“How was Burning Man? Was it what you expected?”
I never knew what to expect about Burning Man. Not from the moment I bought the ticket, or when I scoured through Brooklyn thrift shops for funky outfits, or when I got on the plane, or when we passed by the desert valleys as we drove our way from Reno into Black Rock City.
Even as I rolled around in the dust and rang the bell to exclaim to the dusty winds that I was now a Burner, I still had no idea what to expect about what I was getting myself into.
That’s how I chose to set the tone of my experience: no expectations.
Now that it’s passed, I honestly don’t really see myself as a different person. I don’t feel or think much differently than how I did before I stepped onto that desert. I didn’t come back with an enlightened view of how the world works. No secrets of the universe were unveiled, at least to me.
I did, however, get to meet some of the warmest, wittiest, and just plain silliest people I have ever met. And I fell in love with each and every one of them.
Yes, there is chaos at Burning Man. Pure chaos. The kind you’ll drive yourself crazy with if you try and make sense of.
Everywhere you look there’s art cars spitting fire, elaborate structures to climb and play with, LED light shows are the household commodity, and music takes over the air like oxygen. There’s just so much happening in every direction, all you can do is turn to your friends and say “Let’s go to that flashy thing over there!”
You quickly learn to let go, embrace the chaos, and give in to the silliness.
That’s all I can think about Burning Man now. Burning Man is silly. People there are just being silly and challenging everyone to out-silly each other. It’s just one big game, and those who giggle the most are the ones who win.
And that’s what I did. I giggled my way through each camp, art installation, and dust storm-filled dance party. I giggled on my bike, on art cars, while walking, while eating, while watching every sunrise and sunset I could.
It was like everyone made the active decision to forget about everything and focus on the current moment only to achieve one goal: more giggles.
As a result, I look back at my Burning Man experience and all I see are dusty smiles, warm hearts, and a whole lot of laughter. I left the desert with a greater appreciation of how much influence we can have on other’s happiness, as well as our own, by just letting go, embracing the chaos, and giggling through this silly little thing that we call life.
It might not be the key to unlock the secret to everlasting spiritual enlightenment, but it’s a pretty great thing to share with others.