The Whole Truth

Sep 10


Deep Abiding Trust … Burning Man 2010

by Alexis Neely - Posted in Burning Man, Life |

I left for Burning Man this year with an intention … deep abiding trust.  And yet as I landed in Reno, I didn’t feel full of trust.  I felt worried and tense, on edge.

My first year there without the kids and up until a couple of months before I thought I was going to Burning Man to party it up.  To revel in the shadow.

And then I met Russell.  Well, I didn’t just meet him; we’ve known each other for a few years.   But, I just met him in a new way a couple months ago after Dave and I broke up.

Oddly enough, we had all been at Burning Man together two years ago – me, my kids, my ex-husband Todd, Dave, and Russell.  Back then, I thought Russell was a nice guy and all, but not for me.

I mean he plays an instrument called the didgeridoo for God’s sake.  (Now, I see what an incredible instrument of healing it is; but then, I just thought it was weird.)

Anyway, I went to Burning Man with Russell and I wasn’t feeling trust.  I was feeling tense.

I felt as if I wouldn’t have enough.  My body felt like it was in survival mode, preparing for a week in the desert with only what I could carry on my back.  Oh right, it was doing that.

I was worried about running out of food.  I was worried about not being able to be my fully expressed self.  I was worried about Russell holding me back. What it would be like at camp – this year we were camping with people I highly respected in the business community – Joe Polish, Eben Pagan, Bryan Franklin, Cameron Herold, Michael Ellsberg, Lisa and Michael Sasevich – and I was worried about that too.

And as we got closer my intention began to seep in.  Deep abiding trust.  What would happen if I just stopped worrying?  If I let go and really trusted completely?

So I did.

And guess what?  Shit still happened.

We got to Burning Man late Monday night, scoped out what we thought was the PRIMO spot, parked and went to sleep.

We awoke in the morning to annoyed people wanting us to move the RV.  I was immediately tense and on-guard.

Thank God Russell is a modern day shaman and within minutes he brought me to clarity,  presence and back to deep abiding trust.

As we moved our RV we discovered that our camp had saved us an even better spot than the one we scoped out and it all worked out perfectly.  Until we went to plug the RV into the bio-diesel-fueled generators our camp had running.

I was back in the bedroom and heard a big POP.  I looked around the door and there was smoke pouring out of the refrigerator vent.  Uh-oh, that’s NOT something you want to see on the first day of Burning Man.

Within minutes it was clear that we had no air-conditioning, no refrigerator, no water pump and no lights.

Really uh-oh.

But not really uh-oh.  I saw it so clearly.  An opportunity to practice my intention.  Deep abiding trust.  And I did.

Miraculously two men appeared, Eric and Jeff, our saviors.  They spent the entire day and much of the next several days ensuring our RV had as much services as possible.

They managed to get us back to water pump, refrigeration, and lights for most of the time we were there (just a few hours the first and second day without).

And we lived without the AC (the weather was just perfect for that this year – no duststorms all week until Saturday and not too hot at all).

It all unfolded perfectly.  As it always does when we trust.

The first couple of days there we didn’t leave the RV much.  We spent a lot of time sleeping and loving and just being together without a timeline.  And it was great.  Just what I needed.  I didn’t mind a bit that I wasn’t out partying.

Shocking.  Deep abiding trust.

On our second night at the Burn, we woke up at 3am, spent about 2 hours getting ready to go out (because that’s just inevitably what it takes on the playa), getting our bikes lit (and by the time that happened it was of course light out), and we headed out onto the playa.

We biked out to the Temple.

Now, before I tell you what happened.  I have to tell you this – 2 days before Burning Man I saw a dress in a store in Boulder and thought “I’m marrying Russell in that dress” and bought it and brought it with me to Burning Man.

That morning at the Temple, he asked me to marry him.

And I said yes!

Within a few hours, an engagement ceremony had been suggested, which then quickly turned into a wedding ceremony.

And in the most extreme practice of my intention of deep abiding trust, we got married surrounded by our beautiful, supportive, loving Burning Man community.

Two of my best girlfriends Joanne and Lisa were there and two new sisters Meghna and Kamala.  I felt so deeply loved and held and supported.

Hitch walked me down the aisle.  And led by one of Russell’s dear spirit brother’s Scott, surrounded by our sweet Burning Man community, we wed.

We wed!  Married.


What does this mean?  How will we tell our families? How will I tell Dave?  Todd?  THE KIDS??? You.

And Russell loved me through it, my fear.  He has showed me how to be with my truth in the boldest of ways.  How to say yes to my yes and yes to my no.  How to know the difference.

He has shown me how to let go of “what will people think” and start living the life I really want.

How to feel into my heart to determine what’s real for me.

How to get beyond doing things because I want to look good, get a certain kind of attention or be thought of in a specific way.

He helped me see my fears of not having enough food, not being able to be myself, being held back and all the others came from a feeling that I wasn’t enough.

As I “burned” (through those fears), he helped me see that who I am is enough – just as I am, without needing to do anything – ahhhh.  Really? I can just be who I am and that is enough?

He has guided me to integrate this awakening that began a few years ago and has been bubbling up under my skin so that it has felt uncomfortable when I’ve been anything less than my full self.

Integration.  Deep abiding trust.  Letting go.  Living my truth.  Without shame.

Since I met Russell a few years ago, his number has been in my phone under the name Russell Love.  Now I know why.  Meet my husband.

Deep abiding trust and building an extraordinary life … we’re going for it!

  • Jenni Rebel

    Wow… you’re nuts (in a good way) AND brilliant! I love it – Congratulations!!!

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  • maslow

    Falling in Love is Easy
    Staying in Love is the true testament of that choice

  • Judah Schiller

    Alexis – so incredibly thrilled that you came into Russell’s life. I’ve been telling him for years that the moment – and the gorgeous woman – would arrive and at long last it has finally manifested. Really looking forward to meeting you and sending you a big hug and kiss and wishes for many, many years of happiness, joy and love. – Judah

  • Deb

    This bothers me very deeply! I thought you were smarter than this Alexis.
    And I read all the other comments here and see a whole bunch of women (yes, mostly women) all swoooooning as if in some kind of love-frenzy themselves….without a mention about being careful – with our HEARTS and with our CHILDREN. There is nothing wrong with marrying Russell – but how about you get to know him MORE first, and then be engaged to him while you see how it all fits together, your life and kids with his life, and then you get married AFTER you seriously and RESPONSIBLY get to know each other.
    Two or three years ago you loved Dave passionately, now you’ve recently separated because you found there are significant differences in what you both want out of life and each other. That took time to learn and the initial heady power of love and sex needed more time to become more mature to see it all clearly. If you read back what you wrote above, it’s all “Russell said this, did this, made me feel and see this…..” , as if you have no mind of your own. You are not a 20 year old bimbo. You are a woman on a journey to empowerment and self actualiztion and most importantly a single MOTHER – you have the knowledge and the power and yes, the responsibilty to THINK through your emotions and to NOT act on them when it is prudent and wise to do so. You can have all the wonderful feelings and love for Russell without being talked into a quickie marriage, no matter how wonderful and loving and spiritual it felt in that moment and place.
    I hope for the sake of your kids, that you have not made a huge mistake. And I hope that other women reading about your emotional and rash decision will not be swayed into the same kind of decision making!
    I do wish the best for you and hope that somehow you’ll make this work.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks Shelly! So appreciate your well wishes.

  • Anonymous

    Hi Therese,

    Lots more photos here:

    With love,

  • Anonymous

    Thanks Danielle! So wildly happy too!

  • Anonymous

    Thanks Kirin! Love hearing stories like this. Looking forward to seeing you in ATL later this month!

  • Anonymous

    Yes, love this! Thank you for sharing this story. It is possible to know when you know.

  • Kamala

    Gamble everything for love,
    if you’re a true human being.
    If not, leave this gathering.

    Half-heartedness doesn’t reach into majesty. You set out to find God, but then you keep stopping for long periods at meanspirited roadhouses.

    Don’t wait any longer. Dive in the ocean, leave and let the sea be you. Silent, absent, walking an empty road, all praise.

    — Rumi

  • Dr Tony Minervino

    Congratulations Alexis and Russell.

    Great story beginning – enjoy creating the rest of the story together.

    Love Ya,


    Dr Tony Minervino, DC

    the Healing Business: +64 9 846 9333
    Home: +64 9 846 1789
    Mobile: +64 21 936 033
    Skype: drtonyminervino

    “Transforming the consciousness of the planet one mind at a time.”

    “There’s no reason to suspect that what’s happening isn’t perfect.”

    Dr Tony Minervino

  • JacQuaeline

    Congrats! WOW – Alexis – I don’t think we’ve met but I’m so happy for you and Russell. I know him through work and continue to run into him at various events from time to time. Sad to read of the other comments, so many are not connected & don’t trust or project their own issues; but welcome to the ‘default world’. For those who don’t know him.. Russell walks his talk – is courteous, grounded, creative, conscious, his word is his bond. In short – a really good guy, talented healer, coach, trainer and I’m so happy he’s found you as his email is just filled with a sense of completion and partnership and joy and commitment. I’m thrilled for both of you… and your family – YEAH! Live life fully – Namaste, JacQuaeline

  • To all the naysayers: Every experience in life has merit.

    Here’s to wearing your heart on your sleeve, Alexis. Congratulations xx

  • Also, I got married after knowing someone for less than three months. The marriage ended after four years. (Lasted longer than some people I know who courted longer!!) But besides all that, I have an amazing 8 year old daughter because of that impulsive union – and I wouldn’t change one little thing!

  • Noone

    That union will NEVER last. Hope she had a prenup.

  • This was one gorgeous post and a complete honoring to magic, inspiration and trust. The hundred or so orbs in the photo above show that Spirit was indeed in full presence. Live fully. Love fully. Blessings to you both.

  • Susanna

    Hi Alexis. I found my way to you and your work just a few hours ago as I searched on “feminine leadership” and decided you were someone I’d like to learn more about and then contact. So I’ve been cruising through your website, watching a few of your videos, and now reading about your recent wedding at Burning Man. That story inspired me to connect right here and now.

    I married my husband in 1995, less than three months after we met. Because we lived in different states, we had essentially spent no more than four days together when he spontaneously asked me to marry him. I said yes, realizing that this was what I had been praying for and that only fear would have me say no. We got married right there and then.

    At the time, he was a single father to a ten-year old son and we were married while his son was away for the summer visiting family. So there was that same question of “yikes, how do we tell his son?”

    Saying yes and marrying my husband was the best decision I even made — and the truth is that it wasn’t always easy. In essence, we were both strong individuals used to going solo who had pretty much each married a stranger.

    Yet to us it always felt like an arranged marriage — arranged by spirit — and it was up to the two of us to honor that deep commitment and find our way through the inevitable challenges on the path of sacred marriage.

    Over the years I’ve been mindful of who I tell my story to. Some will hear it as a hope-filled fairy tale with a “and they lived happily ever after” quality to it that doesn’t really honor the complexity of it. Others will respond with fear and judgment about what a crazy, irresponsible thing it is to do. You have been incredibly courageous to put your story out here in such a public way. There is a deep abiding trust evident in your willingness to do so and I honor you for that. Thank you.

    I don’t know how the journey will unfold for you and Russell but I do know that it’s entirely possible for the two of you to flourish wildly together in an extraordinary sacred marriage, if you’re both willing to continually allow all the “accumulate debris” you each inevitably carry to burn away.

    I don’t even know you but I’m really excited for you and feel a sense of kindred spiritship with you, a fellow sister willing to “gamble everything for love”, as Rumi so eloquently said it.

    May you both be blessed now more than ever…
    Susanna Maida

  • Xxxxxxx

    Much Joy to you both!Tell Russell I said Hi.
    May the long term sun shine ‘pon you
    All love surround you
    And the pure light within
    Guide your way home
    (The Incredible String Band)

  • keval

    the wishes below are from me ,Russell.

  • Miraclesmiranda


  • Great story! Thanks so much for sharing! Many blessings to both of you!

  • Unity

    Your story has touched my heart!!!
    Beautiful Alexis.. I luve your honest heart felt Vulnerability here~ Some of the greatest power comes through in being vulnerable, which you sure did do in spades by putting your story out here …Kudos to you sweet ALEXIS..There’s so much free humble honest heart shared in your story..With all its childlike innocence and purity..
    My wonderful man and I have been married 40 yrs this year after a fast whirlwind romance of passion “and” a very deep connection through the stars(we certainly never knew each other very much) “BUT” “AND” somewhere going deep inside we were absolutely brought together..AND WE KNEW IT!!
    AS we still do!!
    And “EVERYDODY” told us we would never make it and we were stupid to be so “childish” with our heads in the stars instead of being reasonable in our decision… (there wasn’t even ONE person that believed in us) (so always remember childlike is not Childish) So “childlike” which we were then paid off.. We have been able to grow together which has been a gift and a blessing..
    I adore my wonderful amazing husband still today and we have went through everything together you could imagine, and still our heads are in the stars.. (Pure THANKFULNESS for each other has went a really long way in our journey with each other)
    So always keep your heads in the stars, it is the best place for them.. stay innocent, pure in heart, honest and keep your childlike spirit and be willing to always stay vulnerable .. Give all that you can to being the best you can and you will enjoy many amazing gifts together..and it will always bring the power of LOVE ~And remember~ when people think grass is greener on the other side~ it is ONLY because they forgot to look after their own grass the same way as their neighbors have.. So tend to your own and it will always stay green..
    Bless you two and your family..
    Lots of crazy radical blissful amazing LOVE to U’s

  • Noone

    Oh pluh-eze! Grow up you hippie wannabes. Woodstock was a one time event, it’s done! Move on. Burning Man is just a poor imitation. Just like that faux marriage. How can you expect a lifelong union when the groom dresses like Sgt. Pepper?!

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  • Chelsea

    Dude… if you want to hang around here and blabber your mouth… say something of substance. Or else, we don’t want you here. I think you have growing up to do.

  • Noone

    Oh yeah, like impulsively marrying is really an adult thing to do.

  • Michelle M.

    People balk at what they do not understand. Congratulations to you and Russell.

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  • Stoonkie

    This is hilarious!! Alexis, what has happened to you? I witnessed the transformation you had when Dave took you on as his project and I started to see Alexis disappear into Dave’s mold of the “new” Alexis. It seemed so fake at the time–like you were his puppet. Cudos to you for getting out of that but look where you landed!! Too weird! I wish you could have found yourself before being absorbed by the next man to come along. Good luck!!!

  • Joshua

    Hmmm I wonder if your daughter would change it. Don’t you think the kids might want their parents together? It sucked not having both my parents around. Sucked not having my parents together on the holidays, etc. It’s not about you only Alicia is it? What about the kids needs?

  • Me

    Hilarious. You are truly unrecognizable. From respected business woman, to …. I wouldn’t even know how to describe you. Do you have any credibility left? Can you stand on your own two feet? When will you next decide to jump off on another tangent?