*DO* Carpe Diem


*DO* Carpe Diem (& *Do* Hug Your Children & Spouse More, and *Do* Begin Much More Often with the End in Mind)




The way to begin loving anything is to realize that it might be lost.” ……

– G. K. Chesterton ….

For almost one year now, Glennon, through her blog, has been one of the go-to voices of mothers everywhere—she’s been able to say what so many of her readers feel and want to say but are not able to articulate nearly as well as she can.

Glennon Melton has a gift.  There can be no debate about that.  She most certainly can write.  That’s never been the question.

The question has been her message.

She has a gift—a way with words—that can be used for either good or ill.  It can be used for the betterment and enlightenment of herself and her readers (which I’d guess she thinks she’s been doing the vast majority of the time; but I would disagree.  I think she has been very hit or miss when it comes to her message.  I’ll write more about that below.)

Her “Vigil” post is an example of a post that is on-point.

But her gift, her voice, her platform (because that’s what she has now), can also be used self-indulgently—in the sense of indulging and reinforcing what’s (arguably) worst in herself and her readers.

And I would argue that she has unwittingly done the latter more often than she thinks she has, or more often that she has ever been willing to pause to consider that she possibly has.

And the most obvious instance of this isn’t her recent “Celebrate Your Inner Fool” post (“To All the Fools I’ve Loved Before”— http://momastery.com/blog/2012/12/12/to-all-the-confounders/ ).

Rather, it’s the post that got her the audience (and the platform) that she now has—the post that got her her book deal, the post that went viral, the post that led to 50,000 new “Monkees.”

And the post is “Don’t Carpe Diem.”

Remember that post?

My favorite part of each day is when the kids are put to sleep (to bed) and Craig and I sink into the couch to watch some quality TV, like Celebrity Wife Swap, and congratulate each other on a job well done. Or a job done, at least.”

I wonder what the favorite part of Glennon’s day is now, or was last Friday, or yesterday?

“[A]t the end of the day, I don’t remember exactly what my kairos moments were, but I remember I had them. And that makes the pain of the daily parenting climb worth it.  If I had a couple Kairos moments during the day, I call it a success.  Carpe a couple of Kairoses a day.  Good enough for me.”

Is it?

Probably not anymore.

One December 14th 2012 everything changed.  In the wake of the unimaginable tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown Connecticut, parents all across America and all over the globe were given a harsh reality check slap in the face.

What really matters to you?

“[L]ast week, a woman approached me in the Target line and said the following: ‘Sugar, I hope you are enjoying this. I loved every single second of parenting my two girls. *Every single moment.* These days go by so fast.’ . . . At that particular moment, Amma had swiped a bra from the cart and arranged  it over her sweater, while sucking a lollipop undoubtedly found on the ground. She also had three shop-lifted clip-on neon feathers stuck in her hair. She looked exactly like a contestant from Toddlers and Tiaras. A losing contestant. I couldn’t find Chase anywhere, and Tish was sucking the pen from the credit card machine WHILE the woman in front of me was trying to use it. And so I just looked at the woman, smiled and said, ‘Thank you. Yes. Me too. I am enjoying every single moment. Especially this one. Yes. Thank you.’  . . . That’s not exactly what I wanted to say, though.”

Not on that day.

But what about now?

What would you or anyone say today to such advice—“Enjoy every single moment.  These days go by so fast.  Life can turn on a dime.  Be thankful for your health and theirs.  Cherish them.  Hug them.  Love them.  Be grateful.”

I saw that post (“Don’t Carpe Diem”) precisely for what it was when it first came out.  I had no problem reading between the lines and seeing it for what it was: Some really bad advice.  The type of advice that I hoped NO ONE would ever follow or act on.  To me, it was THE WORST POSSIBLE ADVICE IMAGINABLE.  It screamed sweat the small stuff, indulge your own weaknesses and lack of perspective, take others and life for granted, and take out your foul moods on them.

And I wrote as much back then.  (See comment no. 71 on the following page – http://momastery.com/blog/2012/01/04/2011-lesson-2-dont-carpe-diem/comment-page-6/#comments)

But no one cared.  No one got it.  People everywhere were coming out of the woodwork and chiming “me too!” “I feel this way too about parenting—Calgon, take me away!” in response to Glennon’s post.  Everyone—the vast majority of commenters—were living in la-la-land.  They were pissed off, overwhelmed, angry, bitter, sweating the small stuff, and living and loving and parenting without perspective, and Glennon had tapped into their angst and unhappiness and given expression to it.

But not anymore.  Everyone gets it now.  Everyone can see now why that post and that advice sucked.  Everyone knows.  After last Friday, everyone knows—as in KNOWS—as in *KNOWS.*

Even Glennon.

“Hi Friends.  In an hour, the kids and I are heading to the airport. Back to Virginia to be with my people.  I just booked the flights yesterday. I couldn’t spend another day without my Sister and my (her) baby. Can you blame me?  Bubba and Tisha will pick us up at the airport. I just want my mom and my dad. Don’t you? I want my friends. And more than I want my friends, I want their kids. I need to hold and smell and pray for each one of them. I need to check in to make sure the things I love are real.

“I’m at ground zero. For the first time in my life, I know that I don’t know ANYTHING. . . . These are serious times and they call for serious people.  I think if never before, now is the time to admit that the problems we have are very, very complicated and multi-layered and desperate. And to solve them, it’s going to take all of us. Right now, we . . . need everybody’s very best, very highest self to step forward. . .  And I just know I want my mom and dad and Bobby and Sister and Brother in law and I want to hold my friends’ babies. That will have to be okay for now. I’m going home. To love and be loved.”

Sounds a lot like Carpe Diem to me.

Everywhere I go, someone is telling me to seize the moment, raise my awareness, be happy, enjoy every second, etc, etc, etc. . . . I know that this message is right and good. But as 2011 closes, I have finally allowed myself to admit that [CARPE DIEM] just doesn’t work for me. It bugs me. “

What about now?  Is Carpe Diem working for you now?

Do you “get” it?  Does everyone get it?  Do you get NOW that life *IS* short?  That it IS capricious?  That we are ALL soooo soooo very fragile?  That sweating the small stuff IS a FOOLISH regret-filled way to live?  And that sweating small stuff is also a foolish way to *love,* because ultimately we are trading in moments where we could be more loving and grateful and attentive and present for self-indulgent moments where we are sweating the small stuff and indulging our own neurosis and negative moods?

We can’t simultaneously be really loving and kind and present to others while being lost, resentful, grumpy, cranky, bitchy, ornery, and lacking perspective.

If you want to truly love others—truly cherish them and appreciate them and be kind and good to them—then you have to keep this awareness that you, we, all have now close and not let it die off.  This is what “beginning with the end in mind” is all about.

“If You Knew” – Ellen Bass

What if you knew you’d be the last
to touch someone?
If you were taking tickets, for example,
at the theater, tearing them,
giving back the ragged stubs,
you might take care to touch that palm,
brush your fingertips
along the life line’s crease.

When a man pulls his wheeled suitcase
too slowly through the airport, when
the car in front of me doesn’t signal,
when the clerk at the pharmacy
won’t say Thank you, I don’t remember
they’re going to die.

A friend told me she’d been with her aunt.
They’d just had lunch and the waiter,
a young gay man with plum black eyes,
joked as he served the coffee, kissed
her aunt’s powdered cheek when they left.
Then they walked a half a block and her aunt
dropped dead on the sidewalk.

How close does the dragon’s spume
have to come? How wide does the crack
in heaven have to split?
What would people look like
if we could see them as they are,
soaked in honey, stung and swollen,
reckless, pinned against time?

I hope nobody in Newtown read that insipid foolish (yes, foolish, as in hideously foolish) Don’t Carpe Diem” post.  I hope none of the parents who just lost their children—and let me broaden that—as 2012 draws to a close, I hope that no one who has lost someone this year, who has tragically and unexpectedly lost someone near and dear to them—a parent, partner, spouse, a friend, a child—read that foolish post.  Or if they did, I hope they didn’t put any stock in it.  I hope and pray that they had the good sense to see it for what it was—dreck, a woman who was overwhelmed and frazzled venting and using her gift not for good but for ill.  I hope and pray that people everywhere who read that post saw it then as the worst kind of advice imaginable, advice that was not based on clarity and wisdom and perspective but on the lack of these.

If this—what happened in Newtown—is what it takes for many of us to wake up and actually begin appreciating our own children and not taking them for granted, then that is definitely one way that we can learn from this heinous tragedy and honor its victims.

Because right now, what so many people are experiencing—is called PERSPECTIVE.  Not that “don’t carpe diem” advice.  That misguided, well-written dreck lacked perspective.  That was someone letting her inner-Fool out of its cage and have a little too much unsupervised computer time.  That was what was worst in someone venting herself.  And giving advice to others on how to also lack perspective, take the foolish parts of themselves a little too seriously, sweat the small stuff, and most of all take others and life for granted.

Remember this?—

Every time I’m out with my kids – this seems to happen:  An older woman stops us, puts her hand over her heart and says something like, ‘Oh- Enjoy every moment. This time goes by so fast.’  Everywhere I go, someone is telling me to seize the moment, raise my awareness, be happy, enjoy every second, etc, etc, etc.  I know that this message is right and good. But as 2011 closes, I have finally allowed myself to admit that it just doesn’t work for me. It bugs me. This CARPE DIEM message makes me paranoid and panicky. Especially during this phase of my life – while I’m raising young kids. Being told, in a million different ways to CARPE DIEM makes me worry that if I’m not in a constant state of intense gratitude and ecstasy, I’m doing something wrong.”

You are.   Many of us have been.  If it has taken this tragedy to get us to appreciate our children and spouse and friends and parents more, then we’ve been missing boat, living blind—living and loving without any real sense or perspective.  We’ve been sleep-walking through our recent lives, maybe our entire lives.

And it’s events like this—the massacre of the innocents in Newtown—that unfortunately wake us up; that reorient us, that remind us of how badly and blindly and foolishly we’ve been living and that point us once again back to True North.

And almost equally as unfortunately is the certainty that this reorientation will likely be very short-lived.

You can set your watches by it.  In a few weeks or months, the wear and tear of daily life will begin accumulating and intruding once again.  And once again people will begin sweating the small stuff and begin taking themselves and their children and friends for granted once more.

Life will go back to normal.

It happened after September 11th.

And it will happen once again after this.

Unless—*unless*—*UNLESS*—more and more people light a candle not outside of themselves but in their heart.  And do the inner work to keep it lit.

And not just for 27 or 28 days, in honor of the victims.

But permanently.

And that will indeed take work.  Real work.  It will mean daily setting aside time to think and pray and read and reflect.  To read something truly of substance.  Something that centers you.  Something that really encourages what is best in you—what is best in all of us.  Something that nourishes not your inner-Fool, but your soul, your conscience, your core self, your highest and wisest self.  Something that inspires or challenges you to be more Loving—not loving, but Loving—and not just for a few minutes and to strangers as part of a Love Flash Mob—but that challenges and inspires and pushes you to be more loving to those closest to you, to those nearest and dearest to you, to those who if you lost them it would wreck you emotionally for years and years.

That is what we—each of us looking to really make a change—need to do if we really want to keep our vigil.  Become more genuinely Loving.  Become more Loving in a way that actually looks like it, that walks and talks like it.  A way that forces us to confront and face our own smallness, pettiness, erraticness, immaturity, character faults, and even our own mortality; and then actually do something noble and good and heroic about all of this.  That is love.  That is love actually *winning.*  That is doing the truly *HARD THING.*

And we must do this every day.  Every single day, without exception.

Because the first day you miss, the first day you skip class and miss your inner vigil, your light begins to go out.  Or maybe it’s already gone out and missing your vigil is just the outward show of that.  Either way, you’re back to losing perspective, back to taking yourself and those around you for granted, back to sweating the small stuff.

Back to normal.

It’s been said that a successful marriage means falling in love over and over again, but always with the same person.

Waking up and growing up spiritually and psychologically is like that.  It means choosing again and again to do those things that seem likely to cause and inspire greater wakefulness and perspective and maturity and wisdom (—& don’t be afraid of that word, especially not because of Glennon’s post; it would be foolish to be leery of that word because of Glennon’s post).

Waking up means doing those things over and over again consistently that will help us become more kind, compassionate, center, stable, Loving.  And doing those things again and again and again until like water against the rock of our egoism they become so deeply engrained in us that we seemingly can’t help but Love our children and our spouse and our friends and be grateful and appreciative around them, and be kind to strangers, and manage our anger and boredom and restlessness and irritability in a much more mature and centered way.

Moral truth can be conceived in thought. One can have feelings about it. One can will to live it. But moral truth may have been penetrated and possessed in all these ways, and escape us still. Deeper even than consciousness there is our being itself—our very substance, our nature. Only those truths which have entered into this last region, which have become ourselves, become spontaneous and involuntary as well as voluntary, unconscious as well as conscious, are really our life—that is to say, something more than property. So long as we are able to distinguish any space whatever between Truth and us we remain outside it.” – Henri-Frédéric Amiel

So read Pema Chodron.  Read M. Scott Peck’s “The Road Less Traveled,” watch “Shadowlands” or “Fearless” (the one by Peter Weir and starring Jeff Bridges), watch “The Notebook,” watch “Dead Poets Society,” “Field of Dreams,” “The Descendants,” “The Sessions,” “50-50.”  Read “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” “Mere Christianity,” “The Four Loves,” “Passionate Marriage,” “The Prophet,” “A Return to Love,” “A Little Book on Love,” “Man’s Search for Meaning,” “The Art of Loving.”  Read Jim Rohn’s “The Five Major Pieces to the Life Puzzle.”  And, yes, read The Bible; read the Buddha’s sutras, read the world’s holy books, read The Dalai Lama.

Because this is part of what waking up means: choosing every day to read something of substance and reflect on it, and then trying to apply it and walk it and live up to it.  Every day.  Every day without ceasing.  Without exception.  Like water working on rock.

This tragedy has certainly sparked something in many of us.  And we each have a choice—and must make a choice, and over and over again—what to do with this spark.  To loosely paraphrase Liz Gilbert of “Eat, Pray Love” fame (and someone who I imagine in some respects to be similar to Glennon and in some respects to be a forerunner of Glennon), in regards to this spark, we can cup it in our hands and gently blow on it and kindle it, protecting it from the sheering winds of those forces around us urging us to go faster, to multitask, to live self-indulgently, to try this, consume that, buy this, travel here, et cetera, as well as from those forces within us—our own neuroticness and discursiveness.

Or we can let this spark burn for a few days or weeks, not nurture and guard it, and let it be blown out by this or that, and we can go back to normal and to the mindset of taking life and others for granted, sweating the small stuff, and “Don’t Carpe Diem.”

That is our choice: keep our Vigil, or “Don’t Carpe Diem.”  Live with Christmas and Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day deeply engrained year-round in our hearts and internalized in our way of thinking and looking at the world.  Or pack up our Christmas decorations on Jan 2nd or 6th and go back to life as Normal.




Related posts: http://sunnysideupwithbacon.wordpress.com/2012/12/12/the-problem-with-121212-122512-and-etc/

About John

I am a married, 46-year old, Midwesterner, with four children. My primary interest is in leading a very examined and decent and Loving life; my interests that are related to this and that feed into this include (and are not limited to) -- psychology, philosophy, poetry, critical thinking, photography, soccer, tennis, chess, bridge.
This entry was posted in "If You Knew", "Shadowlands", Ellen Bass, Glennon Melton, Gratitude, Henri-Frédéric, Mature Love, Mental Health, Momastery, Perspective, Real Love, Spiritual Growth, Truth, Waking Up, What is Love? and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to *DO* Carpe Diem

  1. biologymad says:

    Great post :). I’ve been thinking a lot recently about what it means to live life to the full & to ‘carpe diem’, & you’ve given me some good food for thought :). It’s so easy to keep getting caught up in our own little world, just going through the motions & not truly living. But we need to keep seeking to live fully & love fully, as life is too short & precious to waste.

    • John says:

      Hello Bekki,

      Thank you for the kind words and for reading and commenting. 🙂

      For me, death–facing deeply our own mortality, facing deeply others’ mortality–and integrating that awareness and sense of compassion and perspective and prioritizing that seems to fairly naturally come with it–seems to be the crux of living and loving more deeply and fully.

      Most people live and love and argue as if life goes on forever. They don’t pick and choose their battles, instead they just argue automatically over everything or avoid automatically arguing over anything.

      Many years ago (15 years ago maybe?) I first read these words of the Buddha (in “The Dhammapada“) —

      Hate never yet dispelled hate.
      Only love dispels hate.
      This is the law,
      Ancient and inexhaustible.
      You too shall pass away.
      Knowing this, how can you quarrel?

      That’s the way I look that “Don’t Carpe Diem” post–as it having been written by someone without much perspective, by someone who thinks life goes on forever, someone who has never yet lost through death a loved one–a child, spouse, parent, best friend.

      Arguing in that way, being bitchy and grumpy in that way–“in that way,” meaning to that extent, that frequently, so frequently that it leads you to write an essay like “Don’t Carpe Diem” and to think that such an essay is a good idea and something that will somehow be beneficial to others–suggests to me that that person is living in denial, in denial of her own and others’ mortality. . . . Life just goes on forever. I can prance around and be grumpy and bitchy and cranky and irritated (whatever the appropriate word would be) as much as I want with my kids because parenting is hard work and I’ve got all the time in the world and there’s no real chance that something horrific and tragic will befall one of my kiddoes (or me) and leave me filled with a bottomless bucket full of regret, wishing that I hadn’t been so ornery with them and felt so overwhelmed by them and by parenting so often. . . . I wish I had been more grateful. I wish I had had more perspective. I wish someone had told me this so I didn’t have to learn it the hard way. I wish I had been given a Ghost of Christmas Future reality check, so I could have lived better now, made better choices, appreciated the little things more. (Talk about some real mommy guilt! Ugh!)

      But no one wanted to hear that–not the author, nor her followers and commentators. Why? Because they’re all living in denial. They all think that life goes on forever, that they have all the time in the world left on the clock.

      But they don’t. None of us do. We’re all expiring. We’re all merely on loan here very temporarily so.

      Some Scattered Lines of Rilke that I Ran Across Today” (I wrote/pieced this together back in August of 2006, when I first found out that my mom had cancer. The lines are taken and pieced together from Rilke’s “Duino Elegies.” I first shared this poem two years ago in one of my first blog posts — https://realtruelove.wordpress.com/2010/12/16/impermanence-death-love/)

      Do you still not know how little endures?
      Fling the nothing you are grasping
      out into the spaces we breathe.

      We do not know our exact location.
      And animals, as perceptive as they are,
      notice that we are not really at home
      in this world of ours.
      It seems our own impermanence
      is concealed from us:
      The trees stand firm,
      The houses we live in are still there,
      And we alone float past it all,
      an exchange of air.

      To be here is so much.
      Once for each, only once.
      Once and no more.
      Never again.

      There are the hurts.
      And, always, the hardships.
      And there’s the long knowing of love.

      And what can we keep?
      None of it.
      Not anything that has happened here.
      Not even the beholding, so slow to learn.

      To what can we turn in our need?
      Not to an angel, not to a person.

      Above the change
      above the loss
      how can we embrace our sorrows
      and learn how to love
      and praise it all?

      So why live so deeply in denial of our fragility and fleetingness and act in ways that are at odds with this?

      I just don’t get it. (I mean I do get it, but I also don’t get it. But such is life . . . )

      I’m not sure of much, Bekki, but of one thing I am sure (or at least really really really fairly convinced). And that is: Until we really start facing our own (and others’) mortality we really don’t grow deeply or make any real substantive changes–we merely rearrange and fine tune our prejudices and tinker with our various neurotic ways of going through life.

      But once we actually begin to get it–that life doesn’t go on forever, that this may be it, and that this life may end very suddenly and tragically for ourselves and those we know and care about and even love and rely on–then we can get work on making some real substantive changes in our life.

      Before we face our own mortality, we change much more than we grow. But once we begin really facing our own mortality, we begin not just changing, but growing. We tend to become much more focused–if it doesn’t lead us into despair, depression, even deeper and more desperate forms of denial and

      I hope this finds you well, Bekki. Namaste and carpe diem 🙂


  2. Shannon Lell says:

    John, I understand what you’re trying to say. I have followed Glennon since the Don’t Carpe Diem phenomenon, but your post reeks of jealousy and self-righteousness. I hear your message. Your ideas are sound. But might I suggest you check your own ego at the door? Take a good hard look at why you have spent thousands of words on basically saying “I told you so.” This entire post does not resonate with the philosophy you seem to feel so passionately for. Food for thought.

    • John says:

      Hello Shannon,

      Thank you for commenting. And I appreciate the fact that you commented both there (at momastery) and here. I’m not sure if I will be able to actually post responses to all of my admirerer’s and detractor’s comments over there — Glennon and / or her Sister, & their “techie team” — seem bent on banishing me and letting all of the monkees have their turn at kicking me or venting their anger and insolence on me. –In other words, because what I wrote was apparently so inflammatory and mean, as many monkees as would like are able to call me names and go after me and take potshots at me, but I am not permitted to answer back and either defend myself or address their comments. Not only that, Glennon / Sister made a wild and errant accusation (http://momastery.com/blog/2012/12/16/vigil/), I did post a response to that correcting her and even giving her my cell number so that she could call me and talk to me and to Jen and verify that we are indeed two separate human beings, but instead of calling me, Glennon / Sister deleted that post of mine *and kept her own comment up that errantly accused me of writing as more than one person.*

      And that, Shannon, says A LOT about Glennon’s / Sister’s character and what they’re really about, what they really stand for.

      Have they done the truly right thing?–which just happens to be the truly hard / difficult thing? Have they called me and spoken to me? Have they called and spoken to me and to Jen? Have they taken down / deleted their comment with the false accusations?

      Not as of this posting. Their false accusation is still up in the comments section and they continue taking down any comment I post that calls them out on falsely accusing me. You can go back and see it for yourself, Shannon. — (http://momastery.com/blog/2012/12/16/vigil/)

      And Glennon seems content to take off the rest of the year. So well see what 2013 holds — maybe an apology and a retraction from her and or Sis.

      What do you think about this, Shannon? Do you think it’s a fair and just way to treat another human being? What does your conscience tell you? Is “Love Winning”? Is Glennon doing a hard thing? Or is she (or her sister, or whoever is at fault) doing the easy thing, taking the path of least resistance, and running away from her mistake instead of facing up to it? Where’s the Love in what she’s doing? She’s basically lying and unwilling to admit it. You can’t have Love without Truth, Shannon; it just doesn’t work that way.

      As for checking my ego, what makes you think I have an ego? What makes you think Glennon doesn’t? And if Glennon does have an ego, then what makes hers preferable to mine?

      The same goes for your remark about jealousy, Shannon. What makes you think I’m jealous? Will you please substantiate that accusation?

      And the same goes for self-righteousness — what do you mean by that term and where do you see it in my post?

      I’m not being gratuitously contentious or argumentative with these questions, Shannon. I ask them sincerely. I want to know more clearly what you mean by those terms so that I can better address your comments. To me, this is part of seeking first to understand — trying to clarify terms and labels so that we’re on the same page in terms of what those terms and labels we’re using mean.

      You also ask me to take a good hard look at myself — something I am MORE than willing to do, and something I do regularly. Shannon, if nothing else, I am very determined to lead a very self-aware and examined and eyes-wide-open life. I know precisely why I wrote what I wrote and why I disagree (both now as well as when she first wrote it) with Glennon’s “Don’t Carpe Diem” post. There’s not a doubt in my mind that that post is one of the most hideous pieces of advice ever written. And that doesn’t mean that I don’t like Glennon or that I think she is a hideous person for writing it. Not at all. (Though, the way she is handling this errant accusation she has made of me, does make me question her character. The facts are: she made a mistake, she falsely accused me of something that I did not do, was not doing, have not done; and instead of stepping up and saying as much and apologizing and asking forgiveness, she basically is trying to duck and run and avoid the whole thing altogether–she deleted my comment, apparently blocked the IP addy at my home in an effort to prevent me from posting on her site [God bless free wi-fi and internet cafes!], and Glennon is now apparently taking a sabbatical from posting for the rest of the year, so I doubt any post correcting her false accusation and issuing an apology will be forthcoming. Again, Shannon, this is your leader, the person you are siding with; she’s showing you her character, her true colors, she’s showing everyone what she’s made of and what she stands for. As King said, “The ultimate measure of a human being is not where he or she stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where s/he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” Our character shows in how we treat others–especially in how we treat those who are strangers, enemies, opponents, who we think can do nothing for us, who are expendable to us. And our character shows in how we treat others when we are in a position of power. Glennon has all — or at least — most of the power; she has the gold, so she gets to make the rules [the other variant of the “golden rule” — “the person who has the gold makes the rules”]; she can squash dissent, she can let all of you monkees pile on and take pot shots at me and call me names and vilify me, et cetera. Or she can step in and lead by example and say something like, “Hey Monkees, though I don’t agree with John, his voice is still part of the rich diversity here at momastery that we all want to cherish and encourage and protect. So let’s warm him with our monkee love, let’s not see if there’s some grain of truth in what he’s saying — let’s really search our hearts and minds and souls for it — and see if we can’t find the good in what he’s saying.” But that’s not what Glennon is doing. She’s basically absent — except for one or two posts trying to diffuse / discredit me by accusing me of posting as two people — and then of course prematurely doing her celebratory end-zone dance and trying to spike the football by quoting Ace Ventura [a great movie, by the way; hilarious from the getgo; though the second movie was terrible]. Like I said, she was premature in doing so. And like I also alluded to: you can tell a lot about a person and his or her character by how they behave when they do something wrong or make a mistake. Do they stop, admit their mistake, apologize, make amends? Or do they make more mistakes and do more wrong, by digging in their heals, trying to save face, being prideful [talk about ego, Shannon; that’s really what a person who has an ego issue does — she’s unable / unwilling to admit when she’s wrong and unwilling / unable to apologize and make amends. This is how Glennon loves people she disagrees with or who think don’t like or who dare disagree with. this is how Glennon loves the enemy. It’s really inspiring revealing stuff. It really is.]).

      As I wrote above, I am more than willing to but myself and my motivations under the microscope. But I also know that this only has any relevance here, in this conversation, if you are willing to do the same — look at yourself and figure out / scrutinize why you are so invested in defending Glennon and trying to discredit or put me in my place — especially when you wrote that my ideas are “sound.”

      Are my ideas sound? What ideas and ideals did you see me trying to articulate and stand up for and aspire to?

      And do you really thinkthat I spent a thousand word basically just saying “I told you so”? Do you really think that was the overall intent of my post? (It actually wasn’t. But granted I did not hold back in comparing and contrasting the two Glennon’s — the lucidity of the Glennon who wrote the “Vigil” post and the myopia / blindness / tunnel vision of the Glennon who wrote “Don’t Carpe Diem.”

      This isn’t about being right, Shannon; it’s about thinking critically and leading a more examined and aware life. It’s not who’s right — because I actually don’t care, not one bit; it’s about what’s right.

      Thank you for the food for thought, Shannon. I sincerely look forward to more of it. And I do very much appreciate that you took the time and had the courage / guts to comment here. Good for you.

      Kindest regards, Shannon.


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  5. anonymous says:

    obnoxious and brilliant! she and her monkees are crazy!!

    • Jennifer says:

      Maybe her followers are not crazy, just asleep or misguided. Generally, it seems that people think having a positive attitude is saintly or right. Positive attitudes though are not always correct, negative attitudes are sometimes necessary for a right understanding. So although some may think this post is “obnoxious” that has no bearing or influence on whether or not it is “correct” or leading to a right understanding.

      Working to provoke a move in conciousness (or conscience) does not at all depend on conditions that from an ordinary point of view would be considered favorable. And again, it seems, that generally people will distort a message to glean from it what they wish, so it become necessary to over-explain, over-write, make it abundantly clear in no uncertain terms exactly what one means – and this can be viewed still as obnoxious or annoying – which again is irrelevant because the mind/ego that is judging the message as such is simply exposing itself as prefering to remain asleep. That is pure laziness.

      And to me that is the greatest “evil”that there is. It is a total contradiction to claim that “Love Wins” or to “Do Hard Things” when the actual truth is that evil and laziness are winning as they trot along asleep down the path ofleast resistance. No “WORK” in the ultimate sense of the word is being done.

      And not only that, because people do that in their personal lives all the time, but this person is on a grand stage and being revered for this and defended (violently) for being blind, asleep and lazy.

      And it takes a tremednous effort to wake someone who is asleep. And the sleepers don’t like it. They find it obnoxious.

      • John says:

        I agree with what you say/write here, Jen. And her followers, like most people, are asleep and or misguided–by definition anyone is who is not very self-aware and able to sit still in one place and have a real discussion, be objective about what they’re say (and not just about what the other person is saying), really get in touch with their assumptions and biases and pet peeves and triggers, et cetera. This is what it means to be asleep, to be sleep-walking through life. Kids are like this naturally. The naturally do not like to introspect and try something on for size that is said to them; instead they (most) naturally tend to defend and deflect and avoid. And many adults are no different. It takes so much for a person to wake up and stop living so unconsciously and self-unawarely. And it takes so much for a person to learn how to sit still when something critical is said to them–to actually try the statement on for size honestly, and think about it, and not just automatically defend and deflect and toss it back at the other person in some way.

        When we as a society and species learn how to do this–how to self-examine better, how to be more self-aware, how not to fear criticism, how to think more critically and honestly for ourselves, things will change for the better for us as a species and a society in a very tangible way.

        But that’s not what people focus on. Instead the focus is on “love and light” and platitudes and cliches and a negative (avoidant) view of peace (peace as the absence of tension, instead of the capacity to deal with it legitimately and in a healthy way), and “positive thinking.” All pet peeves of mine, lol.

        And no one thanks the alarm clock. I don’t expect much in the way of thank yous.

        Warmest regards, Jen, as always,


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  7. Am says:

    Wow. Just read this months after it was written. Thank you on so many levels. I felt I was the only person it in love with that carpe post glennon wrote. So many good thoughts here. Off to wake my four kids and enjoy and love and appreciate them!

  8. Am says:

    Oh auto correct! I meant “not in love” . Just had to make that clear. I was NOT in love with glennon’s post.

    • John says:

      Thank you for reading, Am, and for the kind comment. I’m glad my post resonated with you.

      And good on you for really appreciating your four children and really being a parent to them!

      A few scattered thoughts that came to mind 6 months after writing my “DO Carpe Diem” post—

      I think Glennon is confused about a few things—among them, what “Love” actually means, and what “Carpe Diem” actually means.

      Carpe Diem means among other things recognizing that life is short, that time is a gift, and that things can change for the worse or end without warning. None of us knows how much time we have on the clock, when our life—or the life of those we love—will expire. To me, that’s the essence of Carpe Diem. And it’s a lot to haul (or to face up to and admit and try to live gracefully or semi-gracefully with. It’s very unnerving stuff. But it can do something very positive for us—it can make us more appreciative and grateful for what we have—it can temper our greed, attention-seeking, grumpiness, moodiness, bitchiness, and instead give us perspective and make us much more appreciative of what we have and of the worthwhile opportunities we are given—i.e. making the most of our talents and potentials; really loving and appreciating those around, not putting off for tomorrow what should be prioritized for today.

      Glennon’s Don’t Carpe Diem was well-written but thoroughly misguided rant. She comes across in that post as being a very frazzled and overwhelmed parent (who hasn’t been that at times), who doesn’t want to face the fact that her kids’ out of control-ness may in large part be due to her own parental inadequacies and the lack of attention she seems to pay to her children. In other words, instead of, say, watching SuperNanny and perhaps learning something from that show and trying to apply it in her own life, she’d rather zone out to Bravo. That’s how she seems to cope with life and stress. But coping choices such as those have consequences – short-term reliefs like those have perhaps some unwelcomed long-term costs.

      Enjoyments pass, consequences remain.” – Hadrat Ali

      “Failure (or inadequacy, or lack of competence) is not a single, cataclysmic event. We do not fail overnight. Failure is the inevitable result of an accumulation of poor thinking and poor choices. To put it more simply, failure is nothing more than a few errors in judgment repeated every day.

      “Now why would someone make an error in judgment and then be so foolish as to repeat it every day?

      “The answer is because he or she does not think that it matters.

      “On their own, our daily acts do not seem that important. A minor oversight, a poor decision, or a wasted hour generally doesn’t result in an instant and measurable impact. More often than not, we escape from any immediate consequences of our deeds.

      “If we have not bothered to read a single book in the past ninety days, this lack of discipline does not seem to have any immediate impact on our lives. And since nothing drastic happened to us after the first ninety days, we repeat this error in judgment for another ninety days, and on and on it goes. Why? Because it doesn’t seem to matter. And herein lies the great danger. Far worse than not reading the books is not even realizing that it matters!

      “Those who eat too many of the wrong foods are contributing to a future health problem, but the joy of the moment overshadows the consequence of the future. It does not seem to matter. Those who smoke too much or drink too much go on making these poor choices year after year after year . . . because it doesn’t seem to matter. But the pain and regret of these errors in judgment have only been delayed for a future time. Consequences are seldom instant; instead, they accumulate until the inevitable day of reckoning finally arrives and the price must be paid for our poor choices—choices that didn’t seem to matter.

      “Failure’s most dangerous attribute is its subtlety. In the short term those little errors don’t seem to make any difference. We do not seem to be failing. In fact, sometimes these accumulated errors in judgment occur throughout a period of great joy and prosperity in our lives. Since nothing terrible happens to us, since there are no instant consequences to capture our attention, we simply drift from one day to the next, repeating the errors, thinking the wrong thoughts, listening to the wrong voices and making the wrong choices. The sky did not fall in on us yesterday; therefore the act was probably harmless. Since it seemed to have no measurable consequence, it is probably safe to repeat.
      “But we must become better educated than that!

      “If at the end of the day when we made our first error in judgment the sky had fallen in on us, we undoubtedly would have taken immediate steps to ensure that the act would never be repeated again. Like the child who places his hand on a hot burner despite his parents’ warnings, we would have had an instantaneous experience accompanying our error in judgment.” – Jim Rohn (http://www.jimrohn.com/index.php?main_page=page&id=1180)

      My best guess is that most people would fall rather quickly out of love with Glennon’s Don’t Carpe Diem and Carpe a couple of Kairoses approach to life and love if they or their loved ones were to ever have a serious brush with their own mortality.

      In my experience and opinion, most people lack the courage to really think honestly about life and their lot—their predicament, i.e., the brute facts of their existence. If they were to, perhaps they would live with greater purpose and start prioritizing those things that truly matter (or that will matter most in the end and make for a life of purpose, meaning, substance), or perhaps realizing their predicament would prompt them to spin out even more dramatically and try to lose themselves in even more desperate and dramatic ways (sex, drugs, rock ‘n roll, et cetera).

      In “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” Covey recommends “Beginning with the End in Mind.” I don’t think Glennon (or her legion of followers) has ever tried that or have the courage or sense to do that. But beginning with the end in mind is what can help give a frazzled Target moms caught up in their middle class luxury problems and complaints a toehold in reality and not sweat the small stuff (yes, the admonitions of those elderly ladies to enjoy every moment was small stuff—very small stuff—worthy of her indulgence rather than a misguided rant) so darn much.

      Thanks again, Am, for reading and for the very nice comments!

      Kindest regards,


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