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  • Writer's pictureLona

Becoming Layla at the Burn

As I finished my 6th workshop gifted to the Burn, and my final work shift at camp, I was gearing up for a weekend without anything else on my plate. Freedom to explore the Burn and do whatever I wanted! No plans, no clocks, just pure Burn fun! Then I felt a drop on my head. Was it raining? I went back to the van to get a quick nap in before the epic night ahead of me. Fuck this rain, I said like a true Washingtonian, and didn't give it another thought. But when I woke up an hour later, everything had changed.

I stepped out of the van into 4-inch-deep mud. My shoes were immediately caked, and it was difficult to walk. My bike was inoperable, and stuck. I trudged over to our camp's living area. Everyone else had already come to the realization I was about to get to. Is Burning Man fucked? Some people were already freaking out, some were totally at peace, some were confused, like me. What was happening? And am I still going out tonight?

Someone hooked up a radio to our speakers and we all heard it: shelter in place orders were given for all of Burning Man. Moving around will destroy the delicate playa. Our entire camp switched from confusion to help. Did we have enough water? Was dinner getting finished? Does everyone have a place to sleep tonight? How do we walk around best? When will the rain stop? And finally, what should we all do in camp tonight since we're stuck with each other?!

You might expect spirits to be destroyed, but to my delight most people pivoted quickly to in camp activities, bonfires, and excitement. Rarely do we get nights where all of camp is in camp. This was a unique opportunity to spend time with these amazing people who dedicated themselves to Naked Heart this year! The bonfires were a welcome evolution! The chill dome turned into a party. The kitchen crew made an incredible meal, even though the kitchen almost got destroyed under the weight of the water! Camp mates were busy trying to build supports for the kitchen, get us toilets in the chill dome, find dry blankets for anyone who's camp was destroyed by the water, and make the night into something fun!

It was one of the most beautiful things I had ever seen. And through all the chaos, mayhem, and confusion we all held together. It was glorious, a true testament to the power and ingenuity of Burners. I had to go through a grieving process for the Burn I thought I was going to have, but it was so easy to move through it surrounded by the energy of my camp. I'm so grateful to everyone who was with Naked Heart this year. But that was just the difficult part. Wait until I tell you about my regular Burn!

I was supposed to teach 5 workshops at the Burn. That was my plan. And one of my intentions for this Burn is to become a better teacher, to learn to teach more from my intuition than from my memory. Well, buckle up, said the Burn! My master and teacher Layla Martin goes to the Burn every year! This year she sent an email letting us know 3 times when she would be teaching and where. And she was teaching in my village!!!! But when I looked at the schedule for our village she was on it a 4th time, teaching a sex magic for couples class on Monday.

There were other Layla students in our camp as well, and we talked it out trying to figure out if we should go or if it's a mistake. We decided to go anyway, since we didn't want to miss her if she showed up. Well, ten minutes after the class started she still didn't show up. I thought, I can teach this, this is what I'm here for! So, I stood up and asked everyone's consent for me to teach this class, as Layla Martin's student I knew her exact sex magic ritual, I was already a Tantra Teacher, and, most importantly, I was willing to do it without any notes or preparation at all. They applauded and cheered, telling me to do it.

This is my favorite memory at Burning Man this year! I got up there and totally killed this class! I only had 45 minutes to explain the process, and actually lead everyone through it! In a real workshop I give, I would've made this a 2-hour workshop at the least! But I was dealt the hand I was dealt, and I had to figure it out as I flew! We got through the entire ritual, and I got cheers at the end telling me how amazing it was! People from camp came up to me all week telling me how amazing they thought it was that I just taught that class from nothing!

This mistake on the schedule gave me an amazing chance to learn in a way that couldn't have been planned. I think it was put there just for me. I keep looking back and thinking, "I taught Layla Martin's Sex Magic for Couples workshop at Burning Man!!!". Like, what?! I learned the power of tapping deeper into my intuition to lead, and to surrender to all the amazing things that show up for me, no matter how wild they might be. I was on a high for days after teaching this workshop.

And that wasn't the only workshop I taught that day. I actually ended up teaching 3 workshops that day alone, and 2 the following day. I taught 5 workshops in 2 days, which is a personal record me for! And then a few days later I taught my final workshop at the Burn, making it 6 workshops in 4 days! Each workshop inspired me, energized me, and left me curious for more.

It probably sounds like a full-time job to do this much at the Burn. And it really was. The amount of prep I did for this Burn was outstanding. And all that prep got me ready to teach at any moment. I wasn't hungover from the night before, I wasn't exhausted from not getting enough sleep, I wasn't high. I wasn't all these things because I was ready to teach 2 workshops that day already. The cataclysm of events that lead me to teach Layla's workshop is beautiful. I'm still delighted and surprised by the serendipity of the universe. I hope that delight never fades, even as the universe conspires to bring me more and more. It was a lot of work to do this, and I wouldn't change a thing. I am truly honored to be able to gift these outstanding workshops at the Burn.

I wish I had time to go into all the other amazing things that happened at my Burn, including dancing on top of Robot Heart (this story alone deserves its own post), watching the sunrise set with Tycho, running the Compassion Team that was actually very needed this Burn, countless adventures with my amazing partner, Sweet Potato, and the night the Man actually burned. But I'll leave those for another time, because I'm still swinging off the ceiling over teaching Layla's Sex Magic workshop at the Burn. *wink*

INSPIRED ACTION: Are you ready to surrender to what the universe unfolds for you? If an opportunity arose, would you be ready to take it? Take this time to journal about your goals and dreams, then how you could take action today to start getting ready for it. The universe saw that I was ready, literally charged to take this opportunity in front of me. Will the universe know you're ready?

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