Ten months ago, I started off on my first 𝘏𝘰𝘸 𝘐 𝘓𝘰𝘴𝘵 𝘈𝘭𝘭 𝘔𝘺 𝘍-𝘤𝘬𝘴 experience; the testing-out of my beloved bookbaby and 1-month challenge. And I learned a whole lot, especially around the fucks… More
UPDATE: I wrote what I thought was all of How I Lost All My F-cks in early 2016, even quickly getting myself an agent. It’s been a really crazy time, a lot has changed in the 3.5 years since. Actually, everything has changed. Now without an agent, I’m deep into rewrites of my own direction; transforming the memoir bit of my book (part 1’s “fuckfull to fuckless tale”) into much more than the brief tale I told nearly 4 years ago.
Life is funny.
Please stay tuned, and here’s a preview:
How I Lost All My Fucks is a one-month experience designed to have you losing all yours. I reveal my personal fuckfull to fuckless tale in all of its gory detail: shitfaced teen shenanigans, lessons from jail time, serendipitous magic, and very personal revelations – then I hand it over to you!
You’ll be learning several meditation styles via a 30-day meditation challenge, teaching you to use your mind in a more beneficial way whilst making it a more enjoyable headspace. You’ll also be accomplishing a series of Fuckless Adventures, which are just as fun as they sound. (And it all can be done in 20 minutes a day, longer if you get creative with it!)
How I Lost All My Fucks aims to be a cathartic emotional rollercoaster after which you will never be the same. Kind of like doing hallucinogens or having sex for the first time, but no one’s going to talk about how weird skin looks at great lengths, nor get an STD. Stay tuned for info on the release of How I Lost All My Fucks…
When I first encountered the phrase “be yourself” I remember wondering, “What does that even mean? Isn’t that my only option, who else would I be?” The movie i heart huckabees illustrates the quandary via Jude Law losing all of the things he defines himself by: his job, his home, his relationship. He’s left pondering, “How am I not myself?”
In a time where authenticity is a buzzword, do we even know what we mean?
It seems to me that we are the most “ourselves” when we honor our honest desires and needs by expressing and acting to satisfy them. But what are your honest desires and needs? Sometimes it’s not as easy as it sounds to pin down.
A list might pop into your mind like, I want a book deal, I need to get some sun, I want that hot guy, etc. It’s what’s behind them that holds the keys: why do you want what you want?
Do I want a book deal to appease someone else, or do I genuinely feel that I have a message that can help? Do I really want that hot guy or do I want to be seen with him? Do I want to get some sun for my health or to look tan for someone else?
Examine your motivations (without judgement!) and you might get some clarifying surprises. It often turns out that all too much time spent without regard to what you actually want and need. It’s normal in our society to fill one’s time with obligations, letting them replace our passions under the guise of adulting. Be yourself by getting clear what you truly want and why. Make a list.
A great way to not be yourself is to let your reactions rule you. How do you behave when you’re scared or anxious about something? Are you dick-ish without apology or explanation? That’s hiding, you know. So not you. (As is not trying so you can’t fail.)
In high school I had specific music for when friends were in the car, lots of top-of-charts songs I didn’t want to anyone to know annoyed me deeply. That wasn’t great self-ing. It’s pretty common to censor oneself like this, attempting to hide or delete the parts we feel might be rejected. It’s not great you-ing though, and isn’t it exhausting? Try dropping it.
“But then I’ll be rejected,” you might say. Yeah, that’s possible. But if you crack that nerdy joke or share that personal revelation – you might be rewarded with connection and empathy. Also known as “being truly understood.” And that’s the good shit.
I have a rule: If I think something nice about someone, I tell them.
Like so many, I dealt with a whole lot of insecurity when I was younger, and when these issues would really rear their heads, when I felt just pointlessly unworthy – I’d try to remember the nice things that people had said to me, or about me. These kind words were gold. Their expressed views of me made me hope that I could look at myself in a similar way. And eventually, I did.
So now when a nice thought arises about someone, I express it.
Lovely sentiment, eh? But the truth is that people often think it’s pretty weird, or they seem to anyways – that’s what I take from unanswered Facebook messages and awkward giggles. A lot of people probably think I want them, even though I’m not talking about those kind of compliments and I’ve never been shy about my crushes. If I want you, we most likely either hooked up or you rejected me. (Or, you are a fictional character. Here’s looking at you, Dale Cooper.)
I think it’s just the way we’re wired. It’s evolutionarily wise to think everyone wants you, misplaced confidence has led to many babies indeed. Plus, it’s not “normal” to reach out to someone from decades ago just to say something nice, or to send them something that made you think of them. People assume there must be another motivation, and I bet that’s a pretty easy one to jump to.
But I don’t care. It’s a weird fucking world we’ve got here, and I want to help make it kinder. More enjoyable. More honest. It shouldn’t be weird to say nice things to people, even when it’s random. That should be normal. It should be considered weird to think kind words but to keep them to yourself just because you feel kinda scared. (Of what, right? Thoughts?)
I once read about an African tribe that had a beautiful way of dealing with their criminals. When someone’s wronged another, the tribe circles around them and they share all of their beautiful thoughts about the mistake-maker. They share all the good they’ve done, point to their potential, all of their awesome, and tell them that’s who they really are.
And it works.
For a culture that is so incredibly centered on extrinsic motivation and approval – we’re pretty darn stingy with our compliments. But the good thing about constantly looking to one another for approval is: if it became normal to share all kind things, we’d be lifting each other up in no time.
Let’s make it normal. The next time you’re warmly reminded of someone, or see something that someone you know would love, or you randomly think something nice about an acquaintance – reach out.
Have you ever had a time so difficult that you wondered if you’d make it through? Of course you have. Who hasn’t? And it’s safe to bet that many in your life had no idea what you were going through. What if your kind words land on someone during a time like that? What if they help someone make it to the other side of their struggle?
I lost my mother to suicide when I was 14. The people on the outer circle of her life had no idea what kind of darkness was erupting within, she was probably laughing with co-workers about nonsense just days before it happened; but I know she debated it for years. No one knew about my dark times either, about scratching at my skin until it bled because the physical pain felt better than the emotional pain. I was voted “Most Friendly” earlier that year. No one had a clue.
My point is that we have no idea what battles the people we encounter in our lives are facing. No. Fucking. Clue. So if a kind sentence or action pops into your head, why not go with it? See where it takes you. I often get silence or awkwardness, but I also often get very sincere thank yous in return, and deeper connections with delightful folks.
So why not?
I just came across a Twitter post by Alex Grey that included a pic of one of his gorgeous paintings. It shows a man being enslaved by self-hatred—something only possible when ruled by ego. Its caption says, “Hey Ego, your fears and limits are really getting in the way of my higher calling…” Some guy commented, “that’s certainly rich for someone so active on social media.”
It reminded me that I’ve been meaning to write about ego. It’s a highly misunderstood concept; people are always talking about smashing it, killing it, generally making it go away—which not only inadvisable, but totally impossible.
What would someone with absolutely no ego look like? They would only have awareness of connection with others, and with the world around them. They would be fully embraced in the truth of our Oneness. They would see no separation between themselves and others, they would truly always see themselves in Other.
Sounds beautiful, eh? Now ask them their name. Where they live. How they pay rent. What they like to do with their time. Etc.
We need ego! Ego serves us in this life, it defines our separateness, and separateness is what we came here to experience.
An unbalanced ego is the troublemaker.
An overgrown ego tells you that you are better than others. It constantly fuels the mind with reasons why others are inferior, why they aren’t as good as you. An overgrown ego is highly defensive, and ignites easily (though not always verbally). It is constantly threatened that someone will remove this sense of superiority, as it is “who I am.”
A diminished ego tells you that you are shit. You aren’t as good as anyone else. You don’t deserve the things that you want. You don’t matter. It is an Eeyore, but it’s not so cute in human form. It is a victim mindset. It will not stand up for itself when hurt, because being hurt has become “who I am.”
A healthy ego is a strong sense of who you are. You like you! (You might even promote your work on social media like Alex!) You see the beauty in others, and appreciate them for just being them. You see when you fuck up, you try to see the humor in it, and do your darnedest to correct it.
You understand that “bad” behavior doesn’t make you less than others, and that “good” behavior doesn’t make you superior to others. There aren’t even really ways to behave “good” or “bad”—there are only actions that are serving to yourself and others, and those that aren’t. You get to choose, and sometimes it’s hard to know which is which.
A healthy ego never feels imperiled because it is aware of “I AM”—it is centered and connected whilst maintaining an awareness of the current perspective and its separations.
There’s all kinds of middleground, of course, we rarely hang out in extremes. There will even be days where your ego shrinks and expands in reaction to who and what you encounter! It’s a versatile lil’ bugger, and not one to attempt to squash.
Certainly to keep yer eye on it though! Watch your reactions, that’s where ego really shines. Notice feelings of superiority and of unworthiness, that’s unbalanced ego showing off. Notice these things without judging yourself, and just jump off that there thought train! Eventually, the tracks themselves will change—your mental constructs will adjust.
Get it get it, friends!
I’m a lover of lucid dreaming; when you realize that you’re dreaming, and gain the ability to control your dreams. (Tips here.) Though I’ve gotten pretty skilled at being lucid (experiencing what I want to in the dream), the actual becoming lucid often evades me for long periods. I wrote this piece after one of those lulls had ended:
I had THE COOOOOLEST lucid dream this morning. I hadn’t had one in months, I’ve been trying so hard, and nothing. I was worried. At around 4am my downstairs neighbor started rocking out to NPR super crazy loud (as one will do), and woke me up. It took me forever to get back to sleep, perhaps putting me into extended Theta (deep brain wave, that in-between wake and sleep), and that’s why I finally became lucid? Dunno.
It was so very fun, lots of flying! I flew through clouds and they felt all misty, then I dove down into water and moved the sea floor, cruised through buildings, did gymnastics, lots of telekinesis, talked to some folks, man…oh!, and the men. Good times, good times indeed.
I woke up to my alarm and was a bit upset. Everything was so heavy in comparison. I quickly got ready, my head still totally in the dream. (My outfit only sorta-kinda matches…) The bike ride to work was very 80’s Nintendo Paperboy-like, with people and cars jumping out at me everywhere, cranky morning scowls abound. What a friggin’ juxtaposition! Ooofta.
Have you heard of Chuang Tzu? He was a badass Chinese Taoist, up in the ranks with Lao Tzu (who wrote the book), way back in 360-ish BC. One night he dreamt that he was a butterfly. He flew about and enjoyed his butterfly life, wholly identifying as this butterfly. Rockin’ them flowers, flitting about with his purty wings. Just owning this life, he totally loved it.
He woke up confused by this other body. Being a butterfly had felt so real. He was that butterfly. He had had had no awareness of being this Chuang Tzu dude, and now he suddenly there he was – this wingless human thing with no apparatus with which to swill nectar!
Or was he a butterfly, now dreaming he was a man?
What was “real”?
I think it’s all real. (Also it’s all an illusion and nothing is “real”.) This heavy life where I’m a Meg is equally real as the lighter life of my lucid dream where I was an often body-less point of consciousness, conjuring up awesome on a whim. And on a level deeper than that – I’m the observer of both of those lives.
Whoa, right? Matrix and shit, yo.
Damn Fine Turkey Sandwich
Olivia sat in the back of the conference room, trying not to listen. Halcyon WIT was putting on a weekend of classes about the topics they cover with their clients individually. Sometimes she caught herself getting swept up and nearly raising her hand to ask a question. These guys were good. She had to remind herself repeatedly that it was all a bunch of bullshit. If it can’t be proven, it doesn’t exist.
Her ears perked up when someone in the audience brought up a popular book that sells the idea that you can attract the life you want with your thoughts. Prime woo-woo bullshit. The audience member asked what Wendy and Morgan thought about this theory, and the two exchanged a glance, whilst smirking. Finally Morgan groaned, and started:
“The Law of Attraction is real, though incredibly misunderstood due to massive oversimplification. We can only create situations in our lives that we are at the same vibrational frequency with. Take the issue of self-worth. If you feel shitty about yourself, you will attract situations that will reinforce this vibration.
Perhaps you are comfortable with money, you’ve had it your whole life—you expect it to be there. It will probably stay there. What will reflect your vibration of low self-worth is something that you are shakier about, perhaps love? You will attract people who don’t get you, who reinforce this opinion of worthlessness. And flippy-floppy if you’re secure on love but shaky on money—or it could manifest in other issues entirely.
But I think I’m awesome, and my life is crap, you say? You might reply that you are the bee’s knees if asked – but then your dominant thoughts are worrying about what people think of you, or criticizing yourself, or comparing yourself to others; feeling unworthy of whatever it is in your life that you lack, on a deep deep level.
This is not a simple subject. Changing your vibrational frequency is not a quick solution to your cash woes and people problems. Changing your vibrational frequency is the process of enlightenment, it’s work, and it takes time.
The jist of the Law of Attraction is feel good – attract good. The thing is though, can people really go from feeling crappy about themselves to feeling confident and loving just like that—because they now know it will help other situations? And don’t we know that already? Isn’t that why therapists have jobs?
Also, shit happens. You could be vibrating on the highest levels possible and people you love will still die. Natural disasters will still happen. You will still grow out of, and therefore lose, situations you thought you wanted. You will have a much easier time handling all of these things, for sure, but they will still happen. If nothing ‘bad’ ever happened life wouldn’t ever change, and we would never grow. Shit needs to happen, it’s actually a ‘good’ thing.
The best thing you can do for yourself is to learn to how to be satisfied with whatever situation you are in. Appreciate the present for what it’s teaching you, be an active student of life. When you engage life in this way, you’re in a state of allowing, and drawing your desires closer. While you can’t always attract everything that you want, you can absolutely block things that you want from coming into your life. Gratitude is the attitude.
I also recommend that you play with attracting small things! I used to have a client with all kinds of money woes. She grew up poor and had a financial lack mentality just burned into her psyche, and tied into her self-worth. I could tell it was going to take a long while for her to work out all of the different areas that were affected by it. I told her to try attracting small things in the mean time, things that she didn’t have such an attachment to—and she was great at it! She’s got all kinds of great stories, but I think my favorite of hers was a story about going to a concert.
She really wanted to go to a Flaming Lips concert, but couldn’t afford it, as usual. She was listening to the band as she worked the day before the concert and suddenly sent out a request, ‘Hey Universe, if it’s in my highest and best interest, I’d love it if you could send me to the Flaming Lips concert tomorrow. Thank you!!’, she imagined being there for a few moments, and then she went on her merry way—that last bit is key.
That night she had an urge to go to a pub that she had never been to before, so she went, and met someone who knew someone that was desperate for posters from the concert. She wound up being paid $200 to go to the concert, as well as being given tickets for herself and a friend!
So, long story short, it is real. It is also not as simple as it is often presented. Cultivate gratitude. Release attachment to your desires. Start small, it’s lots of fun.”
The woman looked disappointed, but also a bit bemused—like something had clicked for her.
Olivia thought to herself, “Fuck it. Hey Universe, I’d really like a turkey sandwich.”
A couple hours later the seminar wrapped up. Wendy came up and thanked her, then let her know that there was complimentary catering in the back for those who had rented spaces in the hall that day.
It was a damn fine turkey sandwich, but she still wasn’t sold…
I wrote this when I was 23, somehow already 13 (very event-filled) years ago:
To create a community of people who desire a paradigm shift in our world, and to help create these changes via creative endeavors. These are the main desired changes in our paradigm:
- Environmental: Realize that if we don’t support our environment, then it won’t support us. We need to breathe, drink, and eat. If we poison what sustains us we won’t survive as a species, nor will anything else.
- Empathetic: Humans are humans no matter where they live. We all deserve to live a life that provides sustenance, self-sufficiency, and a lack of fear. We need to learn to see ourselves in others. We need extreme change to happen, and without violence.
- Conscious: We need to remember that our place on this Earth is about growth, loving and evolving-not about money and ego.
It came out of nowhere, whilst meditating on what the hell I wanted to do with this life. (Like most of the posts here.) My first move on this mission was to name it, I consulted one of my favorite books – the thesaurus. Within just a couple minutes, Halcyon it was! Its beauty jumped out of the page and seemed to shout, this is your future!!!
I started by learning how to organize events to raise awareness and cashoola for non-profits and other causes, and did a shit-ton of those as well as joining a couple of their boards and doing fun work there. I also wrote a business plan for the do-gooder Halcyon Cafe, something I pursued tenaciously for years and still intend to create, someday.
But I still knew I was ignoring something, a dream that was so scary I very rarely even let it gurgle up to the surface: to write a book that could help TONS of people connect to their authentic (and awesome, fearless, centered) selves, and to do it in a way that spoke to “average” Americans.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m way woo-woo and don’t mind it a bit (anymore): but mindfulness and personal growth often come offered in really cheesy packages, and it makes a lot of folks kinda want to hurl. And that reaction doesn’t mean they’re closed-minded, I think it’s mostly a matter of presentation and taste – but it blocks so many of us off from really solid wisdom and life approaches.
How I Lost All My F-cks is my answer to this dilemma. It’s part book, part meditation training, and part experience that the reader rocks in 30 days. (That won’t soon be forgotten.)
I want it to make meditation in public the norm. I want it to introduce people to what they *actually* want and value. I want it to introduce people to happiness regardless of circumstance, and that’s *any fucking time* happiness.
I want it to help – with SO many of others creations – create a lasting paradigm shift in this wonktaculous world. (I have more ideas too! Like low-income housing for senior citizens and at-risk young adults that’s full of do-gooding community fun.) But first things first, to make How I Lost All My F-cks happen:
I also appreciate your presence, thanks for hanging out, friend. ❤
This was inspired by confronting someone, then being accused of sensitivity in response. I denied it a little too vehemently and then pointed out that that’s a shitty thing to call someone who’s trying express that you’ve upset them. I felt like they were saying my feelings and perspective were irrelevant, due to this alleged “sensitivity.”
I was upset due to greatly valuing this relationship, but also because having developed a much thicker skin is something that I’m proud of. I was 16 the day I decided to stop making excuses and to own my shit. A coach called me the weakest link, I cried and explained (excused), and she called me out right there in front of everyone.
I did listen that day, but I was 16. And not a super mature 16 either.
Luckily when we don’t get the message, life tends to repeat the lesson. (As many times as we insist.) Over the years, life just kept teaching me how to not take things so personally. I went to college and majored in fine art, where each piece was evaluated by a large group critique. I was in marketing for about a decade, a field where people really aren’t afraid to tell it like it is. I’m a writer, finally broken in from years of editors’ red pens. I temped for a couple years; so often playing “the new girl,” starting from scratch over and over. (Always learning. Always fucking up the new shit.)
For the most part, life’s taught me to take a critique effectively and I’m down with constructive criticism – which just looks like good advice, when done with style.
But I am (a) sensitive.
This topic is one of those that kinda have two meanings. There’s a science-based official definition, and there’s new-agey definition. The official definition: sensory processing sensitivity (SPS), a personality trait, a high measure of which defines a highly sensitive person (HSP), has been described as having hypersensitivity to external stimuli, a greater depth of cognitive processing, and high emotional reactivity. But in the world of woo, it means being an empath; basically being very sensitive to others’ energy and having great intuition.
Sensitives feel extremely deeply, both the good stuff and the bad stuff. We care. Immensely. Doing all of this takes a lot of energy. I’ve learned to prioritize, to accept that spreading myself all over and being weaksauce with my boundaries makes me feel like poo. We’re highly affected by others. Though shielding helps worlds, I’ve learned that I’m happiest when I’m with people who make me feel understood.
Crowds can be miserable-making. Before, I couldn’t go anywhere crowded without feeling like I might have a panic attack. My hands would get all sweaty, and I would feel like I was getting pulled a million directions at once, and I would then find the bar as fast as possible, haha. Watching violence is unpleasant for sensitives. Recharging is very necessary. (Sensitivity shares a lot of traits with introversion.)
Sensitives can be easily charmed. When we aren’t centered in ourselves, we tend to follow around people who are. (Watch out for narcissists.) Since we can strongly sense the energy of the person whose comfortable in their skin – it’s comforting.
Then they leave, taking their self-assured juju home with them; and the sensitive is left bewildered by their totally unprocessed emotions, because they’ve been wandering around in someone else’s shit all day. (Or the opposite, and carrying around another’s negative stuff.) If you relate, shield up!
Like many sensitives, I’m not super great at dealing with negative emotions. I spend the vast majority of my time being pretty darn happy-go-lucky, feeling all sparkly, and when negative emos come in I’m like, WTF am I supposed to do with you?! Bleeeerrrrrrg. I’m getting much better though. (One explosion at a time.)
A couple strategies for sensitives: Take a minute and ask yourself what there really is to fear in that situation. Is it really so terrifying? If you ask yourself these questions, moving to the core of the issue, whilst focusing on your breath – you’ll probably find that the thing you’re afraid of really isn’t so horrible and find yourself much calmer. (And more rational.)
And while I pride myself on doing my best to not take things personally, staying solution-oriented, and owning my shit – I am sensitive.
And you can be both.
Nothing, inherently. It’s nice to want to get along and it’s normal to prefer being adored over disliked, of course.
The problem is when you start giving fucks in order to get someone to like you: Agreeing when you actually don’t, censoring yourself beyond politeness, doing things you’d really rather not, allowing attitudes towards you that are less than respectful, and all kinds of other ways we diminish ourselves when we make our objective: be liked.
Because when that’s your MO, there’s no choice than to be less of yourself. Giving fucks makes a dull wash out of the glory that you are; the you when you’re behaving with more inner-direction, when you’re really being yourself.
This realization terrified me when I first had it. I thought of myself as being a good friend, well-liked, caring, friendly, fun – I was only considering myself in relation to others. This led to trouble when I was alone. Over analyzing my relationships. Overconsidering others’ perspectives on things like my art, or even what kind of music I was listening to, i.e. “I’d be so embarrassed if so-in-so knew how much I love this.”
It was like I was never alone, not really, despite larger-than-normal amounts of time spent alone. Who was I even living my life for?
It was such an important realization: My life should be about me.
It was like I was spending all of my energy on being the best co-star in everyone else’s movie. Not that I didn’t pursue my own passions and whatnot – but “they” (those I’d prefer like me) were intrinsically involved in my decisions, even ones that had nothing to do with them. It was just little blips of thought that seemed like nothing, but as a mindfulness-obsessed sort, I quickly realized that they added up to living on the periphery of my own life.
Watch your mind and see if you do this. (You do. We all do.) And try to drop it. This will help loads in the next step: staying inner-directed when you’re with others. This involves fighting the urge to blend in and saying what you think, what you really think. (Don’t be a dick or anything… Or maybe do, I don’t know what’s best for you.)
Start paying attention to your feels when you’re around others, and right afterward. It’s important to feel good.
I feel like that’s almost a controversial thing to say, I can hear the cries of, “but selfish!” It’s not selfish to ensure your well-being, not at all. In fact, making sure you’re feeling centered is responsible. Being where you want to be and doing the things you want to do is responsible. The world needs you at your best! Your people need you at your best!
You’ll probably find that even when you’re acting from a truly inner-directed place you’re still a positive force in others’ lives. Perhaps not in the same ways. And perhaps with a totally different flavor: martyrdom vs weeeeeeee.
And the funny thing is that when you get really good at this inner-direction thing, most folks will indeed like you. It’s nice to be around people who are at peace with who they are, comforting even. They lack neediness and emanate confidence. They offer unique perspectives and speak their truth.
But others will still totally think you suck. C’est la vie.
If you think about it, your mind is your home. And one you’re stuck with, too. Is yours a nice place to live?
Our minds are the constant in all of our lives, we can never leave them…they are basically our permanent homes. But most of us never really even consider them! Mindfulness is out to change this. My class will teach you how to integrate mindfulness into your life via meditation. (And we’ll go over several styles to help you find something that sticks.)
This fun hour applies mindfulness concepts to your real, actual, world. Meditation saved my life, I’ll also share the story of how it did so; and, of course, how it can wildly change yours for the better.
Thanks to those of you who have come to one of my Portland, Oregon classes! I’m now living in Southern California and hope to start classes ASAP, I’m starting to reach out as of mid-August. Keep yer ears peeled! And in the meantime, please contact me if you are interested in having a class for your group or company.
Homework: Blessings from the Loving-Kindness Meditation
Think or say these to yourself, then send it to someone you adore, and then to someone you’re having “a challenging time” with:
May I/you be blessed with abundance and health.
May I/you know that I am worthy of love, and of the things I desire.
May I/you have relationships that provide me with mutual acceptance and encouragement.
May I/you have meaning and purpose in life, may it be deeply satisfying.
May I/you laugh from the very core of the belly at least daily.