Worst. Night. Ever.: Ecstatic Dancing and Lots of Dong

Comments

1
Jesus, this is really fucked up and depressing. Hope the Mercury is at least getting your cover for Tacos 'n' Tequilla (tm) night!
2
Yeah, I'm not really a fan of the Worst Night experiences that require making fun of someone else's weird but harmless good time. (I'm kind of glad to hear that you're not either.) Especially people who are emotionally fragile enough to seek a "judgment-free" place to be nude.
3
Hahahahahaha! Oh, man! That sure does suck, but your suffering is hilarious.
4
Dongs
5
Ned you need to go back and find out why dancing nekked with a bunch of old tards is uncomfortable for you. You didn't learn anything.
6
"a lot of older naked men gyrating around me"

Or, as we called it on the commune, Saturday.
7
Ned thinks people can read auras which is the single most hippy dippy thing in this whole post. Also I didn't like the end where Ned tried to make us feel bad for him.
8
"Yeah, there was a lot of new energy in the room tonight, and some of it was just so Rainbow Rhythms, and some of it was just so not Rainbow Rhythms."
9
"The impression I got was that this had been a particularly potent session—not sure what was different about it, but everyone seemed super charged by the experience. Some were glowing, some were ultimately relaxed."

Maybe they needed Not Naked Ned to be there, more than Not Naked Ned hated to be there.
10
This makes me feel really badly. I feel guilty and sad for you (although I voted improv WITH clothing). Poor dude.
11
I TOLD YOU ALL THIS WOULD BE AWFUL. I WAS SO WRONG. IT WAS WAY WORSE THAN THAT.


"then report back my hilarious findings, ostensibly with the idea of making these perfectly nice people's unorthodox practices sound ridiculous. I don't really feel like doing that."

How have you NOT done exactly that?
12
It's fine, Ned. But the rest of us really did want to see your penis. I'm just saying, respectfully.
13
This is pretty foul journalism, even for an alt-weekly rag. I have no taste for the described event, and would surely have a similarly negative experience. I don't have to worry about that though, because I don't invade privacy to mock and deride vulnerable and seemingly harmless people for money. I'd suggest seeking out an honest living and giving up writing hit pieces against our undeserving citizenry.
14
Naked Bliss is a wonderful experience that I value greatly, and I've danced there multiple times. I'm sorry you're not in a place in your life where you can appreciate how liberating it is to be in a group of people that feel so free. Ecstatic dancing in general is a very worthwhile experience -- I encourage you to try the Sunday morning dance at the Tiffany Center, provided you don't intend to write a disparaging article about it. Despite the fact that Naked Bliss is open to the public, your article, as another person pointed out, feels like an invasion of privacy. Not cool.
15
It's all in your mind. No judgement, no pressure, simply peace, acceptance, and encouragement to explore life in the presence of free, open minded, kind, healthy, loving people. Fragile or strong, mild or wild, it is an opportunity for solitude, to relax, kick back, meditate, stretch, unwind, windup, connect, dance, revel, in a joyful, inspiring, exciting, respectful and empowering atmosphere. So deep, it gives me courage, insight and peace that I could never describe. Ecstatic dance can have that effect on people. It does for me, especially naked. I've been doing it my entire life. May intentions and reality match. Thank you Ned and everyone. see you soon :-)
16
It's all in your mind. No judgement, no pressure, simply peace, acceptance, and encouragement to explore life in the presence of free, open minded, kind, healthy, loving people. Fragile or strong, mild or wild, it is an opportunity for solitude, to relax, kick back, meditate, stretch, unwind, windup, connect, dance, revel, in a joyful, inspiring, exciting, respectful and empowering atmosphere. So deep, it gives me courage, insight and peace that I could never describe. Ecstatic dance can have that effect on people. It does for me, especially naked. I've been doing it my entire life. May intentions and reality match. Thank you Ned and everyone. see you soon :-)
17
I remember seeing a guy who looked REALLY uncomfortable. I danced near you at one point, trying to send my happy hippie chick vibes your way. Sorry it didn't work. Naked Bliss Ecstatic Dance is not for the meek. Especially if you go into it with a negative attitude, well, you're going to have a negative experience. The first dance I went to there, I was topless in the middle of a man-sandwich & it was awesome, what's not to love about that!?! And yes, some nights are better than others. Too many men, not enough hott, sexy people, I'm tired, music isn't moving me. But on those nights where the planets have aligned...everyone is beautiful, the music is inspiring, I'm off on a journey where mind, body & spirit are soaring, not even realizing it till I have landed. Then...when the music is winding down...we all end up in the middle of the room...hugging, lilting, feeling such love & acceptance...it is AMAZING! Too bad you ducked out right away, I am known for the fantastic sweet treats I bring to the pot-luck every dance. You missed out on cupcakes!
18
And who says "dong" anyway? At least say "schlong."
19
Thank you, Mary. Darn, I am sorry I missed out on cupcakes!
20
Hi Ned, I am the young woman you mentioned in the article. I am sorry it was such a painfully uncomfortable experience for you. I'm happy to dance with you one on one sometime, in a space that is comfortable to you. The fact that you showed up at all indicates some level of curiosity about freeing yourself from the shackles of judgment through movement. Afterall, people can put you up to something but ultimately the choice is yours and you chose to be there. I would love to give you an introduction (rather than the seriously advanced course of Naked Bliss) to ecstatic dance. I felt very similarly to you my first time, but have freed myself dramatically through this practice. Wishing you the best on your journey wherever it takes you. Tyriss
21
Ecstatic dance can indeed be a form of moving meditation as well as a practice of acceptance and love for the gift of our own bodies and our own and others' struggles of all kinds. Some of us strive to evolve into a kind of inner freedom from which we can be most effective in the world. It begins with being brave enough to take steps to release ourselves from the chains of conditioning of the dominant society. When we can move our bodies authentically (a tree in the wind sounds pretty authentic to me !), it helps us to show up in the world more comfortably and therefore more powerfully. Your own difficulties seem to come from your nudityphobic and homophobic attitudes, which are pretty easy to get over if you choose to.

As you say, your coworkers violated your boundaries by sending you on this cruel "mission". No one should be forced to endure a situation that feels as excruciating as you express, of course you feel icky. You express moral ambivalence. You abused yourself by going and even more by staying. It sounds to me like you actually learned a lot from your experience, awareness of many conflicting feelings. We all wish you inner peace and happiness and we forgive you for violating our privacy. Is that Hippie enough for you ?
PS. Love the illustration-people dancing in the Fires of Transformation, cleansing and burning away negative belief systems. Sounds to me like you may have taken a little step on that long, hard road.
22
I see all these lovely comments here from my co-dancers. And yes, I had already figured out the un-named participants. We are an open, loving, caring, accepting, fun, spirited, sexy, adoring, happy, sensual, lively, wonderful, amazing community of people. If one of us isn't feeling all those positive things, it can be freely expressed, the rest of us understand & do what we can to support each other. We do not judge. But boy, do we GET judged. People who don't get it, don't get it. That is their journey & their loss. But please, do not make fun of us. Don't yuck our yum!
23
Well, Blogtown, it should be obvious by now how incredibly nice all these people are. I thank them for commenting here and adding valuable context and perspective—and for not being too angry with me. It may be a little while before I am ready to try ecstatic dance again, but this whole experience has given me much food for thought.
24
If I had to go to this I would have been totally uncomfortable too so I get the drift of this piece. On the other hand, I'm a little bit bummed that he didn't stay for the potluck after party, even for five minutes. Wouldn't it have been great to hear about all the buckwheat gluten-free raw vegan brownies and other such delicacies that would turn our tongues in knots?
25
Courtney, you are judging. We have a wide variety of food at our pot-luck, just like a variety of people. My cupcakes have eggs, sugar, flour, butter. I am a professional 'old school' baker. My fellow dancers don't judge, they enjoy every crumb!
26
As the co-host for this event, I would like to make a few comments. When I was first alerted to the article, I read with horror what seemed to be someone's experience at our dance, which turned out to be their worst night ever, not realizing that "Worst. Night. Ever" is a thing. It all started to make a little more sense once I realized that it was set up to be horrible, so of course horrible is what they would experience. Of course, it was written in Mercury's typical snide and condescending and oh so "hilarious" style, which is particularly irritating when it is directed at your event. But once I got past the "It is about as hippie-dippie an activity as exists in the universe" and "Burning Man hippie shit" comments, I did realize that the article did actually point out many of the positive aspects of our dance, such as the non-judgment and the therapeutic potential (at least for those who are willing get past their issues and receive it).

One inaccuracy in the article: the ratio of men to women that night was 2:1, not 4:1 (7 women, 14 men). But I guess higher math skills such as counting isn't a requirement for working at the Mercury (Oooooo! Look! I did that snide thing I was complaining about earlier. Maybe I could get a job at the Mercury!). We also put on another dance, Sensuocity, which is gender-balanced (you must pre-register to attend, and there is typically a wait-list for men and not all get in). Attending this dance might have alleviated the homophobic aspects of the experience, but then the article wouldn't have been as "hilareous".

I realized one positive thing from having this article written. Once past all the snideness and judgment, one thing remains: my life is so fucking awesome that the Portland Mercury had to send an undercover reporter to check it out. I love that I get to live this kind of life and get to share it with our guests, at least with those who are open to receiving it.

Oh, and the dog (her name is Hannah) is indeed polyamorous. She loves everybody, even those who don't get it.
27
Jesus. Very few of you who were there seem to have read what he wrote up there. He felt guilty that he was expected to write something desultory about a bunch of people who seemed nice, though into a scene he wasn't especially into.

And most of you couch it in this language that makes it clear that only some of us get to judge things, and in this case it's the disingenuous ones who claim that they don't judge. This is why people roll their eyes at you, guy above me.