May 302014


Like many of you, I felt deeply affected by the loss of Maya Angelou. After she rose, the void left here felt wide and deep. And I mourned the loss of the powerful example of Sisterhood that her friendship with Oprah symbolized to the world. I love Oprah, so I was comforted by the hope that with the world’s weight on her shoulders, she had a woman like Mighty Maya to help her carry it.

I don’t know Oprah in person, but I am a grateful student of hers and have been since a decade before I got sober. I remember – even as a lost, lost drunk – listening to her speak and knowing that the language of love, power, sisterhood, and freedom she spoke was my native tongue. Since Oprah is a person who has discovered the way the world works, she knows how to swim with the current of life. The truth is a strong current and it will carry us – if we surrender to it. I think that surrendering to life’s strongest current- Love – is how Oprah travels so far, so fast, and with such grace, power, and joy.

My favorite way that Oprah swims with the current is by being a true student of life — by soaking up everything beautiful and true and allowing each new discovery to shape her into a more heavenly creature. I often feel less like Oprah is trying to teach me and more like she is allowing me to watch her learn. Every time I watch her eyes light up when encountering a new person or her whole body bolt upright when encountering a new idea I think – that’s it. That is it. That’s what I want. I want her constant state of wonder and gratitude and insatiable curiosity about people and truth – that’s the secret to joy. The secret to joyful success is to live your life wide-eyed and open-handed – ready to receive the gift wrapped inside every person and experience, and then willing to allow everything and everyone new to change you. The secret to joy is being Ready and Willing to be dazzled by life like today is the first and last day you’ve got down here. To live with the zeal of a Beginner. That is what I think they mean when they say: You must become like a child to enter the kingdom of God.

I once saw Oprah tear up at Toni Morrison’s suggestion that the single most loving thing a mother can do is make sure her eyes light up every time her child enters the room. And that’s why Oprah feels like a mother to so many of us. Because her eyes light up when life in ANY form enters her presence. It’s like the whole world is her child and she is lit up by all of us. THAT is how I want to be. When folks talk about Oprah I feel inadequate to explain my feelings and so I usually just say, “Yes. She is wonderful.” That IS what Oprah is – full of wonder. And being wonder-full has nothing to do with wealth or power.  Being wonder-full – being dazzled by life — is something that each of us can choose now, today. Life and all its wonder is the one thing to which everyone with a heartbeat has access. That’s one of many truths that Oprah Winfrey has taught me. And it seems like the more time I spend in her world – the quicker my eyes light up in mine.

I wrote an essay the day after Mighty Maya died and today it is being shared on Huff Post OWN. That’s a very special thing to me. I have thirteen Maya quotes on my desk and one of them says this: “The desire to reach for the stars is ambitious. The desire to reach hearts is wise.” And so my gratitude today is not about reaching stars. It’s about reaching a heart that has changed mine. After thirty years of accepting daily gifts from Oprah – I got the opportunity to return one.

So today I’m quietly celebrating the power and beauty of one woman’s heart being held by another. That is the beauty that Maya and Oprah had and that I have with Sister and that you have with the women you love and trust and march through life with. Today I feel reverence for Sisterhood. And for the power that gratitude has to build bridges between sisters who’ve known each other since birth or who will never meet in this life.

In Closing – LET IT BE KNOWN that today I’m supremely grateful for two things that have saved me again and again throughout my life: Good Women and Good Writing.

Thank God for Both.


P.S. Please go here to read the essay I wrote for Oprah and Maya and please love it. Along with gratitude I am also feeling just a touch of holy terror. Sacred and scared are sisters. Thank you and I love you forever.

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

May 272014

Family Circle

We were watching Sleeping Beauty recently when my kindergartner pointed at the unconscious princess on the screen and said, “Mama, what’s wrong with her?” (Like death and taxes, princess movies can’t be avoided, especially by mothers of little girls.) My older daughter, Tish, 9, replied, “She’s sleeping and waiting. She can’t wake up till she finds true love.” Amma looked right at Tish and demanded, “Well, how’s she going to find anything if she stays asleep?” I laughed and thought: Excellent point. Then Amma asked me, “Mama, what is true love?”

I stopped laughing and stared at her. It seemed clear that my usual response—Let’s Google it!—wasn’t going to cut it. Amma’s thoughtful question required a thoughtful answer. I promised to get back to her and then pondered her question all day: Mama, What is True Love?

Click here to read the full article in this month’s issue of Family Circle.

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

May 252014

church 3

Yesterday was one of those days. All five of us played in the Gulf of Mexico while the sun beamed down, the breeze whispered by, and the sand warmed our feet. We felt held by all of it.  Right after I took this picture, six dolphins glided by our family. They were so close that we could see their blow holes. We could have reached down and touched them. We didn’t, though, because each of us felt paralyzed by reverence. After the dolphins swam out of our sight- Tish squinted up at me and said, “Mom,  God is FLIRTING with us today!”

Oh, yes. YES. Please hold onto that truth, baby.

Please, please continue to feel yourself so madly and deeply loved by the God of the Universe that you experience everything beautiful and wonderful as a personal gift from The One determined to win you.

If you can hold onto that wonder and amazement – if you can maintain those schoolgirl tummy butterflies every time creation shows off for you – your life will be a beautiful adventure in getting to know and deepening your relationship with your Truest Love- Your Maker. That’s a good life, sweetheart. Remember to let yourself be known, too. It takes two.

God’s trying to get your attention. Keep NOTICING God’s relentless flirtation. Allow yourself to be wooed, friends. You still got it.  That’s what God’s trying to tell you. God’s a match maker between you and creation.

Instructions for living a life. 
Pay attention. 
Be astonished. 
Tell about it.

- Mary Oliver

church 2

church 1

Happy Sunday,

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