Apr 132015
 

GlennonWhat do you want people who love and serve the mentally ill to know?

Okay. I’m not really allowed to say what I’m about to say. In public, we people who are mentally ill are supposed to hang our heads and only speak of our challenges as things we want “fixed” for fear of folks accusing us of “glamorizing” our condition. We’re supposed to declare that our way of being is dangerous and wrong and everyone else’s way is better and we are supposed to want to join the troops and fall into line. And so those who love us are confused and angry when we are resistant to getting help, to taking our meds, to being “cured.” Every other sufferer of a disease wants to get better, why don’t you?

I’ll tell you why.

Because sometimes we understand that our inability to accept and live resignedly in the world we’ve been born into is chemical and personal and that we need help integrating. We hang our heads and say: It’s not you, world—it’s me. I’ll get help. I need to get better.

But other times—we turn on the news or watch closely how people treat each other and we silently raise our eyebrows and think: Actually, maybe it’s not me. Maybe it’s you, world. Maybe my inability to adapt to the world is not because I’m crazy but because I’m paying attention. Maybe it’s not insane to reject the world as it is. Maybe the real insanity is surrendering to the world as it is now. Maybe pretending that things around here are just fine is no badge of honor I want to wear.

We addicts—we have rejected the world as it is. We left the big world and started hiding inside the small world of addiction for a reason. So inviting us back into the world as it is — it’s not effective. We are too smart to rejoin a party we couldn’t stomach. And so when someone we love and trust wants to invite us out of addiction, she needs to consider what she’s inviting us INTO.  Okay—you want me to come out of here…but into WHAT? Because when we peek out of our world and into yours; when we look out and see everybody still shooting at each other—literally and figuratively—we think: no thank you. I’ll just take my chances in here.

I know that I needed to be invited not only out of addiction, but into a movement to change the world. I needed to join folks working to turn this planet into a gentler, saner, safer, more vivid place in which folks with wide-open eyes and tender hearts might survive and thrive. This is why the moment I stepped out of the world of addiction, I stepped into family, faith, art, service, and activism. I stepped into worlds of purpose. But I did not give up my resistance to the world as it is. I did not say: FINE, I’ll come back. I said: Fine, I’ll come back, but I’m coming back with a mission. I’m not stepping back into the matrix. I’m going to join the special forces who are trying to free everybody from it. Because yes, I’ve got these conditions—anxiety, depression, addiction—and they almost killed me. But they are also my superpowers. I’m the canary in the mine and you need my sensitivity because I can smell toxins in the air that you can’t smell, see trouble you don’t see and sense danger you don’t feel. My sensitivity could save us all. And so instead of letting me fall silent and die — why don’t we work together to clear some of this poison from the air?

What we who are mentally different need is respect. We know we need help managing our mental differences, but what we ask for is a shift in your approach to helping us. Instead of coming at us with the desire to change us because we are inconvenient to the world—come at us with the desire to help us because we are important to the world. We want you to see that with a little help, we can be your prophets, healers, clergy, artists, and activists. Help us manage our fire, yes, but don’t try to extinguish us. Tweet: What we mentally different need is respect. Help us manage our fire, yes-but don’t try to extinguish us. @momastery http://ctt.ec/e11Cc+ ‎ That fire that almost killed us is the same fire we’ll use to light up the world. And so we don’t want you to take what we’ve got, we just want help learning how to use what we’ve got for good.

Let’s work together—as equals. Because we need your science and you need our poetry. Maybe we are here not just to be saved by you—but to save you back.

 

This year I’ve been named a member of Honorary Committee for Mental Health America’s 2015 Conference, Chaired by Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter.

I just wanted to tell you burning light givers that, while speaking at that conference and across the country this year, I’m doing my best to translate us to the world. I’m trying to be a bridge so that the people who love us can get closer to us – so that we’re not so alone in here. I’m trying to explain why we hurt the people we love and why we hurt ourselves. I’m aware that speaking for the light givers is the most important work I do. Just know that I love you and I respect you and I know how hard it is and I know how good you are in there.

Love to all the Light Givers and Love to all who’ve been burned by us.



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


Apr 102015
 
We Are Together Rising

 

YOU GUYS: IT IS ALMOST LOVE FLASH MOB TIME.  Your Together Rising Board has been sweating and praying and meeting and trying to determine the recipients.  For each of our past mobs, a clear theme emerged from our community and together we said: YES. THAT’S IT. That is the Next Right Thing and those are the Next Right People. That’s what happened with Project Home Indy and with the Croyles and the Vans and the Service Dogs and the Cancer Angels. But this time it’s been different. We’ve been waiting and searching and meeting but: nothing. No clarity at all.  And then one day last month my heart was feeling full of love and awe for the women in my life, so I logged on to our Facebook page and I introduced you to five fierce warrior friends and then asked:

Who are the warrior women in your life?

And YOU responded with your own stories of the warriors in your lives:

Brooke Kelli Lori Jenny Cathy Michelle

You told story after story about one HER at a time showing up, day after day, in your families and schools and offices and communities. And I thought: Man. Each of these women is actually a HER(O).

HERO

(What if little girls started reading this word differently? What if it sounded like “her”-o in our heads? Sometimes you have to change your understanding of a word so you can change your experience in the world. Just a thought.)

And then a cartoon light bulb appeared over my un-showered head and I emailed the Board and said: THIS IS IT! THIS IS WHAT WE’VE BEEN WAITING FOR!!! OUR PEOPLE KNOW WHO THEY WANT TO LOVE FLASH MOB!! THEY WANT TO RAISE UP THE ONES WHO RAISE THEM UP EVERYDAY!!!  LET’S LET OUR PEOPLE NOMINATE THEIR HER(O) and then Love Mob the bloody heck out of them! Let’s offer each HER SOME BIG, LIFE CHANGING GIFTS, SUPPORT AND LOVE. Let’s raise up the ones who relentlessly show up to get others rising. Yes. Oh my goodness, YES. That is it. ONE HER(O) AT A TIME!!!!! THIS IS OUR JAM, PEOPLE!!!!!!!

Yes, the Board said. THAT’S the next right thing. AND YOU – beloved members of this Momastery community, are the next right people!

LET’S DO THIS:

  1. Think of a HER(O) among your friends, neighborhood, church, school, workplace, family… a warrior who shows up every day to love and survive and thrive and serve. Someone to whom you want to say: YOU, HEY YOU! DID YOU THINK THAT YOUR FEROCITY AND TENDERNESS AND TIRELESSNESS HAS GONE UNNOTICED?? NOPE. YOU ARE SEEN. YOUR COMMITMENT TO SHOWING UP FOR LOVE IS ASTOUNDING. YOU ARE OUR HER(O) AND SO PLEASE CONSIDER THIS GRAND OFFERING FROM YOUR COMMUNITY TO BE OUR MOST SINCERE STANDING OVATION.
  2. Gather together a small (or large!) group of at least two other people who are willing to raise their voices with you in support of your HER(O). (We’d like you to work together, but Glennon–as the board’s resident pajama-lover/ introvert/loner–insists that if you are scared of people, it’s fine to nominate on your own. Everybody’s in baby, even raging introverts.)
  3. Click the “Apply” button below to submit your nomination by next Friday, April 17th, and tell us the story of your HER(O) along with BIG DREAMS about what GIFTS MIGHT LIGHT YOUR HER(O) UP EVEN BRIGHTER.

Trust us on this one: DO IT. SHOW UP FOR THE WOMEN THAT SHOW UP FOR YOU. It will be worth your time to gather together in honor of your person and put some effort into this. We will read every story and we will choose a few to to Love Flash Mob and we will choose EVERY HER(O) to honor and it will be sacred and holy and SO MUCH FUN. Don’t sit this one out. Be in this with us.
Be a HER(O) for your HER(O).Tweet: Be a HER(O) for your HER(O) @momastery #ToGetHERRising http://ctt.ec/6vQaA+

Okay, beloveds. Ready to work together to TO GET HER RISING? Then here come the BEST WORDS EVER:

LET US BEGIN!!!

Nominate Your HER(O)



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


Apr 082015
 

Lakewood, OH

A couple of weeks ago, at a church in Lakewood, Ohio, a woman stood up during the Q&A time and asked me to talk about our non-profit Together Rising. I smiled and told her that Together Rising is my baby. I told her that besides my family, faith, and sobriety—Together Rising is the greatest gift of my life. I told her that the stories of the warrior families we serve everyday crack my heart open again and again, making my capacity to love bigger and bigger. I told her that the women that make up our Board and our volunteers are my heroes. I told her that I suspect that every word I write is really about Together Rising.

The woman remained standing and then she said, “I suspected you felt that way. If all that is true—why don’t you talk about Together Rising more often? We know there’s so much going on behind the scenes, and we want to hear about it. It matters to us. We want to be IN IT with you.” And the Lakewood audience will tell you that I just stared at her for a long, awkward moment.

Wow, I thought. Why DON’T I write about Together Rising more? I’ve been thinking about that one.

I think I’ve always had this idea that I shouldn’t be loud about what happens at Together Rising. I tell the Board that I want us to be the opposite of what people suspect of non-profits: I want us to be TRUER AND BIGGER AND BETTER in private than we are in public. I just want us to quietly go about doing good. And I am so wary of bragging about do-gooding that I just assumed that the right thing to do was to keep my mouth shut. But I’ve been thinking about that Lakewood warrior, and I think maybe I thought wrong.

Because you guys don’t even know. You don’t know what happens at Together Rising EVERYDAY. EVERYDAY of the year. We all know about the Love Flash Mobs and School Redos and Holiday Hands but those are not even the BEST PART. The best part is the small things with great love that happen everyday. You don’t know about the bills you’ve paid and the tuitions you’ve funded and the lights you’ve kept on and the programs you’ve launched and the children you’ve clothed and the hospital bills you’ve wiped away and the lives you’ve touched and the hope you’ve restored. Miracles happen every day through Together Rising, and I get to see it all—but I haven’t been showing you. I’m sorry about that. That’s going to change. Because Together Rising is the most important, beautiful party I know about and I want this place to be a constant invitation to JOIN—as a giver, receiver—it makes no difference to us because we’ve learned everyone is AND/BOTH. Everyone is a giver and a receiver at the exact same time.

Let’s start here.

A few weeks ago a mama named Clarissa wrote to us and told us that she had entered her son who has special needs into a contest to win a therapy bike. She was about to enter him into a second contest and she wrote to Together Rising to ask if I would promote the contest on Facebook. Clarissa wrote:

“My one and only son Jonathan was born with cerebral palsy, and although he is unable to walk, or speak, he is the epitome of JOY. He has a smile that lights up any room, his joy for life is so contagious, and he is longing for adventure. . . . That is the reason I am writing to you and your Monkees, as a single mom there is only so much I can do for him financially and lately he has been pointing to his cousins’ bike that we keep stored in our garage, as if to say ‘I want to ride a bike.’ Jonathan wants a bike so bad, I can see him riding around with his big smile and the wind in his face.”

The Board looked at the details and we talked about it. And finally, Liz wrote to Jonathan’s Mama and said something like:

“Hello Sweet Warrior, G doesn’t believe in asking her readers to vote. But we believe in you and we believe in your son. Which is why there’s a brand new $6,000 bike on its way to your doorstep right now. It’ll be there in a few days. Don’t enter that contest, mama. You already won. LOVE WINS. ”

And of course Jonathan got his bike. And Clarissa just couldn’t believe it, and she has sent us at least seven thank you notes with pictures and videos—most of her and Jonathan riding their new bike together. Let’s just say we learned that if you want TO GET HER RISING sometimes you gotta get her baby riding. Clarissa can’t believe that people would love them enough to give them this gift. But that’s what we did—all of us—together. Because of course all these thank yous are not just for me or for the people working behind the scenes to make this happen. They are for each and every one of us in this precious community who gave to get Jonathan riding, and To Get Clarissa Rising.

Here they are. Do you believe it? I can’t stand it.

Jonathan & Clarissa
Jonathan

This was the first time for the two of us on the bike together, can you tell how excited we were? What an amazing experience this has been!!
Life is Good!!! You guys are Awesome!!! 
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!!

Clarissa & Jonathan 

You guys: stuff like this happens EVERY WEEK. I’m sorry I haven’t been telling you these stories. I’m going to start now.

LOVE YOU. We belong to each other. #togetherrising Tweet: We Belong To Each Other #togetherrising @momastery http://ctt.ec/Flf8N+

G & Together Rising

wearetogetherrising



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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