How to Tap intoYour Flow & Magic at Burning Man
Most veteran burners have stories of miracles, serendipities, and manifestations happening at Burning Man. In my 10 years at Burning Man, I have too many to count. Small manifestations, like saying “I’d love an ice cream right now” and being handed a cone by a man with a gelato cart a few minutes later, or larger miracles too big to explain here. There’s a common saying, “The Playa Provides,” which could translate as, this is the place of manifestations.
So what makes this festival magic?
There is also something about Black Rock Desert. It feels like you could be on another planet, not 3 hours north of Reno. The Lunar landscape takes you out of the “ordinary” so you are more aware of the extraordinary & receptive to new experiences.
And then there are the costumes and Playa names. By dressing like someone new and even taking on a new name, it helps you shed your ego… and egos get in the way of the miraculous.
I also believe Burning Man’s 10 principles are the key. When 80,000+ people come together to be present (immediacy), create (radical self-expression), give (gifting), get involved (participation), and collaborate (communal effort), the miraculous is inevitable.
It becomes an upward spiral. You experience something magical, transformative, or transcendent and you want to give someone else that feeling. So you create something or give something… and on and on until the whole place becomes one giant magic cauldron.
How do you tap into this magic?
Immediacy is the principle that leads to the most magic, so practice it. Be present to the people you’re with and moment you’re in. And, if you see something you want to do, do it IMMEDIATELY. Don’t wait because the opportunity might vanish like the Man on Saturday night.
And if the present moment doesn’t spark joy, walk ten yards and you’ll find an entirely new experience or new person to talk to.
Also, put away your phone. Photos are awesome, especially in this place, but, if you are too busy taking selfies, you may miss a connection, a new experience, or your entire burn. And please wait until after the festival to post to social media.
Talk to Strangers.
Burning Man is best done out of your comfort zone & your usual demographic. Some of the coolest Burners you’ll meet don’t look “cool.” There is a vast spectrum of human at this festival (still not enough diversity, but Burning Man is working on that) and they might offer you a new perspective, wisdom, experience, or inspiration.
Abandon your plan.
Yes, go through the guides and jot down times of workshops, your friends’ events & favorite DJ sets, but be open to ditching those plans. Or don’t plan at all and follow your delight & Divine winks. The miraculous, delightful, and surprising comes when you least expect it, so make room for it.
Everyone is creative and when you create art, a costume, an experience, or a gift, you never know who might be inspired. So what if it’s silly or imperfect? The festival is a richer place because you added your expression to it.
And you just may discover some new beauty inside you while creating.
Some of the best & most rewarding moments I’ve had on the playa were because I volunteered or built something. I’ve learned a lot too: from basic electronics to metal casting… all from being part of a bigger project.
For example, one year our crew did a renegade ramen bar in the Deep Playa at midnight. Building the bar, making a barrel full of ramen, and hauling both across miles of desert was WORK. And when we got to the trash fence, the dust rolled in. We weren’t sure anyone would find us because our neon sign was small and was written in Japanese kanji. But within minutes of setting up, a Japanese woman found us. She’d come to the Deep Playa to cry because she didn’t speak English and felt alone. Instead of crying, she saw our Japanese sign. Our noodle bar was her first Burning Man miracle. After a bowl of ramen, her most depressing night had been transformed into her best. And her joy made all of our effort worthwhile. And we gave away over a hundred bowls of ramen that night.
Try new things.
Like I said above, get out of your comfort zone. Even lean into your fears. Scared of being naked or singing in public? Try naked karaoke. Intimidated by the traveling rings at Swing City? Give it a try. You will be stronger for having tried them and your horizons broadened.
I was nervous going into my first tantra workshop with a dude I’d just met, and now Tantra is one of my foundational practices. I was scared to try contact improv, and now it’s one of my favorite ways to move.