Today’s Guest Post is from Gail Dickert, author of Coming Out of the Closet Without Coming Apart at the Seams and Enlightened-ish.
It’s time we put the ‘F’ word back in fundamentalism. For those of us who have survived “Christian” Fundamentalism specifically, the inability to embrace our inner sailor has been detrimental to our spiritual and psychological well-being. However, as I discuss in Enlightened-ish, fundamentalism is an equal opportunity oppressor. There are New Age fundamentalists, Buddhist fundamentalists and probably Muslim fundamentalists. These fundies of our faith experience have a way of taking something quite natural and turning it into a process of self-suppression that divorces us from valuable parts of our human condition. Consider this excerpt from a chapter called “The Freedom to Cuss,” which is the very first freedom in Enlightened-ish.
“… organized religion is far from being the only possible obstacle to enlightenment. Industrialized societies have been isolating themselves from the spirit-body connection for decades. Our behavior reveals that the body can be separated from the soul. We can take our bodies to the spa and treat it with essential oils and gentle touches and yet continue to harbor old feelings from being ill-treated by a co-worker or spoken harshly to by a parent. Conversely, we can take our souls to the church pews and saturate them with creative, understanding and compassionate communities only to return to our homes where we barely know how to function and our souls become neglected in mindless attempts at intimacy.
We try to do everything and accomplish next to nothing every single hour of those precious 24 that we are given each day.
We cannot blame our governments. We cannot blame religion. We cannot blame family.
Damnit, who can we blame?
Politics may tell you to blame a party or leader. Religious leaders may tell you to blame a devil or karma. Society may tell you to blame a parent or the economy.
Politicians may say you can find salvation in their new campaign perspective. Religious leaders may say you can find respite in eternal life. Society may say you can beat the odds by applying yourself and working harder to get what you want, can what you get and then sit on your can but no!
The sacred journey to enlightenment is about personal responsibility.
Cuss about it.
If you are looking outside of yourself for any answers, you are going to get increasingly frustrated by the lack of answers that I will offer you.
I am not you.
I will only suggest that you go inward and you find out what the Sacred has to say to you individually, to your body, in your mind, for your heart, about your soul.” (Freedom to Cuss, Enlightened-ish: A Grief Memoir about Spiritual Awakening)
“Well, fuck, Gail,” you exclaim. “Part of doing a guest post is delivering some easy-to-follow Five Step program so I can heal myself, awaken, forgive my oppressors or let go of my past. You suck.”
Hey, be nice to the guest blogger. There’s a good chance that we can be sometimes fuckin’ magical here.
How about I create for us The 3 Tenants of the Freedom to Cuss, so we can really stay in touch with our fundamentalist roots here? I mean, what’s freedom without a few rules, right? (See how I did that? I made a point and then I prepare to contradict my own point and proceed anyway… that’s the Freedom to Guest Blog However You Want, bitches).
Tenant One: Thou shalt cuss because it frees your mind.
With a little En Vogue attitude, let your hair down and let the words flow from the foul-mouthed freedom-fighter within your brain. Our minds, while sometimes our greatest ally, often censor us and play tapes in our heads about what is “right” or “proper.” Free your mind and I have no doubt that the rest will follow! This has certainly been the case for our “Bi-feminist Apostate” who hosts this blog. Just look at her writings and how she continues to bloom in the pile of spiritual manure that her family of origin chose for her. I mean, it’s about as badass as you get – when you let your mind wander into leslooms and yoni rituals. The shit is made good, when we choose to outshine the stink, ya know?
Tenant Two: Thou shalt cuss because it saves your heart.
I’m not a medical doctor, but as an intuitive healer, I’ve seen more than once, how people who block their “uncomfortable” emotions end up choosing unhealthy behaviors that prevent the flow of love to and from their hearts. Not cussing is like a big, cholesterol-packed McDonald’s cheeseburger for your energetic health. Ironically, with every cuss word that you utter, you pump authenticity and pure, raw blood through your arteries… and when it comes back to your heart through your veins, the vulgarity is full of life-giving oxygen.
Tenant Three: Thou shalt cuss because it’s fucking hysterical.
Let’s be honest. In the proper setting (and with the right amount of dessert wine), dropping a few inappropriate F bombs is incredibly entertaining. The first time I heard someone say “un-be-fucking-lievable,” I think my inner grade school kid punched a bully in the face. I thought, “Yes! I wanna cuss like that!” One of my favorite memes on Facebook is the one where the Buddhist children are meditating and one shouts, “First to Enlightenment… eat my dust, bitches!”
Now, as the Executive Director of an Early Learning Center, I’m not suggesting that this is quite so entertaining in all settings, but honestly, people of faith take themselves way too seriously sometimes. Nothing breaks the ice better than knowing that I can laugh with someone about how the sacred and the silly converge… and a hearty, “Hells Yeah” in response to finding a good parking space is really appreciated sometimes. Why not act like you won the World Series when you manage to get through the day without (ironically) screaming profanities at your boss? “Way to fuckin’ go, yo! You did it!”
Honestly, in the end, The Freedom to Cuss has less do with actual cussing, or even fundamentalism and more to do with the grief that I felt when my father died. On that day and every day since, I don’t kindly dress up my grief with happy words about pious platitudes related to life after death or everything happening for a reason.
Nope, every time I consider that he will not be at my wedding…
When I consider that he will never hold a grandchild…
When I consider that he doesn’t call on Saturdays anymore to annoy me with his crossword puzzle answers…
When I consider that the leaders at the church I was attending right before he died responded poorly to my need to grieve freely…
When I consider that my ex made my grief all about her and I was too heartbroken to get out of that relationship…
When I consider that I was only 33 years old when the man who brought me into the world died…
I get fucking sad.
I even get fucking mad.
And in that way… I learn to be free.
Damnit! So this is awakening?
Namaste, my friends.
Let your badassery begin today!
P.S. Fundamentalism: The Equal Opportunity Oppressor – stay tuned this week for my full discussion of the topic at For Gail So Loved the World.