Can We Be Spiritual & Still Say F*ck? ~ Kelly Eckert

boring buddha

Warning: f-bombs ahead. 

Last Thursday, my family and I were shocked to find out that a friend of my daughter Sophia had been shot and killed earlier that morning.

I shared this post publicly on Facebook along with a link to a local news story:

“This 18-year-old young man who was shot and killed was [my daughter] Sophia’s friend. He had just graduated with her 11 days ago. So fucking stupid. Some other guy playing with a rifle. Accidentally shot and killed Nathan. Guns are meant for killing. Not for playing. You know the best way not to shoot and kill your own fucking friend? Don’t have a fucking gun.”

That post sparked much discussion about “gun rights,” with many people overlooking the profoundly depressing truth that a young man had just been stupidly, senselessly killed.

I started to edit that post a couple of times over the proceeding 24 hours, after my anger had given way to sorrow. Is that how I wanted random people to see me? Is that how I wanted to be known?

Would other “inspirational, spiritual leaders/mentors” write “fucking” in a Facebook post?

Would they express raw anger the way I did?

I decided to let my original anger and profanity stand, and I want to explain why:

(1) I don’t want to be a member of Orwell’s Ministry of Truth, digitally altering perceived reality to suit my wishes. If I had said the words out loud on stage, I wouldn’t be able to take them back. So I won’t take them back here.

(2) More important than #1, those words and that reaction are part of who I am. And I am more than OK with people seeing and knowing all those different parts of me.

Being an “inspirational, spiritual leader/mentor” is just one part of me. And my kind of spirituality involves feeling and expressing all emotions, not just the “love and light ones.” My kind of spirituality involves saying fuck. My kind of spirituality involves being emotionally authentic, not hiding behind a façade of feigned peace.

Rage is real and earthy, like lightning or a volcano. I will not deny that power in me.

(3) Finally, I may indeed say fuck a bit too often. But some things are so fuck-worthy that it belittles that thing/incident when we avoid using profanity. Nathan’s death is profane. It deserves to hear a chorus of “fucks” from those of us who are outraged and/or grieving.

When I ask myself, “What would Jesus or Gautama Buddha do in this situation,” I know that they would flip over tables in the temple and cry out to the heavens. And so do I.

And so my words stand.

Of course, you can be spiritual and still say “fuck.” In fact, sometimes our spirituality demands that we scream “fuck” to the heavens.

Spirituality is not about transcending our humanity. Why the fuck would we be embodied humans if we were meant to transcend our bodies, our emotions, our rawness?

Spirituality is about fully embracing our humanity—the light and the dark, the love and the hate, the pure and the profane.

I will not deny my humanity by whitewashing a tragedy. I know in my soul that Nathan’s soul is just fine. All is well for him. All is well for all of us. Ultimately, yes, all I feel is love and peace when I connect in this moment to the wisdom of my soul.

But my soul loves dabbling in the dirt—crying, raging, fucking, laughing, eating, bleeding—even though I may not always like it. Why are we here if not to experience the raw, profane bliss of having a body?


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Editor: Emily Bartran

Photo: Strevo/Flickr


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Ellen McLaughlin Feb 29, 2016 6:10am

This couldn’t have popped up at a better moment in time. I see it’s an older post , but an English teacher of my granddaughter (one of her best) is fighting to keep his job because he read a poem using the f-word to AP students at a poetry round table held off campus. One student complained. One. And now students both present and past are rallying for him. Petition with 2000+ signatures as of this morning. Tee-shirts made. Sit-in planned. Sadness for loss of the life in your article. Thank you for addressing this though. What is spirituality ? You gave a wonderful definition. #fightforfish

Thaliesin Jul 3, 2014 1:46pm

I LUV to swear! It’s my only vice. I don’t drink, smoke, gamble or prostiute, so let me swear! Besides, somebody needs to explain to me why it is ok for children to watch movies about kids killing kids, but swear words are bleeped out and frowned upon?

Sorry for the loss of your daughters friend.

Jean-Francois Jul 2, 2014 6:51pm

Please that has no spirituality in it at all!! This shows you have much to learn about spirituality. A TRUE spiritual person knows and understands our life is pre-written but our responses, actions, feelings, etc are our own and this is where we must learn to keep cool to understand. How about your family home exploding because of the cities fault and losing a daughter and being burned over 80% of your body permanently disabled only to lose a son years later and almost another son to an Avm. Life comes and goes not knowing for how long you’ll be in company together. Remember that you were blessed with that loving soul and they are in a blissful place only for you to reconnect later. But remember them and how much joy and life they gave you and give that love and joy to others in their memory. We cannot control life or take possessions in life everything is only on loan with no pre-set time limits. Look for the good in all things as only un-spiritual only see negatives of everything. Read how the most peaceful man of our time Ghandi says about taking away guns and you’ll be surprised how YOUR fear is wrong it’s not the gun, nor the car, bus, train, airplane etc fault but humanity for creating and trusting in other MAN made vehicles or structures not GOD’S fault for making these items but man.

Change your views and change the world!!!!

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Kelly Eckert

Kelly Eckert guides creative individuals and organizations to break out of ordinary and break into brilliance. Through books, online courses, workshops, keynotes, and private coaching/consulting, Kelly helps people awaken their inner Dragon (their true power), face their fears, and express their true potential. Kelly studied biological anthropology at Harvard College, teaching at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, biology at Tufts Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and marketing and leadership at the Rice University Jones Graduate School of Business. She spent ten years working as a marketing consultant, a freelance editor and graphic designer, and a visual artist (under the artist name of Ana Kelly). She became a Reiki Master/Teacher in 2003, developed her own energy healing technique, studied nonviolent communication, and began working with spirit animals (animal totems) and channeling spirit guides. She created radical new bio-spiritual approaches to coaching and healing, including Coaching with Animal Archetypes™, Branding with Spirit Animals™, and the Fear Releasing Method™. Kelly is an animal rights advocate, an LGBTQ ally, co-host of the Geek Girl Soup podcast, and co-founder of Role Breaker dot com. Learn more on her Website.