Burning Man

Radical Ritual: Reclaiming my Virginity {NSFW}

The Virgin Mother on the Cross

The Virgin Mother on the Cross

I burned my wedding dress in the Burning Man temple this year. Or rather it burned while I watched—tears gushing from my eyes, snot running down my face. An unapologetic display of gratitude and grief. Ignoring the impulse to run into the fire and wrap myself in the warm comfort of the past, I chose instead to wrap my arms around me—knees tucked into my chest like a scared kid on her first day of school. Because that’s what it felt like—the first day of a brutal lesson in love that I was only just beginning to understand.

I liked to think I was good at relationships. This was my first error among many—attaching my ego to some version of relating based on doing it “right.” Always the consummate A+ student through-and-through. But when my relationship GPA depends on being a good girl (need to get into college to find a husband after all), then my wants/needs/desires get left behind out of fear of disrupting the class.

So I had to burn down the institution in order to see what was left. Because I knew whatever survived the blaze would not only be true, it would be the raw material in which I could turn lead into gold. The way of the alchemist—sharing her gifts once the inessential has been stripped away.

I met someone at Burning Man this year who asked me a simple question: When do you feel most powerful?

The answer came quickly: I feel most in my power when I dance/speak/move like no one is watching.

When I behave like no one is watching, I move from desire—an internally-motivated way of being that is rooted in truth and profound self-love. When I think others are watching, I notice how I posture myself in order to cater to their needs or assuage my discomfort.

-Who is this person?

-What do they want from me?

-What do I want from them?

-What do they think of me?

-Do they like me?

-Who do they know that I might know?

-Who holds the power right now and how can I get more?

-Do I feel jealous of this person?

-Do I think I am better than this person?

I think most of us go through life in a constant state of external reference—placing our power and agency into the hands of others rather than in the center of our own bodies. This shows up most powerfully in our most intimate relationships—both romantic and familial.

My intention at this year’s burn was to reclaim my power and agency through a revirginizing ritual. To be clear, revirginizing isn’t about denying my sexuality. It’s about reclaiming the original definition of the word “virgin.” In biblical times, a virgin was a woman who was owned by no man. She could own land. She was considered whole unto herself. That was my prayer. To return power to my center and choose relationship from wholeness—not unconscious patterns based on filling some ego-void or antiquated systems intended to deny a woman her holy right to erotic power and fulfillment.

The ritual was simple: walk to the temple in my wedding dress, take it off, and leave the temple naked. I intentionally left a lot room within my planning because I was curious what magic the playa would contribute.

I gathered my midwives (instead of bridesmaids) around 5pm Friday evening. Dana helped cinch me into my ponderous dress while I tried to ignore the sweat dripping between my legs. Lance offered me his arm and we set off on foot—literally, I was wearing no shoes—towards the temple. 

My midwives, Lance and Dana

My midwives, Lance and Dana

We got about two blocks down the road when we met a woman passing out cupcakes. She saw me in my dress and Lance at my side and offered her congratulations. I knowingly smiled and said “thank you,” amused at her hetero-normative assumption about my intentions.

I grabbed a cupcake and said, “It’s my unwedding day.” Curious, she wanted to know more. I told her about my ritual and she laughed. “Wow,” she said, “these cupcakes just came from a wedding."

How fitting that on my unwedding day I should eat the cake first. I had indeed gone through the looking glass. Full circle.

When we stepped out onto the esplanade, people kept congratulating me as they biked or walked by. I simply smiled and accepted their best wishes.

About a quarter of the way towards the temple, a woman asked to take my picture. I could tell by her camera that she was a professional photographer. She moved me around a bit, placing me in the best angle to the sun. When she asked me where I was going, I told her about my ritual. She decided that she wanted to document it. The playa had provided my unwedding photographer.

About halfway across the playa, we found ourselves at a giant rosary with a cross in front. Since I was reclaiming my virginity, I decided embody the Virgin Mother while placing my body against the crucifix. An offering to the Christ consciousness that lives within me. Again, wholeness. Holy masculine and feminine merging within my own body and blood. After all, I had just attended a spontaneous Eucharist at the temple a few days before.

On the cross

On the cross

We stepped off the platform and made our way to the temple—stopping briefly for an apropos Bloody Mary along the way. Now literally filled with the blood of the Virgin Mother (and bleeding in my own right given that my menstrual cycle had started a few days before), I was ready to enter the temple’s sacred void.

What was meant to be a ceremonious entry devolved into utter absurdity as a woman—who thought she was singing the wedding march—started to sing the Imperial March from Star Wars. I couldn’t help but both laugh and marvel and how perfect her error was. I suppose I was crossing the threshold into some sort of cosmic death star. I thanked her for her contribution and continued along my path.

I circumnavigated the temple clockwise, my midwives holding space behind me while I sung O My Beloved. It was a medicine song to the Beloved within my heart. I always liked to take a page from Hafiz’s book whenever the opportunity arises.

Singing medicine songs

Singing medicine songs

When I finally returned to the entrance, I slowly weaved through the crowd—pulling my dress close to my feet so as not to swipe the faces of those sitting. When I entered, I noticed the center was completely empty. Folks were gathered around the edges, but there was simply open playa in the middle. At first I hesitated, thinking there must be some sort of ritual happening. Then I remembered—oh yeah…mine.

Entering the temple

Entering the temple

I moved toward the center and stood for a moment. I wondered what I should do next. Then I remembered: “Just do what you would do if no one were watching,” I told myself. I removed my front veil and gently placed it on the ground in layered folds. I laid my white flower—my unwedding bouquet—on top, then proceeded to remove my back veil and placed it on the ground, too.

Dana then came to me and helped remove my skirt, which fell to the ground in a heavy poof of whipped cream organza, satin, and lace. She then unlatched the many hook-and-eye clasps that bound up the corset and unlaced the ribbon that held it in place.

In one final sweep, I pulled the corset over my head and there I was, naked in the center of the temple with a hundred forgotten eyes watching me. Not sure what to do next, I felt into my center and knew I needed to give gratitude to the garments that had once so lovingly held me. I dropped to my knees upon the dress and fell over—bundling the fabric in my arms. Tears formed around the edges my eyes and my body gave way to rippling—not quite crying, but a sort of activation through my spine. An enlivening. An awakening. A rebirthing. 

Rebirthing

Rebirthing

I then stood, holding the dress against my bare chest and walked to one of the pillars at the edge of the temple. This was when the grief hit me. Through waves of jangled sobs, I made a prayer as I clutched the garment one last time.

“Thank you for the magic and the prayer that was my marriage. Thank you for the great honor I got to carry while in this relationship. I release myself and all others from unconscious patterns and suffering that hold us back from our power. I now choose wholeness and I call in ways of relating based on choice rather than fear. When this dress burns, may this prayer return to Source so that its gifts may be bestowed on those who now need to learn these lessons. Aho.”

As I put the dress between the pillars, a Hawaiian man who had been watching the ritual came up and spoke a prayer in his native tongue. He ended with “Mahalo” and I responded with “Mahalo” in return. I then began to sing a Ho’oponopono song as I turned my back to the pillar. It was then I saw several people had gathered behind me to witness the ritual. I’m not sure what called then to the temple that day or why they chose to witness. But I am grateful for their presence and I hope that through their witnessing, they too got the medicine they needed.

Not standing on ceremony, I quickly walked out the back entrance of the temple and returned to the open playa. The professional photographer came up to me—visibly moved—and wanted to take shots of me as my new self. Another woman came up and offered me a stick of incense as her thanks for allowing her to witness the ritual.

My unwedding photographer

My unwedding photographer

An offering of incense

An offering of incense

Naked on the playa

Naked on the playa

After they were done, I walked naked back to camp—stopping only for a moment to say hello to a marionette art piece of a teenage girl called "Step Forward," who, coincidentally, was dressed in her wedding whites.

"Step Forward" in her wedding whites

"Step Forward" in her wedding whites

I created this ritual not as a “fuck you” to marriage. In fact, I created it for quite the opposite effect. I created it to cleanse my heart of unloving ways of relating that cause harm and suffering to all the lovers in my life. I created it so that I could live my life from sovereignty and choice. I created it so that I can use my power in heart-centered ways. I created it because I want to know what genuine love can be without getting caught in the trappings of seduction and romance. I created it because I want a life where my sexuality is an expression of authenticity rather than a means of validation.

While huddled on the ground at the center of the temple, the words from The Grandmother’s story in my book Reclaiming Eros: A Heroine’s Journey came to mind:

It was in this moment Nan realized how very lonely she had been. Not just in this life but for lifetimes. Nan began shaking and weeping.

“Oh God,” she cried out, “I miss God.”

Unbearable love pressed against her chest. It was a spherical expansion that cracked the edges of her ribs and tore through her skin. As her heart burst forward, the back of her body burned—like simultaneously giving birth to wings and dying in the phoenix’s flames. An involuntary wave of gratitude and grief gripped her throat, and she keened an ancient sound that twisted with both agony and wonder.

“We touched love,” she thought to herself. “Not ephemeral romance, that crunches and pounces and cramps. But love. Pure. Rich. Golden. Love.”

This is the kind of love I want to call into every moment of my life—full-out, unabashed awe of the ordinary and devoid of the kind of pride that prevents us from living in direct communion with those that we love.

Finally, I am reposting a video I created nearly two years ago called SLUT, a poem I wrote for my book—which also happens to the Virgin’s poem. How little I knew then how far the journey to reclaiming eros would take me…and how very clear that this student has a lot more to learn…

Reflections on Orgasmic Living and "La Grande Mort"

St. Francis held by an Angel by Gent  ileschi

St. Francis held by an Angel by Gentileschi

I am deeply touched by all the lovely messages I received last week for my 35th birthday. To be honest, I was feeling a little sad and scared about being in my (gasp) mid-30's. I had all this social programming telling me that I "should" have had my career success by now and that I "should" jump on motherhood ASAP (ya know, the infamous biological clock).

As I reflected on my life, one based on Orgasmic Living (i.e. surrendering to the unknown, living in the involuntary, faith in intuition, etc), part of me felt like a failure and...well...too old to do anything about it. I walked into the burn afraid of my impending death and paralyzed as I considered the eventual deaths of my beloveds. 

Then came the great dust storm of 2015. For 5+ hours I walked with a group of friends to the temple and back with nearly zero visibility much of the time. The ironic fact that I was literally walking "into the void" did not escape me. 

During my time at the temple, I discovered that I didn't feel the usual amount of pain and grief that typically comes when I see the thousands of memorials to those who've passed. I wondered if I had become hardened to sadness. I was waiting to be "cracked open" and when it didn't come, I felt guilty.

Then I needed to lie down. As the earth hugged me, I noticed an intense desire for comfort. My husband chose to skip this burn, so I shivered, cold in my loneliness.

Then I heard a voice. I couldn't see Her, but I felt Her presence. Death came and wrapped her merciful arms around me. And in that moment I began a new relationship with Death--one that was filled with such gratitude. I began to cry, so thankful that Death exists and that nothing lasts forever. It was surprising to discover not just grief within those wooden walls, but joy. My prayer for "more life" resonated even deeper because I found myself in the arms of Death.

The next day I attended a Shamanic Death and Rebirth Ceremony. I felt called to dig deeper into this new relationship with Death. Almost immediately, I began to cry again as the profound love that Death has for us all poured from my heart.

Finally, as I watched the temple burn on Sunday night, the power and depth that Death brings to every moment washed over me as the wood and copper structure quickly tumbled to the ground.

Of course, I am not ready to physically die just yet. Nor do I wish that upon my beloveds. This life is just too sweet right now. 

And this post isn't meant to gloss over the grief and tragedy that comes with facing mortality and the unbearable brutality that exists in this world.

For me, my experience simply expanded my perception of Death to include both the horror and the beauty. It gave me a little peace in my heart as I meditated upon this inevitable fact of being human. It presented the possibility that there is a miracle tucked inside the day of my death, just as we celebrate the miracle in the day of my birth.

As I return to my new home and my beloved partner (who drew me a rose-petal birthday bath, unloaded my playafied car and cooked me dinner) and my art and the world I've built around me, I feel a little more hopeful that life can get better with age. I see now that these current social fears on death and aging are just our culture's deep terror of facing the Mystery. And I am learning to trust (a little bit more) that there is exactly the right amount of life left in me to do everything I need during my time here.

It's the one who won't be taken who can not seem to give;
And the soul afraid of dying that never learns to live.
--The Rose by Bette Midler

The Tragedy of Falling in Love

The Kiss,  Gustav Klimt

The Kiss, Gustav Klimt

Originally posted September 1, 2014

The tragic beauty of falling madly in love with every moment is that you must simultaneously grieve as each second passes. This is the trade-off for opening your heart wider to love: the heart must swell and break within it's own pulsing for you to be fully alive. 

This was my lesson at this year's Burning Man--specifically at the Temple of Grace. The willingness we have to feel even a single teardrop of the world's grief will determine our capacity to receive the world's blessings, which are always here, simply waiting to be acknowledged.

At one point, I saw the faces of the many men I have loved in my life and asked for their forgiveness where I lacked compassion. At another point, I sat before the altar, channeling the Divine Mother, and sang Ho'oponopono, while those around me prostrated in the most reverent and humble prayer. And still at another point, I clutched my Beloved Adam as we sobbed in each others' arms, both in gratitude for our life together and in sadness in its ephemeralness.

I am still learning how to walk with an open heart. I am still learning how to trust the erotic voice quivering within my soul. I am still learning how to be in continued connection within a community where, even after three years, I often feel like I don't quite fit. Please have patience with me as I stumble my way towards Grace.

Thank you. I love you. Please forgive me. I forgive you. Bless you. Bless you.

10 Lessons from the Playa: Acheivement Brain vs. Orgasmic Brain

Originally posted October 5, 2012

Read this article on elephantjournal.com 

This moment…is forgotten when you start thinking in terms of achievement. When the achieving mind arises, you lose contact with the paradise you are in…guilt sits on your chest like a rock, it crushes you; it does not allow you to dance. How can you dance? How can guilt dance? How can guilt sing? How can guilt love? How can guilt live? So the one who thinks he is doing something wrong is guilty, burdened, dead before death, has already entered the grave. ~ Osho

It’s that time of year again: dust off your sparkle pants, grab your goggles and hop on your bikes, cuz we’re going to Burning Man!

Okay, okay I know. Many of you reading this may be thinking “Dear God, she’s one of those crazy, drugged-out hippie people.” Perhaps you’ve gotten jaded by the popularization of it all (yes, I too have noticed the recent surge of fanny pack-wearin’, picture-takin’, bucket list-completin’ tourists). Or it’s possible you see it as an irresponsible way to use time and resources (I get it; I also want to punch the faces of college-raver kids who leave their beer cans and glow necklaces in the port-o-potties).

Or it’s possible you think it’s a really cool experience you’d like to explore. Maybe you’ve been and it changed your life. Or perhaps you’ve never even heard of it.

There is a gift within these seemingly various perspectives and it’s reflected in the first principle of Burning Man:

1. Radical Inclusion: Anyone may be a part of Burning Man. We welcome and respect the stranger. No prerequisites exist for participation in our community.

That means that the jaded guy, the college-raver, the tourist, the explorer, the believer and the novice all have a place within the system and provide value with their voices.

This may seem at odds with how we normally interact with life. Typically, we choose a perspective and work tirelessly to gather evidence that supports our perspective while rejecting anything that is in conflict with it.

This is an example of how the “Achievement Brain” works. It’s a pattern of reasoning that’s a product of social breeding. It’s based on a system of reward and punishment. As children, our parents offered us ice cream if we sat quietly in the corner. In kindergarten, we got gold stars if we kept our hands to ourselves. In school, we were graded on a scale from A-F, which determined our intellectual merit. And now as adults, we use any mix of money, trophy spouses, cars, food, houses, jobs and spiritual development as “proof” of our worthiness.

When we are living in the Achievement Brain’s world, nothing is ever enough. We have to constantly seek new, bigger, better things to fill the holes in our lives. Each new achievement may provide temporary solace from the fear monster; but it’s only a matter of time before we have to scramble to keep our pedestals super-glued, cemented and duct-taped together.

The antidote to “Achievement Brain” is “Orgasmic Brain.”

In the realm of orgasm, everything that arises is fuel for transformation. Our sense of well-being comes from within. We move only when we are inwardly moved (as opposed to moving in blind reaction to something outside of ourselves). In the orgasmic world, the present moment is alive and the spirit of play, connection and improvisation guide the way.

Burning Man is the ultimate orgasmic world and Camp Contact, a camp at Burning Man, is one representation of that. Originally founded as a Contact Improvisation Dance camp, they are now taking their dance philosophy into workshops that focus on relating, intimacy and the never-ending tango between femininity and masculinity.

Their list of workshops includes: “Tune-Up From a Loving Bitch,” “Shame, Pride & Play” and “Embracing Awkwardness.” What separates Camp Contact’s workshops from many others is that the workshops are created based on the conversations, inspirations and in-the-moment surprises that arise during the festival week. There’s no set structure for any of these classes and nothing is pre-planned. All that exists is the course description, a question and a box of tools; anything that happens within that container is solely based on the connection generated between the facilitators and the participants.

This dance between each of us and the magic that is created is at the heart of orgasmic living. It’s not to say that any one way of thinking is better than the other. However, in my opinion, we have lived in a default muggle world for far too long. The principles of fun, spontaneity and the unknown have given way to certainty, safety and a “nose-to-the-grindstone” mentality that is out of balance and therefore draining us of our vitality.

I’m not saying that schedules and plans and hard work don’t have their place. Without them, we’d be floating around on dingys at the mercy of whatever storms life tosses our way. But without orgasm as our compass, we are unkindly over-taxing our systems trying to doggy-paddle “where the reward is,” when we could be effortlessly flowing where desire guides us.

And maybe your desire takes you to Burning Man. Or church. Or creating a business. Or travelling to Peru. It doesn’t matter how the exploration of your Orgasmic Brain expresses itself; what matters is that you took the journey in the first place.

So, in the spirit of the 10 Principles of Burning Man, I offer you 10 Lessons from the Playa: Achievement Brain vs. Orgasmic Brain.

1. Achievement Brain resorts to force. Orgasmic Brain thrives on surrender.

We are constantly doing and working harder and faster to feel like we are making progress in our lives. The Orgasmic Brain takes us out of the role of “doer” so that life can effortlessly flow through us.

2. Achievement Brain is transactional. Orgasmic Brain is self-generating.

The Achievement Brain is constantly asking “What do I lose or gain if I do this thing? What is my reward or punishment?” The Orgasmic Brain simply acts out of its own pleasure, without the fear of loss or gain, because it has a self-generating source of energy.

3. Achievement Brain divides the world into Good & Bad. Orgasmic Brain includes everything as an opportunity for play.

The Achievement Brain categorizes things as Good/Bad, Right/Wrong, Winner/Loser, which can be fertile breeding ground for shame. Anything that is good is to be clung to and anything bad is to be avoided. The Orgasmic Brain has objective neutrality that allows space for everything that arises. Note that this neutrality is not a sort of dissociative passivity, but is a full-body engagement and allowance for what is.

4. Achievement Brain seeks to fill the void. Orgasmic Brain expresses from the void.

Rather than stuffing ourselves with more things to numb our hungers, the Orgasmic Brain wants us all to grow big enough (and brave enough) to unleash our desires onto the world.

5. Achievement Brain focuses on lack. Orgasmic Brain focuses on sufficiency.

Again, the Achievement Brain uses objects to temporary relieve the quiet the places where it feels like it is not “enough.” The Orgasmic Brain knows that it is enough, expresses its gratitude for all that it has and acts accordingly.

6. Achievement Brain obsesses on the past and future. Orgasmic Brain is rooted in the present.

The Achievement Brain is obsessed with processing “where we went wrong” and securing ourselves against impending doom. The Orgasmic Brain rests in the wisdom found in the present.

7. Achievement Brain craves an answer. Orgasmic Brain lives for the question.

The Achievement Brain goes insane without a problem to solve and an answer to seek. The Orgasmic Brain flourishes in continuous curiosity within the unknown.

8. Achievement Brain clings to the goal. Orgasmic Brain enjoys the journey.

The Achievement Brain has a very tiny lens with little space for spontaneity and mistake-making. The Orgasmic Brain knows that if there is fluidity in the journey, one can make a “wrong turn” and end up in a space far richer than previously imagined.

9. Achievement Brain lives by “shoulds.” Orgasmic Brain lives by desire.

The Achievement Brain wants a “How-To” Book on life—and unfortunately for many of us, that comes with social dogma on how we “should” be living. The Orgasmic Brain works within our own personal code of integrity.

10. Achievement Brain seeks absolution. Orgasmic Brain knows it is free.

Guilt, guilt, guilt. The Achievement Brain soooooo wants to be punished so that it can feel better about all the bad things it’s done in the past. The Orgasmic Brain rests in the knowledge that it deserves to feel good, wholesome and healthy, without having to pay the toll for a pleasure-filled existence. It’s this level of acceptance that allows the Orgasmic Brain to nourish itself and be of service to humanity.

Journey Well: A Short Story Inspired by Nicolò Sertorio’s Photographic Series, 'Peregrinations'

Originally posted August 16, 2012

The greatest explorer on this earth never takes voyages as long as those of the man who descends to the depth of his heart.  ~Julien Green

I’ve been on this journey for what…five…six hours now…may as well be five or six hundred years, judging by the exhaustion. My head is heavy. I feel bloated.

Yet despite my duress, I am clear that were I to attempt to shut my eyes at this moment, my mind would not allow me the gift of slumber. Lights talk to me (or is it the mountains?). Red skies paint themselves across the inside of my eyelids, while the outside view is of sands shifting into mazes I can’t seem to navigate.

Yup. It’s official.

I’m tripping balls.

Why the fuck did I do this to myself? Did I actually think I’m going to get some sort of mega download from the cosmos? Like the answers to all my questions would suddenly pour into my skull via some multi-colored, amorphous goo of consciousness? I can’t even tell which direction my camp is located, let alone navigate my life right now. The moment I think I’ve oriented myself, it’s suddenly two hours later and I’m nowhere near where I thought I was. I’m like a Heisenberg, psychedelic farce.

I feel like a fool. The last time I saw Alex and her friends, they were pedaling away from me as I screamed at them for their unwillingness to surrender their limiting egoic identities.

Jesus Christ, I’ve even picked up their vernacular.

Who does this? Really? Who spends a thousand bucks buying a bunch of food and camping gear and costumes and useless crap to hang out in the desert for a week? I could be home right now, in the comfort of my living room, a lot warmer, hydrated and able to pay my rent.

And yet…here I am. Why? Eh…why doesn’t really matter at this point. All I’ve got to do is park my ass in this sculpture-thing, wrap my sparkle cape around me and wait it out.

Wait it out…

I miss my mother. I miss her smell. Fried bacon and roses. I haven’t seen her in years. Haven’t seen most of my family in years for that matter, which was part of the reason why when my crazy-ass sister insisted I come to this thing with her, I couldn’t say no. I was propelled more by sibling guilt than by any real desire to be here…

I’m used to being by myself. I prefer it. I can do what I want, when I want and don’t have to deal with anyone else’s bullshit. And yet…

Jesus, I’m crying. Seriously?

Maybe it’s just the drugs. A bad trip. Although…it’s so weird…but right now I feel utterly hopeless. I have no idea which way is up or down and there’s this pain…in my chest…it’s this ache of…hollow…fuck I hate to admit it...

Loneliness.

And the thing is, I don’t even have it so bad. A roof over my head, food on my plate, water in the tap.

But my heart…my heart feels…empty. Hurting. Cracked. Which may not be a bad thing, since most of the time I just feel numb and tired.

I wake up.

I hit the treadmill.

I go to the office.

I enter numbers in a computer for eight hours.

I come home.

I order dinner.

I catch up on TiVo.

I go to sleep.

People like me do not end up covered in purple glitter and wearing furry underwear while huddling for heat next to a neon mushroom.

And yet, maybe they should. Or at least, they should have a moment of some kind of magical catastrophe that shakes up their world.

I have to pee. Man…I really have to pee…nobody’s going to see me pee on the ground this far out here, right?

I shouldn’t though. I mean, it’s not right. They tell us not to.

Fuck that. I’m tired of being told what to do. This whole thing is about breaking the rules, right?

Ugh! I’m so confused. And angry. And my nose is running and I don’t have tissues and I have to pee and I’m cold and exhausted and I don’t want to be high anymore and I’m pissed at my sister for abandoning me in the middle of this place (what were we fighting about? Did she really call me the angel of death?), and most of all, all I want is…

What?

What do I want?

I…

I…

I don’t even know.

Man. OK. I need help.

God, I know we haven’t chatted in a while (feels like centuries), but I could really use some guidance right now. With everything. I feel lost and lonely. I have no clue what I am doing here. What I want. What I need. I feel stuck and stupid and I hate my job I hate my life I hate the treadmill I hate the TV I hate my ex I hate I hate I hate

I

Just

So

Fucking

Hate

Everything!

(breath)

(breath)

(breath)

Whoa. I can breathe. Like a real breath. And that breath…it’s wide. And cool. And fresh.

Thank you. No really. Thank you. Whatever that freak-out was, I needed it.

Peace. If only for a moment. But right now, this moment is worth the fighting and exhaustion and snot and tears cementing my palms as my fingers clench together.

I’m sorry. I’m sorry Alex for yelling at you. I’m sorry mom for avoiding your calls. I know you just want the best for me—even if it comes off as intrusive and micro-manage-y. I’m sorry Billy for throwing your Mac out the window. Yeah, you cheated on me, but really, we knew it was over two years before that happened.

I’m sorry life, for taking you for granted. I’m sorry for wasting my days and blaming everyone for my problems and I’m sorry for not saying ‘I Love You’ often enough.

I love you.

(breath)

OK, that’s a little scary.

I can do this.

It’s OK.

I love you.

I love you.

I love you…

(yawn)

Oh man. Something just hit me. I’m slipping under. I feel like I could sleep for ages. I can barely keep my head up. Thank. God.

Alex, I’m sorry. And thank you. Wherever you are tonight, thank you. The next time I see you, I’ll make sure to tell you that. Also, I love you.

It’s so simple. I’ll just walk up, take your hands and say:

“Alex…”

(snooze)

Epilogue

Friar Ramón Pane jerked from his catatonic bliss with a sharp intake of panicked breath. Despite the fluorescent green glow humming on the edges of the trees, the known world instantaneously reassembled into his mind: the ship that brought him here, the dark woman, the powder she fed him.

As if by divine manifestation, the dark woman appeared beside him, holding him, cradling his head and muttering something in her Taíno tongue. Although Pane could speak her language, his mind was still too concentrated with the powder to take in her words.

Her hands were firm, but warm. Calloused, but inviting. He leaned his head into her palms and gazed into her empty, black eyes. An endless void.

And yet, there was something in the nothing. Light? Reflection? Himself?

He began to cry. Too much. Too much for him to understand right now. All he could fathom was that either this woman had shown him God or had taken God away from him (which may have been one and the same thing).

Her breath—wide, cool, fresh—whispered across his face.

Peace. If only for a moment. But right then, that moment was worth the fighting and exhaustion and snot and tears cementing his palms as his fingers clenched together.

And as he surrendered to her embrace, a single, sweet name exhaled from his lips:

“Alex…”

Orgasmic Journey: Oh The Places You'll Go

Originally posted January 21, 2012

I've been reflecting on this past year and I have to say, it's been pretty awesome and in no way what I thought it was going to be. I've moved across the country, sold 75% of my belongings and am in the midst of completely tossing out all the old maps to "getting to where I think I should go" and am learning to follow the moment to moment compass of desire. It hasn't always been easy, but I've magically ended up in some cities I'd never planned on visiting (Austin?! Montreal?!). And it all arose from simply saying "yes" to the opportunity before me. So upon seeing the recent Burning Man viral video, Oh The Places You'll Go, I was inspired to share some photos of my 2011 Orgasmic Journey.

NEW YORK CITY

Times Square, December 31, 2010

Times Square, December 31, 2010

Empire State Building, January 2011

Empire State Building, January 2011

Frost on bush in Astoria, February 2011

Frost on bush in Astoria, February 2011

59th St and 5th Ave, March 2011

59th St and 5th Ave, March 2011

Broadway and 10th Ave, March 2011

Broadway and 10th Ave, March 2011

Strawberry Fields, April 2011

Strawberry Fields, April 2011

Astoria, April 2011

Astoria, April 2011

My Astoria Stoop Sale, April 2011

My Astoria Stoop Sale, April 2011

Washington Square Park, April 2011

Washington Square Park, April 2011

Ducks in Central Park, May 2011

Ducks in Central Park, May 2011

Manhattanhenge, June 2011

Manhattanhenge, June 2011

Astoria Street Fair, July 2011

Astoria Street Fair, July 2011

Orgasm Is in Union Square, July 2011

Orgasm Is in Union Square, July 2011

The view of Harlem from New Jersey, July 4, 2011

The view of Harlem from New Jersey, July 4, 2011

Manhattan Bridge from Brooklyn, August 2011

Manhattan Bridge from Brooklyn, August 2011

Occupy Wall Street, October 2011

Occupy Wall Street, October 2011

SAN FRANCISCO

Tulips on Pier 39, March 2011

Tulips on Pier 39, March 2011

View of Alcatraz from Pier 39, March 2011

View of Alcatraz from Pier 39, March 2011

Haight Ashbury, August 2011

Haight Ashbury, August 2011

Hayes and Octavia, October 2011

Hayes and Octavia, October 2011

Foggy Golden Gate Bridge, View from the Marin Headlands, November 2011

Foggy Golden Gate Bridge, View from the Marin Headlands, November 2011

Yerba Buena Gardens, November 2011

Yerba Buena Gardens, November 2011

Fill Up America, Mission, December 2011

Fill Up America, Mission, December 2011

Castro Heights, January 1, 2012

Castro Heights, January 1, 2012

Muir Beach, January 1, 2012

Muir Beach, January 1, 2012

View from Noe Valley, January 2012

View from Noe Valley, January 2012

SF skyline from Bay Bridge

SF skyline from Bay Bridge

SF from Lincoln Park, January 2012

SF from Lincoln Park, January 2012

6th St in SoMA, January 2012

6th St in SoMA, January 2012

LOS ANGELES

Beverly Hills, October 2011

Beverly Hills, October 2011

Rodeo Drive, October 2011

Rodeo Drive, October 2011

Santa Monica, December 2011

Santa Monica, December 2011

Venice Beach, December 2011

Venice Beach, December 2011

MISCELLANEOUS

DC Capitol, February 2011

DC Capitol, February 2011

Little Pond, Bethlehem, PA, August 2011

Little Pond, Bethlehem, PA, August 2011

Little Pond, Bethlehem, PA, August 2011

Little Pond, Bethlehem, PA, August 2011

Montreal, Place Jaques Cartier, Rue des Artistes, August 2011

Montreal, Place Jaques Cartier, Rue des Artistes, August 2011

Montreal, Notre Dame, August 2011

Montreal, Notre Dame, August 2011

Montreal, Jardin Nelson, August 2011

Montreal, Jardin Nelson, August 2011

On the road to Burning Man, August 2011

On the road to Burning Man, August 2011

The Temple of Transition, Burning Man, August 2011

The Temple of Transition, Burning Man, August 2011

The Man, Burning Man, August 2011

The Man, Burning Man, August 2011

Solage, Calistoga, November 2011

Solage, Calistoga, November 2011

Solage, Calistoga, November 2011

Solage, Calistoga, November 2011

Austin, TX, November 2011

Austin, TX, November 2011

Barton Springs, Austin, TX, November 2011

Barton Springs, Austin, TX, November 2011

Snow in the mountains between LA and SF, December 2011

Snow in the mountains between LA and SF, December 2011

Atlanta, GA, December 2011

Atlanta, GA, December 2011

If You Build It, They Will Come (But What If I Don't Know What I Am Building?)

My friend Lance and me as Vestal Virgins, Burning Man 2011

Originally posted September 16, 2011

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I/I took the one less-traveled by/And that has made all the difference. --Robert Frost

When I decided to move to the west coast, my intention was always to land in Los Angeles—and it still is. The film industry beckons me, as does the prospect of bringing Orgasmic Mediation to the myriad of package-pretty (but sensation-lacking) actors and actresses living in Tinseltown.

I had a plan: save up some money, buy a car and drive directly to LA at the beginning of 2012.

Only now, a pesky little gnat has taken up residence in my heart: Desire.

I recently spent four weeks out west, both in San Francisco and in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada as part of set-up and tear-down crew for the annual Burning Man festival (if you don’t know what that is, I really can’t explain it here, but trust me, it is a life-changing crucible of transformation). During these weeks, I experienced what it was like to feel validated as a sexually hungry woman. I felt creative in ways I never imagined (I painted a bunch of tables for Center Camp and gave a talk on creativity, purpose and orgasm—two things I have never done before!). I lived an existence where magic and synchronicity were the status quo. I celebrated my 31stbirthday on the playa. And I found my people. As I write this now I am starting to weep. Family. People who see all of you and love every little crazy, creepy, freaky, dirty, shiny, golden scrap of your wounded being. People, who when I say “I am sad” or “I am angry”, say “Great! Tell me about it!”—not the usual “Get over it” or “Awww, everything’s gonna be ok.” Most of all, I learned how to better express my own love. To not hold back out of fear of what the “Other” is thinking, but to just fucking stand up, look someone in the eye (with love and without entitlement) and say “This is what I feel. This is what I want.”

So now, all I can think about is how the hell I can get to San Francisco as soon as possible. Not in a passing “I’ll spend a week there on my way to LA” kind of way. But in a serious, 3-4 month energetic fortification before making my way to jungles of Los Angeles. As in buying a one-way ticket two weeks from today, donating most of my possessions and shipping the rest. Tying a hasty little bow on this 13-year love affair with New York City.

The thing is…I’m scared. Really. Do I have a job in SF? No. Do I have a place to live? Well, maybe a crash pad for a few weeks, but certainly nothing really affordable for me right now. Do I have a car (so I really need one)? A plan? Any real good reason to do this?

I mean, this doesn’t make sense! I just signed a 3-month teaching contract at the City University of New York. I have clients at the studio I teach out of in Soho. I need to be saving money now and moving costs a lot of money!

And yet…it all just feels like an excuse to me.

Because the bottom line is that my desire is calling me in a BIG FUCKING WAY to SF—right now in this very moment (oh man, here come the tears again).

I know what you are thinking: “Oh Lord, another one of these people who is making crazy life changes after going to Burning Man.” I hear you. But, this isn’t my first time at the burn, ya know. It’s my third, so it’s not as if I just experienced all this opening for the first time and I have decided to sell my life and become a monk in the Himalayas. I mean, I already started selling everything I own last April. I already had a plan to go west for the past year. And I am keeping in step with the purpose I was put here for: to perform and to bring OMing to everyone. It simply feels like I am now listening even more closely to my body, which yearns to accelerate at a pace I had not anticipated.

At Burning Man, my intention was to let go of the Good Girl/Princess and to step into the role of a Queen. Though there is still always work to be done here, I feel as if I shed a huge part of the last 10 years of my life on the playa. And in this lightness, I have found an immediacy, a weightlessness and a freedom in life. I can’t return now to the old ways of living: holding myself back, waiting for the right moment, scrimping by on “just enough”, living in the land of “if only” or “what if.” The moment is now. Always. The moment is right now. It’s simply up to me to choose which direction to go…