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counter culture

Burning Man....3 Years Later Aug 28, 2006

Burning Man....3 Years Later

Burning Man is happening right now in the heart of the Nevada desert as I write this article. It's been 3 years since my Burning Man experience and it's an opportune time to look back and take stock of the things that have happened. One thing for sure, life is never the same. When I left Burning Man, I knew I was bringing some changes with me but it wasn't evident then what those changes were, until they unfolded one at a time, revealing the almost infinite horizon that lay ahead.

   To live in harmony with the dynamic Universe, it is essential to accept the reality of change and impermanence. The wise person therefore travels lightly, with a minimum of clutter, maintaining the proverbial "open mind" in all situations, for he knows that tomorrow's reality will not be the same as today's. He or she will also have learned the divine art of letting go - which means not being attached to people and possessions and situations, but rather, when the time for parting comes, allowing that to happen graciously. -- John Snelling, Elements of Buddhism   

A Global Village
Nothing was the same anymore. The world was calling and a series of events made it clear in no uncertain terms that I should pack up. The energies of the universe at that point conspired to clear a path for me...it was in my face...I couldn't have missed it. Instead of wrestling against fate, I let go and surrendered to this unseen hand to take me wherever it takes me. I left my 9-5 in Toronto, left Canada altogether, and I set out on an adventure travel that has taken me to the manicured surroundings of Switzerland, promenading along Genoa's boardwalk in Italy, hooking up with fellow Burners in France, rummaging in Thailand, and savouring noodle soup in Hong Kong.

Sagada
With a burning passion to live life in its full-color spectrum, I recently moved out of Manila, Philippines, to realize a long-cherished aspiration of living in Sagada, a remote mountain village half-way around the world, where just decades before, head-hunting was part of the cultural landscape. It's not exactly clear to me why I choose to live in this enchanted place. All I know is that it called out. I still wonder what awaits me.

Then and Now
From the confines of my office cubicle in Canada then, in full compliance to the norms of the corporate world, I was a hamster on a wheel. The future dictated my present (read: security, nest egg, RRSP, loan repayment, etc). Having been to Burning Man, the future is now a thing of the past. My universe now lay in the here and now...simply staying present, simply staying real. Life doesn't have to be complicated. I live life one day at a time.

Lean and Nimble
I have shed-off almost all I own, except for a few essentials that fit into my backpack. Together with my laptop and my trustee old mountain bike, I have everything I need with me to survive in this new environment. With no money in the bank, no career, no permanent address, I've never felt richer. Wealth comes in having the freedom to do what I want to do, be what I want to be and go where I want to go.

Hurting for the Magic
I just browsed the article I wrote of Burning Man 3 years ago and I am left with a profound joy reading again, after a long while, what people I've met there have emailed me. Unexpectedly, I recently received an email from Amar, the chief spanker of the Rabbit Hole camp, with his invite for a get-together to this year's burn. For a brief while, I lived the magic of the burn all over again reminiscing the wonderful moments I've shared with the beautiful souls I had the good fortune to cross paths with. I miss them. I miss the magic. I hurt for the intense love and warmth of the collective tribe. I look out my window staring blankly into the night having a vain hope that I can once again be there in Black Rock City and kiss the hallowed ground of the open playa.

The Legacy
Burning Man gave me the vision of a reality where possibilities lay endless...that there is an expanse immensely broader than the visible horizon. That faith has served me well, taking me to places I just dreamed about and allowing me to meet magnificent people who live magnificent lives. I've become unafraid of the unknown, immersing myself in the unfamiliar, hoping that life will reveal more of her secrets. With Burning Man's legacy, every passing day is a moment to cherish and live by with openness and acceptance...an opportunity to celebrate life...and it shall remain so.

To all my beloved Burners celebrating Burning Man at the playa now, peace, love and joy be with you at all times.

--- TheLoneRider

ps - (Sept 2, 2006) In celebration of the Man's burn, I hosted a movie screening of "Beyond Black Rock". Joining me were Jim Ward, Shanti, Gary, Simon, and the merry crew of Bliss Café in Baguio.

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Dada Macusi

Reader Comments:

Amy WestoverAmy Westover
(Jan 7, 2007) Burningman is definitely on the radar! Tickets go on sale very soon actually. Jay and I went last year and had an amazing time there together! We hope to go and bring some close friends that have always said they wanted to go but haven't.


Deborah RiveraDeborah Rivera
(Jan 7, 2007) I have been procrastinating in writing you for the last few months. I have not been to Burning Man since we last saw each other. I now live in Seattle working for Microsoft of all places. I am so immersed in city life it is hard to imagine anything else. I find it fascinating that you have tailored your life as a true artist. Well, cheers for being in Sagada. Life must be simple....awww, what a wonderful concept.

Melissa ThomasMelissa Thomas
(Aug 29, 2006) I've been meaning to write - how's life? Are you still traveling the globe? What a courageous spirit you have! Sometimes I wish I could do that - but it's a lot harder for a woman (especially a blond Swedish looking one) to travel alone. Tell me some stories!

I skipped out on BM in 2005 - but I went again in 2004 and this past year 2006. I got kind of burned out on the whole idea this time - it felt like the Soul of the Man was completely lost. The event has really grown, and it is beginning to feel like just a big rave now. There was a structure there in particular that just didn't grab me - except for the obvious size of it, the sound system, lights and music, there wasn't any "magic". The usual uplifting feelings I've had in the past had disintegrated. I told myself that I'd rather find myself in Thailand next year sitting beneath a big Buddha, meditating.

Amar ShabbirAmar Shabbir
(Dec 16, 2006) I loved reading your write-up when I received the link a few weeks ago. I am still thoroughly amazed and inspired by the changes you have introduced into your life.

Burning Man has brought some crazy changes to my life too. I finally uprooted from the UK last autumn, and moved to San Francisco, and surrounded myself with my new-found family ... the people from our camp back in 2003. And guess what - Jen and I first met on the Playa in 2005. I believe I was cleaning people's tents with a vacuum cleaner dressed in a French Maid's outfit at the time! This year Jen and I took our own little mobile home to the Playa!

That crazy place has a lot to answer for ... and we have a lot to thank it for.

Jose Decolongon
(Nov 7, 2006) At the risk of sounding overdramatic, I let out a gasp when I read your entry only a few minutes ago. A hamster in his cubicle. I'm that hamster too! And I'm spinning in my cubicle right now. Your choice to lead a full and authentic life is more than inspiration. You take care bro and bless you.

Jordan BakerJordan Baker
(Oct 6, 2006) Marta and i made it to BM this year! it was her first time and it was my first time back in 6 years! wow... it was in some ways like i remembered and others not..... anyway we both had a great time and we may go back next year ... say may because it was a big amount of energy and finances...anyways.. ive been keeping tabs on you through your website... sounds like a big adventure... keep it up.

Armin BernardinoArmin Bernardino
(Sep 15, 2006) hey bro. your article gave me great big smiles and reminded me of my own path. it's been 3 years for me too here in the p.i. and slowly but shirley i'm moving the way i want it to be. there were a few different turns, things not working out the way i thought it would be, but it all came back to me twice as much. i made the right decision. i'm glad that you are doing well. rice and peace

Normurai Lim SangNormurai Lim Sang
(Sep 12, 2006) LoneRider! how are you my brother? thank you so much for being an inspiration to me. i can't help but see myself in you, and how the path i've chosen with my life has so many similarites to yours. i've too have left the norms of the corporate world and have replaced it with a much simpler life. no money in the bank, no career, no permanent address, and i have never felt richer. the people i choose to keep in my life make me the richest person in the world.

your experience at burning man three years ago inspired me to take the final steps to become a citizen of black rock city. i've had a yearning to experience this radical festival of creativty for almost ten years. i've had the pleasure of celebrating with burners in toronto for 4 years (merry clitoris!). the man's call to me turned into a yell three years ago, and after reading about your life changing experience on the playa, i had to act. last year was my first burn, and it shattered everything i believed was possible. everything i thought burning man is was shattered within five minutes of being on the playa. radical self reliance, self expression, creativity and imagination constantly served up at random in the middle of the desert for a week.

here i am in calgary decompressing from my second burning man. once again, i am a changed person. living in black rock city has shattered what i thought was possible, brought me together with friends and family i have missed for so long, and expanded the awareness of myself and the world around me. your presence on the playa was missed, but i know you were there in spirit. i thought of you often.

love and blessings to you LoneRider. i will continue to follow your adventures on your site. thanks again for inspiring me.

Johannes FrazierJohannes Frazier
(Sep 7, 2006)You HAVE become the silver one. Traveling lightly on a platform of your own making, like the Silver Surfer, searching for the truth that is ever before us yet calls out from beyond! I congratulate you! It's been so long, yet only a few short Universal moments ago. A thought past. All part of a very long 'day' called life. It's great to hear and read about your thoughts, LoneRider, and I am touched that you have included me on your email list. In the past your email has been returned to me so I am happy that the Universe has brought you back to me.

It comes at a particular crossroad in my life as I am coincidentally facing the same corporate landscape you described on your site, and need to break free and spread my inner wings. I am hesitating on a career/life change that would flip my world around and I think this would allow me so much more happiness and freedom but I am scared and slow in actually making the change happen as soon as I would like it to. Yet, you are accomplishing and living it! What a great example you are to me!

I was so close to going to the desert this year and REALLY needed to. I HAVE to do so next year...363 human days from now....or just a few moments from now in Universal Time. Please tell me that you will be there next year, too! I feel I have been dying out here and really need to reach out for some support from people such as yourself and others I have met in the desert. Please stay in touch and give me a verbal kick in the pants now and then. There's not many around me who would understand in the same way.....Peace and happiness, I hope all is well with you!!

Amy WestoverAmy Westover
(Sep 6, 2006) So nice to hear from you! I missed you on the playa this year! After a year of not attending BM I had to go and this time my boyfriend Jay joined me. We had the best time! It is such an incredible place isn't it? Well I hope you will be able to go next year! Your smiling face is missed there! Love....

Margaret CollinsMargaret Collins
(Aug 31, 2006) I won't be there this year either, but will be taking the time to do a little mini burn ceremony on Saturday night at the same time as the man burns, to burn a few things symbolizing what I'm ready to be done with in my life. peace & hope you're well.

Dino IgnacioDino Ignacio
(Aug 30, 2006) Nina and I are headed out tomorrow morning to Gerlach. Well think of you out there.

Andrew TanAndrew Tan
(Aug 30, 2006) You should be a professional writer. But my guess is you are breathing a different kind of air, living at a different level, looking for that different dimension. Good luck.

Lisa LiLisa Li
(Aug 29, 2006) How ironic! Or perhaps synchronous? Your blog post "Burning Man....3 Years Later" really struck home with me, for it was at Burning Man 3 years ago today that I married my husband Tiger. My first Burn was 1 year before that, and was a definitive turning point in my life. It brought new friends, new experiences, new culture, and yes, even a new love in my life. Since then we have celebrated all but this one of our three anniversaries on the playa. I have left Toronto, left my corporate job, and live in the woods with Tiger, my daughter Alex, and now our new baby Marlo. Celebrating 3 years and more....

Carrie HunterCarrie Hunter
(Aug 29, 2006) I was reading your Burning Man entry and realizing just how much life has changed in the last three years. For you, the change has spanned over the world and into a small village. I am glad youve found peace, contentment and happiness.

Nadine AmazonNadine Amazon
(Aug 29, 2006) LoneRider!!!!!!!!! Missing you much. I have been thinking about you!! how are you??? wow long time no hear. Glad to hear you are happy and well. Im actually not going home to the playa this year. Am moving today but only within Toronto, nothing too exciting! :) but its a lovely place. Take care of yourself, as I will. much love and hugs




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