This was the fifth annual Fuente Eterno gathering, but it was the first time I was able to attend. I was delighted to find that after 13 years of Burning Man-inspired counterculture, I am still being impacted in profound ways. And more than ever, I feel like I am part of a community.
There was something that hit me as I talked to people over the weekend. (Weekend being a loose term since most people were here Thurs-Mon.) I began to notice how many people in attendance were working to inspire others. Person after person had made a change in their life so that they were dedicating some of their energy towards â€œlighting people up.â€
This community is so important because we encourage one another to do this.
The society at large *says* that they support people following their dreams. But Iâ€™m not sure that is really true. Maybe *certain* dreams. Do you want to start a retail business or pursue your dream career in Law or Social Services? Well then teachers and parents will pat you on the pack and help you with applications.
But what if you like making dangerous sculptures? Or being a circus performer? Or just studying topics that call to you? What if you like doing things without a real plan for how you make a living with it?
The society at large would most likely consider those pursuits a waste of timeâ€¦or perhaps even selfish.
But in this community, people are encouraged to RUN in whatever direction they are called.
â€œFollowing your Bliss,â€ no matter what it looks like, is NOT a selfish act.
I believe in â€œInner-Activism.â€ This means that working on yourself can be the most profound way to affect the world.
“The World Can Only Change From Within.”
I believed this intellectually, but was challenged on this frequently. Many people would tell me, â€œIf you really wanted to help, youâ€™d get from behind the computer and work a soup kitchen.â€
But I have heard from dozens of people who have made profound changes in their lives inspired either partially or dramatically by me.
Not by anything I said or did â€“ but simply by me following my path.
I hear the societal voices mocking my arrogance even as I write that. But tears well in my eyes, because I feel it so strongly to be true.
This community encourages people to fan their own flames because we know that those flames ignite sparks in others. And then each fire fuels one another in a cumulative firestorm of mutual inspiration.
This weekend I talked to Chris.
Chris has been helping throw Fuente for 5 years and has plans forming for grander and more magical events. But Chris in not a party â€œpromoterâ€ filled with slick talk. He is more like a loving parent who works tirelessly to create a safe and loving playground for the kids to enjoy. (Maybe not physically safe â€“ those rocks are harsh! But safe for inner exploration and artistic expression.) He spends his surplus energy.
Society might see throwing wild parties as a selfish act. But if you saw peopleâ€™s eyes as they left the canyon, you would know his charity was the deepest sort.
This weekend I talked to Destin.
Destin spent years studying and learning about his own sexuality. There is perhaps nothing more selfish than navel-gazingâ€¦except maybe penis-gazing. But Destin now uses this energy to do workshops and coaching. By fanning his own fire he routinely helps people break out of their binds of repression and ignite themselves.
This weekend I talked to Karpo.
Karpo left his biotech job to pursue Life Coaching. His wife and children now how less financial resources to work with. Selfish? I doubt anyone who meets Karpo or attends his Happiness Workshops would deny that he spreads riches wherever he goes.
Everywhere I went, I was inspired.
T-Rex and her whirlwind fire circus life.
Jeremy and his piano enchantment.
Bass Mechanic and his relentless delivery of music.
Hoop Charmer and her near-blinding display of inner light.
The list goes on and on – People who realized that no reward is greater than inspiring others. And there is no better way to inspire than to follow your own dreams. These dreams do not need to be careers, either. They can be love-filled meals. Or massages. Or selfless assistance of any kind.
On Sunday, as the sunset over the Canyon, I found myself again teary eyed. I looked around the smiles and the styles. I saw the setting at the heard the songs. And I realized that when people around you are pursuing their passion to this degree, all the old rules disintegrate. I found myself re-defining â€œaffluence.â€
What white-picket fence would I trade for THIS?
In fact, as the sun set for my final night in the Oasis, I realized that ambition, itself, seemed silly. THIS is what I aspire for. THIS is the life I dream of.
How did I get here? How did I get so lucky?
I suppose when you focus on yourselfâ€¦ when you continually correct your path towards Love, it leads you to places like this.
And lets you meet people like these.
And have moments like Now.
I looked skyward and became dizzy with the awareness.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
March 17, 2010