LETTING GO AT BURNING MAN
What is Burning Man?
A friend recently posted this question on his facebook wall and received plenty of humorous replies, including my favorite - "where all the questionable people go to give the rest of the world a break".
This was my first time and from the beginning my attitude was to enjoy my first burn more as an observer rather than as an active participant. I knew there would be a lot to take in, including getting used to difficult conditions such as the long trek to Black Rock City, helping set up camp with the amazing organizers of my camp ( who I love so much), the horrible and I mean really HORRIBLE loo conditions , getting stuck in severe sandstorms on a bike on the playa and getting used to no sleep for several days. It was not until I decided to " let it go" and accept the conditions and make the best of it that I started to feel the magic take place.
Burning Man is not for every body I think of my friends who have a hard time getting out of their comfort zones and routine, also ones who suffer from OCD who would probably spend more time focusing on the conditions rather than on the experience as a whole. People come to Burning Man for different reasons, some are searching for answers, social acceptance, spiritual fulfillment, creative inspiration and a big percentage are hedonists looking to continue the hardcore Ibiza style of party. I would fall under the " curious" category that went there with an open mind and open heart and even though its been a few days since BM ended I am still digesting the experience and learning lessons.
As I mentioned before, it was not until I decided to consciously " let go" of my hang ups which took about a day or two that I began to really appreciate my surroundings and feel an overwhelming sense of joy and freedom. As much as I loved exploring and venturing out on my own or with friends, knowing I was coming back to my camp was something I always looked forward to. " Letting Go" also means something different to everyone. To some it means releasing negative thoughts, or severe emotional baggage and in some cases even letting go of people in our lives. Personally " letting go" meant dealing with my anxiety of not being able to speak to my family and being completely disconnected from the real world and all my responsibilities which was probably the biggest challenge. I would have to constantly remind myself to be present in the now and to stop thinking and worrying so much. Fortunately I didn't need to be alone so much with my thoughts, because at BM you are constantly engaging with like minded individuals who happen to be sharing the same experiences as you therefore incredible connections begin to form. AND if your not engaging with others your either too busy being blown away by the music at Disco Knights and Robot Heart or dancing for hours on end at my camp to Dee Dee's set.
The week went by so quickly, I am only happy I had no idea when I was leaving or else it would have been very difficult to say bye to many people including all the special ones from all over that made up Campi Camp. For many, watching the man burn is like New Years. Only that I actually despise New Years, in fact I really can't remember one in the past few years that I felt truly happy. There is so much pressure to have fun, to come up with resolutions and to think about the changes or goals you want for the year ahead but now having been to BM, I realize that watching the man burn is simply celebrating the present. Being aware of the sensory overload and profound happiness of being in the company and sharing that precise moment with very special people was my lesson in letting go of my past, my future and learning to just enjoy the now.
Thank you Burning Man, Thank you Campi Camp and to all my friends new and old ( you know who you are) who made this one of the most amazing experiences of my life. x Leila