Category Archives: Self-Help Memoirs

I Guess You Could Say That I’ve Always Been a Flinger (Fling Therapy, Part One)

I guess you could say that I’ve always been a flinger. I don’t sit around on my hopes like eggs waiting for them to hatch: I try stuff, and see what works. I massage them. I incubate them. I try prayer and meditation. When that doesn’t work, I start tapping on the shells. Eventually, I might throw them against the wall and watch them crack, and though I realize this isn’t progress, I feel better.

I fling. I’m a flinger. And when it comes to my problems, I fling even harder and with more conviction.

Depression isn’t an egg, of course. (Oh, how I wish it was.) Depression is a wall—one much stronger than I. Standing in front of it, though, I do what comes naturally. I pick up any tool nearby, and have at it. I make cracks. I wedge the cracks. I break the wedge. Then I try again. My efforts are formidable, but so far, they haven’t been enough. Since early childhood, depression has been part of my life–the “black dog” Churchill referred to, though in his case the dog came and went a lot whereas for me, the dog stays. It stayed through elementary school, when no one seemed to know anything was wrong with me, including myself. It stayed through middle and high school in spite of my self-diagnosis and plan for change. It stayed all the way through college and through my early relationship with my husband–times that should’ve been the best in my life. It stayed as my career matured and as my babies were born, and today, after years of medication and spiritual and physical effort, it is still with me. Relief has not been relief except by degrees, and mostly, I’m okay with that. Acceptance of my condition doesn’t seem to be my problem, exactly. A high degree of drivenness and a suspicion that the condition is curable might be.

The dog is just a dog. It’s familiar. It’s not crazy-making. It bothers me, but I can still function. At forty-one I realize that roughly half my life is over, and what I’ve done already I can do again. I’m strong. I have resources. I’m better by far than I used to be. But some people are good at taking their wins and taking a break. I am not.

Which is why I’m back at the wall, flinging even more. Working up a list of stuff I haven’t tried, or tried enough, and making preparations. In this book, I share my personal history of depression, but more interesting than that is the main storyline: everything I’m doing this year to treat the problem. Following my three other self-improvement memoirs that also use a one-year theme, Fling Therapy is the story of the year that I tried the hardest to overcome or further alleviate my depression. Some of the things I write about aren’t new to me: brisk walks, cognitive therapy, meditation. Others are: energy healing. A full counseling program. New medications. For a while I even quit coffee. There’s also a lot in here about something that still scares me a bit: psychedelics. Will I try them? If I do, will I write about it?

In addition to the journal, I share relevant research, a comprehensive-as-I-can-get-it list of depression treatments and several interviews with people who have had some success with their depression battles. My hope in writing this book was, of course, that my renewed efforts would yield significant, positive results. But I also wanted to highlight what I’ve already done that’s been helpful. Though as I said before I’ve had depression since childhood, for the past decade or so, I’ve been mostly well. Some might contend that this is mostly due to medication, and they wouldn’t be wrong, exactly; medicine works pretty well. But it’s not everything. Living well is the rest. And that is what I try to do every day.

My black dog–a heaviness in my chest–is always there. No one would mistake me for an ebullient person, but I’m stable, functional and grateful. The word that best describes me today is content, and that’s pretty good, though I’d prefer “at peace.” Eventually, I’d like to be truly happy some of the time, understanding that times of pain are important, too.

Overall, though, happiness isn’t what I seek. I used to say that I wanted bliss, but I don’t anymore. I just want to not be at least a bit depressed all the time. I want to be able to enjoy the things I’ve worked hard to obtain: my stable marriage, my happy kids, my fulfilling work, my beautiful home. I want to be able to sit the yard I care for, listening to my children play and feel … light. At peace. Not heavy, at least sometimes. If I can achieve that, it will be worth a good deal of flinging.

And hey–flinging is fun anyway. So much fun.

Fling Therapy: One Year of Throwing Everything I Can Think of at My Persistent Depression

I’m doing it again: setting aside of year of my life to work on a single self-improvement goal. Past goals have been more spiritually-focused, but this one is arguably even more important: I’m throwing every treatment I can find at my depression, and seeing what happens.

Medications. Exercise. Spiritual practice. Alternative healing methods. Therapy. And more. I’m attempting each, and writing about what helps, what doesn’t … and what might be of help to other people.

Between my month-by-month account, I offer an as-comprehensive-as-possible list of depression treatments. I share my research in the great hopes that others out there will find what works for them, even if it’s not what works for me.

Stay tuned to this blog for my series, Fling Therapy: One Year of Throwing Everything I Can Think of at My Persistent Depression.

Author news: New, improved “Fights You’ll Have After Having a Baby” will soon be published by Creativia

This summer, I signed a contract with Creativia, an excellent small publisher who is taking on Fights You’ll Have After Having a Baby. Working with them has been an awesome experience so far, and guess what? There’s an audiobook version in the works, too. Stay tuned for details on how to get your new, improved version of the book.

Much love,

Mollie

Now Published by Next Chapter: Fights You’ll Have After Having a Baby: A Self-Help Story

Ten years is about the right amount of time to wait for a moment like this. You wouldn’t want it to happen much sooner (it’d spoil the fun of waiting) or much later (when you’re disillusioned).

That’s about how long it’s been since I started writing books and publishing them on Amazon on my own and now, the time has come: Next Chapter has published my first traditionally published work–and I think they probably got my best one. It’s Fights You’ll Have After Having a Baby: A Self-Help Story.

Please buy it for yourself, and for a few married parents you know. (It’s not expensive.)

Here’s the description:

After Rachel and Matthew had their first child, they had a couple of fights. Well, okay, more than a couple—they fought for over three years. They fought about schedules. They fought about bad habits. They fought about feeling unloved.

They even fought about the lawn mower.

And besides actually having their child, it was the best thing that could’ve happened.

Chronicling their greatest hits, from the Great Birth Control Debate to the Divorce Joke Showdown, Fights You’ll Have After Having a Baby is a post-partem story with hope. It offers true stories from the field, nitty-gritty advice and, most important, a nuanced understanding of what it takes to be married with children.

Get the Amazon ebook version here. And definitely help a writer out by posting a review as well. Thanks so much.

"Being Good" is free today

In the year 2081, Francie lived in a small village called Gallitia. It was simple. It was peaceful. It was beautiful. But there was one problem.
Francie couldn’t leave.

Oh, and then there were the people that wanted to bring electricity and change everything. And the boy with the very red hair, who Francie suspected was somehow part of this change. The question, then, became: Will Francie change, too?

Being Good is probably my best work.

Get the Kindle ebook on Amazon for 99 cents or a free PDF on Project Gutenberg, Smashwords or NoiseTrade. You can also get the print version on Amazon.

An Ode to Change

Today, I decided to jot down a few of the main changes I’d like to see in myself, in my life, and in my family.

I don’t recommend doing the same.

Here’s my list:

  1. More jogs
  2. More long walks with the kids
  3. More quiet time
  4. More time reading with kids
  5. More home cooking
  6. More homeschooling
  7. More progress on house projects
  8. More longhand writing
  9. More family dinners with friends
  10. More volleyball
  11. More time with my husband
  12. More family chore times
  13. More meditation and other spiritual practices
  14. More sports with kids
  15. More naps

A Byron Katie Q and A (My Byron Katie Detox Conclusion)

And now, I leave you to it. But first, the final special Byron Katie section of this serial: A Byron Katie Q and A. Here, I take on some of the hang-ups people experience while doing the Work and some common difficulties in understanding the process itself. Note that the questions are mine and the answers are, too.

Q. Byron Katie says that all “should” statements are inherently not true, because everything that is, should be. So why does the Judge Your Neighbor Worksheet specifically instruct us to write “should” statements? Isn’t that sort of stacking the deck?

A. Technically, yes. And if you don’t actually have a “should” thought, don’t write one down. But the reality is that most of us do. And the Work isn’t only for the thoughts that are logical. It’s for any stressful thought–even the ones we already know aren’t true. Because they’re there, hiding just beneath the surface and affecting us more than we realize. By working on them, we bring them into the light.

Q. What about when someone really should do something differently? For their own good, and all that?

A. This one is easy. Byron Katie often reminds us to stay in our business and let others stay in theirs. “Do you really want God’s job?” she asks. So sure, offer advice. Give them a friendly suggestion. Just don’t get attached to the results. Spend your energy doing the Work on your thoughts about the person instead.

Q. Byron Katie says it’s best not to have any goals regarding the Work as we’re doing it–not even the goal of feeling better, finding emotional relief. What is the reason for this? And is it even possible?

A. Every single time I do the Work, I have a goal: I want to get rid of that ugly thought. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be doing the Work at all, would I? I suspect if you’re at a certain so-called “level,” spiritually speaking, you know what Byron Katie means by having no goal. I suppose you’re able to comprehend the idea of total acceptance of all outcomes, all negative thoughts, all of what comes into your experience, even suffering. I’m not quite there yet. In one video I watched, Katie says that if your Work has goals, your Work will reflect those goals and, I suppose, yield results that are less honest. I see how that could happen. I’m not sure if it happens to me or not.

Q. We’re supposed to love our negative thoughts? Why?

A. Stressful thoughts are like alarm clocks, Katie teaches. They wake us up to reality, take us out of the dream. This is an important function, and if the thought isn’t lovable for it, it can still be worthy of appreciation.

Q. Byron Katie teaches us that stressful thoughts are never the truth. But how can we know that assumption is true? As long as we’re questioning things, shouldn’t we question that?

A. I don’t claim to know how Byron Katie would answer this question. It is a hard one for sure. My best guess is that she’d say that stressful thoughts always involve a story, an interpretation. No matter what happens to you, it’s the story that causes the stress, not the situation itself. If there is no story, all we’re left with is our true nature, which is to love what is. Two quotes on this that relate:

    • “Love is not a doing. There is nothing you have to do. And when you question your mind, you can see that the only thing that keeps you from being love is a stressful thought.”–I Need Your Love–Is It True?
  • “The only time we suffer is when we believe a thought that argues with what is. When the mind is perfectly clear, what is is what we want. If you want reality to be different than it is, you might as well try to teach a cat to bark. You can try and try, and in the end the cat will look up at you and say, ‘Meow.’ Wanting reality to be different than it is is hopeless.”–Loving What Is

Q. The Work isn’t as simple as I thought it would be. There are a lot of tricks to it. Why is that?

A. Such an interesting question. Again, my answer is just a guess, but here’s what I think right now. The Universe is such an amazing thing–so simple and at the same time, so complex. We look at the human brain, for example, under the microscope and all we see are clumps of cells operating on simple principles of biology and physics. But what those cells do is beyond our comprehension. No one understands what makes them work.

In the same way, the Work is simple yet complex and profound.

Q. Why does Byron Katie recommend that we only do the Work on other people, not on ourselves, until we’re more experienced with the process?

A. I hate this rule. It bugs me. I don’t have a ton of judgments about other people. Mostly, I have general negativity. My stressful thoughts usually have to do with slight annoyances that are no one’s fault or stuff about myself, usually bad feelings. When working on these thoughts, I sometimes write about them in the third person. It helps.

That said, there’s a decent argument in favor of this guideline. Other people serve as mirrors into ourselves surprisingly often. Also note that TheWork.com suggests that if you want to start by working on thoughts about yourself, you can call an experienced practitioner. (There is a free service available through TheWork.com.) Also not a bad idea.

Q. What if The Work doesn’t work?

A. How do you know it didn’t? The change in your thoughts and feelings can be subtle, and can take time to make themselves obvious. Try not to get too wrapped up in your preferred outcome. Trust there was an effect, and if the thought comes back, do the Work on it again and again–as many times as it takes. Another of my favorite Katie quotes: “No one has ever been able to control his thinking, although people may tell the story of how they have. I don’t let go of my thoughts—I meet them with understanding. Then they let go of me.”

Q. Regarding the JYN worksheet and the four questions: Do you have to ask the questions in the order given?

A. No. Use your intuition. Byron Katie recommends not skipping straight to the turnarounds, especially if you’re new to the process. Elsewhere, though, she says that you could spend a long time just in question one, and at other times the Work will be almost automatic. Generally speaking, when in doubt, go through the process step by step. But don’t feel boxed in by that rule.

Q. Byron Katie sometimes suggests we make amends to those we’ve hurt–for our own good, not for them. What if the person is gone or dead?

A. There are many ways to make amends: not repeating the action; asking for forgiveness, even if they aren’t there to hear you; offering some sort of material recompense. My favorite, though, is Katie’s suggestion that we do random acts of kindness every day–and if someone finds out it was us, it doesn’t count. I love it.

Q. What if I really, truly want to change myself, to become a better person in some way, but I can’t? I try and try and just fail?

A. What you can’t do, you don’t need to do, Byron Katie says. No matter how important that thing seems to be. In one video Katie tells a man who thinks he’s not successful at his career that he should be glad that the work is getting done without his help. It’s getting done and he didn’t have to do it. Interesting.

Q. I have so, so many negative thoughts. How can I do the Work on all of them?

A. To this, Katie might say, “Do the Work on the one that comes next.” However, I’m too much of a planner for that. I like to keep a list of thoughts to do the Work on. I also like to play with them a bit till I find the one that packs the biggest emotional punch. Neither technique is wrong, and either way it’s the doing of the Work, not the specifics, that matters. The more you do it, the more automatic the process will become, until one day you realize you’ve fully downloaded the program. When stressful thoughts come, the four questions meet them immediately and without much conscious effort. When this is where you’re at, everything gets easier–even the stuff you haven’t worked on yet. It becomes habitual, ingrained.

Here, I might also suggest a non-Byron Katie-approved technique, which I’ll call the Quick Stop. As soon as a stressful thought comes, something like “I am so sick of doing the dishes,” take just a second to tell the thought to stop. Then find one reason–any one reason–the Universe is bringing you this inconvenience. Maybe the dishes are teaching you to slow down. Maybe they’re giving you an opportunity to serve your family, show appreciation, or contribute. Maybe they’re revealing to you that it’s time to do the Work on your stressful thoughts again, or teaching you a bit of patience. Maybe doing them allows you to experience anew the pleasure of a clean kitchen. Maybe the dishes give you an excuse to avoid other work or a chance to watch the birds out the window. Or maybe they simply remind you to get some more soap next time you’re at the store. Maybe you’ll have an important insight during this time, or a short mental break. Any reason your perceived inconvenience is working for you, not against you, is fine. No need to list more than one or two.

I know, I know. Being an optimist is such a pain. But it’s worth the effort, I swear.

Q. What if I don’t want to let go of a stressful thought since if I do, I will lose the motivation to act?

A. The final question, and for good reason. It’s one of the most common, and a particularly difficult one. I mean, Katie’s answer isn’t complicated. She says that we won’t lose motivation to do anything that is good for us and others that we’re meant to do. Our nature is love, she reminds us. If your child is hungry, you’ll feed her. If you need money to live on, you’ll go to work every day, and if you need a good friend, you’ll be one. So what about the other stuff, you might wonder. The stuff you don’t need to do, but should do? Katie would say, If you’re meant to do it, you will. But if you’re like me, that answer isn’t good enough.

I should play with my kids every day. I should drink more water. I should jog. I should read instead of watch TV. All these thoughts stress me out for sure. But do I really want to give them up?

Because I haven’t found my answer to this question yet, I’m going to leave it unanswered. Something for you to think about on your own.

This concludes My Byron Katie Detox: One Year of Questioning My Unhelpful Thoughts. Please subscribe to my new serials on the home page of this site.

"Unicorn" is free today

After a difficult first year of parenthood, overwhelmed suburban couple Sam and Alex decide they want more kids, more help, more love and more friendship. Their solution: a second wife, sometimes known as a unicorn.

Soon, their quest is underway. They share laughs, adventures and sex club antics until finally they meet Cassidy, a good match.

Or is she?

Unicorn is one of my first complete works of fiction. It is novella size–a fun read.

Get the Kindle ebook on Amazon for 99 cents or a free PDF on Project Gutenberg, Smashwords or NoiseTrade. You can also get the print version on Amazon..

Law of Attraction Success Story: “I Overcame My Eating Disorder”

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Contributor: Anonymous

Several years ago, I decided to keep an eating journal, partly as an attempt to lose weight I didn’t need to lose. I recorded the times I binged and the days I starved, and one day, I had a moment of truth.

Holy crap, I realized. I have an eating disorder.

It was the first time I knew for sure that it was true.

Not long after that, I joined a recovery group for food addicts in an honest, committed way and started on the path to recovery. Then, a few years later, something happened that I can only describe as a miracle: The day before my birthday, right in the midst of yet another evening binge, I decided to do something very special for myself: I decided to give up overeating—and not just overeating, but dieting, fasting, counting calories, counting carbs—even using artificial sweeteners.

I decided to finally be sane.

As it turned out, it was the best birthday gift I’d ever received. Since that day, I have not binged or overeaten to the point of discomfort even once—and as a result, today I am thinner than I was before.  Every pair of pants that I own fits me every day, but better than that: I like the way I look—I really, really like it. I like my soft curves. I like my flat stomach (which is flatter now that there is less food in it). I love even my flaws.

It’s weird how these things happen, isn’t it? One day you think you’re fine, and the next you realize you have a problem. And then, because you finally admitted it, you allow your moment of grace to occur–the miracle that finally heals you.

And you know what’s so cool about recovery? It’s actually pretty fun. And even when it’s not that much fun, it’s still so much fun, because as long as I’m on the path, I have hope.

And so, to those of you out there who still suffer—and “suffer,” I know, is no exaggeration—here is my advice for you: pray. Meditate. Seek the help of your God. Do whatever you have to do to get in touch with the Source—even if at first, all you can do is ask to lose weight.

After that, follow your intuition. If you feel that reading inspiring books may help, read some inspiring books. If you feel that starting a program will help, start a program, by all means. If your heart is telling you to see a physician or counselor, please do so right away.

Take the steps you need to take—and as you do so, know that as long as you’re engaged with the process, moving down the path, there is hope for you, too.

Law of Attraction Success Story: "I’m Becoming My Highest Self"

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Contributor: Anonymous

A few years back, I read a little-known book by Neale Donald Walsch called Questions and Answers on Conversations With God. In it, a reader asks if the author knows any way to speed up one’s process of reaching enlightenment—you know, kind of like a shortcut. Not surprisingly, Walsch says that he does. He advises the reader to write down in great detail what her highest and grandest vision of herself would look like—then to begin to act as if that was who she was right now.

I thought this was great advice, and since I’d never actually made a list like this before, recently I decided to give it a go. Then, I decided, I’d assess which of the changes I could take on, and which I would have to save for later.

Here is what I wrote.

I am a woman who:

•Smiles when she looks in the mirror.

•Does not criticize herself or others over superficialities.

•Does not believe she is superior to others.

•Does not have any negative thoughts at all; is relentlessly optimistic.

•Takes full responsibility for her choices.

•Is honest with others whenever possible, and always with herself.

•Wears only comfortable clothes.

•Does not spend a great deal of money, time or attention on her physical appearance.

•Spends time every morning in prayer and meditation.

•Frequently practices the activities that she’s passionate about.

•Takes her time. Enjoys the small moments of her day. Does not rush. Pays attention to people. Does not crowd her schedule.

After completing the list, I looked it over, and realized something: I was already most of the way there. I also realized that everything on the list–every last thing–was achievable, not just for me, but for anyone.

Sometimes, spiritual-minded people like us start to get mired in self-doubt. We hear about a new spiritual practice, a new technique, and we think, If only I could do that, I’d get enlightened. Today, I ask you to consider not where you’re going, but where you’ve been. How far have you already come on your spiritual journey? I encourage you do make a list like mine, then appreciate how close to your highest self you already are.

Are you a good mother? A good partner? A good friend? Do you practice kindness, give to charity?

My guess is that you do.

And so, maybe–just maybe–we’re further along than we think. Maybe enlightenment isn’t the mystery it’s made out to be.

Maybe we’re on our way to true inner peace.

How thrilling this is, when you think about it.

Thank you, Mr. Walsch, for the inspiration.

Surviving Death and Other Fairly Surprising Occurences (My Byron Katie Detox, Part Seventeen)

So, I get that tons of people will disagree with me on this. And I’m fine with it. Personal preferences, and all that. But when there’s a TV show that addresses the One Question—or at least one of the One Questions—namely, what happens when we die . . . well, that show should be pretty well-known. Like, more well-known than “Survivor.”

Well, as it turns out, there is such a show, and ironically, the name is similar. It’s “I Survived . . . Beyond and Back.” It recounts the experiences of near death experience (NDE) survivors, albeit in much less detail than one might prefer.

And it’s not really that popular. Go figure.

In any case. For me, discovering the show was a solid three-star experience. In other words, a pleasure less than a day at the beach and greater than a great meal. (Also a full star less than a single smile from a baby, but that’s not a fair comparison.) It was before I had kids, when I could take half a day off from adulthood pretty much whenever I wanted, so that is what I was doing. I turned on the TV, and got hooked by the premise. And from there it only got better.

The show is made in that classic TV documentary style, complete with dramatic reenactments and black-backdropped narratives by the real-life participants. Three stories mixed in together: First, a teenage SCUBA diver who gets decompression sickness after his suit malfunctions. Then a bedridden patient who dies due to a hospital error and finally, a bus driver who has a heart attack during her rounds. All three enchanting, and horrific, and consequential. But it was the second one that really got me.

The SCUBA diver–he looked like a nice guy. Could’ve been religious. When he dies he has a positive experience. Then the bus driver–a woman. She sees her ex-husband and is overcome by how pure he looks. She floats toward some bright lights, but is told it isn’t her time. She’s disappointed; she doesn’t want to come back.

Then there is Barbara, the bedridden patient.

She’s just had spinal surgery, which has gone well. Then she’s put on a respirator, which doesn’t. It malfunctions, and internal swelling stops her blood flow and her heart, and before the error can be corrected, she is gone.

Barbara moves over her body. At first, she feels at peace. Then suddenly, she becomes confused.

“But the next thing I knew,” she says, “I was in total darkness.”

Darkness.

That can’t be good.

Cut to commercial. The perfect time. Two happy TV endings, one hook.

Holy crap, I thought. I have got to finish this. No snack. No phone. Just wait.

At the time, see, I was still in limbo–that am-I-still-a-Christian phase I described earlier. I had David, and I loved my life, and I’d found a way to bring meaning to it. I no longer truly believed the salvation story. And yet, I hadn’t yet made a clear pronouncement regarding my new faith.

Can I call myself a non-Christian? Yikes. That sounds . . . scary. Maybe this show can help me overcome this fear.

Yeah. I took TV a little too seriously. (Still do.)

The show came back from commercial, as these shows do. And the ending was appropriately predictable. The darkness again. Then, slowly, Barbara’s actress representative reappears, and she is happy–even radiant.

In the narrative overlay, Barbara says that for a moment, she wondered what was happening. Then she realized what it all meant. It was dark because her face . . . was buried in the bosom of her grandmother.

Yes, you heard that right.

It was a bosom.

I’m not one for tears. Really wish I were. Maybe I could’ve had a nice cathartic reaction. Instead, I muted the next commercial and just sat there in the quiet, contemplating the ramifications a bit.

Of course she didn’t go to Hell. What was I thinking? They’d never show that on Lifetime. But she didn’t mention Jesus. None of them seemed religious. Maybe it’s okay to just . . . let . . . go.

Then again, I already had. I just hadn’t totally admitted it yet.

Read the rest of the series at My Byron Katie Detox: One Year of Questioning My Unhelpful Thoughts.

"What I Learned from Jane" is free today

“And I have no other explanation for how it feels to have given birth to a person and then spent a few days with them before letting them go other than that:

“It feels like being a mother probably feels every day.

“It felt like being a mother.”

What I Learned from Jane is the true story of how a child born with severe brain damage changed her mother’s life.

It is one of my first books, and still receives great reviews. Here’s a recent one from Amazon:

“The day I got this book I literally sat in my car after getting off work at 1am and read up to 42% complete. Wow, what really strikes me is how much like Glennon Doyle you write about the beauty and tragedy that makes up life, and how important perspective is in the quality of a person’s life. This quick read was hard to put down and invoked feelings of gratitude, humility and a desire to be as authentic and intentional about life both in the peaks as well as the valley’s of life. Very touching!!”

You can get your copy for 99 cents on Amazon.com today, or for free on Smashwords or NoiseTrade.

The Only Rule Is There Aren’t Any Rules (My Byron Katie Detox, Part Sixteen)

A Byron Katie Worksheet

Month Completed: October

The Statement: Life is a game. There are no rules.

The Questions:

Is it true? Yes.

Can I absolutely know it is true? No.

How do I feel when I think the thought? I feel at ease. I feel less pressure to be perfect, to perform, than I do when I don’t reflect on this idea.

How would I feel if I were unable to think the thought? I would take life much too seriously. I would be too hard on myself.

The Turnarounds: Life isn’t a game. Life is serious. Life is consequential. There is only one set of rules in life and they cannot be chosen or changed; they’re set in stone. This is the belief that many people hold, and their belief isn’t any more or less valid than my own.

So again, is it true? Yes. It’s true for me. The only rule is that there aren’t any rules, as the kids say. But no, it is not true for everyone. Life is not a game for everyone.

I love the belief that life is a game, even though there’s no objective evidence that it’s true. As much as I’d like to hold my ideas as lightly as Byron Katie does, I’m definitely not there yet. I’m not even sure I’m headed that direction.

The belief that life is a game doesn’t cause me any suffering that I know of. Still, I’d love to get a glimpse of Katie’s clear-headedness, her total detachment from certainty.

Maybe someday.

Here are some other thoughts I did The Work on this month and last:

1. M. embarrassed me.
2. M. made me question and doubt my parenting style instead of showing sympathy and support.
3. M. acted badly because she wanted an excuse for not wanting to be told what to do.
4. M. is a lower-level human being who blames, criticizes and condescends rather than being honest with herself.
5. M. is condescending, insecure, judgmental, authoritarian, terrible with children, uncaring, unenlightened, a victim of her religion, easily annoyed, lazy, unhappy, mean, dishonest with herself, entitled, controlling and superior.
6. My husband isn’t helping me with the kids enough.
7. I’m sick of holding the baby.
8. My life is boring.
9. I hate mornings.
10. I am working too hard. I’m going to burn out.
11. My life is not relaxing enough.
12. I don’t have enough time to write.
13. I’m not getting enough done.
14. I have to get all my books done in case I get a long case of writers’ block or die.
15. If I could just catch up on my writing, I’d be happy.
16. If I don’t take enough long walks, I’ll get depressed.
17. My face is too round.
18. N. screwed me over by not showing up to work.
19. Dave should not have gotten rid of the vacuum.
20. I can’t remain in a meditative state.

I also did a mental excavation as follows using the method previously described. This time I examined the thoughts behind the thought “I have depression.”

1. If I didn’t have depression, I wouldn’t take care of myself with long walks, close friendship and much more.
2. Without depression, I wouldn’t know who I am.
3. If I didn’t have depression, I would have to face other scary feelings that I’ve been suppressing like anger, grief, fear and even joy.
4. No one wants to be friends with a happy-go-lucky Pollyanna type. If I didn’t have depression, I would be a more emotional person and embarrass myself.
5. Depression makes me a better writer.
6. If I didn’t have depression, I wouldn’t do spiritual practice.
7. Depression gives me an excuse for being weak and imperfect.
8. If I didn’t have depression, I wouldn’t feel compelled to do my writing.
9. Depression gives me a challenge and a purpose.
10. Depression helps me stay in control of my feelings.

In September, I worked through fifty-three stressful thoughts and limiting subconscious beliefs. In October, I worked through twenty-six. So I suppose it shouldn’t surprise me too much that as I come to the end of this month, I feel the best I’ve felt in over a year.

I’d even say I’m in the state of meditation.

In the previous books in this series, I discuss this phrase at length. Briefly, it’s the feeling you get when you’re listening for your inner guidance moment by moment, when you’re accepting what is and when you’re pretty much at peace. Lately, there have been times when I’ve tried to come up with a stressful thought to work on but can’t, which I consider an interesting marker of progress. And this despite several major parenting challenges. Triggered by whining, I screamed at my four-year-old (twice, I think). The baby cried inconsolably for several days. My exuberant two-year-old found a million creative ways to wake a sleeping baby. And yet–yeah. State of meditation, here I am.

It’s astonishing, really, how consistent my results have been with the Work. And yet, I still have quite a way to go. As you may or may not have noticed, several of the thoughts on this month’s list aren’t new; there are about five or so that I’ve dealt with several times each month since starting this process. I’m not surprised by this, nor particularly discouraged; some thoughts are more stubborn than others. Often this is because I’ve practiced those thoughts more. Other times it’s due to who they’re about. In my experience, the closer you are to someone, the harder it is to let go of a negative judgment against them. You’ve spent more time on the thoughts, gathered more evidence for their veracity. Plus, you just have so much more invested. If your friend or acquaintance is miserable and mean, it doesn’t affect you so much. But when your kids or your partner does something you think is unfair, it feels like your happiness is on the line.

“I can’t be happy if they aren’t treating me well,” we think. But is that the truth? Of course not. If Byron Katie’s husband didn’t help her as much as she preferred, or if her baby cried to be held all day long, she’d just sit back and enjoy it.

I am looking forward to being able to say the same for myself.

As I said: Maybe someday.

Meanwhile, I’ve decided to choose several thoughts to pay special attention to this year and to report on regularly. They are: “I’m not getting enough done,” “Motherhood is difficult,” and “I have depression.” I would absolutely love to make a huge dent in any of these this year and for me, doing so would really prove the value of the Work.

If the Work works on my biggest thought monsters, it definitely does work.

Read the rest of the series at My Byron Katie Detox: One Year of Questioning My Unhelpful Thoughts.

Law of Attraction Success Story: "I Got a Great Job"

Contributor: Anonymous

A few years back, I got an unexpected, though common, gift. That gift was simply an Inkling.

I’m not sure who gave it to me, exactly. Maybe God or my Higher Self, or maybe just age and wisdom. Wherever it came from, this inkling—this distinct feeling in my gut—was that soon, I’d come across an excellent job opportunity, and I was supposed to take it. Along with this thought came the phrase “one year.”

I considered the idea. But I’m a stay-at-home mom, I reasoned. I had this all figured out.

And yet, over several weeks, the feeling persisted, so I stored the idea in a safe place in my mind.

Soon after that, at my first child’s six-month checkup, the doctor and I were discussing working and I told her I’d finally made the difficult decision to sacrifice the extra income and stay at home. She nodded approvingly.

“I stayed home with my baby for one year,” she said. “That was just about right for me.”

When she said this, the words sounded different than words normally do. They stood out, became almost three-dimensional. I knew what was happening: I was getting another Inkling.

Dawn will be a year old in November, I realized. Maybe that’s when this job opportunity will come.

A few months later, my husband heard about an excellent weekends-only position, and he encouraged me to apply. I hadn’t told him anything about my prediction, and I still didn’t; I just let him convince me.

“The job is perfect for you,” he said. “I mean, it’s nothing you’ve done before. But you could learn. And you could make a lot of money. It couldn’t hurt to try it out.”

As he spoke, that feeling returned.

“Do you think I could really do it?” I asked.

“I really do,” he said, though he was fully aware of my inexperience in this field.

“Who is going to teach me what I need to know?” I asked.

He said he would, and soon after that, we began.

This happened in September or so, and knowing that I had until November to learn everything I needed to know, progress at first was slow.

Then November came. Sometime in the middle of the month, my husband got a call from his job agent.

“You know that job that your wife is going to interview for?” he said. “Well, the salary just doubled.”

Here’s the thing: The pay was really good before. Now they were considering adding a few extra responsibilities—rolling two very part-time jobs into one slightly less part-time job. When my husband told me what he just heard, I almost didn’t believe it. And yet, somehow, I did.

“There is bad news, too,” he said. “Now you have competition.”

See, my ace-in-the-hole before was that no one else really wanted a two-day a week, weekend-only job. With the pay increase, they surely would. I had to start taking this interview a little more seriously.

The weeks that followed took on a quality that I can only describe as cinematic. All day, every day, the number that represented the amount of money I’d be making per year if this interview went well looped through in my mind. And all day, every day, I studied.

After re-reading the books the agent provided me with and taking two or three times as many notes as I had the first time through, I still felt unprepared. I asked my husband if there was anything more I could do or read. He didn’t think there was, but I knew better. With two weeks left before the interview, I went to the library and checked out two armloads of books. I didn’t just study computer security, though; I studied all of the basics of computer science: the way operating systems worked, computer networking and more. Each morning after changing the baby and making my coffee, I sat down at my reading station in the playroom and took up where I left off. And other than a walk or two and a Thanksgiving dinner at a friend’s house, that is where I stayed—for an entire week straight.

The following week was much more relaxed. I spent the time reviewing my notes (the third or fourth iteration as I added to them and rewrote them during the course of my reading and my long explanatory conversations with my husband, who was more useful to me by far than any book). I peeked at the subject heading of a page, then attempted to recall out loud everything that was written on that page. By the day of the interview, I felt that I was not just prepared—I was overprepared.

And as it turned out, I was right.

The interview took place on a weekday between Thanksgiving and Christmas when it is very cold and foggy outside and everything takes on that special holiday quality, even mundane activities related to work. Two days earlier I had selected the perfect outfit: not too dressy, not too casual, not too black. I had also tried on the nicest pair of pants I own, the ones that are sometimes (okay, most of the time) just a little too tight—and they fit perfectly. They looked on me just like the saleslady would’ve wanted them to.

And then there was my hair. Being of the medium length and fast-growing variety, my hair is most often either too short (right after the haircut) or—seemingly just a few weeks later—too long and starting to get shabby. The week of the interview, however, I was smack in the middle of one of those rare moments when it was as Goldilocks would have celebrated it.

It was just right.

And so, I looked good. I was mentally prepared. I was fairly confident—though nervous, I wasn’t actually shaking. I knew that a big part of pulling this off would be to give the solid impression that I did not doubt myself in the slightest.

And that is what I did.

When the interview began, I channeled all of my nerves out of my brain and face, right down into my neck. In so doing, I injured my neck. But my facial expressions were calm and relaxed, and my answers were, too. Once in a while, after a particularly hard question, an alarm would go off in my head that went something like: “You don’t know the answer. You don’t know the answer.” But remembering that poise was more important than anything, and that whatever happened it was okay and would work out in the way is was meant to work out, I squashed those alarms in my head with a quickness. Then I remembered the answer.

The only question I flubbed was the last one, and by then I had already subtly complimented the person I knew would be my immediate supervisor twice and made  the whole room (there were three interviewers) laugh at least once.

Leaving the room, I knew I had done well.

When it was over, I went to my car and waited for my agent to meet me there. He took a long time. Finally, he did arrive. Then he asked me how I thought it went.

“I aced it,” I said, stretching my neck in every direction, wondering how I could injure it so painfully while barely making use of any muscle in my body except those that allowed me to sit up straight. “It was almost too easy. I wish it had been harder so that the other two candidates would have less of a chance.”

“Well, that won’t be a problem,” my agent told me. “They’re not going to interview anyone else. You got the job.”

It was five days before my neck returned to normal.

At the steakhouse where my husband, my agent and I went after the interview to celebrate, the agent told us that the second part of the job may or may not come through, depending on a couple of internal decisions yet to be made. He also said that due to my inexperience in the field I barely squeaked by in the interview, and that they were hiring me on a trial basis.

Hearing this, I smiled. “I’ll do great,” I told him. “And I’ll get that extra pay as well.”

And that is what I did.

Later I realized that the week that I started my intensive study for the interview was the week that my baby turned one year old.

Alexander the Great Had a Lot of Fun, Didn’t He? (My Byron Katie Detox, Part Fifteen)

One of my favorite stories about viewing life as a game is also one of the most well-known.

In 333 B.C. Alexander the Great was just twenty-three years old, just starting his campaign for domination of the known world. He was still fresh, still optimistic, still sober–well, semi-sober–and his soldiers were still in awe of their leader. So when he commanded them to veer off course and stop by the legendary Gordian Knot, an intricate knot that held a historically important ox cart to a post, they presumably complied easily.

Alexander had hubris. Lots and lots of it. What better test for him, then, than this fabled knot? According to the tradition, the person to untie it would someday rule Asia. (Didn’t happen, but he got pretty close.)

When Alexander arrived, he tried several ways of untying it. Predictably, however, he failed. And so, he took matters into his own hands. He stared at the great historical and religious artifact for a moment. Then he took his sword . . . and cut the knot.

He cut the knot.

Following this incident, Alexander tore through the Hellenistic world, enacting ingenious plan after ingenious plan to take new lands for Macedon. Often outnumbered and seriously low on provisions, the army was nevertheless seemingly unstoppable. By the time exhaustion, disillusionment and distrust finally set it, the army was in India. They were getting trampled by elephants, but that doesn’t change the fact that they were the most successful warriors the world had ever seen.

And Alexander was the greatest king.

The man knew how to play his own game, how to break the rules.

And he definitely knew how to have fun.

Read the rest of the series at My Byron Katie Detox: One Year of Questioning My Unhelpful Thoughts.

You Just Try Shit and See What Works (My Byron Katie Detox, Part Fourteen)

One afternoon, I was taking a walk with a friend I’ll call Julie. Julie is beautiful, out and in, and I think highly of her. Despite this, we have a problem: sometimes (okay, more than sometimes), I feel compelled, almost beyond my ability to control it, to give her advice. (She is not the only person I have this problem with.)

On the day in question, Julie was upset, which to me is a wide-open invitation. Walking is a great activity for conversation, and that afternoon, a secondary benefit didn’t escape my notice, either, namely: the person you’re with is basically trapped.

You’re walking already. What’re they gonna do, run?

So, Julie was upset, and I was talking and talking, trying to come to some useful conclusion. Then suddenly, it hit me: this time, she had real problems. Problems I had no idea how to help with. So I stopped mid-oration, and tried to listen instead.

It was her job, she said. She hated it but she’d hated all her other jobs, too. She didn’t know what she wanted to do. Plus, she was broke. And her roommate was annoying her, and she disliked her apartment, and last week she’d run out of her medication.

It was rough.

As she continued to describe the situation, we passed the last stand of trees and I realized that soon, we’d be at our cars. I wanted to say something, offer something—anything. So, I threw out the only relevant remark I could come up with.

“There’s no right way to do this, to figure out what you want to do, you know? There is no blueprint for life. Life is like a game. You just try shit, and see what works. That’s it. You try shit, and see what works.”

I don’t know what effect the words had on Julie. But I do know what effect they had on me. Right after I said them, a bunch of my memories rearranged themselves in my brain, memories like the night in Bogota with Dave. I thought, too, about the spirituality books I’d been reading since my deconversion, books like Conversations with God and The Power of Now, and even some law of attraction stuff.

That’s it, I realized. Life is a game. There are no rules. You just try shit, and see what works.

And with that thought, my new life philosophy had words.

Read the rest of the series at My Byron Katie Detox: One Year of Questioning My Unhelpful Thoughts.

My Boyfriend Won, and Easily (My Byron Katie Detox, Part Thirteen)

I met my husband, David, on my first night in Seattle, after moving here to start my freelance writing career. On our first date we went to a coffee shop, then to a restaurant, then to a beach, then to another restaurant, then to a park, and since that night I’ve never been alone.

From the start of our relationship, everything was easy—talking, not talking, going places, staying home. It didn’t just feel good to be with him; it felt right.

I had never felt that way about a partner before.

There was only one problem: David was an atheist. And dating him made me question my faith even further. How can I marry someone who isn’t going to heaven? I wondered. Someone who will teach our children there isn’t a God?

It was a tricky situation, but not an unexpected one.

Many years–crucial years–had passed since those lovely evening talks with my dad, and many more lessons had been learned. In college I let go of the belief that the Bible was the literal truth and that it contained no mistakes. And in the years since, I started questioning the idea of Hell, too. I’d also stopped attending church regularly, and on the rare occasions on which I did, it no longer felt like it used to feel. It didn’t feel authentic.

And now I had David. And so, after five years in that nebulous non-practicing state, it was time to figure this religion thing out. So, I returned to church. I joined a Bible study. More important, I started asking questions.

Maybe I went to the wrong church. Maybe I asked the wrong questions. Whatever the case, I didn’t like the answers I got. After a while, I started feeling it: awkward tension. Judgment. Even fear from people who barely knew me.

A few months later, I stopped going to that church, and the battle between religion and boyfriend came to an abrupt end.

My boyfriend had won, and easily.

I’m still not sure if it was dating David that caused me to give up on Christianity for good.

But it definitely didn’t hurt.

***

A year into my relationship with Dave, we took a bus to Bogota, Colombia, our seventh city in as many weeks. We were on an extended backpacking tour of South America, and it was a rough patch–several months in, with both my tolerance for foreign discomforts and my Spanish skills strained to the breaking point.

As our bus neared our hostel, I had to negotiate yet another Spanish conversation involving complicated (okay, not that complicated) directions. I was hungry and tired and way out of my language depth. And so, right there on the bus, I lost it.

Tears don’t come easily to me. When minutes before arriving at our stop I started crying in front of this stranger, it took me by surprise. I was embarrassed, but the teenager who’d been helping me—one of those kids you just know has a very proud mom somewhere—was amazing. He looked at me with the most understanding eyes. No awkwardness. No awkwardness. David said, “She’s tired,” and the man nodded and said, “Yes, I know.” When we got to our stop, he got off and walked us to our hostel.

Before going in, we sat on a nearby bench to rest, and David held me a while without saying anything. I still wasn’t ready to talk, but I felt much better.

My mini-breakdown was over.

David and I liked the hostel we’d found—in fact, it was our favorite of the trip so far. We decided to slow our pace a bit, stay for at least a week, and spend more time hanging out there rather than traipsing the streets, crazed tourist-style. We cooked all our meals in the hostel kitchen, ate in the large shared dining room. We talked to fellow travelers, read a few books.

It was the respite I needed—until it wasn’t.

On our second evening there, Dave and I got into a fight with a stranger about politics.

I’ll spare you the details. Here’s what you have to know: Dave isn’t shy, and neither was she. Also, she was a feminist and didn’t appreciate—okay, hated—everything either of us said about gender differences.

Yeah. It was one of those conversations.

The conversation involved both of us, but it was mostly Dave’s argument (and it’s worth noting that he never raised his voice or even got upset, and I admired him so much for that, and still do). So, after a while, I left him to it and went back to our room to take a break and journal. The heightened emotions I’d been experiencing of late, combined with my physical exhaustion and the adrenaline rush from the conversation, necessitated some quiet alone time. I started writing.

I wrote about how even though the past year, my year with Dave, had been the happiest of my life by far, I was a little lost, too. Was I still a Christian? Was I still spiritual? If not, what was I living for? Our future family? My career? Nothing in particular?

I thought about Dave defending our traditional she-cooks he-works relationship to the woman in the other room and her shocked, judgmental reaction. I thought about how much my love for Dave had given me already—how much it had changed my life to be his partner. Other than my short marriage to my first husband, I’d been single nearly all my life till then (thirty years).

Finally, I had someone to love, and it was so nice.

I loved the companionship, the feeling of being loved, but more than all that, I loved being needed. I loved making David’s dinner, getting him glasses of water without being asked, scratching his back, listening to his stories.

I just really loved loving him.

And that’s when it dawned on me. Oh. Oh, wait. Maybe that’s my purpose in life. Maybe I don’t need to be spiritual anymore—not if I don’t want to be.

Maybe I just need to love.

Here’s part of my (admittedly dramatic) journal entry from that night:

“Religions fail. Utopias fail. Ideas and ideologies fail. Even friendship fails. I will just try to live well.

“In fact, that’s my new philosophy—my new purpose in life: to live well, no matter how different from other people that is.

“I don’t need a religion. I don’t need a theology. I don’t need to understand everything or even to try to understand everything. And I definitely don’t need to be perfect.

“I just need to take care of myself and the people I love. And for me, for now, that is enough. In fact, it’s more than enough; it’s all I can do.”

Echoes of Dad’s advice from over a decade prior. And yet, this realization went beyond simply loving and accepting myself. In that moment, without knowing it, I came upon a whole new-to-me fundamental spiritual belief, the second of my list of seven.

It is that life is a game.

Admittedly, it was several years before I found the words for this philosophy. But that moment at the hostel is when it became part of me. When I decided not to float anymore, to pin down the meaning of my life, what I was really doing was finding a new game. For two solid decades, my game had been religion, and that wasn’t cutting it anymore. I had to live for something, though. Everyone has to live for something.

Everyone needs some kind of purpose.

The quest for ultimate truth? Naw. Too frustrating. People who make finding it their purpose get closer than the rest of us, but I don’t think they ever grasp it. Money wouldn’t do. Service was close. But love—well, that felt more doable. So, that’s what I’d be about. Loving David. Loving people. That, and working really hard.

Read the rest of the series at My Byron Katie Detox: One Year of Questioning My Unhelpful Thoughts.

"The Emergency Diet" is free today

Unsurprisingly, The Emergency Diet is my most popular book. And I’m okay with that. I worked hard on it, and harder still to devise the diet in the first place.

Here’s what you need to know: First, This diet is completely original to me. Second: It’s difficult. Third: It’s worth it.

Get your copy for 99 cents on Amazon.com today, or on Smashwords or Project Gutenberg for free. Then let me know what you think, or ask me a question at mollie@mollieplayer.com.

Here’s one of the more recent review from Amazon:

“First off: This diet works. And the book is extremely helpful in managing all the details and the psychology of starting – and sticking with – a challenging program.

“When I first started reading this book, I was interested in low-carb dieting, but really skeptical about the fasting part. I just didn’t believe that I could do it. I liked the way she suggested adding in one component of the diet at a time – that helped ease me in. Now that I have faith in my ability to fast, I consider that the greatest weight loss tool yet! It’s a hard diet to stick with – and the author knows that, it’s right in the subtitle. What makes it worth it is how very QUICKLY the weight comes off, for me about 3-4 pounds a week. That’s great motivation. After just a couple of weeks I could feel the difference in the way my clothes fit. And while there was a gainback of a few pounds when I went off the diet (less than five) the rest stayed off. I’m really glad to have found this system!”

Here’s the full Amazon book description:

My name is Mollie, and for twelve years, I was obsessed with losing weight.

That’s right: obsessed.

I woke up with it, I went to bed with it, I lived with it. I read, and read, and read—and I tried every method I could find to lose weight.

Then, one day, I finally figured it out: a very, very fast weight loss method that kept my motivation high and my feelings of deprivation low. My weight loss and weight maintenance method is a combination of several methods, and therein lies its power. I have never read a book or heard a testimonial from anyone who has lost weight as fast as I did while using this method, which I call the Combination Method. The results are much faster than the kind of loss promised by diet pills, workouts and calorie counting combined, and this weight loss method is one-of-a-kind; you will not find this information anywhere else.

I truly don’t think the human body can lose weight faster than this.

I regularly, consistently lost over half a pound a day in my losing phase, and I was not very heavy to begin with. And this was not water weight, either. This was fat, and it stayed off permanently every time—including after having my first baby, when I lost 35 pounds in 60 days without breastfeeding.

The best part, though: I don’t obsess about food anymore. I like my body. I don’t feel embarrassed to go out after a long day of eating and drinking because I feel bloated. I don’t have to wait for a “flat stomach day” or “good body week” to let myself leave the house. I make last-minute plans with my friends and wear fitted tops. And I truly feel great about how I look. I am grateful every day for this feeling of freedom that I once feared I would never have again.

If so, here’s just some of what you’ll find in this book: Part One: Diet Past: My experiences with dieting and how I discovered the Combination Method

Part Two: Diet Present: What the Combination Method is and why it works, including: “What Are the Health Benefits of This Method?” and “How Much Weight Will I Lose?”

Part Three: Diet Future: How the Combination Method will work for you, including: “Why Quick Weight Loss?”, “How Can I Speed Up My Loss Even Further?”, “What Are the Potential Pitfalls I Should Watch Out For?”, “How Can I Make This Diet Easier?” and “How Should I Begin?”

Again, here’s the link to the book on Amazon.

Law of Attraction Success Story: "I Became a Stay-at-Home Mom"

Contributor: Anonymous

A month before we had our second child, my husband and I bought a house. We’d looked for eight months for the right one and when we finally found it we were very glad we’d waited.

It was perfect.

The neighborhood is modest and quiet and all grown over with trees. The location is central–just a short drive to anywhere we need to go. And the house, itself, is just our style: three bedrooms, two baths, one story, with vaulted ceilings, hardwood floors and a very simple charm. Though when we initially envisioned our future home with four kids running around in it we thought we’d need to upgrade, ever since moving in I’ve told my husband that I don’t care how many kids we have and who has to share a bedroom.

I never want to leave.

Anyway, the house wasn’t cheap. And neither are the many bills that come along with home ownership. And neither was the new car that we bought right after that. And so, when the baby was born I decided to continue working part-time.

A few months into motherhood, I got a great freelance gig. It was just the kind of thing I love doing—a corporate blog—and I could work mostly from home. At the time, I figured it was probably a law of attraction thing—the right gig at the right time, and all that.

But that was before I got fired.

Why did it happen? Well, to make a long story short, my client was more conservative than I was—way more conservative—and didn’t like the risks I was taking. So they decided I just wasn’t a “good fit.”

And that was how that went.

Normally when something like this happens, I don’t worry about it very much; there are always other clients, other projects. This time, though, it was different. This job felt so perfect for me and I thought I was doing such good work, I thought. Why didn’t this work out?

And then I thought about it some more.

I remembered the difficult phone interview when my phone wouldn’t work right and I had to drive to a nearby park and call them back. I remembered how hard it was to say goodbye to my then-five-month-old, and my uncertainties about our nanny.

And I remembered the voice inside my head saying, I just want to be a mom.

One night shortly after getting fired, my husband and I went to dinner for our anniversary. I wasn’t in the mood to celebrate, but I went anyway, more out of a feeling of duty than anything. As we sat there waiting for our food I told Jeff that something felt off to me lately, but I didn’t know quite what.

I looked around the restaurant. There were three small babies nearby—one at the table behind Jeff, one at the table behind me, and one at the table next to us. Suddenly, I had a realization.

“Jeff,” I said. “I want to fire the nanny.”

Jeff was surprised. “Are you sure?” he asked.

“No, I’m not sure. I love working. But–I don’t know. Something is feeling off. No matter what I do, how well my work day goes, all I can think about all day is my kid.

“We don’t need the money, Hon. He should be with me.”

“Okay,” said Jeff. “If that’s what you want to do.”

And that’s when I noticed it: a sense of peace. A radiating calm. It came over me suddenly, and I laughed out loud.

“I feel so much better now,” I said. “Wow. That was a relief. I haven’t felt this good in weeks.”

My higher self had finally gotten my attention.

For the rest of our date, Jeff and I enjoyed ourselves greatly. Afterwards we took a long, aimless drive and just talked.

It was a wonderful anniversary after all.

Here is what I wrote in my journal several months later:

Lonnie is over five months old now, and I find that I don’t want to write my books anymore, and I still don’t want to have a nanny, and all I freaking want to do is to stare at my baby’s face while he nurses, while he sleeps, while he cries, and to rock him and to hold him and to tell him that everything is going to be okay.

Last night, I slept from midnight until almost nine thirty. Every time Xavier awoke or stirred, I rolled over and did the most beautiful thing in the world: I fed my baby. Then I fell back asleep. There was one diaper change around seven, easily accomplished. My husband slept next to us peacefully.

It was a glorious night.

I love being a stay-at-home mom. So much more than I ever thought I would. We go to parks. We take long car rides and do car naps. Sometimes after the baby falls asleep, I just pull into a parking lot and read a book.

And I’ve never been this important to anyone before—never. Not even close.

It feels really, really good.

And even though later I got a part-time job, and even now I still work a bit most days, it still does.

"The Naked House" is free today

The solution is almost always fewer things. That’s the Naked House philosophy in a nutshell, though the importance of top-notch organization (“a place for everything and everything in its place”), design unity, cleanliness and quality round out this book’s description of the most desirable, peaceful home in which to live. With a tongue-in-cheek, personal style, The Naked House is an inspiring but not-too-serious primer on cleaning, organizing and reducing clutter—and on changing the way you view the purpose and soul of your home.

Get your copy for 99 cents on Amazon today, or on Smashwords or NoiseTrade for free.

Here’s a recent reader review:

“If you are beguiled by the simplicity movement, as I am, you are going to relish this book. A small caveat: I’m already a Mollie Player fan. This is the third book of hers I’ve read . . . and I’m a regular follower of her blog.

“This only stokes my admiration for what she’s able to pull off in these pages — the ability to quietly and repeatedly surprise. I read books by others whose blogs I follow, and often I find a too familiar feeling in them. Like I’ve heard it all before. With ‘The Naked House’ it feels warm and comfortable, like you’re chatting with a friend, for sure . . . but a friend who is regaling you with compelling ideas she never expressed before.

“‘The Naked House’ explores what it means to live simplicity zen. Though she doesn’t say it quite this way, the author takes seriously the idea that your home is a sanctuary for the soul. And you feel it in her prose. You feel the rich possibilities for real experience and connection that come from a decluttered home.

“I’ll be gifting this book to friends — it’s that important a read.”

Again, you can get your copy for 99 cents on Amazon today.