It has taken me over a year to fully process my first Burning Man experience.
It’s fair to say that the experience changed me, in ways I could never have comprehended.
For me now, Burning Man is Home.
Every facet of society is available and accepted at Burning Man. It is this deep acceptance and love that makes it Home. When you enter Black Rock City, you are greeted with a big hug, a smile and the simple phrase, “Welcome Home.” To be fully accepted for who you are, no matter where in the world that is; that is Home.
At Burning Man, you are introduced to the concept “the Playa provides.” This is analogous to “the Universe provides.” However, in a place where so many people are open to that idea, manifestation of needs and wants is on an expedited timeline. Things you didn’t even know you wanted come flying into your life.
My friend Echo told me of her story. Wandering around during the afternoon, checking out the artwork sporadically cast across the open Playa, she heard a buzzing sound from above. She looked up to see a remote controlled helicopter; attached to it, a string with wooden clothespins dangling down, each one, holding a piece of perfectly crisp bacon. The helicopter came down towards her, and she pulled a piece of bacon out of a clothespin. Then WHOOSH the helicopter took off into the sky, out of sight. She looked around to see who might be controlling it, to no avail. The Playa provides… bacon.
Before going to Burning Man I was single, and my good friend Steph asked me what kind of woman I was looking for. Without thinking I responded “Sparkle Pony!” Later, taking the time to actually go over everything that I wanted in a partner. The day before I started the pilgrimage to Black Rock City, she kindly messaged me, wishing me safe travels and hoping that I find my Sparkle Pony.
Around 3am on Thursday morning, I decided to wander, as my camp was turning off their lights and going to bed. I came to this camp that had a dome. Inside, there were cargo nets setup at different levels to climb. I wandered in, laying down on the lowest cargo net and looked up. I caught eyes with a beautiful woman, with blue hair, a white fur coat, and a smile that made me melt. We were separated by the cargo net she was hanging out on. I simply asked her “Why are you here?” A deep conversation ensued for the next hour. Her and her friends were then going to a sunrise party deep Playa away from the city, and I decided I was going to go to sleep. But knew I wanted to see her again. Setting a date for the following afternoon to ride around on our bikes looking at artwork, I asked “How will I be able to find you?” She pulled out a temporary tattoo with her camp logo and name, applying it to my arm using her tongue. I couldn’t imagine anything sexier at the time. A hug and kiss before we separated, I rushed back to camp, pulling out my notebook, making note of her name and camp name, looking up in the camp directory where her camp was, and finding it on a map. I had travelled hundreds of miles away from home, to an uninhabitable desert in Nevada, to find the woman I was looking for, who happened to live a block from the beach in my home town. The one thing I forgot to manifest, was that we were on the same life path. Now we are great friends, even when separated by time and space. The Playa provides… Love.
One of my favourite places in Black Rock city is the Temple. Amongst the chaos of 24/7 techno music, amazing art work, characters in costumes of their choosing, lights and a cacophony of sounds, there is a deeply holy and spiritual place, with no specific denomination, where people come to pray, meditate, leave notes, and let go of things that no longer serve them. At the end of the week, it all goes up in flames, letting what was left turn to ash, and be cast off to the heavens. I have left notes on the wall saying ‘goodbye’ to lost love ones. I have left poems written to ex-lovers. I enjoyed a sunset yoga session with 60 other people. The three women to the left of me were all topless, art cars driving around bumping music, a phenomenal sunset, and I was there doing my sun salutations. What better practice of being centered? All the distractions of the Universe tempting me, and I was focused inward standing on my mat. The Playa provides… a yoga practice I never knew I needed.
I met doctors, lawyers, coaches, hippies, bums, and artists of all sorts out there. They gave me one of the greatest gifts I could have hoped to receive: To truly not judge a book by its cover. Some of these characters were really, really ‘out there’. But they were the ones who – in the default world – were saving lives, building Facebook, building roads, taking criminals to justice, and making society work in this crazy world of ours. The Playa provides… a new perspective on humanity.
The week of love, connection, partying, dancing, meditating, appreciating, giving, hugging, laughing, crying with joy, all culminates watching the Man burn. Sixty thousand people surround the Man, to witness one of the ‘world’s’ best firework shows – certainly the best I have ever seen – as the Man is engulfed in flames. Tears flow, hugs are shared, and a solemn cheer erupts as he finally falls.
The Playa provided me with a new perspective on life; A renewed hope for humanity. A love for everyone on this planet.
I am currently residing in Thailand, trying to figure out how I will get Home again.
The man Burns in 232 days.