Posts for category Playa Tips


August 6th, 2013  |  Filed under Playa Tips, Preparation, Spirituality

Burning Expectations

Survivors of an afternoon dust storm. Walk-in Camping circa 2007.

Survivors of an afternoon dust storm. Walk-in Camping circa 2007.

There is no one as enthusiastic as a second-time Burner. After our first time, we can’t wait to go back and we can’t stop talking about the playa. Our restlessness is palpable. Second-year Burners have been stoking that fire for 12 months, fresh off a transformative experience. We want to do it all over again, only with better gear and more art and more friends. We understand the lay of the land and the porta-potties and we’re ready to pitch in.

All the costumes and camping supplies and decent food — the things I needed that first year when I didn’t even have a chair — don’t add up to the exquisite mind-blowing first Burn. Burning Man changed my life. My experience as a virgin Burner was typical: my mind was blown wide, wide, wide open. I was grateful, gracious and disbelieving. It’s all I could think about when I returned to the default world. I ached to be back on the playa. I came back to BRC ready to do it all over again and my expectations fell flat. Where was the lightning bolt to my psyche?

Subsequent Burns are more about reigniting that original flame, more life-affirming than life-altering. Some years it’s a big fire; other years it’s a lot of dust. The months spent daydreaming of electric moonscapes and deep playa kismet and … well, I still do that. I want to be closer to that wide-eyed wonder. Could y’all bottle that for some of us old-timers? Maybe start a theme camp that serves some of your fresh-Burner juju?

After 12 Burns I don’t expect the catharsis and epiphany I experienced walking around Black Rock City in 1998, colliding with splendor at every turn. A few years in I accepted the ebb and flow. Don’t get me wrong — I am excited for BM2013. I’m looking forward to driving with a friend and camping with a group of women. Mixing it up is a good way to get a fresh perspective on the event.

Taking time off from the playa is one of the best things for reigniting the flame. My return to the playa was resplendent and relaxing and hilarious and serious and sad and wonderful. I still get teary driving into Black Rock City; the first glimpses of the event on the horizon feel like coming home. I cry when I take my annual solo bike ride along the trash fence and stare back into the city. I may be a realist but I’m still a softie.

I’m not trying to bum you out. Burning Man is the greatest. Your second Burn will be splendid; so will your tenth. But after you know what to expect, maybe things start to seem a little less grand. Your mind gets occupied by other things. You consider using that vacation time elsewhere. Everything evolves: Burning Man, Burners, anticipation and expectation.

August 1st, 2013  |  Filed under Playa Tips, The Ten Principles

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.

August 1st, 2013  |  Filed under Playa Tips, Preparation

Exodus: Let’s do it again! This time with feeling.

[Kristy Evans is Burning Man's Gate, Perimeter & Exodus Manager ... she knows whereof she speaks, so listen up.]

exodus_2

Exodus. Don’t let this happen to you!

The most common question I received after the 2012 event: what did you guys do to make Exodus so much better? The short answer is that YOU were a major part of the solution. You spread out your departures over enough days and times, and did it in a fairly balanced way. That is the most effective solution to reducing Exodus wait times. Let’s do that again, shall we?

Now, here’s the thing … we can’t get complacent! Because if everybody thinks, “Well 2012 was a breeze, clearly the problem is solved and I can leave anytime!”, we’ll find ourselves right back in long Exodus lines again. What we need to do is make a plan for Exodus. All of us. Read more »

August 1st, 2013  |  Filed under Environment, Playa Tips, Preparation

Trash bags on the highway: OUT! Cargo net: IN!

Sexy! Strong! Kinky! Flexible! And oh, so stylish. What’s not to love about cargo net?

An 1897 stereoscope from Meteora, Greece. Source: andthenface2face.wordpress.com

An 1897 stereoscope from Meteora, Greece. Source: andthenface2face.wordpress.com

This year, Answer Girl and the theme camp placement team are officially naming cargo net as the #1 Most Great Thing To Have At Burning Man.

Why?

Read more »

July 29th, 2013  |  Filed under Playa Tips

PSA: How Do I Find My Friends at Burning Man?

They wouldn't last a day in the desert.

They wouldn’t last a day in the desert.

It’s tough out there in the desert.  You need your besties watching your back!

But what if you can’t find them?  What do you do?

Today’s Public Service Announcement is here to help answer that question!

You can listen below:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

 

Or click here

 

If you need more information, here are some other recent PSA’s you might enjoy.

Leave no Trace!
Prepare for the Weather!
Cope with Traffic!
Meet the Theme Camps!
Where do I find the Internet?

Caveat is the Volunteer Coordinator for Media Mecca at Burning Man annoys bad people on behalf of organized crime.  His opinions are in no way statements of the Burning Man organization. Contact him at Caveat (at) Burningman.com

June 28th, 2013  |  Filed under Playa Tips

Laughing at Ourselves: introducing “Harvey’s Law”

It's important to write these things down.

It’s important to write these things down.

Arizona Burner “Admiral Fiesta” came up with the following formal observations, which I thought were too funny not to share.

“I hereby coin the term Harvey’s Law:

Any discussion among Burners, if carried on long enough, will degrade into a clusterfuck about radical inclusion. 

And the Chicken John Corollary:

The length of time before Harvey’s Law takes effect is inversely proportional to the number of pranksters involved in the discussion.”

It’s funny because it’s true.  Or at least true enough.

Got other comedic observations about our common culture?  Feel free to share them in the comments below!

Caveat is the Volunteer Coordinator for Media Mecca at Burning Man hangs around Burning Man making pithy observations in the mistaken belief that he’s Oscar Wilde or something.  His opinions are in no way statements of the Burning Man organization.  Contact him at Caveat (at) Burningman.com

September 12th, 2012  |  Filed under Playa Tips

Corrections from Burning Man 2012

Correction – this photo is of the 2011 Burning Man. We regret the error.

In an attempt to keep our community informed, I am correcting some of the more egregious errors I propagated at 2012’s Burning Man.

Correction:  Turning in a Census form is not, as some of you may have heard me say on several  radio broadcasts, mandatory.  You do not need a sticker from the Census in order to see the Man burn.  The Rangers were not checking to see who had stickers.  None of this was true.  I regret the error.

Correction:  Despite what was said on the radio by the Census in response to the previous lie, you did not need to get an image release form from Media Mecca in order to participate in the live Squirrel Nut Zippers video being filmed on the playa.  Not only does Media Mecca not have image release forms, but there was no Squirrel Nut Zippers video.  Really now.

Correction:  It turns out that really was Harley Dubois’ niece the other night.  I regret my loud, unnecessary skepticism.

Correction:  Even though several people you know might have said it was true, the Census was not actually offering a free dinner in exchange for going through a half-hour long “detailed demographic interview.”  I honestly don’t even know where that story came from.

Correction:  In an earlier correction I said that I honestly didn’t know where a particular story came from.  This was untrue:  I know exactly where it came from.  I apologize for the typo that led to this error.

Correction:  It was not a typo that led to this error. Read more »

August 25th, 2012  |  Filed under Dematerialize, Environment, Playa Tips

The Burner’s Guide to Leaving No Trace: MOOP Mania

The MOOP Squad is an international litter-fighting phenom!

Well folks, this is it. Burning Man starts in two days, the Man burns in seven — and as we Playa Restoration crew members like to say, it’s just ten days to cleanup!

That’s right: While you’re preparing for the biggest, weirdest week of the year, we’re already itching to get out there and start picking up MOOP!

Why are we so excited to clean up our city? One simple reason:

When Burning Man cleans up after itself, Burning Man gets to happen again next year.

Read more »