All presence depends on consciousness.
Where there is a depth of awareness, there is a reverence for presence.
— John O’Donohue, Anam Cara
I’m sitting here feeling incomplete and not fully present.
My physical body is here in my new home. One foot is on the hardwood floors. The other foot is under my leg on my grey canvas couch. My brain is telling me I’m in Oakland, California, breathing in fresh Oakland air on 37th street.
But my heart, my spirit, my soul, my entire being doesn’t accept it. I am still on the playa…
Can an experience rock your whole world, then send you right back from where you came, only to leave you wondering, did that really happen?
Can your entire life change in a week and leave you with an out of body, completely stunned feeling?
It appears so.
How can I begin to describe my experience at this year’s Burning Man?
A few people have asked and all I can manage to do is take a deep breath in, feel my heart beating rapidly, eyes widening, and my face breaking into an enormous smile as I say the word “UNBELIEVEABLE.”
Of course that word doesn’t even begin to encapsulate it.
Even if I described every single story in detail, every moment I could possibly remember, it simply wouldn’t be enough. It wouldn’t give you the feeling that I have deep inside my heart. You couldn’t inhale the density of the dust, or taste the mintiest most refreshing DeMentha mojito, or feel that senseless freedom of howling and exploring the circus of the night. And you likely wouldn’t believe many of my stories either…even I can’t help but question if it was all a dream…
Imagine, a desert goddess with the most penetrating ocean blue eyes you’ve ever seen approaching you at sunrise and whispering in your ear a secret, that the word STILL is somehow, magically written in the grooves in the eastern mountain range. The “I” you see there, it’s a waterfall. You can’t believe it. Was it made that way? Was it natural? Was it supernatural? But you don’t ask these questions out loud, you don’t take pictures to “prove” it exists, you just feel it, the gratitude, the magnitude, and the gift.
A triple lotus inception in the majestic Lotus Temple….
Imagine a being, multi-colored, fuzzy on the outside, black leather cat suit on the inside, transfixed by a breath-taking Lotus Temple surrounded by floating lanterns. You watch as this playful being, balances on a steep incline in lotus position. She is known by the tribe as Lotus and she is in the midst of one of the best nights of her life. You soak in her impenetrable state of AWE.
A gypsy queen and her band of pirates wakes you up at dawn for a once-in-a-lifetime Disco Knights dance party…
Imagine, hundreds have gathered to feast on the sun. Underneath disco balls and orbs of light, you are FREE. You dance like you’ve never danced before. You climb a shipping container to get a better view only to meet the Ring Leader of the Glitteratti…you laugh a full body, mind, spirit laugh and then you turn around to see two wild baby twin lions and just when you think you can’t stand to be more amazed, your whole crew joins you to swim in this moment of complete connected and other worldly-ness.
I could go on…
But to sum it up, it was magnificently significant in the most subtle of ways.
A quote I have been meditating on comes to mind…
"When a great moment knocks on the door of your life, it is often no louder than the beating of your heart, and it is very easy to miss it."
~ Boris Pastnernack, Poet
I almost missed this moment. I was nearly indifferent to returning to the playa this year. My first year was beautiful, don’t get me wrong, but I was more of an observer. A tourist, just stopping by.
Last year, Christine Lai and I had decided to go only a couple weeks before and really had no idea what we were stepping into. We saw the sights, we were physically present, but we missed the potent, ever accessible magic that transpires when your soul is fully present.
Now keeping in mind, my reflection is only one and everyone will have an experience that is totally unique.
This year, my intention was to DEEPEN.
In my journal on my flight to Vegas I wrote in more detail.
My intention for this Burn:
To deepen my understanding of what it means to be alive
To release the need to be liked and just BE my awesome self
To do things I never imagined doing
To laugh until I cry
To feel so interconnected my heart nearly explodes
To receive the full gift of being alive
To unlock more love and soul
To return clearer, bolder, stronger, fiercer and more beautiful than ever
Check, check, check.
This year I was more than an observer, I was an active participant.
I listened, I learned, I let go, I let live.
And I can’t believe I almost missed it.
I didn’t try to go, I simply expressed to the universe, if I am gifted a ticket and a camp and everything magically comes together, I’ll go.
And it was those two Master Chef’s and the other crucial ingredients they added [the other incredible humans they curated for the journey: Avatar, Sita, Little Deer, Miss Unicorn, Rookie of the Year, Izzy Indigo, Gregarious, Anita] that created the most incomprehensibly brilliant, awesomely delicious “Soul Fam Soup” that flowed into an even greater Carnival of Mirrors Cauldron. Every ingredient contributed to the overall flavor, something delightful for everyone.
Being back, I see that running water, home cooked meals, and instant communication are definitely part of the good life. But to me, nothing beats radical macgyvering, unbelievable serendipity, and rolling around in the dust, surrounded and fueled by the purest, highest concentration of love. I am wracking my brain ideating on how to bottle it up into a daydream, a vision or physical art piece so that I can feel and taste it whenever I want.
There’s just nothing like it.
The words of Passenger by Royals comes to mind…
Your body is the ship,
Your soul is the PASSENGER
So let me take a trip down,
Let me take a trip down to you
They say it's such a small world,
But often I feel lost & empty
They say it's such a cruel world
But one GOOD HEART is plenty!
60,000+ good hearts, open, beaming and liberated from the confinements of society, the most creative tribes and artists from around the world coming together to build their dream civilization for a week.
Imagine a new you, totally transformed, naked in your truth, crystal clear in your understanding of what it means to be alive.
Whatever extraordinary experience calls your name, knocks on the door of your life, speaks softly or loudly to your sweet soul, whether it be Burning Man or otherwise, I encourage you to listen. I encourage you to take the risk. I encourage you to go, do, be.
See the invisible, the beautiful, the inconceivable. Make an agreement with yourself and align it with the stars.
This is your one unbelievable life, live it so.
To my playa people, here is a credo shared with Vickie Lau and I during our indoctrination into Angie and the Argonauts.
An Argonaut is a person in quest of something dangerous but rewarding; an adventurer.
We the Argonauts, united in a common spirit vow to cherish the unknown, the uncertain, and the untried. Challenge darkness, dogma, and fear. Welcome the strange, the dirty, the odd.
Seek treasure, passion, and thyself.
And now you my friends, you are all Argonauts.
Until the next!
Infinite love x light,