|Not a bad bonfire|
Dust storms rage across an apocalyptic landscape filled with brightly painted bodies writhing to the pulsing rhythm of electro beats highlighted by intricately orchestrated laser light patterns and roaring belches from a dozen military-grade flame throwers.
- Radical inclusion. Anyone and everyone participates. Whether you’re into tap dancing, software development, BDSM, environmental activism or corporate finance, you’re invited. Participants set aside judgement and accept each other for who and what they are.
- Radical self reliance. Everyone is camping in an extremely harsh desert environment. Given the sheer volume of people, large art installations, moving parts, sandstorms and flamethrowers my guess was that approximately thirty five people would die during the event. To our amazement, nobody died. The worst injury we witnessed during the entire week was a bike collision (the riders were naked which didn’t help). Everybody has to pack in and out their own shelter, food, water, shade, etc.
- Gifting. No cash is allowed at Burning Man (the only exceptions are for buying coffee and ice). Instead, participants bring things to give away if they want. We were gifted individually made Vietnamese iced coffees, a ride in bike taxi, gourmet Montreal meat sandwiches, ceremonial green tea worth more than its weight in gold, a lecture on microeconomics, and much much more. It reminded me of the potlatch ceremonies of the Native Americans in the Pacific Northwest.
The unifying theme of the event is letting go. Whether it’s your cultural moors, societal norms, emotional baggage, or clothing, you’re encouraged to leave it at the door. The result is an atmosphere of imagination. The air is permeated with possibility (and dust) and thoughts are unleashed beyond their normal boundaries.
You may not want to go camping in the desert, but every one of us could let go more often. We require permission only from ourselves to live the lives we want to live. Burn those regrets, tomorrow’s a new day.
Co-posted on www.dreacastillo.com