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Stoking the Fire

begins with gratitude

@prez13 thank you to @soozilicious for #myfirstburn

Some people enter our lives to inspire usto be greater versions of ourselves.

Suzie has been pitching the idea of attending Burning Man since we first danced our way across the burlesque stage. 2016 was an especially grueling year for most of us, and during our trip to Washington to partake in the Women’s March, she mentioned her plans to return to the playa after a 2-year absence and suggested I consider joining.

Although the idea of Burning Man was tempting, the cost associated with it was not. I spent the past year in self-discovery travel, after which I decided to establish myself as a writing gun for hire. Working with a financial planner to be more mindful of expenses was top on the list. Attending Burning Man, under those circumstances, seemed impossible, but then Suzie suggested I apply to Burning Man’s Low Income Ticket program, where 4000 prospective attendees, .057% of total participants, are selected to attend the event at a reduced admission price.

When I first received my acceptance in April, I had a panic attack … fear is a tricky emotion. Once it subsided, I dove headfirst into planning. In the months leading up to Burning Man, my mind swirled with questions about how to prepare for a week of camping in the desert, what to wear, what non-perishable snacks to eat, how many LED lights I would need.

And, then there was the nagging self-doubt that I may have lost my mind fueled by every article I read. Burners will concur that the mainstream media’s take on Burning Man is a coverage of extremes–the polyamorous sex domes, accessibility of drugs, and the decadence of a celebrity’s 3-day weekend–a slim slice of actual life on the playa. The Burning Man’s citizen reality isn’t about replicating experiences from the ‘default world’ but creating a hyperreality of our choosing.

With every rise of the sun, the playa and the desert reset itself to provide a fresh canvas for rediscovering ourselves over and over again. Burning Man leaves its mark on you, its internal fire continuously stoked with every new breath.

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

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