Responsibility and Ability to Respond

Responsibility and Ability to Respond

Burning Man is a very intense experience for everyone. And everyone’s experience is completely and uniquely theirs. And intense it will be. That is guaranteed!

For me the main themes this year were my feeling of responsibility, for honoring myself and those around me, and my ability to respond, to those around me and my own desires and feelings.

I was a guide to 5 newbies who had never been to Burning Man before. With their input and that of some others, we planned and prepared the food, camp, transportation and costumes (with our very own wardrobe tent!) Everyone contributed their energies in whatever way they could and it turned out awesome! Challenging at times of course!

I camped with “And Then There’s Only Love,” and our gift to the people at Burning Man is an air conditioned safe, consensual space to connect sexually with others as a couple or a moresome, aka the Orgy Dome.

The other camp I was connected with was the village of Poly Paradise where I also offered a couple of workshops on “Sexual Illumination,” which appeared in the BM Guide Book on Page 69!

So I felt responsible for the 5 virgins, my lovers and other friends who camped with us or close to us; for the hundreds of people wanting to get into the Orgy Dome and for their experiences within the Orgy Dome; and for the people who attended my workshops, participated, interacted and asked me questions as “Dr Sex.” At one stage I really felt the weight of the responsibilities on my shoulders and had to shake myself, several times, and realize one of the corner stone principles of Burning Man is self reliance and trust that everyone will have the experience that they so choose, and that I can only truly be responsible for my own experience, my own actions, and my own reactions, and my ability to response.

And really this is what it burns down to and what I am reflecting upon now… how did I respond? How was my ability to respond? Sure, on occasion my responses may have been affected by what I had imbued, lack of sleep, sense of overwhelm… and sometimes it may have taken me quite a while to respond – so maybe not the quickest of responses…. And yes, I admit it, sometimes on reflection I wish I had responded in a different way, but I responded how I did and at that moment that was the response I had so I honor myself for that.

I suppose I am not alone in this self-judgment and self-questioning… I love my life, and live my life to the fullest capacity and potential I can. I feel it is important to see every experience as an opportunity to grow and learn. Feeling my responses, taking time to reflect on the responses I have made… that, for me, makes me value every opportunity I had at Burning Man to connect with someone and experience that moment with them and be responsive to that moment.

Even the 6 hours of Exodus, leaving Burning Man on the Monday, was an opportunity to “Just be glad to be here” and to connect with the people around me who were also waiting to leave. Loved the song playing on Black Rock Radio by FC Kahuna – Hayling, playing in the background…

I will continue to reflect on my experiences at Burning Man for many moons to come and invite you to reflect on your feelings of responsibility and your ability to respond too.

Themes for my workshops:

When I was meditating about my upcoming “Sexual Illumination” workshop, on the drive to Burning Man, an image flooded my mind. It was one of the Osho Zen Tarot cards and depicted a white bird in a cage. The cage had an opening and there were other birds enticing the one inside to fly free. So that became the theme of my first “Sexual Illumination” workshop. The idea of a self imposed cage or limitations and the invitation at BM to escape the confines of normality and to fly free and experience the wild blue yonder with all the other cool birds.

The idea of a chicken in a cage, versus a cage free chicken and the quality of her egg, versus a free range chicken… and then ultimately a free bird!

I introduced a New Zealand Maori concept of “Meeting your Taniwha” – or monster. In other words, going where you most fear.

Then speaking a fantasy or sexual desire for BM and encouraging people to move beyond their fears to experiencing the freedom of their sexual desires whilst at BM.

The second workshop focused on going beyond labels of Poly, Swing, Bi, Gay, to asking and sharing directly what sexual preferences or orientations, fantasies or desires one has or wanted to have.

I also incorporated one of the core BM foundational principles of gifting, without any expectation of return. Encouraging participants to gift of themselves at BM and their love, touch, cuddles and more – without expecting anything in return. Wow! What a wonderful world that would be if we could live like that 24/7. Certainly a principle will focus of embodying.

Feedback from one of the workshops I shared at Burning Man, 2016

“Dear Dr. Shelley,

I had the pleasure, fortune, honor and playa magic intervention 🙂 to attend one of ur workshop this year at B. Man.
I would like to THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart and top on my soul 🙂 for gifting me/us this workshop. This was my 4th burn.
Though “secretly” and so shyly curious about The Orgy Dome, I could never bring myself to get in. Barely even look at it :). However, you made it sound so ” sweet, safe” and per ur word a “sanctuary like” that it then convinced me easily to go “check it out”. Lol.
And so then I/we went with 2 of the lovely men I had connected with at your workshop. Might as well go all the way with my fantasies :). Gees ! I had just turned 46- and it was time :).
It was such a ground breaking experience for me, Dr. Shelley. Not necessarily at all because of the actual sexual experience there ( I def. actually prefer privacy and just one man at a time – lol) but mostly-because I felt I was taking the greatest ever ownership of my body and feminine sexuality. Wow- and since:) I feel like I could do anything ! Lol-because if I was so peacefully brave to go in the O.Dome (and with 2 men !) , I feel like I can face pretty much face anything else :). Woot ! Woot !
And I have been able to share my experiences with friends (men and women). I am so proud of myself ! Growing up in a very traditional family and community, sex was/is Taboo. Your joyful/spiritually inclined way to talk about it was absolutely refreshing and allowed me to cross my own thousands of years boundaries barefoot :).
And so much more-but- anyways…
Keep on sharing if u can – It does make a difference in someone’s life !
With much Gratitude as a brand new me,


Thank you Liberty!!

Dr. Shelley