The Frontier Continues

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The Riviera Resort Hotel in Palm Springs is well appointed and courageously decorated. It’s definitely the 21st century in my room [which I am sharing with Scotch (my brotherbyanothermother, not the drink)] although one certainly gets the taste of what this town has long been– an eastern satellite of Hollywood. The ghosts of Tinseltown royalty are everywhere present. Over the sofa where I’m reclined is a giclée of a close-up of Marilyn Monroe’s face that looks like a Lichtenstein if Roy Lichtenstein had worked in sepia.

LeAnn Rimes is beginning her concert downstairs but in truth, I’ve had all the convention I can handle for tonight. Not that there was one single thing wrong with the convention (a clean and sober gathering for 800 sober gay men) but I needed to find quiet and solitude. I’ve been with a lot of people for the past three weeks– 65,000 at Burning Man, 800 here. It’s nice to hear the whistle of my tinnitus interrupted only by the fridge in the minibar– and now the AC. The minibar will go unperturbed by me as I have no desire to drink and haven’t (thank God) for some time. I had considered doing mushrooms at Burning Man before I got there but that’s another story. Well, actually it’s a short one so I’ll spill it now.

I had decided before going to Burning Man that I would collect my chip for being 18 years sober (September 1) and then I would take a little Psilocybin trip on the mushrooms my friends assured me would be at my disposal should I only say the word. But after I got there and traveled around the world of Burning Man for a few days, realizing that I had likely never had the experience of being somewhere where my most authentic self was more welcomed, I came to the conclusion that I did not want to feel one whit different than I did and the state of deep gratitude and bliss was a more-than-adequate “place” to live for as long as I was blessed to swim in it. So the idea of ingesting the fungi from the underneath of bovine excrement never crossed my mind again. I was occasionally offered drugs during my time on The Playa but I always graciously received the offer as what it was– and act of generosity and kindness. I’d thank them, show them my 18-year medallion (the Burning Man version is a wooden chip with the familiar figure stamped on it and a faux-jewel glued to one side– it couldn’t be more valuable to me if it were a real ruby), hug them, decline the dry goods while accepting the love. What usually ensued was a great conversation about what it was like to “burn sober” and I have to believe that these interactions (like all things on The Playa at Burning Man) were magically serendipitous.

Burning Man is not a place or even an event but a state of being that I was blessed to be a part of for twelve days. And although I’m no longer physically there, part of me will never leave and I definitely intend to return to Black Rock City. Until that time, the frontier continues. I’ll share more about the experience I had there in the coming weeks I’m sure.

It’s nice to be back with you and I’ve missed our daily visits. Although it’s only been two weeks and two days since last we were together, in some ways it feels like lifetimes and universes. I’ve actually felt a bit of resistance to putting up the next blog post, not because I don’t love our time together, but because I was afraid I’d feel compelled to tell you everything that’s transpired since our last visit. I could write for the rest of my life and not cover it all. I left Vermont and went back to New York for a couple of days, saw plays, visited friends. I flew to San Francisco and then spent the night in Oakland packing and preparing for Burning Man. We drove to Reno and spent our last night in the “Default World” in a casino. Then 12 days (time is an illusion) in the multi-verses known as Burning Man. Upon reentry I slept a night in Reno again, this time alone before traveling down 395 by car (one of the most beautiful scenic drives of my life), stayed in a small 10-room inn, before landing in Pam Springs at Hot n Dry. Along the way 127, 326, 328 important things happened. The important parts that need to be told will come in due time and as The Mystery warrants. I just wanted to dive back in and let you know I’m ready to move into the next phase of this thing, this thing we do together, this journey of life.

The “year to live” has ended and I’m on to a great new life as a result of the process. I’m grateful for all the help and all the support and also proud of myself for doing the work that got me from where I was on September 1, 2014 to where I am now. Where that is is happy, joyous and free. And I am deeply in Love.

I’ll leave Palm Springs tomorrow to LA for a couple of days and then back to Alabama for three weeks. Although this month-long spiritual journey has been incredible, I’ll be happy to be back in America Junction for a bit. I miss my fur-ternity a lot and I’m looking forward to being back in my home meathead gym and my home CrossFit box and my home-home. After that, I’m off to Australia for a month. I’ll celebrate my 50th birthday there. My friend and I will mark the occasion by jumping out of an airplane on the anniversary of the day I got my belly button. This is something I’ve always wanted to do. I think it’s a little ironic that I’ll be jumping from a plane on the day that would have been my “suicide day.” Rest assured that if the chute doesn’t open, it was indeed an accident because this life that I’m living now is one that I’d like to go on living another 50 years (at least). It’ll be nice to have you along for the ride when I make a trip “down under” for the first time. I wonder if they say the same thing about coming here— or do they say they’re going “up top?”

Okay, that’s enough for tonight. We’re back in it and I’ll be looking to blog daily again for a while at least. Let me know if there’s anything you’d like to hear about in particular– except for my new romance that is– that’ll be kept private at least for now. It’s something for just the two of us to enjoy. Suffice it to say that I am happier than I have ever been.

Goodnight from Palm Springs.

See y’all tomorrow.

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