the beauty way

Lessons Learned From a Week in the Desert

 
Burning Man 2015
Burning Man 2015

I just came back from 8 days in the desert at Burning Man festival where 70,000 people joined together from around the world to try on new personalities, dress up in fun ways, learn from experts on consciousness, and practice living in community.

So much happened while I was there, and I'm now taking time to integrate all the lessons.  When I arrived home, I wrote in my journal.  I realized that underneath all the crazy costumes and non-stop dance music, there were some deep spiritual insights I took away from the experience.  I wanted to share them with you here.

Relationship to Water

When you enter a space with a finite amount of resources, it completely changes your relationship to them.  This is what happened to me with water.  I arrived with 12 gallons of water and knew that was all I had for the week.  As the week went on, I saw how little water I really needed to brush my teeth, shower and wash my dishes.  I realized when we have unlimited access to clean water, we don't value it in the same way.  I now find myself turning off the faucet between washing dishes and putting soap on my hands.  Every time I am using water now, I find myself feeling so grateful for it.

Unlimited clean water is such a gift.How could you treat water with more mindfulness?

Burning Man 2015
Burning Man 2015

Relationship to Money

As soon as I arrived, my wallet was tucked away in the pocket of my car and I didn't look at it again. My thoughts were no longer concerned about the numbers in my bank account.  It was liberating.

I was given crystals, sunglasses, and numerous other gifts from strangers on the playa.  When I was riding my bike far away from camp and ran out of water and lip balm, it was provided for me when I needed it most.

An old mindset of scarcity began to drop away.  I found myself being more generous with my resources, trusting that they would come back to me when I needed them again.

One night I was talking to my camp-mate about what I was learning about abundance and generosity.  He shared that in Native American traditions you are encouraged to give away your most valuable items. I thought of my most prized items waiting for me at home and wondered if I would be able to give them away...

Burning Man is a practice in non-attachment. It is a space to experiment giving items away to strangers and see how it makes you feel.

However, you don't have to go to Burning Man to try this experiment.  I've come back with a different relationship to material things.  I plan to continue the experiment by giving away some of my most valuable items and see how it affects my well-being.  I invite you to join me in this experiment.

New Vision

When I arrived at the playa, I turned my phone off.  There were no computers around.  It was a complete technology detox for eight days.

I think it is generally  difficult to be connected to inner guidance and radical creativity when we are constantly receiving information from computers and phones.  In the days following Burning Man, I received so many creative ideas and inspiration about my business that I don't know would have been there if I was constantly looking at my phone.

Have you ever gone on a camping trip or vacation where you totally unplugged for a set amount of time?  I find that's when I can clearly make important decisions and receive insight and guidance on my next steps without distractions from the outside world.

If you are feeling uninspired, or have trouble connecting to your intuition, try doing a digital detox. 

Burning Man 2015
Burning Man 2015

Manifestation and the Mirror 

Manifestation and synchronicity happened more quickly on the playa.  I found myself standing next to a woman I met in Thailand two years ago, receiving an important message from a woman who attended my workshop and meeting people that I felt like I just knew without ever having met them before.

In times where my mind was getting negative, the results would show up in my environment immediately.  When I was feeling more connected and willing to step outside my comfort zone, again, I would be immediately met with an exciting opportunity.

This was my second time at the festival, and I could clearly notice what a different state of mind I was in this time as opposed to when I went five years ago.  When you do the work to let go of limiting beliefs and shift your thoughts, it really does manifest in your physical environment.  

What negative thoughts or limiting beliefs still repeat in your mind?  How do they show up in your environment?  If you're having trouble shifting your thoughts, try one of my yoga or meditation videos here. If you're ready to create a new reality, shift your awareness from the inside, it will help you reflect a new environment on the outside.

Burning Man 2015
Burning Man 2015

Leave No Trace

Black Rock City has a "leave no trace" policy which simply means whatever you take in, you take out.  This includes all of your trash, recycling, compost, and grey water (the leftover water from washing dishes, showering and brushing your teeth).  When we were consciously making space to take home all of our waste, I became highly aware of how much waste I was really making.

In addition to taking home our waste, we also searched the ground for any signs of "moop" - anything that was not the dust of the playa.  When we left, I found myself picking up trash even if it wasn't mine in other environments because my awareness was more focused on the greater whole and the natural setting rather than on myself.

The Beauty Way

In our camp, we used a practice from Native American traditions called, "The Beauty Way."  Our friends Rachel and Ben taught us how to practice it - leave a space more beautiful than you found it.  I watched myself let go of blame for others and rather took responsibility when I saw a space less than tidy.  As we all practiced the Beauty Way, I saw how it affected our relationship to each other.

I left feeling passionate about this practice, knowing if we can all begin this, the world will quickly become a more beautiful place.

Burning Man 2015
Burning Man 2015
Burning Man 2015
Burning Man 2015

Sisterhood

I was camping with an amazing group of women over the week.  I was with the ups and downs of my mind, noticing thoughts of comparison or jealousy and consciously releasing them.   Living in such close proximity with other women was both humbling and enlightening.  I saw as we were able to let down our guards and connect to each other with vulnerability and openness.

I left the week feeling refreshed with more authenticity in these relationships.

Are you craving a deeper connection to your sisters?  Maybe you can go on retreat together, or plan a women's vacation to connect and unplug with each other.

Burning Man 2015
Burning Man 2015
Burning Man 2015
Burning Man 2015
Burning Man 2015
Burning Man 2015

More than anything else, the whole experience at Burning Man reinforced my own belief that:

"It takes moving outside your comfort zone in order to grow." tweet it

Sometimes it takes getting dusty in order to see how strong you really are...

With love, Meredith

Burning Man 2015
Burning Man 2015