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Every Year I Think I Won’t Go Back « Upsidedown and Backwards

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Every Year I Think I Won’t Go Back

By | October 15, 2011

Burning Man was epic.

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Seen on the way out. Tee hee.

There were friends everywhere I turned. There were acroyogis I had met all over in my travels.

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Whitney from Phoenix

There were reminders of the past and invitations to the future. There were some of the biggest, most dramatic fires I have ever seen.

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That’s the man burning in there.

Each day was more amazing than the last. The weather was tremendous and the connections were magical. I did a high hand to hand for the first time ever,

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This is Mara doing one.

took a plane ride with my friend Jeff from Reno,

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Jeff and his plane

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The city from Jeff’s plane

saw several sunrises, and danced into the void of the open playa.

I walked into Farmopolis just as my friend Kristin had the bartender pull a tarot card from her deck. She turned around, saw me, and said the card must be for me. “Ten is complete,” she said. “This is a nine. You’re almost done. This woman (pictured on the card) is swimming with the flow of the river. She only looks back a little.”

I rode on pirate ships,

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submarines, and magic carpets, and I talked to wonderful strangers. One man I met in the ice line gave me a pendant from his Trojan Horse camp.

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It was one of the most impressive pieces of art on the playa, and it was the first thing everyone I met asked me about as I wore the necklace around for the rest of the week.

My friend Greg held relationship transition workshops inspired by the dissolution ceremony Ben and I had created last year at the temple. Outside of the workshops, between people I knew and people I met for the first time, I came across to at least six couples who were navigating the end of relationships and told them my story. I hope it helped them.

My expectations were particularly challenged at the temple burn. What has in the past been a silent, contemplative event, was nosier and rowdier, with more conflict and confusion. With the largest crowd ever and so many first-timers, it could hardly be helped, but I didn’t like it. My friend Windy helped me stay tethered to the present and experience as it happened, rather than as I wished it to be. It was rewarding to come out the other side of frustration, and the night continued to be more and more fantastical, with a huge, otherworldly aerial production and the vast spaces of the open desert. In the end, we only returned to camp when I could no longer ignore a painful blister on my toe, but that was as it should be as well.

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When one door closes, another door opens. Sometimes when it opens, too.

After a massive organizing, packing and repacking effort, for which I am forever indebted to Toymaker, Mankx and Becca, I left San Diego to drive back to Chicago. I may be there yet, but the Trapeze School scheduled me to work. With a too-brief stop in LA to visit Kate, I made it back in three days.


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