“How old would you be if you did not know how old you were?” - Satchel Paige. We saw this quote when driving on the Black Rock Desert heading into Burning Man a few years back.
Here is some insight for the first-time Burner on how to prepare mentally for their first Burning Man. There is quite the controversy with this topic; especially for those new attending. Many have gone, many have wanted to go, and many have no desire. This creates stereotypes, judgments, conclusions, and falsified beliefs on what one should expect. The mixed opinions of those who have not gone directly clash with the experiences and memories that are derived into suggestions from those who have attended. Since we are all a product of life and appreciate and care for opinions this can become an overwhelming position for someone who is about to attend so we have prepared this short blog to set things straight for that curvy road in your mind. Everyone’s burn is always always different so keep this in mind.
Naked people, drugs, art, orgies, carnival, hippies, Google Execs, kids, Moms, dragons driving by, yacht dance parties, airplanes flying by on wheels, dust…We are sure you have heard one or more of these words when someone voiced their opinion when they heard you were going or even you have said something of the sort. It is all true and means nothing more than the experience you make it and how you allow yourself to understand all of it. Understanding all of it without having attended, simply means opening your mind to life in a new perspective. We are all transformed in life to create beliefs and mental models of anything and everything based on past experiences. If we had a best friend named daisy in first grade, then good chances are we love the name Daisy. If we became sick from mustard as a child, then we probably do not care for it anymore. What all of this means is an experience can shape our thoughts. If we have not had an experience, then we cannot shape anything, and this value comes in directly with Burning Man. It is a book that showed up on our shelf and has a date on it for us to read. We have read the pretext that said someone was nodding their head up and down while saying no verbally.
In life we always have a choice of how we choose to understand things. If you saw a sign in a parking lot on a hot day that said “FREE HOT DOGS WITH A COLD DRINK” you might call the police and drive the opposite direction. But what if your curiosity steered you toward it? You pull up and a guy is dressed in a bright pink fur drag suit with a sailor hat on with a lady standing next him naked wearing a hat that says, “free hugs.” Where would your mind go now? Still thinking of that hot dog and cold drink or is your mind floating different directions like a bird in a tornado about to run into a hurricane? Are you going to get that hot dog and a free hug or are you going to turn your head and call 92 people to tell them what you saw? Based on prior experiences in life this event could go many ways. This is where you take charge of your mental speed racer and take a step back in life and look at yourself and this situation. Is there anything wrong with this situation? Is it a bad thing to cook a hot dog in expectations that a stranger might be hungry? Of course not. Is it odd to have a lack of clothing on, on a hot day handing out a cold drink while willing to give a stranger a hug who needs one? No way is there anything wrong with that.
With that said this is where your mind should be for Burning Man. You will see some people naked, you will see some people wearing clothing that you never even knew existed, and you might see someone sitting in a booth handing out hugs and offering an open ear to let you talk if talk is presented then. Why are these people doing this you might ask? Because they want to. Because they understand that it might change your day or theirs. They are wearing what they want or nothing at all because they want to. They do it with lack of judgement and lack of caring what others think. People are cooking up a storm because they understand someone might be hungry and come enjoy a new conversation with someone they have never met. You might catch yourself walking to the restroom in the morning and the person passing by does not hesitate to say good morning and you find yourself making a new best friend out of thin air. This is Burning Man. A collective society sharing a belief of understanding that we are all one. We are part of something bigger and the small unimportant things in life do not matter other then having a smile on our faces and taking that effect on others.
Burning Man is an experience to enlighten your mind. To be present in the moment or float away on a cloud and live life to what you amount it to be. It is a chance to be you, to experience meanings that you do not understand with others that want to join you in that enlightenment. Whatever it is that you want to do you can. You can be creative and build for others to enjoy or you can enjoy what others have built so they can adore gratitude from you. So, let everyone say their opinions and you acknowledge them, but understand that your mind will take in this experience openly and freely without becoming variable to others opinions. It will let you be you.
We hope this blog helped and any questions or just comments feel free to express then and we will express back.