Recently at Bread & Puppet’s The Honey Let’s Go Home Opera in NYC I was smacked in the face by a big old WTF?! within the first few minutes of the performance. I knew there would be music and puppets and had heard that it was cool to be there, but that didn’t prepare me for the opening chorus of mechanical noises, dissonant voices and instruments all swaying in rhythm with a massive puppet. To say it was surreal is an understatement. For a split second I was worried that I wasn’t going to like it or that I was in over my head, but that moment passed and I got sucked deeply into the unfolding opera.
What this showed me is that the absurd draws you in deep if you can keep yourself open and curious. What I noticed is that in the face of the bizarre you are actually more free than you were before. Why? Well because all the expectations of society and propriety have been blown out of the water making what was once impossible or unreasonable suddenly possible.
Let’s take Oprah for example. She has an Empire of a multimedia company. Through it she has earned the love and support of millions. Years ago she said she wasn’t interested in running for office, but in the face of a man who some call a buffoon currently holding the world’s stage, anything had become possible.
But let’s look at this from a personal perspective: when anything becomes possible and the boundaries that you though were there are revealed to be imaginary, what would you do? I know that I found myself inspired by Bread & Puppet to create an almanac for the Burning Man community. Because to marry the surreal with the realistic in such a way that is blows people minds open to their own creative potential is the highest form of art in my opinion.
What would you do if you could do anything?
Driving from Reno after a flight west and supplies run, the car filled with equipment and what had been strangers just hours before finally arrive at the gate. Dust kicked up by cars driving across the dry lake bed swirled through the open window as our tickets were scanned. Driving forward to the Greeters where the packed car of travelers would be given the official welcome to Burning Man.
It was my first year. I had read everything on the website, gotten sage advice from friends who had been before, but while the open playa before me was filled with expectation it was empty of actual knowing what would happen in the coming week.
We got out of the car facing the costumed Greeters at our station. We received the WhatWhereWhen Guide, a map, and a brief orientation of where to head. One S&M leather clad Greeter asked if we had any virgins and I raised my hand. I was invited to lay down on the playa to make a dust angel. My travel companions, both returning burners, looked on with eyes glittering as they encouraged me to lay down on the ground. Continue reading “Dust angel”
A camp mate of mine from Burning Man killed himself this week. Some of the thoughts that went through my mind:
Why did I step away from Facebook? (I would have known sooner.)
Why didn’t I ask Chris, etc. who had died? (I would have known sooner.)
A profound grief sent me bawling this morning loudly into my husband’s nice, clean work shirt up to that point where the phlegm was so thick that I couldn’t breathe. I was heaving so hard trying to that I almost threw up.
Empty of tears for a moment I thought back to the spiritual work that I’ve been doing over the years for guidance. The prevalent theme recently has been focusing on remaining in the NOW.
The theory is that there is only every one time that you are in and it is now. The past happened and the future will but the only thing that you can make changes to is now.
So here I am, blowing my snotty nose in the now and thinking about my friend. Now it doesn’t matter that I didn’t know he was sad. I just didn’t. It doesn’t matter when I found out. I found out. While deep friendships are formed at events like Burning Man in crazy short periods of time, ours had and most likely would have remained as a part of that community due to physical distance. So what was it that was bothering me here in the now?
I had a conversation with a family member within the past week who was depressed. In the time I was worried about them and while I said a lot and didn’t censor myself, I didn’t share the concern that they might get to the point that Zach had. Realizing this as being a part of the crying jag today, I said something.
What is it we regret at the end of life? Not doing something. Not saying how you felt when it was important. Perhaps my lesson in this and the emotional release is connected to the ways I’ve hurt myself in the past by not sharing my feelings, intuition, knowledge when it was important. I’m taking from this don’t hold back when you feel the need to share even if it is saying I love you to a stranger.
Another lesson I’ve been connecting more deeply with is the practice of having love and compassion for all sentient beings. So for all sentient beings that are affected by Zach’s death, I love you. For all those who are going through their own growing challenges in life, I love you. I hold you all in compassion and love now.
I’m just a woman who is seeking to cope with the loss of a friend that thought my thoughts might be helpful to someone.