Snark vs. Sparkle

I’ve received a number of concerned emails from virgins over the last month. They heard about this magical place of acceptance in the desert and set out to make a pilgrimage. As instructed, they tried to learn whatever they could online so they could be “Radically Self-Reliant.” But along their path of digital research, they stepped into some online Burner dialogues thick with snark. Without knowing anyone and without the benefit of eye contact/body language/etc., the newbie gets the impression that this tone of joking disdain means that they are not welcome.

I try to let people know that Burning Man is not a love fest. It is a fertile ground for expression of every sort. It is a place for harmony and chaos. For cuddle piles and Thunderdome. For heartfelt expression and snarky insults.

And you are welcome there.

Admittedly, I am on the “sparkle” side of the spectrum (and I receive my share of disapproving snark.) So, yesterday I discussed the issue of Snark, Sparkle, & Radical Inclusion from my fuzzy pink perspective.

And here’s a fantastic (unofficial) Message from The Man reiterating that you are welcome in Black Rock City:

Theme Camp Dues & Don’ts

The concept of a Theme Camp can be bewildering to someone who has never been to Burning Man. Deciding if you want to join a camp, start a camp, or go solo can be a tough decision. Some camps are open to anyone, others are close-knit families. Some are based on sacred service, others pour drinks, others blow minds. All give gifts to Black Rock City… and the requirements to be a part of each camp are unique.

My camp is not an open camp. Everyone has connected either online or on previous adventures. We have strict participation requirements that include: sharing a “who I really am” essay, attending meetings in person or via webcam, Leave No Trace shifts, Water Bar shifts, set-up & break down commitments, & financial contribution in the form of dues.

Occasionally I have people ask, “If I pay dues, what do I get?”

*cringe*

I spent a few minutes discussing the topic of “Theme Camp Dues.”

Tips & Tricks #5 “Gifting” (Re-post)

This is a re-post of my most frequently shared Playa video.  Plus a new “10 Commandments of Gifting” at the bottom.

As people begin to check-off their pre-burn packing lists, many are puzzled by the same question: “What should I bring as gifts?”

But Gifting is about much more than brown paper packages tied up with strings. In fact, Gifting is one of my favorite things…

 

The (non-official) 10 Commandments of Gifting:

1) Gifting is a physical demonstration of Love. 
“I want you to have this because it makes me happy to see you happy.”

2) Gifting dissolves separation. 
When you Gift, you are breaking down the wall between me and you/ us and them. If you EXHCHANGE, then you are re-enforcing the separation. But to GIFT is to say, You and I are one.
When I understand the interconnectedness of all things, then Gifting helps to show that I cannot ever lose anything. If I gift you something, I am only transferring it from one part of the One to another. There is no loss and no gain. We are just shifting possession to an aspect of the whole that will appreciate it more. Think “Osmosis of Material Goods.”

3) A Gift can be ANYTHING. 
It can be a song, an idea, a massage, a sculpture, a compliment, a sticker, a shoulder to lean on, a wet-nap, a walk home, or a hug.

4) Gifting eliminates hoarding and creates abundance. 
When we allow ”stuff” to flow more fluidly between one another, ALL stuff becomes an available resource to ALL people. Gifting breaks down attachment.

5) Gifting helps dissolve the Ego. 
When we become less connected with owning and having stuff (even our skills and talents) then we identify less with our physical selves. We take less credit for things and less blame. Who we are becomes more about our divine seed than our story or physical form.

6) Gifting breaks the commerce paradigm. 
Traditional commerce = an even exchange. You get one, I lose one. You pay one, I earn one. Sum total = Zero (0). But in a gift, You receive the gift (+1) AND I feel good for giving the gift (+1). Sum total = Two (2).

7) Gifting releases the flow of energy between people. 
We are hardly even aware of the energetic walls that we maintain to hold on to our stuff and keep out yours. The more we gift, the less those barriers hold.

8) Gifting opens up the world. 
Making a habit of gifting allows you to see every interaction as an opportunity for increased Joy – even if there is no benefit to you specifically. If I have something (a bite of food, a word of support, a warm hat) that can make your life better, then I can make MY life better by helping YOU. That means there are billions of opportunities in every moment to make the planet more joyful. On the other hand, if the only way to increase joy is by helping out my specific individual self, then the opportunities are few.

9) Gifting is never required. 
A feeling of obligation cancels out the Gift. (This type of “Barter” exchange is often confused as gifting.) But if you expect anything in return – even the elimination of guilt – then the magic of Gifting has been compromised.

10) EVERY interaction can be seen as an act of Gifting.

 

These views are solely the views of Halcyon and do not represent the opinions of The Burning Man Organization.

Pondering 10 Principles

The Ten Principles:

  1. Radical Inclusion
  2. Gifting
  3. Decommodification
  4. Radical Self-reliance
  5. Radical Self-expression
  6. Communal Effort
  7. Civic Responsibility
  8. Leaving No Trace
  9. Participation
  10. Immediacy

In the middle of all the physical and metaphorical dust storms, The 10 Principles keep the beautiful chaos on track. Some are pretty clear, like “Leave No Trace.” Others are more tricky to get your head around. As a long-time Burner, I am sometimes asked to clarify or explain the Principles as I understand them. Read the official explanations here, and then check out my thoughts in the video above.

These views are solely the views of Halcyon and do not represent the opinions of The Burning Man Organization.

Connectivity Vs. Immediacy

[This post is part of the 10 Principles blog series, an ongoing exploration of the history, philosophy and dynamics of Burning Man’s 10 Principles in Black Rock City and around the world. We welcome your voice in the conversation.]

connection
“This will never fit into a Twitter update.”

Ten years ago I saw a guy dressed like a stockbroker walking along the Esplanade. He was wearing a dust-covered suit and tie, yelling into a cell phone, “Sell, I said! SELL!!!!” It was cute.

Last year I saw quite a few people checking cell phones at Center Camp throughout the week. It was not cute.

Over the years, cell phone & internet access has become more and more accessible at Burning Man – and I think it is a shame. Do I have any right to dictate how someone behaves or “Radically Expresses” themselves? Nope. But I think the Playa’s rare gift of “Immediacy” is in jeopardy.

I was asked about my thoughts this week and clarified my frustration in the video below.

These views are solely the views of Halcyon and do not represent the opinions of The Burning Man Organization or Major League Baseball.

Defending What Matters

Black Rock City is the greatest city in the world.
But every city has assholes. And thiefs. And rapists.

YES, we should continue to assume that we are dealing with the 99.9% of the city that is AMAZING, but be aware that there are dark spots out there among all the light

You can no longer pretend that there are no bikes stolen at Burning Man – you have to use a lock.
And we can longer pretend that there is no Sexual Assault at Burning Man – you have to use good judgement, look out for one another…AND speak up when somebody crosses the line.

There is an important conversation going on on ePlaya about the challenges and need for Rape Kits & other preparations in Black Rock City. (EDIT: Now locked. Additional conversation happening here & new blog post here.)

In this week’s Hug Nation (“Back From Burning Man”) broadcast, I discussed my own camp’s episode this year which involved a camp mate who crossed the line and ended up leaving in cuffs.

What we create within the Walls of BRC is sacred. We need to acknowledge the darkness as it creeps in and banish it with light. Admitting that Burning Man is not a perfect Shangri La is not a failure…it is a necessary step required to defend our borders and create even safer spaces for expression, creation, and Love.

(The sexual assault discussion starts at 27:34.)

Halcyon’s Tips & Tricks #13: Decompressing

Time to return to our Alter Ego's
Time to return to our Alter Ego’s

Well, that was amazing.

Now comes the hard part: Adjusting back to life in the default world.

I am not going to pretend it isn’t rough. But after 15 years of making the transition, I wanted to share a few things that help me.

1) You can be the same person.
The default world will not treat you the way that the people of Black Rock City do. But you can still treat everyone here the way that you did out there: Be kind. Be wacky. Open your heart and share your gifts. In time, more and more people will respond as Burners…whether they’ve been to BRC or not. (more…)