Be Fearless in the Pursuit of What Sets Your Soul on Fire.
Many of my friends have questioned why it took me so long to experience Burning Man.
I have a creative mind, I live openly, I try to make it a practice to be inclusive and nonjudgmental. I am all about personal expression. I love any opportunity for masks and costumes. I am a provocateur of contrast.
So why the heck did it take me so long to get there?
Similar to my sexual virginity, I guess I didn't know what I didn't know. Although the idea enticed me, I had never had a true burning desire to initiate the process. Maybe I wasn't bold enough to seek out the unknown, or wild enough to fall for a man who I knew would soon burn up in flames shortly after I got to know him. I don't know.
Perhaps being seduced into a flaming hot love affair comes at the perfect timing.
Like anyone's "first time," you cannot prepare enough for the agony and the ecstasy that is about to unfold.
When people talk about having a good first experience, they warn us that it can be a little messy (or a lot dusty!).
There is no point in trying to explain how dusty it is, or how the elements can change in an instant, or how important it is to drink water and light yourself up at night. You just cannot imagine some of the challenges until you get there.
Like love experts, experienced burners would say that radical self-reliance is a must so you aren't needy, that participation in giving and receiving is key to fulfillment, and that the magic of The Playa will provide for all your desires. Go with it, they say, let the journey take you. Soon your sensual body will take over your critical mind.
At the beginning, it did hurt a little, like when I had to drag my heavy bag down a dusty road with no road map. I had a hard time trying to figure out where I was on the clock so I could find my camp. The art car had broken down and there was no cell coverage to let me know that I would not be picked up at my landing spot.
Yet, I remained open and curious. I fully surrendered to what was, and began to attract the people I was supposed to meet.
First off, I met my Gaurdian Angel, who happened to be staying at the same camp (the Playa really does provide!). We bumped into each other on a bus that dropped us off nowhere near our camp. This lovely angel helped me lug around my heavy bag, until we conjured a ride to camp in a silver golf cart. It was comforting to be with another virgin, awkwardly and slowly making our way through the heat and dust, standing out by our blindingly clean clothes. We got to camp just before a raging sandstorm uplifted a yurt.
When I finally got into the groove that night, the never ending rhythm of electronic dance music started to penetrate my skin. I soon got lost in the intimacy of experiencing every single sensation until a cosmic explosion of neon lights, mind-blowing art, dancing bodies, friendly faces, and a pulsing electronic heartbeat made my whole being convulse with aliveness.
The man had seeped into my soul.
Like sex, there isn't a description out there that could fully allow a virgin to understand the feeling. You simply have to experience Burning Man to really get it. Even pictures do not do any justice to the scope and scale of what goes on. And mostly it is because of the quality of people involved.
I went to Burning Man alone (sort of), and left with a love tribe of fiery souls.
Although I knew just few women at my camp, The Love Tribe, I had never spent long periods of time with any one person there. Most were new names and faces. I hadn't yet found my "good" friends from home that I had planned to meet up with. I never did find them, and it didn't really matter.
I had fallen in love with every stranger I met, which made my first experience so memorable.
I met The Wizard, who created magic wherever he went. My Guardian Angel who was such a gentleman. The amazing High Priestess who guided us in a Brazilian Tribal Tobacco Ritual. There was the Hindu Goddess, the Golden Fairy, the Innocent Tease, the Playful Ingenue, and the Kundalini Queen who were all gorgeous women wanting to expand and explore too. I was taken by the Songbird and his voice - even in silence his soul kept singing. There were the Artists, the badass Mission Impossible dudes, and the Superhero who gifted me the kindest words. Fire Dancers, Healers, Magic Walkers were all around me, all so special in their own way.
It was harder for me to figure what to NOT to bring than what TO bring. "Dress up" is one thing I love to do.
People go all out at Burning Man, and it's so inspiring. I realized that we are shedding off of one mask which represents a socially conditioned life full of "shoulds,'" and switching it for another costume that represents infinite possibilities of "what ifs." This trying on, or really the revealing of, a variety of personas is me.
The celebration of self-expression and individuality is what we diversity enthusiasts are striving for in the "outside world," and it happens so naturally at Burning Man. Perhaps the "outside world" should try to shed a few pieces of clothing to get to their truth.
They say that art is the great leveler, connecting people from every walk of life because it is the language of the soul. That is true in the desert. The artistic genius is so big and vast and magical and fantastical, I don't have words to do it justice, you just have to see it for yourself.
Many people say Burning Man changes there lives. I get that. Burning Man didn't change my life. Instead, it validated who I already am in this world, which is a very cool thing to realize about oneself.
And now that I've been awakened, I guess I can never go back to being a virgin. So, I will dive back in with my open heart and my open mind and relish more of what Burning Man has to offer me.
I'm still smitten.
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