I wrote this when I was 23, somehow already 13 (very event-filled) years ago: Mission Statement To create a community of people who desire a paradigm shift in our world, and to help create these changes… More
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.
I bought my first deck of tarot cards in 2014, after having my first reading — which had stunned me with its accuracy. Before that experience I had always likened tarot cards to newspaper horoscopes; lots of general advice that could apply to anyone and therefore really didn’t apply to anyone.
But for me, it’s turned out to be a very different story.
To fill you in on the Tarot, it’s a deck of cards that have different meanings. The cards represent 78 different aspects of life, and each comes with guidance. The origin is debated, some saying they go back to ancient Egypt and others saying Italy in the 14th century, with many other guesses. Some play games with them, but my interest is in divination — using the cards for guidance in life.
Even after I bought the cards I was still a bit suspect. I thought that maybe the intuitive reader was just very skilled, and that I probably wouldn’t come up with much on my own. I tried anyways, and within a few days I was shocked at the frequency of certain cards. Over, and over, and over, and over; these same cards would pop up, cards that had serious meaning in regard to my present life.
And four years later, I’m still at it! I draw three cards every morning for guidance on the day, it feels like “flying blind” on the rare occasions that I don’t get my tarot in. I’ve occasionally had others read for me, they tend to expand on what I’ve picked up on my own — and have yet to contradict anything!
Tarot cards don’t predict the future, they won’t be like, “Yo Meg, your shit’s about to take off, your book’s gonna be published, and it’s going to be a cultural phenom.” But they’ll be all, “A prosperous new time is coming”, or more often, “Work your ass off, honey.”
They don’t say it like that, of course, but most cards do come with books for explanations of the cards meanings; and it’s your job as the reader to feel into how they could apply to your life. I like to meditate while I shuffle for a few minutes, then I just choose the cards that feel right.
Sometimes I draw however many I like, in response to my own questions; like a dialogue with the cards and my guidance. Other times I use traditional card spreads with just one question in mind. I’ve noticed that they seem to respond to my mood — and I no longer draw cards when I’m feeling fearful or upset, it just makes me feel worse!
Tarot has become an insightful and entertaining tool for guidance and inner-exploration in my life. I quite fancy it, and recommend it to anyone who’s even remotely curious. The Rider-Waite deck is the most universal, and a great place to start.
To my fellow friends of weed—An editor had me switch formats so the following poem will not be published anywheres. But, I couldn’t just delete it! It’s a love letter to cannabis, inspired by my transition to needing it medicinally. I think my fellow herb lovers will get it… So, here:
My dearest Cannabis,
I know my love’s grown temperamental since our relationship has taken on this medicinal tone, and I’m so sorry. Now I lean on you like Snoop taught me, and that’s everyday. I’ve started to look to your faults, pointing out where you make me lose track of thoughts—and overlooking how you make my imagination ace, helping to form a thought worth capturing in the first place.
I take you for granted, it’s not enough that you melt the pain in my aching body; I just want you to rid me of more, and I want you to keep it away forever. You distract my mind from pain via whimsical and varied trains of thought, but I get frustrated when the same locomotives hamper my ability to express them.
I love how you give even boring food pizzaz, but bellyache that you’re to blame when I munch too much. You ease my worried mind, you coax anxiety out the door—and yet still, I ask for more.
I judge you by your appearance, and even take a sniff to see if you’re up to par. I reserve photos for when you look your best, sharing only your gorgeous purple tones and crystals; and resort to name-calling when your game is off—I call you schwag that smells of hay, and you don’t deserve that, not even on your worst day.
But, my dear marijuana; my pakalolo, my herb, my sensi—the truth is that I love you, that you truly are a kind bud indeed. Since our last vote you’re always there when I need you. (Though, I’ll admit, the price increase totally blew.) Whether we meet via vape pen or pipe, or by rip or a toke, if you grew up indoors or out; you’re always someone on whom I can count.
So I vow to appreciate you, my beloved ganja, to see you for all of your goodness; and there is so much to see—for you even make smelling skunky a good thing! I love you so much, I’d even declare it with a ring.
The experience 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.
She’s one-part fuckfull to fuckless tale, one-part 30-meditation challenge, and the last bit is a series of 20 Fuckless Adventures that are totally as fun as they sound.
I hope you’ll join me. Stay tuned for the release of How I Lost All My F-cks!
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?
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 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- Plan what you will do. Do you want to fly? Get laid? Chat with Albert Schweitzer? Daydream it as practice for the real thing.
- Watch the movie Waking Life. That’s how I had my first, after watching this amahhhzing flick, and without even trying!
- 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.
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!
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…
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?!”