If you’re new to the squad, you may not have heard about my weekly live streams every week in the Rebel Buddhist Facebook group. They’re called “Wake the F*ck Up Wednesday,” and since they’re in the morning for most of us in the U.S., a lot of people think the name is because I’m a morning person and I really love to wake everyone else up with explicatives like, “Hey! Wake the F*ck Up!”
While I often start the live stream that way, it isn’t why I named it that. That story starts over a decade ago.
I was at the peak of a lot of areas of my life. I had been accepted to the #1 school for my program, I had been offered a contract as a climbing guide in Alaska. I was married to my first husband who was a great guy. My relationship with my mom was on the mend, and my dad was relatively stable…
Life was good.
Until one night when I met up with my then-husband to go climbing and grab dinner. I drank one beer and had some fish and chips, and that evening I was in the fetal position on the bathroom floor and in an insane amount of pain. I took some meds, and they helped a little, but the pain was still there, so when I got back to San Francisco, I immediately went to UCSF and was scheduled for an abdominal ultrasound.
The next day I had my ultrasound, and when the tech said, “I’m going to get the doctor who will be right in,” I knew that it wasn’t good. There was no smiling. No, you’ll hear back from your primary care doc in a day or two.
The doctor explained that I had a cyst on my kidney, and the chances of it being cancerous was low, but I should get a CT scan. A few weeks later I got the scan and… it’s clearly cancer. And everyone is shocked.
So of course, I do a big search engine deep dive about my cancer, and it says that only 5% of people with my type of cancer live past 5 years.
There’s a lot more story to this, but we will skip ahead a bit and say the stars aligned and I managed to advocate for a new surgery (I was even written up as a case study), which truly saved my life.
So when I had my surgery and was told I was in for a long recovery time of chill and rest, and when I was in fear about the cancer returning, I realized that I didn’t have a true realization of the teachings from my long-term Buddhist practice and meditation on death and impermanence.
I had a fierce attachment to my life as it was, and I was worried I would become seriously depressed if I couldn’t climb or adventure again or if my brain and intellect was permanently altered.
Ultimately, my cancer became a path for me to discover how to source happiness from within me. It sounds cliché, but only if you haven’t had it happen to you. This was sourcing a type of happiness that no illness or IQ drop could take away from me.
Fast forward a bit: I was cancer free for several years, working a dream job catching babies, learning to be a life coach, and getting regular scans each year.
After one of my regular scans, I get a voicemail from my oncologist, asking me to call him back – which I immediately do. They told me I had to wait until Tuesday to speak with him, which seriously stressed me out… I had to wait a whole weekend for my results!
During that weekend, I did a coaching class where I volunteered to be coached in front of the group. I opened up about my fear of dying and immediately started crying. I wasn’t ready yet.
Then the coach, Sabina Wyss, who was like a freaking Jedi that day, put on a timer for 2 minutes and told me that I had until that timer went off to tell everyone in the room what I wanted to say, eye-to-eye. And at the end of that time, I would be dead.
All my barriers fell down, and I surprised myself by yelling out, “Wake the f*ck up! You’re going to die, and you don’t know when! Don’t live a life with regrets. If you want to tell someone you love them, tell them!
Forgive them. Hug them. Make love to them. Stop pushing away those who want to love you.
Let go of the anger and the resentment and the hate and the fear. Stop thinking you can do it later or some other day. Wake the f*ck up. You’re going to die and you don’t know when.”
At the end, I was spent, exhausted, and crying, with snot all over… but I said what I felt was the most important thing I could say to that group.
And you know what, rebel?
That hasn’t changed to this day.
That’s why today, over a decade later, I have the “Wake the F*ck Up Wednesday” live stream every week. It’s why I designed the Adventure Mastermind around becoming intimate with this truth.
It’s why I coach and have this podcast and created Freedom School.
In my opinion, if you live a life of adventure and do cool shit without the tender preciousness that comes with knowing this life is fleeting and temporary… you’re missing out on a whole new level of presence and joy and connection.
It’s a bit ironic or paradoxical that in thinking about our death, our life becomes more infused with life. With presence and love and kindness. But it is true.
I don’t want YOU to have to wait for a Universal two-by-four to hit you upside the head before you start taking the preciousness and fleeting nature of this life as a sacred privilege – every day.
So yeah – let’s all wake the f*ck up. Now. Because the truth is, we don’t know how much longer we’ll be here. And when we embrace that, we live life with a helluva lot more vitality, passion, love, compassion, adventure, joy… and a whole lot less unnecessary suffering.
In this Episode you will learn:
// The one thing I need the world to know before I die (hint: it’s to wake the f*ck up!) – and why
// Why you shouldn’t wait for something like the Big C (cancer, or an accident or severe illness etc.) before doing the soul work.
// Why knowing we are only here for an undetermined amount of time is not scary – it’s enlivening.
// How my cancer diagnosis taught me to let go of the sh*t that doesn’t matter
// How you can wake the f*ck up… and why you need to do it RIGHT NOW
// Episode 9: Impermanence, Death, and Other Sexy Things
// If you’re new to the squad, grab the Rebel Buddhist Toolkit I created at RebelBuddhist.com. It has all you need to start creating a life of more freedom, adventure, and purpose. You’ll also get access to the Rebel Buddhist FB group, and tune in every Wednesday at 11:30am PST as I go live.
// If you’re ready to *truly* know yourself – all of you – and to start actively transforming old broken habits into new healthy mindsets, check out the upcoming Adventure Mastermind. It’s a no-BS group of 6 womxn ready to slay the next year – YOUR way. Six months of transformation and adventures (inner and outer!) that will have you blowing your own mind, and you can learn more at www.AdventureMastermind.com Check it out – application is open, with an amazing bonus of 1:1 coaching with me (expires soon!), and you won’t want to miss the chance to hang out with me and a small group of rebel womxn in adventurous places to get unstuck and create the next chapter of your amazing life!
// Want to dive into this work on a deeper level? To study it and practice it together? Check out Freedom School – the community for ALL things related to freedom, inside and out.
It’s also where you can get individual help applying the concepts to your own life. It’s where you can learn new coaching tools not shared on the podcast that will blow your mind even more, and it’s where you can connect over all things freedom with other freedom junkies just like you and me. It’s my favorite place on earth and it will change your life, I guarantee it. Come join us at JoinFreedomSchool.com. I can’t wait to see you there.