As I drove into the Black Rock Desert for the very first time, for my very first Burning Man, the very first thing I saw was a sign saying, 'welcome home'.
My passenger asked me to stop; she took one photo and put away her camera for the rest of the week. As she so aptly put it, "as soon as I stepped onto the dust, I knew no photo I took could capture my first experience here. So, I left my camera behind. I explored with my eyes and heart toward whatever called me. Days on the playa gave me years' worth of adventures, emotions and insights. Instead of photos to share, I have some of the most wildly serendipitous stories and learnings, some of which still continue to unfold. This home is beautiful, harsh, wild, challenging, and definitely not for everyone."
And just like no photos do the experience justice, it's simply impossible to sum it up neatly in 500 words.
I can tell stories about how I wore nothing but a tutu and a fanny pack for days, about how I attended 3 strangers weddings and loved them all deeply, about this all-night pillow fight that happens on mesh suspended above a dance-floor, or I can tell you how good it is to meet people who hug you and are quick to say to you 'thank you for sharing' when you open up.
I can also tell you about a human 'car-wash' shower rave, or about how I cried more times than I can remember, or about how much fun a home-brew yoga class is, or about the 50 something year old couple from Alaska who I camped with and were basically like, YOLO, let's check out Burning Man this year.
But even then, my stories won't scratch the surface because each person has their own, and there are too many to tell. Instead, I want to tell you what I took away – I now call them my powerful words.
The Powerful Words
1. You are alive.
2. Beauty is temporary.
3. We must share our gifts with the world.
4. The human experience is so f**king cool.
5. We have so much to learn from each other.
6. Say yes.
People say your life can change in an instant, but in my case, it took five days and five nights in the Nevada desert to change my perspectives. Two years ago, I thought I'm not 'cool' enough, 'spiritual' enough, 'outdoorsy' enough, 'creative' enough, or even 'rough' enough to go to Burning Man.
In reality, I already was enough – and just like in my day-to-day life, I just needed to realize it.