Embracing Your Messy Beautiful Life with Glennon Doyle
Hey, everybody, how's it going, I'm Chase Jarvis, welcome to another episode of the Chase Jarvis Live Show. We're here, we're on Creative Live, this is the show where I sit down with the most awesome people, and my goal is to unpack their brains, with the goal of helping you live your dreams, in career, in hobby, and in life. My guest today is the founder of Together Rising, and Momastery, I said it, I got it right.
You did it, nailed it.
She's an activist, and the number one New York Times best-selling author, we're going to have an hour plus conversation, Love Warrior is the book that changed my relationship with you, I have a huge joy in welcoming you to the show, Glennon Doyle.
We made it happen. (slow rhythmic drumming) (audience applauds) They love you. (overlapping chatter) The audience goes crazy, Abby's over there, audience of one.
Thank you, Abby, thank you, thank you.
Well, it's been a long time coming, I've been watching your work for some time, and y...
our story, I follow you closely, read everything that you put out, and so A, welcome to the show, B, holy smokes, what a career trajectory in the last, like, I don't know, couple of years, just wow.
It's been a bit of a doozy.
It's been a doozy.
It's been a doozy, yeah.
We were joking before the camera started rolling about Momastery, and it's the equivalent of, like reading a book, not really knowing how to pronounce the character's name, just assigning a name to it, I called it (mumbles)--
You called it Mom-mastery.
Because mastery of mom, that's--
Which is like nails on a chalkboard to me, because it's the one thing I say I don't know anything about parenting, so--
I get it.
I'm not mastering the mom in any way.
I get it, but you can see, if you were, like, I'm not, yeah, so.
Completely, yeah. Maybe it's a good lesson to pick a word, if you're going to have a brand, maybe pick a word that people can say, you know, that makes sense, that's a good tip.
Fair, that's how I became acquainted with you and your work, but take us through a little bit of the backstory, I knew you just had an amazing performance here at Paramount Theater in Seattle, congratulations.
And, but give us a little overview of A, the backstory, what you feel like a couple of key turning moments were, you know, before we go too deep, the folks who are listening, you know, they're creators, entrepreneurs, people trying to find their way in the world. And you have so much knowledge to share, so let's just start hearing from you, give me a backstory.
Yeah, well, I mean, I think I started writing as a way to survive, to stay, I got sober when I was 25, I'd been an addict for 15 years, and I got sober because I was pregnant, so I had this instafamily right away, I got sober, and then I got married, and then I had three kids, bam, bam, bam. And, you know, everyone wanted me to get sober for so long, but I think what you find out when you get sober is that life is just really hard, like you kind of remember why you started drinking in the first place--
Hmm, at 12, or 13, right, yeah.
Right, like they told me this would be awesome, but it's actually really hard. So I, one of the things that kept me sane and sober was recovery meetings, at that time, and I'd go to these recovery meetings, and sit in these circles with these people, and it was just like, life to me, because it was, they were so honest.
And I felt like I couldn't find that kind of honesty anywhere else in the real world, like in the real world, I had to like, how are you, fine, everything's awesome, I love parenthood, it's, like so family, love marriage, yeah, woo, jazz hands to all the things, and life is so easy and great. And then, like once a week, I'd be able to go to these meetings, where people would, like just be real, you know, and so I thought, you know, why can't we do that in real life?
Like, why do we have to just wait for these little basements in hiding to be honest and real, so I just thought, I'm going to start writing, that, what I get to say in those meetings, I'm going to just, like put on paper. And so I remember the first time, sitting down, like I started getting up at, I don't know, some kind of, 4:30 in the morning, 'cause it was just, I was still dripping with babies, and, you know, I had to find time when they were all asleep.
I think this is a huge thing for people at home, like there's a barrier, right, like, I have three kids, I've got a mortgage, I've got all this stuff, you got up at 4: in the morning to find your time.
Yeah, because I remember thinking, you know, the Virginia Woolf thing, like every woman needs a room of her own, I was living in a very small apartment, with, we had no rooms, so I actually worked in the closet.
But, I knew that I needed an hour of my own, you know, that nobody, it was, it had to be dark, it had to be, everyone else had to be asleep, 'cause I think with women, when our people start waking up, we change from who we are, to like these roles, you know? Like, I'm a mom, I'm a wife, I'm a whatever. But, so for this hour in the morning before anybody woke up, I could just, like be me, you know, I was all, like soul, instead of roles. So, and I remember the first time, writing some, like words on a paper, and looking at it, and thinking, oh, that's me, like, this feels more like looking into a mirror than actually looking into a mirror.
How did it feel that you had to discover you in a closet at 4:00 in the morning? Did it feel safe, or was it hard? Like, did you--
In my life's trajectory since then, it's kind of hilarious, like I've actually been able to come out of the closet in many ways since then, but I don't know, I mean, I remember thinking there was something important about being in the closet, writing, because it felt so hidden, I was able to say things that maybe I wouldn't have if I was in a room full of light, I mean, that's how my work resonated with people, because I was saying things that other people didn't feel like they were allowed to say, but felt. And I also remember, I was married, I was married to my ex-husband back then, and I was in a closet, and there was, he would be still asleep, and so there was a barrier to anyone who would have come in, like my children could not get to me in there, nobody could get to me, there was no phone, there was no internet, there was no possibility of being interrupted, and so it felt, like sacred time, and also, I can only do creative work in the morning, I don't know why.
It's a really common thing.
Yeah, I've probably had 150 people on the couch, and, like people, there are people who do it, great work really late, and there are people who do great work early, there are some people who are really militant, and like, I sit down at my computer at 9:00, then I get up at 5:00, but way more polar to the morning, a little bit less in the evening, but you, I think that's really common. And I think it's, did you discover that about yourself at first because it was the only way you could find time, or--
And then have you tried to do it other places since, and it doesn't feel right, and you go back to the morning?
Well, I can't, like I don't know anything. I mean, I can do business, like, when, you know, after the kids get off to school, I can do business, I can do, I can do an interview, I can do work, but I can't do anything creative. And I actually don't know anything after, like I know all the things in morning. I'm so wise, for like an hour and a half, then it's just all gone, so I just have to, like grab that time, and if I do that every day, and also, for me, creating and writing is, I mean, I would hope my kids wouldn't see this part, but it's like the most important thing to me, so I feel like, I like them also, but.
You are nice, I like you, you, and you.
Yeah, I mean, I created them also, so I feel good about them.
Yeah, that's creativity.
But for me to feel fulfilled, like I've done my work for the day, I have to do that in the morning, and then I don't care what happens after that. Like, I've done all the hardest things, the most important things before anybody wakes up, so the rest of the day is, like gravy.
But it's like, it's like putting your oxygen mask on before assisting other passengers, right, you've gotta take care of you, 'cause if you're not your best self, then--
You're giving half of yourself to everybody else.
And if I don't do that time, I get nasty, and edgy, and all my people know, like "Why don't you go write some things, "and come back to us another time," yeah.
I'll see you after you're done writing.
Okay, so you started writing literally in the closet.
And you discovered that this is, as you said, this is me, on a page here, keep, unfold the story for us.
So, so then I actually started to, I'd wake up every morning, and write all of my feelings, and thoughts, and ideas, and then I would send them to my, like five friends. And these poor five friends, I mean, and then I would just sit at my computer and wait to see what they thought about me, and my thoughts and feelings. And if they didn't write back right away, I would ping them, like, "So did you get a chance "to read my thoughts and feelings for the day?" Finally, one of my friends sent me a tutorial about how to start a blog, 'cause she was like, "See, honey, if you do this, then we don't have "to read your crap every day."
At, yeah, at the same time--
Right, right, "So maybe you could start a blog." So I did, I started a blog, I named in Momastery, because I felt like, at that time, motherhood was kind of my main spiritual practice, that's what I was learning the most from about life, and I just started writing on the blog every single day, and my rule was that I was getting up at, still 4:30, I would, the whole world would wake up at 6:00, so I had to publish by 6:00, and I promised myself I would publish every day, which I think was a key for me, because it kept me from any kind of perfectionism. Like, if it wasn't good, I still had to do it.
Creativity is a habit, not a skill.
Yeah, and then it kept me from obsessing, like, is that good enough, is that good enough, is that good enough, and then the other thing that making yourself, I wouldn't do that now, I would not do that now, but, like making yourself publish what you do each day keeps you from perfectionism, and it also, the interesting thing was, the things that people resonated the most with were often not the ones I thought they would have, things I would have scrapped if I thought too much about it, you know?
That's, there's a really important message embedded in there, for sure, I want to go back to something you just said, you said, "I wouldn't do that now," why? Do you feel like it's because you have your voice, and you're practiced, and you want to be more careful, more thoughtful, or is it, you just, like the thought of publishing every day is overwhelming now, or what, what was the, what's the?
Well, that, also, I feel a little bit differently about my writing right now than I did back then. I wrote, my children were very little, I was writing a lot about family life, and relationships. I felt like my kids were super little, so I just felt like they didn't have any rights, you know, like I just didn't care what they, like, they were, they were, (mumbles) I just needed, I just was a little, you know, you can say whatever the hell you want to say about a two-year-old, they're all the same, you know, so. I would just throw them under the bus constantly, but, and also, I wrote a lot about my marriage in ways that, like really helped people, and I think were important, and I don't think I'd go back and change, but now that I look back, I can see that it was probably very hard to be married to me, because, well, for many reasons, one being that I think it would be hard to be living with someone who you know is always--
Writing about your exchanges, and yeah.
Yeah, and I always tried to do it in a respectful way, but, you know, there's just some things that when you give them away to everybody, you just don't keep them, you let them out of the house, and they're not yours anymore.
And I wouldn't want to, to be living with someone who was constantly looking at what I did, and being like, "How does this apply to everyone? "How is this individual experience a universal, "for all people," like, so that's what I mean, is that I'm more careful about writing things.
Is it fair to say that the phase that you were in, though, was critical to your development?
Absolutely, I wouldn't change any of it. And, I'm not in that marriage anymore, and I needed to not be in that marriage anymore, so, like, and we are still very close friends, and raising a family together, but I think it's important to look back and say, how would I do things differently now?
No, that's courageous.
But I absolutely needed to do all of that, yeah.
So you start, you're writing, then you get the blog, and your friends are like, "Thank you."
Yeah, right, right.
Now we've got some other people who can read.
Right, we can shoulder the load here.
But again, as we're unfolding this, what I love is it's very, it's linear, it's step by step, you get up, you start writing for yourself, and then you start writing for an audience of five, and then you start writing for, you know, presumably a larger audience.
And it's so funny, because, I think because my career has gotten a little more visible in the last two years, people are always like, "Oh, my god, this is amazing, like how, "this, like overnight success thing." So I started this blog, what, like 10 and a half years ago, right.
Literally the 10 year overnight success, right?
Right, exactly, 10 and a half years ago, and I wrote every single day for two years before anybody said anything to me about anything, other than my friends, right, and one day, I wrote this post, it was called, "Don't carpe diem." And again, it is a post I would have scrapped, I thought, I didn't think it was good, my dad called me, my dad was my main reader, okay?
Love it, yes.
Most of my feedback is, 'cause it still is from my dad, he called me and he was like, he went, "Eh," about the today's essay, "eh." This freakin' essay went completely viral, and--
More than a million shares, right, something like that?
Right, and it was like this teeny little blog, and then, you know, two weeks later, I was, my inbox was full of letters from agents in New York, and two weeks after that, I was in New York City, at an auction, for a book based on the blog, but I had never, ever, one time promoted, or tried to do anything to get, all I did was sit my butt down, and write my heart out each day for the small audience that was there, and it just organically turned into the book, and all the wider things. And that's how the non-profit started, too.
So I, I think that's incredible, first of all. Second of all, it's, I want to see, what do you feel? 'Cause I advocate that you can't just actually put stuff out there, that you have to be a part of a community, so maybe you could say that you had a, you started your own community, so in those ways, you were a part of something. I'm curious to see if, check my work here, do you feel like more people should just focus on the craft, and let things take care of themselves, or are you an advocate of, you have to do both sides of the coin, and you have to write your stuff, or do whatever your craft is, and, you know, try and get it out there? You're one of the only examples that I know, but, so that's what makes me want to ask the question, like, where do you sit on the spectrum of, of--
Well, I mean, I would say, "and/both," the whole time, I mean, I think in order to be creative, there's something very, very individual about it. Like, every single person, whether you're on a team or not, if you're not bringing forth that thing that only you can bring forth, that's crucial, but I have never done, I mean, I think that most people would say I'm more community creative than anybody, like I, to the point where now, I take very seriously my community's feedback, like to a probably a detriment. Like, I mean, I was laughing because last night after the show, we did this show last night for, in Seattle for thousands of people, and we were walking down the street, and some lady said, "Great show, Glennon!" And Abby goes, "If you need anything different next time, "just tell Glennon on Instagram." Because I, because my community is amazing, and they give, like serious feedback, and I take it very seriously. Also, I mean, I've never done, everything that I do, in terms of writing or creating, is also, includes my sister, and my, Alison, who's my, I don't know what she is, my creative partner, my, I mean, there's nothing that I do that isn't a team effort. And with the non-profit, I mean, we have 10 or 12 women who just work their hearts out on that, and, to the point where we were at this big dinner the other night for Together Rising, and somebody said, oh, we were all getting up to give toasts, right, and we figured out that none of us knew who the boss was. So my sister stood up, and said something about me being the boss, but I, I've never thought of, I think my sister's the boss, and she tells me what to do, and then I just do it, she thinks I'm the boss, Liz, who runs our non-profit, we all kind of think she's the boss. And I thought, is this chaos? Like, we're running a very large non-profit here, but I actually think it's not chaos, it's just a kind of a very female way to do leadership, right, there's no hierarchy, it's all just, like this big give-and-take, and everybody trusts everybody. So, like I always say, just hire people that are smarter than you, and leave them the hell also.
Yeah, so true.
So true, we're sitting in this place, like, I wouldn't have, it wouldn't exist without people way smarter than me, I get it, I totally get it.
So I think it's both, you have to have something that individual, I mean, every single person at a meeting, or at a room has something inside of them that if they don't offer, that only they can offer, and then they're, and then nothing will be as beautiful or true as it could be if that's not all, like melded together.
Talk to me about "and/both," that's a thing for you.
Oh, my god, it's the only way I know--
Describe it, though, describe it.
Well, I think I figured out this idea of and/both when I got sober, because I was just a super-sensitive kid, still, I'm still a super-sensitive kid, and I think I figured out really early on that life was just brutal, you know, that, like love, and pain, and risk, and even just walking in, even putting myself into a room felt so terrifying, and so scary, like, how do we do this, life is so scary, just showing yourself in places, and saying, "Here I am, I hope you like me," terrifying. And so the great thing about life is, and the horrible thing about life is it gives you these ways to just drop out, right, so for me, food, addiction, booze, it just morphed into all of these ways of, it's a, addiction is just a hiding place, you know, where sensitive people can go to kind of, like shield ourselves from risk, and pain, and love, unfortunately. And so 15 years after I fell into addiction, I'm 25 years old, I find myself just so hung over, sitting on a bathroom floor, holding a positive pregnancy test, and I, I think I realized in that moment, I really felt like, in that moment, it may, I think we addicts have this time where we think, oh, this could be my last chance. Something happens where it's just, you have a knowing that, like, this might be my last chance to show up for life.
This is the time to flip the bit, you know?
Right, either, either I say yes to this, or it's done, you know, 'cause I was so sick. And, and something about that moment, I figured out, oh, okay, so if I'm going to say yes to this invitation to be a mother, if I want something this beautiful, then I'm going to have to freaking show up for all the brutal.
Like, oh, my god, I get it, here on the bathroom floor, like I can't numb out all the brutal and hard parts of life, and also have anything beautiful. Right, so it's either and/both or neither. So, like I learned at a very visceral level--
Sitting on the bathroom floor.
Yeah, like this concept that I actually learned later is, like science or something, I don't know, this is why I love Brene, I'm like, I feel like this is true, and she's like, "Here's the research, it's actually true," right? So I say we're both shame researchers, it's just that my work is all out in the field. (Chase laughs) So that was my first and/both, like, life is, it, you can either have nothingness, or you can have the brutal and the beautiful, right, brutal-ful is what we call it in my community. Everything's and/both, right, like, my kids, it's the first day of school, and somebody, my mom said, "Are you nervous, or are you excited?" And my little one, nine-year-old, goes, "I'm sc-ited." Like, that's what we all are, we're scared and excited, like everything is and/both, you know.
So beautiful, when I first was acquainted with that in your work, I was like, so smart, I didn't know that you actually came up with that on the bathroom floor, which is even more powerful and memorable. But I think that's a, we have a very black and white world, or a world that tends to black and white, and there's not too many things that are. Alright, so we're going to keep going, unpacking the journey, which has been, I don't know, so you're now writing, you got a book deal, you're not on the bathroom floor, where does it go from here?
Yeah, so, so the weird thing about creative life is, while you're doing these things, and life keeps happening to you, right, so, so I write the book. I think a week before I go out on the road, this is, so they didn't know what the hell I was, it's hard to describe what I did, so they decided to call me a relationships expert. I don't know, if the Today Show says that it's true, or if it's on Amazon, it's true. So I was, like suddenly a relationship expert, right? So then a week before I go on tour as a relationship expert for Carry on, Warrior, I'm in therapy, and my husband tells me that he's been unfaithful to me throughout our entire marriage. So I'm thinking the relationship expert thing's going to be a hard sell now.
Right, people are a little smarter than this, okay, "Listen to me, I have all the answers." So, so I had to go on tour with Carry On, Warrior at that point in my life, which really was just another bathroom floor moment, right, it was, like the rock bottom of my individual life, and then here was the rock bottom of my marriage. But I did it, I went on the road, and then the experience that I was happening, the thing about being a writer, because of the way that the publishing world works, you are always on the road, representing a version of yourself four years ago.
It is so weird.
Yeah, and the, just with even the, I mean, pop culture, the lag time between you doing the work, and people discovering it, with you living through it, figuring it out, capturing it, whether it's in words, or music, or photograph, or whatever, then the photograph, or the words, they make their way around the world, you get really well known, and then people want to meet you, and you're like, "That was, like way back, friend."
That was like a lifetime ago, right?
So this is happening now for you, okay.
Yeah, so I'm writing Love Warrior all during that time, but, you know what, I do want to say thank god for that, too, because what I, the things I write about, and anyone who's doing anything creative is mining life, right, for the gold of it, and I think that the reason we can go out and talk about it is because we're not, like writing from our open, gaping wounds, right, things have had some time to scar over, and the thing is that, you know, I think because of truth telling, and vulnerability being, like such buzzwords now, that people get confused about what that is. So what they do is, they think, okay, I'm in a tough place, and, like, Brene and Glennon have promised me that if I'm just a truth-teller, everything will be okay.
Everything's going to be just fine.
If I just get vulnerable, things will be fine, and everyone will love me, and blah, blah, blah. So they, like get online, and they gush out their personal story in real time, and the whole world's like, (groans). Because that's not what it is, right, like, there's levels of truth telling, and when it's all happening to you, and you're in pain, the place to tell the truth is, like your very small circle, so, like for me, back then, it would have been a recovery group, and my therapist, and, like maybe my family. But when we write from our open, gaping wounds, it comes across as a cry for help, when we do it on a wide level, it does not come across as art, right, so you have to wait.
Huge, huge, huge insight right there.
Yeah, I mean, I think you have to wait until your personal pain, I never write anything now until I know that this personal thing is about all of us, right? Like, with Love Warrior, every sentence, every paragraph, yes, this is, this is my individual pain, but how does this apply to all of us?
In the particular lies the universal.
The universal, right, all the time, thank god. So the, I think the most interesting part of this is that I write Love Warrior, I'm done with it, Love Warrior ends, it's all about, you know, the infidelity, and what the healing process is after that for both Craig and me, and it ends with Craig and I's, the suggestion of redemption, this is--
Re-saying your vows, right?
Right, on the beach, so this is, this book is about to be released, it's been, I already know, my whole team knows it's been chosen as an Oprah Book Club book, okay. This is going to be a big book, this is going to be like, the big whatever of our, of my career, a lot of people's careers riding on it, a lot of, you know, the agents, and editors, and Oprah's team, and everybody. Marriage, redemption, book, but the small problem is that I am getting divorced. (laughs) So, so, and listen, like way more important to me than my career is my sobriety, okay, and my sobriety is based completely on my integrity, right, like that's the one thing I can't do, ever, is to live a different life on the inside than I'm doing on the outside, right.
So I'd rather just, I mean, I remember somebody saying to me, "Okay, you cannot, just please, "can you be a truth-teller in six weeks? "Can you just, because this is a marriage redemption book, "and so if they know that you're on the road, "and you're getting a divorce, "the power's going to be lost in the book." And I remember somebody saying to me, one of the agents saying, "Just please understand "that you can do this, but it will be career suicide." And I actually remember think, say, thinking, okay, like I would rather commit career suicide than soul suicide, right, like I can't, I've never promised any of my people that I'm going to be like some perfect version, all I've promised is honesty, right? And if I have to live my life publicly being a version of myself three years ago.
Even temporarily, no, I can't do it, it's impossible, I mean, I have zero poker face, I have zero, like, I would be, it would be a disaster. So everybody on earth was telling me, "Please don't do it, please just wait, wait, wait," except for Oprah, who had the most riding on it, right? So just in desperation for, like different advice, she said, "The truth is going to be what you're left with, "so just start with it."
So, and the thing is that when Oprah says it, everyone else is like, "Okay, alright, "well, that's what I thought, anyway."
So true, (laughs) that's a--
They just fell like dominoes after that, you know, like, "Oh, okay, maybe truth telling is a great idea." So the cool thing is, and I know this about my community, my readers, all they want is the truth, that's all anybody wants is the truth.
Because that's where it started for them, that's why they started paying attention, because it was a truth in a sea of not so much truth, right?
Right, and this idea of nothing's black and white.
We want to see the messy middle.
Humanity, the messy middle is where I live, that's my jam, right, it's like, we're all, there's all, everybody, they, we're out of Disneyland, the Disney story. Like, we're out of it, we're done, we don't need, like the Cinderella before, and the ball after. Like, we need people who are willing to show up in the messy middle. So, so I just announced, my tour turned into, "here's the divorced marriage redemption lady." You are a very confusing person, but tell us all the things. And so it turned out to be so beautiful, because instead of this BS thing, I was all over the country, having, like real conversations about messy relationships.
And being true to yourself, right, and I remember saying, like, "I don't, "I don't, all I know," I mean, it's kind of, Love Warrior's kind of a book about betrayal, but for me, it's a book about self-betrayal, like, what I learned from the Love Warrior process is that I will never betray myself, right. That when I know that something is right and true, I'm just going to do it, no matter who else tells me not to, and you just gotta, as a creative person, part of creativity is having faith in your people.
They can see the truth, and feel the truth when they hear it, and see it, and they don't need things to be perfect.
You need to be able to be, or willing to be wildly misunderstood for long periods of time if you're, if you're going to put your truth out there.
Yeah, so the, give me, like, tell a couple of stories, if you would, about the first time that, so you're, you go on the morning show, or whatever show of your choice, and you drop the truth bombs.
Well, I mean, there were more truth bombs to come, if you want to get.
I think we should, yeah, 'cause it's going to be even more interesting for us to look back when we know a little bit more, so keep going on your story.
Yeah, so, like, in the midst of all of this divorce news, and the tour, the Love Warrior tour, I go to this book event, and I meet Abby at this book event, and my entire world just, whoosh. Like, I realized that, I mean, I think the easiest way to say it is that I have, I had never understood what this freaking romantic love thing was in my whole life, like, this is why my, you know, people are, like always trying to figure out, and teach what they don't know, right, like, this is why my entire family's all therapists, 'cause we're all trying to freaking figure out what the hell is wrong with our heads. So I was a Love Warrior, I had never been in love, I had, I had, so much of Love Warrior is, like, what is this thing everyone's talking about?
Trying to grapple with it, yeah.
Yeah, I didn't even believe people, I didn't, I was, like this is just all Disney crap, you know?
You're, you've been on the record, if I can, about sex being, like.
I didn't get it, I didn't get it, I didn't get it at all, I remember saying to people, like, what, who invented kissing, like what is that? Who was like, oh, let's open our mouths, and, like none of it made sense to me. And I was so desperately trying to figure it out with my head, and it was just, sex was so confusing, and I thought it was because, you know, I had so many body issues, I was a bulimic, and I just couldn't figure it all out. And then I met Abby, and was like.
Ah, ah, I was wrong on that one.
Plot twist, so, but listen, I need to tell you, about and/both, okay?
Okay, here we are.
So, so now, I'm a divorced, marriage redemption, relationship expert, Love Warrior, Christian, Sunday School teacher who speaks in churches all over the country, who is madly in love with a woman, okay, so there's a lot of and/both going on here.
Yeah, you think.
Right, much of my audience is, would call themselves Christian, there's a lot of confusion in the Christian world about, I don't know, it's just a mess with what they think they're supposed to be judging. So even Oprah was like, "Wow, wow." (laughs) This is going to be interesting, right? It was like a trust fall, and I was like, I think they can handle it, I know they can handle it, I know it, I know my people can handle it. My, the day before I announced that Abby and I were in love on social media, because I had to, because it was getting weird, like--
I remember that post.
Yeah, we were having to just, hide a little bit, and the second I feel like there's hiding, I just, I can't.
So I remember one agent saying, "Okay, let's start the bloodbath." And I wrote an essay about me and Abby, and it was so freaking beautiful. The, not the essay, the response.
Zero bloodbath, it was, it became so interesting that, one of the beauties of that day was that the focus was not even on Abby and me, the focus became who is this community? Who is this community that is so freaking respectful, and open-minded, and, and what I learned about that, about the creative life, is that you, I remember my friend Jen calling me and saying, because I had been an advocate, a fierce advocate for gay rights for a decade, right, my kids had, at that point, been to more gay pride rallies than Abby had. Right, this is, my kids are like.
They get it.
Right, and what I, and I had been hammering that home with my audience for so long, like bringing them into "No, no, no, "we don't do that here, we do this here, "no, we don't do that here, "we do love here, we do love here." My friend Jen said, "Oh, my god"--
Yeah, yeah, yeah, she said, "Do you see "that you've been creating for a decade the community "that you needed." Like.
So you can only connect the dots looking backwards, that is just an ah-ha, obvious, incredible thing that you've been doing.
Like, I thought that I was creating a net for other people, and then I turned around, and like, that's the net I get to fall into, which is why it is so important for us to create communities that are radically inclusive, right? Because you don't know what you're going to need, you have to treat any person who's being excluded like they're a member of your own family, because they probably will be eventually.
Yeah, exactly, just look at your watch, it's a matter of time.
Tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, right. So, I don't know, I mean, the beauty of that was watch, and, of course, there's always, you know, the outliers, the troll-y type people, but for the most part, I can just tell you, I will never not trust my people.
How, do you feel like trust was something that you developed when you got sober? Because trust is a huge issue for people, right, you know, you've heard, like, you get burned once, and then you never, you know, if you put that out there as a creator and it doesn't go well, is it because you're not doing a good enough job, being honest enough, or you're in the wrong community? Or, you know, trust is a huge thing, so how did you develop the trust that you have with the people close to you in your community, and have you got any advice for people who, like, trust issues are, they are things, they're real. I love, I love Brene's take, is pretty interesting, like there's pieces of trust that you have to go back and build, and she's got her little acronyms, like I think bravery is in her new book. But talk to me about how you think about trust, and you were just so, just now, you were so clear about your level of trust, how did you get that?
Well, I'm sure there's an easier way, I mean, there's got to be, that an expert would know about. I mean, for me, if I, if I said, well, if you want to build trust with an online community, so what you have to do is with 10 years, pouring every bit of your love, and your mind, and your soul into these people, reading every single thing that they say, writing back to them in real time, getting to know their families, create a team of women who will respond to these people's needs, and actually pay their heating bills, and help them foster children, and, I mean, this is like a community that has been built on back and forth. Like, I think if you want people who are going to care about you in a community, you have to just, like desperately care about them, right? So that's what's happened over a decade for me, I mean, these are people who, we show up all over the country, I travel around, and they show up in real life, and it feels like a family reunion.
So, and, and I also, like as my friend was saying last night, we did this, this first stop on this Together tour, in Portland, two night, or three nights ago, and it didn't go great.
Yeah, like I won't get into the details, but, I mean, I thought it went great. And then I opened up my social media, which I have a love/hate relationship with social media, we can talk about that in a minute, I think we should. But some of it's beautiful, and people share with me in an open-hearted, and kind, and brave way, and the feedback was rough. And I'm going to tell you that for 24 hours, I was, like unreachable, I was utterly devastated, because I thought that I was doing this good thing, and there's a process that happens to me when I get feedback that is not troll-y, it's real.
Yeah, you're internalizing.
And true, and so what happens to me is that I want to shut down, and I want to cry, and pout, and, and I hate everyone, and I feel woefully misunderstood, and I want to tap out, and maybe I do that for a little bit. And then what stays in my head is, "Stay open, stay open." "Stay open" is, like my mantra, because whenever I'm at that low point, and I feel misunderstood, it's because something amazing is about to happen, because creativity has to be collaborative, and if you want to be an artist, and in community, then you have to be ready for that community to say, "Eh."
And it's so painful, I don't know why it's so painful for me, I mean, my friend last night said, "It's because you care the most amount."
The most amount.
Right, so it just floors me, but there's something magical, so, so anyway, I spent, my team and I spent two days between Portland and Seattle actually taking in all the feedback, and then recreating the whole evening.
And it was totally different last night, and it was so much better.
Will you say what you changed?
Yeah, so we, basically what we did is, our dream was, you know, we were in all these conferences where there's all these amazing activists and leaders, and I would tell you that most, a lot of the conferences I speak at, I would not be able to avoid a ticket to, or afford--
It's insanity, thousands of dollars to get in the door, so these rooms become so elite, and exclusive, and--
Bloated, and all that, yeah.
It's almost obnoxious to me, so. So our dream, my co-creator in the Together tour is Jennifer Rudolph Walsh, so she's just this amazing, probably the most famous literary agent in the world, she's--
I know Jennifer well, she's at WME?
Yeah, she's Brene, and Oprah--
Will you say hi to her for me?
I will, I will, well, we're were talking about you last night.
She's going to go, "No way, really, that guy?"
Oh, really, do you guys--
Small world, small world.
Well, so, of course, she's always in these rooms, and so our idea together became, okay, we've got to find a way to, like democratize wisdom, right, like we have to find a way to get everybody into these rooms, and it started last year. I had to go on tour for Love Warrior, and it was right before the election, and I felt like, I hate, I hate book tours with a deep burning passion because, because they're just like, me, me, me, look at me, look at my book, look at whatever, and it's just uncomfortable, so I thought, okay, what if I could find a way to use this book tour to get people in the door, and then lift up voices that wouldn't normally be heard, especially at a time that was so important, before the election last year. So we ended up having all of these amazing women of color, and all different types of people on the stage, and so that turned into this year. So, anyway, the point is. (overlapping chatter) We're trying to get really cheap tickets, like we wanted to be in the most beautiful theaters in the country, and we wanted to have really cheap tickets, like $25.00 tickets, and then we wanted to give away hundreds of tickets. So in every city we went to, we wanted to go to, like, whatever women are most underserved in those cities, and just, like give away hundreds of tickets, get all these people in the door, and have the most top-notch speakers on the stages. So, in order to do that, we needed sponsors, right? Sponsors scare the bejeezus out of me, I've actually never had a sponsor in my life, I've never partnered with a company, I'm terrified of it, because artists, art and business, like.
It's not my strength, so I just always thought, black and white, right, easier just to keep these separate, just "no" to everything forever. (clears throat) And so there was no other way to do it, we needed sponsors, if I wanted to give away tickets, if I wanted cheap tickets, I have to have sponsors, so we chose beautiful sponsors, whatever. The problem was that we didn't explain any of that, so my people, who are used to--
Nothing, nothing, like this is the one thing they can trust me with, right?
I get it, yeah, I went there, I get it.
They come to this event, and they're like.
Who are these, (mumbles) people, they're not your people, we're your people.
And so for me, and like, Abby and I don't, like, we did this, we told our love story on stage, like for a person who's, who's always pretty vulnerable, it was like the most vulnerable I've ever been, and so to do that on stage, and then to have people be like, "You sold out," I just wanted to just, if I could have just melted--
Especially the combination of those two things in the same place, ugh, yeah, I get it.
So, and to have any, like, to have any of my readers disappointed in me, like I was telling Abby, like the only thing that could be worse, 'cause she's like, "Are you going to be okay," like.
The only thing that could be worse is if I, like was living outside of my integrity, like in our family, like that's the only thing that could feel worse to me than this right now, it felt like I was outside of my integrity.
What you've created is an extension of your family in some ways, yeah, I get it.
I felt like I had let them down. But the thing is, it wasn't that we were, what I figured out over time is, no, no, no, the problem is not, so you're actually not trying to screw anybody, right, the good news is that you actually are not trying to hide anything, right, so that's good, that's a good start. The problem is not that you didn't tell them the truth, the problem is that you didn't tell them enough truth.
So last night, in Seattle, we started by saying--
Here's why, there are hundreds of women around you right now who would not have been here, literally, 700 last night, women in this room, in this, who would not have been there if it weren't for these two sponsors, and we are so grateful to them, and--
Huge, entirely different, yeah, MO.
It's just not enough, it's not that it's not the truth, it's just not enough truth, and that's a trust in people, too, like first of all, trust that they're smart enough--
To get it.
To know when you're selling something to them without explaining it, they don't miss anything, and second of all, they're smart enough, if you explain it right, to understand. So, anyway, we changed it all, and it went so much better.
No, I love, and I, that's why I'm asking some of my questions, like, "Explain that," because there's so many truth bombs in there about not going far enough with the truth, and explaining, and the creative, the business and creativity conflicts. And that's what the people who are listening and watching right now, they're all dealing with that, and they haven't had, by and large, the success that you've had, and so these things are all going to be land mines in their future, and, you know, whatever we can do to talk about them in the open, I mean, just, like creator to creator, this doesn't get talked about very much, like the messy middle, all the, it's, you've heard Brene talk about gold-plated grit. Like, it's, you talk about how hard it was for about a quarter of a second, and then you get on back to your wins--
And then you're Cinderella at the ball.
Back to the ball.
Right, right, right.
But, I mean, even then, this was three days ago, so thank you for sharing.
And I think it also comes down to, Chase, like the, the what to take in and what not to take in, right, in terms of criticism, I mean, I know people who are like, screw it all, I can't, I can't take any of it in, I'm just going to do my thing, and that, and I'm not sure that works, and then I know people who take it all in, and that doesn't work. So I've made up some rules for myself in terms of criticism.
This is, I gotta hear these rules.
So, and I don't know if they're the same for boys as girls, I don't know, I don't--
We'll compare notes.
Okay, so I know for women, like, I would say, over the last 10 years, I could, I could break my criticism down into four categories, so, like I think of it as, we put something out into the world, then we're going to go out into the mailbox and, like collect our feedback, right? So if I go out into my mailbox, and collect my feedback about my work, for sure, at least a quarter of it will be about my looks. It does not matter if I'm talking about social justice, if I'm talking about divorce, or my, it doesn't, I mean, it doesn't matter.
25% will be, "you're too skinny, you're too." It used to be, "you're too fat, you're too skinny, "you're too, your hair's too blonde, "your hair's not blonde enough, "you have too much Botox, you have no Botox, you're." I don't know, it's like a way of silencing women to talk about their looks, and it, or, "you're pretty," too. It doesn't, it's not that it has to be negative, it's, it's just as obnoxious when it's positive, it's like, anything that has anything to do with looks for me is like junk mail, like I do not even take it into my house, right, like I don't take the good, I don't take the bad, I don't take it in anymore. I used to, (sighs) I used to, like change my whole self, based on what anybody said about me, so anything about my appearance, clothes, out the door. Then the second thing that happens to women is that no matter what you're talking about, they go to your relationships, because women are very relational.
So one way to silence women is, like--
Attack the thing that, yeah, I get it.
You're a bad mom, you're a bad, like, the first question I always get, "So how are you doing all of this? "Like, where, where are the kids?" Like, well, see the thing is, that kids, children, generally sometimes have two parents, right, so, like often, when they're not with me, they're with the other one, or that's just, you know, how a lot of families work, so. And that's not something that, but that's, like the microaggression of, like, let's not talk about your work, let's talk about whether you even have a right to do this work.
Are you mom enough?
Are you mom, are your relationships in order? Right, are you, first, are you attractive enough to be talking, are your relationships perfect enough to be talking, right? So I do see that often when men, when artists who are men, or activists who are men, or leaders who are men share, the feedback is about what they're sharing, often women, the feedback is whether they have a right to be sharing in the first place.
The context of their sharing.
Right, like, let's get these things in order before we hear what she's saying. I mean, it's, I think most women, if you're going to use your voice in the world, this is what happens, and it's easier when you know what's going to come.
I'm so excited for the rise of the feminine energy in our culture that's happening.
It's so good.
And I think it's fair to say there's a long way to go, but just even that you're able to identify those things as blockers, and so, again, thank you for sharing about, and I feel like I hijacked that just for a second, 'cause I wanted to squeeze that in there.
So if, if 25% of the feedback is looks, 25% is analyzing the quality of your relationships before we'll hear what you have to say, what's the other 50%?
Well, okay, so another 25% is, like personality-wise.
Like, "oh, my god, I can't stand her voice." Like, her actual voice, which I can't stand my voice, either, I get it, but like, I mean, it's a little Minnie Mouse-ish, but I'm always trying to like, go a little lower, like I try to start lower, but then I always end up back here anyway. So, so voice, (mumbles) too much, you're too sensitive, you're too whatever, anything related to my personality, or things I can't change, it has nothing to do with my work, right, but then, there's this 25% that's actually about my work, okay? So it's hard stuff, it's like, you know, I talk about, say something about race, and somebody says, "That's you."
You missed that one, yeah, you said the wrong thing.
"You really missed that," or it's the, what just happened on stage, like that didn't feel good, like that was off, or, it's like, it's actual criticism about my ideas, and my work, and that's the good stuff, right? So you have to be, like smart enough to disregard the first 75%, but if you're not brave enough to take the good stuff, to take that 25, into your house, and open it, and wrestle with it, like that's the, and it makes you feel bad, and pouty, and like, especially when it's about race, it just crushes me, 'cause I'm like, I'm a very fragile white person, right, I've got all that white fragility going, so it's like wrestling with that, and staying, trying to do better the next time, instead of letting it take me out of the game. I think the best activists and artists I know are the people who take that 25% in, and allow it to make them better.
It's so true, so that was, that takes us up from writing in a closet, to last night.
And congratulations, can we unpack a couple of other little small things you've created? Like, oh, this non-profit, you've referenced it several times, you've given more than seven million bucks, by my last count, to people in need, holy crap, where did this come out of? Is it just, like a thing--
And I'm, oh, I'm also doing this, like.
But it was never like that, it was everything happens just because of this community that I have, and then I've just always just responding to what they want, and then it turns into something. So, so there's this one day where, actually what had happened is I had shown the book cover to Carry on, Warrior--
No, it was actually way long ago, yeah. So the first one had showed it on, to my, my community, and this is something amazing, like they all scooped them all up, and, like it went to really high on the Amazon list, and all the agents were calling, like, "What the hell just happened?" I'm like, "I don't know, I just showed it to them." So I was just feeling so grateful to my community, and so I always feel like gratitude is an energy that you have to do something with, like you don't just feel it, I feel like feelings are, like fuel, you know, like you just do something with them, and that's one of my sanity, sobriety strategies, like, burn it up, you know? So I thought, okay, with this gratitude, I'm going to open my email, and I'm just going to respond to the first one, I'm going to do whatever the first person asks me to do, because people always ask me to do stuff.
This is, actively you're saying this to yourself, I'm going to do whatever this--
Yeah, I just talk to myself all day, that's what, I call it talking to God, Abby calls it talking the myself, whatever.
So I'm, like talking to my best self, you know, you've got, like these two selves, the self that wants to just watch Netflix all day, and then there's, like this higher self that you're checking in with, you're trying to be that one? So I open my email, and it's this email from this beautiful woman who is from, where is she, Indiana, and she was running a home for teenage moms, and, this, it was called PHI, and she was just broken-hearted. She was just writing to me broken hearted because the night before, she had had this 14-year-old girl come to her doorstep at this home with a baby, and she had to turn her away, even though they had a room, because of all this red tape, and funding, and she just didn't, she couldn't let her in.
Oh, that's a horrible feeling.
And I was like, oh, my god, this is so amazing, like this is where I sweep in and save the day, this is what I'm going to do, so I call this woman, she had left her phone number, so I call this woman, and I'm like, "Listen, I'm going to give you the money "you need for this girl, I've got it, how much do you need?" And she said, "We need $87,000.00." And I said, "Well, then, we need a new plan."
I was wrong.
That is going to be a hard credit card charge to hide from my family, so.
But that kicked you into action--
Yeah, so that night, so we hung up, I was, I was, like well, there's nothing I can do, but then I was like, wait a minute, like this all, I feel like something, this, I feel like this is supposed to happen. And then I thought, oh, this is so funny, like this is that obnoxious thing I do where I think this is about me, no, no, this is about our community.
Like I'm going to save the day, yep.
Right, like if I care about this story, I just happen to be lucky enough to be leading this community of the most caring, amazing people on earth, so what if my job, I always say, like, "the most revolutionary thing you can do "is just introduce people to each other."
My job is not to save the day here, my job is to introduce Sarah, and this 14-year-old girl, to my community, in the most beautiful way I know how, because I'm a story-teller.
Yes, you are.
So I'll just tell the story, and then just see what happens, right, so Sarah and I got on the phone, we stayed up forever, just trying to write this, the most beautiful thing we could write about her home, this home, and this girl, and we decided we were going to ask them, to see if they could fund this $87,000. that we needed for this girl, and I actually think it was, I don't know what it was, it may have been less than that. Because I said to Sarah, "If we raise that money, "will you go get this girl tomorrow?" Because I couldn't, like, she was, we didn't know where she was, "will you find her, "will you, like send cars and find this girl, "and get her, and her." She said, "If you can raise this freaking money by, "we promise, we'll get her." So told the story, called it a "love flash mob," because at the time I was obsessed, do you remember the love flash mobs where, like one person starts dancing?
I feel like it's the best, like image for what we all want to do, right? We're just all, like walking around, disconnected from each other, like zombies, and then one person starts dancing, and we're like, "Oh, yay."
And it's actually the second person--
The second person! (overlapping chatter)
Yeah, 'cause there's someone's who's, got to be, you may be a little off your rocker, that's the cultural norm, right, and it's the second person who's like, "I'm down with this," and then it's like, two is a gang, right, so let's join the gang.
Right, and everyone's like, "that's cooler "than what we're doing over here." Like, they look weird and stupid, but it looks like fun over there.
Yeah, you've seen that YouTube video, of the guy dancing at the concert, for sure.
Well, and the Oprah Black Eyed Peas one, so that one, the Black Eyed Peas one has, like eight million views, and I'm for sure seven million, like I, days, just like, oh, my god, this is humanity, this is what we want to do. So I call it the Love Flash Mob, because I thought, this is what I want, like one, I'm the idiot who's going to start dancing here, and then somebody's going to do it, somebody is going to love this, and then it's going to be dominoes, right?
It goes back to the trust.
Yeah, so we opened up, I said, oh, and the important thing, I think the magic of the Love Flash Mob was that we decided that nobody was allowed to give more than $25.00.
That's totally remarkable.
Yeah, because I felt like, okay, my job is to, like, I know these people, I trust them, they're going to have this rising of wanting to give, and what is it that breaks that? There's something that comes between the pressing of the giving, and the wanting to give that makes people not give, and I think that's the, like indecision, and it's the, it's the, how much do I give, and will it make a difference?
And will someone see, and do I need to be known for that, or not known for that, yeah, there's--
And do I have to check with my wife before I give, because if it's a big number, I do. And also, I felt like we had so many different types of people at Momastary, and some of them were wealthy, and some of them weren't, and I didn't want the people who, you know, for whom giving $17.00 is a big deal, to feel like their contribution was less important than anyone else's.
It's spectacular how you figured that out.
So I think that's why it worked, anyway, I didn't sleep that night, woke up the next day, we started it, and we had, I mean, it just poured in, so by 2:00, we had all the money, like $87,000.00, so she got to go get this little girl, and her boy, and bring her in. And at that point, we had all the money, and we were like, what do we do? So I said, "Sarah, go around the house, and ask everybody "what they need, ask all the teenagers what do they need, "what do their babies need, we're going "to make the fastest Amazon list "that ever happened, so put it all together." So then, two days later, they sent some camera crews over to tell a story about this, and this could make, it makes me teary every time, they, there was a wraparound porch on the home, and you couldn't even see the door, because the boxes were from floor to ceiling, the whole Amazon list was just gone within hours. And I got to go to the house, and meet the girls, and hold the babies, and I just felt like, oh, this is where I live.
This is my jam.
This is my jam, like not because, it's so funny when people are like, it has nothing to do with being a good person, nothing, it's 'cause it's like so fun, right? It's the joy, like I'm a joy junkie, at like, it was just the most alive I'd ever felt. So then we just kept doing them, and, you know, the most recent one, we come, my dear friends Cheryl Strayed, and Rob Bell, and Elizabeth Gilbert, and Brene joined together when the refugee crisis started getting more attention, and so we did one two Christmases ago that raised, I don't know, I'd have to check it, 'cause Abby, god knows I'm terrible with numbers, but I think it was like three and a half million dollars in two and a half days or something, with the average donation being between and 30 bucks for refugees.
It's just, people are so good.
People are good.
People are so good, we don't, we don't, we don't see enough of how good people are, you know, but I, I was telling you before, it, it doesn't surprise me that I'm doing all of this, because I get so much attention for it, it's like, "Yay, Together Rising, you're so good, "you raised all the money, Glennon," so whatever. But what amazes me is that all of the thousands of people in their homes, who read these stories, and are like, "I'm going to give to that," and no one's ever going to know about it. And they say, like, character's what you do when no one's watching, like, these people are never going to get applause for it. I mean, we had this one little girl write to us, we do this thing called Holiday Hands. This one little, this mom, she wrote to us and said, "My little girl is bullied at school, "she has some differences, her favorite thing "on earth is when she gets letters from her grandmother, "she gets, like one a month, and it makes her day. "Do you think you could ask people to send her letters?" So fast forward, this, I'm at a, we put it on the website, I'm at an event, speaking in some state, this woman walks up, and she does the Q&A, she's shaking, in front of thousands of people, and anyway, she turned out to be this little girl's mother, Gabriella's mother, they were on their 10,000th letter, they were on the Today Show because of how many freaking letters this girl has. So every day now, she goes out to her mailbox with, like the equivalent of a kid's wheelbarrow, and pulls in all of her mail, and she can't even open it all. She's, she's, and this mom's crying, she goes, "What I want, what I need you to know is "that my little girl opens them, and then she writes back." So she has become, this little one, who was, like, you know, feeling like kind of a victim of the world, has now become this little, fierce advocate who writes back to lonely kids, and says, "It's okay," she, you know, she showed me a little screenshot of some of the letters she writes back, "It's going to get better, you're not alone," she's writing back to these people, so.
Besides giving money, what blows my mind about this is that 10,000 people sat in their houses.
And penned a letter.
And penned a letter to this little girl--
Put a stamp on it, I don't even know where stamps are in my house.
Same, same, no, I'm, if my bill, I have to electronically do the bills, 'cause I can't write, envelopes, stamps. They wrote letters, they put stamps on it, they addressed the letters, they carried them to their mailbox.
I'm thinking about all these steps, too, times 10,000.
Thousands and thousands of people, so I don't know, I just, I feel so passionately about just the power of these kinds of stories, reminding people that, I mean, there's a lot going on in the news that makes us feel like we're so divided, and so different, and so hopeless. But I see really unified and hopeful goodness every day, you know, it's kind of like, whatever you're expecting is what you'll find, like that's what I'm looking for all the time, and I find it everywhere.
So true, I think that's, the mindset, what, I've just in, again, knowing your work for some time, and now sitting here with you, just the mindset that you have, so talk to me a little bit about the way that you think about your mindset, do you spend any time, like staying, like how do you get yourself back to center? 'Cause we all go off the rails a little bit, and you're back to center, and when you see something you don't like, or you get sucked into the, we're going to talk about social media in just a second, you get sucked down that rabbit hole, and you be like, wait, this isn't real life, or, life is right back here, it's here in front of me, or, how, like what are some ways that you keep your mindset? 'Cause, to me, it's been super clear that that's like a huge part of your game.
Game as in, like how you play to win, and get your message out there, and stay strong, and, or soft.
Yeah, oh, stay strong or soft, I love that. Yeah, that's so interesting to me, because it feels like part of my job is to be strong, but part of my being, and the way I am in the world, is all because I'm so soft, right, so it's so interesting to be a highly sensitive person in a world where my job is to constantly put myself out there. I know that people have really complicated answers to this, I feel like the way that I stay sane-ish, and.
"Ish," that's beautiful.
It feels a little bit not true enough to just straight-up say "sane." But that's, like 'cause my wife is here, so I don't know if she'd let me get away with that, but.
She's, like raising her hand over there.
Yeah, sane-ish, and centered-ish are really simple, and it usually has to do with, like sleep.
And food, and water, like we want these things to be really complicated, but usually, for me, they have to do with the very, very basics. You know, I have to get enough sleep, I go to bed really early. Sometimes I feel like the difference between people who can write or not, we think it's complicated, but it really has to do with whether that, you're going to spend that extra hour on Netflix or not. (laughs), like.
No, it's legit, it's, I have 10 things that I do, and if I do those 10 things, I have zero examples of doing these 10 very, very simple things that are equivalent of what you're talking about, like eating, you know, a certain ways.
I need to know all yours, can you tell me all yours in case they help me?
Oh, my gosh, you know, actually, I'll pull out my phone, this is.
We're going to go there, okay, sorry you have to hear this, Abby.
I mean, these are the most important things, we call, 'cause there's easy buttons, I feel like, easy buttons are what get us away from ourselves and the truth, so for me, those things are booze, food, all the things that just, and then there are, like reset buttons that are, that remind me of what's true in myself, right?
This is about you, but I'm going to share this.
Okay, and I think the context is really important, I don't have any examples of doing these things regardless of how hard or tough or whatever my day, or my week, or my life is at this time, where I do these things, and I don't feel okay.
I don't feel healthy, alive, in my own skin. Be in bed for eight hours, it's not always sleep, but if I'm horizontal, I'm, I spent the first 20, 15 years of my career bragging about five, or four, or three hours of sleep, and I thought I was, like interesting and neat, and now it's toxic as hell. Be in bed for eight hours, I move my body every day, you know, combination of weight and yoga, weight training and yoga, and sometimes it's a five mile run, sometimes it's a run around the block, I just move my body. I meditate in the morning, I meditate in the evening, I play or make something every day, and this is the equivalent of your writing, or if I don't actually actively make, and I tell myself, this is the thing that I'm making, so it's not like, in bed, where it's, oh, yeah, I made a joke, you know, I don't allow myself to--
You're not retroactively, okay.
This is a thing I'm making, or I'm going to goof off, because that keeps my spirit light. I have a visualization and a gratitude practice after my morning meditation, I review big goals. And this, like reviewing big goals literally takes me, like 20 seconds, I look at a thing on my phone, I'm like, "That's what I'm focused on right now." Zero to one glasses of wine, I don't not drink, but I know if I drink, like three or four glasses of wine with a great dinner, I can call it, like, "Oh, I just had great wine," and every once in awhile I'll overindulge, but for the most part, like I'm on my game if I'm having zero or one, I eat clean, paleo-ish, drink 64 ounces of water.
Mm, the water.
There you go.
Insane how simple these things are?
Those are things that are available to most of us, most days.
That's right, mm-hmm, yeah.
And there's nothing, requires outside stuff, I don't need a thing to go to, I don't need any special equipment. I mean, I have to have the basics, I have to have a roof over my head in order to feel secure, all those kinds of things, but we got on me, but it was about you. These are, these are, you have some subset of things, maybe you don't track them every day, but if, like that's the key to your sane-ish, center-ish, is that fair?
Yeah, so I have my things that are, I think that probably my people would say that I'm an insanely disciplined person. So I think that people think that creative people are woo, woo, but that's, what I found is the most creative people are also the most disciplined, because structure liberates.
Yeah, it's for sure.
Right, we have to have a structure inside of which we can be wildly creative. So I'm, like wildly creative from 8:30 to 10:00.
Right, like I have very, very strong, loosely-held opinions, right, like, it's this and/both of structure, so mine are I have to, I have to move my body, if, and it, and it's so weird, this mind, body, spirit thing. Like, if my body doesn't move, my mind is not going to show up for (mumbles).
They're absolutely connected, and the science is very clear.
Totally, if I have a mind problem, if I have a mind challenge, a creative challenge I'm trying to figure out, it will never be figured out when I'm sitting at my computer, it will always be figured out on the frickin' elliptical.
If I get on stage in front of 5,000 people, and I haven't moved my body, I perform so poorly.
I don't care if I'm the first person at the conference, it's 8:00 a.m., I will get up at 6:00, I'll, I don't even care what it is, like I'll move, I'll go for a run in the crappiest place, in the crappiest weather, I'll hit the gym in the bottom of the basement of the crappy Holiday Inn.
And it's the difference maker.
Okay, so moving your body's important, sleeping, you already said.
Sleeping, eating, I have to eat healthy-ish, I also, food is so tricky for me, because I have to eat healthy while not going overboard to where I'm eating unhealthy, it's weird for me because of my eating disordered past, so food is a huge challenge for me, and always will be, like what's the balance between being healthy, but not, kind of what you just said about wine. Like, I, don't tell yourself this is healthy when really you're just slipping back into your obsessive stuff, so I have to watch that carefully, and water.
64 ounces, that's what I'm clocking, what are you clocking?
For sure, I'm not clocking enough, I mean, I'm not. All I know is that I should drink more water, and that the answer is usually water for me. Like, if things are kind of bad in my mind, a glass of water, if things are very, very bad, a bath, if things are woo, then I need to get my ass to the beach.
Right, get in the water, but it's some form of water that is usually the answer to everything for me, it's often just a walk outside. I mean, the more anxious I get is usually direct, I think is directly related to how much I'm living in the cyber world, as opposed to the real world. That is a big thing for me, we recently, I have a 14-year-old son, and he is the one that I was pregnant with on the bathroom floor, so I always say, like, he's the one that brought me into the world, and he's great, he's amazing, and really creative. And what I've found in the last few years since we got him a phone is that he's just losing some of his self, and his creativity, and he's living in this, as opposed to, like our entire life is trying to get him out of the phone, and back to us, which is usually, I'm like, I'm usually on my phone, like, "Chase, get off your phone," like, "That thing is obnoxious."
And his name is Chase, right?
His name is Chase, yeah.
Yeah, I heard that.
So I was going for a walk with him the other day, and I said, "Chase, here's the deal. "I feel like I've made a lot of mistakes parenting you, "and I will continue to make mistakes parenting you, "but the mistakes that I make are "when I try, and I do my best, "and in retrospect, it wasn't the right thing. "But this phone thing, I know it's wrong." Like, I value creativity more than anything, because for me, creativity has to do with living who you are, like taking who you are on the inside, and giving it to the world, in one form or another, and I'm so afraid that what these phones are doing to these kids, and now I sound like freaking, like, "in my day," whatever, but I think it's true. Like, I know there's problems with social media and all of that, that's not my fear, my fear is that kids who would have become artists are not going to become artists, and kids who would have become naturalists are not going to become naturalists, and kids who would have become athletes are not going to become athletes, because who you are, because you find out who you are in the quiet.
You have to get bored before you actually, yeah, I totally subscribe to that.
When you're sitting there, and you have nothing else to do is when something rises inside of, you're like, "I want to do that, I want to draw."
And if you're always just not, you're one click above boredom, and you don't ever go there.
This thing will keep you from it, yeah.
You live a life of exterior instead of interiority, right, like you don't ever have to go inside to find out who you are, and so I said, "Chase, I feel like this is the one thing "that I'm going to look back on, "and say I didn't do right by you. "And I didn't, you, it would have been better, "you would have learned more about yourself, "you would have been a wholer person if I had taken "that phone from you," even though, and the reason I'm not doing it is 'cause everybody else is doing it, 'cause it's too hard, and too weird, and, and he said, "Everybody else." And I said, "You know what, there are things "in every culture that everybody's doing "that later we find out are poisonous." Like, for example, a hot minute ago, everyone on earth smoked, right, like doctors were like, "Get your Lucky Strike," whatever. And then a generation later, we learn, oh, that's killing everybody, so we should all stop, like I think that we're going to find out that this, you know, these teenagers, there has to be a time where they are just with themselves for a hot minute to find out who they are. So, the really cool thing is that my kid was like, "I think that's right," like he knew, you know? So we took all the, the internet off our phones, so they can text now, we can text, because I want them to be able to be, to connect with their friends, there's a social thing there. But I'm telling you, like a week after his phone was gone, he was reading again, he was doing his little maps that he does, I felt like, like some light was coming back, it's addiction, he was coming out of addiction, is what was happening, right, so for me, I know that when I feel, start to feel really hopeless, or anxious, that the further I can get from that world. But there's an and/both there, too, I mean, that internet world, and social media is how all of this has happened.
I get it.
So, you know, I don't think it's a black and white, for me, of nothing, all or nothing, but there has to be, I have to live more in the real world than I do in the cyber world.
Do you feel like, a second ago we said we were going to come back to social, do you feel like that is a nice bow around the thing that you wanted to say, or was there something else you wanted to say about it?
I would say for sure I don't know what the right answer is, for social media. I mean, I know that I am a 41-year-old grown-ass woman who has been doing this for 11 years, and I still put something out, and I'm like, "Oh, my god, do people like it?" Like, how many likes was that, like not is that.
Did I offend anyone, did I please anyone, yeah.
And that can't be a healthy way to live, right, I know this.
I think there's a lot of math, and a lot of studies, I wish we had Brene here to validate--
She would tell us, she knows all the things.
About, you know, the role that that's playing on our psychology, I think she, she talks about in her most recent book that belonging, it's like the rise of X, but the decline of Y, and like the rise of participation in social, and the increasing feelings of, or decreasing feelings of connection, so. Well, a couple other things, so I, I'm sensitive on our time here, but I wanted to say, is there anything else you wanted to talk about the non-profit, like what's, you know, give people some coordinates on where they can go to participate in that community.
Yeah, well, I mean, TogetherRising.org is the name of our website, the cool thing about Together Rising is that we all, everybody who runs Together Rising is a volunteer, so 100% of every penny, you know, every penny that's given to Together Rising goes directly to people in need. So if you're going to give, it's a good place to give. I think that, I think it feels good right now to be a part of a community that's responding all the time, just because it feels like, I don't know if more bad stuff is happening right now, but it feels like it is.
So I think the cool thing about Together Rising, what we learned, actually, with the refugee crisis, when we were figuring out who to partner with on the ground, internationally, was that the big groups, I mean, the, the UN asked us to, like partner with them, and we tried, and it, the big groups that have all the red tape are, they're done, dead to me, like the world is moving too fast to get things approved on 40 levels, like we're six crises away from the thing we just asked you about, and the people in the camps are telling us, "No, no, no, not the big organizations." The little, life, like people who are the ground, who are able to respond fast to the, so those are the people we ended up partnering with.
Help Refugees, and the White Helmets, and these people who are just, like in it. And that's what we do, we're like, fast, and, you know, often, all day, all day I get emails from my board, like, "approve, or don't approve?" And there's a vetting team that it's, they need this money now, now, now, now, now. So, you know, the Mr. Rogers thing, quote that everybody says, like, that you're going to see a lot of bad stuff, and it's going to hurt you, but there will always be helpers rushing to the scene, so "look for the helpers," be the helpers. This, being a part of this crew, to me, feels like I'm always, we can't control what happens, but we can always control whether or not we're going to respond to it, so it makes me feel like I'm always part of on the good team, you know, like rushing in, each time. So yeah, that's it.
Leadership, you've become an, either intentionally and actively, or accidentally, leader of a movement, of strong women, figuring a lot of things out, and taking massive action, do you have any words on leadership, how do you think about it? Do you not see yourself as a leader, do you see yourself as a leader?
No, I do see myself as a leader. I think that, for me right now, I think if your definition of leadership is not evolving, based on exactly where you are, and who you're with in the moment, then, then it's probably not as alive as it should be. But I think that, I like the idea of being who you needed when you were younger, so what I think about, in terms of leadership is kind of how I feel about writing, you know, you write the book that you wish you could find, like, it doesn't exist yet, and you need it, which is so funny, because most people think that you write the book about the thing you know the most about, which is never what I do, I mean, I wrote an entire book about sex and love, and I didn't even know I was gay. Okay, so it's like you write the book you desperately need, right, and I think you become the leader that you desperately wish existed, right? So I wanted, and I looked at, and I think right now we look at, it feels like there's so much leadership that's based on this kind of power that's divisive, and--
Yeah, it's not right.
And it's fake, it's like shiny, and it doesn't even matter that it's fake anymore, we used to at least pretend that we believed, it doesn't even matter if its, if, we know it's fake, everybody knows it's fake. There's no truth in it, there's no beauty in it, it's, like kind of dog eat dog, and it's, you get to the top, no matter what, and I think there's this other kind of leader that's rising, and I think it does have to do with, and I, you said the rising of feminine energy before.
This is like, I'm just trying to put it out there, my vocabulary's not going to be the right vocabulary, but.
I'm trying to figure out the vocabulary for it, too, that's one of my favorite things, like we live in the questions, we don't know what the answers are yet. And I see all these t-shirts that, I think people think of me as a feminist, and I am a feminist, and I see all these t-shirts that say, "The future is female." And it doesn't ring exactly true to me, I think what the future is, is the future is inside of qualities that have typically been associated with femininity, so they are devalued in women, and shamed out of men.
I absolutely feel that about myself, I was, you know, raised to be tough, and X, and Y, not, not not told to be soft, but there was the, because I was crowding out, I was trying to fill myself up on one side, I was crowding out the other, for sure. I think that's really, really insightful, what you just said, I think, like, maybe that's a better way of describing the future.
'Cause it's in everybody, right? Its this, this idea of collaboration, and listening to each other, instead of just (blathers). Right, and being curious, instead of defensive, and having some tenderness, gathering, like these are in every single last one of us, and the things is, they're not feminine or masculine. The femininity and masculinity are just utter horse shit, right, they're just ideas that keep actual men and actual women from really being fully human with each other.
Right, so I do not think that the way to resist patriarchy is to demand matriarchy, like, it's.
False dichotomy, yeah.
It's a completely, like that is not beautiful enough, and it's not true enough, and any time there's any plan that does not include equally everyone, that plan is just not, it's not going to last, it's not true, 'cause there's just always a third way, right, it's like, it's very, that's very basic, and primal, and not evolved. Like, when we see something that's not true, it's like fight or flight, right, this or that, and there's always a third way, right? So the third way is to create something that's beautiful and more inclusive, and resists black and white, and is always and/both, and excludes nobody, right, any story that we tell that excludes anybody is, it's not true. It's just not true enough, like that's how you know, that's how you know that that one's not beautiful enough.
Right, so I don't know, if I, I think that there is an answer to what's next, and it has to do with allowing, and not having gender be any sort of barrier, or issue, you know, just allowing these qualities that we need to, to move forward together, as one, and create healing, arise in men, and women, and everything beyond, and in between. Because, you know, I think one of the things I learned in Love Warrior is that, when we cut men off from their emotions, which we do so early, right, you know, brave, you know, strong boys don't cry, strong boys aren't vulnerable, strong boys don't feel, then they're broken, 'cause there's a third of, body, mind's, (mumbles), they're broken, they're broken people, and then we cut women off from their bodies, because are bodies are so commodified, and objectified, we just vote them off the island, and then we're broken, right, and we're all just. So I think that what the next generation of leaders is going to do is make sure that every single person at a table is allowed to bring their whole human self, you know, that women are allowed to be strong, and opinionated without being shamed for it, and men are allowed to be tender, and collaborative, and vulnerable, that is going to be where, when all the magic happens.
You mentioned bravery, this being our last, like sort of, this is, in the little speed run here. Bravery, any thoughts on that?
Yeah, I think that, I don't know, I think of, of integrity, more than bravery. I think that integrity and courage means, to me, it used to me to me trying to match this idea of what people thought was good.
It's a tough one now, though.
Because I just figured out that's the wrong question.
What's good, what's bad, what's right, what's wrong. The problem, I learned this when I was trying to get through my marriage thing, like everybody told me what was right, what was wrong, the problem was that the people in the church thought what was right was this, and the people who were the feminists thought something right was this, it was all, the problem with right and wrong is that they're not sole concepts, they're culturally constructed.
They're external, yeah.
They're external, they're different in every family, and every culture, and every, so, so in a patriarchal system, what's right and wrong, like the most perfect woman is the most perfect patriarchal pawn, right, like in a patriarchy, you can either live well, or you can, like follow the rules, but you can't do both, right? So what I figured out is that instead of asking myself what is right or wrong, or good or bad, that I needed to ask myself what is true, and what is beautiful, right, that those are words that my soul understands, I always know that. Right or wrong feels like I'm asking everybody else in the world what to do, and what is true and beautiful feels very creative, and individual to me. So I think that bravery, for me, is doing the next true and beautiful, doing the next thing that is the truest and the most beautiful, whether that's, and not pretending like I don't have an idea for that. We can all imagine it, and most of us, we can imagine the most beautiful family, the truest, we can imagine the most beautiful life, we can imagine the most beautiful country, we can imagine, but we just think that's, like a pipe dream. I think, I think what, that we can imagine it because it's the plan.
That's where we're heading.
That's where we're heading, so, like we imagine it, and then we just create it. Right, so no matter what anybody say about, "Oh, that's a pipe dream," or, "that's Pollyanna," or whatever, I think that everybody who revolutionized her own life, or family, or country is somebody who actually believed in her, what she could imagine. And, like, was just like well, if I can imagine it in here, then I'm going to make it out here.
Thank you so much, it's been so, it's brought me so much joy to be able to hang with you today, thank you so much for coming by here, Abby, thanks for coming, really appreciate it. She's like, "Okay, you said it was going to be an hour."
She just loves listening to her wife talk for an hour and a half.
Never heard any of this?
It's all for the first time.
Off camera, hungry, we've gotta go, we got, food was one of our core things we're taking care of, thanks for tuning in, guys, I'll probably see you tomorrow, or the next day, or soon enough, bye. (slow electronic music)