SELF: How Bestselling Author Glennon Doyle Melton Is Healing Others By Healing Herself

Glennon Doyle Melton understands the importance of being honest. That’s why she’s sharing her story on the Together Live tour.

Bestselling author Glennon Doyle Melton spent 20 years of her life battling bulimia, alcoholism, and drug addiction. In 2002, she became pregnant, and she decided to get sober. Since then, Melton has started an award-winning blog and written two New York Times bestsellers, including her newest book, Love Warrior, a memoir about her journey of self-discovery after the breakdown of her marriage. She’s passionate about healing others by inspiring them to speak honestly about their experiences and their fears—and she leads by example, always ready to share her own story.
Melton’s latest endeavor is the Together Live tour, an event that’s all about inspiring and empowering women around the country. Melton co-created the tour with William Morris Endeavor Entertainment board member Jennifer Rudolph Walsh, yoga teacher and activist Seane Corn, and community organizer and filmmaker Valarie Kaur—all with the mission of uniting women through honesty (look out for Kaur’s moving essay in our November issue, on newsstands later this month). The national tour is stopping in six cities, and features appearances from celebrities like Sophia Bush and Alicia Keys.
Here, Melton shares her advice for young women and reveals what inspired her to get involved with Together Live.
On why she started writing.
“I was trying to stay sober. I started going to recovery meetings and fell in love with the brutal honesty that was happening. I thought, ‘If this is how people stay sober and survive, why can’t we do this everywhere?’ So I decided to start blogging, and it grew organically from there.”
On why honesty matters.
“One of the reasons we stay so alone in our lives is because we’re ashamed to talk about the hard stuff. It’s as simple as that. We’re all in pain in different ways, and we don’t get the help we need because we’re too ashamed to talk about the pain. It’s not the pain that takes us out of the game—it’s the shame. I was lucky enough to know from recovery that talking about hard stuff in respectful ways works. So I’m using the same strategy to heal the world that I did to heal myself: truth telling.”
On what it’s like to be a bestselling author.
“It’s really busy, and it’s confusing sometimes. I keep reminding myself of something my dad says: ‘When you get to the party, you dance with the one who brought you.’ So I’m focusing on truth telling and service. You go on the road, you tell the truth, and you serve the ones you see.”
On finding time for self-care.
“This is the busiest I’ve ever been. But the one thing that heals me is water. Whether it’s a glass of water, sweat from the elliptical, a good cry (which I do about every other day), or the Gulf of Mexico—I get some water involved in my life whenever I need a break.”
On her advice for women everywhere.
“Figure out what breaks your heart. We all have this misunderstanding about heartbreak, which is we think we should avoid it. But what I think is that heartache is a clue toward the work we’re supposed to be doing in the world. What breaks each person’s heart is different—be it racial injustice, war, or animals. And when you figure out what it is that breaks yours, go toward it. That’s where you’ll find the people doing world healing work. I really think all we’re here for is purpose and connection, so follow your heartbreak.”
On the Together Live tour.
“I’m taking my own advice about following heartbreak. Book tours are super hard for me as a raging introvert. I love humanity, but actual humans are hard for me. So something like a book tour—where I’m constantly on the road—scares the hell out of me. But I decided to use this time to do good work—that’s how I’d survive. Jennifer and I got together and thought, ‘What does the world need right now?’ And we decided that in this heated, divisive time in our country, we needed a movement of women who were leading with love and strength. We want to celebrate differences. What I’ve learned is that if you want peace, all you really have to do is introduce people to each other. The closer you get to people who are different than you, the more you learn that we’re all same.”

 

Hear from Melton and several other incredible women on the Together Live tour this October. The tour has already traveled to Portland, and is heading to Los Angeles, Chicago, Brooklyn, Atlanta, and Denver in the coming weeks. Click here to buy tickets and to learn more about the tour. You can also join the Together Live community by downloading the free app.

Motto: Making ‘Together We Rise’ A Reality

Jennifer Rudolph Walsh on how our tour plans to unite and connect women

There is a jar on my desk that was given to me for my birthday that says “TOGETHER WE RISE.” It’s filled with slips of paper from my friends and colleagues, each holding some piece of wisdom I shared at a critical moment in their lives—words that made a difference and made them feel less alone. One says, “It’s not what happens, it’s what happens next.” Another says, “Try easier.” On days when I feel a little lost, I pull one out, and each time I read one it fills me with a sense of satisfaction. Not the “I’m important” kind of satisfaction, but the quiet kind that exists deep inside and reminds me I’m exactly where I’m meant to be.

I wasn’t given this jar because I am a fountain of wisdom and knowledge. Quite the opposite: I’m no thought leader; I’m a thought follower. As the co-head of the Worldwide Literary Department at William Morris Endeavor, I have dedicated my life to working with authors and storytellers to help their words reach the largest audiences across the world. I’ve been blessed to work closely with people who have changed the way we look at ourselves and the world we live in, from Arianna Huffington and Sheryl Sandberg to Sue Monk Kidd and Brené Brown.

Much of what’s in my birthday jar originates with these thought leaders, and the gratitude I pay to them is putting their wisdom deep in my heart and boiling it down to a good strong broth that I serve as my own brand of love, inspiration, support and community. I’ve come to understand that my purpose on earth is to shine light forward so people feel less alone. And it was out of my deepest desire to bring these storytellers’ magic and wisdom to the whole world that WME’s Live Events Division was born.

Like many of you, I grew up watching “The Oprah Winfrey Show” every afternoon. I learned just about everything that has made me who I am today from that show. It was a dream come true when I had the opportunity a few years ago to help create a multi-city speaking tour featuring Oprah and key thought leaders called “The Life You Want.”

Oprah called the tour “the largest open-hearted classroom in the world,” and it was. I met woman after woman who had been knocked down by life and stood up again or needed a hand to stand again. Regardless of where each of us was in our lives, we all needed a hand with something. I never wanted it to end, and it pained me each week when everyone inevitably had to pack up, part ways and go back to the chaos of juggling life. I wanted to create a tour where people had a way to continue to connect, inspire and get into action all year.

That’s how and why the Together tour was born.

This fall, the WME Live Events Division is kicking off a national tour to bring women together and create communities that stay together long after the tour ends. The Together tour is a community-minded, multi-generational movement where everyone is welcome. We’ll be traveling to six cities across the country including Portland, Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Atlanta and Denver. Each event will be an interactive night of sisterhood, spirited storytelling and inspired social action.

We hope to create an inclusive community of women across the country and to continue these conversations when the event is over through Together circles. We’ll offer opportunities to live our purpose through volunteering, mentoring and social action. Together we will keep the community connected and will continue to grow alongside each other.

When I met our Together co-creators, Glennon Doyle Melton, Seane Corn and Valarie Kaur, I knew I had found true partners who shared in the belief that we are all stronger together. Since then, our Together family has grown to include Jacqui Lewis, Abby Wambach, Gina Rodriguez, Geena Rocero, Sophia Bush and Ciara who will join us as special guests in each city. If you choose to join us for the night, you’ll quickly find that your story is just as important as the ones you’ll hear on stage.

I’m not a scientist, but being the professional thought-follower that I am, I can tell you that the antidote to being overwhelmed is shifting to purpose and finding a community that supports it. Our world is in critical need of coming together. And the great news is that there really is enough to go around— enough success, happiness, healing and love for every single one of us.

As the jar on my desk says, TOGETHER WE RISE. Please join us as we do just that.

Jennifer Rudolph Walsh serves as the head of WME’s Worldwide Literary, Lectures, and Conference Divisions. She spearheaded the launch of WME Live, most recently launching Together (www.togetherlive.com), a nationwide tour focused on purpose, community and action.