I’ve recently returned from a long, windy week in the hot (and cold) Nevada desert. As I wash the sand and dust from my clothes and try to get my feet back on the ground, a part of me is still lingering in the Black Rock Desert where Burningman comes to life once a year.
If you ask me to describe Burningman, I could describe it in a thousand different ways, but for now, I will say that Burningman is a magical land where thoughts become things.
Burningman is often referred to as a festival, but it is not just a festival – it’s more accurately described as an adventure in another dimension or an extraordinary journey into an alternate reality. It is by far the most outrageous and “out of this world” experience that you will ever find on this planet.
This year, over 60,000 people from all over the world came together in the desert to celebrate life, and honor the human spirit — to dismantle old paradigms and create new dreams.
Anything and everything is possible in the Black Rock Desert under the spell of what is Burningman.
Burningman — Where Thoughts Become Things
For one week each year, Burningman becomes the home of the fifth largest city in Nevada, USA with its own airport, hospital, post office and practically everything else you might find in a typical city. All “citizens” must bring their temporary homes of either a tent, hut or camper, enough food and water for a week, and whatever gifts they would like to share. With radical self-reliance, each person must bring what they need, and be prepared for freezing nights, boiling days and the occasional, or not so occasional, 60 mph (or so) sand storm. This explains all those Burningman photos of people with masks and goggles. It is not just a costume, it’s a necessity.
Part of the magic of Burningman is the fact that no money is ever exchanged. Yes, there is the price of admittance which is currently about $400 US, but once you have taken up your one week residency at Burningman, dollars and cents have no value, whatsoever. Contrary to popular belief, it is also not a barter or trade community — it is pure, unconditional, no strings attachedgifting.
In addition to all that, can you also imagine a large community of people who all agree to practice sustainability, and to literally“leave no trace”? Then, of course, there is my favorite part — Radical Inclusion and Self Expression!
Burningman is a unique place in the Universe where everyone is accepted and honored for who they are, whether they wear extraordinary costumes that can only be described as art, or they are bare-ass naked. Many people spend the entire year preparing for this extraordinary event, building outrageous fire-spitting art cars or huge interactive art installations. No gift or creation is too big or too small.
It is essential to understand that Burningman only exists because each year people from all around the world choose to participate and give what they have to give. This is what makes everyone and everything a treasure.
Whether you turn left or right, whether you go to a class, get some yummy ice cream, or you play on the Playa, you are surrounded by your new best friends who love and cherish you without ever asking what you do for a living, or care about the roles you play back home.
Burningman is not a place to hide. Burningman is a place to shine and be who you really are – whoever that might be!
This year, I had the joy and honor of sharing Burningman with my two sons, Travis who is 20 and Clay who is 18. Although I have been talking about Burningman for years, my words and stories did little to prepare them for this extraordinary, and often challenging, adventure. They quickly discovered how easily thoughts become things without the stringent container of limiting beliefs. This is the core reason why there are so many blessings and challenges at Burningman. You think a thought and, voila, it’s materialized in one way or another! On day one, Travis’ “resistance” manifested in a severe injury to his finger that required urgent medical care, while Clay was also met with the source of an issue that he had been dealing with, but as they began to be more responsible with their thinking, the challenges lessened and the miracles expanded exponentially.
Travis failed to bring a coat and when the first cold night fell he was in for a cold awakening, excuse the pun. In the middle of the desert, we found a clothing boutique, and with giddy excitement, we went in. Clay came out with a much needed hat, I found some cool jewelry and Travis manifested a winter coat that actually fit his body building physique. Yes, this was all free, as was Travis’ Burningman hospital visits! Hard to believe, but nonetheless true. Clay also manifested his dream of learning to walk on a tightrope. With no sign of a tight rope all week, he nearly gave up hope, when on the last day, someone set up a professional tight rope in the middle on the Playa, and before long Clay was gracefully walking it like a pro.
My favorite moment of manifestation originated from hunger late one night. As we were strolling through the spectacular lights and sounds of the Playa, three people rolled a cart down the street. On top of the cart was the sign, “Hot Stuff.” I yelled, “What’s hot stuff?” No answer so I yelled again. On the third try, someone yelled back, “Hot Pancakes.” “Hot Pancakes,” I shrieked as I ran down the street after the cart, jumping up and down in excitement. I heard the woman say to the man, “I guess this is where we are going to stop.” With a smile and a spatula, they made us the most delicious gourmet pancakes I have ever experienced, along with creamy hot cocoa that melted in my mouth.
This is the magic of Burningman.
We live in a magical world where anything and everything is possible. It is only our beliefs and limitations that prevent this magic from infiltrating our lives every day. Burningman is simply a place where life can do and be what it really is without the self-imposed constraints of everyday reality.
So how can we bring the magic and flow of Burningman into our everyday lives?
Remove the Limitation of Money
Along with the Morphic Field of endless possibilities that is created during Burningman, and the fact that everyone is included and celebrated for who they are, when you remove the condition of money, everything is easier to manifest. We have been programmed to believe that what we need and desire always costs money, but often things can come to us in miraculous and unexpected ways when we remove the condition that an exchange of currency is required. The trick is to imagine and ask for what you want, without limiting its manifestation, by believing that you need a certain amount of money for it to materialize. What would you ask for, if money was no issue?
Be Responsible for All Your Thoughts
For most of us, there is a gap between our thoughts and the manifestation of those thoughts. This allows us time and space to get in alignment with a particular thought or not. This is really good news, because most of us think thoughts that we would never want to manifest. You might say that we are lazy with our thinking; not knowing the power that intrinsically lies in our thoughts we allow our thoughts to think for themselves. Burningman, and other similar paradigm breaking events, allow us to experience a much faster manifestation of thought. With immediate feedback, it becomes quite clear that our thoughts, do indeed, manifest in reality.
After a couple of days in this unforgiving desert, you learn to be very responsible with all your thoughts. The way in which to experience quicker manifestations in everyday life is simply to be more responsible with your thinking. In other words, each word you think or say contains priceless power – honor and respect this power. Instead of allowing your thoughts to run you, and your life, you must find the “command center of your mind” and you must become the conscious and responsible thinker of your thoughts. If, or when, irresponsible thoughts arise in your mind, and they likely will until you become the commander of your thinking, you simply allow them to pass without giving any of them energy or power. The more you master your thinking, the more you will experience quick and even instant manifestations.
Although individual consciousness can override collective consciousness through the power of your awareness and choice, there is no denying that Collective or Group Consciousness has tremendous power. When sixty thousand people come together and share the consciousness of possibility and magic, that is exactly what is created, but it doesn’t take a large group to create a higher collective consciousness. We can do this in our natural families, or our self-selected sacred families (who we decide to create family with). Any time two or more people come together in shared consciousness a new reality can be experienced. The way to create this in everyday life is to join a group or create a group, where all members are open to possibility, and you support each other.
Be a Source of Manifestation for Others
It’s wonderful to receive and in receiving, it makes you want to give. The most fun I had was giving away 200 copies of my book "Even Gandhi Got Hungry and Buddha Got Mad!" at Center Camp. It was easy to see that I was also the source of manifestation for others who were seeking answers that this book held. How can you be a source of manifestation for others in your life? The ideas for such as endless. The key is to pay attention to what others need and want and when possible give what you have. That may be as simple as a smile or a compliment, or it might mean providing a physical gift or other resource that you can share without needing or expecting anything in return.
Letting Go of the Way It Has to Look
One thing that Burningman shows us is that things can manifest in unpredictable manners and there is no way to know for sure how you will experience what you wish to experience or receive what you need. When we put constraints on how things have to show up or manifest in our lives, we limit and impede the magic of the Universe. If you can give up the story of how something has to look, you open the door to endless possibilities.
Practice the Art of Appreciation
Burningman certainly makes you appreciate the small things. After all, you are in the middle of no man’s land – over a hundred miles from the nearest urban city, so if you forget something that you need, the only way to get it is if someone gives it to you. Travis regretted not packing peanut butter and jelly and as if on cue, a peanut butter and jelly cart emerged from the dust.
Then there was the time that I met a man who desperately wanted conditioner for his dried hair (courtesy of the hot desert days). Guess what, I had a package of conditioner which I gladly gifted him. He said that it was the best gift he received all week.
Go With The Flow
There is so much to see and experience at Burningman that in a week’s time we experienced at most twenty percent. We would start out on our bikes or walking to one destination but we often never arrived because something even more amazing presented itself to us on the way. I can’t imagine what we might have missed if we stayed “on task” and didn’t go with the constant endless flow. In everyday life, we often don’t realize the blinders we have on that keep us from experiencing magic on the path. When we stop and smell the roses, often those roses come alive and bless us in miraculous and unexpected way – not just in the desert but on every path and in every journey.
Burningman will indeed challenge your beliefs and limitations, and it will also let you know that anything is possible.
As I settle back into my life, I am left with the dust of the desert that just won’t wash out, but I am also left with fairy dust that lingers after one experiences true magic. After this extraordinary adventure, I could look at my life as quite ordinary but instead everything and everyone just seems to twinkle, as if the Universe has a secret that it has finally revealed.
In grace & gratitude,