Burning Man, the full spectrum of Human Emotion

bunrers burning man carl cox playa alchemist playground psychadelics sensuality square one Sep 15, 2022

Burning Man is always indescribable.  And at this point in the year, I’m normally making a beautiful post about what an incredible experience it was, how life-changing my connections made and how I can’t wait to go back next year.


I’ve attended the Burn every year since 2014 (minus our Covid years canceled) and over the years, I’ve developed an interesting relationship with Black Rock City and all that’s created there. I’ve always camped with the same people. They’ve become family. A family that’s grown from 30 people to 160 this year. And took on a leadership role from my first year, and that’s grown each year as well as if I know any other way to be in community 😏


For those of you who don't know much about Burning Man, it's a social experiment that started as a joke in the 80s that's now turned into an 80,000-person pop-up city in the middle of the Nevada desert each year on Labor Day.  The sheer amount of municipalities that are built for just one week (for some of us 3 weeks) of function is frankly mindblowing. It's centered around a gifting culture. You can not purchase anything because decommodification is one of the 10 principles that Burners hold as their community guidelines. For more on Burning Man check out their webiste.


So, it's intense. And I love it. My camp, or growing family meets around the globe, throughout the year, showing up for each other during Covid on zoom, doing regional events in Joshua Tree, and keeping the spark alive all year ‘round in other ways. We are a very connected group of individuals. We’ve supported each other through so much, many of us met through or because of Burning Man, even husbands, and wives that met on playa and continue to camp with us. So, to go back finally, after a three-year hiatus was emotional to say the least.


*photo taken of pasha and I giving a talk on nonmonogamy at the last Burning Man in 2019


So many things changed for our camp/our family, making the build and strike pretty backbreaking, tbh. Many of us, if not all had breakdowns, emotional, physical, and mental. But because we are family and we care so deeply for one another we held each other up. Some of us grow stronger when others needed support. And many of us learned to ask for that support when we need it the most, trusting that our family would show up for us. The photo of the women at the top of this page were the 8 left standing.  Each one of us did build through strike, spending 16 days in the desert. These babes are the real deal.


We got to see camps where this didn’t happen. Teams just left deserted to pack up a camp that housed, fed and cleaned 100 people by only 3 people left to clean up the mess. An impossible feat to say the least.  This year the conditions were the most challenging. The craziest dust storms, one I thought was an actual tornado, whiteouts, the highest winds, and the highest heat, I’ve ever experienced on playa for multiple days on end, making efforts during build and strike seem futile sometimes.


If you're thinking wow, this is not the Blog I thought I'd be reading. Sorry, not sorry. I might have a Part II, with stories of the beautiful psychadelically enhanced sunrises, Giraffe Gang Parties and parties playa weddings I attended, but that's just not where my heart is at the moment.  See, the magic of Burning Man usually does the trick for me. The immediacy, true radical self-expression, inclusion of all, civic responsibility, and many other principles I witness there, ALWAYS outweigh any hardship, frustration or over-extension I’m feeling. This year was different. 


This year, that wasn't the case. And while I certainly had beautiful moments, epic dance parties and a lot of love made, it wasn't enough. While I’m immensely grateful for this experience of Burning Man, and my Square 1 family, I wasn’t left with that incredible feeling of “it was all worth it” as I have each year before. And it’s been a good streak.  



AND, it’s ok that it wasn’t. It truly is Ok, that it wasn't worth it.  I live a pretty blessed life and so for this one year to not do it.  It's ok.  It was still an incredible reset, with nearly 14 full days off of any electronics and almost 20 days spend entirely focused on the creation or completion of it all. I needed that.


It also caused me to take on a bigger leadership role than I ever had before and for that I’m grateful. I learned so much and was able to support so many people. Stepping into a position I thought out of my league only to find I was likely the best person for it... or maybe just the only person willing to do it?  The jury's still out on that one. 


*Wednesday morning sunrise after working all night strike week


We build a beautiful EpiCenter at Square One. This is a public space where we invite anyone and everyone to gather.  We host all kinds of events from Latin dance nights to shibari rope tying workshops and breathwork sound meditation ceremonies galore. The events and workshops were so well received, that people shared with me that their entire Burn was transformed because of it.  That is a big deal to me.


We have a magical Mutant Vehicle named Sparky that carts around an Art Car named Eden with easily one of the best sound systems I've ever heard in my life. And it created some really magical moments for the Burner Community.


I got to connect deeply with the ones I love the most and see the Burn through my best friend's eyes, as a Virgin Burner. When she told me with tears in her eyes how grateful she was I brought her to that place at Carl Cox's disco set at Playground Thursday AM after sunrise, I thought I could burst into confetti for making her so happy.  I got to explore the depths of my soul, exercise my dedication to something bigger than me, even at my breaking point, and express my creativity, my leadership, and my sexuality more than ever. All wins.


And yet, the hard outweighed the good. Still.


And that's ok.


Yeah, it was that hard 😂 and maybe that’s exactly what I needed this year. I’ve been asking myself,  “what’s the gift?” “How can I learn from this experience?” And the answer has been to listen more and ask better questions.


I plan on following that trail and seeing where it leads…


If you'd like to see more photos of the actual event, check out my Instagram I shared a bunch of the happy times today ;) Stay weird friends Xxo

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