By: Yakir Rettig
I’m a Midburner. I’m a Burner. I’m a fire dancer. I’m Yakir. And two weeks ago I was fortunate to participate in the European Leadership Summit of the Burning Man Regional Network alongside eight incredible colleagues from Midburn. The Regional Network brings together Burners in various leadership roles from across the planet. Regional Contacts, event organisers, community leaders, movers, doers and artists collected in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain for an intense weekend. Knowledge was shared, stories were told, discussions were had, many lessons learned.
This post is about some of the lessons I learned during this inspiring and humbling weekend. I hope it does some good.
Let go of control, be amazed by the outcome.
One of the most powerful lessons I learned is that amazing things really do happen when you let go of control. Holding on to it is a fiction, an illusion. I guess I knew that already, but there’s a difference between knowing something and KNOWING something. So often we convince ourselves that we’re not good enough because we’re falling behind the expectations.
The funny thing about that is there’s always a gap between reality and expectations. That gap can be disappointment, sadness or anger. But, it can also be happiness, love and compassion. Allow yourself to accept the reality, let go of control and discover with giddy, childish amazement the awesomeness that people can create together naturally.
The real deal; gifting to people who really need it, Burner style.
We talk about how our Burner culture is making the world a better place. There’s something special at the core of our community that brings out the best in people. Changing the world in a really big way may take 100 years, but many of us believe that we are the change we want to see in the world.
Burners Without Borders is, in my opinion, one of the most powerful tools for change in the worldwide Burner toolbox. An organisation of Burners, born out of humanitarian relief efforts after hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and the southeast United States in 2005. A group of Burners, just leaving Black Rock City, turned south to offer whatever help they could. Their efforts grew into a full-fledged, worldwide Burner network of disaster relief programs and community development initiatives. So, here’s a crew of Burners from around the world, focusing their ‘Burner energy’ into projects that really affect people’s lives in a meaningful way. Lives are literally being saved by those ‘crazy hippies that party in the desert’.
I watched slide after slide and heard story after story about these incredible initiatives in refugee camps, poor neighbourhoods and disaster ridden cities. Emotions swelled up inside until I almost burst. I’ve been talking about the ten principles since I read them for the first time, but this… this was so far beyond just talking about them, that it really made me think. And feel.
The future of Burning Man is ours to create.
We live in exciting times. Maybe other people will be lucky enough to burn on Mars, but we’re the lucky ones on the front lines of the new world. The work we do to develop communities and to empower personal transformation is the cornerstone of a better humanity.
Travel to other regional Burns. Share your experiences and ideas across borders. Reach out and collaborate with people doing similar projects around the world. If we want to live in a world with no borders, we must tear them down in our minds and in our actions.
I don’t know about you, but everywhere I see the Burn, I see beauty and love and fun. I see incredible gifts and humbling, personal evolution. Accept that you have a gift to give. Accept that everyone has a gift to give. People are so much more beautiful when you realise that radical self-expression is just another word for being human.