Sunday, July 1, 2012

Primal Pain

6/29/12 - 7/1/12 : Primal Pain, Edmonton, Canada

This is a smaller event in Canada that I had heard about by meeting Big Bad Jim in Alaska the year before. He had mentioned it casually, and we had discussed what went on. It took a whole year for me to go, but I was so ready. I'm my head this was an extreme challenge weekend, and mostly of the mind, but the body had to do it too.

After finding folks online to carpool with from the airport, and the car adventures along the way, we arrived and checked into the Queer room - a much smaller set of bunk beds, and getting to room with Tillie was an extra bonus. They run a mentor program at this event, so if you've never been before, someone will explain things, or hold your hand, or give you Mentos.

I'm a pretty social person and had no problems walking around talking and introducing myself to people, and immediately getting involved helping dig a thirty foot long fire pit. Before we actually got to walk it, it had to be lit and cool down, and the sun go down too. So, in the meantime I went off to go walking bare foot over a couple of feet of broken glass. No feet were harmed as a result.

Once the sun had actually gone down, it was time to go back and walk on the hot coals. There was a ceremony of sorts involved, and everything was done in a very respectful and consensual way. There was a short science lesson, and some time to be personal while the fire kept burning, and then it was time to walk. A trial by fire literally. It was pretty amazing to be involved in the construction and then the application. Needless to say, yes it was hot, and I got a couple of small blisters, but that was also because I didn't follow the instructions well - my brain got the better of my body and I curled my toes a couple of times. I got to flirt and talk to folks after, and also helped beat on a drum for a little while - it helped.

Before Hooks
 Saturday there were to be suspensions and an energy or hook pull. I was up early talking to people again (I think there's a theme here), and then I was found to go get hooked for a suspension. I was the first one for the day - which was both flattering and a little nervewracking. You can totally tell I was ready right?

About to go up
I didn't bring any music with me, so Elwood chose something country - which did not work for me at all. Instead, he chose an album by Tool, and of course the song Third Eye had to come on while it was happening. The hooks themselves were intense. I had done hooks before in my front, but I guess in order to hold your weight, hooks in your back have to go a little deeper, and also be a bigger gauge. Four hooks in and I'm starting to drift off into that other space.

After a carefully supervised walk outside, we got to a small meadow with a crane set up and Elwood went to work threading rope through a rig, and then to my hooks. He pulled the tension from the rope holding me to the rig, and just held on.
Starting out

I danced from one tip toe to another, slowly testing my weight, feeling the hooks, feeling my stomach. It was the same sensation as right before stepping out of an airplane with a parachute. Elwood was patient just letting me figure it out for myself. I put more weight into my shoulders, slowly leaning more and more forward, and less on my toes. At some point Elwood pointed out that I've not got weight in my toes anymore, and I should just pull them up - which I did. And then he pulled the rope up, removing any choice for me to put my feet back down.

My body had its own shock moment - I want to dry heave, I need water badly as my mouth is a desert. I fart really loud and fear that my body is letting everything go. But the fears are unfounded. I take some sips of water and all is ok. I am separated from my shadow.

Just cresting
Finally there
 I start to play, testing how I can turn myself around, or swing in a direction. The pain of the hooks is still there, but its cushioned now with the endorphin rush I'm experiencing. I look around at the people and the environment. There are more people watching and there than I remember, but going up it was just me and Elwood looking at each other.

I look back at him now and smile - and he sees that I get it. He pulls again on the rope so I'm higher and then I start to feel the other world calling. People around the crane are talking and having fun with each other, but I ask for quiet so I can experience this for myself.

On a quest
I now have one foot firmly in the other world, and I start to journey. I'm a large tiger, prowling the grasses next to the lake. I'm running and jumping, eventually pouncing on a bird. And then I'm the bird, flying up and over the lake - looking for my next meal. I dive bomb the lake and become a fish, swimming quickly to shore, only to climb out and start the journey all over again. I think I go through this story about twice more before I start to feel myself back in the real world more fully.

My body is finally done, and down I come. Of course I'm bratty about it, and keep my legs as high as I can so I don't touch down, and when I do, Elwood pulls the rope again so I go up. We laugh and I promise to bite his head later. My legs feel ridiculously heavy, and my shoulders still have a good feeling like I have wings there.

The rest of the day just drifted by. I sat with people, I participated in some drumming, I ate and had community all around - and through all of it, there was a pervasive sense of calm. It felt very comfortably like home. I felt very open - so I took the rest of the day as easily as I could. Another participant also had an opportunity to do a Kavadi ritual - lots of spears were placed in her using a large rig and limes were attached to the ends of the spears. It was awesome to watch, and walk around with her, and then later we sat and connected with each other.

A raptor?
Sunday was another calm feeling day, and it rained a good portion of the morning, but that didn't stop me connecting with people. I showered with a friend, gave an impromptu boot class, and crawled on top of Jim. Despite him trying to scrape me off by crawling under tables, I was able to successfully bite his head. I helped someone with their suspension, gave a mace a blow job, did some arrow bending with my neck, and finally with Elwood we got to be raptors and pack hunt someone down in the field. The time went so fast on Sunday, and then it was Monday and time to leave.

I'm so happy I went to this event. Not only did I get to connect with a lot of people, with good conversations and shared experiences - but I was made to feel at home and welcomed. The food and kitchen folks were amazing all weekend, making sure we had food. I pitched in and contributed my time and energy, and it was well received. Whatever definition of community you use, this felt like one to me. Ride the Pig!

1 comment:

  1. Oh, is so very wonderful, Nick. Thank you for describing your journey during your suspension, it sounds amazing.