Burning Man always seems so far away. You plan for months and wait for it to come by. Then in what seems like an instant, you’re there, you’ve seen some amazing art, watched the Man burn and you’re back home on your couch wondering if it even happened at all. The few weeks after the burn are the perfect time to reflect and integrate any learnings and take a little bit of the Burn into your everyday life. Here are my takeaways from my fourth burn, mixed in with a few other important learnings that have helped me get to where I am today. These are some of the reasons I keep going back.
Community is important
Our modern day society has tainted our community life. We humans have always been together and needed one another for survival. We all use to live in close nit communities and help and support each other. Now modern western society has us living in isolation, in individual homes with occasional visits from friends and family. Most parents have little to no support raising children, often with one parent left to care for their children alone. This means no time for themselves, and so they lose themselves in becoming a parent. This creates resentment and parents who say they sacrificed themselves for their family. This on top of media fear mongering, “stranger danger” has led to many people feeling isolated and alone, like they have no one to turn to. We stay indoors more often and are less social. Suicide and domestic violence has increased significantly over the last few decades.
Burning Man has shown me how a community of people can come together to support one another. People are there to talk to you, no matter who you are, how old you are or where you come from. People will help you out, gift you food, host workshops to discuss important topics and come together to ensure you’re feeling good and having a great time. Our lives are governed by relationships, we don’t all like to admit it, but we need each other to survive and thrive. We can all definitely take a leaf out of the Burner Communities book and bring some of this love and community back to our everyday lives.
Art is more necessary and more valuable than people think
Many people do not understand art or the purpose of it. I have come to learn that art, in its many forms, is necessary for our growth and self expression. Self expression in all its forms is so healing for our soul. When we choose to create, we choose pure positive focus, which is like meditating. When we meditate, we connect to our true selves and to our source or higher self. We allow our true self to shine through, into this reality and for others to perceive what we create. No one can see the world as you see it, this is why art is so subjective and beautiful as everyone will look at the same piece of art and have a different view and expression on it.
LOVE is the answer
There is a common theme in Burning Man, and that theme is LOVE. Love is really at the root of our being. We are here to love one another but most importantly, to love ourselves. We are all one so when we love someone else, we in turn love ourselves. What does self love look like to you? To me, it’s putting yourself first. It’s watching our negative self talk and being kinder to ourselves. It’s doing that yoga session or exercise to feel our bodies and keep them healthy. It’s eating a rainbow of whole foods so our bodies can heal and repair. It’s getting enough sleep so our brains and bodies can regenerate. Self love is the key to more love in this universe.
Talking to strangers ain’t all that bad
At Burning Man, everyone is your friend. You talk to strangers all the time. Everyone welcomes you with open arms (literally, hugs only, no handshakes) and you talk to everyone. In fact, some of our closest friends we’ve met at Burning Man! If I’ve taken anything away from Burning Man, it’s that it’s ok to just talk to people. How often do you go out and do your shopping, or are standing in line or walking your dog and just said hello or ask how someones day is going? Not many of us do it. Since Burning Man, I try and say hello to people and make conversation. Making someone smile is an added bonus. Try it out, even just saying hello and smiling as you walk past can really make someones day.
Being present is our key to happiness
Have you ever looked back at the moments in your life and realised which moments were your happiest? They are often always the moments in which we were completely present in that moment. We weren’t distracted thinking about our past or worrying about our future, we were there, enjoying whatever was happening in that moment in time. The longer and more often we are present with ourselves the happier we are and the more joy we get out of life. Burning Man taught me this the first year, but I kid you not it took me four burns to really embrace the present moment at the burn and even more in everyday life. Josh and I would often ride past different art pieces and in particular the Roller Disco and say “we should go see that” or “we should stop here next time”. Only for that next time to never come. This year, we made it our promise to do just that- be forever present on Playa. We finally roller skated at the Roller Disco!!
Feelings are a whole lot more important than we think
How often do we dismiss other people’s feelings and even our own feelings? How often do parents tell young boys to “stop crying” and “man up”? When we think about memories not only do we remember the times we were most present as mentioned earlier, but we also usually never forget how we felt. The feeling of waking up on Christmas day. The feeling of learning to ride a bike for the first time. The feeling when the boy or girl you liked for so long, says they like you back. Our feelings are our intuition, guiding us towards connection and love. When we feel our feelings fully and trust our gut instinct, we are able to grow and flow and connect to like minded people and situations that are for our personal growth and truth.
As a society we often dismiss feelings and I feel we all have a lot to learn on the subject but we are slowly getting there. I love that Burning Man embraces LOVE, connection and feelings through the artwork and the people as being solid necessities in life. Let’s all take this back to our everyday life and learn to grow strong men who feel. Allow your loved ones to cry, to share their feelings without judgement or telling them they are “overreacting”. We all have the right to feel the way we feel.
Even as adults, it’s important to play
How often do we get told to “grow up” or “act like an adult”? Even as children, we tell our children (who are still children!) to “stop acting like a 2 year old” or to just act an older age than what they really are. We have a general consensus in our society that playing or being silly is not ok. That once we are adults, that’s it, we must always act as adults. We forget that playing, laughing and having fun is still so important even in our adult life. I think it is a big missing key to our happiness. When was the last time you jumped on a swing or a trampoline just for fun? You see adults all around Burning Man releasing their inner child. Playing on that swing. Sliding down that slide. We are never meant to stop playing and doing what we love. Let’s take a leaf out of the children of this world’s book and play, laugh and be silly without a care in the world.
What is the most important life lesson you have learnt? Did you go to Burning Man? I hope I’ve shared some valuable insight. Let’s all keep growing and learning for a better and brighter future!