We just returned from an awesome week in Black Rock City and – as might be expected – my experience at Burning Man was markedly different than Yair’s.
Going into the week, I was concerned that I might have overhyped Burning Man. I spent the better part of 2010 and 2011 describing BRC as a sort of utopian society that everyone had to experience, and I probably did overhype it a bit. I realized that – just like Rosh HaShana and Yom Kippur need some preparation and introspection in order to be meaningful and in order to make the most of them – I hadn’t given myself any opportunities to introspect, or any real transition time between Faces of Israel and Burning Man.
Rather than focusing on what Burning Man is not, I chose to embrace the wonder that Burning Man is: a hub of large-scale art and creativity, a meeting point for good and beautiful people, a practice run at being more giving and of course a welcoming place of self-discovery and boundary-pushing.
Like last year, I chose to be in the experience instead of documenting my days by photo (sorry!), but here are some highlights:
1. Laughter yoga and a camp full of people “raaaring” like lions while sticking their tongues out as far as they go (hilarious)
2. Discovering a full-out movie theater in the deep playa with sink-in reclining seats and a (free) concession stand
3. Lucid dreaming workshops, impromptu massages, introduction to Ashtanga yoga and learning about monkey chanting
4. Circus boot camp and my pitiful juggling
5. Suspended Animation and inspiring 30+ people (including one couple on their wedding night!) through an hour plus of inversions
6. Improv-Everywhere like shenanigans, where 30 people surround a porta-potty, roll out a red carpet and cheer when the door opens. The lucky bathroom-user is then serenaded with “We Are The Champions”, awarded a “You Win Burning Man” trophy and exhorted to make a speech.
7. A replica of the French quarter in New Orleans mid-desert, complete with fresh beignets each morning and jazz music each night
8. Conversations like: Goddess! Yes? Might you know where Playa Info is? Yes, right over there. Gratitude! (I could get used to being addressed as “goddess”…)
10. Hanging with Nomadia, meeting one of my new favorite nomads Captain and connecting with kind and fun people EVERYWHERE
I was blown away by Burning Man in 2010 and still came away from 2011 inspired, but unlike Yair, I don’t feel compelled to return to Burning Man next year because I feel like I found the experiences that I was looking for and took from Burning Man what I needed (while giving in my own way). But for those of you who have yet to encounter the wonders of Black Rock City and are marginally curious about what the City holds in store for you, put it on your to-do list because Burning Man can be a seriously magical place.
posted by ayo