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.


Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.
-1 John 3:1

Truth, purity, sweet thoughts and one-pointed attention are all qualities that make one suitable to see the true Self.”
-The Yoga Sutras

“Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.”
-Brene Brown

“Only the truth of who you are, if realized, will set you free. ”
-Eckhart Tolle

“What draws people to be friends is that they see the same truth. They share it.”
-C.S. Lewis

Truth, like love and sleep, resents approaches that are too intense.”
-Wyston Hugh Auden

Without going to a dictionary, my definition of truth is the reality of that which actually is. Going to a dictionary, I found it uses the word itself in the first definition which I thought was something dictionaries were not suppose to do. Well, it says “true.”


The facts, the science, the math. I have long been absorbed and agitated and motivated by the idea of truth. They call people like me “seekers.” That was my goal from age 11-29. What’s the truth?

“All of this is just a game!” I told my dad when I was 17.
“We are all just so full of shit, I can’t do this, this game is so stupid!”

“Play the game, Abby! You’re perfect for it!” He told me, “at least go to church, people will respect you more. Just go to church.”

At 12 I went to church camp and came back certain that Jesus was the truth, and infected by our counselors fears, I was terrified of any of my peers being sent to eternal damnation. “I know he huffs paint and listens to Nirvana but he is a genius and a sweetheart and his childhood was not at all easy, how could Jesus, embodiment of love and compassion, possibly send him to hell if I wouldn’t even send him to hell?” Questions like that gave me reasonable, innocent and heartfelt doubt to the narrative I was being served. I read and read and read when I should have been socializing and absorbed in school drama. I flipped courses and found the kind of logical dogma of the likes of Niles Eldridge and Richard Dawkins and was convinced that that was the path to understanding truth. I did not at all make a good atheist. The outside world seemed so empty and my insides felt ill equipped to deal. I went to kill myself when I was 16, with resignation that on the other side, maybe I would finally see the truth… the reality of that which actually is. Instead, I tripped balls, embarrassed myself to the maximum degree and was thrust right back in to the world I was trying to escape. When we say God is Truth, those of faith are saying God is Reality. It just is. God is the facts, the data, the science, the whole thing that not one single person can ever fully get a grasp on, especially because biologically we are designed to push it away, for our own individual protection.


That’s the only individual truth I can hope for, the only fun I can cling to. My faith is so strong now. I don’t need to defend it in the same way I don’t need to run around the streets of Kailua at night insisting and checking that everyone recognize the sun is going to rise tomorrow. My faith is strong and we still need each other to understand truth. I need to check with my humanist atheist friends and my Christian friends and my gun enthusiasts and my social justice warriors and my rape-apologist adrenaline junkies and my Grandma and most importantly, your kids.

la illah ila Allah

There is no god, but God is one of my favorite declarations of faith.