Playa Wisdom: Everyday Man Mantras

Every year throngs of free-spirited people flock to the Black Rock Desert north of Reno near Gerlach.

Besides the obvious heat, these artsy individuals share some common traits 

If you never have been – tear this sheet out and hang it at your campsite.  

Survival is God. Water and sunscreen. Need I say more? Actually I do. Also bring canned goods, toothbrush and paste and don’t forget the aloe vera for those days you’re coaxed into naked Twister. And popular to contrary belief, alcohol does not soothe away sunburns, but it does help distract you!

Respect is king. Respect to one’s self, others and the environment is paramount. Unlike the so-called Default World (where participants live an average 358 days per year), attendees yearn to experience different points of view, even cultures in some cases. If you don’t like something, fine, there’s always another adventure awaiting you.

Community is queen. Look around you. Self-expression is everywhere and sharing thoughts and ideas keep ‘Burning Man’ alive. Gifts or small trinkets are commonplace: someone offers you a wrapped ice cream sandwich, neighbors help assemble your campsite at midnight…my boyfriend fried bacon for four days straight for us and our neighbors. Note: nothing bonds you closer to others than bacon. Believe me the smell is intoxicating especially when you’ve been eating canned soup for three days straight. 

Appreciation is everywhere.  Like the metal outfit that just sauntered past you? Compliment the girl (or guy.) Smiles are abound and contagious. If money is not accepted at this event, compliments are. Use them in abundance. And don’t discriminate. How else will you meet exotic people? 

Curiosity is a must. Why else go? 

Personal prejudice is non-existent. If you want to remain sheltered inside your own biased thoughts, stay home. Even the super fine playa dust doesn’t discriminate so why should you? (I’m still trying to get it out of my digital camera.) We’re all there for the same reason and fighting is not one of them. 

Opportunity is abound. Volunteer, help with art installations, work at the coffee shop or ice ‘shop.’ Ride a green bike around the Man. Ask artists questions. Leave personal messages on the temple. Front gate volunteers even hand out activity books filled with bazillions of events and classes. 

Creativity is a basic. Decorate yourself with fake jewels and call yourself Princess Lego. No one cares! Which is also the beauty of it. Have fun with it. Take a vacation from yourself for that week. It’s ok. No one’s watching. 

Participation is soul nourishment. I’d never trade in my time at Burning Man. It’s something you can only experience once a year. And apparently in sweat drenching, water vaporizing heat. But it’s totally worth it! 

Self-fulfillment is nirvana. (See above!)    )’(


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