Quantcast

Jul 23 2014

“If you only want to read one book on atheism, read this one”: Amazon Customer Review of “Why Are You Atheists So Angry?”

I’ve been reprinting my favorite Amazon customer reviews for Coming Out Atheist, and it occurs to me that I never did this for Why Are You Atheists So Angry? 99 Things That Piss Off the Godless. So I’m doing that now. Here’s a nice customer review, five stars out of five. (The book has 135 customer reviews, and 109 of them are either 5-star or 4-star.) Here’s what Marcelo Staudt had to say about it:

THE book on the subject

If you only want to read one book on atheism, read this one.

If you are a believer, it will explain you why atheists have a problem with religion. If you are not you will read a lot of what you already thought with a much better presentation.

A lot of the books on atheism have, like the guys from South Park said, a “whiny tone” to it, but not this one. The anger it carries just makes it be blunt and to the point.

Thanks, Marcelo! And if any of you have read Why Are You Atheists So Angry?, Coming Out Atheist, or Bending, it’d be awesome if you’d post a review.

***

Here, by the way, is ordering info for the book in all three formats — print, ebook, and audiobook!

Why Are You Atheists So AngryEbook editions:

The Kindle edition is available at Amazon.

The Nook edition is available at Barnes & Noble.

Smashwords has the book in multiple formats, including iBooks, Sony Reader, Kobo, Kindle (.mobi), Stanza, Aldiko, Adobe Digital Editions, any other reader that takes the Epub format, Palm Doc (PDB), PDF, RTF, Online Reading via HTML, and Plain Text for either downloading or viewing.

All ebook editions and formats cost just $7.99.

Print edition:

The print edition is available at Powell’s Books.

The print edition is also available at Amazon. However, be advised (if you haven’t been already) that seriously abusive labor practices have been reported at Amazon warehouses. Please bear that in mind when you’re deciding where to buy my book — or indeed, where to buy anything. (For the record: Powell’s employees are unionized.) Again, that’s the link for Amazon US — it’s available in other regions as well.

The print edition is available at Last Gasp.

The print edition is $14.95 USD. It is published by Pitchstone Publishing.

Wholesale sales of the print edition:

Bookstores and other retailers can get the book from Ingram, Baker & Taylor, and other standard wholesale distributors. It can also be purchased directly from the publisher, Pitchstone Publishing.

Audiobook edition:

The audiobook version is available at Audible.

The audiobook version is available on iTunes.

The audiobook version is available on Amazon.

And yes, I did the recording for it!

Jul 21 2014

So You Think You Can Dance, Nudity Parity Watch: Season 11, Episode 8

sytycd logoAs regular readers know, I’m watching the current season of So You Think You Can Dance, the mixed-style dance competition show, and am documenting whether the women are generally expected to show more skin than the men. (I give a more detailed explanation of this project, and why I’m doing it, in my first post in the series.)

I don’t have much analysis of this episode, except to point this out: There was literally just one routine tonight in which there was nudity parity. Every other routine had women more naked than men. And in all but one of those routines, the nudity imbalance was dramatic, with the women very noticeably more naked than the men.

All but one.

I’m just sayin’, is all.

(Also, apologies for the lateness — I was traveling, and only just saw the episode Sunday night.)

so you think you can dance s11e8 opening group numberOpening routine, all 18 dancers, hip-hop
Women are more naked than men, although not dramatically (some women have low necklines and backs, some women are completely covered, all men are completely covered).

so you think you can dance s11e8 jacque zackJacque & Zack, hip-hop
Woman is more naked than man (she has bare legs and short sleeves, he has bare forearms).

so you think you can dance s11e8 jordan marquetJordan & Marcquet, contemporary
Woman is more naked than man (she has bare legs, bare arms, deep scoop neckline, he has bare arms, deep scoop neckline).

so you think you can dance s11e8 jessica stanleyJessica & Stanley, jazz
Woman is more naked than man (she has bare legs, bare arms, scoop neckline, deep scoop back, he has bare arms, open back).

so you think you can dance s11e8 Bridget EmilioBridget & Emilio, jive
Woman is more naked than man (she has mostly bare legs, bare arms, somewhat low neckline, mostly bare back, he has bare forearms).

so you think you can dance s11e8 Emily TeddyEmily & Teddy, contemporary
Woman is more naked than man (she has bare legs, short sleeves, deep scoop neckline, deep scoop back, he has short sleeves).

so you think you can dance s11e8 Brookyln CaseyBrooklyn & Casey, jazz
Woman is more naked than man (she has mostly bare legs, bare arms, low neckline, low back, he has bare forearms, shirt open at neck).

so you think you can dance s11e8 valerie rickyValerie & Ricky, Viennese waltz
Woman is more naked than man (she has bare arms, low neckline slightly covered with flowers, low back, long skirt that covers legs but swirls up in twirls to reveal bare legs, he is completely covered).

so you think you can dance s11e8 carly sergeCarly & Serge, hip-hop
Complete nudity parity (both dancers wearing essentially identical skeleton costumes, both completely covered).

so you think you can dance s11e8 tanisha rudyTanisha & Rudy, Broadway
Woman is more naked than man (she has mostly bare legs, bare arms, low neckline, he is completely covered).

Summary:
See above. In all routines but one, the women are more naked than the men, and in almost all of those routines, that difference was significant.

All but one.

I’m just sayin’.

Jul 18 2014

Greta Speaking in Chicago This Weekend! Also San Francisco, Denver, Los Angeles, Costa Mesa, Charlotte NC, Sacramento, and Springfield MO

I’m going to be speaking in Chicago this weekend, at the Humanism at Work conference! It’s a great idea for a conference — hosted by the Foundation Beyond Belief, it’s centering on how nontheists can put their compassionate humanism to work for a better world, with presentations on philanthropy, volunteering, and community building, as well as practical workshops, panels, and hands-on volunteer opportunities. Other speakers include Leo Igwe, Rebecca Vitsmun, Alix Jules, Hemant Mehta, David Smalley, Caroline Fiennes, Brittany Shoots-Reinhard, Hemley Gonzalez, Pathfinders Panel (Conor Robinson, Ben Blanchard, Michelle Huey, Wendy Webber), and more. If you’re in the Chicago area, check it out!

Here are details about this and my other upcoming speaking gigs — including San Francisco, Denver, Los Angeles, Costa Mesa, Charlotte NC, Sacramento, and Springfield MO. If you’re in any of these places, I hope to see you there!

CITY: Chicago, IL (Humanism At Work, the Foundation Beyond Belief conference)
DATE: Friday July 18 – Sunday July 20
LOCATION: Hilton Rosemont/ O’Hare, Chicago, IL
HOSTS/SPONSORS: Foundation Beyond Belief
TOPIC: Coming Out Atheist — How It Helps the World
SUMMARY: Coming out is the most powerful political act atheists can take, and one of the most powerful acts we can take to make life better for ourselves and other atheists. But are there ways that coming out makes life better, not just for atheists, but for believers and the rest of the world?
OTHER SPEAKERS: Leo Igwe, Rebecca Vitsmun, Alix Jules, Hemant Mehta, David Smalley, Caroline Fiennes, Brittany Shoots-Reinhard, Hemley Gonzalez, Pathfinders Panel (Conor Robinson, Ben Blanchard, Michelle Huey, Wendy Webber), and more
COST: $149 — you can also attend just part of the conference for only $40
EVENT URL: http://humanismatwork.org/

CITY: San Francisco, CA (Perverts Put Out!)
DATE: Saturday July 26
TIME: 8:00
LOCATION: The Center for Sex and Culture, 1349 Mission Street, San Francisco (near Civic Center BART)
EVENT: Perverts Put Out!, San Francisco’s long-running pansexual performance series, has featured stellar line-ups of truly twisted, mega-talented artistes — even an occasional naked mayoral candidate — since way back in 1998.
OTHER READERS/PERFORMERS: Princess Cream Pie, horehound stillpoint, Na’amen Tilahun, hosts Simon Sheppard and Dr. Carol Queen, and more.
COST: $10-25 sliding scale
EVENT URL: http://www.simonsheppard.com/simonsheppard%27su.html

CITY: Denver, CO (Colorado Secular Conference)
DATES: Friday August 15 – Sunday August 17
LOCATION: Radisson Hotel Denver Southeast, Aurora, CO
HOSTS/SPONSOR: Colorado Coalition of Reason, with other local groups
TOPIC: Celebrating Secular Diversity
SUMMARY: Making organized atheism more diverse will help make our movement larger and stronger. And it’s also the right thing to do. What are some of the obstacles to diversity? What are some practical steps we can take to become more diverse? And why is this issue so important?
OTHER SPEAKERS: Jamila Bey, Candace Gorham, Seth Andrews, Matt Dillahunty, Hemant Mehta, Mandisa Thomas, Rebecca Hale, Steve Hill, Raúl Martínez, Mikey Weinstein, Amanda Metskas, August Brunsman, David Tamayo, and more.
COST: $35 – $175
EVENT URL: http://www.cosecularconference.org/

CITY: Los Angeles, CA
DATE: Sunday, August 17
TIME: 11:00 am to 1:00 pm
LOCATION: Center for Inquiry-L.A., 4773 Hollywood Blvd. Los Angeles, CA
HOSTS/SPONSORS: Center for Inquiry-L.A
TOPIC: Coming Out Atheist: How To Do It, How to Help Each Other, And Why
SUMMARY: See above
COST: Free for Friends of the Center: $8 for the public: $4 for students (with ID)
EVENT URL: http://www.centerforinquiry.net/la/events/coming_out_atheist/

CITY: Costa Mesa, CA
DATE: Sunday, August 17
TIME: 4:30 pm
LOCATION: Costa Mesa Community Center, 1845 Park Ave. Costa Mesa, CA
HOSTS/SPONSORS: Center for Inquiry-L.A/Community of Orange County
TOPIC: Coming Out Atheist: How To Do It, How to Help Each Other, And Why
SUMMARY: See above
COST: Free for Friends of the Center: $8 for the public: $4 for students (with ID)
EVENT URL: http://www.centerforinquiry.net/oc/events/feed_your_brain_lecture_series1/

CITY: Charlotte, NC (Carolinas Secular Conference)
DATES: Friday September 26 – Sunday September 28
LOCATION: Hilton Charlotte Executive Park, 5624 Westpark Dr, Charlotte, NC
HOSTS/SPONSORS: Carolinas Secular Association
TOPIC: TBA
OTHER SPEAKERS: Mandisa Thomas; Bria Crutchfield; Steve Ahlquist; Greydon Square; Harry Shaughnessy; Faisal Saeed Al Mutar; and DJ Alex Zygmunt
COST: $125. Includes the Meet and Greet which is also a costume party (costumes optional); all speaking events and workshops; and the Awards Dinner Banquet.
EVENT URL: http://www.carolinassecularassociation.org/conference/

CITY: Sacramento, CA (Sacramento Freethought Day)
DATE: Saturday, October 11
LOCATION: TBA
HOSTS/SPONSOR: Sacramento Atheists and Other Freethinkers
OTHER SPEAKERS: Annie Laurie Gaylor, Heina Dadabhoy, Neil Wehneman, Jason Frye, Sean Faircloth, and more TBA.
TOPIC: I’m not giving a talk at this event, but I’m going to be on their Authors’ Panel.
COST: Free
EVENT URL: http://freethoughtday.org/

CITY: Springfield, MO (Skepticon)
DATES: Friday November 21 – Sunday November 23
LOCATION: Ramada Oasis, Springfield, MO!
OTHER SPEAKERS: PZ Myers, Cara Santa Maria, Hemant Mehta, Dr. Nicole Gugliucci, Ben Blanchard, Melanie Brewster, JT Eberhard, and more.
TOPIC: TBA
COST: Free
EVENT URL: http://skepticon.org/

Jul 18 2014

“Clear, cogent, articulate”: Amazon Customer Review of “Why Are You Atheists So Angry?”

I’ve been reprinting my favorite Amazon customer reviews for Coming Out Atheist, and it occurs to me that I never did this for Why Are You Atheists So Angry? 99 Things That Piss Off the Godless. So I’m doing that now. Here’s a nice customer review, five stars out of five. (The book has 135 customer reviews, and 109 of them are either 5-star or 4-star.) Here’s what Mara R. Greengrass had to say about it:

I loved this book so much I’m already reading it for the second time

I’ve been hoping Greta would write a book about atheism ever since I first discovered her blog and she didn’t disappoint! This is a clear, cogent, articulate explanation of why atheists (like me!) are so angry, why that anger is important and useful, and what we should do about it.

This book is great for both atheists and the theists who wonder what in the world we’re talking about. But theists beware: Greta doesn’t pull any punches. (Nor should she.)

I can’t wait until there’s a dead tree edition I can send to my parents… [Note from GC - there is now a dead tree edition!]

Read this book. Now. Really.

Thanks, Mara! And if any of you have read Why Are You Atheists So Angry?, Coming Out Atheist, or Bending, it’d be awesome if you’d post a review.

***

Here, by the way, is ordering info for the book in all three formats — print, ebook, and audiobook!

Why Are You Atheists So AngryEbook editions:

The Kindle edition is available at Amazon.

The Nook edition is available at Barnes & Noble.

Smashwords has the book in multiple formats, including iBooks, Sony Reader, Kobo, Kindle (.mobi), Stanza, Aldiko, Adobe Digital Editions, any other reader that takes the Epub format, Palm Doc (PDB), PDF, RTF, Online Reading via HTML, and Plain Text for either downloading or viewing.

All ebook editions and formats cost just $7.99.

Print edition:

The print edition is available at Powell’s Books.

The print edition is also available at Amazon. However, be advised (if you haven’t been already) that seriously abusive labor practices have been reported at Amazon warehouses. Please bear that in mind when you’re deciding where to buy my book — or indeed, where to buy anything. (For the record: Powell’s employees are unionized.) Again, that’s the link for Amazon US — it’s available in other regions as well.

The print edition is available at Last Gasp.

The print edition is $14.95 USD. It is published by Pitchstone Publishing.

Wholesale sales of the print edition:

Bookstores and other retailers can get the book from Ingram, Baker & Taylor, and other standard wholesale distributors. It can also be purchased directly from the publisher, Pitchstone Publishing.

Audiobook edition:

The audiobook version is available at Audible.

The audiobook version is available on iTunes.

The audiobook version is available on Amazon.

And yes, I did the recording for it!

Jul 17 2014

Bisexual or Pansexual?

bisexual_triangleI’ve been pondering the question of whether I should keep using the word “bisexual” to describe myself, or whether I should start using “pansexual” instead. I wanted to run the pros and cons by y’all and get feedback.

On the one hand: The word “bisexual” feeds into the gender binary, in a way that I don’t feel comfortable with. It implies that either (a) there are only two genders, or (b) there are more than two genders, but I’m only attracted to two of them. Neither of these is correct. I accept the existence of people who don’t identify on a gender binary — and there are non-gender-binary-identifying people who I think are hot. “Pansexual” would be a more respectful word, and it would be more accurate.

On the other hand: Most people more or less know know what the word “bisexual” means. Far fewer people know what “pansexual” means. I’m very much a pragmatist when it comes to language: given a choice between (a) a word that means exactly what I want to say but that only ten people will understand without looking it up, and (b) a word that doesn’t quite mean what I want to say but that comes close and that almost everyone who speaks English will understand, I’ll almost always choose (b). It’s part of being an accessible, conversational writer. (It’s one of the reasons I tend to avoid words like “humanist” and “freethinker” unless I’m talking with other godless folks: there are contexts where “humanist” is a slightly more accurate description of the particular facet of godlessness I’m expressing at that particular moment, but I don’t always want to derail the conversation with a ten-minute explanation of what exactly “humanism” is.)

On the other other hand: The only way people are going to learn about pansexuality is if people use the word. Using the word is what will make it more widely understood.

On the other other other hand: I’ve self-identified as bisexual for a long time, and it’s become a political and cultural identity as well as a personal one, having to do with my particular relationship with the LGBT community. I have a longish history of being one of the people pushing for recognition and respect of bisexual people, both outside the LGBT community and within it. And I think bisexual visibility is important — again, both in and out of the LGBT community. That matters to me, and I’m somewhat reluctant to let it go.

pansexual symbolOn the other other other other hand: There’s no reason I can’t become one of the people pushing for recognition and respect of pansexual people, both outside the LGBT community and within it. Who knows — in twenty years, that might be an important part of my personal, political, and cultural identity.

On the other other other other other… okay, enough.

I’m toying with the idea of saying “Bisexual — well, pansexual, actually,” which opens the door to at least a short discussion of what pansexuality is and the rejection of the gender binary. Again, I don’t always want to derail the conversation with a ten-minute explanation of what exactly “pansexual” means… but at least sometimes, that might be worth it.

Thoughts?

(Oh, for the record: I’m not hugely interested in the “Why do you even need labels?” argument. I’m a writer. I care about language. We need language to talk about who we are.)

Jul 17 2014

“Witty, kind, and lucid”: Amazon Customer Review of “Coming Out Atheist”

Got a nice customer review on Amazon for Coming Out Atheist: How To Do It, How to Help Each Other Do It, And Why! Five stars out of five. (In fact, the book now has 30 customer reviews — and 24 of them are five stars out of five, with 2 four-star reviews!) Here’s what Carolyn Frazee had to say:

Witty & Kind

This is a great book. Witty, kind, and lucid. She has pretty much convinced me that “coming out” atheist is important, where previously I have been more indirect & passive about this process. She can write!

Thanks, Carolyn! And if any of you have read Coming Out Atheist, it’d be awesome if you’d post a review.

***

Here, by the way, is ordering info for the book in all three formats — print, ebook, and audiobook!

Coming Out Atheist cover 150Ebook edition:

The Kindle edition is available on Amazon. (That’s the link for Amazon US, btw — it’s available in other regions as well.)

The Nook edition is available at Barnes & Noble.

The Smashwords edition is available on Smashwords. Right now, it’s only available on Smashwords in epub format: I’m working to make it available in other formats.

All ebook editions and formats cost just $9.99.

Print edition:

The print edition is now available through Powell’s Books.

The print edition is also available at Amazon. However, be advised (if you haven’t been already) that seriously abusive labor practices have been reported at Amazon warehouses. Please bear that in mind when you’re deciding where to buy my book — or indeed, where to buy anything. (For the records: Powell’s employees are unionized.) Again, that’s the link for Amazon US — it’s available in other regions as well.

You can also buy the print edition at your local bookstore. If they don’t currently carry it, you can special order it. (Bookstores can get it from standard wholesalers; wholesale info is below.) Support your local bookstore!

The print edition is $17.95 USD. It is published by Pitchstone Publishing.

Wholesale sales of the print edition:

Bookstores and other retailers can get the book from Ingram, Baker & Taylor, and other standard wholesale distributors. It can also be purchased directly from the publisher, Pitchstone Publishing.

Audiobook edition:

The audiobook version is available on Audible.

The audiobook is also available through Amazon.

The audiobook is also available through iTunes.

And yes, I did the recording for it!

Jul 15 2014

Secular Meditation: Sticking With It, Part 2 — Doing What You Like

In yesterday’s post, I talked about ways to stay with a meditation practice and to find the time and motivation and discipline to do it every day. Inspired by this comment from Lea, I want to add another “sticking with it” tip: Pick forms of meditation that you enjoy, that resonate with you, and that fit into your life — and notice when that changes, and go with it.

respiratory-systemWhen I first started meditating, I was doing lots of body scans. I found it easier to keep my focus when it was on something as specific as a particular part of my body — and when I was done, I felt very centered and connected with my body. As time went on, though, I found myself moving more towards breath meditations. Partly this is just because of the time issue: for me anyway, body scans take a while (45 minutes at least, unless I do a quickie), and I found them to be unpredictable in how long they’d take. If I was particularly unfocused that day, and my attention was drifting more than usual, it could take me an hour, an hour and a half, to get all the way from my feet to my head. (My record was two hours, although that was on a really bad day.) A breath meditation can fill any amount of time, which fits better with my irregular and action-packed life.

And partly, I’ve been preferring the breath meditation because I like how non-directional it is. The body scan sometimes feels just a bit… not goal-oriented exactly, but it definitely has a “start here, go from here to there to there, finish when you’re done” quality, which slightly defeats the purpose of being in the present moment.

So lately, my standard go-to form is the breath meditation. I do mix it up, though, depending on my mood and what’s going on in my life. I sometimes focus my awareness on my emotions (if I’m feeling particularly disconnected from them), or on listening to silence (if I’m feeling particularly jangled). I find movement meditations somewhat difficult, but I do walking meditations now and then. I still do body scans occasionally, if I have time: they really are a deep sensual pleasure. And I sometimes let my awareness drift to whatever it wants to drift to, working to stay present and conscious with whatever happens to be arising in my consciousness.

This seems to vary significantly from person to person. At the end of my original eight-week meditation class, when we were going around talking about what practice we were going to do and how we were going to stay with it, I was very struck by how widely varied people were in what form they were going to focus on.

Now, I have found value in at least sometimes doing forms of meditation that I don’t immediately resonate with. I noticed this a lot when I was taking the original eight-week course and trying lots of different forms: if I had resistance to a particular form, sometimes it was because there was something difficult going on in my life that I was shoving to the back burner but really needed to deal with. (The “sitting with my emotions” technique is a perfect example: it’s often very valuable indeed, but it’s often very hard to persuade myself to do it.)

Yoga pose A style of ChakrasanaBut sometimes, a technique didn’t work for me because it didn’t work for me. Yoga was a perfect example. I found yoga difficult because, due to assorted physical limitations (a bad knee, repetitive stress in my wrists), a number of the poses were just physically painful, and I had to sit them out. It wasn’t about having some deep pocket of resistance — it just didn’t work for me. If I want to do a movement-and-change meditation rather than a mediation that’s about stillness, I do a walking meditation, or an eating meditation. (Those are interesting — richly satisfying, but also weirdly challenging.)

This isn’t universally true for all forms of self-care. Some valuable forms of self-care are painful, difficult, or just boring. And if your meditation teacher or health care provider is advising you to stick with a particular form of meditation even though it’s difficult — and if you trust them — then go with that. But in general, we tend to stick with things for the long haul if we enjoy them. This should be obvious; but in our weird, Puritanically-rooted, “pleasure is bad and if it sucks it must be good for you” U.S. culture, I think we sometimes forget it. So I’m writing this as a reminder, mostly to myself. If I want to keep meditating for the long haul, it’ll help to pay attention to which forms I’m most enjoying, and to stick with them.

(Yoga pose: A style of Chakrasana image by Thamizhpparithi Maari, via Wikimedia Commons.)

Jul 15 2014

“Clear and Powerful”: Amazon Customer Review of “Why Are You Atheists So Angry?”

I’ve been reprinting my favorite Amazon customer reviews for Coming Out Atheist, and it occurs to me that I never did this for Why Are You Atheists So Angry? 99 Things That Piss Off the Godless. So I’m doing that now. Here’s a nice customer review, five stars out of five. (The book has 134 customer reviews, and 108 of them are either 5-star or 4-star.) Here’s what Second Thought had to say about it:

Clear and Powerful

Greta Christina writes with heart and head strongly aligned. The book starts with 99 things that piss off the godless, but it goes on to say so much more. With wit and clarity she lays out her arguments for why religion is at fault for these things (and many more) that piss her off, letting no brand of religion off the hook. She continues with 10 reasons she doesn’t believe in god and goes on to talk about atheist activism and why it is both effective and necessary. For all that she covers in the book it is a surprisingly quick read. It keeps the reader engaged throughout. It would make a good gift to someone who is asking about what atheism is all about or who is asking “Why are atheists so angry?”

Thanks, Second Thought! And if any of you have read Why Are You Atheists So Angry?, Coming Out Atheist, or Bending, it’d be awesome if you’d post a review.

***

Here, by the way, is ordering info for the book in all three formats — print, ebook, and audiobook!

Why Are You Atheists So AngryEbook editions:

The Kindle edition is available at Amazon.

The Nook edition is available at Barnes & Noble.

Smashwords has the book in multiple formats, including iBooks, Sony Reader, Kobo, Kindle (.mobi), Stanza, Aldiko, Adobe Digital Editions, any other reader that takes the Epub format, Palm Doc (PDB), PDF, RTF, Online Reading via HTML, and Plain Text for either downloading or viewing.

All ebook editions and formats cost just $7.99.

Print edition:

The print edition is available at Powell’s Books.

The print edition is also available at Amazon. However, be advised (if you haven’t been already) that seriously abusive labor practices have been reported at Amazon warehouses. Please bear that in mind when you’re deciding where to buy my book — or indeed, where to buy anything. (For the record: Powell’s employees are unionized.) Again, that’s the link for Amazon US — it’s available in other regions as well.

The print edition is available at Last Gasp.

The print edition is $14.95 USD. It is published by Pitchstone Publishing.

Wholesale sales of the print edition:

Bookstores and other retailers can get the book from Ingram, Baker & Taylor, and other standard wholesale distributors. It can also be purchased directly from the publisher, Pitchstone Publishing.

Audiobook edition:

The audiobook version is available at Audible.

The audiobook version is available on iTunes.

The audiobook version is available on Amazon.

And yes, I did the recording for it!

Jul 14 2014

Secular Meditation: “How do you stick with it?”

I’ve read about (and listened to podcasts about) mindfulness meditation and have tried it some… Unfortunately, what I’ve found is that I had a hard time continuing with the mindfulness practice and didn’t keep it up for long. Did you have a hump to get over when you first started? If you have a routine, how do you (or how did you at first) stick with it?

-mistertwo, in a comment on Secular Meditation: How It Helps With My Depression

When I write or talk about meditation, I get asked questions like this a fair amount. Lots of people are interested in meditation and mindfulness, as a mental health care technique or just as a way of staying calmer and more present in the world — but they don’t know how to find the time, or the motivation, or the discipline, or all three, to stick with it in the long run. Or else they’ve dabbled with it in the past, and found it valuable, but still didn’t stick with it. How do you stick with it?

This is a large and complicated question. In fact, it’s currently my own biggest challenge with the practice. I am meditating fairly regularly, about five days a week, but maintaining a regular meditation routine over the long haul — folding it into my everyday life, finding the time and motivation and discipline to do it every day (or almost every day) — is definitely a challenge.

So here are a few thoughts about how I keep up the practice, and how other people might.

clockAt the end of my eight-week meditation course, the teacher emphasized the importance of creating a regular routine. He said this was important if we wanted to keep up the practice and not let it fall through the cracks of a busy life: we should pick a particular form of meditation that works for us (a sitting/ breath meditation, a body scan, a walking meditation, a yoga or other body-motion meditation, etc.), and do it at the same time every day.

I think for a lot of people, this would be a really good idea. If you make meditating into something like showering or brushing your teeth — a self-care routine that you do every day, at the same time every day — eventually, doing it could become something you just… do. Instead of being an extra activity you have to fold into your life somehow, it could become one of the pillars of your life, something the rest of your daily activity gets folded around.

dali clockBut when my teacher recommended this, I knew right away that it wouldn’t work for me. My life just doesn’t look like that. My life is highly irregular, with a different schedule every day. There is almost nothing that I do at the same time every day: I wake up at different times, go to bed at different times, work and eat and bathe at different times. The only way I might meditate with anything resembling a regular schedule would be to do it when I first wake up or when I’m going to bed — and when I’ve tried those, I’ve just fallen asleep. But if you have a more regular life than mine (which most people do), this is probably a really good idea.

Another “stick with it” technique that the teacher suggested was to find a meditation group. For a lot of people, external social support helps them keep it up. Seeing the benefits other people are getting from the practice helps motivate them; it reinforces the activity as part of a group identity; they don’t want to disappoint their groupmates; and it helps it become a regular routine (“this is just what I do on Wednesday night”). It’s like having a Pilates class or a workout buddy.

Unfortunately, this wouldn’t work for me, either. In San Francisco, the only regular meditation groups that are open to the public are religious ones, or at least ones that have religious overtones or some sort of religious affiliation (generally Buddhist). Yes, I know that for a lot of atheists, this wouldn’t be a problem: if there’s something they find valuable that’s offered in a religious context, they can filter out the religious stuff or just shrug it off. (In fact, I have an atheist friend who goes to one of these meditation groups, one that’s in my neighborhood even, and she deals with the religious stuff fine.) And I get that secular Buddhism is a thing.

no i wont coexist with your delusionsBut for me, there is no freaking way. I’m not just a professional atheist — I’m a professional anti-theist. Religion is like itching powder for me. I can’t hear it without wanting to argue with it. So in a meditation group, the minute I started hearing anything about energy, chi, chakras, karma, spiritual paths, mystical cores, the sacred world, the inner divine, or the life force, I would be snapped right out of my breath focus and into profound irritation. The only present-moment awareness I would have would be the awareness of how religion is bullshit. Even if 95% of the guidance or teaching were entirely free of religion or spirituality stuff, once I started hearing it I’d be bracing myself for that other 5%. In principle, I would love to be in a meditation group — I’m not immune to the social support/ group identity/ not wanting to disappoint others thing. But until there’s a 100% secular, woo-free, non-religiously-affiliated meditation group in San Francisco, that’s just not an option. (There is an online one, but the timing is unfortunately not workable for me.)

And frankly, there’s an aesthetic of most meditation groups and centers that I find.. let’s say “off-putting.” There’s a reason I took my original course in a medical setting. I hear about somatic experiencing, the alchemy of letting go, our heart as a light emitting entity, the natural outer expression of realization, and the embodiment of awakening in our lives, and I immediately want to drink straight bourbon and crank up The Ramones. Fuck that noise. Fuck it right in the ass.

So what do I do to keep this practice up? Read the rest of this entry »

Jul 14 2014

“Informative, Inspiring, Brilliant”: Audible Customer Review of “Coming Out Atheist” Audiobook

Got a nice customer review on Audible for the audiobook version of Coming Out Atheist: How To Do It, How to Help Each Other Do It, And Why! Five stars out of five for story, performance, and overall. (In fact, the audiobook now has 14 customer ratings on Audible, with an average of 4.40 stars out of five.) Here’s what Nathan Hevenstone, a.k.a. NateHevens, had to say:

“Absolutely Perfect”

If you could sum up Coming Out Atheist in three words, what would they be?

Informative, Inspiring, Brilliant

What did you like best about this story?

This book really lays out a great case for why we should, if we feel safe, come out atheist. It’s extremely well-written, extremely well laid-out, and a very good read. And then, of course, you have this audiobook, read incredibly well by Greta Christina. She’s always been great at live speaking, and hearing her read is even more of a treat.

Which character – as performed by Greta Christina – was your favorite?

As this is non-fiction, this doesn’t really apply.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

(Same as subtitle)

Any additional comments?

I recommend this highly, even to believers.

Thanks, Nate! And if any of you have read Coming Out Atheist, or listened to the audiobook, it’d be awesome if you’d post a review on Amazon or Audible.

***

Here, by the way, is ordering info for the book in all three formats — print, ebook, and audiobook!

Coming Out Atheist cover 150Ebook edition:

The Kindle edition is available on Amazon. (That’s the link for Amazon US, btw — it’s available in other regions as well.)

The Nook edition is available at Barnes & Noble.

The Smashwords edition is available on Smashwords. Right now, it’s only available on Smashwords in epub format: I’m working to make it available in other formats.

All ebook editions and formats cost just $9.99.

Print edition:

The print edition is now available through Powell’s Books.

The print edition is also available at Amazon. However, be advised (if you haven’t been already) that seriously abusive labor practices have been reported at Amazon warehouses. Please bear that in mind when you’re deciding where to buy my book — or indeed, where to buy anything. (For the records: Powell’s employees are unionized.) Again, that’s the link for Amazon US — it’s available in other regions as well.

You can also buy the print edition at your local bookstore. If they don’t currently carry it, you can special order it. (Bookstores can get it from standard wholesalers; wholesale info is below.) Support your local bookstore!

The print edition is $17.95 USD. It is published by Pitchstone Publishing.

Wholesale sales of the print edition:

Bookstores and other retailers can get the book from Ingram, Baker & Taylor, and other standard wholesale distributors. It can also be purchased directly from the publisher, Pitchstone Publishing.

Audiobook edition:

The audiobook version is available on Audible.

The audiobook is also available through Amazon.

The audiobook is also available through iTunes.

And yes, I did the recording for it!

Older posts «

» Newer posts