Spiritual People Say “F*ck” Too. ~ Ashley Hook

Via elephant journal
on Jan 31, 2013
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Not everyone is a cookie cutter 1000-hours-of-whatever-raw food-ultra-marathon-bali-retreat yogi.

Some of us are simply trying to live and get to know ourselves so that we can stand proudly in our authenticity; you don’t have to fit yourself into the mold of who you think you should be in order to be at peace.

Growing up, I was always chasing after religion. I was a curious, smart, young tyke who was craving some explanation—some rational purpose for my existence. I latched onto the first thing that made sense to me: Christianity.

The stories I read and heard seemed to be hinting at something deeper.

It was my first experience with The Divine. With The Big Love—and so I stayed and got serious about my religion.

Church every Sunday. Youth group every Wednesday. Choir. Prayer. Bible study. I did it.

And for many years, I wore the proud badge of a Christian.

I was a volunteer for different organizations; I didn’t curse, I was adamantly against pre-marital sex and abortion. No drugs. No dark arts. But then something happened…

I got curious again.

I started questioning the very religion that had first satiated my hunger for understanding. I started asking “Why?” a lot and when the answers stopped making sense, I resumed my search again.

So I checked out Catholicism—and Adventism—and then Buddhism—I was a religion slut. My unwavering inner desire to place a meaning on my young life was utterly exhausting and emotionally taxing.

And then one day, I became a teenager. Oh, shit got real.

I found myself constantly in the midst of deep inner conflict.

Can I say fuck and still be spiritual? Can I smoke pot and still be a good person? Can I have sex and not be a damned for all eternity? Can I vocalize my yearning to feel a part of something larger than myself without freaking everyone out?

It has taken many, many years of soul-searching and forgiveness to discover my truth—to find the delicate balance between faith and conduct, perception and discernment, authenticity and insincerity.

My constant search for that truth has been the basis for a sound personal practice.

At our very core, I believe we are all searching for peace; we don’t all find it in ashrams or churches or yoga studios.

Some people find it in hallucinogens. Or in the hospital room where their child was born. Or while free falling from a base jump. Or on a surfboard. Or in a garden. Or in a book. Or in music. The point is…

We don’t all arrive at our destination on the same train—and certainly not in the same outfit.

The most destructive thing that you can do to yourself is to go against what is in your heart because someone else told you to. Question everything. Question the rulebook. Question society. Question your parents. Question your thoughts. Question me.

And for fuck’s sake, if you want to say or do something, go right ahead. There are no mistakes, only lessons to learn. Experiment. Have fun. Look alive. Pay attention.

May you find the courage to discover your truth and live it out loud.


securedownload2Ashley Hook is a retired party animal and reformed spiritual materialist. She writes about love, acceptance, fear, non-goals, and some superficial stuff too. She hopes to one day write full-time, on a magical hippie sanctuary in the woods. For now, she travels the world, takes pictures and makes a living slingin’ food and sellin’ vintage.


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Assistant Ed: Lacy Rae Ramunno

Ed: Bryonie Wise


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22 Responses to “Spiritual People Say “F*ck” Too. ~ Ashley Hook”

  1. "Question everything" <– That is the most profound statement that will be the basis of my children's upbringing. Really dug this post. High Five!!!!

  2. ellen says:

    Ashley Hook's writing is so profound!! I love reading what she writes,

  3. JILL says:

    wild and free the only way to be me…love this article…f#^~k yeah

  4. Melody says:

    do you…love this!!

  5. F**k yeah.


  6. […] Spiritual People Say “F*ck” Too. ~ Ashley Hook. […]

  7. Ashley Hook says:

    thanks so much! I love to hear how open you want to be with your children, that is fantastic.

  8. Ashley Hook says:

    thank you so much!

  9. Ashley Hook says:

    “All good things are wild and free.” – Henry David Thoreau
    thank you for your response, Jill!

  10. Ashley Hook says:

    thank you, Melody!

  11. Ashley Hook says:

    YOU are beautiful 🙂
    thank you!

  12. Sarah says:

    this article rings true to my heart. Ashley has an incredible ability to say what many of us are thinking….I will be back on this website to see her next article !!!

  13. Madison Canary says:

    "The most destructive thing that you can do to yourself is to go against what is in your heart because someone else told you to. "

    I needed that! Thank you!
    GREAT article!

    “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”

  14. denise says:

    …and if you meet the Buddha on the path, kill him…

  15. theeffortlessbeauty says:

    This is fantastic! I remember that what brought me to Buddhism was precisely that it "allowed" you to still swear, have sex, buy ludicruously outlandish handbags, wear miniskirts (even to the temple sometimes) and still be spiritual. I liked that my lama, Tsem Rinpoche had told me that it's perfectly alright to be myself exactly as I was on the outside, but just change the inside. That made a lot of sense to me, and was very logical. So I still go on martini binges, have great sex, buy another pair of shoes that maybe I don't need, overindulge on the cheesecake – and it's okay. The Buddhas don't frown down on me and tell me what a bad person I am. And thank fuck for that.

  16. HeatherM says:

    Beautiful post! Reminds me of a friend who lives in India full time sharing that a swami had said, "if you still have material cravings it will be difficult to pursue the spiritual."

    Although this might sound profound it actually is cause for confusion. As long as we are here..living and breathing we will likely continue to have material cravings. Now, the extent we act upon them or recognize them is the entire challenge of being on the spiritual path.

    I've long thought the biggest phallic notion to this path is the idea that everyone gets really nice, really soft and really quiet. Like spiritual persons also get angry! The difference is being able to channel it well without harm to others…same as that great word, f**K. Hence, the meaning of yoga (re: skill in action). People often think of the asana, but it is also the art and skill of living!

    Thanks again!

  17. Alli says:

    this made me smile.

  18. […] Spiritual People Say “F*ck” Too. ~ Ashley Hook […]

  19. Dan says:

    I suppose the remark may be cause for confusion because most of us don't "get" the spiritual at the fully liberated, deep level at which material cravings are just one type that have been eradicated, and I utterly agree that connotations of becoming "really nice, really soft and really quiet" can detract from pursuing our true selves. After all, what is one's pursuit of the spiritual tangent (or component) if not a part of existence? As the spiritual tangent resonates more strongly, material cravings naturally lessen.

  20. certainly like your web-site however you need to test the spelling on quite a few of your posts. Many of them are rife with spelling issues and I in finding it very bothersome to inform the reality however I will surely come back again.

  21. Gramma says:

    Way to go ash

  22. Michael Sea says:

    aloha Ashley…….we have treid to reach you….Holoahola….Michael and Ruth Ann