Sunday, August 19, 2012

"Life is like a Willy Wonka Burning Man Dust-storm White-out"

Have you ever experienced a white-out dust storm in the desert?? 

How about in your Life?

(c) Scott Williams - Website

photo by "Jay" - His Album

In a few days, I’m headed off to Burning Man Festival, the massive annual festival where the human imagination (the lighter side) is set loose upon a 400 sq-mile flat, vast desert lake bed to frolic and play. Normal thinking would say I’m crazy to go. 

I got a free ticket when some very influential “Burners” saw the music video Ash and I created with Elevate Films, but the ticket is only a small part of a very intense pilgrimage. It’s a 12-hour drive from LA. We’ve got to bring our own food, camping gear, desert survival kits (white out goggles and face masks), warm clothes for cold nights, loose clothes for sweltering days, and our own water - 2 gallons per day per person. It's no small feat to get to Burning Man, which definitely keeps any pretenders away.  

But I shouldn’t be going, by normal standards of thinking. My project plate is full, with 5 artist collaborations on my roster. And the day I come back from Burning Man, I will be moving my home base for the 6th time this year, in preparation for the 7th move a few weeks later, to a location I haven’t even discovered yet!

At Burning Man, which happens in the northern Nevada desert 2 hours north of Reno, there are occasional dust storms. Well, there are dust storms, and then there are complete white-outs, where you can barely see beyond your finger tips. I actually haven’t been through such a white out. 

In 2010, I was caught in an actual dust devil twister that was massive!! Someone actually caught it on video (I’m the guy in the blue floppy hat and silver shirt, center screen, when it starts hitting people).

But that only lasted a few seconds.

Full on white-outs can last for hours, even days, as in 2002 when the great 3-day white-out demolished the festival with 70-100mph winds and blistering sand assaults that peeled paint off of cars and flung metal barrels like missiles across the desert floor for miles.

 Right now, I feel like I’m in a similar kinda white out, only the winds aren’t blowing so hard. Actually, the weather’s pretty lovely. I still can’t see far beyond my finger tips.

It’s like I’m caught in a twister of sorts, although it’s a pretty wondrous twister! It’s like a twister Willy Wonka would have dreamed up at his imaginative factory.

 A Willy Wonka Twister.

There’s so much wondrous stuff flying around me ... swirling around me I can see brilliant artists and creators, Ash Ruiz with his signature Turban and wide smile, eclectic world music impresario dj Alsultany, the fiery Parashakti & her Dance of Liberation, white tantra teacher Shari James, and the simply brilliant, one-dimpled comedian, Kyle Cease.

Then there’s this giant white buffalo called the “Global Alliance for Transformational Entertainment” dancing in the turbulent cloud around me, snorting and bucking gently for my attention. Fluttering erratically around that, whipped up like glittering confetti, are articles I’m writing for other services and publications, coaching work, my blog, The Daily Love blog, and The Whirling Blog, potential work offers like managing a nudist resort or a start-up technology company, and still more.

In the midst of this colorful if blinding tornado, just like Dorothy swept away on an adventure to far-off lands, I don’t even know where my home is. I’m certainly having a love affair with California. She’s my soul mate, in fact. There simply seem to be no ends to her depths. She is profound where other lands are amateur. She is wildly diverse where other places have primarily just a few similar varieties. She’s like no other place I’ve lived, and she clearly does not suffer long those without relentless determination. Well, surely she holds a place for them, too, but it isn’t comfortable.

But I have no tangible home to call my own. Before I started managing artists 6 years ago, I had an amazing home, was making lots of money, and had that seemingly stable ground to stand on that my whole being now aches for. Since then, I've been on tour, living in "the band home", and just "glorified couch surfing" during this extended transition from Miami to LA.

When you get to Burning Man, they say “Welcome Home”. At Burning Man, the ethos is that YOU are welcomed JUST AS YOU ARE. That’s a beautiful definition of “home”. In that sense, I’m always home, because I have been learning to accept myself just as I am, no matter where I’m sleeping that night or what circumstances or opinions around me may suggest about me.

So I’m off to Burning Man. The next step on my journey. I’m going because I feel my body needs a break from the hustle of trying to figure out what to do. Burning Man is a place where a massive humanity comes together to simply play and care about one another.

It’s a place to play (and rest), with no attachment or expectation of an outcome for our efforts.

Where, o’ where, is this Willy Wonka Twister is taking me?

Me, Burning Man 2010
Me, reflected in a BM Art Project, 2010
My Favorite Pic (by me) from BM 2010

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