Maybe it was Mars and a retro Mercury, or maybe it was me.
2K2 was my first burn and, like hipechk, it was for me a joy from start to finish. This year I brought along a newbie who also happens to me my girlfriend. Logic, intuition and a couple of dreams told me what was going to happen this year. I was ready to bail, but she wanted to come. Not wanting to disappoint, I made the trek anyway.
She's a complainer, pure and simple. I was once a complainer much like her, so I see this relationship as part of my karma (oh, how I do sympathize for former girlfriends...). All the same, it can be a bit much sometimes. It's not that she doesn't see accurately what is wrong with any given picture. It's just that her blind spot tends to obscure what is good.
My experience of BM is that it is an intense psycho-feedback vortex of some kind. By the end of a week there, examples of synchronicity and psycho-feedback are simply too numerous to list. But here's one for the record....
Me and my companion were inevitably forced to deal with issues between us at BM. This came to a head on the night of the burn. The burn was fantastic and furthered my belief that the universe was choosing to gift us. However, some intense discussions arose between us afterward. At one point, I felt like I was being too heavy for the playa, for the event and all the rest. Deep down, I knew that I had to make my point. I didn't want to be heavy though I felt I was being just that. I felt kind of bad about it. I wasn't loud. I was just saying some very serious things in serious tones.
That's when a group passed by and a girl started singing "He ain't heavy, he's my brother". That was a real gift and a moment of profound psycho-feedback. She could have sniped something about me not being in the spirit of the event. Instead, she sang the most perfect song imaginable in that moment.
Such things happen a lot to me on the playa. Kind of like the ridiculous number of times I heard other people calling out my name while calling for their friend.
As for the negativity, this was a much rougher burn for me than last year.
I was more negative than last year. The two things I most looked forward to this year - seeing Mars through a telescope in the desert and having a female companion at the event - didn't work out. I never found a telescope (as according to the 'prophecy'). As for the companionship, that was far more of a challenge than a joy. Maybe it was more than mere coincidence that I worked with a man named Jude a few days before departure whose son had attended BM. If you knew where I live, you'd understand how far-fetched this is. This year required a lot more patience than last year.
So, maybe it was me who made it negative. And maybe it was the fact that I brought someone along who is brimming with negative energy much of the time.
As I said, my companion complains. We went out Wednesday and all she could do was complain. She didn't feel like she 'fit in'. She wanted better clothes, etc.. The more she complained, the more I saw that absolutely no one we saw was dressed anywhere near normal. Everyone we saw had fancy costumes and lots of interesting things to wear. I'd never seen anything like it before, even last year. And as she complained further about the attitudes she saw (indifferent, superior, ravers draping their bodies on the art), it was all I could see as well. By the end of our trek, I too had become absolutely cynical about everything there. This culminated in me screaming "No! No! No!" extremely loudly during a dream that night which I promptly forgot.
Things got better, of course. We went out Thursday with friends. The presence of others always mitigates her complaints to some extent and, if they are optimistic people, opens her up to seeing things less critically. Oddly enough, we saw LOTS of people who weren't super decked out in crazy finery. In fact, we saw lots of downright normal looking people.
She doesn't believe that BM is truly a psycho-feedback vortex. It's a crazy theory, after all. But it'd be a hundred times harder to deal with if it were true. What could be more challenging than having your psyche spilled out onto the playa to force you to deal with it? The thought of it scares the hell out of me, and I'm the one who is most likely to believe it!
Anyhoo, this is just a lot of rambling to offer conjecture as to where that negativity came from. Basically, it was my fault and I apologize. Sort of.
Finally, a story from last year relating to hipechk's temple experience...
I went to the temple burn last year imagining it to be a quieter, more spiritual event than the man burn. I envisioned people breaking out into a big OM sometime during the event. When the event began with a rendition of "Amazing Grace", I was convinced that it was truly going to be more spiritual. Then a large group of people immediately to my left broke out into a big OM. A drunk man to my right then chimed in with his own mocking OM. I wanted him to stop, but didn't have the guts to say anything. Just then, another man to my right looked at the guy and without anger or shouts simply said "Snip it." The man stopped immediately (for which I respected him greatly). Again, the universe was gifting me in the most moving way possible that night.
(All of this was caught on audio tape)
There is lots of discussion as to what BM is supposed to be. The implied conundrum is an ancient one - what is the proper relationship between the individual and the group? BM seeks to allow the individual their fullest expression. And yet, it is a group event that can only exist by way of the individual's participation as part of the group. It is in those group situations that the individual's energy can either add to or disrupt the energy of the group, and thus of the individuals within it.
It is my belief that the best of all possible worlds is the one that has a place for everyone. If I want to be in a peaceful, calm place, then that place should exist. If I want to be rowdy and raucous, then there should be a place for that as well. That's what BM can be.
But does that mean that the non-rowdy's should chase the rowdys away, or that the rowdys should invade the solemn spaces of the non-rowdys? If 99.5% of the people in the group wish for a solemn moment of spiritual reflection, must they be forced to contend with that small element that could go just about anywhere else and be rowdy? Moreover, we don't advocate the complete domination of the individual by the group. Yet, does this mean we must accept the individual's right to ruin what a particular group is seeking to achieve in a particular time and place? Why not advocate John Ashcroft coming to BM and then shutting it down because it is HIS act of self-expression?
As for the techno stuff, I've been a raver and loved it. But even I think it was too much this year. Or rather, there was too little of everything else. Hopefully, next year will bring more live music and more of the earthier stuff that 2K2 had. Or maybe next year I won't let myself be tied down by someone who can only see what's wrong with what abounds. After all, it may have been there and I simply missed it this time around.
As a two-time burner, I have seen for myself just how much can change in a year. But more importantly, I am able to put this thing into perspective. It's a vacation, it's a place to be, it's a psycho-feedback vortex, it's a hell of a party, it's what you make of it, but it is not the ONLY place on earth to find happiness. It's kind of sad that people get turned off by it eventually, but I can see how it happens. I am much more ambivalent about attending next year, though I don't rule it out. Rather, I'll just wait and see where my head is at first.
If hipechk has actually read this far, then I'd really be interested in knowing if there was negativity in her personal realm before or during this year's burn. I'm not seeking to lay judgement here, I'm just really interested in knowing whether anyone else is experiencing the psycho-feedback phenomenon that I've mentioned here.
Also, I want to thank her for bringing up the negativity for discussion.