1. Life begins at fuck it!
Authenticity and Awesome happen the moment you stop trying to control the world around you…a futile exercise, anyway. So often, we only arrive at this thrilling jumping off point after we’ve exhausted every manipulative strategy imaginable to make the world show up the way we want it to…and it still hasn’t.
Why not just accept right now that you’ve never actually controlled the outside world in a meaningful way and surrender to the same force(s) that holds galaxies together and makes hearts beat and creates puppies and oceans and DMT? The most wondrous things in your life probably happened mostly by remarkable circumstance outside your control, anyway.
Now, this isn’t about giving yourself permission to do stupid, irresponsible things, or to be lazy. You didn’t come here to hurt people or watch TV for 80 years. No, this is about following the otherwise unheeded yearnings that stir passionate and deep in your aching heart. As Abraham Esther-Hicks says, follow the “Hell Yes!” and live the juicy life you REALLY came here to live. You don’t need anyone’s permission. And you can’t control or even know the consequences of ANYTHING you choose to do! Every path you choose ultimately leads to your death, anyway. So just say, “F#@k It!” already and get on with it!
That’s it, the One R-Rated Key to living an awesome, authentic life. Everything else flows from there.
Why then do I need to offer 9 more? I don’t. But it’s fun and I love writing and there’s some really juicy distinctions inside of “Fuck it!” soooooo…
2. Follow the “hell yes,” or let it be a “hell no!”
In the movie the Matrix, Neo was instructed to follow the White Rabbit. Following that little sexy White Rabbit tattoo got him out of his dank pit of existential despair where he wasn’t going to learn anything and into the exhilarating world beyond where he would run into his magnificent destiny.
Your White Rabbit is all the little Hell Yes!’s that show up in the face of choice. If you just get still and tune in to your mind AND body, you’ll feel an expansion in one direction or another; or it might just feel like relief…but not that lazy, escapism kind of relief. Genuine relief. That Hell Yes! – though it may be subtle – will guide you towards your highest good in any moment, and thus the highest good of others, too. And if some choice is NOT a Hell Yes! at the moment, then let it be a Hell No! Which doesn’t mean that choice will never be right for you; it just means it’s not right for you right now.
In other words, suffering isn’t just A choice, it is YOUR choice. Also, you can always follow my momma’s advice: when in doubt, do nothing.
p.s. Ladies, let your “maybe/not sure” in bed = NO!
3. Fully embrace your sexuality.
Sexuality is the reason you’re here. It’s also possibly the most powerful energy coursing through your body. Shame around your sexuality is kryptonite to your inner superhero. Life only happens because sex happens. In fact, Life is making love to itself, non-stop…I don’t just mean the baboons, homosapiens, and remarkably sensual leopard slugs that are constantly combining to create new versions of themselves. Look even closer: every new moment that comes into existence is borne of whatever realities were interacting in the moment just before. Life is f#@king constantly. And when Life suppresses that energy – as only we humans seem inclined to do – it stagnates and begins to die.
Embracing your sexuality doesn’t mean always indulging it. Byron Katie said, “just because a man has an erection doesn’t mean he has to do anything with it.” Embracing your sexuality simply means dropping the shame you almost certainly feel around it, whether single or in a relationship. I’ve been ashamed most of my life for having robust sexual energy…and I’m a fairly normal heterosexual male! But I’ve suffered in countless ways to hide my natural attractions, simply because we live in a culture pathologically shy about its penises and vaginas. We’ve come a long way over the centuries, but we have a long way yet to go. We’ll know the real sexual revolution has happened when we are no longer afraid to acknowledge the wild sexual rhythms running feral and whimsical through our fascinating human bodies. We also won’t feel like we have to indulge it just because we feel it.
Stop squashing and squandering your sexuality. Embrace it. Wield it respectfully.* Let it supercharge your life!
*If your sexual attractions are genuinely inappropriate, just don’t indulge them and proactively seek help. But know that shame doesn’t serve you. It won’t make your attractions go away and will probably only empower them. Get help BEFORE you do something that hurts others.
4. Be endlessly curious.
Want to know the punchline to the great Cosmic joke?…There is no punchline. And that’s the punchline (psychedelic mushrooms taught me this, and I believe them).
Question everything. Even – and especially – your own thoughts. Nobody on this planet knows what’s really going on. Not the Christians or the Jews or the Muslims or the Politicians or the Scientists or the Gurus, not the Poets nor the Artists. Not even Sting. The joy is in the journey because there is no destination, not even for knowledge. Scientists build bigger and bigger atom smashers thinking that’ll lead to conclusive answers. But they always only lead to more questions. Look, we’re wandering through a vast and unfathomably empty space on the seat of a giant wet rock, coming from nowhere on our way to nowhere. The smartest of us is guessing at best. Just keep asking questions. Peel back the endless layers. Why? Because the deeper you go, the more beauty you can see everywhere, and the more rich and rewarding life gets. And you’ll laugh more.
Because when you get the no-punchline punchline to the cosmic joke, that shit is hilarious!
5. Give up being anti-anything.
Being against anything requires stressful energy, and it never really works, anyway. Just look at our obsession for waging ineffective wars against stuff that never disappears: Terrorism / Drugs / Poverty / Crime / Prostitution.
You didn’t come to this planet to make things go away. You came here to express the life flowing through you and create beauty in the world, to help humanity awaken to its true nature…whatever that may be. So just be FOR stuff. It will make you much more interesting to be around, and probably nicer, too. Want to take on poverty?…be FOR prosperity for all. Crime?…be FOR strong education and economic opportunity for everyone. Prostitution?…well, first go get laid and relax, then just get back to creating your life’s art.
Side effect of giving up being against anything: less war.
6. Don’t push the river.
Have you ever tried to pull a caterpillar out of its cocoon, hoping to catch an early glimpse of the butterfly? Or ripped open the closed bud of a spring flower, desperate to experience its full bloom glory? Probably not. I’ll bet, however, that you’ve eaten raw cookie dough before baking the cookie. But if you always did that, you’d never experience the sweet succulent warmth of crispy melting chocolate-flavored heaven swarming your taste-buds and rocking your entire being with orgasmic waves of sensual bliss. If cookie dough were truly better than the actual cookie, there would never have been cookies. Just cookie dough.
This insidious belief – that what you want to happen simply must happen for the world to be at peace, function efficiently, spin, be round, be fun, be easy, be safe, love you, protect you, entertain you, etc. – it’s a lie. Life has a far bigger imagination than you do. It’s never needed you pushing it around before! Yet it’s amazing how often we force our will on life around us, ripping open cocoons and flower buds, pushing rivers, insisting some particular thing happen as if we know what’s best for the Universe.
You might force something into fruition, at least technically. But that forceful approach typically leaves a wake of resentment and disconnection, sometimes subtle, sometimes obvious, between you and the world around you that probably wasn’t part of your original vision. Anyway, the contentment you’re really hungering for is what Benedictine Monk, David Steindl-Rast, described as “that kind of happiness that doesn’t depend on what happens.”
Our impatience is wrecking our only home, Planet Earth. And we routinely damage our relationships when people don’t do what we want them to do. We’re so busy trying to rip open the bud to hurry and enjoy the flower’s fragrance and wild beauty that we completely miss the beauty and wondrous miracle of the life-holding bud itself.
So don’t push the river. Flow with it instead.
7. Ignore all haters, doubters, and bullies.
They’re not living your life. You are. They’re as clueless as anyone, anyway. They’re just hating and doubting to mask their own fear. In fact, have compassion for them. They’re mortified. Bullying only makes the fearful feel powerful. Anyone genuinely unafraid of you won’t feel the need to tear you down. Haters, doubters and bullies are miserable.
Happy, authentic people are too busy creating awesome lives to have time for criticizing yours.
8. Be willing to fail.
Wise music artist Ash Ruiz once reminded me, “the point of life isn’t to get the dream job or the perfect spouse or the nice house. The point is to wake up.” Everything in the world around and outside you is a detail that will shift and change throughout your life. People, careers, money, rewards, validation, circumstances, victories, defeats – all will happen, have their moment with you, and then go.
My friend Catherina said, the only true failure is not being willing to fail. There is really no such thing as failure. You can’t do it wrong. You can only decide not to do it. Throughout your life, if you will stay with the question What can I learn from this?, then you’ll learn from absolutely everything, even the worst of so-called mistakes. My first book, Tell The Truth, Let The Peace Fall Where It May, was borne of a significant relationship in which I f#@ked things up massively.
Failure is an illusion. You are walking success.
9. Stop lying about what you can afford.
Humanity lives in a scarcity paradigm, always thinking there isn’t enough. This keeps us perpetually worried, over-protective, unsatisfied, and living small. In the face of things we want to experience, we’ll often say, “No, I don’t have enough money / time / courage / smarts / etc. to do that.” But that’s bullshit. That’s just another way of saying, I’m more committed to my belief in scarcity than I am to having that experience. Tony Robbins says, “we get what we must have.”
From now on, start asking yourself this empowering question: “Can I afford NOT to?”
Getting clear about the real costs of NOT doing something truly interesting to you just might be the leverage needed to get your worried ass off your scarcity couch.
10. Always remember you are descended from the stars.
You are literally conscious stardust. The elemental particles in your body were forged countless millennia ago in the fiery cauldrons of the early universe. Your body is literally the stuff of exploding stars carried on comets pounded into earth, and now, finally, come alive. There’s nothing wrong with you. Sure, tune your body instrument. Improve your skills and knowledge. It’s fun to see what these bodies can really do when we push their limits. But don’t think for a second that you, the end-product of billions of years of evolutionary dance, are somehow a corrupted file.
You’re already perfect. So quit worrying and get back to creating the wondrous art of your unique lifetime.
Bryan Reeves is the author of the book Tell the Truth, Let the Peace Fall Where it May.