Nov 262013
 

I am an introvert. The reason I started this blog is because I was lonely and needed to make connections with other women without actually having to go out and meet any other women. And the reason I named this blog Momastery is because my whole life I’ve been obsessed with monasteries- those magical places where introverts live in solitary cells and read and pray and think all day and interact with other folks hardly ever and then JACKPOT – find a way to call it “spiritual.” This is actually, upon further investigation, not at all what a real monastery is like, but I try never to let facts get in the way of my ideas about things.

Anyway- my whole life I’ve thought there was something dreadfully wrong with me because of my social anxiety.  If I have to go to a party- I dread it for weeks. If I say yes to a coffee date, I start considering reasons to cancel immediately.

I live so far deeply inside of my head that if the phone rings- it feels terrifying and presumptuous and aggressive and rude to me. Every time my phone rings it is as if  I am naked in a hot bath, deep in prayer and silence and somebody just flings open the bathroom door, walks right in, jumps into the tub with me, grabs my soap and shrilly announces: HELLO. I’D LIKE TO TALK NOW. HOPE THAT’S FINE. And I’m like . . . hi. okay. but I’m busy thinking and being all by myself. You have stunned me. You are loud and scary.

And just forget about it if someone knocks on my door. That is just- I can’t. Nine times out of ten – if someone knocks on my door I actually HIDE. Like in my closet. Truth.  It’s such an insane boundary violation-  door knocking. Oh, my God.

That’s how it feels. That’s how I experience these normal, everyday occurrences about which extroverts don’t think twice. I realize I am extreme. Still – most introverts will understand what I’m saying, in a less extreme way.  And if you do know what I mean –please read Susan Cain’s QUIET. Please, please, please. She will help you understand yourself better and encourage you to offer yourself a bit of grace. She will also help you find the gifts in your introversion. There are many and they are wonderful.

But here’s what I need to talk to you about today: Introverts- do you find it difficult to be a good friend?

I am a really, really bad friend. Because how can you keep in touch when it’s so damn hard to make yourself pick up or answer the phone? Or God forbid – show up at a social event?

If I have a list of things to do, and on that list is: write three essays, give a speech, volunteer at school, clean the house, and return a good friend’s phone call – the returning of the phone call will be the thing that I have to talk myself into doing. That will be the thing that requires the most will-power for me to do and takes up most of my energy. Even if the phone call I’m returning is to one of my favorite women in the world.

Recently I met a new woman whom I loved immediately, and I just knew we were supposed to be friends. But I also knew that friendship would require phone calls and I just couldn’t do it. So when she asked me to call her – I said:  Instead, can you please just tell me the titles of your five favorite books? I feel like if I read those I’ll know you. And she told me the titles and I read ALL FIVE BOOKS before ever calling her.  And then I called her once and it was hard so I just asked for more book recommendations.

Anyway- I’m going to stop writing because I’m starting to realize it might be time to up the meds. But my question is this: How do you introverts keep friends? Because my friends feel unloved by me. I think they feel like I don’t care. They are all extroverts. They are each other’s crown jewels and they wisely wear each other around all day, every day. They are my crown jewels, too, but instead of wearing them around- I  put them away carefully in a drawer somewhere and think about them every day but never take them out to admire or wear them and so they get all tarnished and feel forgotten. I love them as much as they love each other- I KNOW that. But I don’t know how to show that without making myself really uncomfortable really often. And I’m all for growth, but I’m also only three years from 40, so I’m also all for self-acceptance.  I want to honor my way of being (introvert) while also making my friends feel loved.

I guess I just don’t really “get” friendship. I understand the rules of marriage and parenthood and work so I can pull that stuff off- but friendship is so slippery and confusing. But I know I need it.

Please advise. Love you.



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


Nov 252013
 

 TIPS FOR A *KISS CHRISTMAS

*KEEP IT SIMPLE, SISTERS

  1. After Thanksgiving -call a family meeting about gifts. Tell your children that each of them will receive three gifts this year. When they complain- say this: Listen, Jesus only got three gifts. Are you really prepared to argue that you deserve more presents on GOD’s birthday than God got on God’s OWN birthday? If they complain again – threaten to buy them only spices, like Jesus got. It will be just myrrh for them. If you cannot find myrrh it will be cumin. If they continue to complain they will open only cumin on Christmas morning. At this – they will quiet down. They will then tell you the three things they “want.” Write down the three silly things. Then: Yaay! Tell them that’s it. This year they can skip the December obsessing about what they want because it’s done. Commercials will not play a role in their Christmas needs this year. Kitchen’s closed, loves. The Christmas lists are off to Santa or Amazon or however you explain these things. Then say: CONGRATULATIONS, KIDS! Your minds and hearts are now officially free to focus on the real reason for the holidays: gratitude for what we already have.

Listen- if we teach our kids that joy comes from things you can write on a list – things you don’t already have- we are placing them directly on the consumer hamster wheel that WE ARE SPENDING OUR ADULTHOOD TRYING TO JUMP OFF OF- that cycle that leads only to wanting more, more, MORE, and believing that if we just get that one more thing- we’ll be happy. NOPE. Fool’s game. No winners. Because there is always JUST ONE MORE THING. That philosophy teaches that joy is always just out of reach. That’s a silly lie that serves no one but people selling things. Joy is within reach. Joy is looking around at what we already have and counting it all as miraculous. So if you don’t have a lot of money to spend this holiday- awesome. You are close to the kingdom of God. A good holiday season is not about making lists of crap we want. It’s about making lists of what we already have and love. Make those lists with your family this year. We just started a Holiday Gratitude Journal. Every night we write down three things each of us is grateful for. That’s my kind of list.

More Tips to Come. Maybe, if I can think of any more. This might be all I’ve got.

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


Nov 222013
 

FOR RACHEL. 

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go do it. Because the world needs more people who have come alive.” – Howard Thurman

 I went to school for Tish’s conference this morning. All is well enough. She’s doing fine- especially in her own estimation.

tish i am good

As we were waiting in the hall, I saw this art work on the wall. Tish explained that the assignment was to write about their biggest, boldest dream.

You guys- I only had time to get three pictures, but over and over- again and again and again- I read:

“My dream is for my family to be happy.”

family happy 1

My dream is for my family to be happy.

family happy 2

famiy happy 3

Tish’s  poster wasn’t done yet. I asked what her dream was and she said: “To be Taylor Swift and for my mommy to be happy.”

Oh, I said.

Then she added: “Everyone at my table wrote ‘I want my mommy to be happy!’”

Oh, I said again.

You guys. They want us to be happy.

They’re not saying:

My dream is for my mom to be perfect.

Or my dream is for my mom to be thinner or better looking.

Or cooler.

Or have more friends.

Or have better things.

Or to have had a prettier past.

Or have a cleaner, bigger, nicer house.

Or be richer.

Or be divorced or reunited.

Or work less or more or outside the home or inside the home or part time or whatehaveyou.

None of that.

Just:

My dream is for my family and my mommy to be happy.

Holy crap, you guys. We’ve got to get our joy back. We think it’s love to allow our roles –mother, wife, volunteer, career woman – to consume us like a fire until we can’t even be seen anymore – but that’s not love. I think our kids want to really see us. They want us to leave a part of ourselves unconsumed so they can see us. I think our kids want to see us come alive sometimes. Our kids never asked for martyrs.  It is not love to allow yourself – your spirit – to be buried and then fade away.

At first- these thoughts stressed me out this morning because I am passionate and I am kind and sometimes I’m ecstatic and I can usually find gratitude but I’m not “happy.” I’m intense and up and down and I get depressed and anxious and my anxiety makes me hard to be around sometimes. Because I’m impatient and snappy. I snap at people I love all the time and that makes me feel bad about myself. I want to be zen. I am so not zen. Whatever zen is- I’m the opposite of it.

But you know what- none of those papers said that “My dream is for my mom to stop snapping.” None said “I wish my mom would stop being so anxious and just relax and be more like Jesus or Buddha.” Their dreams were less about us in relationship to THEM and more about what they really want for US. As PEOPLE. They want us to be happy. Because they love US. And because they know, likely, that they are supposed to learn how to be happy during this brutiful life from us. And so if we’re slugging our way through life without joy- they are probably thinking- deep down- if she can’t pull some joy out of life- how will I?

And so those posters served as some SMELLING SALTS for me this morning. They woke me up.

And I thought: WHAT MAKES ME HAPPY? What is one thing that I could do today that has NOTHING TO DO WITH THE ROLES I PLAY and just FEEDS MY SOUL?

Because that’s important. It is important to feed my body, mind and soul every day. If we are going to ask for our daily bread- we’ve got to take the time to receive it and eat it. God provides –but we’ve got to slow down long enough to TASTE AND SEE. And we cannot say that our list of things to do is too long to slow down and feed ourselves. Because there are URGENT things and there are IMPORTANT things – and no matter how much URGENT there is – we must fit a few TRULY IMPORTANT things into our day or the URGENT things will consume us every day forever and ever ’till we die. We feed ourselves or we die. It’s inconvenient- especially in a culture that worships productivity and efficiency and busyness for busyness’ sake- but it’s THE TRUTH. We eat or we die.

WHAT MAKES YOU COME ALIVE? WHO ARE YOU BENEATH ALL OF YOUR ROLES? HOW DO YOU FEED YOURSELF?

Listen. This is a thing. We are going to figure this out together. If joy is so far out of reach that you don’t even remember what the word means- let’s talk about getting to a doctor. That’s step one.

If you can’t remember how to feed yourself but you remember what joy is: BE STILL. YOU HAVE TO GET STILL BEFORE YOU CAN REALLY GET UP. GOD MADE EVERYTHING WONDERFUL AND CREATIVE AND BEAUTIFUL OUT OF NOTHINGNESS- STILLNESS AND GOD STILL DOES. So find some quiet. 10 – 5 minutes a day. Try this- Travis sent it to us last night:

1) Prepare to pray the Psalm in 5 consecutively diminishing sentences.
2) Either aloud or quietly to yourself, say the words, “Be still and know that I am God”
3) After a couple deep breaths, pray, “Be still and know that I am.”
4) After a couple deep breaths, pray “Be still and know.”
5) After a couple deep breaths, pray, “Be still.”
6) After a couple deep breaths, pray, “Be.”
7) When ready, pray, “Amen.”

READ THIS:

“When they came to the home of the synagogue leader, Jesus saw a commotion, with people crying and wailing loudly. He went in and said to them, “Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep.” But they laughed at him.

After he put them all out, he took the child’s father and mother and the disciples who were with him, and went in where the child was. He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum!” (which means “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”). Immediately, the girl stood up and began to walk around (she was twelve years old). At this they were completely astonished. He gave strict orders not to let anyone know about this, and told them to give her something to eat.” – Mark 5

AH! 12 years old. That’s when it happens. That’s when we start looking to find our joy in other’s expectations and boys and magazines and cigarettes and food and we start getting buried. Go back. Before you were 12. What did you love?

MY FRIEND: YOU ARE NOT DEAD. YOU ARE JUST ASLEEP. YOU JUST NEED TO GET UP AND EAT.

LITTLE GIRL, GET UP!

GET UP AND EAT!!!!

 



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