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Anne Lamott: Three Prayers for Challenging Times

2018-11-07 | 🔗

New York Times best-selling author, public speaker and writing teacher Anne Lamott discusses what she says are the three types of prayers that can help anyone through challenging times. Anne says it's easy to thank God when life is going well, but when times get tough, she says feelings of anger or complete silence can also act as prayer. Anne believes that as long you’re telling the truth of your heart, prayer can take on many forms. Anne talks about her book "Stitches: A Handbook on Meaning, Hope and Repair." The book is a humorous and profoundly moving meditation on the search for meaning and how we can make the wounded parts of ourselves whole again, stitch by stitch. Anne also opens up about her own recovery from addiction and her ongoing commitment to appreciate the sacred in everyday life.

This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
I'm over Winfrey welcome to supersede conversations. The podcast I believe that one of the most valuable gives you can give yourself is time taking time to be more fully present your journey to become more inspired and connected to the deeper world around us starts right now. An Lamont was born in nineteen, fifty four to San Francisco intellectuals, Kenneth and Dorothy Lamont. She was the middle child and their only girl, her father, a writer, was raised in Tokyo to Christian missionaries it.
As a religious upbringing that he found cold and unsupported. So when he had a family of his own, he turned away from religion and God encouraging an her brothers to instead put their faith in books in music and nature. They were a family of non believers, except for an as early as age five. She says she secretly began to pray believing in her heart that some one was listening. I'm so happy that you're here you know irrepressible. I was out Does it mean I actually followed unaware of sank here? I'm one of your follower. Thank you. I have been for like over a year now. I think yes, I just started last march. I think now it's my life. Now, it's your life, you give you give really intelligent thoughtful writer like tweets. Thank you and also so happy to talk about.
This book help thanks. Well, it's so interesting that so many of the teachers that have appeared unsupervised Sunday come from parents who were atheists. Your parents were to my parents ramphias my mom has raised in Liverpool. She was actually baptized church of England with her twin sister and then she came over here and she, I think, to have my father's love and respect sort of renounced the the belief of arm of notches Christianity, budgets, the spiritual way of life, so I would take her to midnight mass on Christmas, and that was it as well as better. The good thing was. I got to really find my own way. Yes, but your parents were active atheists, not
just because a lot of people are so an agnostic atheists YO, but not fervently wanting their children to believe in absolutely nothing, and that tell you grew up area. Actually, my parents, I always thought they worshipped out like the MILES Davis, Holiness Temple you now than Maloney S, monk, coyness Temple. The New York Times was the golden calf at which we bowed down worship, their very interchange, last Wang, intellectual, very avant garde, progressive like her parents. Little any was bright, a good student but the kids at school, is to relentlessly for her unruly hair and skinny build a shy and sensitive child. She learned to fight back by making Joe
writing gave her solace too, but by eighth grade she says she turned to alcohol. Soon she was drinking regularly saying it made her feel brilliant and attractive like the best version of herself at nineteen. She was hooked and began experimenting with cocaine, speed and lsd. Why did you start to drugs? Why? Well, I just love not to feel my feelings. I think I probably. A predisposition, probably thing. I think I have I'm definitely so addictive. I will. I was a very frightened and I child as too smart as too sensitive, and I was shy in us funny. Looking I got bullied horribly and I could hardly breathe. I always felt like
everybody else had been given the owners manual about one day and second grade. When I was homesick, everybody else had the manual on how to have decent self esteem and just enjoy yourself. Why you're here I'd miss school? That and I'm scared- and I was sad- and I was five as different and when I drank I didn't feel any of those things are felt pretty. If I have to say I felt the right way to prize overweight, I felt thin, I felt hole, I could breathe again. I wouldn't dream and I loved it and everyone bug me. I was in a desperate, desperate people. Is her desperate for people to approve of me but doing very, very long world, but on the inside it just felt like swiss cheese, you know- and I had been raised to believe that what I was seeking was out there that you could buy it achieve it. Lee set date at bring it home.
And I didn't know that it was going to be an inside job, and I didn't have a little toolbox of how to find it on the inside. I only knew to do better and better and better so when you figure it out that it was an inside job. How old were you? I think I probably just gone sober, because I've been at the gradual coming, isn't it when you find, I believe I can, by day, to achieve at least said my my default vike. My base camp is believing it's out there. I, like you, re, going to get you to think I'm the greatest first, I can just get the main reviewer it's near times is going to be like the EFTA. Seal of approval and I'm gonna have finally arrived, but then I got all honey, that's ok! I have a cup of tea and play with the dogs, and I go it's an inside job and I pray
and will pass. I love the title of your book, helped eggs. While you say that these are the three essential prayers tell me how you came to that reality. I got I had converted the year before converted to TAT Christianity at this funny little integrated church him ran city with about forty people, so there is a sort of gap here I came to church and not always excellent shape, but the thing was they just woke me: they didn't. You know they loved me. They didn't house for me. They didn't wanna, make home visits. You know which I would have runs
is it sooner, which I would have run screaming for my cute little life. They didn't want me to learn anything yeah they just let me be when I first got sober alot of people would sort of remind me that we were walking. Prayers were miracles, we ve been fished out of the dream and Anna you go around saying hotly humph me. So do it's all hopeless and then you get a break you get grace appears you get a little bit of stamina. You hadn't had a little bit of of second wind and now and then he sank. He said, and then I realized, maybe ten or fifteen years ago that if he were stuck spiritually that if his went outside If you look around, if you looked up, he went wow, you know if it was night time and the stars were out, you don't step outside and go well, it's a medium. Storing. I thought I'd tell you how
I believe, as I began last Latvia, yes, but to me the three essential press, her help me and then I thank you. Thank you and then why why why? I love that you say it. Prayer is taking a chance that, against all odds and past history, we are loved and chosen. Where love and chosen yeah. It's easy to, thank God for life when things are going well, you say on page forty four, but life is much bigger than we given credit for and much of the time its harder than we would like. Oh yeah, I may as well, Is it for me to see God my backyard with the dogs and with the very bitter cat tat I call my own, but when they someone sick, when you get a bad phone call when you know what's her from the doktor, when the appearance of life is very very shake of life is very, very shaky and seeming. It throws me completely off off my game. It throws me for a loop. I think this camp
right and I know now you believe that we can pray anytime anywhere anytime, any contaminating and you I said: oh god, sometimes you have got to be kidding. It will be so much Skinner us to cut this person a little fire- and I think you can say anything- you can say I'm mad at you and I'm not going to be a good sport about it. How about that and that's prayer science can be prayer. Rage can be proved its truth, so pray when we are talking to something that the rest of the world may not be saying right them and who were talking rubbish deep as part of our hearts we're trying to tell the truth at prayer. Why is it so important did not get bogged down in what or whom we are brain too, because you know their people who believe if you only pray this way and if you only call it is, but why do you say that's not important? Why? Because I just don't think that this
The grave were really gonna understand the mystery. Of God and grace. You know we get little. Shards here and there a little bits of light, and we know so little. We think we know so much about Just use God as an acronym for life for love,
For good, orderly direct, I love that you call them filled for so long. I call them fell because my favorite scriptural Phillipines for four through seven rejoice in God. I say again rejoice what errors happening say. Thank you, Rejoys toes down in Mexico in one of those guys Avenger who, whose right your name on in a broader. You asked me my name, and I said I want you to write Phil four to seven. He said okay, but he would got busted before he finished it. So it just said: Phil, that's a great name for, but it also means for forty seven, which is has just joined, rejoice, yeah use it. We could also called God Howard. If you want to you mentioned, then the vote as pupils, our father, who are in Heaven Howard, be thy name Howard, leaving, I dont think I'd cares. You know what I saw
agree with any, because I can't imagine and am nip it in force that created all of this. Getting hung up on it name or title rang, saw a position or position. Aren't you know are all the people that I'm nepotism is the position. Love is the position and LE an Einstein says: there's exactly one saying is called Energy Mass is energy service going really fast, likely sums going really slow, like a table, Dickens able, only energy can be created, can be destroyed. Made of it, so I think it some sort of love energy now and I think I made of it I think I made for I think I'm made it to be a part of something cute time, never gonna understand with my really limited human resources, this side of the grave don't go anywhere or to come after this short break is episode is supported by hallmark cards. We say I love you too. The people we care about all the time. So,
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the sun. They show a while back that people confuse prayer with wishes. Can I have more staff for where's my stuff, but that's not really prayer. Would he say about that? What's the difference between prayer and what we wish for, I think talking to God S, prayer and in a way we kind of. I don't know what we're doing a lot of the time, which is what this book is about. You start where you are, you start where your bed is. Of course you want certain things. Are you wish certain things would unfold that my pasture talks about that? We live in hope, not in the hope that we will get or that this will work out. That will find this. We live in the hope that love is true and that guy
it is true, and goodness is true and that that the light shines in the darkness and the white has never been extinguished, not after new town, not after this soon army. In three long the light is not. We live in the hope that that is true and when my best friend Perry was dying. Twenty years ago, I said to a priest friend I said: do you believe, God will catchers. She crosses over her little dire, will be, ok, we'll be loved and safe here without her, and that I will support may I again- and he said I hope so- and I never forgot tat because we live in the hope and the hope in the hope of truth, in the hope of light in the hope of spiritual healing as a first of all to hold makes you so vulnerable. I mean at her heart is open. It's gonna, get Bruce and knocked round world than life is gonna knock you around the two hope it is to be a child again, and you must. Can't hold them to put yourself in the vulnerable spare hope is to be voluntary. Yes, again in
dare to go you now, whatever it too. In armour is what the world teaches you to do, to have a strong surface to have a show and when you're in hope, your kind of like a snail between shells in your trying to get from a very bad doric scary place to where you can bring. Wearing the sunlight on you get the air on you and you can. We can be to gather and what can be ok, connubial, one hundred percent of the time. In my experience. But what do you say to people- and I know you ve- been in these conversations when terrible things happen. Horrible things happen all the time in our country in our lives in community and fuels. Where was God where was gone and where was gone? Lane on Mr Rod, yourselves said was look his mother used to say, look to the help, her look for the helpless cassettes regattas. Can it be guided and cause the sooner me? God didn't cause this
Tudor at new town to go crazy. The shooter Newton had mental illness and there's three hundred million guns in this country, but the God is in the hell of God, is in the healing godson crying the cheers economic base secures you're, gonna clans us cheers, are gonna hydrate the ground at our feet and who knows what's gonna grow? The cheers is about is the baptism means in an consent that you go under the water and you come out a different person and the reason why is it always works is because help is the prayer of surrender. Yes, you say that has actually exactly now. The other prayer that you use is thanks, which I think there is no greater weight to create abundance in your life than than through being thankful for what you have right now, Lavishes phenomenon to have been born is a miracle where yards yes and he just go well, I don't get it, but yes, thank you. Yes,
yeah. You know the greatest lesson I got on. Thank you received on. Thank you came from my Angelo one day. I was upset about something somebody written something that was true and I was upset, but something somebody. It said the tabloids was saying and she said stop right now. Say thank you and I was, but why would as a value the horrible ass I drew the and using say thank you, because you know that there is a real in both in every cloud and wherever you are right. Now they come out on the other side of whatever it is annoying to do is walk right through it. So say. Thank you right now, for Allow me to walk to the other side that is better may I say when I press one press it. I thank you in advance for your tender mercies and I'm I live in Mirza living in. The hope that you
William, Blake, the great crazy, wonderful mystic said we are here to learn to endure the beams of love and everything is opportunity to learn to endure the beams of LE with strangers at airports at the Department of motor vehicles. You know your heart is open Easter flirting with people, if you're a person whose here, because you understand were so hungry, forgiving or not hungry, forgetting we're not we're hungry forgiving seized her flirting in line at the dam people start responded. You create the love. You weren't feeling create this energy, get in a good mood right and you get a better photo and yet acute food. Philosopher, that's true, because there is always an opportunity to let that through and to just learn to endure the beams.
The culture, tells you if you do well enough, if you achieve this, if you stop doing that and if you really don't need quite and ensure that there are some which level come your way and lakes has no, we are immersed in it and we learn to endure it. We breathe in it and we say yes and now, let's get to well well what makes you say well everything I wake up in the morning, and I say why, because for all those years, my drinking almost twenty years, I was not wake up in the morning going well as working cry like off like what did I do? What did I say it was tat, twice experts and how did it go and then you have to call around is there to see. People are still speaking here until you doing you in the morning,
wow life is just a phenomenon and out- and I wake up every single morning- any I can be and maintain as well as a high in oh hi, is really a huge prior to a wicked first thing to do. In the morning I say hi hi, it's me and I look. Well. My dog from the bed I have like this much space, you should sleep in your amp little dogs begin their healing Ministry of Love. I let the doktor- and I see I see where I live- That is what it is: a Healing Ministry of Love when they start their little morning thing and they want to be heard them. They were looking you and all eyes there. He'll natives vigilant you. I love you so much. How are you? How are you a kind of have to peace, but I look Ok, I know what that's ok, ok, I'm kind of hungry too, when you get up, and you know what you're gonna do that morning. I say where I live
I look at it. I mean I woke up in Maui this morning God I went out on the beach. I went to church and I say thank you. Thank you. How you got me here, which is why we also is another way of saying it is Hopefully toledo- oh my god, my mind is blown by the beauty. I mind as well in I notice every single per se wow and I stop and if their close by I want to try to high, I notice every single body but it's everywhere, I, oh my god, and all I will say it is every single bird. Is there a lot of Morocco, particularly in me but yeah, and some of you said about. If I look at you like, you were a little child
the great ninety years during up the monarch yesterday morning and observing what kid you you say: oh my god, yes well, I say well yeah sound when he was about eight said the phrase say he said mom so certainly rather strictly his mom. I have figured out why people you say the word: God forgot all care. What was her he goes. We see something so beautiful and saw meetings
company dry. She Disco s about new, I started say: maybe it's either where an icy here, I think, you're right. Yes, I think, I think, when you wrote the book about what it was like to raise, your son YAP rating is operating interactions known as the author who perfected the art of saying the unsaleable, and certainly did that when she publish the best seller operating instructions. This raw and unflinching me more documents, the good, the bad and everything in between during the first year of her life as a single mother to her beloved son, SAM and brutal honesty gave me There's everywhere permission to just be themselves when you wrote operating instructions where you writing that as much for yourself as for everyone else, no ice writing from
so you're writing at last SAM's father who didn't meet for a few years. His best friend came over and was very excited that I can have a baby and- and he gave me a leather journal, he gave me the gift of a leather drawn, and he said I want you to write a sentence every day. So I tell people you read my Twitter through your Mozilla Herodotus hands area. Yes, just do it because gods giving you a gift- and you want to tell your story- and I wanted to tell the story of how Sam was given to me by God, at the age of thirty five years old, sorry writing little by little bird by bird, and I sent it to my agent and she said, were riding on paper. Remember that sacred sketchy sound appears and pencil, or that was high rota.
On these journal pages and its term out Senate, my agent she'd say their speckled with tears. She said he's pages interests had just keep doing at sight. She said to keep doing. I did everything she ever set, so I kept doing it. But you know, if you tell the truth, it turns out to be universal. So I was bearing all this outlandish stuff about being a mother, and I would tell people and they wouldn't go, but that is just terrible. We have a gap that needed to be too. While I remember once as going as going to India, and I always- and I hate I dont travel. Well, I don't believe in the concept of flying and I'm tariff united, No, I don't believe that conceptually and I went up to the altar and ask the people in my church to pray for me cuz. I was getting on the plane. The next stage that you know honey when you get on an airplane is sort of too late to ask for Biggie prayers, and she said it's really time for trust and surrender. What did you think of India? Have you ever ever experienced anything
my mind, was so blown find my mind was blown, as is their frank twelve days and I loved it more than I could ever put into words, and I now to one billion people praying at the same time one billion people in prayer right. Yes, what what it felt like to me was it here is an entire nation of people who are living breathing spirituality overtime. They think they are it, they exhibit it. They demonstrated in everything they are, are pure being, Can you feel that poor vibrate out no there's alive ratio and it's my its mind, altering it changes you you come. Is I've baptism? You come back a different person, yes, and how did it change you?
I knew it expands your your perception and yet I could new pair glasses and I see everything differently now I see the poorest of the poor. I see the most has destitute people on earth and their living in the hope that they will be provided for their living. I hope that people will see them and say here is some rise and they're getting their living on the streets they're getting each other up again in a cage for school? I know a little bit of food has come by getting their kids ready for school. You know we visited family where their entire house was the size of that from desired railway, and there are five people sleeping The same on grass shall never forget it, and there is a level of contentment, an order and harmony with the rest of the people and everybody's taking care of everybody else.
Whether in India or at home in California and Le Monde Rights. What she says is on her heart, so it makes sense that when she what about the tragic shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in new town Connecticut, she put pinned to paper hoping to give our readers that sense of harmony and meaning during that time of such great loss or this whole show is about talking about the search for meaning. That's what we do I'm Superbowl Sunday, the search for meaning and now you ve written a book about the search for me, I have is caught stitches, a handbook on meaning Pope and repair and its of epic. I started yesterday afternoon, town because I Was beyond stand and as I worry you find meaning anymore,
where do you even start an arm about myself that a number of times over the years? Where do you even interesting? I wasn't stunned by new tone at all. Now you know why wasn't stun? I wasn't some because I started out as a young reporter in Baltimore, and I remember consciously being aware of mothers against drunk driving that movement and how It affected drunk driving and how hard it was to bill momentum, and I remember the young reporter going out to cover stories an accident and the assignment editor on the desk would say you know. Is it?
how many people injured, and you know the nature of news- is that oh two people injured were ok. That will decide where it is right up. Five people injured, seven people injured by a drunk driver. Coming from choir practice, oh that's gonna, be headline sure. That's gonna, make the six o clock headline. That'll, be the eleven o clock hamlet and when I started to see was that it took seven children and a school bus driver who was drunk to really get people's attention before people would start to think, and so the second I heard about new town, I said so that's when it took in order for people to stop and pay enough attention to have a conversation. I feel the same way about texting and driving.
How many there has to be a critical mass number of people harmed before people realize all that's a bad thing. Maybe we shouldn't do that, but it got their country's attention at least started the conversation in a waiver. We hadn't had it before break your heart that you now with TAT Leonard Cohen Palm as that there's cracks in everything. That's have alike at San, so little but alive caught in bed? And for that were grateful? Yes and I love the parents, the wheelers who were on capital heal in and indeed that, beautiful interview with film lawyers who said and when they said you know, we are not going to give up, and we are determined to use this moment in time to get people to sit and listen to people of different opinions, because we cannot continue to move forward unless
were willing to listen to each other and they d. They these apparent to loss of six year old boy who can come to that kind of resolution and in peace about it here. And that willingness to show up and the lilies show up in a matter that breaks or heard every time they say those same were yes, yes, yes and so to write a book stitches about. Finding meaning in a world that produces new town. What is the answer?
there's always start where you are start. Where you're better. You start in the not knowing you starting grieve. You start in speaking speech. You start in the silence. She certainly tears. Certain community you gathered together. The book is called stitches because I have to insert repairing something is no one places ter one place in the torn fabric that will hold the not start there, and so I thought, metaphorically, you just need to know one places her and then you start you find one place EU test. It will hold its torn the will it hold if he folded over. It will hold a stitch, Broughton two pieces of fragment together,
I just keep Goin when data time. What is your experience of God now? What is your experience of four? I just feel have I just feel her. You know I always has said and written that I feel like the love of a dog is the closest we come to knowing divine love, this side of of eternity, the site of the grave and Anna. I just experience his companionship. I just feel God. I just feel that I am allowed an and chosen, and that he's my best friend, and that when the two of us are sitting right here, that there are three of then there were made of that energy were made of Holy Spirit, energy, so you experienced God and all things all people do see, God and other people I see got in every person, you believe in Heaven and hell I do yeah. I don't believe in a howl of eternity because God is a God of love. I know how I know how on earth. So are you optimistic for where we are-
There is a Ferrari optimists if I were again were gods West Coast RAP. I would have things work out better sooner. I would have a system that was more predictable and an end, because graves is obviously not the way the world. While I really did, you have to be pretty predictably hunting in the days when, when you were born- and I was born with pretty predictable- were a lot safer. I mean I'm sure in the fifties. You went: kids houses, you go over at dusk, Iraq, renowned here house now, like you'd, have to have armed guards. You know it s too. Children say a legend. Children are legally children at dusk now and we should get on our vice and we would ride literally. All I remember I so good may find a new kind. You go to the drugs from by her summer and all day you check in with your parents at dinner time. Oh, my goodness
yeah, so I'm remember shower wasn't in ITALY. I believe that when all is said and done, that lot love is sovereign hair, though, when my grandchild is fifty year, old love will still be sovereign and grace will be sufficient for what ever appears in his life and in the greater reality of this grace will be sufficient. Thank you can think you were well. My thank you. Thank you. What a pleasure to sit with you here. I thank you for coming. All this way grace will be sufficient. Grace will be sufficient. I move ruined free and you ve been listening to
Priscilla conversations the pod cast, you can follow super soul on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook if you haven't yet go to apple pod, CAS unsubscribe rate and reviews, despite gas join me next week for another supersede conversation. Thank you for listening.
Transcript generated on 2020-01-15.