Excerpt from my New York Times Modern Love essay, "Those Aren’t Fighting Words, Dear."
“I don’t love you anymore. I’m not sure I ever did.”
His words came at me like a speeding fist, like a sucker punch, yet somehow in that moment I was able to duck. And once I recovered and composed myself, I managed to say, “I don’t buy it.” Because I didn’t.
He drew back in surprise. Apparently he’d expected me to burst into tears, to rage at him, to threaten him with a custody battle. Or beg him to change his mind….I really wanted to fight. To rage. To cry. But I didn’t.
Instead, a shroud of calm enveloped me, and I repeated those words: “I don’t buy it.”
You see, I’d recently committed to a non-negotiable understanding with myself. I’d committed to “The End of Suffering.” I’d…decided to take responsibility for my own happiness. And I mean all of it.
When Laura Munson’s essay appeared in the Modern Love column of the New York Times, it created a firestorm. Readers sent it to their friends, therapists gave it to their patients, pastors read it to their congregations. People everywhere were struck by Munson’s wisdom. But how was Laura able to implement this strategy? How was she able to commit herself to an “End of Suffering” in such a critical time? At 40 years old, certain parts of Laura’s life were going exactly as planned – she had two wonderful children, a husband she adored, a cherished home. Yet she and her husband, the once golden couple, weren’t so golden anymore. And while Laura had come to peace with her life, her husband had not.
Poignant, wise, and often exceedingly funny, THIS IS NOT THE STORY YOU THINK IT IS recounts Laura’s journey. Shaken to her core after the death of her beloved father, after seeking guidance and solace in stacks of books and hours of therapy, Laura finally realized she had to stop basing her happiness on things outside of her control. And once she had this key piece of wisdom, she realized she could withstand almost anything.
Written as Laura experiences her crises, moment by moment, sometimes breath by breath, THIS IS NOT THE STORY YOU THINK IT IS is raw and searingly honest in the very best sense. Laura takes readers by the hand as they embark, together, on a journey – one in which the outcome is not known. Filled with wisdom, truth, and heart – and a great tomato sauce recipe – it is a candid and incredibly powerful memoir that is unforgettable.
O's Little Book of Happiness (O's Little Books/Guides)
With a sprightly dose of insightful inspiration, a sprinkling of practical advice, and a bounty of exuberant stories by great writers, O's Little Book of Happiness features some of the best work ever to have appeared in O, The Oprah Magazine. Inside you'll find Elizabeth Gilbert's ode to the triumph of asking for what you want, Jane Smiley's tribute to the animal who taught her about lasting fulfillment, Roxane Gay's sure-fire cure for complaining, Brené Brown's celebration of the powers of play, Neil deGrasse Tyson's take on the joyful participation in the universe, and much more. Revisiting fifteen years of the magazine's rich archives, O's editors have assembled a collection as stunning as it is spirit-lifting.
Moms and Dads: From the 'Lives' Columns of The New York Times Magazine
All the joys and challenges of having kids are addressed in this TimesFile collection, which features many of the most popular personal stories about parenthood from the Lives page of The New York Times Magazine. These thoughtful, entertaining pieces range in subject from pregnancy, adoption, and surrogacy to coping, helicopter-parenting and college. The moms and dads who share their experiences here include acclaimed writers such as Matt Bai, Firoozeh Dumas, Ben Greenman, Samantha Hunt, John Moe, Laura Munson, Anna Solomon and Danielle Trussoni.
Right Here with You: Bringing Mindful Awareness into Our Relationships (A Shambhala Sun Book)
In recent years scientists have discovered that mindfulness can reduce stress, improve mood, and enhance our sense of well-being. In this book, readers learn how mindfulness can be brought to bear in our relationships to increase intimacy, strengthen communication, and help us to find greater fulfilment.
Topics in this collection include how to open your heart and develop lovingkindness for yourself and others, how to improve communication through mindful speech and deep listening, noticing and counteracting destructive patterns, and discovering how intimate relationships can become a rich form of spiritual practice.