Burning Man Changed the Way I Live my Life

Burning Man Series Part 3

by: Jessica v. Beusekom

IMG_20170614_142911_755 IMG_20170614_132042_450 IMG_20170614_142857_186Burning Man has been an essential part of my life since I attended the event for the first time in 2015. Once I got back from the Burn, I could not stop talking about it. I’m petty sure my friends got sick and tired of me and at times wished they hadn’t invited me out.

Whenever I mention Burning Man, I notice that a lot of people are not familiar with Burning Man or have an incorrect image of what the event actually is. Yes, there is a lot of partying going on, but for me the Burn represents so much more. It’s a place where many, many lessons will be learned; it’s a place that extended and transcended my boundaries and that’s why I’ll forever cherish this place.

Being born and raised in Amsterdam, I always considered myself a quite open-minded person. I thought that things that deviated from ‘my normal’ weren’t able to ‘shock’ me, but at Burning Man I quickly learned that there was so much more room for me to push my boundaries. I learned to be so much more tolerant and accepting to things that were completely out of my ‘bubble;’ I learned to step out of that comfort zone. I’ve been so much more adventurous in life ever since:

One of the most interesting memories I hold is one from the first time I attended the Burn. I was excited, intimidated and a little scared at the beginning. I just had no clue what to expect and as a result I had my guard up a little. On day two, one of my camp mates wanted to check out some workshop. I was a little clueless on what the theme of the workshop was, but decided to tag along anyway. We arrived at the workshop a little late, but nonetheless were still welcome to join. The workshop had several rounds, in which you had to try to emotionally connect to a random stranger. Each round you had to change partners. I was a little sceptical during the workshop, as during one of the rounds we had to hold each other as if you were holding a baby.

“Wait.. what?!”

Yes, I had no idea who this chick in front of me was, and I had to lay in her arms for 7 minutes as if I were a little baby.

Uhmm, awkward much?

Anyway, during the last round we had to sit across from someone and look each other in the eyes for 7 minutes straight, without speaking. Two minutes in I started crying my eyes out. I didn’t know what the hell was going on. This person across from me didn’t do anything but smile at me, so why was I crying?! The remaining five minutes I continued to cry. My partner didn’t say anything verbally, but the way he looked at me while I was crying was very comforting. Once the round ended, we didn’t exchange names or ask each other where we were camping; we only exchanged a hug and I said: “Thank you!” Afterwards. It felt as if a weight had lifted off of my shoulders. All of the fear and anxiety I had towards the rest of my Burn had evaporated and I realized I just had to let the week happen. I embraced every little thing that happened: every stranger that talked to me, smiled at me, or wanted to hug me, each failed plan, all of the dust storms and cold nights.. I embraced it all.

Once the Burn was over, I tried to take that same mentality home and embrace the things that life threw my way. As a result, I met many beautiful people that inspire, encourage and love me. I’ve managed to broaden my horizon and accept new things and elements in my life. I’ve made life-changing decisions and I am proud of how I’ve managed to let things just happen. Finally, I can say that life has been way more exciting since that first Burn, and I can’t wait to see what lessons I’ll be learning this year.

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