I am sitting on the playa.
Around me there is nothing, and everything, all at once. It is quiet.
People asked what I was going to Burning Man for. I told them, I was open to whatever experience the playa had for me. Maybe I was avoiding their question, because I didn't really know what I was doing driving 15 hours into the desert to disconnect from all my societal responsibilities.
A part of me was scared, for sure, to be spending a week living in the dust with 4 girls cramped into an RV, and no connection to social media. Did I bring enough food? Would we all get along? Would I feel trapped? What kinds of thoughts am I going to have to face?
But a greater part of me was curious ... what is the draw of this mysterious gathering?
I had been once before, 10 years ago, at the confusing age of 14. I was with my family, but I wasn't really sure where I belonged. Was I independent yet? Not sure. I have some vague memories of riding a 'magic' carpet in the middle of the deep playa, sitting on some cushions as if I were in a real life Aladdin scene. I also remember being in an igloo. I often wondered if my childhood memories were real or imagined.
But here I am now. Covered in the fine white dust of Black Rock City, I sit on the floor. It is day 2, or is it technically day 3? I am alone. It is 5am. The sky is dark, but on the horizon, a hot red twinge starts to emerge underneath the black veil. I've spent the last 8 hours moving my body to the sounds of every stage, peeling off layers of my Sparkly Space Kitty costume until there were only pasties left. I just fell off of my bike, thats really why I'm on the floor. (Damn furry leg warmers) But I decided to stay for a while, and just watch the world around me.
So what did I learn? I learned to let go. Let go of fear. Let go of expectations. Let go of uncertainty and self doubt. I learned to embrace the ever changing nature of the world. I learned to give hugs and be warm and embracing. I learned to give freely, and to enjoy surprises. I learned to look for signs from the universe, and to be grateful for running water. I learned to look after myself, and that I am capable. I learned how much I love my life, and the people in it. I learned to trust the timing of the universe. I learned to believe in myself.
I also learned not to burn myself out on the first night, staying up until 7 am, and then 6 am on the second night and then 5 am on the third. I would definitely pace myself next time, and also pack much less than I did this year. Although I would never skimp on the glitter and rhinestones. I learned how important LED lights are at night, and how vital water is during the day. Mostly. I understood the divinity of impermanence.