I’m Spike Gillespie, a writer in Austin, Texas. I’ve got seven books published. I write the blog Meditation Kicks Ass. In 2012 I held a successful KickStarter campaign to fund my most recent book, The Maine Event. Now I’m hoping you’ll kick in to help me carve out time to write and publish my eighth book, Meditation Kicks Ass: How I Learned to Sit, Breathe, Signed up for Man College, and Accepted Jesus Chrysler into My Heart. It’s the story of how I used meditation, tattoos, and punk rock to radically change my life, drive off depression, and become annoyingly happy. Think of it as a mash-up memoir and guide, one that includes some thoughts on how you, too, can become annoyingly happy if you want to, simply by sitting your ass down and breathing.
So— a little about the book. In December 2012, I fell—as I so often do in December— into a brutal depression. This black hole situation was exacerbated when my lifelong PTSD was triggered by an unfortunate event. I was a total mess, crippled by the darkness, barely able to get out of bed. The new year arrived and I remained mired in mental messiness.
I made a resolution then. I would do everything within my power to beat the depression and keep future December darkness at bay. I gave myself a year to accomplish this goal. I wasn’t sure if my plan would work, but I threw myself into it. Initially, the key component was MEDITATION.
I’d had an on-again off-again relationship with meditation for a dozen years already, but now I sat upon my cushion with focused intent. I never skipped a day. The more I meditated, the better I felt. The fog lifted. Still, new hurdles appeared, threatening my improving mental health. In April two of my dogs died inside of a week. In May I ended my long-term relationship.
Right around the breakup is when I began Meditation Kicks Ass. Encouraged by my friends Robert and Muffy, every day I posted (and still post) a picture of myself meditating in an interesting place and I write about how meditation is changing my life. I rarely use punctuation.
In June I attended a ten-day silent meditation retreat, thinking that bumping up from twenty-one minutes to ten hours of daily meditation would make me feel even better. Um, not exactly. At least not at the time. I felt less like the Dalai Lama and more like Tom Hanks’ character in Castaway. I started talking to my dental floss and writing contraband letters on toilet paper tubes. I cried every day. I felt like I was going to break.
But I didn’t break. Ultimately I left the retreat totally changed, my perspective forever altered, my heart wide open, compassion pouring from it.
In October I visited Southside Tattoo, where I’d had a lot of ink applied over the years. The plan was to get a small tattoo to commemorate a life-changing summer trip I took to England, where I meditated all over London, at Oxford, and Beachy Head. The guys at the shop invited me to start hanging out on a regular basis. I accepted and dubbed my weekly visits Man College, a place for me to quiz the guys and Leila as I faced off with my fear of men and dating. I'm still learning from them, and so far it's been a smashing success.
In December, I traveled to Tucson, Arizona, to attend the reunion gigs of Jesus Chrysler, the punk rock band that had provided the soundtrack for my coming of age story in Knoxville in the ‘80’s. Taking that trip was one of the best decisions in my life. The ripple effect has been profound. I learned how to look at my past differently and still more healing occurred.
All the breathing, the man lessons, and the punk rock, along with support from countless friends along this journey, helped me move from that horrible black hole to a place of genuine joy and light. I totally kicked December 2013's ass. Soon, I'll hit the one-year anniversary of the blog, to which I have posted daily, without fail. Many people have asked me to take the stories I’ve recorded and compile them into a book. I’m ready to do that now and I’d be so grateful for your help. I promise I will use punctuation.
Risks and challenges
In 2012 I held a successful KickStarter to raise money to publish my last book, The Maine Event. I hit all my goals-- financial, publishing deadlines, production, and delivery on time. I feel that this experience demonstrates that I will deliver this project on time, too. Should I run into any delays with production of the book, I'll keep all backers apprised. But my track record with all of my books is a good indication this won't become necessary.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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