This Naked Mind: Burning Man and a Book


“I deserve peace and calm, I deserve peace and calm, I deserve peace and calm, I deserve peace and calm.”

Welcome to my 2018 Burning Man decompression. I’m opting for some alone time, tapping my temples and talking to myself which happens to be a scientifically reputable form of therapy called ~emotional freedom technique~ It’s like self-hypnosis and it’s the jam if you want an increase in creativity, ease symptoms of PTSD, cPTSD, child abuse or making yourself trip out without taking any illegal substances. “Get high on your own supply!” is the message you will hear from Sonya Sophia, this gliding fairy god-mother of emotional literacy and self-awareness. Self-transcendence too, if that’s your thing.

Even though they are starting to all run together, I remember discovering EFT on the playa in 2012. I had a visceral experience of a process of turning my own lovey-doviness in on myself. Im not going to get in to it but it had some serious Mother Mary vibes and I was not on de druuuuugs.

Be my own Daddy!

As it turns out, that gay shit makes me nauseous. Nauseous like being at the peak of a roller coaster, nauseous like I’m waiting on a difficult conversation, nauseous like the thought of giving up a bad habit, nauseous like rolling up to the gate of my eighth burn.

“Mooooooooooove. Mooooooooove into that feeling of fear.”

That’s what they say.

Even though it was in 2012 that I was provided yet another tool of self-mastery, I was like, “Great! cant wait to show the kids, they’ll love this!” As for me, the strategy I chose in life was to hug my knees as I lopped over a ledge and rolled  right down the path of least resistance.


It’s just that it’s everywhere.

“I don’t think you are an alcoholic but I do think you drink when you feel powerless and you felt powerless then,” my therapist pointed out to me back in February when I first listened to Annie Grace’s “This Naked Mind: Control Alcohol

maybe even listen to it twice over

Like Sonya Sophia, Annie Grace is all about getting in touch with what’s alive inside your beingness.

She then pummels the reader with science.

Then she’s like, “Go! Free spirit! And discover for yourself! Listen to my magic words and let them move your beingness! Bibbitty bobbitty booooo!”

This tends to be my method.

I thought this Burning Man journey was going to be about my relationship to alcohol and my commitment to sitting with myself in discomfort. “The pinch” my awesomely sober but now dead dad called it. I thought I was going on pilgrimage to patch some wounds and do a few emotional push ups in a dusty land of familiar novelty.

This will be good for my brain!

The theme was iRobot and there was a washing machine that rolled up to and flirted with my friend and then just about faced my buddy and rode away. Yes, someone created a flirty washing machine to roam the playa just asking for attention. Any alcohol craving I thought would be a central inner battle was smothered in the morphing kaleidoscope of raucous hilarity.

I went to Burning Man and I didn’t drink.

My heart bled profusely but I was considerably more hydrated than years previous.

I’ve got that going for me.

This guy said, “I had 100 problems when I drank and the day I quit I dropped 50 of them.”

Mmmmm hmmmmm.

I’m integrated!!!

Or at least I’m integrating.

Definitely met some people that dug new grooves in my brain. Grooves that open me to new feelings. A possibility of feelings that kinda make me nauseous.

And here I am, post-burn 2018, back home and tapping. If you were watching the process  you would sense something akin to watching a person rock back and forth in the fetal position and talk to themselves.


That was my eighth burn, maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan.


This is not a festival. Hello! I was reminded before traveling by the website. Burning Man is not a festival, kiddo. Burning Man is a metropolis, a world-wide social experiment, a community.

A famous quote from a famous veteran said something about this being an event both fun and optional that is neither fun nor optional.

I have hit veteran status and those words are alive in in in

in in in in in


B E I N G N E S S.

Peak shook.

I am laughing but it is not without reverence.

I left my eighth burn softer and stronger.

I’m definitely still bleeding.

A virgin friend waddles next to me on bones she broke Thursday night, down a lantern lit chalky road, away from a blazing man effigy, alive with childish excitement about how good it’s gonna be next year.

I live for moments of tenderness and creativity and depth.

Even if it’s all in my head.

#Metoo Part I: Clarity and the Rhinoceros Revelation

Have you ever been about to go to sleep and something, a dream, a falling or whatever startles you awake and you jump?

Happened to me right before I decided to share a deep dark story on facebook. I have watched BBC documentaries for entertainment since I was a child and was doing so to fall asleep one innocuous night sometime ago, before #metoo. If you want to open your eyes a little bit, go to Netflix, check out the BBC show “Africa,” episode 1, skip to the 20:15 mark. That is where I was. Eyes hardly open, night time chirping. Cutest rhinoceros  you ever did see drinking out of a lake under the twilight, we hear a famous British voice.

“Using the latest starlight camera, David Attenborough announces, “we can reveal for the first time, the rhino’s true charactah.” Larger view. “This young female seems nervous,” the British narrator describes the emotional state of a completely different species he can plainly see to the audience who can also plainly see. “The young female has an admirer,but she doesn’t seem keen on him.”

So then this rhino mofo comes back after getting some antlers stuck on his horn and that does it for her, she decides to give him a chance. Didn’t do it for me, I was never convinced, but it did it for this lady rhino, this guys extra effort. So she decides to give it a go. Don’t turn away, give it another minute. Yep, he disappoints. She’s over it, so she goes off and feigns sleep.  Then what happens? He waits a little bit then takes her anyway because he is a legitimate randy beast and they are about to go extinct?



He just trots away. Like a gentleman. Or like most members of all species across many a genus.

All the proof I need. Thank you Black Rhinoceroses.

Do you know what the Buddha said when he reached enlightenment and the devil came and attempted to reduce him with questions like, “Who do you think you are?!”

He said nothing. He touched the earth. Why? Because all of creation, the earth itself would bear witness to his enlightenment. If it is the truth, what does he have to prove to the likes of Mara?

Right then and there, on the edge of sleep, a big part of me just died and I don’t think that is a bad thing. Might have just been the itchings of 30. My first grey hair. And I got on Facebook and told a story, which I had considered doing at other points in the process because I am a writer and that is what we do, we write when the going gets tough. But I never quite had the limbic pulsing to shut off the blood flow to my prefrontal cortex. That is to say, I had thought about it but never pulled the trigger.


It can be inappropriate. It can become an addictive way of life for some, but sometimes, sooooooooometiiiiiiiiiiiiimes

it can be just the motivation you need to act appropriately.

Sharing personal things to strangers is not a safe strategy for many.

But it happens to be for me in this situation at this time.


To the outside world it didn’t look like I had it. We have a lot of assumptions about women and anger. Clarity  is not one of them.

So I got online, shared a story that shined a light on a really ugly scene that made people feel an array of pity, concern, anger and embarrassment. And all of our reactions gave me more clarity. Not a lot of queenly grace there, but I can’t regret it. I needed that information.

I had done all the right things. And still. Fed up.

Wanna know what happened when I took my black and white date rape report to the authorities? About how a man did to me what even a rhino wouldn’t dare do to one of his own? Hope for a minute. Doctors, police, detectives, listening even though I most definitely felt crazy. Validating me with statements like,” yeah, this is exactly what it looks like, we know, and don’t expect anything to happen once it gets to our prosecutor.” An arrest. Silence. Long silence.

Finally, I bug her because my police man ex told me that’s how it works if I want answers.

When I finally did get a hold of the Hawaii State prosecutor and she finally did agree to meet me with an “advocate” (who really served as an advocate for her) she started with a question.

“Abby, do you really think he needs to go to jail?”

Full stop. Crick in my back is tightening to a near pop as I lean a little to the right to try and ease it. The pain of her nonsense.

Not my job.

My job is care-taking, babies, old people, men.

I went to school for public and social health.

Didn’t our prosecutor have years and thousands of dollars worth of rigorous training that had qualified her to put in to practice all the 1 + 1’s of the law?

And besides, that wouldn’t have even been her job!!! What sort of beliefs about who I am made her feel comfortable putting that guilt on me?

I had believed and wanted it to be the people’s who’s job it was suppose to be, the judge and jury’s. Could you have imagined me up there, Judge Libtard?

“JAIL? You mean a place with no stars?!?!? Community service should do! And mandatory therapy! That should fix him right up! Smile, meet heart!”

There is a reason I was both victim and witness in this case and not the judge.


I had no balls for this. And I’ve never had any interest in going to school to be a judge.  Justice is hard work and shouldn’t be left to the victims.


And that is why I me-tooed.  I’m fed up and CLEAR AS DAY! Tired of loved ones getting raped on and good -hearted people being left to pick up the wreckage while sociopaths skip around looking pretty and causing chaos. Yes, all sexual assailants are sociopaths, as this rhino demonstrated for all of us, because one has to jump through several dehumanizing hoops in order to make the choice to steal a person’s sex. Even if that person is female. Or it’s some impulsivity problem. Why is the weight on me, a haole from a strange land, the actions of this man’s criminal violation of my body? Why didn’t the justice system take care of it? Black and  White. About the easiest date rape scenario ever. Asleep. Hour and a half been asleep. Sober. Witnesses willing to testify on a consistent story. Freakin’ DIARY ENTRIES. What in the world? This is why #metoo had to happen. This is why sex stuff is now on social media. Because people in our system of Justice put politics before service. Its a joke. I was intimidated TWICE  out of pursuing basic justice while my sexual perpetrator was emboldened to continue his narcissistic abuse.

How do we reach someone committed to a sociopathic path? There is only one way.  Consistent social accountability. Justice, even gentle and kind, really goes a long way.

A narcissistic game always unravels in the light.

Now I understand more deeply my responsibility to  strengthen my inner fortitude in order to continue to shine a light on narcissistic frameworks and take a stand for my own inner integrity.

Would be nice if our system could be trusted to do its job but I never saw any evidence of that.


The Bloods

You know what is cool about the Bloods? They don’t just have a backbone for themselves, they have a strong backbone for each other. I have no clue what horrible things gangs are up to today, I haven’t been following that part of journalism.*  But I do know that the Bloods actually have a strict code of ethics in how they treat each other, making it a safe place to belong, if you follow those ethics. I don’t agree with a lot of their core values, all that money and power and bitches and stuff, but I have always admired their backbone.