I Didn’t Transform at Burning Man, But I Did Learn This

everything you need is inside you

It’s that time of year again, where I’m sure your social feeds are inundated with pictures of burning man and residual molly-high exclamations of personal transformation. While I’m not here to make grand statements of how I’m now an entirely new person (I’m not), I have noticed that experiences like Burning Man, has guided a spiritual shift which ultimately alters the trajectory of my life course.

As I integrate back into reality, I wanted to share some of the insights I learned during my week in the dust.

Stop chasing. The people and experiences that are meant to be will not require you to catch them.

My experience this burn was quite calm; unlike the high-high-low-low burns I’ve had in the past. I felt content, to just be, to observe, to sit with my feelings, to sit with others’ feelings and hold space for friends who were working through triggers. I wasn’t chasing anything – not parties, not new friends, not experiences, not boys. It was the continuation of a life approach that I’ve been embracing: less doing, more being. Whenever I felt the angst of chasing someone or something, I’d take that as a sign of resistance, pause and get centered again. This is the art of detachment in practice.

Everything you need is inside you.

There was a morning where my plans didn’t come into fruition and I ended up at a party –  a ‘see and be seen’ event. Even though this was THE party of the week, it didn’t feel charming to me. I decided to leave and go off on an adventure of my own. I stumbled across a big art structure with a water tornado in a tank. I put on my headphones and danced by myself for over an hour. Some people thought I was a part of the art piece and took pictures, some laughed, but I didn’t care if I looked strange. I was having a blast, all by myself. Like Olivia Steele’s light sign reads, ‘Everything you need is inside you.’ I didn’t need a huge party with a famous DJ to have fun. I didn’t need validation from anyone to feel cool, sexy or beautiful. I didn’t need to fit in. I created my own fun and had the best time ever. All that we seek – love, validation, acceptance, peace – it’s within us all along, we just have to learn how to tap into it.

When in doubt, choose love. Love wins. Love always wins.

There were a few moments when I felt triggered or faced a challenging situation. While in the past, like autopilot, I’d let my emotions take over and react by being passive aggressive, punishing or aloof, this time, I would catch myself before reacting. I would sit with the feeling, and like watching a movie, discern the facts from my assumptions, and asked myself if my automated reaction was coming from a source of love and abundance, or fear and ego. I’ve learned that if you act from a place of love, you always win. It doesn’t matter if that love is reciprocated, it doesn’t matter how someone reacts, it doesn’t matter if someone even notices – an action birthed by true, selfless love is an energy that creates light. I would repeat to myself – “choose love.” And each time I did, I was happy with the outcome. The negative emotions will come and go, people will disappoint you, things won’t go as planned, people will unintentionally (and even sometimes intentionally) hurt you – you can’t control that. But if you choose love versus letting your emotions take you for a ride, you hold your power.

You cannot lose a love that was never meant to be yours.

For the majority of my life, I thought that love was something that needed to be earned. If only I was prettier, if only I tried harder, if only I fixed all the things about me that were broken, if only….

What I’ve learned is that when you meet your energetic match and have a true soul connection, what will manifest and grow will organically do so. You won’t lose it just because you said the wrong thing, didn’t appear perfect or showed your true self. And if you do lose that connection or spark, it was never meant to be your destination, rather a bridge in your journey. Now, I don’t mean that this justifies acting entitled and expecting fate to deliver Prince Charming, nor am I saying that growing a romantic connection doesn’t require effort and intention. Intention is the seed of growth. However, what I am saying is that when there is a true bond, it requires a lot less doing and a lot more being. A resonance will occur where two energy fields will begin to dance together. It will feel comfortable, it will feel light and it will feel like home.

Trust life’s timing. Pay attention to the people and signs that keep showing up. There’s a message waiting for you.

You could say I’m pretty Type A, and control provides me a sense of safety. I used to force things to happen (or to not happen), using resistance as only more motivation to try harder for something that clearly wasn’t working. You realize quickly on the playa that once you give up your false sense of control, and replace that with openness and curiosity, that you make space for magic to happen. I don’t mean magic in a fairy-dust-transformation sort of way, rather, in the sense that some unexplainable universal force provides the lesson or information you exactly need at that moment.

You may not get what you want, but you do get what you need. Some of my best moments and connections with others were through serendipitous moments of chance. One thing wouldn’t work out as planned, only for me to discover something more fitting was right around the corner. Pay attention to the people and signs that keep showing up. There’s likely a message waiting there for you. If you don’t take a moment to stop and reflect, you might just miss it.

If you don’t make space for what you really want, you’ll constantly be settling for less.

Burning Man acts as a reflection point for me much like how many see a new year. It’s always a time of endings and new beginnings. This burn, I received a lot of clarity over things that I realized it was time to close the door on. There were relationships in my life that weren’t flowing, and I was compromising because I didn’t think that what I really wanted could exist. When I energetically closed the door on the past, I made space for new possibility.

Make space in your life – for the love you want, the friends you want, the opportunities you want. Set that bar high. Even if this means you need to detox, be alone for a while, or let go of the people and safety nets of comfort that have kept you complacent. Trust that once you’re in alignment, when you’re really in integrity with your authentic self, the universe truly does conspire to make your dreams come true.

As I write this, I’m still processing and reflecting on how I can take the lessons of Burning Man to the reality of daily life. I’m in awe of the team of the Cirque Gitane camp that created such a magical space and experience to enable us to play, to connect and belong in a tribe. Seeing how every single thing at Cirque had a thought process behind it was inspiring. There was no detail overlooked, each element was designed with intention, and you could feel the love and pride that was put into everything.

And perhaps that’s the greatest lesson of all: be thoughtful in your approach, have intention behind what you create (whether it be a project, a relationship or just how you show up in life) and approach everything with all of your heart and nothing less. Seems like those really are the ingredients to manifesting greatness, of leaving legacy, of creating something epic to be remembered.

To all of you who adventured with me, showered me with love, and directly and indirectly taught me some valuable lessons – thank you for being a part of my journey.

 

 

 

8 Comments

  • Reply September 10, 2017

    REE

    Here’s the enlightenment I just need, Amy. Thank God for beautiful soul like you. You always transcribed my feelings with your powerful words. You are deeply loved, keep inspiring people like me. This too shall pass. Have a great day ahead!

    • Reply September 11, 2017

      Amy Chan

      Aww, what a kind message. Thank you for reading, thank you for your note of appreciation. <3

  • Reply September 11, 2017

    Justine

    Have you camped with Cirque Gitane in past years? How did you end up linked up with them?

    • Reply September 11, 2017

      Amy Chan

      Hi!

      I have camped with them the last two years, but I believe 2017 will be their last. The team are truly magic makers.

  • Reply September 11, 2017

    Marlboro Man

    A great read, thanks for sharing. This was my second burn. I spent most of it volunteering as a barker for our neighborhood bar. Yes I chased the large sparkly things at night, and dance the night away at the awesome sound camps. By far the most meaningful experiences I took away from this year’s burn was a relationships I made with participants at our bar.

  • Reply September 12, 2017

    Rodrigo

    Hi dear, I believe the art installation you were dancing with your headphones was the altar of intentions! I am very glad you liked it!! It was magical!

    • Reply September 12, 2017

      Amy Chan

      WOW!!!! How fitting. Thank you for telling me!!!

  • Reply September 12, 2017

    Shifa

    I love this article!! This is exactly my philosophy in life and it just gives me so much peace .. Thanks for such an eloquent piece!

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