade.

 

“You should just enjoy your life the way it is, because it’s not gonna get any better.”

At first it’s kinda depressing. But then it’s freeing, really. Something about deciding to be happy NOW. THIS is the DAY, not one in the future. Something like that. Whatever. I’m going to yoga in an hour and this strange concept makes sense to me there.

My second point is that some amazing things are going to come our way soon. But really, to me, all the important things have already happened on this blog. This extra stuff is just icing on the cake.

And this blog will NOT become a chronicle of our rise to success. It will still be me, trying to make sense of things behind the scenes- trying to be a mom and a worker and a wife and a friend and a Monkee. And you, trying to do all the same or different things.

So, Anyway-

Dear G to the O to the D –

 Let the waves swell, let the storms come, let the rain pour and let our Monkee boat remain steady.

 

Love, G

 

Apr 092012
 

 

Here is a brutiful story about one of my favorite families.  I am honored to introduce you to Monkees Laura, Jaime, and Simon. I have learned so, so very much from them. I hope you do, too.

Please listen to Laura and Jaime from your heart.

Comments are closed here . . . if you’re interested, you can like the Devotion Project’s Facebook page  here or check out their website here.  Or/and leave a comment for Jaime and Laura on their beautiful blog. 

Love,

G

Feb 172012
 

 ”I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy it. This makes it difficult to plan the day.”

 - E.B. White – taken from Leaving Church, by Barbara Brown Taylor

 

 

Momastery is booming.  It’s funny, because we are teaching absolutely nothing new here. We are just offering people a soft place to land and to remember what they already know. That we were put down here to take care of each other. To listen to and learn from each other. To keep our hearts and minds open and allow others in. We have offered people a safe place to put down their guns and peel off their armor with the assurance that no one will shoot. People can breathe here, so they come back.

 

Because of our growth – beautiful and wonderful ideas are coming at us left and right. Groups of “Monkee Cells” are sprouting up all over the country. These small groups are meeting to tell each other the truth and to practice, in real life, loving each other and their communities. Joy.

 

Companies are all up in our Monkee business. People are begging to advertise. I’ve received several emails asking me if I’m insane. Folks have informed me that since Momastery ranks within the top six thousand websites in the country, we could be making tens of thousands of dollars a month through advertising. When I consider the good that money could do for my immediate family and my Monkee family, everything becomes a bit confusing.  So stop sending those emails, people.

 

And Monkees want THINGS to remind themselves of the Reloveution throughout their day.  Jewelry, more clothes, stickers, bags etc, etc. That will all happen. Not right now, but it will happen.  As Lou reminded me yesterday- Love Is Patient.

 

Since the Croyle Love Flash Mob, I receive fifty heartbreaking stories per day from lovely folks trying to get help for their hurting friends.  I sit at my computer and cry, knowing that we’ll never be able to help all of them, or even most of them. It’s okay – the crying. Staying broken hearted is very, very important to our work. People try so hard to keep their hearts intact, but that is a big mistake. Broken hearts are the most effective tools on Earth. Can’t change the world without a broken heart – just can’t.

 

But yesterday I had a bit of a breakdown, to tell you the truth.

 

You see, I started to feel like I was serving the world before myself and my family, and that is decidedly NEVER what I wanted. Because it doesn’t work that way, of course. If you put the world in front of yourself, you will end up serving no one at all.

 

Love your neighbor as yourself. This implies that you’re taking pretty darn good care of your own self, no? I mean  - unless God meant that we should ignore our neighbors needs and run them ragged.  Probably not.

 

I need a good amount of time to myself. When I say time to myself, I usually mean quiet time, which I consider time with God. I need time to listen. Time with no other input than that still, silent voice. “Go to your cell- your cell will teach you everything.”  The desert fathers used to say that when the novices came to them with questions. It was their way of saying that there is nothing new to learn that isn’t already inside of you. You have all the answers, you just need the discipline necessary to stay quiet long enough for them to emerge. The kingdom of God is within. And so not enough time in my cell leaves me empty and lost and a little confused about what to do next. Stressed, panicky = cell time, please.

 

Sometimes my God/self/cell time is in the sauna, sometimes it’s with my Bible, usually it’s with another book,  and often it’s heading out for a mani/pedi.  Beauty salons make me happy and God wants me to be happy. But I haven’t been doing ANY of this lately. I’ve been waking up and living and breathing Momastery and Monkee Business and that is putting the cart before the horse.

 

In order to be a decent writer and lover of folks, I have to spend time alone, and ALSO get out there and live occasionally. Not too often, because- scary. But sometimes. Sometimes I have to turn away from the computer, so that I can experience life and then come back and write about what I noticed. With my face to the screen all day, I’m missing a lot of the brutiful happening behind me.

 

In a few hours I’m heading to a conference in Richmond called Womankind. I think the conference is about God and women and…kindness? I don’t know. I didn’t even read the description. A couple precious Monkees invited me and I saw that it included a night away from home and I just signed the hell up. I’m excited. I can’t wait to just sit and listen to other women talk about their lives and their faith and their lack of faith and how we can all take better care of each other. Just take it all in. Fill up instead of emptying.  I hope that I’ll have a lot to share with you when I get back.

 

In the meantime, you should know that I am making NO decisions to change Momastery in any way. I have said no to the advertisers, we have not started merchandising, we have decided to SLOW DOWN, STEP BACK, and FOCUS UP. Or however our tagline goes. Something like that.

 

We are not against growth, but we are not going to be pressured into it in any form.  We will grow slow and steady. We will spend time in our cells, listening and thinking things through. Sloooooow and steady.

 

For now, I will just think and write and remember that all is well and has always been well and will continue to be well. Love is patient.

 

Take care of yourselves this weekend, please. Put the horse before the cart. Take care of your baby’s parent. Your friend’s friend. Your mama’s child. Yourself.

 

I love you Cheeky Monkees.

 

G

 

 

 

PS. If you are at the conference and you see me, please come say hi and try to ignore the fact that my face is a tomato. I used a face mask last night that my friend warned me NOT TO LEAVE ON FOR LONGER THAN FIVE MINUTES, but obviously, I left it on for twenty. Because if five minutes will make me look good, how much better will TWENTY??? Not better. Not better at all. Thank you God, for the myriad ways you keep me humble.