What I did this weekend:
1) went to a rave
2) had “existential sex”
3) navigated complicated poly relationships (not connected to the existential sex, unfortunately)

rave lights pattern

a rave, commune-style

1) We had an outdoor rave here last night, up at our conference site.  It was so kooky and out-of-the-ordinary, and so much fun because of that.  We rarely have community events at the conference site (except for the conferences themselves), and I don’t think there’s ever been a proper “rave” at Twin Oaks, ever.    Having never been to a rave before, I was giddy and excited for a night of techno music and dancing with glowsticks, especially underneath the nearly-full moon.  I had fun dressing up in what I conjectured might be “raver” clothes: a tight sparkly superheroesque shirt with big-legged lime green pants, and pink tennis shoes that I found in Commie Clothes.  I put my short curly hair in pigtails and covered my eyelids with glitter.  Does that sound rave-ish?  When I was actually dancing to the electronic music and aware of my clothes and pigtails (with a blinking purple light threaded through my hair), I definitely felt like the persona I’ve ascribed to ravers.

The dance was set to begin at 9:30, which is a LATE start for any Twin Oaks party.  There was a “caffination party” after dinner for folks who wanted to get themselves properly energized for the evening.  I opted out of that (choosing instead to do the relationship navigation mentioned above), and headed up to the conference site with a few friends right before the beginning of the dance. It’s a long, dark walk (maybe half a mile?) from the main part of the community to the site, and we were having quiet conversation when we rounded a corner and collectively said “ooh” when we saw the glowing lights through the trees.  Some communards had spent the afternoon decorating the outdoor space with holiday lights and colorful sheets (masquarading the pavillion that we’re using as storage for the hammocks business).   The DJ station was glowing with lights and glowsticks and the DJ wore a headlamp to see his music in the dark.  The “dancefloor” was the flattest part of the dirt and gravel (still not very flat) covered with carpets.  The fire circle was already blazing, and there was a long table full of fruit and chocolate and beer and coffee.   We had a small opening ritual of setting a safe space of openness and fun, and then the music began.

It seemed like it took awhile for things to really get going. Some folks danced intermittently, many clustered around the fire circle chatting and eating oranges/strawberries/grapes dipped in chocolate sauce.  It wasn’t until the fire dancers lit up that the energy really sparked.  It started with a hula hoop with 4 wicks lit, donned by a funny “class clown” kind of guy who actually was a pretty good hula hooper.  I took a turn next (and loved it!), and then the two women who have been diligently practicing hula hooping for many months.  They were incredible, maneuvering the ring of fire around their bodies in awe-inspiring ways, grabbing the hoop as it swirled around their hips and flourishing it up to spin around one arm raised high in the air.  Then a poi dancer, with balls of wicking attached to the end of two long chains.  She lit the wicks on fire, and then swung them elaborately around her body.  Then a guy with a staff, balls of fire on both ends, dancing and spinning and wowing us all.  Finally, fire-breathing.  Folks took deep mouthfulls of lamp oil (yes, they did) and then held a lit torch in front of them.  They took a deep breath and then forcefully sprayed the oil from their mouths through the fire, resulting in a giant blowtorch effect.  Quite impressive, and quite unbelievable how willing they were to drink lamp oil.  Everyone who tried it spent the rest of the evening trying to get the taste out of their mouths.

All the fire livened up the party a fair bit.  Some folks got out glowsticks and were dancing wildly with them, half in parody and still with utter enjoyment.  I grabbed some and played for awhile, and I was suprised at how much fun I was actually having with them.  I got compliments for the rest of the evening for my talent with the glowsticks, which filled me with pride…

At some point, my partner Paxus handed me his 3 year old, Willow, so he could go dance for awhile with another partner (this isn’t the complicated relationships part).   Dancing with Willow ended up being one of my favorite parts of the entire night.  He had a glowstick which he swirled around in energetic circles, arm outstretched as we bounced around the dancefloor together.  He’d lean back in my arms, head falling away from my body, and we’d spin in circles to the music.  “Again!” he’d say, laughing, and we’d spin some more.

(Side story about Willow:  someone asked him today what the meaning of life is, and he said matter-of-factly, “It’s a secret.”)

The party lasted late into the wee hours, the dance floor sometimes lagging and then suddenly coming to life again.  The fire was warm and some folks cuddled on the mattresses and blankets around it.  I mostly danced, sometimes watched, sometimes talked (and ate a LOT of oranges dipped in chocolate!).  A few times I found myself dancing to the digitized music with glowing plastic in my hands, and then turning my face upwards to the dark sky and stars and moon-illuminated clouds, feeling the seeming contradiction.   I had fun, and it was different from what I expected.  I was hoping for soemthing that would sweep me off my feet and carry me along on a wild experiential journey where I didn’t think, just danced and played and laughed.  I guess at real raves there are drugs to help with that.  I think I thought too much, more than I wanted to.  I was quieter and more self-conscious about my dancing than usual.  I think the costume was a part of that, though often costumes and themes and “alternate realities” help me drop that self-consciousness.   Hmm… regardless, I had fun.  My partner Free and I were the last to leave at 2am, except for the DJ and another person who volunteered to stay and clean up.  I woke up this morning exhausted and aching from dancing all night, and I spent the day in a rather blissfull “I love my life” place, boxing tofu packages for many hours and playing with Willow on an extra long childcare shift.  And then…

some movies just have that power to alter us, physically, spiritually, emotionally...

2)… the existential sex!   (It’s different than you think)  I watched a movie with my friend Valerie (the same as the Valerie of Matrix fame), and it was such a powerful experience that at the end of the movie we laid there wrapped around each other on the couch in the video shed, in awe, reveling in the intensity.  “I (heart) Huckabees”… anyone seen it?  Goddess, it’s amazing.  For me, the movie was a reminder of some “deep truths” that I suspect are significant and “real”, and it took me to a place of centered and intense awareness.  Sharing that space of Knowing (or whatever) with Valerie felt better than sex, a shared experience of “getting it” (something… what, I don’t know… reality?).  I tried to express it to her as we cuddled on the couch afterwards, and she deemed it “existential sex”.  I’ve only really felt it once before, in the back room of Denny’s with the lovely Serenalu, wired on coffee and thesis deadlines, suddenly wormholing into a universe beyond self-censoring and mistrust, where everything we said elicited a “I know exactly what you mean” and then stunned silence.  There have also been, of course, the chemically-altered experiences of existential sex with everything in the universe (dude)… but it’s been awhile since I had one of those — this way has fewer side effects.

many hands make... deep complex emotions

3) and finally, the relationship navigations.  I currently have two pretty intense partnerships, amidst other connections of varying depth and intensity.  Paxus and I have been together for 2 and a half years, and Free and I have been involved since November.   For the first time in our relationship, Free is seriously pursuing another deep intimacy.  He’s been fantastic about letting me know from the start — she and I even met and hung out for an evening.  He did a great job sharing his attention and energy and love that night, being open and clear and loving with both of us.  I admitted my fear of the unknown, wondering how our relationship would change.  We talked again yesterday before the rave, and I touched a deeper charge of emotion that I hadn’t really been aware of initially.  It started out as a calm and reflective conversation about the new relationship, how he was feeling about it and how I was feeling about it.  I started to talk bit more about my fears,and then I started a sentence that immediately brought tears to my eyes and a tightness in my chest.   I admitted that I was sad about shifting out of this unique place in his life of being the only person serving the role of lover.  It made me feel special, and that was hard to admit because it doesn’t seem very poly.  And yet, it’s the way our relationship has been for the last seven months and I got used to it.  Now it’s shifting and there’s some mourning in letting go of that way of being together.  Crying in a hammock together in the early evening sunlight was a fantastic release — and having had that experience of acknowledging the sadness letting go, we can move forward intentionally.  And it does feel like moving forward.  Free said that the love he’s felt in our relationship has helped him come to a place where he’s able to love someone else, and he experiences that as a great gift of what we’ve created together.   I’m honored by that sentiment, so deeply.  And I’m excited (and a little fearful, though less now than before) about where we’ll go from here.  Ah, change…