Way back last summer, a friend sent out an email inviting a bunch of people to go see Glennon Doyle Melton for the Together tour. Do you all know Glennon? Founder of the online community Momastery; author of Carry On, Warrior; Oprah darling; Shero extraordinaire… Well I’d been waiting more than a year for Glennon to come to LA so I was thrilled. Little bubbles inside me.
Then I saw the date: Oct 4. The 14-year anniversary of my fall.
LOTS more bubbles. This was becoming a bit thrilling.
I clicked over to Momastery and started reading Glennon’s post about the tour. It was in support of her new book, Love Warrior. The last book tour had been really hard on her; she wanted to make it easier. So she was inviting friends to share the stage. I started reading about the friends…
And then I heard it, clear as anything, inside my head: The next time she does this, I’m on that stage with her.
Explosion of bubbles, my whole body vibrating. I felt like I’d inhaled the sugar content of two dozen Snickers bars. I was buzzing. I couldn’t see straight.
I didn’t bother to doubt the voice. You know when something is just so obviously true you can’t bring yourself to object? No matter how you feel about it, or what it stirs in you?
That’s what it was like. Big Me, Higher Me, God-me had spoken a truth… And that was that.
For a few minutes, I couldn’t do anything but buzz. My poor little body running all that energy. Then I wrote to my friend: count me in!
After a few minutes, Little Me had questions:
“How do I do that? How do I position myself to be on that stage?”
Boom. Big Me had answers: Get behind Shero’s Journey. One hundred percent.
“What does that look like?” I asked.
Boom. Boom. Boom. More answers.
I thought, shit, I better start writing this stuff down!
Over the next hour, every question that came to me was answered — BOOM. Even when it wasn’t…
If you’re not getting an answer, you’re asking the wrong question. Source your questions from curiosity, not anxiety.
Even when I hadn’t asked…
You can’t get taken out anymore. If you hurt, bring it with you. If you’re scared, bring it with you.
Finally, there was only one thing left to do. I’d been given a detailed map and a slew of loving kindness. Now, it was time to choose: Say yes to this delicious destiny (and all its terrifying requirements) or pass.
I made my way to my altar. On the corner, a dusty slip of paper read “What would it feel like to get behind yourself 100%?” I snickered. Like this, I thought.
I grabbed a new slip of paper, wrote the words that I had heard, and lit a candle. “The next time she does this, I’m on that stage,” I said aloud, knowing she might never do it again, and knowing it didn’t matter. All that mattered was having something to organize around, something inspiring me to do the work I’m meant to do anyway. Now I had it… And I said yes.
I hadn’t gotten my friend’s email very promptly, so when I responded telling her I was in, I told her not to worry if she’d already purchased the tickets. “Just let me know,” I said, “and I’ll get my own.”
When I left my altar, I found a response from her. She had, indeed, already purchased but when she did, intending to buy for the five friends that had responded, she felt this overwhelming sense that there was a sixth. “I didn’t know who it was,” she wrote, “but you have a ticket.”
The next day, I typed up everything God-me had said and printed it out to adorn my desk. I had a lot of work to do… but at least I knew what it was.
I didn’t tell almost anyone about what happened. The vision felt so tender, like a fragile sprout just barely cracking the crusty surface of my soil. One careless remark sounding, even unintentionally, like doubt or criticism could be a smashing boot.
So I kept my mouth shut, placed my silence like a protective container around the little sprout, and got busy tending.
Sometime later, I discovered some constraints regarding accessibility at the theater (the Pantages is old and behind the times when it comes to making accommodation), so when all was said and done, I was to be seated separately from my friend and her group.
Given how magical this whole thing had felt so far, though, I wasn’t about to attend the show by myself. It was a night made for sharing. So I bought an additional two tickets not knowing whom I’d bring.
Months went by… Some days, my focus was clear. Others, not so much. The wisdom I’d written down kept me moving forward. (It’s not about being in a hurry; it’s about being all in.)
Then about two weeks before the event, I was eating sushi with my friend, Lara, when she casually mentioned that she and a bunch of our friends wanted to see Glennon Doyle Melton on Oct. 4 and did I want to come?
Blink. Blink. “Boy, do I have a story for you.”
I told Lara the whole thing, lifted the garden net and showed her my brave little sprout, about which she said, “Oh yeah. I can totally see that.”
I wanted to weep in my yellowtail. And now we were both buzzing.
When I woke up on Oct. 4, I didn’t know how I felt about the anniversary. It’s been a lot of different things over the years — a celebration, a nightmare, a day so ordinary and full of life I didn’t notice the date. But as this one progressed, the thing that kept calling my attention was the radical shift in my sense of purpose.
Before the fall, I really had no idea what I was doing here, and my life was kind of going in circles. I’m not sure I noticed at the time, but I was sort of… paralyzed.
And then, even before I hit the ground, from the moment I heard the crack, I was somewhere new. And it was so beautiful, so glorious. (Thank God for that because it had to get me through the horror of becoming actually paralyzed.) Hitting the ground was like waking up to my purpose. And that purpose redirected not only my work, but my whole being.
The life I live did not exist before I fell. The work, the marriage, the motherhood — it’s all here because I fell.
I moved through the anniversary in a recurring dance with this blessing, feeling for the millionth time the extraordinary gift of calamity, the luminous power of the Shero’s Journey.
And then it was time to go see Glennon.
The whole show was amazing. The speakers were heavenly — passionate, authentic, visionary — everything we all wanted them to be. And throughout, I was a highway of emotion. Every feeling you can imagine, moving through me over multiple lanes, at various speeds: thrill, gratitude, self-doubt, amusement, peace, confidence, panic, hope, frustration, joy, affection, passion, determination, sorrow. At one point, I folded myself into the arms of my friend, Mandy, and just wept. I don’t even know why. Maybe just to discharge. It’s intense to sit in the presence of your destiny.
And then there were the couple of times during the night when I wondered if I’d made a mistake not telling Glennon about my little sprout.
Over the previous months, I’d considered writing to her but it just never felt right. Every time I’d check in within myself, I’d get this sort of wishy-washy feeling, so I never did it. Consequently, there were a few moments during the evening when I flirted with regret.
But some part of me was also wondering if/what the Universe would provide.
After the show, some of the speakers came to the foot of the stage to talk with audience members. I could see Glennon sitting on the lip of the stage, a huge crowd in front of her.
“I want to make my way down there,” I told my friends.
I wasn’t sure I could get through the sea of people, and I was a little nervous that Glennon would leave before I got there. But as I parked at the edge of the cluster of women waiting their turn, I just kept thinking, whatever happens now is perfect and right. My only job was to make myself available. The rest is out of my control.
Glennon had been making herself available for photos. One after another woman stood next to her and took a selfie with Glennon’s arm slung around her shoulder. But just after I arrived, Glennon jumped off the stage. I didn’t know what was happening (I thought she might be leaving) and then the woman nearest me stepped aside and motioned for me to take my turn.
I wheeled a bit forward as Glennon moved toward me. She bent down and hugged me, asking how I was. “I’m OK,” I said, finding no other adjective for the highway of emotion. And then I said, “Can I tell you something?”
Glennon stepped back and gave me her undivided attention.
Before I go on with this story, can I just tell you what a miracle that is? The woman had been on stage for f-o-u-r hours and then made herself available for countless photos. That she had an iota of energy to give anyone is astonishing.
Here is what I said:
“Fourteen years ago — today — I fell out of a tree and was paralyzed from the waist down. As a lifelong dancer, it should have destroyed me. Instead it turned my life to gold. And while it was turning my life to gold, it was teaching me about how we relate to adversity, and how we need to relate to it.
“I’ve been waiting over a year for you to come to LA, so when I heard about this show, I immediately checked out your site. And as I was reading, it hit me: ‘Holy fucking shit — the next time she does this, I’m on that stage with her.'”
Glennon stared at me, utterly blank-faced, for what seemed like eternity. Then she said, “I think you are. What’s your email?”
She typed my email address into her phone, took a selfie of the two of us, and said, “You just got yourself a job.”
And then she was off, done for the night.
Holy holy holy!!
Let me tell you, I had no idea what might happen if I got the chance to tell Glennon my story, but it sure as hell wasn’t that! Holy cow! I was up ’til 1 am that night, buzzing.
The next evening, I was trying to get Aidan ready for bed when I heard my phone going nuts in the other room. Text after text was coming in. What on earth, I wondered?
When I finally had a moment, I took a quick look and discovered a flurry from the friends I’d attended the show with, and a copy of this post from Glennon’s Instagram:
What can I even say?
I will tell you this though: I absolutely LOVE Glennon’s version of what I said. It shows exactly how she received me, and I’m so honored by how she received me. What a dream, this whole thing is.
So I’m back to work, following the directives from that night back in the summer, nurturing my now bigger sprout. And I’m telling you about it because, after more than 5,000 likes and nearly 100 comments on Glennon’s post, there’s really no point in keeping it a secret.
Besides, the sprout just isn’t so tender anymore. This whole experience — how it came together, what I saw on stage, the love of my friends, the potent anniversary and, of course, everything that happened with G — has been one giant affirmation. My soil’s been amended way down deep.
No doubt, it would be indescribably thrilling to find myself on stage with Glennon and friends someday but, whether or not that actually happens, I’m forever grateful. I know, beyond a shadow of doubt, where I belong now. And that’s an immeasurable gift. I’ll keep organizing around it, taking each right next step, as Glennon said in her show. And where I land will undoubtedly be perfect and right.
Stay brave and stay true…. That’s all any of us have to do.