Why Go to Burning Man & What Burning Man Really Has to Do With the New Economy

This will be my 7th year on the playa at Burning Man. You may ask, why go to Burning Man at all? Well…

The first two years, I brought my kids. Since then, it’s been my week off from being a mama, or a business woman, or anything other than whatever wants to show up in the moment and totally unplugging to discover who I am beneath it all.

why go to burning manWhat I’ve discovered is that I really like Her, the me that is me. Burning Man is where Ali Shanti arose from.

I made a promise some years ago to bring Burning Man home and to live it as much as possible every day.

And, I have.

Today, thanks to my time at Burning Man, I have learned to live with less. I no longer need the big fancy house with the Mercedes in the driveway. I am happy to reclaim, reuse, make do with what I have whenever possible rather than going out and buying more new.

I am far more resourceful thanks to Burning Man.

My creativity has expanded significantly as well since attending Burning Man for the first time.

I never used to think of myself as creative because my mom was an artist and I couldn’t draw, but now I realize I am extremely creative and life and business are where I do my art. As someone recently told me, my life is performance art. That first began to happen at Burning Man.

Finally, I see Burning Man as THE training ground for a New Economy life, which requires sharing more, getting along with each other better, and figuring out how to live together, often in tight quarters.

Today, thanks to what I’ve learned at Burning Man, my household isn’t just me and my kids, with their dad down the street and us all trying to figure out how to go it alone, overwhelmed and under-resourced. Instead, we all live together, in the same house, always with at least one other adult living with us to pitch in and help out and receive help in return. This is something I first learned at Burning Man.

Who wouldn’t want that in their home? And yet most people are struggling on to make things work alone, and wondering why their life sucks so hard.

This year, 60,000 people will come together and build a city that disappears again within weeks. We will live in close quarters (we’ll have 5 adults sharing our RV this year) and bring everything we will need for the week with us. Then, we will pack it all out at the end. We have a common goal of mutual support, love and care. Braving the elements. Creating a life together.

why go to burning manOur camp of 150 people is part of a larger neighborhood and one of the most important parts of life on the Playa is that we get to figure out how to divide up space, share resources, get meals cooked, power handled, parties planned, showers built, and on and on.

So why go to Burning Man?

It’s a training ground.

And, it isn’t always easy. There is conflict and hurt feelings, but we move through them quickly and with a growing sense of the right way to handle such things.

When I read this satirical post on How to Enjoy Burning Man From the Comfort of Your Own Home, I chuckled. But then I got sad because there was a night on the Playa a few years ago when I began to wonder if it was all for naught. A big, huge waste of resources, as this article would suggest. And, what are we celebrating anyway? Do we really deserve this kind of a party?

I cried for 6 hours thinking about it.

But then, I remembered.

Burning Man isn’t a big party and it’s certainly not a relaxing vacation and it’s really not even a celebration. It’s the place we go to remember who we really are. Tweet It!

What does that mean exactly?

I’m quite sure it’s different for everyone, but for me…

It’s a time to remember that all my needs are met and I can both create my own reality AND surrender into the grand plan of life’s desires for me.

I don’t have to control everything, though I can set clear intentions for my Desire and they will often be delivered, even better than I could have imagined. And sometimes, they won’t.

And I can sit with the devastation of not having what I want until I let go of what I thought I wanted to make room for something I couldn’t have possibly imagined.

Bottom line … THAT’s why I do what it takes to get to Burning Man each year… that’s why I go to Burning Man.

why go to burning manAnd, it’s why even if I could attend Burning Man in one of the $2,000,000 Burning Man camps full of the Tech Elite, as described in this NYT article, I wouldn’t do it. I might be interested in visiting just to see what that experience was like, but big picture, I go to live the New Economy and having a sherpa who isn’t part of the community and the camp isn’t what it’s all about. Not for me.

I might pay someone to support me on the Playa if that was part of  THEIR Burning Man experience, they were part of the community, it was in alignment with their Entrepreneurial Archetype and it supported them to get there and have their own journey, but not if they were purely hired help there just for the money.

So, what does Burning Man have to do with the New Economy?

It’s a training ground.

Resourcefulness. Creativity. Making do with less. Living, working and loving in community. Remembering how supported we really are. All our needs are met.

These are the hallmarks of the New Economy.

And we go to Burning Man to practice them.

I’ll be sending pics and new insights from this year’s trip in a couple of weeks. So be sure you sign up below to get all the juicy details!

Now it’s your turn!

Why do YOU make the trip to the playa? And if you haven’t, do you ever plan to?