Those are the words that are first announced once you drive past the gate into this psuedo-utopian city desert land.
As a playa virgin, it's a traditional initiatory custom to roll around in the desert sand and ring the bell announcing your return back "home". That's how it is here.
You just dive right in. No looking back.
Playa sand and dust in my hair and on my body. The magic is just settling into my pores. I breathe it in and my body sends a shivering chill down my spine.
I feel at home.
Home. I've written countless pieces on this concept of home in the past. Really tangents of how place doesn't cut it for me. It's a feeling- where I don't have to try, where I don't have to "fake it to make it", where I don't have to put a mask on to make others feel comfortable, where I can just simply be, where the people who see me can really see me and I can glow in their presence.
And love. Love is abundant in this deep penetrating place where I call home.
The beauty of the definition of home for me is quite bittersweet and complex. It isn't a matter of origin (Taiwan) or where I spent most of my formative years (NJ/NY) or the place where I really grew up and faced adversity (China) nor is it where I have currently left all of my shit (San Francisco). This explains why the number 1 asked question as I'm traveling alone "Where are you from?" causes my heart to skip a beat as I quickly assess the person asking and whether or not I have the mindspace to distill my life.
It took me awhile to admit this to myself, but I've never felt comfortable in one place for a very long time.
When I'm asked this question at Burning Man, it's interesting to see the different reactions as well as how my response changes during the whole week of the burn. Veteran burners, people who have done their work and understand the nuances of body language, lovely wholly accepting individuals can see the palpable discomfort that arises within me at first. They nod as if to say "I see."
It's only at that warm gentleness of their eyes where I feel open and vulnerable enough to explain myself. Where I came from and the question mark as to where I am going.
And these new friends of mine with all of the attention they can offer as we both endure the extreme elements of survival together, all they have to give is their time and attention. They listen. We share a moment.
They listen as I explain why I came to Burning Man. Why I had happened to have such a knee jerk bodily reaction two weeks prior when I was offered a ticket and why I had to listen to it. To accept it and that it's time to receive. My incredulous story of how the universe had sent me on a smooth sailing journey to come here withblind faith and trust in humanity. Why I had to listen to my intuition and transform from what I once was to who I knew I could always be.
Am I speaking too much? Am I revealing too much of myself? No, I don't think so.
Eye contact. That's what I love about this place. It doesn't matter if the truth you are spitting out seems too lofty or ideal. When you are around the collective ethos of a liberated society in a world that is designed to be supportive, loving and focused on self-expression, pleasure, tolerance, and art, you can say whatever the hell you want. Your truth is in your voice.
We would all feel so much better (once in awhile) once we strip all of our layers away and see whats under the surface.
When you submit to this contact of radical inclusion, gifting, decommodification, radical self-reliance, radical self expression, communal effort, civic responsibility, leaving no trace, participation, immediacy, with 80,000 people in an allotted desert land, and you find yourself surrendering to the extreme climates and conditions of white-outs and desert storms with your respected tribe- nothing short of magic happens. The intention is all there. The trust that "Playa provides" is for real. The energy felt at the Temple with the remorse of loss and the hope for the future is there. The extreme balance between construction and destruction are forces to be reckoned with and we are all breathing it all in for 10 days of nonstop exploration.
The brilliance of Burning Man is nobody considers the exploration of consciousness to be worthless. Everybody is seeking something. Everybody is here to work on themselves regardless of whether they know it or not.
I was told to come without expectations And just an open heart and mind.
I came originally for Trust, Discover, and Intention. Specifically I came to find home, to find my tribe, to call into question the deep magic of the Playa and beg for forgiveness, to discover, to let go, to breathe, and to seek out my purpose.
I left with much more.
What you put in is what you get. Burning Man is not just a week long hippie-ish orgy fest drug induced music and art festival in the desert. It far exceeded what I originally expected and anticipated. And I felt at the core of why I had to come- that it would expand upon my sense of humanity and the role I play in it for the future.
I left Mainland China 100 days ago. My body left on a plane but I still took with me guilt, shame, self doubt of leaving my family behind. As I started to reclaim who I was again outside the confines and expectation of family legacy, my energy and the control I have over having a positive presence in any environment began to return back to me. As I started to adventure forward into my deep discomfort zone of intimacy on a mind and body level, what it means to connect and trust people to come into my life (and stay), I felt my hamster wheel of past/future implications start to run off again. I tell myself to relax and focus on the Now.
At Burning Man, I was no longer held back by any sense of linear progress, or any concern for future consequences. I didn't know what to expect, I had no idea the people I would meet would come to me the way they did.
One man, with a particularly gnarly mustache, in particular heard my story. We were both destined to work Monday lunch shift at our camp. I was comfortable being myself and within a short timeframe, the pain I felt in my bones surfaced as I reflected upon the conditions and random spur of events that brought me here. The term "soulfully constipated" in my 2 years working in China came up.
He suggested that I go to SpiritDream camp for some spiritual cleansing and just to see what comes up. I consider it. I never really thought of myself as a spiritual person but why not. Tis Burning Man.
To heighten the extraordinariness of this story thread, he actually finds me the next day and takes me there himself. We go on a mini adventure beforehand biking around the campsites. He drops me off and is nowhere to be seen. So many gypsies...
I wonder right now if he did this all out of the kindness of his heart or perhaps he already knew...
My experience at SpiritDream was probably the most profound experience I've felt (sober) in my 27 years of existence. 3 sensory intuitive empath healers/feelers look at me with depth in their eyes and my soul shakes at their touch. One feels the back of my head, the other holds my hand, and the last one touches my lap. 3 pairs of eyes are on me as I unleash and share my past. Filled with story, pauses of palpable energy as my body shakes in spasms right from my chair.
I'm not sure what it was. I mean the whole dome was magical. Right at the center of the tent was a very trippy painting of a lion. When you stare deeply into the lion's eyes, the colors seem to shift and change the longer you look in. I see gentleness and wisdom. Fearless and warmth. Vitality and love.
I'm trying to make eye contact with these people who look into me. I feel like my mind is being penetrated. I'm not sure what is happening to my soul as I start to dig deep into the trauma that I've unleashed unapologetically to my body over the last few years. Words spill over me. I feel like I'm being hosed down.
I don't know what's going on. But for the first time I feel seen and deathly vulnerable.
I am guided back to calm. I am told that Creator loves me. I am told that I am currently building on the foundations of something great and groundbreaking. I am told that the energy I have contained within me can be used in a powerful way. To be gentle with myself. That intimacy for me is far more profound. To not be something I am not. I am told to believe and trust in my design so that I can send out powerful waves of my music and light into the world.
I am told that I've been faced with the decision to fit in or to stand out and that within my framework, within my design, I was meant to stand out.
Within these words of affirmation, my kneejerk body sensations start picking up hard and what comes up is fear.
I mean, thats a lot of fucking responsibility. Thanks a lot Creator.
They latch on and touch me further. I get into a deep meditative state where I am told to visualize the pain I had kept up inside, hidden from the world, and to slowly remove myself from the chains and conditioning that had prevented me from living to my fullest potential.
They tell me acknowledge my past story and the injustice of what had happened to me during my childhood and even prior to that, they tell me to drain all of that down. My body spasms at first in resistance and my mind starts to be hyperactive. My hamster wheel of insecurity starts as I question "omg this is taking forever, I'm not worthy of all of this attention. My friend must be waiting for me outside."
The non-deserving, the not taking care of myself, the not giving into the full 100% attention that is only focused onto me, the "i care too much about helping other people" comes up and these 3 pairs of eyes see the noise.
They nod and acknowledge that my mind is strong and stubborn. I start sobbing. They ask what I need to work on and I point at my head in restless defeat and mercy. I am my own best friend and worst enemy trapped in this vicious cycle of my own thoughts. They touch my head and heat pours down my body.
They tell me not to be afraid. The past has no bearing over me anymore. Take what you can get from your past, acknowledge it, derive power from it and inspire others to do the same.
I am loved. I am loved. I am loved. I am free. Creator has given me the tools. My family has given me their blessing. It's my time to believe that I deserve everything and that I can have anything I want so long as I believe it.
I mentally picture my feelings spiraling down a shower drain and my body collapses onto the end of my chair in a deep sigh of surrender.
Release. I open my eyes. No more. I am not my past. I begin to see how easy it is for me now to distinguish story from fact.
I believe that everything happened for a reason and that I was meant to be exactly where I am today.
They smile as my sobs and heavy sighs shine and my smiles radiates, I feel my body lifted. After not showering for 4 days, I feel strangely clean. They say the color of my energy is rainbows.
"Today is your birthday. You are probably going to dance all of your energy off."
And in front of the whole dome, I dance interpretive, my soul song. I am a vessel. I am reborn.
With a heightened sense of clarity, I left the dome feeling focused and in tune.
This was the day, I started to make decisions for myself instead of for other people. That was the day, I looked down at my phone full of messages and decided this wasn't going to influence my mood or my vibes.
What are the tools they have given me? I reflect on that now. I think I've always had it but just didn't have space to exercise that mind muscle. What really interested me about this spirtiual cleansing was the amount of repressed memories I had stored within my body. For it to be unleashed in this way was nothing short of magical.
But that was just the beginning. I'll have to write another dedicated post to LET GO. This time it was one tab of acid-induced at 6 am to kickstart my brain, show me the way, and then figure out what to do from there. OH boy...I can't even start to process that right now.
Let's just add some general insights for now as my post burn(out) head can still remember...
I realize now that the pain I need to remove is critical to let go in order for me to be complete and contain more light and love. I need to remove in order to receive. I need to let go of my old life in order to be present to my new life.
I discovered that we can all acknowledge our past pain and traumas and overcome life's obstacles with practices of self awareness, meditation, breathing, and radical honesty and connection with people we trust.
I discovered the still moments in between the inhale and exhale and the calmness that happens- the beauty of silence and just taking a moment for yourself.
I discovered how to let go of things I can't change, to love myself means so much more than to alter my own path to show up for someone else.
I discovered how to control and ground my explosive energy. To retain that and put it through dance or through writing and also to deliver it back up the sky and into the earth.
I discover that I can use my values of personal gratitude, positivity, energy, honesty, and mindfulness and channel it into radiant beams of growth to inspire others to do the same.
I discover my relationship with men and women and play with both the masculine and feminine energies that I embody and how it reflects as I interact with different genders across different backgrounds.
My idolization of the divine goddeses that entered into my life this past week goes beyond explanation. I communicate my adoration and my desire and vocal feelings of equality and mutual respect were reciprocated. It was one of those puppy dog "I love being with you/i want to be you when I grow up" moments that later translated to "omg, I am already growing up to become the person I love" revelations.
My adoration for the masculine attentitive men who had shown me nothing but mutual respect also softened the way that I had historically viewed men. My daddy issues and past sexual exploits gone wrong bears no weight with the lovely men that had entered into my life.
I discover that my understanding of intimacy is complex and profound. I felt like i've had shared more intimate moments with people than I've had ever and I derive healing power from their shared experiences and stories- and the feeling is mutual. All of this is reflected on the 30-40 posts on Instagram for Burner reflections. The last 2 days where I submit to checking my phone.
I rediscover my immense gratitude for our collective humanity and vow to contribute to document this unfolding process (what it means to be human in this world today), demanding a world of higher consciousness, a world based on ecological and social justice, equality, peace and righteousness, a world that admits "we are human, we aren't broken, we are on our own independent journey and we believe in ourselves."
Well thats it for now. I guess what i wanted to share is this is just the beginning chapter and I'm curious to see how it unfolds...
The bones of this blog post was written about 6 days ago in 40 minutes on my phone in the Grand Sierra at Reno. You could say I was in my Flow state.
I have this immense gratitude and understanding that my Purpose is to share this truth, its to remind people of the message- we all have Creator within us all. We all have something begging to come out. Once you determine the script and acknowledge the past narratives no longer control you, once you see that the spiritual path is there in how to fulfill your purpose and share your unique skills and love to the world, visible light shines and pours out of you.
I'm just starting to feel aligned with my truth.
I am now camping in Northern California and am happy for internet in this middle of nowhere land. I've rented a car for a week. I may drive down to San Francisco today.
For now, bees are surrounding me and I'm taking in the smell of nature. I'm told that the bees won't sting. I trust they wont.
I feel at home here too.