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A Journey Through Sexuality, Spirituality and Remembering Who We Really Are
How a Harvard jock fumbled through self-doubt, sexuality and psychedelics to reclaim his inner feminine in a hyper-masculine world.Share Tweet LinkedIn Embed pszr.co/qNOGc 193 views
|Los Angeles, California|
|3 publishers interested|
From an Ivy League classroom, to deep inside an ayahuasca ceremony, from a Big-Ten basketball locker, to a sex dungeon under the 405 freeway in Los Angeles. From the dusty carnival of Burning Man to the synagogue of his youthful Bar Mitzvah, Zachary Puchtel brings the reader through a myriad of fringe cultural activities with both color and punchy humor, all while providing a running internal narrative of lessons learned on the road less traveled.
Why I Wish I Was Your Big Brother will carry readers to places beyond your comfort zone and outside known realms of possibility. Not unlike the generations prior, who sought Kesey and Wolfe, the book provides a journey across the battlefield of adolescence as a crash course in self-learning, exploration and sexual empowerment.
In an era of vigilant individualism, of YouTube celebrity and autotune, a new kind of man emerges, one infused with The Way of the Superior Man by David Deida, whom also thinks highly of You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero, and finds personal solace in Essays by Ralph Waldo Emerson and essays of love by Khalil Gibran.
This book wonders, what if I could have been your Big Brother? Or perhaps, what if I’d been my own Big Brother? How would things be different? What choices might have changed? What guidance would I give myself?
In this creative nonfiction piece our protagonist goes from a socially-conditioned, confused childhood star athlete, who was led by the social ambiguity of sexual identity in today’s world, to coming out of the closet as gay his senior year at Harvard in front of crowd of three thousand people, only to realize after a number of trial runs gone sour, that he was simply searching after the reclamation of his own inner feminine.
Watch Puchtel cascade through vignettes of counter cultural experiences, from the profane to the sacred, to ultimately transform into a state of radical self-awareness. Armed with the audacity of formulating a new paradigm, Why I Wish I Was Your Big Brother flourishes where abusive “powerful men” have faded away. Puchtel embodies new standards such as kindness, emotional intelligence, and sexual authenticity as the definitive elements for what it means to be a man in this post-Harvey Weinstein era.
Framed in the light of recent US events, Puchtel offers a new lens, through which one can see the ugly truth of the men who run our political and entertainment industries. As the dust settles on sexual scandals, books like Big Brother, clear a path for cultures to remember that we are constantly morphing, and that we can exist and operate as loving, kind, and joyful human beings. Big Brother is a framework for how to shift our inner reality, which is the only way to effect lasting change in the world.
In Big Brother, Puchtel gives a glimpse into how, through devices like radical responsibility, we can each change the world on a daily basis, through our conscious consumer decisions as well as voting with our attention for the miraculous. By being aware of, and honing the ability to shift our innermost words and thoughts, Zach redesigns his lifestyle habits, ultimately offering a solution that helps to create the peaceful, regenerative, and kind society that he dreams of.
This book is for young adults curious to explore the realms of consciousness, the halls of academia, and the mystical alternative lifestyle that is fomenting in places like southern California. The book speaks particularly towards men ages 18-25, looking to make a major step in their lives. Big Brother delves into ways we can overcome societal and familial conditioning, reinforcing that men are allowed to have emotions, to feel, and to know our feminine energy as an intimate part of our full self.
This creative non-fiction piece is essentially a novelized biopic that served as both an internal catharsis for the processing of Putchel’s own experiences, and grew into a way of speaking to his younger self.
These titles indicate the various stories that comprise this book. They stories read as short vignettes, and are meant to each contain their own moral that can be extracted upon the completion of any given chapter. Also, the titles themselves indicate the lesson at hand, enabling the reader to proceed with an expectation.
There are 35 chapters total, each comprised of their own journey and moral. The first ten titles above give a sense of the style of how each chapter title will feel.
Jill is eighteen and she just finished applying to five different colleges. There is a party this evening and she’s coordinating with her girlfriends what outfits to wear and when to meet up. She doesn’t need to be home at midnight anymore, and this newly found sense of freedom is empowering to her, if not also a little bit scary. Jill’s friends love her because she doesn’t give a fuck, takes no shit from boys, and always has their back in a pinch. They look up to her so much they even went as far as to apply to the same schools that she’d been talking about over the last year: Vassar, NYU, Warton, Duke, and Berkeley. She is a cultural trend setter, loves fashion and has 2K followers on Instagram who love watching her talk candidly about her high school escapades. Jill gets a copy of Big Brother from her boyfriend, just two years older, who studies Business at State and says that it changed his life. She puts her copy in her purse in case she gets bored at the party, and orders an Uber...
Jack is a college junior, Anthropology major who’s friends already have internships with tech-start ups and venture capital firms lined up for summer. He checks his social media incessantly, hoping that his liking of other people will result in him being more liked and accepted himself. He’s quieter than he used to be, after reading books by Eckhart Tolle and David Deida, and he’s beginning to see there’s a missing piece to life that he has yet to grasp. His current girlfriend runs the show with little opposition, while wondering how to find his masculine voice without coming across as aggressive or domineering in today’s modern landscape. After reading a blog on masculinity, he follows a link to the Kindle store, and reads the first chapter of Big Brother. After perusing the table of contents, Jack feels like he is listening to a cool older brother, and excitedly downloads a copy.
Jack and Jill and people like them, those who want to regain power over their own minds and lives, and/or simply get a fresh take on sexuality and spirituality in a contemporary world.
Jill has too much of everything. Too many playlists on Spotify, too many pairs of shoes, too many programs that she must binge-watch to stay up on the latest conversations... She is a power house and knows it, constructing her persona after influences such as Ellen, Gal Gadot, and Rachel Maddow. She has definitely read Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling, and has found materialistic popularity while turning a blind eye to her inner-calling for a deeper sense of purpose. She is like many young leaders today, driven by fiscal results, but severed from their soul-connected path. Jill is a spiritual-anemic poised to recognize her own condition.
Jack’s material possessions are scarce, he’s a shoelace poet intellectual-type seeking to fulfill his inner desire to get rid of the anxiety and confusion which cloud his mind and stifle his emotional growth. With an open mind to new ideas, he’s already read, The New Earth by Eckhart Tolle, Be Here Now by Baba Ram Dass, and This Is It by Alan Watts, and he’s interested in continuing this exploration of what it means to “go within”. He feels a sense of pride for his personal morals and being on the edge of what’s new and hip. He’s made an effort to both pull from past cultural icons, as well as staying after class to poke questions at his more interesting professors, in order to seek this deeper understanding of self and reality.
Jack and Jill are America’s young heros, both men and women, each at the onset of their own life quest, looking for meaning, humor and a way to understand the world and their place in it.
As a guide through the roller coaster turns of life, Big Brother provides a template both through pitfalls and successes, to realize the immense possibilities of experience and self-exploration possible in every moment. Generally speaking, our target demographic will read this book because it contains adventures that they have not yet had the opportunity to explore.
Jill reads it because she’s dating an older guy who is interested in sexuality and masculinity, and he said that he thought it would help her understand him.
Jack reads it because he is exploring the internet for answers to his own masculinity, and finds a link to Big Brother on a David Deida type blog.
The share of 18-24 years olds who use online dating has roughly tripled from 10% in 2013 to 27% today. This shift from interpersonal to intra-digital dating indicates a greater need for authentic communication in a swipe-based dating culture. As authentic communication is the crux of Big Brother, this book is poised to assist positive results amidst this rising trend.
According to a new study from the national institute on drug abuse, the use of the psychedelic drug LSD has increased by 40% among 18-25 year olds. The medicinal aspect of “drugs” is something long explored in the medical industry, and yet significantly absent in today’s usage culture. This statistic indicates a dramatic increase in experimentation and self-exploration, cue Big Brother, a book that shows how to utilize the psychedelic experience towards the highest personal intentions of self-growth and emotional clarity.
According to a recent Pew Article, “Americans may be getting less religious, but feelings of spirituality are on the rise.” The percentage of people who feel a deep sense of spiritual well-being has gone from 52% in 2007 to 59% in 2014, while those who feel a deep sense of wonder about the universe at least once a week, has increased from 39% in 2007 to 46% in 2014. People are opening up to spirituality across the board, and are in search of new sources for their journeys. Big Brother, which traverses the over-educated hyper masculine gauntlet, carries a voice well positioned to satiate this rising spiritual curiosity in America.
There is a sacred vacuum in the heart of America’s young men and women. The problem is these young kids, aged 18-25, don’t have a big brother who loves them. They are from divorced over-educated families, surrounded by multitudes of screens fueled by advertising and hyper-materialism that prey on the weakness of their inexperience. Big Brother invites this generation on a journey of self-empowerment through the fringe circus of reality, a sort of cultural speed-dating, ultimately functioning as a balm for their curiosity amidst desperate isolation, sexual ennui and spiritual insecurity.
The message is universal, but the perspective of a masculine man being so scared, conditioned, and confused that he believed himself to be gay, offers a unique insight into modern sexuality and the culture of identity.
Why I Wish I Was Your Big Brother is a tool kit for identity and exploration, and something that inspires them to look inside, not on the screen, for what they really want in life. The 22 year old Harvard sophomore who’s coding the next Facebook and wondering why nobody will date him, can pick up Big Brother and find a big brother. One that loves him and encourages his dreams, that speaks to the difficulties of dating in the modern world and exploring one’s life purpose, both in terms of sexuality and spirituality.
Why I Wish I Was Your Big Brother appeals certainly to young people: 18-25 men specifically, but also anyone who is still searching for their true self. By and large Big Brother was written to connect with the cracked nuts, the ones who have already started doing the work to know themselves, the ones who have questions about sexuality and spirituality, the ones who are looked up to by their peers, people who are opening up their minds to explore reality and challenge commonly held beliefs: athletes, psychonauts, intellectuals, hippies, story-tellers, and explorers of all types.
With the intention of generating long term interest in my desired market demographic I’m outlining a Collegiate Book Tour of ~20 campuses over a 6 week period to follow the release of my book. It will begin at my Alma Mater, Harvard University, and from connections I developed in Cambridge, branch out to MIT, Boston University, and Tufts. Drawing connections from the land I grew up in, I will hop over to Minneapolis, and give speaking engagements at The University of Minnesota (also an Alma Mater), Augsburg College, Macalester College, Carlton, as well as a few Jr. Colleges. In California, where I currently live, I will engage connections to speak at The University of California, University of Southern California, Pepperdine, Loyola Marymount University, and LA City College. From there I’ll head north to speak at Stanford University, and onto the University of San Francisco, and then UC Berkeley.
The college audience is ripe for the message in Big Brother, and what better way to deliver that message than in person. Moreover, I will leverage my experience as a professional musician, performance poet, and master leadership trainer (MITT certified), to endear these audiences into the stories and lessons in Big Brother, primarily focused on radical responsibility and emotional intelligence.
Think Tony Robbins, Eckhart Tolle, Deepak Chopra, if they were composing a coming of age story, designed to appeal to highly educated, super individualistic, technology savvy, App-heavy, spiritually clueless, life-path stumbling 18-25 year old young adults in the USA looking for something more meaningful than American Idol.
Zach Puchtel is a well-connected, digitally active, popular socialite living on the Westside of Los Angeles. From video clips orating passages of the book in interesting locations, to funny memes dealing with sexuality and spirituality, to general word of mouth possibilities amidst the myriad of parties and social events he attends, PuchtelI is well poised to engineer a viral distribution of Why I Wish I was Your Big Brother.
4,000 email addresses combining data culled from my Gmail, LinkedIn, and Facebook accounts.
4.5K Facebook Friends, 1.9K Facebook Followers, 2.2K Instagram Followers (@zachpuchtel), 600 Pinterest Followers, 600 Twitter Followers
Successfully met goal of 5,000 USD, which consists of 250 pre-ordered copies of ‘Why I Wish I Was Your Big Brother: A Harvard Jock Fumbles through Self-doubt, Sexuality, and Psychedelics to reclaim his inner feminine in a hyper-masculine world.’
Last five videos on Facebook have an aggregate view count of 5.5K. Last five videos on Instagram have an aggregate view count of 1.5K.
WhyIWishIWasYourBigBrother.com / WhyIWish.com / ZachPuchtel.com all leading to the same website is under construction and coming soon!
The One and Only with Mark Shapiro
The Deep Dive with Adam Roa
Open Temple in Venice Beach
Benevolence Fest in Santa Monica
Temple Israel in Minneapolis
BethEl Synagogue in Minneapolis
Committed to a Blurb:
Jason Collins (First Professional Gay Athlete)
Considering a Blurb:
Mooji (Awaiting the Script for Review)
Huffington Post contributing blogger from March 1, 2010-May 1, 2014.
Unplugged LA feature performer and Speaker
Big Brother is written to be ‘screenplay-option ready’, composed with vignettes or short dramatic scenes from the absurd and fringe.
Keywords: Self-Help, Transformational, Spirituality, Psychedelics, Sexual Exploration, Self-Knowledge, Soul Journey, Hero’s Journey, Evolution
The Way of the Superior Man: A Spiritual Guide to Mastering the Challenges of Women, Work, and Sexual Desire. David Deida
Male Sexuality: Why Women Don't Understand It-And Men Don't Either. Michael Bader. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. November 16, 2010
It’s the Spring of 2004. I’m 21, a junior psychology major, psychedelic minor at Harvard University. Hogwarts for real people. I had just lost 27 lbs over 3 months thanks to a bet from my dad that I couldn’t.
I enrolled in a course called Human Sexuality with Professor Michael Rodriguez. It was one of the “cool” classes to take, consisting of nearly 300 athletes, artists and wizkids that had been anxiously awaiting this initial offering of the course.
On the first day of class Professor Rodriguez asked us all a question, as he projected an image of a beautiful brunette in a tight blue mini-skirt and tube top onto the screen behind him. “Who would have sex with this woman?” He asked. Nearly every man, me included, raised his hand.
Michael continued, “That’s me. Welcome to Human Sexuality. In order to know ourselves, we get to explore boldly and experience the uncomfortable nature of sex and our attractions. I’ve noticed that a number of hands have gone down. Who here is ready to talk about why?”
Life is weird. And beautiful. And filled with all sorts of unique experiences and expressions of love. As I walked out class that day, a sensation that could only be described as “not knowing” came present to my awareness. I had peered into a world that I didn’t know existed, and I was excited at the prospect of learning something of the “life” variety, as opposed to attending more lectures and tests.
Also, how could I be attracted to a man, regardless of how much makeup he was wearing?
During the semester, one of my classmates performed a version of the Vagina Monologues, executing 33 differing types of orgasming in succession. Her enthusiastic renditions were the cause of my keen ear for inauthentic actors for years to follow. In other words, her interpretations were extremely convincing, and it led me to questioning what a real orgasm actually sounded and looked like.
Suddenly, I wasn’t so sure about sex. First my professor, then this moaning act, had revealed layers in the sexual realm that forced me to ask questions like, “How do I know if my partner is actually orgasming?”, and, “Why am I attracted to a man in a dress?”
That class was a major sparkplug for my journey. It got me thinking about everything: manliness, sexuality, attraction, intimate energies, vulnerability and diversity of the sexual spectrum, all things I didn’t even know existed.
Freshman year, I remember formulating a dream of being the first professional gay athlete, because, at that time, no one else had done it.
I wondered, “How can I distinguish myself amongst my insanely talented classmates?” Doing something that had never been done, seemed a decent solution. It wasn’t until a number of years later, that I was able to fully understand the misguided and egoic nature of the dream, as my intention was to attain celebrity and fortune, the things I was conditioned to want the most.
Dream about what truly excites you, and be careful, because dreams come true.
I got a C+ in Human Sexuality; my worst grade, ever. I wrote the professor after the course was complete, and he expressed his disappointment in my performance. I wrote back, and explained that the grade was not indicative of the impact that his class had made in my life.
He wrote back that he understood, but still wasn’t going to change my grade.
The Absence of Sacred Ritual in a Modern World
As I readied my personal space with pillows and cushions for the ayahuasca ceremony about to begin, and the smoke from the shaman’s tobacco danced over me, I didn’t know whether to be afraid or excited, and the truth was somewhere in the middle.
In an attempt to calm myself, I remembered that for thousands of years, indigenous tribes around the world have exercised rites of passage into adulthood through sacred ceremony, which would signify the turning point of a child’s spiritual and communal transition into a responsible adult in the community. Despite this, I had no clue to what was really going to happen. Some people had told me to expect the most spiritual experience of my life, and others had described throwing up and feeling like hell for hours.
Throughout my research, I learned that a number of these rituals included a specific plant medicine that would allow for direct communion with Spirit, providing personal, direct experiences of the intimately interconnected nature of all things. I was hoping for this outcome, and had a number of questions regarding my sexuality and general purpose in life.
Most plant medicines used in sacred ceremony have been made illegal in the US. In other words, our spiritual rituals have been taken away from us, temporarily anyway. How are we to know Spirit if we are never introduced?
When I took ayahuasca for the first time, I knew that I was in for something special.
Leading up to the ceremony, there’s a strict diet you’re asked to adhere to for one week prior to sitting with the shaman; no meat, no sugar, no heavy grains, along with a lot of water and cleansing greens and fruits. I was shining before I even arrived.
The ceremony took place inside a large house surrounded by gardens and ponds, nestled in a beautiful crease within the forest. Everyone brings an intention or specific question to their journey. I was interested in knowing, “Why am I here?”
This particular ayahuasca ceremony was set up with about 30 people in a “U” formation, and the shaman sitting with a drum at the break in the ellipse. I had a cushion, a thick blanket, and a few pillows in my space, with people laying a foot or two to each side.
One by one, we stood up and sat in front of the shaman, who chants Peruvian hymns and blows on the sacred drink before handing you a plain, glass cup with no handle. As I sipped the viscous substance, I thought about how becoming a man in the United States today requires little more than paying your bills and taxes on time, and how lucky I was to be experiencing a sacred rite of passage that has held weight since antiquity.
After I drank the medicine, I bowed and returned tomy space. Once everyone had partaken, the shaman began to drum, which relaxed the body and brain, and helped to loosen our need to maintain mental control.
As the drum beats slowed in time, or perhaps slowed time, the familiar realm of Spirit quickly began to take form in front of me. Love was the prevailing emotion, as my consciousness was lifted outside of my body. After dancing in the metaphysical for what seemed like hours and no time, I returned to my body in order to activate my vision marbles. Upon opening my eyes, I saw her; Mother Aya, the beautiful feminine essence in all her glory, floating over each person and aligning individual intentions with source and Spirit energy.
When she eventually made her way to me, I was fully relaxed and ready. As she took my intention right off of my mind, I could feel the thought leaving me to integrate with her energy. She spoke by replanting the thought in my mind attached with an answer, “To share your voice.”
She remained, her energy communicating to me, “Is there something else you wish to ask?” I did, and I’ll get to that later.
After the one-on-one, she moves on, the Spirit realm lingering in her wake. The medicine then takes you through your own journey and integration of the message given to you from Mother Aya, or helps you to explore exactly what you need to explore on your journey. Eventually you fall asleep, and wake up the next morning refreshed with a clear message and direct experience from the Eternal Spirit.
As I got into my car I looked at my phone’s screen, and the messages didn’t seem to hold the same urgency that they normally would. As I drove the canyons home, it became clear that our connection to Spirit has been taken out of the equation as requisite for becoming a man. Perhaps the time has come to reintegrate ancient remedies as a solution. Currently there are no requirements beyond becoming independently-dependent on the system, which is far below our threshold and capacity for ritual. How have we gotten so off track from our divine birthright of feeling what it’s like to become a man?
Where are these men, the enlightened self-actualized ones, and why don’t we see them as celebrities on TV? Should we not hold the self-realized men and women above all others? Where are the self-realized people in our world who we are supposed to look up to as leaders of this spiritual movement and awakening?
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