Inverted at Burning Man

I’m upside down dressed only in glitter. Playing guitar. Behind me has assembled a group of backup dancers, a fiddler and what I think was a vocalist.

We’re in the middle of the nevada desert. I’m on the main stage at burning man. I had just changed my name to Ravi; it’s the first week of classes at the only Buddhist college in the US. The day before my therapist told me that I should have some fun. Leaving his office a woman I met the day before asked me if I’d like to tag along.

So naturally I accompanied the hari krishnas to the greatest party on earth in the middle of the desert. Upon arrival it was about ten minutes before I was dressed in glitter riding atop a solar powered triceratops with “The Burning Milfs” a friendly group of mothers who made sure that everyone had enough condoms and rolling papers to ensure that their trip was encased with the appropriate wrappings. A genius idea…

…”you know this stage is only for professionals” one of the workers yelled to us. Strumming my guitar that had played both naked parties in new england blizzards and naked festivals in a nevada sandstorm I reply “We were asked to fill in for the main act.”

The funny thing is that I was dead sober. If it weren’t for that car crash, lord knows where I would have wound up.


Car crash into sobriety

Facing the jersey barrier, the speedometer hit eighty. I was in the passenger seat, hands clasped, praying to my namesake. My friends in the back begging me to grab the steering wheel. Karl’s face turned into a caricature of an evil mastermind realizing his plans for armageddon.

I had never driven a car before, nevermind wrestled a steering wheel from a clearly insane man, but fuck it. I grabbed the wheel pushed it to the left. The immovable concrete screeched against the door inches to my left.

We were now in traffic. It was the first times John or Kai had worn seat belts in years. It was the first time I had driven a car. In the passenger side, no less. Karl was mad. He was mad that my girlfriend wouldn’t sleep with him. He was mad that money couldn’t buy friends. Quite frankly, he was a madman.

“This is what happens when I’m mad!” He shouted. I noticed a rest area ahead. Made for sleeping truckers, I’m still convinced the patron saint of hung-over idiots put it there for us. I grabbed the wheel and pulled it to the right. He didn’t fight it. We made it to the truck stop.

The sky was blue that day. Clear, puffy white clouds, surrounded by trees by the side of the highway. As beautiful as a near death experience could be I suppose.

Karl stopped the car, and in true Mad form, he took his pipe and ran into the woods.

“Let’s start walking” said John. John came from a lineage of independent business men. I was great at getting into and out of trouble. This was mostly because I had people like John around. We listened.

Walking down the highway for miles, Kai, the resident goofball and magician begged to stop for water. I, the engine behind adventure weighed the pros and cons. John, with a head on his shoulder said we wouldn’t stop until we got home. We listened, put together enough between the two of us for a pack of second rate cigarettes.

The next day I got sober.

Relationships & The Law Of Attraction

love and relationships

I’ve come across several of friends suffering from relationship issues this week so I decided that there was need for this post.

Relationships are great as soon as you don’t need them. It’s simply the way it works. When we have discovered ourselves to the point where we’re simply not looking for them, the relationships will come, but what do we do?

We grow.

Relationships, like water, seek their own level. We’re simply not going to find the person we’re “looking for” unless we’ve grown to the point where we’re not looking. Or we can settle, which is absolutely fine. In fact, most of us do this, it’s just that we’re settling at a level that is perfect for us for a period of time. 

I’ve done the whole manifest a relationship thing and while it worked, every time, I continually found one thing in common: the relationship was as healthy as I am.

To quote Mooji, “If you’re (single and) looking for the love of your life, you don’t know how lucky you are…” “Finding the love of your life can become a life sentence.”

I’m sure that this isn’t the advice that anyone is looking for. But the hunger to find the perfect person simply arises out of a feeling of being incomplete. Perhaps there’s something deeper that you’re actually craving; a connection, not necessarily romance that is out there.

Romantic relationships are a tool of growth, of happiness and can be incredibly awesome. But they will  challenge you to grow. They will challenge you to even examine your desire for relationships, and that is beautiful.

But like all of life’s beautiful things, they are ultimately transient and more importantly demand growth of some sort and growth is uncomfortable at times. So, I highly suggest a smoother transition. Let go of what doesn’t work and dare to be single. Perhaps you’ll find something deeper and even more fun!

I mean, the point of life is definitely much more blissful and enjoyable than struggle. Why not enjoy yourself and take the easy path until fun finds you?

I don’t intend for this or any of my posts to be definitive truths. I’m actually more interested in what other people have to share than my current truths. I dare to share my perspective to see what other people have to say.



Let’s talk about Chi.

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I never really like to talk about this, but I was kind of born feeling seeing and simply have a knowledge of what’s referred to as chi. For some reason prana seems to esoteric, life force seems to woo woo, but we all know what chi is. It’s much more concrete, mapped, established, and codified in chinese medicine, disciplines such as kung fu and tai chi, chi has always been a tangible part of my reality.

I took this for granted for most of my life. Everyone else just seemed blind. When I was a very little (precocious) kid, I thought I just saw atoms. When I was a punk teenager I thought “duh there’s a universal energy field connecting all things; everyone else is an idiot.” When I had a profound manic episode, I was convinced that everyone was energy vampires. In later adulthood I realized that I just had a gift that probably way more people had than those who spoke about it.

I never wanted to be one of those people who you’d meet at yoga retreats who would go on at lengths about their connection with angels or something similar. Often times (by all means, not always) these people seemed to be making up for some unexplored side of their ego with their spirituality. I decided that being more reserved was the proper way to relate to the most intimate parts of my life. In general I think that is a pretty reasonable way to relate to most things, although I by no means have always lived this way.

I’m writing about this today because I’m realizing that I am in need of energy healing. I’m a certified energy healer, which is funny, because I hate doing it. I actually have a lot of resentments about growing up being generally energetically aware. Most people who are sensitive to energy are not as sensitive as I am, making me feel lonely amongst those with whom I wished I could relate. In this sense, I’m sensitive about being sensitive.

The beautiful part of the journey has taken hold. I’m particularly empathetic, I understand myself and relate to others particularly well, in general. I’m in awe of the beauty of the universe. My day to day involves a connection that I pray our president could experience for like, a billionth of a second. That’s great.

But I’m in pain. I’m not sure if it’s the isolation that this has caused me. The irony is not lost on me. I don’t just sympathise with people but I vividly see and feel what other people are going through. Connection is very real for me. And because so few people experience the world to this degree of intensity and connection, I feel as though I lack peers with whom I can relate.

I can relate to people. I very seldom feel that I relate with. 

With that said, I have built a beautiful network of humans who sincerely do care and listen. I have chosen my friends very carefully. They are numerous and, while we are all beautiful snowflakes these people, even those with whom I haven’t spoken in years are incredibly special.

I guess I’m in pain because these people are so amazing, and this world is so amazing the overwhelming connection almost gets in the way of enjoying them. In any event, I need to take care of myself on the level of someone who perceives chi. I’ll go to acupuncture and receive some more reiki, go back to tai chi or kung fu…I’ll take care of myself.

I guess I just wanted to share that I have felt so lonely for so long publicly. I’m by no means complaining. It’s the very thing that makes me feel connected to life that makes me feel very alone. It’s a fair trade. But in acknowledging that, I realize that I’m sure I’m not alone.





The Law of Attraction

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I recently bumped into a couple of wonderful young women who inspired me to write more about spirituality. tl/dr this is a post about some why spirituality is so important.

We live in a society where being “functional” is the end all-be all of…life! In this ridiculous circus, we have geniuses who could be solving the worlds problems starving, disabled, or otherwise unable to “contribute” to this glorious machine of capitalism.

We need to change this…but there is so much more that we could be doing! I found myself in a similar position a few years ago. I thought that my life was over and I would never be able to dedicate my heart and mind or ever be a “contributing member of society” again…

…and then I realized that there was so much that existed outside of the box that I had been living in. I got in contact with myself, with the spirit of others and the generally the essence of all things. I fought this tooth an nail for years because, while I found that I had the ability to tap into this reality and pretty much…make anything I wanted or needed happen…I really didn’t want to!

I was so consumed with what other people were telling me what was possible, and so dedicated to proving them wrong that I simply ignored the simple truths of life that I had the privilege of being exposed to.

Fast forward a few years later. It’s 8am, I’m so discouraged by my inability to be “normal” that I think I have to find another way to exist or else I might end up killing myself…and I simply don’t give up on things-I’ll be damned if I give up on life! So I got in touch with my favorite counselor and guide-my mom and after an hour and a half of patient conversation, she said – Ammanuel, I know you, your solution lies in your spirituality.

And then and there I realized two things 1) that mom is actually as bright as she thinks she is and 2) that it was time to accept that inner power that we all have. It doesn’t rest on being like everyone else, it lies in embracing this very real power to transform the very world around us and live in harmony with all living things.

Men, we have some work to do!

The thing about being a human is that we live in a world that thrives on differences. Not diversity.  We have a beautiful array of people with different bits, different skins, different stories different countries and pretty much all the same DNA.

Our world thrives on separating us and putting us in competition with each other. But there is SO MUCH MORE THAT WE CAN DO!

When I walk down the street, I think about other people as Humans and yeah, their gender or color plays into this. These differences are deeply rooted in exploitation abuse and other horrible things. But the beauty of seeing people as PEOPLE first, is that it aligns me with the things that make ALL people happy. The things that we have in common.

In a long line a the coffee shop, who wouldn’t rather hear a bad joke than standing in awkward silence. Who wouldn’t rather be regarded as a being with worth and dignity when I pass them on the road. Who doesn’t want a simple smile?

It’s more than that, we’re all people fighting for connection in a world that makes that difference. So be a revolutionary, make friends!

So the thing is that we need to heal to celebrate diversity rather than capitalize on any advantage we can have over another because of differences. And yes, we all do. We all have it in us to love others, but we have to acknowledge the incredible amount of pain and prejudice inside of every single one of us.

There are plenty of people who will argue about your actions. But as I reiterate on this blog START WITH LOVE and the actions will follow.

End Violence Towards Women

I recently remembered that my best friend’s mom growing up was beaten nearly to death by his father.

We had sleepovers at his house and while it was large with many expensive televisions and cars, there was this chilly silence. Something that could only be felt;  it was the sound of silent terror.

We were only about seven or eight when they got a divorce. I didn’t find out until years later that this man beat his wife regularly and she left him when he beat her to the point of near death.

I am remembering this because I am doing my own healing work on my parents. This has been one of the most difficult things. I loved this woman, she was a video game designer in the 90’s, she was sweet warm loving caring, but when we were all at the fathers house there was that palpable terror.

To think that someone would pledge love for the rest of their life to someone and beat them to the point of near death is unthinkable to me. Relationships are sacred. We need to enter them dedicated to the best interest of the other person and ourselves. I’m so proud of her for leaving but my heart breaks thinking of this.

The worst part is that this is common. Every single day this is happening all over the world. Women are harassed and beat and even the things that aren’t deadly add up and a weight is created. The weapon used unanimously is SILENCE.

That’s why we’re speaking up. I’m finding time and time again that all of the women in my life are routinely harassed beaten assaulted, several have been abducted, kidnapped, repeatedly raped. This isn’t just not okay it’s criminal. And it’s an offense that we all need to check our accountability for.

By speaking out, by LISTENING we are allowing the voice that needs to be spoken to be heard. The story needs to be heard. We have created a class of people who bear an unspoken, unbearable and simple unacceptable burden.

It’s not men’s job to pressure women into sharing what they don’t. And I don’t have all of the solutions but it’s our damn job to be there in support in whatever way is necessary.

I have the privilege of being a cis male who was sexually assaulted as a child. I know the worst of the worst symptoms and the fracturing of the psyche and the incredible work and pain involved in just getting help and then utilizing it. I have had the privilege of having it be my full time job to heal.

Why is this a privilege? Because that’s it for me. It happened once and I get to heal. I don’t get followed down the street at night. I don’t have to have mace in my bag just to go to a club or a bar. Life is free for me.

What this gives me is an entry point. I share my story freely. If anyone of any gender can relate then we can open up the discussion. Hearing the hidden truths of lives begins to end the silence. When the silence ends the stories are told, are heard, hopefully accepted. At very least it’s a weight off the backs of the 51 percent of humans who are attacked assaulted harassed, discriminated and under payed.

Many of us men have been assaulted and marginalized too. However, what’s been done to women since…the beginning of time is a violation of human rights to the greatest degree. And it can be complicated and subtle and insidious. And every single one of us, no matter what gender carries that inside. It our responsibility as humans attempting to make a livable world, to face this in ourselves and in our peers and to create an environment in which it is completely unacceptable to treat human beings as anything other than the beautiful souls that they are. It is also our job as human beings to thrive to be the beautiful souls that we can be. And misogyny I’m pretty sure isn’t part of that.

I apologize for my lack of punctuation. I’ll get around to working on that 🙂 As for my friend’s mom she’s doing wonderfully the last time I checked. As for writing this as a man…well, a couple wonderful women said that we had to do our best, so I’m perhaps clumsily trying to be the most vocal ally possible.

I am a human being. So are you. We’re capable of amazing things. I have faith that we will be able to reach our potential. Let’s make this world in which it’s only acceptable to do what’s in the best interest for all of us. It’s a pretty simple rule that has been written a a thousand times in a thousand ways. Just simply treat people the way you want to be treated.

I want to be treated like gold!