So I’m standing in this bar the other night. This total stranger … never seen him before … is passing in front of me. Suddenly he stops and just swings around and looks me in the eye.
Then he starts talking … a little tipsy, British accent, and I’m thinking who is this guy? We chat for a while, I’m making small talk to be polite, and he mentions Burning Man. I like to hear what people say about Burning Man without them knowing what I do for a living, so I let him go on for a while without letting on.
He says Burning Man is the one place in the world — and he’s lived in more than a handful of exotic countries — where he actually felt HOME. He came with his friends from the UK and it changed his life. He tossed it all up in the air, moved to San Francisco, and here he stands in front of me.
I finally tell him who I am, and he says: “Oh, wow! OK, I really need to tell you this story.”
“You know that one Banksy stencil of the little girl with the heart balloon?”
“Yeah, sure,” I say. He tells me he was an animator back in the UK, and made a short animated film based on that image. He had a picture of it on his bedroom wall for years … it was the first thing he saw when he woke up in the morning, and the last thing he saw before falling asleep. Then he came to Burning Man for the first time.
Out at Opulent Temple on Friday night (“The best party on the planet, mate!”) he’s in the middle of the massive crowd, dancing with his friends. Suddenly the crowd parts, and there’s this beautiful girl … and they lock eyes and move toward each other … time stops. “I look down, mate, and I shit you not … I look down, and there on her arm is a tattoo of the girl with the heart balloon! I nearly fell over. We ended up together for years. So I gotta ask you, man, you gotta tell me … how does that happen? What the hell is going on out there?”
“Well,” I say, “that’s playa magic.” Synchronicity, coincidences … it happens all the time out there … I’m always hearing stories about it from people. You could be thinking about a nice banana split, and you’ll turn a corner and against all odds there’s some dude handing you a banana split. “Yeah, but why is that is what I want to know?”
We go through our lives with our psychic guards up, I tell him … there’s too many people and it’s too risky to be open to everything and everybody all the time. But you go out to the playa, and everybody’s walking around with their guards down … everybody’s psychically open, and the energy just moves freely between people, and well, it just happens. Whatever you’re sending out, somebody’s picking up.
And I tell him, “Now, think of what would happen if people lived like that all the time, right? What would the world look like? What would that do to human potential? That’s what we’re doing out there … the Burning Man experience shows people what it can be like, and hopefully they bring it back with them to the real world even a little bit, and it stretches human possibility that much more. It’s not just a big party in the desert, man, not by a longshot.”
He nods, satisfied. “So, tell me,” I ask him, “why did you suddenly stop and start talking to me just now?”
“I don’t know. I just … did.”
“Right, exactly,” I say.
If you’ve got a story of playa magic, please share it with us in the comments!