For a peace-loving hippie, I sure have a tough time finding peace.
I’m what you call a hyperactive type — I like to go, go, GO! Hiking, camping, exploring, shrooming, boozing, dancing…..I do it all. And while that kind of lifestyle makes for a great social life and lots of laffs….it also really wears on you. I’ve been exhausted since around September 2009!
I keep meaning to just take some time off and relax. But every time I try to just stay home and chill, someone calls or emails with some irresistible offer of adventure: “Come see Charlie Daniels in Nashville!” “Come to Taos for New Year’s!” “Let’s go on a cross-country RV trip!” How do you say no to any of that???
Thinking I’d split the difference and compromise, I recently went out to my favorite hot springs in Death Valley to chillax for a few days. Going out there is always an adventure, but once you arrive, there’s no cell service or Wi-Fi — so I’d be forced to relax. Right???
This is the same springs I went to last October, and the October before that; the regulars out there go ballistic if you say the name of the springs online, so I won’t name it now. But it’s a favorite place because it’s VERY remote, very rugged, and very beautiful in a harsh, lunar sort of way. I packed a bunch of books, and planned to spend my days lounging in the sun, catching up on my reading and sleeping between therapeutic soaks. Peace at last!
Unfortunately for me…it didn’t quite work out that way! Last year, I invited a bunch of friends to join me, and all of them flaked except one… so it ended up being a nice, mellow time. This year, I once again invited a bunch of people to join me — but this time they all showed up!!
I’ve never seen anything like it — besides my sister and Dr. Kildare, Bongo Bennie came with his new wife, a pot farmer friend came down from Humboldt, my friend Jag cruised in from Vegas, and another friend from Napa came down with a bunch of liquid psilocybin (!!!). Meanwhile, a nudist from San Diego I was friends with on Instagram but had never met also came out, along with his beautiful blonde nudist friend from Michigan, and a photographer friend from Flagstaff cruised up with one of his sexy model pals. And to top it all off, my sis brought along the Hungarian guru from the Sex & Ego Death workshop we attended in Hollywood earlier this summer (he’s become our good friend in the meantime, LOL). It was a crazy crew!!
Suffice it to say, I did not get much rest or relaxation.
From the minute we rolled in, in the middle of a howling sandstorm, shit was intense! The sand was blowing every which way, so hard that we could barely set up camp before making a run for the closest hot spring pool, which was already chock-full of naked storm refugees; something like 27 people ended up crammed in that pool! We all drank and talked and laughed and smoked until the wind calmed down enough to go back and finish setting up camp, and then I passed out in my tent…but it was a restless night, with the wind whipping my tent fabric and the howl of the coyotes haunting my dreams.
In the morning, the weather calmed down and things were fabulous. The Hungarian guru had brought a giant speaker with him from which electronic music blared incessantly; he’s one of those people who can’t live without music, even in the middle of nowhere! We erected a shade structure and set up a bar on the tailgate of my truck, and the party was on.
Between all the dancing, drinking, smoking, drug-taking, soaking and running around naked, we managed to squeeze in some naked yoga (Bongo Bennie used to teach Bikram, and he led us in a few poses) and a couple great hikes. One day, my Napa friend and I hiked up the wash a few miles to an old abandoned cabin. And then another day, we all piled in the back of his pickup truck and drove down the road to Beveridge Canyon, where we explored another abandoned cabin. We had planned to hike up the canyon all the way to this über-remote ghost town said to be hiding way up in the mountains…..but alas, the route proved too technical for a bunch of high/drunk hippies. So we just partied in the cabin, to the faint, tinny strains of electronic music emanating from our guru friend’s travel boombox (he even brings music when he’s hiking, LOL).
But the real party was planned for Thursday night; we thought it would be a hoot to take psychedelics and drive out to the nearby sand dunes for a sunset nomad dance party! I packed up my colored paper lanterns for ambiance, the guru loaded up his ginormous speaker, we threw a bunch of blankets and cushions in the back of my Napa friend’s truck, and we all piled in and headed out. Unfortunately, we left a bit too late to make the dunefield by sunset….and by the time it got dark, the drugs had already kicked in to the point where we just parked the truck at the side of the road and wandered out into the open desert to party, right where we were!
I hung up my lanterns on creosote bush branches, and we all scrounged around for twigs and started a rousing little bonfire to sit around. Well, most of us sat around it — the guru was high as fuck on acid, and wandered off into the desert where he hallucinated he was in a vortex, and spun around and around in circles until the Earth drew him down into its embrace (aka he fell on his face). The rest of us sat around the fire, high as kites, talking and laughing to the beat of the faintly insistent music coming from the giant speaker in the back of the truck. Gooooooood times!
Good times, but not very restful; the only night I really got any decent sleep out there was the night my pot-farmer friend passed out some of his special cookies after dinner. We all ate them, and HOOOOOO BOY! I got so baked I had to go to bed early; I checked the time as I was snuggling into my sleeping bag, and it was 8:18pm!! But it was great…I love to sleep 🙂 The guru was the only one who didn’t eat a cookie, and he was pissed: “Vy is everyvone so lame und boring?!?!? Vere’s ze paaaarty?!?!?!?”
Somehow, I made it through the week, and we all packed up and left Friday morning. My sis, the guru and my Napa friend were all headed to L.A…and I had to haul ass back to Vegas, to perform at the Fetish & Fantasy Ball the following night. No rest for the wicked! But on the way out, we all stopped off to check out this old abandoned mining operation on a salt flat near the springs…and then stopped again for burgers at the Panamint Springs cafe, before finally heading our separate ways.
Like I said, I had to perform the following night at the Fetish & Fantasy Ball at the Hard Rock Hotel in Vegas; it’s an annual “naughty” Halloween party that is pretty much strictly the provenance of mooks and squares, but I had agreed to help out my friends from the Black Room German Fetish Shop here in town, by wearing one of their fabulous latex outfits. At the last minute, they informed me that not only was I supposed to wear the outfit and hang out, I was expected to perform an act as well — what?!?!?!?
After some quick brainstorming at the Dollar Store, I cobbled together a fetish version of my Marie Antoinette champagne-pissing act: I came out all in black latex, with my strap-on concealed in a piece of cake on a silver tray held at dick-level. I sashayed around a bit, then stuffed handfuls of the cake into my mouth, revealing the dick. Then I jerked off with the frosting, spurted champagne into my wineglass, and toasted the crowd. Enchanté!
Alas, the fabulousness of the act was wasted on the drunk-ass crowd, but it was all good. I ran into a friend in the crowd who gave me a microdose of MDMA, so I had a pretty good time with or without the crowd’s approval 🙂
Anyway, after that I headed out to Newberry Springs, CA for a 3-day photo shoot with these two kooky artist guys who like making weird little movies of me for their Vimeo channel….and then after that, I had a bunch more photo shoots lined up in Vegas. Before you know it, it was Thanksgiving, and I had to drive 500 miles to my mom’s house in Northern California and party with the family, too! At least up there I was able to wear pajamas most of the time….but it was still exhausting! And no sooner had I driven the 500 miles back to Vegas, than I was on a plane headed for Nashville, to party at the Charlie Daniels concert.
Basically, I keep saying I need to relax — but everytime I try, something comes up. So I was finally forced to take drastic action: I signed up for a ten-day silent meditation retreat at a Buddhist compound in the mountains of Northern California, which starts tomorrow.
This is the Vipassana tradition of meditation — you basically do nothing but meditate all day, from the minute you’re gonged awake at 4am until the minute you fall into your pallet bed around 10pm. They teach you some body-scanning and mindfulness techniques, but you’re pretty much on your own all day. Talking is forbidden (not to mention cell phones/laptops/pen and paper), and you’re not even supposed to look at anyone else — you just keep to yourself, in silence, not thinking about or doing anything.
Now, you might think I’m crazy for wanting to do something like this…and you might expect it to be extraordinarily difficult for someone as active and social as I am. But to be honest, I think it will be a wonderful relief to not have to talk to anyone, look at anyone, wear makeup or act a certain way — not having to be funny or entertaining or witty or “on” for 10 days sounds fantastic!! And since I’ll be locked up in a monastery in the middle of nowheresville, Northern California…I’ll have no choice! I’m even carpooling up there with a friend of mine from Vegas, who did the retreat last year and has nothing but great things to say about it. Since we’re taking his car, I’ll really be trapped 🙂
Sooooooo, anyway, I’ll be totally off the grid until the retreat ends on December 18. Hopefully, I will emerge from the retreat a changed person — ten days of reflection, with no booze or drugs or bothersome distractions; hell, I may never go back down that path of ruin! I might be changed for good!
But…..after the retreat ends, the plan is for my friend and I to decompress at a nearby hot spring resort for a day or two, where we will meet up with my sister (who did the retreat in March, and thought it was OK), my liquid-psilocybin buddy from Napa and my pot farmer pal from Humboldt…….
……and the circus will start allllllll over again.
😀 😀 😀
Peace be with you SJW. I am praying for you today and everyday until you get some regular sleep and until you have peace in your life.
I’m a regular reader of your blog. I think this retreat will do you a world of good. Look forward to reading about it when you get back.
Peace be with you
Thank you!! I can’t wait to write about it 🙂
Another good read. Enjoy the retreat and I hope the no-talking rule doesn’t also preclude you from writing about it later.
Definitely not! I’m working on it now 🙂
Drop the bomb! Incinerate them all!
Your speaker toting Montagnards, for starters.
Ah, I’ll pass it along! Thanks!
Thanks? Don’t get all Buddhisty on me. I’m in need of a major tongue lashing!
I’m also out of Vegas! Do you happen to know Amazing Jonathan and his wife Anastasia? Also Staysha, Bizzaro, Shocker (side show performers). I feel like I’ve seen you in one somewhere, small world!
I have met all those people before, at Wonderground and other events…. but wouldn’t say they are “friends.” Great people though…and yes, small world!
Even when the party stops, you’re doing something interesting.
Hope the meditation is good to you. I met a woman who, all alone, rowed across the Atlantic from Africa to Brazil. It took her 90 days. She said her meditation retreats helped her more than her physical training.
Wow!! I survived the retreat (and am writing about it now)…but I don’t know if I found it life-changing. I should be posting the blog any day now…stay tuned 🙂
Another great read hon! You do get around, no?
The third pic reminds me of Fear & Loathing in LV: “We’re near Barstow, on the deserts edge, when the drugs take hold, when suddenly, the sky was full of massive bats….!”
LOL… that place is TOTALLY Bat Country!
Meditating on this………………………………………………………………………………………………….. …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
Peace be with you >3
I seem to be pretty typical for a guy from around here…I run people off when I need rest(8-)..”Go on, GIT! I’ll catch ya after I get a little time on the snore shelf(8-)”. And
men around here don’t meditate…we vegitate(8-). “Whatcha doin’, Ol’ son?” “Oh, I’m
jus’ sittin’ here contemplatin’ the meanin’ of life, liberty and the cost of a real good
Good read, Darlin’. Just wish you you has someone who could kinda spoil you a little
on occasion. If I was 40 years younger, I’d apply for the job.
Thank you 🙂