Sep 262010

According to Paolo Coelho, author of The Alchemist, this is why we don’t Follow Our Dreams:

“There are four obstacles. First: we are told from childhood onward that everything we want to do is impossible. We grow up with this idea, and as the years accumulate, so too do the layers of prejudice, fear, and guilt. There comes a time when our personal calling is so deeply buried in our soul as to be invisible. But it’s still there.

If we have the courage to disinter dream, we are then faced by the second obstacle: love. We know what we want to do, but are afraid of hurting those around us by abandoning everything in order to pursue our dream. We do not realize that love is just a further impetus, not something that will prevent us going forward. We do not realize that those who genuinely wish us well want us to be happy and are prepared to accompany us on that journey.

Once we have accepted that love is a stimulus, we come up against the third obstacle: fear of the defeats we will meet on the path. We who fight for our dream suffer far more when it doesn’t work out, because we cannot fall back on the old excuse: ‘Oh, well, I didn’t really want it anyway.’ We do want it and know that we have staked everything on it and that the path of the personal calling is no easier than any other path, except that our whole heart is in this journey. Then, we warriors of light must be prepared to have patience in difficult times and to know that the Universe is conspiring in our favor, even though we may not understand how.

I ask myself: are defeats necessary?

Well, necessary or not, they happen. When we first begin fighting for our dream, we have no experience and make many mistakes. The secret of life, though, is to fall seven times and get up eight times.

So, why is it so important to live our personal calling if we are only going to suffer more than other people?

Because, once we have overcome the defeats-and we always do-we are filled by a greater sense of euphoria and confidence. In the silence of our hearts, we know that we are proving ourselves worthy of the miracle of life. Each day, each hour, is part of the good fight. We start to live with enthusiasm and pleasure. Intense, unexpected suffering passes more quickly than suffering that is apparently bearable; the latter goes on for years and, without our noticing, eats away at our soul, until, one day, we are no longer able to free ourselves from the bitterness and it stays with us for the rest of our lives.

Having disinterred our dream, having used the power of love to nurture it and spent many years living with the scars, we suddenly notice that what we always wanted is there, waiting for us, perhaps the very next day. Then comes the fourth obstacle: the fear of realizing the dream for which we fought all our lives.

Oscar Wilde said: ‘Each man kills the thing he loves.’ And it’s true. The mere possibility of getting what we want fills the soul of the ordinary person with guilt. We look around at all those who have failed to get what they want and feel that we do not deserve to get what we want either. We forget about all the obstacles we overcame, all the suffering we endured, all the things we had to give up in order to get this far. I have known a lot of people who, when their personal calling was within their grasp, went on to commit a series of stupid mistakes and never reached their goal-when it was only a step away.

This is the most dangerous of the obstacles because it has a kind of saintly aura about it: renouncing joy and conquest. But if you believe yourself worthy of the thing you fought so hard to get, then you become an instrument of God, you help the Soul of the World, and you understand why you are here.”

**Also, If you haven’t yet read the The Alchemist, Pretty Please Do.**

Love, G

Carry On, Warrior
Author of the New York Times Bestselling Memoir CARRY ON, WARRIOR
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Sep 242010

For Aprile, who has suffered enough. I love you, girl. Hang on.

Well, it’s Friday. We made it. It’s been a good week.

Next week won’t be, likely, because I was checking Craig’s Blackberry yesterday and saw that his only calendar update for Monday says: “EXPECT THE WRATH.” Confused, I said, “What’s the wrath?” Craig said, “The wrath is you. I schedule your PMS.”


Anyway, since we kicked Meltoncholy’s little bottom this week, I thought we’d celebrate today.

As many of you know, last November I came down with Lyme Disease. It was a bummer. I was sick, sick, sick for a long while. We ended up moving far away to focus on my recovery.

I’ve been feeling really healthy lately. For the past few months I haven’t had a single Lymie symptom, except for when there are a lot of dishes to do or it’s bath time or there are little fingernails to cut. Then I often relapse on the couch.

I went to see my Lymie doctor recently and told her how good I’d been feeling and I asked for another Lyme test. She said she’d do it, but not to get my hopes up because since the Lyme test detects Lyme antibodies, once a patient tests positive, she often tests positive forever. Okay, I said. Let’s just do it anyway.

Three days later, my doctor called and said:

“G, I’m surprised and excited to tell you that I’m standing here holding your negative Lyme test. You don’t have a drop of Lyme left in you. You’re done, G. You did it. You’re all better.”

Since I was silent, she went on to say:

“It must’ve been that last blast of antibiotics.”

And I finally said, “Maybe. Maybe. I don’t think so, though. I actually think it was the Bay. And my family. And all the praying Monkees.”

And then it was my doctor’s turn to be silent until she said, “Yeah. Hm. Welllllll. I guess praying monkeys would be pretty powerful. Umm…are you okay?”

Yes. Yes. Yes! I’m okay!


Thank you Monkees, for Loving Me Through Lyme. I believe, with every bit of my grateful little heart, that we beat this thing together. A million thank yous.

Soak up the Little Beautiful Things this weekend. And then put them to bed early and hit the couch. Heaven, isn’t it? Post-bedtime-couchy-time?

Love, G

Carry On, Warrior
Author of the New York Times Bestselling Memoir CARRY ON, WARRIOR
Join the Momastery on-line community on Facebook, Twitter & Pinterest

Sep 222010

I get very anxious about Chase being away at school for eight hours each day. Don’t get me wrong, I would get much more anxious if he were NOT away eight hours a day, but still. That’s the thing about parenting. Anxious if you do, anxious if you don’t. I’ve been trying to figure out what my anxiety is really about lately. It’s not that I don’t trust the school, I do. It’s not that I think they’ll teach him too much . . . as a matter of fact I worry they won’t teach him enough. Chase and I have a little ritual. I say, “What did you learn today, honey?” And Chase says, I learned about Christopher Columbus!” And I say, “Great! Grab a cookie and sit down. Let me tell you that sweet little story from the Native Americanpoint of view.”

The thing is that I’m not worried about my little man’s brain. I’m worried about his heart.

When I was in elementary school, all of these little teeny things happened to me that made me embarrassed, or confused, or sad. Like when I had to stand against the huge cafeteria wall with my nose pressed against the big purple painted grapes, or when all the girls teased me at my lunch table because my hair was greasy, you could start a car with all that grease, they said. Or when the boys never chased me at recess. Or when a classmate brought a Playboy to school, or when my friend Jennifer called me a gay wad. What’s a gay wad? But these things didn’t seem big enough to talk about, and I didn’t want my parents to know that all wasn’t perfect . . . so for whatever reason, I kept all these little sad and confusing things secrets. And keeping secrets became second nature to me. Which didn’t turn out so well for me for a couple decades.

So when it comes to how my kids are doing at school, I don’t worry about academics. I worry about social things. I worry about their time at lunch, at recess, on the bus. Mostly, children learn to read and add and sit still eventually. But not everybody learns that he deserves to be treated with respect and so do others. And not everybody learns that he is OKAY and loved and precious and that it’s all right to feel hurt and all right to hurt others, as long as he cleans up his messes. And not everybody learns that different is beautiful. And not everybody learns to stand up for himself, even when it’s scary. So I worry about that. Seven is young to navigate a big social sea all by oneself. I feel like thirty four is too young sometimes.

Last week, I snuggled in bed with Chase and told him all about the embarrassing, sad, scary little things that happened to me in elementary school. I told him that I never gave Bubba and Tisha a chance to help me, because I kept my worries in my heart. So my worries became problems. I told him that this was a shame. Because the beautiful things about being a kid, is that you don’t really have any problems. You might have worries, but if you share those worries with your parents, they don’t have to become problems. I told him that his daddy and I are his team. That his worries are really our worries. And that the most important thing in the world to us is his heart. And we talked a lot about this scripture.

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again, Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4: 4-7

I explained to Chase that every night before bed, he and I were going to lay in bed together and try to remember any sadness or worries that he might have had during the day. And I told him that we were going to talk about them and then pray to God to help us with them. And then he’d be able to relax and sleep soundly. Knowing that God and mommy and daddy were on it.

Over the past two weeks, as Chase and I have laid in bed together and remembered his worries . . . I’ve learned a lot about my little boy that I didn’t know before.

Like . . . He thought that the first few weeks of school were a “try out” and if he wasn’t perfect, he could get cut. I was tempted to let him keep believing that one.

Li Like . . . the reason he always wants his dad to take him to baseball practice is that I embarrass him by cheering for everybody whether they hit the ball or not. You’re not supposed to cheer and yell THAT’S OKAY when people drop the ball mom. It’s NOT GOOD to drop the ball. I don’t know if you really understand baseball, mom.

L L Like . . . there’s a big girl on the bus who may be a bit of a bully. And Chase is scared of her. He told me this Sunday night. I told him that his job on Monday was to find out what color her eyes were. That’s all. Just find out what color her eyes are, Chase. I need to know that. Chase came home yesterday and said, “MOM! Her eyes are BLUE! But listen . . . while I was looking at her eyes to find out what color they are for you . . . she quit her mean face and looked away! And she didn’t look at me mean the rest of the bus ride! And then on the way home . . . she didn’t look at me at all! She just passed right by!” Yep, always look them in the eye, buddy. Mean can’t handle the truth.

Anyway, I’m just happy about this. This worry talk is a little ritual that’s worth keeping. Because if we empty our hearts every night, they won’t get too heavy or cluttered. Our hearts will stay light and open with lots of room for good new things to come in.

Tell me your worries, honey. And we’ll pray. Because that’s what God, and family, are for.

Carry On, Warrior
Author of the New York Times Bestselling Memoir CARRY ON, WARRIOR
Join the Momastery on-line community on Facebook, Twitter & Pinterest