Thoughts on Authenticity

I love this quote. Authenticity sounds simple: “Just be yourself.” 

AUTHENTICITYBut 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 – something that requires vulnerability, transparency, and integrity.

And even though authenticity is a buzzword, it’s not actually what we expect from another in our culture… For instance, I write about cannabis for a living, which I LOVE; but being open about that means that some people think of a stoner stereotype and write me off at that. Poof! Done.

But that’s where integrity comes in. Do I want to be around people who don’t want me to be fully myself around them? That want me to skirt around my potential controversial aspects, or pretend they aren’t there? Is that how someone of character behaves?

It’s a grey area. Some could argue that it’s nicer to stay non-controversial. But I would argue that it’s a path to ignorance and crowd mentality. I think it’s our moral imperative to find and be the best, *most whole*, versions of ourselves; that it’s the whole fucking point of this “life” gig. 

#DoYou isn’t simple for most of us. Do it anyways.

 

Living: Spiritual-Style

I’m a spiritual person, which I also frequently describe as, “Spiritual, not religious” — so people don’t get confused. Here’s the difference: spirituality is your experience of the divine, and religion is learning about someone else’s experience. (Mysticism, paganism, and, more recently, “witch,” are also terms I identify with; the last having nothing to do with pointy hats or evil, but aspirations for a more grounded practice.) Spirituality brings depth and joy to the lives of millions, yet it’s not very well understood by our culture at large.

Spirituality can mean magical-feeling experiences that make you wonder if you somehow accidentally ate some ‘shrooms, or it can look like a daily ritual that helps you connect to deeper meaning, or a whole world of other experiences; the avenues to explore in spirituality are endless. While this makes it a never-ending and wildly satisfying path, it doesn’t make it the easiest to start down. Here’s some tips to get rolling.

    1. Meditate: Spirituality is all about connecting to a deeper wisdom that lies within, your intuition. And you’ll never ever learn how to do that if you don’t learn to get your mind to STFU! It’s really easy. All you need to do is sit or lie comfortably, and focus on your breath. When thoughts arise, let them go without judgement, and focus on your breath again. The more you do it, the better it will serve you.

    2. Read: You can start forming your philosophy on life by reading others’. Some of my recommendations for first picks are The Celestine Prophecy, Jonathan Livingston Seagull, Conversations with God, and The Four Agreements. (Here’s more.) I also highly recommend the movies Waking Life and i heart huckabees.

    3. Divinate: Divination is essentially asking the divine for advice. Tarot and oracle cards are my favorite ways; tarot can be explored like learning another language, but oracle cards come with books that explain the cards. There’s also: runes, dowsing, the I-ching, and scrying, among others. They can help you make decisions and help predict the energy of what’s coming next in your life.

    4. Google Stuff: Here’s some topics to start checking out — astrology, numerology, ascension, lightworker, dark night of the soul, shadow work, chakra cleansing, law of attraction, conscious evolution, intuition, sacred geometry, and starseeds. That should give you 20-bazillion more wormholes to fall down!

    5. Buy Stuff: Contrary to popular opinion, this alone will do absolutely fucking nothing. But, when powered with intention and dedication, stuff can be a great aid to your spiritual practice. Go to a new age store and see what you’re drawn to, but a few basics are: sage and palo santo for energy cleansing, gemstones, and books books books! I know I said books already, but there is no one book for this stuff; just many teachers who help point to wisdom that must be located within. So read up!

    6. Practice Gratitude: Gratitude is the attitude, man. Practicing regular gratitude brings you into the present moment; little things like noticing the amazing taste of your coffee, appreciating the way your body feels after a workout, or the fact that your car started today can help bring perspective and shake of nonsense whiny thoughts. Focusing on stuff you want brings more stuff you want. (And samesies for the opposite… 😮)

    7. Community: Finding other people who are into this stuff is key. Check out bulletin boards at health food stores, yoga centers, and other places of conscious living. There’s also non-religious churches! Nontheistic is a helpful term here, Unitarian Universalist churches and Jain centers are two great examples. The internet is also awesome (and so quick!) — just checking out hashtags of topics is likely to introduce you to people. Talking (or typing) with others about these things really helps ground the ideas, helps bring them into your everyday life.

Best wishes on your spiritual journey!!

Weekly Fuckless Tarot

 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!

My Words, Their Website: Published Fun

I like to write about all kinds of things, but since becoming acquainted with the infotastic publication Leafly in mid-2019, most of my published writing has filed under wellness – exploring the fascinating realm of cannabis and how it affects our bodies and lives.

I’ve recently pivoted to writing more generally, with a focus on Medium and their world of publications. Connect with me here!

Topics I plan to pitch in coming months: spoonie advocacy, all the health tips, societal conditioning,  social justice, autism and HSPs, as well as how to integrate mysticism into modern living.

Thanks for checking out my words, hope your day’s a goodie 😘

Medium
How Tarot Can Help Spoonies

Leafly Med/Endocannabinoid System:
Home DNA Kits Can Help You Pick a Cannabis Strain
Canna Pioneer Launches Company to Unlock the Endocannabinoid System
Why is it So Hard for Medical Cannabis Patients to Get High?
How to Prepare for Your First Psychedelic Mushroom Trip
Does Endocannabinoid Deficiency Play a Role in These Common Illnesses?
Why Isn’t the Endocannabinoid System Taught in Medical Schools?
Can Orgasms Help Your Endocannabinoid System?
What it’s like to be a Kid who Medicates with Cannabis
What It’s Like to Be a Parent Who Medicates With Cannabis
Endometriosis Is Painful as Hell. At Least There’s Cannabis
Here’s What Symptom Relief with Cannabis Feels like for MED Patients
5 Medical Conditions Psychedelics May be Able to Help Treat
The Stoner’s Guide to the Wim Hof Method
Does Cannabis Make You Poo?
The ‘Sleepy’ Cannabinoid CBN Might Not Actually Be Sedating
How Cannabis Helps ‘Spoonies’ Soothe the Symptoms of Chronic Illness

Leafly Culture:
How is a Cannabis Pill Made? Its Journey from Seed to Capsule
How to Prepare for Your First Psychedelic Mushroom Trip
Why ‘Marijuana’ Should Have Always Been Called ‘The Gage’
How to Tell Legal from Illegal Cannabis Dispensaries in California
Do Anti-Drug Campaigns Actually Work?
Cannabis Can Make You More Creative—But It’s Complicated
Cannabis Church Founder Runs for Indiana Governor

6 Stoney-Yet-Productive Self-isolation Activities
End-of-life Hospital Care in California Could Soon Include Cannabis
What’s Next for Psychedelic Decriminalization?
Seniors Celebrating Cannabis
6 Weird Ways to Consume Cannabis
Are We Turning CBD Into Snake Oil?

Civilized: Are We Made for Weed? How to Boost Your Endocannabinoid System With Cannabis

Huffington Post: 10 Things I Learned Working at a Cannabis Dispensary
Green Cross of Torrance (entire blog)

 

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

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 

Southeast Living:
Juneau, My Two-Faced Love.
Chronic Illness Gets Even Worse in the Winter: Here’s How You Can Help

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

Featured

The Experience/Book

ill drag

How I Lost All My F-cks is more than a book. It’s a 3-part experience, lasting one month, that will help you to shake off harmful societal conditioning and find a version of yourself that knows how to feel satisfied, how to have some freakin’ fun, how to prioritize the things that really matter, and how to be present during them. 

Part I is a 30-day meditation challenge, teaching you various methods of mindfulness meditation, which I’ve been practicing for close to two decades, as well as daily reflection questions and a space for a short journal entry. It also includes several concepts and tales meant to leave you in an uplifted and thoughtful state, pulling from sources like psychology, philosophy, the nature-oriented spirituality of the Tao te Ching, and more.

While you’re finding your meditation groove, you’ll also be rising to the challenge of Part II’s Fuckless Adventures; choosing 20 dare-like experiences (out of 30) that are aimed to incorporate more authenticity and vulnerability in your life, connect (safely) with others, and immerse you in a whole lot of fun. This section also includes a handful of inspiring tales from lives lived boldly, learning how one Prince’s truth expanded the rights of millions, how Frida Khalo overcame tremendous odds whilst fully expressing herself all along the way, how an octopus helped renew one man’s spirit, and much more.

And while you’re meditating and adventuring, you’ll also be reading Part III. This section elaborates on this “fucklessness” business, often using entertaining tales from my, uhm, “colorful” life to ground the concepts and ideas described within it. It’ll take you through learning to care about all the wrong stuff (as we’re conditioned to do), teen shenanigans, serendipitous magic in a philosophy class, near-death meets chronic illness, adventures in jail and mental institutions, homelessness, and more.  

Together, it’s an average of 20 minutes a day or so, longer if you get creative with it. 

The world is presently a confusing place, and this book will help you to better orient within it by teaching you to center in yourself. By the end of your fuckless experience, you’ll feel like your life has gone through a refreshing cleanse, and so has your mind—which is really your home, if you think about it. (And the lease is for the rest of your life…)

I’m presently seeking representation, so stay tuned for the release of How I Lost All My F-cks! (Support on the socials is also much appreciated, @howilostallmyfs across the board 🙏❤)

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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.

 

 

Butterfly, or Man?

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.

Non-wimpy sensitives, and how to be one.

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.

ar-asher

Meditation Classes

If you think about it, your mind is your home. And one you’re stuck with, too. Is yours a nice place to live?

Screen Shot 2017-06-24 at 6.23.04 PMOur 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.

No STDs here.

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!

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