The Playa provides. I heard that sentence countless times before I ever made it to the desert. The meaning was explained to me as the power of manifestation. I was, of course, familiar with the concept of manifestation, which as I understood was the power to create the world around you. Sometimes it is a constant flow, other times it blossoms like a flower, beautiful if only temporary. But I can’t say I had any conscious experience with it before I reached Black Rock City.
My first trip to the Playa was an odyssey in and of itself that took 9 years to complete. My dear friend Eva, a veteran Burner who encouraged and motivated me to see it through, hinted that sometimes the combination of the elements and the energy, mixed in with all the default world programming we’re saddled with, is enough to crack you open like an egg. A few days of intense heat, complete whiteouts, self-inflicted sleep deprivation and a little dehydration thrown in for good measure, and I was feeling like Humpty Dumpty himself. I didn’t realize how much baggage I was carrying with me. We all have, or will have, baggage at some point, but I normally try to travel with no more than a carry on. I realized that Burning Man was not normal given my default conditioning. The next thought slapped me in the face even harder: perhaps it wasn’t my surroundings that were abnormal; perhaps it was my programming.