Mar 042015

Last night I was in my cloffice finishing something up and I heard my girls start fighting for the seven millionth time. They were yelling at each other and their voices were getting louder and louder and I just got so pissed. I felt so DONE. I was so tired of their fighting that I totally forgot that peace begins with me and I lost it. I just lost it. I stood up and RAN out of my cloffice with such fury that I bashed my toes against the wall. And it hurt like a mother. It felt like a FIRE had just started on my foot. The pain traveled all the way to the top of my head and my entire existence became stubbed toe.  I looked up at Tish who had just walked into the room and I let out the F-bomb. Loudly. In her direction. And then with my most terrifying monster voice I growled. GET. OUT. GET. OUT! She immediately started crying hysterically – she thought I was dying – and she ran out. I let her go and I crumpled onto the floor.

This really would have been bad enough, but I had more damage to do. Because I was angry and exhausted and a little embarrassed and so it was important for me to make sure everyone knew this was NOT MY FAULT. It was THE FIGHTING. It was THEM. They did this to me. So I picked my bashed toes up of the ground and I limped out of my room and I found both my girls huddled and crying in the hallway. And I looked them right in the eye and I said: Do you SEE WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU FIGHT LIKE THIS? BAD things happen. I got HURT.

And they looked at me with the saddest eyes I’ve ever seen because their mommy was hurt and it was all their fault. And I looked back at them with the saddest eyes because my girls were hurt and it was all my fault. And I should have grabbed them right then and there – but I couldn’t say sorry yet. I just couldn’t. I was so tired. I just wanted everybody to feel as bad as I did for a little bit longer.

So I went back to my room and shut the door and sat on the floor and held my foot and rocked back and forth there for a while. My toes didn’t even hurt anymore. I just held them in case Craig walked in. He needed to think I was hurt badly. I needed a good excuse. And Craig did walk in a few moments later – holding a frozen bag of broccoli. And he sat down on the floor next to me and silently held the frozen broccoli on top of my foot. I’m pretty sure he knew I wasn’t hurt all that bad. But still. The broccoli was grace. And grace is what makes a girl ready to apologize.

So after a few minutes I stood up and walked out of my room to find my girls again. I wiped their weepy eyes and I grabbed their teeny hands and I asked them to follow me. They did, because they still trusted me. We curled up on Amma’s bed and Craig came in, too, and I kissed their soft, soft faces and I said: I’m sorry. I’m so sorry for scaring you. None of that was your fault. Sisters fight. It’s normal for you to fight. Mommy hurt herself and she was angry and she lashed out at you because she wanted someone to blame. You weren’t to blame at all. I’m so sorry.

And they cried and promised that they forgave me and I rocked them like they were babies again, because they were. And then I looked up to see that Chase was standing in the door, taking a picture of us. And I said, “What are you doing?” And Chase said, “My homework for photography class is to take one picture that represents my family. This is it – with all the apologizing and hugging and crying and forgiving. This is us.”

Yes. This is family: With all the apologizing and hugging and crying and forgiving — a place to practice giving and accepting grace. Tweet: Family: With all the apologizing, hugging, crying & forgiving-a place to practice giving & accepting grace @momastery

Family pic

So, there you go. This is Us. Us is Grace. And Grace is good enough for Us.

*When I put Tish to bed she said: Mama. That sure was an overreactment of you, wasn’t it?

Yes, Yes it was. I said.

Mama – you said the F word.

Yes, Yes I did. I said.


The Melton Family Poem
Grace for you,
Grace for me,
Grace for her and him and we.

Carry On, Warrior
Author of the New York Times Bestselling Memoir CARRY ON, WARRIOR
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Feb 272015

ATTENTION PEACE TEACHERS! (Ministers, therapists, parents, lovers, teachers, sisters, brothers, artists, all the people!)

Dress Seen Round the World

Okay: The dress seen ’round the world. This one, the one that some see as blue and black and others see as gold and white??? Everyone is posting about it and insisting that the way they see it is THE WAY IT IS and the whole thing is fun and funny and awesome and also I JUST DON’T WANT US TO MISS the opportunity here!

This dress is the BEST peacemaking tool I’ve seen in a while.

One of the first things I learned about good teaching is that in order to teach a new concept- you DON’T START BY TALKING ABOUT THE CONCEPT. You show people something concrete, let them see it and touch it and discover it- THEN you attach a concept to it. Like- if you want to teach someone about the properties of water- you first let an ice cube melt in her hand. If you want to teach her about affection- you put a puppy in her lap. Etc.

I (and so many of you) want to teach people that the greatest opportunity in the world is not to convince others to see things your way, but to try to see things a new way. Whenever anyone says to me – Well, you know- I just tell it like it is – I know they’re not ready for serious peace-making. Because peacemakers know that NO ONE TELLS IT LIKE IT IS. We can only tell it LIKE
WE SEE IT. Tweet: Folks say-I tell it like it is. Truth: No one tells it like it is-we only tell it like we see it @momastery #TheDress

And so the most effective truth tellers say “Can I share how I see this? And will you share how you see it, too?” And they know how to hold space for both perspectives. They do not feel the need to judge who is right and wrong, necessarily, because they know that two opposing perspectives can both be true. And/Both. Peacemakers know that  THERE IS NO IT! There are only millions of different perspectives of IT. And so instead of worrying about MAKING people see things our way- we can just explain our perspective- and then be curious about other perspectives. Instead of digging in our heels and judging and convincing, we can just get curious and learn from each other. I call this staying open, and it is just a really wonderful, hard, exciting, interesting way to live.

But this AND/BOTH of truth is a HARD CONCEPT to teach. And so we need something concrete to use as a jumping off point – a teaching tool. The dress thing is IT!

Last night my family sat down with this dress and half of us saw blue and black and the other saw gold and white and at first we COULD NOT BELIEVE IT. NO! NO! NO! we all said. IT has to be one or the other! Half of us are right and the other half are wrong and we are not leaving this screen till we figure it out!! It was kind of hilarious and stressful and honestly a little upsetting at first. Learning, REAL learning is always a little upsetting at first.

But then, after a looooooong while – everyone had to agree: oh my gosh. Maybe none of us are wrong. Maybe we actually just LITERALLY see things differently. And maybe that’s not awful. Maybe that’s AWESOME. Maybe your experience of this dress is as valid as mine is, even though our experiences are different. Weird. So weird. So cool. So weird. My kids said sooo weird forty times.

And then my girls attached this concept to a fight they’d just had about sharing space in their rooms. Tish said: Maybe we were just seeing things differently. Maybe we were both right. And then Amma was like: HECK NO – I WAS RIGHT- but whatever, she’s a tough nut to crack. Still, progress.

Then later that night- Craig and I used the  And/Both dress experience to discuss an impasse we’ve come across recently. I said: tell me how you see it. He told me and then I said: this is how I see it. Our perspectives were so different. We didn’t solve anything, but we did hold space for the paradox- for the AND/BOTH of him and me. We hugged afterwards, which was nice. The hug, and the whole experience –reminded me of this poem by Rumi that I love so very very much:

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field. I will meet you there.


This dress points to that field! Save it! Use it when you need it!

Thank you sweet internet.


Carry On, Warrior
Author of the New York Times Bestselling Memoir CARRY ON, WARRIOR
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Feb 252015

Last month I began telling you about my trip to the Dominican Republic with our partner CWS. At the end of last year, I visited CWS-supported programs in the Dominican Republic and met the MessMaker, holy rascal, badass Sister: Denisse Pichardo. Denisse runs an organization called Caminante, which means “We Walk Together.”

Here’s More:


When Amy and I landed in Boca Chica, we piled into a van and went straight from the airport to the main Caminante building. We were ushered up a flight of stairs into a room full of staff and volunteers who were all sitting around a table in a circle, looking at us. I was very scared.

My plan was to quietly smile a lot, see God in their work, and take one million notes so I could report back to you as accurately as possible. My plan was to be a silent but attentive REPORTER. At first, this plan seemed to be working. Folks went around the table telling us who they were and what they did at Caminante, while Luciano—a CWS Program Officer for Protection of the Rights of the Child, and also one of my translators—helped me understand. But when the circle got around to me, Luciano leaned over and whispered, “Glennon, would you move to the front of the room and take some time now to tell them your story?”

I am still embarrassed about my reaction to Luciano’s completely reasonable request. I panicked. WHA???? No no no no! NONONONONO! I already DID hard things! I came here! I left my couch and my COUNTRY! I’m here and this is my hard thing and no more hard things! No ambushes! I immediately started sweating through my shirt and had seven million heart attacks and stomped Amy’s foot underneath the table and I am surprised to report that I actually felt angry. Isn’t it crazy how quickly we try to cover our fear with anger? Is anger just fear wearing a bulletproof vest? I don’t know. I just know that I said: No, thank you. I’m here to listen, not speak. I’m here to learn, not teach. No, thank you. Luciano nodded and said, “Ok. I understand. You don’t have to share—it’s just that sometimes we can think that life is only hard in poor countries, and that people in America have it easy and are always happy. It might help people to hear that you struggle, too.”

My immediate and highly spiritual reaction to Luciano was DAMNIT, MAN!!!

“Ok, hold on.” I said. “So you just want me to explain that I’m all jacked up and so are most of my people? Okay. Fine. I can do that. THAT I can do. That is actually kind of my jam. I will try.” And Luciano said, “Yes. Your jam. I watched your Ted talk. This is your jam.”

You guys: pick a good jam because folks will keep requiring you to do your jam all the times forevermore amen. Even in places that are not your country: your jam it is. I might suggest that you choose a jam like hula-hooping or juggling. These seem solid. But if you have no skills, all you have to jam about is the truth. And so I stood up and dragged my chair in front of all the people and curled up in my little roly-poly ball and I said, “Hi. I’m very nervous right now because I’ve never sat in front of a crew of real live heroes before. My name is Glennon and I’m from the United States. I’m an alcoholic and food addict. I’m a bulimic actually.”

They all looked at each other and shifted in their chairs and then they seemed to collectively sit up straighter. I panicked again. Did they understand bulimia? Would I have to explain it? How the hell would I explain that I had so much food that I ate and ate and threw it up in the toilet and ate some more to people without enough food? I thought about being really, really ashamed of my horrible, ridiculous, wasteful, American, self-harming self. But then I told myself: STOP IT. NO. Glennon—refuse to be ashamed of your problems and they’ll not be ashamed of theirs. That’s how it works. At home and everywhere else, probably. CARRY ON. I carried on.

I went on to tell them that in America we tend to smile a lot in public and in our Facebook profile pics, but we also tend to cry a lot when we’re at home alone. I said that many of us have plenty to eat and warm homes but we’re lonely. I told them that I wanted to be less lonely and stop smiling all the time unless I meant it, so I started writing and telling the truth about my loneliness. I explained that others who were also tired of making life harder by pretending it’s not hard joined me, and so now we’re walking through life together. We just try to walk beside each other, I said, because life is a little less scary and lonely when you’re walking with somebody. I said that in our own way—we’re kind of Caminante-ing. When I said that part, they all started laughing. Caminate-ing is not a word, apparently. I was grateful for the laughter, though, because it was the first sound in the room since I’d started talking.

And then: magic. Love chaos. Everybody started going off script. We were not relief organization/reporter any longer. We were just human/human. They told me stories. They told me the same things you tell me when I visit you. They told me that they get tired and afraid a lot and sometimes they feel great hope and sometimes they feel hopeless. They told me that when I walked in, they’d assumed I had everything and that I had it all together. They told me that when people come to visit their programs they usually ask to hear about the work, ask to hear THEIR stories, but visitors rarely share their own lives and struggles. I listened and listened and relearned with fresh shock what I learn every single damn day: OH MY GOD. IT’S TRUE. WE REALLY ARE ALL THE SAME. WE REALLY ARE ALL THE SAME. Vulnerability breaks down all barriers, even the barriers of language and culture. Truth is a key that unlocks everybody.

Laughing in the group

The floodgates opened after that afternoon. We spent the next two days sharing in groups big and small, introducing ourselves to each other, telling the stories of our brutiful lives. And I brought you all with me into the circles, by sharing who we are to each other, and what we do here at Momastery.






Here’s Sabrina.


Sabrina started coming to Caminante for counseling and support when she was 8 years old. She’s 17 now and she told us that she is a Multiplier. When I asked her what it meant to be a Multiplier, she explained: a multiplier is a young person who has passed through different Caminante programs. Once the Caminante staff feels the youth is ready, she is sent to seek out and serve others as she’s been served. To multiply the love she’s received. You pass it on. That’s just what you do. Sabrina is such an effective multiplier that, with Denisse’s support and encouragement, she has become a national youth leader. When we met Sabrina, she had just returned from an international youth conference in Mexico, training teens and youth adults to be tomorrow’s leaders. To that I said, “Ba-BAM.” It was hard to explain what Ba-BAM meant. We eventually settled on YAY.

This is Benjamin.


Benjamin was lost to drugs, violence and darkness for 22 years, so I felt a kinship with him right away. Benjamin heard that he could find a fresh start at Caminante, and he came to Boca Chica and enrolled in training classes to become a cook. Benjamin told us that the cooking teacher at Caminante saved him. She taught him skills he can use to get a job, but, more importantly, she showed him for the first time that he is loved, and worthy to receive love. He told us, “We know that when we give, we should give from the heart, but I didn’t know that when we receive, we need to receive from the heart as well. My teacher showed me how to receive the love that exists for me. I have to believe I’m worthy of receiving it. I receive it now. By teaching me to receive love, my teacher created a new me.” Sit with that truth for a minute. When we deem ourselves worthy to receive love: we become new. So wise, this Benjamin. I love him. He helped me.


This is Benjamin’s cooking teacher. She may have been able to save Benjamin, but she couldn’t save me. Oh how they tried, but they couldn’t teach me how to cook. After this hour together, I felt like they were very worried about America. They will probably have telethons for our hungry children. Sorry.

And finally, this is Melissa.


Melissa got involved with Caminante when she was 16, and it quickly became apparent that she was born to lead. She is 19 now, and she teaches a preschool program she created herself. As we sat in a circle with Melissa, talking about her work, someone asked her if she saw something special in any of the kids that she taught. Did any of them have a particular spark or light about them? Melissa paused and looked at us all hard for minute. Then she spoke truth. “Each one of my children has a special light in them. Every one. The question is not—’Do they shine?’ but ‘Do we see them shining?’ We have to be the ones to see it. Society smashes people down. How do we get back up? How do we help others to keep going? We look for the light already in children and we make it burn brighter, keep it from being put out. Every one of my students is full of light. ” Tweet: Everyone has a light. The question is not—

So there it is. That’s what CWS is doing, I think. They’re staring hard out into a world of pain and poverty and hardship, and they’re seeing sparks of light. They are fanning those sparks into flames in people, and supporting those flames so they can help others burn, too.

We are all the same. We all have a light that is meant to shine, and we are meant to see it in others. We are all born to shine, to be multipliers. I am now more sure of that than ever.

God Bless Us, Every One.

Let us keep caminante-ing, my beautiful friends.

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

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