I love this quote. Authenticity sounds simple: “Just be yourself.” But in reality, presenting yourself without a safe facade can be tricky, it’s why I wrote my book! Being authentically yourself means being truly seen… 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…
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 sure I learned what meditation was sometime before college, but I didn’t spend much time absorbing the concept until then. I had an Eastern Philosophy teacher that is still probably the most self-assured person I’ve ever met.
He genuinely did not give a shit about what anyone thought of him, as he said, “other people’s thoughts are none of my business”. I found him to be hilarious, and always unintentionally so. (The best kind of funny.)
He said the purpose of meditation was to widen the gaps between thoughts, allowing for observation of the peaceful quiet that exists behind them. And that we’d enjoy a more pleasant mindspace as a result. He shut off the lights, had us put our heads in our folded arms, and asked us to focus on our breathing. Whenever we had a thought we were supposed to acknowledge it without judgment, let it go, and return to our breathing.
Most of the time I thought about a guy, wondered if he liked me. Thought about how cute he was. Replayed our recent conversations. I kept returning back to my breath just to have my mind pipe up again, “He’s so cute. He reminds me of Floyd from Dazed and Confused…”
But then it happened, I thought—“…………..”, for a few solid seconds.
“Oh! And that’s the same dude as in Out Cold!” — But it had happened, however briefly, I experienced my first sizeable gap between thoughts. I wanted more of that peaceful feeling. And, apparently, whomever that dude was.
Though I enjoyed the peace I discovered in that philosophy class…I lacked focus. The first real application of meditation to my life was using it to get rid of the hiccups. I drank a lot of cheap beer quickly in those days, so I’d get them pretty frequently. At some point, I realized that all of the solutions offered up (swallow a spoonful of sugar, stare at the ceiling whilst hopping on one foot, BOO!) were all just various ways of *not thinking* about the hiccups.
So I tried using meditation to do so, and low and behold — it works like a charm! In those days most of my meditation was done in graffiti-covered bathroom stalls. Focusing on my breath, calming my mind, and dissolving those cheap beer hiccups.
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 that I still had to lose.
If you check out #fucklessadventures from last year on Instagram, you’ll see me dressing unusually for me (to blend in); singing my heart out (whilst cringing at my voice); and meditating in public (at a nearly-empty destination).
My review in early December, when I finished it, was that it “definitely infused an otherwise difficult month with joyful detours and mindful presence.” And it continued to do that as I integrated the wisdom from my experiences throughout the IMMENSELY challenging winter and spring that followed.
But after my testing, I also knew that in addition to having much *learning* to do before teaching, the project wasn’t done yet; not even the Fuckless Adventures section, which is the shortest (but most visible).
While the Fuckfull to Fuckless tale portion of the book still isn’t even close (at all) to being finished, I’ve decided it’s time for another public testing of the other two parts: the Fuckless Adventures and the meditation challenge.
I’ll be making rewrites a priority this month, while also testing out as many Adventures as I can think of. And I’ll be tweaking/testing the meditation section so there’s a challenging option for the already-converted. (The timing also serves to re-energize a historically bummer time of year for me.)
SO, please do check out my Instagram to help me test this baby out! These posts will be all over the place, but they’ll be focused on things that develop authenticity, vulnerability, and integrated mindfulness; the primary focus/objective of my book. (And also fun. I like fun.)
I have to do 20+ Adventures, but hope to brainstorm and test 30 – we’ll see what else life has planned for me this month!
Wish me luck, and, as always, thanks for listening. 😘
Fuckless Tarot – September 2nd-8th, 2019
Hey there! This week we start out reconsidering our nostalgic ties, mending those that need love, letting release of ties that bind, or the cacophony of growing-up related issues the 4 of Cups (Reversed) symbolizes — stay true to you, now, and then.
Mid-week things are trying to get luxurious and full of independent freedom with the Nine of Pentacles (Reversed), but there’s a block. Blocks in wonderful energy just mean an imbalance of some sort, so examine these areas — are you craving or valuing your independent successes too much?
But things get good for the weekend. The Six of Wands is all about celebration and achievement, baby. Rejoice in the things in life that you’ve propelled forward, and enjoy every freakin’ second of jubilation. You already got this…now get it, get it. 😉
Fuckless Tarot – August 25th-September 1st, 2019
This week starts of with a need to be proactive about finding balance in our lives. Look for ways to balance your behaviors, are you yin-ing for all your yang? Are you doing *too much* of this and *not enough* of that? Or, it could be that you need to mix it up – try adding an unusual element to your routine, or introduce friends who’ve never met. Finding balance often takes dancing in contrast, so don’t be afraid to test the waters.
Midweek we’ve got the Queen of Swords keeping it blunt, but lighthearted. She’s direct, she’s saucy, and she’s either going to help you learn some truth, or help you learn to deliver it. (It’s almost definitely the one that made you feel more nervous, sorry. 🤣❤) Be honest with others, be generous with humor, and don’t take things too personally; whilst also gleaning the wisdom of solid advice.
And this weekend’s got a head’s up to be on the lookout for sneaks. The Seven of Swords is all about using means to get what you want that may or may not justify the ends, and when it’s reversed it’s got an extra dose of warning. The sneak could be someone else, so don’t get dicked over, but it also could be *you* who’s considering acting without integrity – so ask yourself if you’re doing your best this weekend, and ask it often…while also expecting the same from others.
Have a wonderful week. 😘
Fuckless Tarot – August 19th-25th, 2019
This week’s off to a luxurious beginning, with the luminous 9 of Pentacles. Monday through early Wednesday, look for opportunities to cherish some “me time,” a perfect time to treat yo’self.
Midweek through early Friday, maybe close that wallet again – the 4 of Pentacles hails a time of needing to balance expenditures, but it could also mean to watch out for being stingy-minded. (Are you feeling guilty about that treat yo’self??)
And for the weekend, we’ve got another busy one – the 2 of Pentacles (R) reminds us to prioritize. Write a list of your “fucking must get dones” and see to them first, this card is reversed so it does point to extra challenges in accomplishing everything you’d like. Back-up plans are good, and staying present really helps prevent fuck ups: Be. Here. Now.
Have a fabulous week!! 😘
Fuckless Tarot – August 12th-18th, 2019
Ooopsie daisies. I did remember to make you a weekly tarot video, but I also got great news; and when I get excited I also get bajiggity in my nervous system (#spoonieproblems) and do silly things like accidentally record timelapse video… D’oh!
So, in text:
Early Week = The emotional stability of the Queen of Cups, reflect, nurture, get spiritual.
Midweek = The conviviality of the Queen of Wands, get social and connect.
Weekend = Page of Swords (reversed), watch out for “foot in mouth,” a time for lessons in communication, youths may be sassy.
(Better half-assed tarot than no-assed?)
Fuckless Tarot – August 5th-11th, 2019
Energies are looking busy for our first reading, with much to manage and prioritize. Mercury just went direct a few days ago, and we’re still in the shadow; so this could be about unplanned projects/obstacles returning, or things you’ve been working on taking longer than planned. Don’t worry though, time is ripe for fresh beginnings. (Remember: Do the same thing, get the same results. Patterns are cages.)
I’m excited to be working on my YouTube again, which I attempted during my homelessness journey – but I couldn’t really commit, for obvious reasons. Honestly, the videos (mostly about chronic illness) make me feel pretty fucking proud of myself. I’m such a crazy lil’ trooper.
Have a fabulous week!
More articles under L-I-V-I-N, above!
Why ‘Marijuana’ Should Have Always Been Called ‘The Gage’
End-of-life Hospital Care in California Could Soon Include Cannabis
Endometriosis Is Painful as Hell. At Least There’s Cannabis
Cannabis Church Founder Runs for Indiana Governor
Are We Turning CBD Into Snake Oil?
Is the Cannabinoid CBN an Effective Sleep Aid?
What It’s Like to Be a Parent Who Medicates With Cannabis
Does Endocannabinoid Deficiency Play a Role in These Common Illnesses?
Do Anti-Drug Campaigns Actually Work?
Cannabis Can Make You More Creative—But It’s Complicated
How Cannabis Helps ‘Spoonies’ Soothe the Symptoms of Chronic Illness
Are We Made for Weed? How to Boost Your Endocannabinoid System With Cannabis
Green Cross of Torrance (entire blog)
Personal Essays and Other Fun
I am a “Spoonie”: Here’s What I Wish People Knew About Chronic Illness
B12 is Not a Miracle Drug
Imaging Your 2017 Goals
This Vitamin Deficiency Nearly Killed Me
“Resting Niceface” Made My Invisible Illness Go Undiagnosed for 25 Years
How Tarot Cards Saved My Life
My Chronic Illness Left Me Broke and Homeless So Meditation is My Medication
Why People with Chronic Illness Fake Being Healthy
How a Vitamin Deficiency Nearly Killed Me
What I Learned from Months of Being So Sick I Couldn’t Leave My Studio Apartment Sans Help
My Weight Made Me Invisible and I Kinda Miss It
My Sex Life Needed Some Time Off: Lessons from Abstinence
What I Learned During My Time in Prison
Long Beach Post:
Being Homeless in Long Beach
5 Tips to Support a Seriously Struggling Friend
How I Learned There’s No Shame In Being Ill
XoJane (R.I.P. Jane Magazine, you were beloved.):
How I Went Gluten and Dairy Free without Losing My Damn Mind
How to Throw a Fundraiser for a Cause You LOVE
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’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…