Wherever you go there you are

All things outside of Burning Man.

Wherever you go there you are

Postby planeben » Mon Jan 19, 2004 1:27 am

I went to BM this year for the first time. In many ways it was a totally wonderful experience, I've never felt like I was as much a part of a community before. I never felt as surrounded by like minded people as I did at BM. However, I in some ways it was a very tramatic experience for me. I've never felt as alone as I did at BM. It really brought to the surface undealt with issues that have probably been with me my whole life. I can't really say that this was a bad thing. The feelings were so real, the experience so intense, that I came to understand them much more clearly than I ever did before.

There at burning man surrounded by literally thousands of open welcoming people, I felt so alone that I cried myself to sleep several nights. The problem wasn't the community, the problem is me. I was unable to break out of myself. I felt like I was walking around with a clear plastic shell around me and I couldn't reach out through to touch people. The only relief that I had from this was that occasional moment when someone didn't pay any attention to the wall I around me and just barged right in and reached me, when someone bypassed all my inhibitions and made a contact with me. This happened maybe 3 times during the whole event.

I am so happy that I can understand that now having been to burning man. I feel like for the first time I realize that the loneliness that I've felt most of my own life is really a product of the way that I am rather than being a nearly wholesale rejection by the community/society that I live and function in. BUT even now that I understand it, I still find myself feeling isolated from the world around me.

I don't know what I'm asking for but does anyone have any suggestions or ideas about how to connect with the world and people around me.
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Postby Wind_Borne » Mon Jan 19, 2004 2:35 am

Big question. One that's hard to answer without knowing you.

You indicate that you have some thick walls built up -- you may need some professional assistance to break through those.

But if you're willing and a bit daring, you can start connecting tomorrow. You can determine to do it. For instance, decide that you will introduce yourself to, and learn the name of, at least one person you see tomorrow -- a store clerk for instance. The next time you see that person, ask them how their day is going, offer them a compliment, tell them a funny story, whatever.

Add one person a day to those whose name you know, and who know your name, and pretty soon people are calling your name out every where you go! And every where you go you'll find a friend! And that's fun.

My sister does this by nature. And, I tell you, we can be 3000 miles from home and we'll run into someone she knows.
"Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master."
-- George Washington
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Postby robotland » Mon Jan 19, 2004 7:01 am

Planeben, I know just what you were feeling out there on the Playa.....I had the great good fortune to go with two other newbies, friends that I had wanted to get to know better and did so on the cross-country trip and weeklong event, and I can honestly say that if it weren't for them I probably would have gone completely off my nut......I have always been somewhat of a loner and a misanthrope who felt as though the ships had better hurry up and come take me back to the Good Planet- I wasn't sure if I would be welcomed or ignored in Black Rock City, and the answer was both. It had been easy in the Default World to blame problems with connecting with and caring about people on the Stupid World and Everyone Else, and when I got to spend a week in BRC I had to cope with the hard realization that I was the one to blame for my problems. All I had to do all week was just be myself and try coming out of my shell a little, and I was richly rewarded. Sure, there are shitheads in BRC, just like on Earth....I even was one myself, part of the time, and for once it felt okay! I have continued to benefit from the Burning Community by way of the Eplaya, and feel as though I have contributed to others in ways that never really satisfied me before. I also learned to avoid the eco-politically charged threads, where some pretty nasty folks lurk...I'm too damn thinskinned for that crap- back to Structures for me!
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Its the Alignment of the Constellation, Dudes!

Postby Apollonaris Zeus » Mon Jan 19, 2004 7:51 am

Plain Ben,

My son you are really hounded by the eternal question of why is there life?

Answer these simple questions;

1- have you ever said you would something and didn't?

2- ever been late to something?

3- failed an exam or test?

4- been dumped on?

5- didn't come in first place?

6- made last place an honorable mention award?

7- been sexually molested whether passively or aggressively- that includes unwelcome petting on the first few dates?

8- feel uncomfortable in the presence of the opposite sex?

9- feel uncomfortable in the presence of the same sex?

10- didn't dress up once on Holloween?

11- You once like a movie that didn't get good rating?

12- drove a gas guzzling vehicle and liked it?

13- you once had a job you didn't like?

14- you find the question of life boring?

If you have answered yes to anyone of these questions, you are thereby considered normal and most likely a creatively dysfunctional individual of modern society. Your protective shell is probably a good thing. Its always nice to back to someplace you're familiar with! But, beware of joining religious cults, bingo and most mundane hobby clubs. Shallow hedonistic group gatherings like BM are probably better for you being a MSN Discussion group administrator.
Anyway, glad to have you with us, keep in touch with other BM people in your area as well and its OK to be Boring and Predictive at times because we all are sometimes.

A II Z
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Postby robotland » Mon Jan 19, 2004 8:57 am

.....and it's better to be a Miserable Freak than a Happy Sheep, even if you don't realize that you're Happy, Miserable, Freakish or Sheepish. We oddballs corner the market on joyful, transcendant experience in the end.
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....Cool....

Postby Last Real Burner » Mon Jan 19, 2004 11:18 am

Now you can play with my banana. Image

you're bestest friend,
mr smith
"Do you know what happened to the boy who got everything he wished for? - He lived happily ever after".
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Postby Chai Guy » Mon Jan 19, 2004 3:18 pm

The problem wasn't the community, the problem is me. I was unable to break out of myself. I felt like I was walking around with a clear plastic shell around me and I couldn't reach out through to touch people.


I'm not sure if you and I have experienced the same thing, but what you went through sounds a lot like my experience, so I'll share it here and let you decide.


I had much of the same feelings about Burning Man during my first trip, overwhelmed and in awe but somewhat fearful and unsure of exactly where I fit into it all. I wanted to connect with people and contribute something unique and different so I came up with my idea for a chai cart. I thought I would just ride around and give out chai. The chai was a big hit and when people would see me ride by they would call out "Hey Chai Guy!", and this character (Chai Guy) started to develop organically over time.

I can do things as "Chai Guy" that I would never have the courage to do as myself. He's kind of like a super hero without super powers (unless you count bringing cold delicious chai to your theme camp or art installation as a super power). I could never walk into someone's theme camp and say "Hello" to a stranger, but Chai Guy can, and if Chai Guy get's rejected, it's no big deal, he just moves on to the next theme camp and it dosen't even phase him.

My friend Merlin calls these things "Strings", it's the stuff we use to break out of our shells and interact with other people. It dosen't have to be a tangible gift, it can be anything from a costume to a magic trick, to whatever your "thing" is. Merlin also taught me that it's important to sometimes put your strings away and just try being your real self every once in a while, and my positive experiences as Chai Guy has given me the confidence to do that.

Chai Guy is the person that I've always wanted to be, but fear and self doubt wouldn't allow me to be. I think I'm almost at the point of out growing him now.

So I guess that's my advice, create a character for yourself. Give him/her all the attributes that you desire of yourself, put on a mask or a cape or whatever clothes you envision your character to be in and make your presence known. If someone dosen't get it, or they reject you, move on and don't let it get you down, they're not rejecting you anyway, it's just this character you have created. Hope this helps!
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''THE POSITIVE SIDE OF LIFE" 

Postby enthropic » Mon Jan 19, 2004 3:48 pm

 
"THE POSITIVE SIDE OF LIFE"
 
      Living on Earth is expensive,   
     but it does include a free trip 
     around the sun every year.
  
     How long a minute is 
     depends on what side of the 
     bathroom door you're on.
  
     Birthdays are good for you; 
     the more you have, 
     the longer you live.
 
     Happiness comes through doors you 
     didn't even know you left open.
  
     Ever notice that the people who are late 
     are often much jollier 
     than the people who have to wait for them?
 
     Most of us go to our grave 
     with our music still inside of us.
  
     If Walmart is lowering prices every day, 
     how come nothing is free yet?
  
     You may be only one person in the world, 
     but you may also be the world to one person.  
     Some mistakes are too much fun 
     to only make once.
 
     Don't cry because it's over; 
     smile because it happened. 

     We could learn a lot from crayons: 
     some are sharp, some are pretty, 
     some are dull, some have weird names,  
     and all are different colors....but 
     they all exist very nicely in the same box.
 
     A truly happy person is one who 
     can enjoy the scenery on a detour.
  
     Have an awesome day, and 
     know that someone 
     who thinks you're great 
     has thought about you today!.
 
     "And that person was me.".....
 
     Please don't keep this message 
     to yourself.....send it to those 
     who mean so much to you.... 
 
AND, THIS IS A GREAT DAY TO BE ALIVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Knothing is seperate. Everything is One.
Illusion blinds us. Understanding is enlightenment.
James
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Postby robotland » Tue Jan 20, 2004 9:38 am

Hooray!
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Postby stuart » Tue Jan 20, 2004 12:44 pm

it's better to be a Miserable Freak than a Happy Sheep


I have to disagree. This might be true from an outside perspective; an aesthetic judgement perhaps but I gotta tell ya, I will take happy whatever over miserable whatever every day of the week.
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Postby blyslv » Tue Jan 20, 2004 12:53 pm

My first year I went to recycle camp, borrowed a recycle cycle and got to ride around saying "bring out your cans bring out your cans." Much like Chai Guy's experience, it got me into places and camps I wouldn't have approached on my own. So one lesson I learned is that it is easier to approach people, to connect, if you are interested in doing something nice for them. This works in the default world as well. Of course it's never as easy as one might think.
Fight for the fifth freedom!
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Postby Flux » Fri Jan 23, 2004 9:33 pm

Excellent post, excellent story, and excellent strategy, Chai Guy! Good for you!
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Postby LeChatNoir » Fri Jan 23, 2004 11:46 pm

I just posted a similar type thing in “Confessions” before I realized this thread existed by way of that handy dandy little “Show all posts since your last visit” button.

Planeben... I can understand where your coming from, and our situations are similar, but slightly different. I’ve not yet been and had reservations about some posts from folks having had bad experiences out on the playa. Check out that thread if you’d like a better explanation. I don’t have a problem (in most cases) with speaking first to folks. Man... I just try to smile and talk to everyone I meet. The things you do ripple into the lives of others. That smile and simple “how are you today?” given to the girl at the gas station may have been the very thing that stopped her suicide later that afternoon. You quite simply never know. I’ve found that you just have to talk to people. I had to force myself at first and there are times when it is still a little tedious. But after a while it just becomes part of who you are and in most cases effortless. ChaiGuy... Bless your soul, great advice that I will draw upon myself. And Bless all of you. This type of discussion is a wonderful way to learn about not only others, but yourself. And if I am correct, planeben, it took a little bit for you to post this, eh? Second post and all. Who knows??? For all you knew it might have laid there like a big dead carp and gotten no responses. Scary prospects and I understand completely. But man, what a great thing you did. Lots of people replying and opening up. Here’s the way I look at it: I’m gonna keep typing until I get to know a bunch of great new friends or they chase me off with sticks and rocks.

I second the notion of knowing when to have and put away your “strings” too. Sitting around the fire with close friends late in the night, let your alter ego go and rest. Open up your own sacred heart. That’s when you begin to truly, unconditionally love your neighbor and yourself. Yeee Hawww. Psychobabble 101

M
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Postby LeChatNoir » Sat Jan 24, 2004 12:10 am

Planeben...

One other thing: Remember that you are not alone in your solitude. I had to move a good bit away from some great friends and have lived where I do for 4 years now. I work for myself and by myself in the rural country side and rarely see too many people outside of the small amount of family that’s nearby. I am very comfortable with my surroundings and more importantly who I am. I’ve learned to live with myself and that has been a wonderful experience. But after a while of not interacting with others who think like you, you begin to wonder if maybe it’s a case of “the whole band is marching the wrong way, except for me” syndrom. Always remember, you’re not alone my friend. The few eplaya interactions I’ve had have been welcomed and a good thing. We all have that plastic bubble from time to time

M
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lachat what do you do?

Postby goodvibe » Wed Mar 03, 2004 1:31 pm

What do you do for a living? I think I would love it! I hate going to the office every day. It feels like I am trapped in a giant maze, and I never get enough cheese to do anything but make me hungrier. I live in a redneck, conservative state. I don't really know anyone like me. I know they are out there, though! I hope to meet some of them on the playa! I have found it excruciatingly difficult to initiate conversation, and I don't have anyone that I talk to on a regular basis besides my husband and family. This isn't really by choice, but then again - it is, I suppose. I hate intrusions. I like my own space. I have never been a "girly girl" so I am really on the outside looking in here. I really hope BM will be a positive experience as far as that goes.
But, there is something I practice when I travel -a different mentality-
I just keep thinking to myself "I'll never see these people again". It usually works. It helps if you are with others that are more outgoing. Unfortunately, I do tend to let my husband make all the friends because I get nervous around people and don't know what to say. Luckily he is a homebody too. I often think my life would be much different if I felt I was accepted by my peers. Everyone here just thinks I'm weird and in this state, that usually means "bad". Or crazy. That's the main reason I can't wait to go to Burning Man- hopefully everyone will just ignore me or be nice to me.
I work in hospice and the same thing is important to all people when they are dying, no matter what race, age, or religion they are - friends and family. That's all they care about at that stage. i think there is something to that. There has only been one regret in my life so far and that's that I have not been able to break out and have friends. It would help if there were others with the same views, though. Everyone in this world just seems to worship the almighty dollar and pretend they're worshipping god. It sucks.
When you get to Burning Man...
Give yourself a hug, take a deep breath, and let's plunge in together!
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Postby LeChatNoir » Wed Mar 03, 2004 10:23 pm

Hi Goodvibe...

What do I do... Hmmm... well... a series of events that I never would have asked for and wouldn’t have wished upon anyone landed me in a place I probably never would have wound up otherwise. And because of that, I am able to make my living creating things in metal and wood (mostly metal) to add beauty and pleasure to people’s homes and lives. That’s the best way to sum it up I guess.

I don't have anyone that I talk to on a regular basis besides my husband and family


I understand this all too well, but slowly...slooooowwwwwwwly I am meeting people near to me. One by one, their paths I cross. I don’t think there’s too many right here locally, but they’re close enough.

Everyone here just thinks I'm weird and in this state, that usually means "bad". Or crazy


Well... ultimately what other folks think is out of your control. The only thing you can control is your own actions. By treating others with respect I earned respect from them. And I always offered to help out if I saw someone needing it. All of the sudden that “peculiar guy down the road”, turns out to be “a pretty nice guy... strange, but nice”. I’ve actually come to relish my local oddity over the years. And smile at everybody... people like it for the most part... and that bit in the previous post about stopping a girl's suicide may sound corny, but is based in fact.

I work in hospice and the same thing is important to all people when they are dying, no matter what race, age, or religion they are - friends and family.


Let me thank you for what you do. I saw first hand what Hospice means to people. Hospice tended to both my Grandfather and Grandmother. Thank you from the bottom of my heart... sincerely. I was able to hold my Grandmothers hand when she took her last breath. It was a blessing... just as miraculous, to me, as witnessing a birth... perhaps even more so. And you are correct... I’ve never heard of anybody using their last words to say, “Sure wish I’d worked a little more overtime”.

What do you do for a living? I think I would love it!


I’m gonna caution you about the “I would love it” part. I understand frustration with a work environment. But my grass is the exact same color as yours... you’re just looking at it differently. Everything in life is a trade off. You may, or may not like being in my shoes. But to be me you would no longer be able to be you. And you are the perfect you the way you are.... a beautiful, growing, learning spirit. Regrets are pointless, my friend. You can’t change the past, only learn from it. Life is a big learning experience so embrace it for that. I would never have dreamed 5 years ago that I would be where I am, who knows where I’ll be in 5 more? I know for certain that I would change not one single breath even if I could. Where I am has everything to do with where I’ve been and I like where I’m heading.

Hope you have a good day!!! Friday is almost here :D
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Suddenly I feel like a such a dork....

Postby goodvibe » Thu Mar 04, 2004 6:15 am

That was quite eloquent. I am looking forward to meeting deep souls like you in Nevada. It's so refreshing to hear someone who is alive.
You must do the thing you think you cannot do.
- Eleanor Roosevelt
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about hospice

Postby goodvibe » Thu Mar 04, 2004 8:28 am

I'm glad to hear that you got to be by your grandfather's side while he was dying. I do agree that the passage into death does seem more spiritual, more mystical, than birth. Definitely less gruesome in some cases. I work more behind the scenes but I do work with people who are nurses in the field and they are amazing, special people. Today, the male nurses are wearing Halloween type pimp hats around the office. But they're in their sixties, so it's kind of cute. I asked them if they were going to wear them to see patients, but no such luck. Some of the stories we hear are amazing. Yesterday was the monthly staff meeting and there wasn't a dry eye in there when someone shared their story of caring for our first pediatric patient. I almost couldn't stand to hear it because he was 9, the same age as my stepson. The office is just like any other office, with a bunch of politics and managers who shouldn't be in charge, but I find that the people who are in daily contact with the patients are very precious. I do have my volunteer certification for hospice, but have never been able to make the leap to going into someone's house and sitting with them.
Thanks for your kind words. Hospice is the one cause that seems to be universal, and I am proud to be working for a non-profit. It certainly beats working for a car dealership or something soulless.
You must do the thing you think you cannot do.
- Eleanor Roosevelt
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Used car salesmen are probably going to hate me...

Postby goodvibe » Thu Mar 04, 2004 8:46 am

:D Not to insult any used car salesmen out there! Can you tell we just bought a car? They were asking a certain amount for a used van, and while they were locating it on the lot and driving it up to the front, my husband found a copy of an ad on someone's desk (the office was empty), and lo and behold, it was our van, and the price listed was well over $1500 less than the quoted price! I wish I had a picture of the look on the salesman's face when he waved that around. That was a fun day. But then, it rained last weekend, and yesterday, and today, and there is a leak in it. But at least we didn't pay near the asking price. And we have plenty of towels till we can fix it. Touche.
I can't wait to test her out on the open road. We have been trying to come up with a name for it (Soilent Green, Mellow Yellow,The Caterpillar, the Booger), but finally just decided on "The Bus". I just love being able to get out of my seat and walk around like I'm in our living room.
You must do the thing you think you cannot do.
- Eleanor Roosevelt
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Postby LeChatNoir » Sun Mar 07, 2004 9:37 pm

Hey Goodvibe...

Whether you’re on the front line or in the shadows, you’re part of making it work and thank you for it. Hospice does good work from what I’ve seen. I’m sure it’s occasionally a big mess, like any other company, but that’s part of it I suppose. We humans are just messy creatures sometimes.

You know... I’m not sure that, to me, death is more mystical than birth. But it seems to maybe a little “heavier”. A birth is amazing in it’s own right, now don’t get me wrong. But it differs in that it is a blank slate, full of potential. A death is the moving on of a life that cried, feared, loved, and touched... learned what it was like to be human. It is the final act in a series of struggles and accomplishments. The first person that left me behind was a friend when I was 11 years old. It was an untimely death to be certain. And his personal candle may have been extinguished, but before he went he passed a little of his light on to me. Everyone who has left me since has given me a little bit of their flame to carry on in the things I remember about them and the ways they touched my life. These are some of the things that went into making me who I am and they help remind me of how precious my life, and every other life, truly is. Thinking in particular here of my Grandfather, he left within me a part of who he was (physically and spiritually). He set forth for me an example of how to be both strong and gentle. I try to live as he taught me to live, simply by being who we was while he was here. I’m certain that I will continue to discover things he taught me as I grow in years. That’s what I meant by more miraculous I guess... I hope I can pass my flame on to someone else when my time is called to a close.

Have a good Monday!! (I have heard that it is possible, though I have my doubts... ) :D
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Thank you

Postby goodvibe » Mon Mar 08, 2004 6:11 am

Thanks for your kind words
You must do the thing you think you cannot do.
- Eleanor Roosevelt
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