Earlier this summer I watched a short Ted Talk on not giving a fuck. It was a great speech on decluttering the mind by realizing there is a limited amount of mental energy we have to expend on the things we do in our daily life. Sarah Knight, the speaker, described the importance of determining our own personal fuck budget so that we don’t over use the fucks we can give about those things that really matter.
Her message resonated with me. I have come to many of the same conclusions she has regarding many aspects of my life.
Knight referred to Marie Kondo, the famous organizing consultant and author, and her method of decluttering one’s home by categorizing the objects in one’s house and then holding each item and asking whether or not it brings one happiness or joy. Those things that don’t, they are thanked and then given up, either by donating them or throwing them out.
Knight takes this method to the commitments we have and sets in motion a powerful and important process of letting go of those things that don’t really add meaning or purpose to our life, things that are often accepted as part of our existence but when we look more closely are within our reach to simply say no to.
In my middle age this sense of limited time is becoming more crystal clear. Although I often fail to keep my fuck budget in check, I find myself realizing that it’s very important to do so. When I don’t, I pay dearly in regards to my health and my ability to really enjoy and do the things that matter.
Since the last election the news and social media for me has been particularly challenging. Social media for the most part feels like a giant energy suck. When I’m on my game, I know that my fuck budget doesn’t have enough in it to respond to every post that catches my attention. If I’m not paying attention, I can easily get pulled in to compulsively reading the news somehow believing that my act of reading can actually change circumstances on the ground. The result is not greater energy but actually a sense of alienation and hopelessness.
Not too long ago I came across a quote by Terry Pratchert that added a bit more to this. He writes:
Fear is a strange soil. It grows obedience like corn, which grow in straight lines to make weeding easier. But sometimes it grows the potatoes of defiance, which flourish underground.
The real work around us is difficult. It means that we have to show up for ourselves and one another. We each have to find our way. No one can do it for us.
From what I know, most of what is significant goes unnoticed. The work of the soul is very much like the potatoes of defiance, hidden away, slowly growing roots, multiplying.
The harvest of that defiance is a full participation in life lived out of a great sense of freedom, joy, and love. Knight hits it on the spot. Not giving a fuck about meaningless things or activities is a primary condition for us to live from that spaciousness. It is part of our liberation.
I know I have my practice set out for myself in this fantastic time of distraction.
How about you?
Before you go, take a look at the Ted Talk and check your fuck bucks. If you are low, save some. But don’t keep them under the mattress too long. This is no way to invest. Instead, multiply them doing things that affirm life: Connect with others. Take care of yourself. Eat well. Exercise. Enjoy the outdoors. Make things. Show up places when needed.
Your voice matters.
What a great time to be alive!
And consider joining us this October for 4 days of going underground like a defiant soul potato.