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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!
GAF defintionYou’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…

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Forgiveness, heads and gross eyeballs attached.

When you have hard times — and you will — your relationships will be tested.  Whether it’s an internal angst or an external set of circumstances, at some point you will have a shitty time. And when this shitty time occurs there are those who will disparagingly judge you for it. We often call them fairweather friends.

One morning on Portland OR’s MAX train I found myself daydreaming about getting even with one of these people. I’m devout to my meditation practice, and I am generally keenly aware of my thoughts. Revenge fantasies are not normal for me.

Maybe it was because I was hungover that day (something I hadn’t experienced in months) or because I was due for my Depo-Provera hormone shot, but I found myself in a reverie about warning a fairweather person’s fiance of her nasty nature and then telling her to go fuck herself.

(Why suggesting someone go masturbate is so satisfying, I do not know. Perhaps because it’s saying someone isn’t worthy of another’s affection? Or because it’s something deemed shameful in our repressed society? Or perhaps the reason isn’t so deep, and it’s just the hard consonant ending with the flowing ‘fff’ sound? Go fuck yourself. It really is satisfying to say…almost as great as indubitably. I’ve only ever actually exclaimed it once, a jillion years ago, and I admit, it was wildly satisfying indeed. But, I digress.)

I snapped out of it, a bit shocked at where my mind had wandered, and recalled the only time my vengeful Scorpionic side had been truly revealed. It was over a decade ago, my junior year in college.  A dude had chased me for months, charming me, asking me out, pursuing me relentlessly.

Even in my shenanigan-filled college days, my intuition was pretty sharp and I didn’t trust him.  There was no reason for it, I just felt in my gut that he was up to no good. But he eventually wore me down. We spent an unsatisfying few minutes together, after which he never returned my call.

I was pissed. Back then I was totally hot hotty hot, I had stalkers for Christ’s sake, and this dude gets me, then doesn’t call me back?! It was the first time I felt really and truly burnnned. I stewed in my anger whilst watching the movie Grumpy Old Men on basic cable. I was judging the characters for wasting so much time spiting each other when judgment turned to inspiration.

I had been invited to a kegger at the dude’s house by his roommate, and suddenly decided I should attend...with Grumpy Old Men inspired supplies. I called a couple best buddies who went to the grocery store with me, where I purchased several fish. (Heads and gross eyeballs attached.) I remember my dear friend E saying, “Meg, this is a disturbing side of you, but damn if it isn’t entertaining”.

We went to the kegger, where I pretended like I wasn’t mad. After some friendly chitchat I excused myself to the restroom, which was just outside of the jerk’s room. Inside it I found a clothes hamper. I emptied out half of the clothes, placed the fish inside (heads and gross eyeballs attached), and replaced the clothes. I exited, signaled my accomplices, and we bailed the party, laughing all the way home.

The jerk moved away, and I wound up making good friends with his roommates. About a year after my revenge, one of the roomies told me a devastating story about how someone had ruined his best suit by placing several fish (heads and gross eyeballs attached) in his hamper.

My revenge had struck the wrong person!!

I turned beet red, cried a little, and apologized profusely.  He wouldn’t let me pay him back for the ruined duds, and he forgave me immediately. Ooooohwie, did that hurt! I remember wishing that he would have told me off like I deserved. I still feel awful about it, and haven’t attempted revenge since. I learned my lesson.

So, those few who dismissed me during some of the hardest times of my life (dark night of the soul), will not be the butt of a cruel prank parlayed clumsily by myself (heads and gross eyeballs attached), nor a diatribe of their perceived faults, nor any euphonious sneers. Of course, as I learned with my wayward fish prank, kindness really is the best revenge.

The compassionate act of forgiveness doesn’t mean allowing oneself to be mistreated, but simply acknowledges the harmful actions, and releases emotional attachment to them. It’s wise to forgive, not so the transgressor heals, but so we heal. Holding on to resentment to hurt someone else is as useful as holding onto a grenade. It’s only going to hurt you.

It’s empowering to let go, and an apology isn’t necessary to move to forgiveness. We can release ourselves whenever we choose. Why not now?

How to dissolve cheap beer hiccups with meditation.

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.

 

Lucid Dreaming is the Shit

Lucid dreaming is the experience of realizing that you are indeed, dreaming. Once you gain awareness of what’s happening, you’re able to control the dream. You can conjure up any experience that you want: from flying through the space, to fascinating conversations, to swimming with whales, telekinesis – whatever you can think of!

The big trick is simply remembering to question if you’re dreaming whilst doing so. Because once you do that…it’s on.

Here’s a few tricks to get there:

  1. Remember your dreams. Start a dream journal, either writing or babbling into the mic of your phone. The point is to train the mind to think about dreamtime, to create awareness of it and a relationship to it in your waking hours.
  2. Dream Checks. During your waking day, ask yourself, “Am I dreaming?” Do so every time you do something routine; like every time you check the clock or look out the window, ask yourself “Am I dreaming?” The habit will carry over into dreamtime.
  3. Plan what you will do. Do you want to fly? Get laid? Chat with Albert Schweitzer? Daydream it as practice for the real thing.
  4. Watch the movie Waking Life. That’s how I had my first, after watching this amahhhzing flick, and without even trying!
  5. Think about lucid dreaming as you fall asleep. After you’re all cozied in, simply remind yourself that you are going to go lucid dream now. Focus on it, intend on doing it.

That should do ‘er! Don’t worry if it takes some time, all of the coolest things in life have a learning curve.

 

 

Enlightenment is a destructive process.

I came across a photo meme the other day with this quote by Adyashanti:

“Make no mistake about it – enlightenment is a destructive process. It has nothing to do with becoming better or being happier. Enlightenment is the crumbling away of… untruth. It’s seeing through the façade of pretense. It’s the complete eradication of everything we imagined to be true.”

I’d like to add my own perspective…

The path of enlightenment (which never ends) has everything to do with becoming better and/or happier! It also involves an extremely uncomfortable process that will totally ruin the perspectives you’ve spent your whole life creating. (Paradoxes are big in spirituality.)

The crumbling away of paradigms that no longer serve us can be painful, for sure. However, it is necessary to clear the old before creating the new – you wouldn’t want to build a shiny new building on a crappy old foundation, would you?

Destruction is essential to creation.

After the dust settles, you have a new set of tools with which to handle life’s obstacles and challenges. You have access to internal wisdom that will always point you in the right direction. Relationships become honest, your mind becomes clear, and the inherent worth of yourself and others becomes apparent.

You do become better.

After the dust settles, you are left with a profound feeling of possibility, freedom, and expansiveness. Personally, I don’t think I even knew true happiness before undergoing this process. I knew it in beautiful fleeting moments, sure, but I had no idea that it was just chillin’ in the background the whole time – constant access to sheer joy!

You do become happier.

It feels like you’ve been let in on the cosmic joke. It’s freakin’ awesome. Don’t let a little destruction deter you, but do be aware that it’s part of the process. The path is different for everyone, but meditation is a damn good place to start!

The juice is totally worth the squeeze.

So this fish walks into a cave… (Playing with Plato.)

(A tale inspired by Plato’s Allegory of the Cave and An Old Joke.)

Three men stood chained to a wall, deep inside a cave.  The wall all that they could see, and it was also all that they knew.  Just that one wall, in that one cave.  At one point they could remember life before the cave, but now it had all vanished.

Was it due to poor cave diet?  A coping mechanism?  Did they bump their heads when they got there?  Who knows…but life before the chains had vanished from their minds without a trace – and the only life they knew was the one where they stared at a wall.

There was a huge fire on the other side of the cave, and a path that went down the center.  The free men would walk down this path, to and fro, doing their own cavey-cave thang.  The chained men started to know the others by their shadows on the wall.  They gave the shadows motivations, stories, and powers.  This infused their lives with some order and meaning.

Early one morning when the chained men were sleeping, the third man was blindfolded and taken outside.  His blindfold was removed, and the man stood paralyzed with shock at all there was to see.  His eyes shifted from the green grass, the sparkling river, the glowing sun, the lush trees, the colorful flower—he was crazy overwhelmed.  He suddenly let out a wail of both desperation and gratitude.  (It was akin to the cries of the now-extinct Belieber tribe.)

This piercing wail continued for a while, then he eventually tired, and popped a squat in the warm grass.  He slowly started to remember it all, this was life before “life”!  He soaked up the juicy bigness of it, of all the things he had forgotten that he once knew.

They then returned him to his chains, deep, deeeep, inside the cave.  The other two men were still sleeping (what else are they supposed to do all day?), and the third immediately woke them with his tale.

“There’s this bright glowing thing in the sky, kinda like this [he pointed at the fire’s glow on the wall], but different!  And there’s like soft but prickly blades on the ground that are, uhm…I don’t know the word for that…”  He continued to struggle with a lack of words for a long time, frequently trying to use his hands to explain, forgetting that they were once again bound.  He had no proper tools to express his experience!

Initially, the other two were excited to hear anything about anything, but their excitement quickly turned into annoyance.  “Sounds like some stupid dream, dude”, #1 said, rolling his eyes.  #2 agreed, “You’re losing it man.  This is reality, this is all there is.”

At that very moment, just fifty feet away in a lovely sun-filtered river (whose existence was currently being debated) two young fish were swimming along.  An old man fish passed them, flipped his fin hello, said, “Hey boys, how’s the water?”, then swam off.

One of the young fish looked at the other with concern and said, “Poor old man Gilly, he’s really lost it.”
“Yeah”, the other young fish agreed.  “What the hell is water?!”

 

 

What is Meditation?

Is it just sitting on the floor, not thinking? What is it really for?

Meditation is a mindfulness tool that can teach you to use your mind in a more effective and beneficial way.

It does this by creating mindfulness, which is simply being aware of what’s happening in your mind. Most of us just let our minds run about doing whatever the hell they want — but after some meditation, watching your mind, you will find that much of this business is very unhelpful, and not what you want to be up to all day.

Meditation is very simple. It will lead to experiences that are the opposite, full of intricacy and nuance, it’s a journey, for sure — but the how-to part is super duper simple. Here we go:

Sit. Sit however you like to sit. (Though Ron Swanson prefers to stand, and I totes respect that.) Notice the air slowly going into your nose, filling your lungs, and slowly leaving your body again. As thoughts bubble up, note them without judgement, then let them go. Repeat for as long as desired, the longer the better.

See? Easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy! At first you may find that you are indeed just sitting there, feeling a bit bored — and that’s okay. The experience gets richer with time. Keep going. You will eventually experience a significant thought-free break, and you’ll understand what all the meditation folks are on about. It’s an incredibly peaceful and connected feeling to be without thought, it feels very good.

The good feels during meditation are just the beginning though. You will start to understand and see your mind clearly. You’ll see where you’re being cruel to yourself (or others) in your mind, and hopefully, stop that nonsense.

You’ll see how you spin around old memories around in your mind like a toilet that just won’t quite flush. And they’re probably memories that you don’t even like! You’ll stop all that nonsense too.

And on it will go. Meditating, cultivating awareness of your mind, smashing useless mental constructs. (And all the other benefits!) But after awhile you’ll be like, “Sheesh, well what should I think about, then?”, and it might even feel like a legit issue, you might even get those bored feels again.

But then, in that new empty mind space — ideas will start to bubble up. All kinds of ideas. Your mind isn’t at all short of awesome things to say, it just needs the clear space to say some good shit. You’ll see…

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My Words, Their Website: Published Fun

MindBodyGreen:
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

Ravishly:
“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

SheKnows:
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

Elephant Journal:
What I Learned During My Time in Prison

The Numinous:
Spiritual Shrooming: My Awakening

Offbeat:
6 Lessons for Introverts That Love People Time
How I Stopped Giving a Shit about My Size
Single Living vs. Couple Living: Game On
7 Tips for the Chronically Ill

LifeHack:
8 Quotes from “Say Anything” that Teach Us to Rock at Life
How Losing Someone’s Approval Can Set You Free

Tiny Buddha:
Do you constantly think about your relationships?
How to Live a Full Live and Smile Your Way Through It

Long Beach Post:
Being Homeless in Long Beach

Yogi Approved:
5  Tips to Support a Seriously Struggling Friend

The Mighty:
How I Learned There’s No Shame In Being Ill 

XoJane:
How I Went Gluten and Dairy Free without Losing My Damn Mind
How to Throw a Fundraiser for a Cause You LOVE

How am I not myself?

 

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.

 

 

Dethroning the Queen of Shitgibbers

Once upon a time, I was a teenager. My favorite hobbies were dancing, gymnastics, figuring out who’s parents were going out of town next, and gossip.

I relished in knowing what was going on with everyone else, and was sure to fill anyone in who didn’t know. I’d like to say that I was the girl reading Catcher in the Rye and rolling her eyes at girls like me, but I was not. Not even a little.

I remember the first time that I realized that this behavior was a bad thing. It was normal to me, it was how all of my friends behaved, and how we had behaved since sometime in elementary school. It just was.

But then one day someone finally called me on my shit.

Myself, my high school boyfriend, our friend, and another girl had gone a double date – their first date. I can’t remember exactly how it went, but at the end of the night I was sure they were going to “hook up.” The next morning at school I spread the word in the usual fashion. (It didn’t take a lot of effort, I went to a very crowded high school of bored kids in a small Alaskan city. Word got around fast.)

Turns out, they did not “hook up” as it were. Things had turned awkward, and their first date was to be their last. So everyone was coming up to my friend all like, “Yeahhh, dude, heard you got some!” When indeed, he had not.

He came up to me in the hallway that day and called me The Queen of Shitgibbers.

I was a silly lil’ teenager, but even then I knew that was a title I shouldn’t have earned and sure didn’t want. I had done a shitty thing, and it was the first time I really realized it was a shitty thing to do.

I’ve made huge strides in kicking the gossip habit, but it happened the other day. I cracked a joke about someone else, to someone who I knew would find it funny. It was a cheap shot, not even remotely clever, and remembering it later made me cringe with regret.

Why was I posturing like that? Fucking fucks, I thought I lost you. (Clingy buggers.)

So the next time I get the urge to discuss another person behind their back, I hope that I remember it’s a very fleeting satisfaction. For a split second I can connect with another, get a laugh, feel empowered, a little bit superior…but then just awful. This is kinda trite, but Eleanor Roosevelt once said:

“Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.”

I will strive to be great. I will frequently be average. I will even spend a huge portion of my time discussing the weather or my lunch. (Burrito, B-, overnuked.) But behaving in a small-minded manner like this just isn’t worth the squeeze.

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