It’s just not possible to do everything always. That’s one of the first things I learned at Burning Man. This year I took a break from the Playa, I knew it was the right decision because it was not a difficult decision. Remember? I even wanted to leave early last year!
You are always participating
Every year passed, I loved being wished a great burn from long-time playa bunnies who were staying home. It’s such a small thing but it always pulled a strong heart string for me. I loved feeling celebrated and sent off by those who had been before. I felt like a vessel for their spirits out there.
And truly, from little muscle pumping in my chest, I loved sending my friends off to Burning Man this year. I spent some hearty time with a few folks before their departure talking about their week ahead. Some veterans, some virgins. It pained me to not go on bizarre bike rides with them. But talking out their hopes, fears and intentions and giving them the metaphorical “good game” spank on the butt before their departure felt right and felt like a gift.
I felt like I was a part of the composition of Black Rock City even if I was not there in the dust.
There is no FOMO
I was really missing Atish on Friday Night. I thought about him scarfing down a bowl of Tasty Bites and riding his clankity bike to the edge to prepare for his epic Robert Heart Bus set. I imagined Short Stack and Om Skillet and Oontz Pouch and the rest of our friends quietly robing themselves in LED lights together cruising out to the big sound bus for a grand all-night friend reunion. I really wanted to be there doing that.
But it sounds like the huge friend reunion was actually at Panda Lounge this year. And maybe that lentil soup dinner and magical Robot Heart night happened. But my fantasy felt sour when I heard people were booing Skrillex and Diplo on the very same art car days earlier.
It made me realize I was actually missing future experiences that had actually already happened a year ago. Upon this liberation, I felt not sad for missing 2014 but hungry for 2015.
The Playa is actually beautiful
I’m skeptical. Every year I question whether or not it’s actually fun, beautiful, spiritual, challenging, or even hot. Are the many like-minded people with shared values are doing the same activities, just reaffirming and justifying this lavish holiday? Every year I wonder, is this place actually great?
It is. I tuned into the live stream during Burn Morning Sunrise from my clean, warm bed and nearly cried at the beauty. My stomach sank and heart filled. I thought about all the people, now settled into their dust, through the dark night and thirsty for the sun about to get the burst of light they were waiting for. All the little critters who had been critterting all night as if they have somewhere important to be, finding a shared moment to pause and warm their face.
Even from here, it was beautiful and special. I paused with you.
You can feel anything, anywhere, anytime
I spent Burn Week thinking about the last year. I did this while on an Angel Island night hike (yes with my blinky lights) and at home next to a burning fireplace. My dearest friends and I one-by-one deconstructed the last year. What happened? What didn’t? How did we feel? What did we learn?
Then of course, we looked into our next year. I rarely consciously do this at Burning Man, but the experience presents itself to me each time. Next to the fireplace, we each wrote a fear we wanted to conquer on a Super Duper napkin and set it to flame. We were kind and good to our future selves.
And with that, I’m off to Japan!
I’m bringing seven special friends together with equally smart, funny, like-minded creatives in Tokyo. I’ve been planning this conference, Startup The Party, with two friends I met through Burning Man and music. We’re going to a special electronic music festival in a Japanese forrest, finding new ways to look at our cities, seeing art that’s intended to be destroyed and boating on neon spaceship.I’m then rewarding myself with a weekend of riding my bike on an island dedicated to large-scale sculpture art.
Just needs fire.
Thanks for the well wishes. See you on the other side!