Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Burning Man Does Not Suck


I am no longer a virgin. I rolled around making dust angels, had playa rubbed all over my head and banged a gong to celebrate it.  I even have pictures.

Dust angels.
Playa dust rubbed all over head.
Banging the gong to celebrate losing virginity.
Carolynn, Rich and I discussing whether to kill the dust woman.
I have returned home from my first Burning Man.  Based on those opening few pictures, you may be asking why in the name of Dirk Digler would anybody want to spend eight days in a dusty, windy, hot, dirty, dry, skin cracking, desolate, out of the way shit hole in the Black Rock Desert of Bumblefuck Nevada?

The answer is that it transforms to Black Rock City once per year because crazy people like me come from all over the world to spend eight days in this beautiful, heavenly, unexplainable, love-filled, happy, dusty, windy, hot, dirty, dry, skin cracking, desolate, out of the way shit hole in Bumblefuck Nevada.

Re-read that a few times and I swear on the grave of your great-great-grandmother’s dog that it makes sense. 

It might be impossible to fully explain what Burning Man is and what it does.  I think the reason is because every person gets something from it that is unique to them down to their very soul.  This could be a life changing experience or perhaps it’s a brief moment that happened on a sweltering day in the middle of the week (like it did for me). 

Either way, I doubt that anyone comes back from Burning Man saying it was just a big party.  You can have a big party in your backyard.  You have to pay mentally and with your body to attend Burning Man.  The reward is worth every dirt booger, dusty lung, cracked skin, dirty haired moment.

There is one giant commonality that I’m willing to bet everyone who has attended would agree is the best thing about Burning Man.

It’s not the art cars, even though they are fricking cool.
This was our car, built by Ian and his AZ crew: Movement of Jah People.
Best bike rack ever!
El Pulpo - this sucker spits out fire - way cool at night!

Pulling up to the VW led to an impromptu dance party in the middle of an intersection.
Discofish, complete with pole and bar inside.

Art cars waiting for a burn.

Shark!
Golden Gate
It’s not the art itself, even though it is all so fricking cool.
Anybody can climb to the top of this.
I'm not bullshitting you, this is cool stuff.

Even the bathrooms could be fun.
Case in point: Best port-a-potty ever!!

Back to works of art - my bowling form!
Half buried ship.  One of the coolest things out there.  Tons of details inside.
Pier attached to the ship above.
You could climb to the top of this thing to press a button that shot out fire.  I did it twelve times I think.

This is made out of wood.  This was the only 'big' ego I met at Burning Man.

Inside the tower of the Man.

The temple.  Photos don't do it justice.

I watched and listened to this thing teach yoga.  I have film.

I'm not sure this is art, but it sure looked like fun.

We had a full moon, including a blue moon.  How perfect is that?

This thing was my landmark for finding my way back to camp.

This is a horrible picture, but its a movie theater in the deep playa.  Somebody gave me a Snickers bar and it was heaven.
Yes, it felt like a different planet.  There is a dude in that outfit.
Well, I think the playa used to be a lake.

One of the best seats in the house.
It isn’t camp after camp of themes and giving, even though they are all so fricking cool.
Gotta love the pink camp.  The quote says, "love more, fear less. float more, steer less."  Right?

Oasis in the middle of nowhere.  Of course!

This camp gave me orange sorbet. 

This camp gave massages. That is MoMo having her feet violated by tall bearded man.

It’s not even the burns, of which there are many, including art, the man and the temple; even though they are all so fricking cool.

Burning Wall Street

Right before it fell.
Besides the awesome moon we had every night, the burning reminds me of the fabulous sunsets.

We also stayed up all night one night to watch this sucker rise.

Is it the people?  Sort of, since they are all so fricking cool, especially my camp mates.
My buddy Rich who got run over by a car earlier this year while on his bike.  His playa name is Crutch.

Bonnie and Clyde who?
Jody's shit-eating happy grin never left her face all week.

Hey, it was Tutu Tuesday.  I am man enough to do it.   The better looking kid is MoMo.

Somehow this didn't seem all that odd at the time.  My fave pic of Carolynn.

Just two dudes (Ian and Rich) going on a bike ride.  In tutus.  One with crutches strapped on. Completely normal.

A common look.

Jeremy with his freaky eyeballs stuck on his googles, Rich and MoMo.

Carolynn, Rich and Misti.

Me and Ian.  He was the captain of awesomeness.  Even if he only had an "okay" time.

Thanks to Ian and MoMo for making me go to Burning Man.

Carolynn sure loves her costumes.

Our whole gang.  AZ and CO rock!
The answer to the one giant commonality lies in the experience and from where it is born.  It isn’t driven from the desire to be entertained, party, meet people, have sex or admire art.  You can do all those things easily at home.  The answer is that it comes from the heart of which is filled with love.  Shut up; I’m not even a hippy.  Nor do I ever do drugs.  This truly comes from within the most powerful force of mankind.  Love.  And with love you will have happiness.  You can love yourself.  Don’t mistake this concept for meaning you have to find a significant other.  I found this quote on somebody else’s Facebook page and I don’t know who said it, but I’m going to repeat it here:


To me, this is the root of Burning Man.  Before I had playa dust rubbed in my face, I had two veteran burners welcome me and give me hugs.  Not man-hugs where you sort of bump shoulders and manage to create space, but rather full-out heart on heart hugs with strong arms and long holds.  The kind you give loved ones that you haven’t seen in five years.  And yet these are total strangers.

I quickly learned that greeting people with these hugs and smiles was standard operating procedure.  It didn’t matter if it was a guy, a gal, old or young or even midgets!  I kid you not.  I actually hugged these two and practically peed in my pants with excitement (I have a serious midget problem).
I could hug them both at the same time so easily!!
What if in the real world we were all nice to each other from the start?  We all gave each other the benefit of the doubt and treated each other with love and respect?  What if you hugged the barista in the morning before you ordered your venti latte with room?  It feels really good to be around people that are like-minded because it comes from their heart and soul. 

I think that is the common theme of Burning Man.  Love is happiness and there was a lot of that going around.  I’m not talking about sex (for a change).  Keep this on the up and up, yo.

And then there are those unique moments that every individual has.  Some might be life changing, others might be fleeting or perhaps provide a glimpse of what is possible and there; if you open your mind and heart. 

My moment hit and when it did; it hit hard.  It seemed to come out of nowhere because it got me near the end of the week and at a point where we were all dancing by the art car with dozens of other people.  MoMo happened to be standing next to me.  We just held on to each other and didn’t let go.  She had been there and she said she’d wait for me. 

I don’t know how long it was, probably just a couple minutes, but it felt like forever.   There were many things in my head, heart, body and soul that just rushed at me in this crazy unbelievable place that staggered me.  I held on to MoMo and hoped I wasn’t squeezing her too hard because I wasn’t in control of anything for just a moment.  Plus I’m twice her size.

And then I breathed. 

Whoa.

I didn’t see that coming.  I didn’t know that was buried inside me. 

And I don’t know that I accomplished anything or released anything that changes my life.  But it was good. 

I already feel like one of the luckiest and happiest people on this planet.  I have a great life.  I even look good in disco pants!


So what did I get out of Burning Man?  Besides a rockin' great time with awesome people? Burning Man gave me the ability to give to myself from a level I had buried so far down, I don't think I knew it was there.  Burning Man helped me give myself an even greater life that continues to live by my heart and soul.

Another quote I love that I can't attribute to anyone: "The core of a man's soul comes from new experiences."  Thanks to Rich, Carolynn, MoMo, Ian, Jeremy, Mistie, Jody, Erica, all the other burners and Burning Man 2012.  My soul is stronger than ever.