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Fxxk It book review

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Retreat

F**k It: The Ultimate Spiritual Way by John C. Parkin is a fun read to take on retreat. I’m writing the word F**k with stars in the middle to be polite, because I do confess I have been known to say this word, and always feel a sweet release when it’s accompanied by ‘It’. Profane it may be, and not very queenly behaviour, but it is often the easiest, most liberating way of allowing myself to no longer care about something that is giving me grief – usually a situation I can’t do that much about, or that I’ve tried to solve or manipulate in such a way that has only succeeded in winding me up.

Parkin’s a witty man, and though some of his asides can be a little silly at times, I’m finding his book a lot more palatable than Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now, the volume I would have turned to in a similar way only a few months ago but which now, in my new-found state as a mother, I find just a little too serious, brilliant though it is. Instead I’ve been dipping in and out of Parkin’s book each night – most especially when my baby wakes me up and I can’t get back to sleep – and it’s clever. An unpretentious and honest plea for us to truly let go and give in to the reality of life.

The theory is, that ‘F**k It’ is the most profane way of saying the most profound thing – that when we relax and give in to the simple flow of life, good things happen, often the very things we desperately wanted to happen but which didn’t because we cared about them too much. It’s the Buddhist theory of non-attachment in a lingo that’s more suited to many of us.

By relaxing John means really, truly and completely letting go of tension and all the things that make us tense, which is pretty much everything that we attach meaning to, from money worries and our desire to be successful at work to wanting to eat the right thing, live with the right person and be the healthiest, calmest, loveliest person we can be. Ironically, our self-development culture is just as much to blame as everything else – just another meditation session/counselling session/massage/yoga week/course of vitamins and we will be the person we want. F**k It, says Parkin, we’re fine just as we are.

I especially liked the bit about saying F**k It to cleaning the house and getting a cleaner in – even if we have just let go of our cleaner as we’re currently rather skint (not very fitting for a palace, I know, but we have shut up quite a few of the rooms). There’s too much other good stuff to quote from this book, so I’ll just include a few sentences from the ‘Say F**k It to Parenting’ section to give you a flavour, as parenting is understandably on my mind.

‘Saying F**k It to parenting’, says Parkin, ‘is giving up to what kids are. Just as saying F**k It to life is giving up to what life is. And the two things are practically the same. As kids are pure, unadulterated life energy. If you get used to saying F**k It to how your kids are, in all their playing, their sulking, their screaming and their tenderness, you will very quickly learn how to get used to saying F**k It to life.’

Great! My daughter is a guru in the making.

© Queen of Retreats

Reviewed by Caroline Sylger Jones

Buy F**k It: The Ultimate Spiritual Way at Amazon.

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