Part 1 of this series Rebirth at Burning Man is here.
Hmmm … I’m noticing myself having a bit of resistance about writing this one. This stuff is so powerful, and a lot of emotion is still stirring inside me. But it feels important, so here goes …
I went to Burning Man with a guy called Burning Man Guy (BMG). This turned out to be very fortuitous. It seems that God had sent me a surrogate healer. Let me explain why I say that.
I was still feeling a lot of unresolved stuff from my relationship with Entropy. Meanwhile, BMG also had a breakup of an emotionally deep relationship, and he was essentially in the mirror opposite situation of me. Whereas I was still feeling some anger with what I perceived as less than full honesty and respect for my vulnerability, BMG had played the other role in his relationship. The woman he was involved with ended their relationship and cut off communication with him because she had perceived him as being less than fully honest.
In the days leading up to Burning Man, I was finding that my unresolved anger was extremely triggered in my communications with BMG. I decided to be as radically honest with him as I possibly could, and to BMG’s credit, he was able to hold all of my emotions without collapsing.
Now I will say this, one of the beauties of surrogate healing work is that it’s easier to hold all of someone else’s emotions when we’re not personally involved in the situation. So it was perfect for BMG and I to go to Burning Man together. We were able to express to each other all of the things that we would have liked to express to our partners but were unable to due to how much energy was activated in those relationships. Sometimes when old stuff gets triggered, our emotional responses to it are overwhelming and make it very challenging to maintain connection. Especially when both people in a relationship get triggered and caught up in “old stories.” There is a loss of presence and thus a loss of connection.
Thus, the first step in the healing process was honesty.
BMG and I have some chemistry. And I noticed myself feeling angry about this. It seemed to me that he wanted to be sexually involved with me. That triggered dissonance in me because when I look at what I know about his last two relationships, I perceive that he has left a trail of pain behind him. Both of those women were left feeling very angry and upset.
I told BMG I was feeling angry. And I told him that the thought that went with that anger was something of the effect of “Where do you get off thinking I would want to get involved with you when what I perceive is a trail of pain left behind you? Why would I want to subject myself to a replay of that script?”
Now to some that may sound harsh, but BMG and I had established a trust around our honesty beforehand. I took full responsibility for my feelings while also expressing myself without self-censoring.
During our car ride, he said something like “I don’t understand why she would throw our whole relationship away.” And I said something like, “I feel very angry hearing you say that. It doesn’t sound like you are taking responsibility for your part. YOU threw the relationship away, by not being fully honest. When I don’t hear you take responsibility for that, I do not feel the trust with you that I would need to have to get involved with you.”
And so it went, with both of us expressing honestly our experiences of our previous relationships. With each hour that went by, the anger level dropped. It was quite magical. I felt like I could give him a window into what his ex was feeling when she cut off communication. (“You know, BMG, cutting off communication doesn’t mean we don’t care about you. It means we don’t know how to shift the dynamic that is going on, and the dynamic feels painful, so we cut off communication to get ourselves out of pain, to move on with our lives.”)
I felt like I could give him a window into how it feels as a woman when your partner is not fully honest. It feels like your free choice was stolen from you. Like your ability to choose a relationship that feels good to you and say no to a relationship that doesn’t was taken away from you.
And meanwhile, I got to hear from him what was motivating him when he was less than honest with her. The guilt and inner conflict. I got to hear how it felt to have communication cut off (pretty crappy) and to lose someone from his life that he cares about so dearly. I got to hear his confusion about monogamy versus polyamory.
I got to see his pain about being caught up in a “story” where he hurts women by exercising his sexuality freely, and he got to see my pain about being caught up in a “story” where men’s exercising their sexuality freely ends up hurting me.
I started to feel like I could SEE him, and I started to feel SEEN by him.
Then, as the anger dropped and the empathy and understanding rose, it all started to seem silly. We started laughing about the “stories” of victim and perpetrator that we had allowed ourselves to get caught up in. We started laughing at the absurdity of our mirroring situations (I had unfriended the guy on Facebook, and BMG had been unfriended). We both felt grateful that God had put us together on this trip to heal each other.
BMG is a powerful healer, but I had no idea how powerful, until this week. Let me tell you how the week started, because this small event was symbolic of what ended up happening later in the week.
BMG and I stayed overnight in Reno at a hotel on Tuesday. In the morning, as we were getting ready to head out to Black Rock City, I smashed my upper thigh on a chair. I was bummed because I tend to bruise easily and heal slowly (well, that’s an old identity anyway ;-). I told BMG it sucked because I was going to have a huge bruise all week (which is the last thing a girl wants for wearing skimpy outfits and fishnets). (Notice the “story” I was telling myself, a self-fulfilling prophecy that FEELS true! If I were one of my clients, I would ask “are you ready to let go of this old identity now?” ;-)
BMG immediately started healing me where I had hit my leg on the chair. He channeled universal life energy into the sore spot and tapped some acupressure spots to release the excess energy. To my absolute astonishment, no bruise formed! Not even the slightest mark. It was as if the injury had NEVER HAPPENED.
BMG explained that he was simply interrupting my body’s automatic trauma response, and essentially reprogramming my body’s reaction to the impact with the chair.
Well, that got me thinking. What happens in relationships when they deteriorate? Usually one or both people’s automatic trauma responses get triggered, and then a previously blissful couple may become reactive to each other and disconnected. This is what trauma does … it disconnects us from the universal life force and from each other.
I had been noticing that I tend to have trauma reactions in relationships sometimes. That certainly happened in my relationship with Entropy.
So what if we could interrupt the trauma response in relationships just as BMG did with my smashed leg? Ah … then when trauma gets triggered, we would simply get very present with it, we would use it as an opportunity for healing our belief systems …. and people would stay connected. All the tears about the old stories would be replaced by laughter and love.
How BMG helped me to interrupt my trauma response in relationships will be the subject of the next article in this series.
I also gifted about fifteen healings of my own at Burning Man, and I’ll write about some of those as well. With every healing given or received, the healer becomes more powerful :-)
Btw, due to the holiday weekend, and by popular demand, I am extending my current coaching rates for a few days, until next Sunday Sept. 13 at midnight Pacific Time. Erika Awakening Coaching Page.