Regaining the lost spark?

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Ano
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Regaining the lost spark?

Post by Ano » Mon Sep 14, 2015 10:46 am

Mods, feel free to move this if needed. Not sure if this is the best place for it, but I tried, I swear!

Here I am, Monday morning in the office. I still have huge scabs in my nostrils from where the playa ravaged them, my left index finger is painfully numb for some reason, same with my big toes, my apartment is a ravaged mess of playafied laundry, playafied LEDs, playafied everything, my truck is a mess, my dry skin is just finally recovering, and I'm finally able to put sentences together after ten days of silly shit in a desert.

All of that aside, I had a really strange and mediocre year in the dust. I could tell you all about it, but it doesn't matter, because I'm sitting here after five years of Burning Man wondering, is it worth it anymore? All of these minor injuries I have to recover from, the long weekends full of cleaning alkaline dust (my apartment practically has a layer of playa on the floor right now), the thousands of dollars I seem to spend every year despite telling myself I'm backing off, the long hours volunteering for people who don't seem to care, the regional group I'm a part of that is tearing itself apart, the camp drama I'm tired of dealing with, the out-of-camp drama I'm tired of dealing with, the infrastructure I need to replace, and not to mention the 26-year-old-depending-on-his-parents-for-burning-man-storage-in-the-garage embarrassment... I'm tired of coming home from this desert thing and being non-functional for a week afterwards.

For those of you who have lost the spark, for whatever reason, what did you do to re-kindle it? I miss the feeling I got when I came from my first burn, where I was invigorated and excited for the future... right now I'm just thinking, fuck, a week on a beach sounds nice. Back off of commitments? Double down on commitments? Take on a new and insane project? Pay a turnkey $1000 to do it all for me?

I just want my spark back.

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Re: Regaining the lost spark?

Post by Elderberry » Mon Sep 14, 2015 10:58 am

Haha... I think that's all normal for all of us at one time or another. Hell, every year there is at least one time my partner and I say 'never again'. And here we are--already planning for next year!!! (We haven't even gotten everything cleaned up and packed away yet!)

I think that one of the things we have realized is that, as organizers of a camp, we can't take as much time with our personal needs, and have to find another way to make ourselves comfortable rather than spending all of that time building our little home. Also, letting go of some responsibilities and delegating them to others is a big part of the answer.

But looking back--especially after the first night in Reno--it is always worth the time and effort.

I'll be surprised if you feel the same way in a week or two or three!

BTW Ever think of bringing the parents?
JK
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Ano
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Re: Regaining the lost spark?

Post by Ano » Mon Sep 14, 2015 11:10 am

Brought them in 2013. It was a blast! They only came for a few days but it was fun to let them see what it is that drives me crazy. It's also part of why they let me use them for storage... they get it! :D Still feel a bit bad that half of the garage is a playafied mess. They basically store our theme camp.

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nilasnake
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Re: Regaining the lost spark?

Post by nilasnake » Mon Sep 14, 2015 2:43 pm

Bman 2015

I think I’m done with it
But don’t want to say never
After 15 consecutive years
I get it
All my friends are burners
I already live in Nevada
So that desert is not the draw
The art and friends are
The creativity is
The sense of community
But I can find that in reno
And other places
I don’t need to suffer the dust
The ticket freakiness
The packing and interminable unpacking with
All the cleaning
It’s exhausting
It’s never been just a party for me
never did the self-exploration part
I’m me
And burningman made me feel like
There are a lot of others like me
I am not alone
We are everywhere.

--nilasnake

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oscillator
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Re: Regaining the lost spark?

Post by oscillator » Mon Sep 14, 2015 2:47 pm

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Savannah
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Re: Regaining the lost spark?

Post by Savannah » Mon Sep 14, 2015 3:10 pm

Ano wrote:Mods, feel free to move this if needed. Not sure if this is the best place for it, but I tried, I swear!

Here I am, Monday morning in the office. I still have huge scabs in my nostrils from where the playa ravaged them, my left index finger is painfully numb for some reason, same with my big toes, my apartment is a ravaged mess of playafied laundry, playafied LEDs, playafied everything, my truck is a mess, my dry skin is just finally recovering, and I'm finally able to put sentences together after ten days of silly shit in a desert.

All of that aside, I had a really strange and mediocre year in the dust. I could tell you all about it, but it doesn't matter, because I'm sitting here after five years of Burning Man wondering, is it worth it anymore? All of these minor injuries I have to recover from, the long weekends full of cleaning alkaline dust (my apartment practically has a layer of playa on the floor right now), the thousands of dollars I seem to spend every year despite telling myself I'm backing off, the long hours volunteering for people who don't seem to care, the regional group I'm a part of that is tearing itself apart, the camp drama I'm tired of dealing with, the out-of-camp drama I'm tired of dealing with, the infrastructure I need to replace, and not to mention the 26-year-old-depending-on-his-parents-for-burning-man-storage-in-the-garage embarrassment... I'm tired of coming home from this desert thing and being non-functional for a week afterwards.

For those of you who have lost the spark, for whatever reason, what did you do to re-kindle it? I miss the feeling I got when I came from my first burn, where I was invigorated and excited for the future... right now I'm just thinking, fuck, a week on a beach sounds nice. Back off of commitments? Double down on commitments? Take on a new and insane project? Pay a turnkey $1000 to do it all for me?

I just want my spark back.
Only you can decide what is right, but from the outside, Ano, it sounds like you're doing way, way too much and that this is a familiar pattern for you (is it?) . . . so this will be easier said than done.

I would suggest you gently take a few weeks off before you Burn out completely and become a flouncy part of the drama you despise. Burn no bridges and make no major decisions, and focus on repairing your brain, sleep schedule, and skin. :) Give your hair a hot oil treatment. Coat your hands and feet in a tub of Cerave creme or Dr. Palmer's solid cocoa butter. Put some tiny thin dabs of neosporin in your nostrils.

It's hard going cold turkey from drama and bureaucracy (some would call it "order", but sometimes that's just an illusion), so you might resolve something like, "I will open camp emails once a week on Sundays, after coffee & breakfast". Or something similar; I think you know what I mean. The only exceptions should be truly time-sensitive--if you owe someone money they need back right away, or you have possession of their camp gear or they yours and you need to schedule a hand-off.

If people come at you with anything that can wait (and almost ALL of it can) say: "I'm decompressing for a week or two; I could use a little rest." Repeat as needed. Like a broken record. You don't need a better reason. And it should be enough for most people. If anyone persists, you don't need to change your reason just because some folks can't listen, or don't respect boundaries. Repeat yourself and then slip out of the conversation.

If people are agitating about leadership or a yearly playa debriefing or whatever, that stuff can (& should) wait a few weeks. Most of us are surrounded by bins and dust and are trying to just do laundry and return to work acting like we still remember our passwords and responsibilities. It is not a humane time of year to engage in bullshit, and someone has to admit it, to at least himself. Might as well be you.

. . . I am reminded of the first 8-hour windstorm in Burn 2008. Folks down the street were spinning a bottle of whiskey on the playa for hours, and swigging out of it. (It was not a very complicated game). After an hour of this I told everybody "I'm going to take a break from this game so I don't get too hammered". They made fun of me relentlessly for a minute or two . . . but not one of them played the game without me. Why? They were secretly all relieved as hell to get a break, right along with me. :lol:

By the time you've had 2+ weeks to think about it you may not even want to get into it anymore; you may decide your current milieu is not a good fit, or that certain things should be let go.
*** 2018 Survival Guide ***

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171/348
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Re: Regaining the lost spark?

Post by 171/348 » Mon Sep 14, 2015 5:05 pm

Try taking a year off.
Doesn't take long to realize it was a horrible horrible mistake.

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Re: Regaining the lost spark?

Post by chiefdanfox » Mon Sep 14, 2015 9:29 pm

I have exactly the project you need. Nothing but hardship, regret and blisters. You will gladly redeem the last two for the former. Burning Man started as a bonfire. It has turned into a forge. Some of us keep looking to the Man for reason and inspiration, some of us know the Man looks to us to add fuel. There is no leadership into the next, there is only velocity, gravity and impact. The biggest crater wins.

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Re: Regaining the lost spark?

Post by gaminwench » Mon Sep 14, 2015 9:41 pm

pure poetry, Chief.

Thank you.

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Re: Regaining the lost spark?

Post by Eric » Mon Sep 14, 2015 11:19 pm

Ano wrote:For those of you who have lost the spark, for whatever reason, what did you do to re-kindle it? I miss the feeling I got when I came from my first burn, where I was invigorated and excited for the future... right now I'm just thinking, fuck, a week on a beach sounds nice.
Take the week on the beach if that's where your fancy leads. Seriously. If this isn't fun anymore, what's the point? Forcing yourself to go isn't going to make it more fun, and desperately trying to relight a spark that's gone out is just going to depress you. A year off might rekindle everything, or it might let you know that it's time for a longer break.

That said, I fully support Savannah's prescription. Give yourself some time before making decisions. This year was hard as fuck on a lot of people (I've said it elsewhere, but by Weds this was honestly going to be my last year, come Sunday and I was having one of the best days I've ever had out there). I'm still battered by the year, sick as a dog, and have done fuck-all towards my post-playa cleaning, but I'm pretty damn sure I'll be there next year.
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Re: Regaining the lost spark?

Post by GreyCoyote » Tue Sep 15, 2015 5:49 am

Packing to leave BRC I had convinced myself (yet again) that all this monkey-motion and infrastructure just wasnt gonna happen again. I was DONE with it. Nothing has a shelf-life on the playa. Grumble-mumble-groan.

Halfway to the pavement the exodous line started pulsing and I found myself writing Next Years List. Oy...

We are salmon. Driven by forces we dont understand to go home, covering thousands of miles, avoiding the bears, sleeping in little pockets of calm behind rocks... only to conduct the yearly mating dance and then be washed lifelessly back out to sea.

Except i note tyat salmon are smarter than people. They dont need dust masks. :mrgreen:
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Re: Regaining the lost spark?

Post by AntiM » Tue Sep 15, 2015 6:40 am

I need to clear the kitchen table so I can begin painting again. Is it all for next year? Oh yeah, mostly.

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Re: Regaining the lost spark?

Post by theCryptofishist » Tue Sep 15, 2015 12:13 pm

Eric wrote:
Ano wrote:For those of you who have lost the spark, for whatever reason, what did you do to re-kindle it? I miss the feeling I got when I came from my first burn, where I was invigorated and excited for the future... right now I'm just thinking, fuck, a week on a beach sounds nice.
Take the week on the beach if that's where your fancy leads. Seriously. If this isn't fun anymore, what's the point? Forcing yourself to go isn't going to make it more fun, and desperately trying to relight a spark that's gone out is just going to depress you. A year off might rekindle everything, or it might let you know that it's time for a longer break.
Emphasis mine
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Simon of the Playa
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Re: Regaining the lost spark?

Post by Simon of the Playa » Tue Sep 15, 2015 2:48 pm

I just want my spark back.


there are pills for that.
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Re: Regaining the lost spark?

Post by A-RockLeFrench » Tue Sep 15, 2015 3:29 pm

I just want my sparkle back.


there are pills for that.


But seriously though, what 171/348 said. Consider taking next year off. I got home in 2014 feeling very similar to the way you describe. We made the decision to take 2015 off as we were leaving the playa. All I can say now is that we are going bigger than ever for 2016...

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Re: Regaining the lost spark?

Post by Meat Hunter » Tue Sep 15, 2015 5:21 pm

At age 71 and facing another hard nine day solo round trip drive next year, this may have been my last year.

What is normally a 4.5 day drive, turned into 6 days. The return drive this year hurt me really bad.

On the bright side, I was able to attend two Burns and for this I am very grateful.
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Re: Regaining the lost spark?

Post by Isotopia » Tue Sep 15, 2015 8:26 pm


Only you can decide what is right, but from the outside, Ano, it sounds like you're doing way, way too much and that this is a familiar pattern for you (is it?) . . . so this will be easier said than done.
Such a perfect, swoon-worthy post.

Spot on advice.

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Re: Regaining the lost spark?

Post by some seeing eye » Tue Sep 15, 2015 9:50 pm

We are animals all. We take in experience one end and poop it the other. The good human thing is to poop politely. Same with other waste. And you ate the food, your choice.

Renewing, bring virgins you think might fit, and record their experiences.
increasing the signal to noise ratio with compassion

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Re: Regaining the lost spark?

Post by Ano » Wed Sep 16, 2015 12:53 pm

I want to thank everyone for the replies. It has given me some things to think about.
Only you can decide what is right, but from the outside, Ano, it sounds like you're doing way, way too much and that this is a familiar pattern for you (is it?) . . . so this will be easier said than done.
Yeah, I have a tendency to go "Thing? THING! I WANT MORE OF THE THING!" and take on huge amounts of responsibility. When I joined Gate, I was thinking, "A shift here or there would be fun!" and now I always do 6+ per year, including nonstop rotating shifts during EA and some during exodus. I spearheaded my camp because I had a loose association of friends all looking for something, and I wanted to create the something, and I always tend to adopt a virgin every year because I want more people to experience BRC as I did, and I want to foster the growth of proper Burning Man culture rather than the "WOO HOO PARTY COACHELLA DESERT 2016!" kind of shit (even if I do "sparkle" quite a bit out there...)
I would suggest you gently take a few weeks off
On it ;)
Try taking a year off.
Doesn't take long to realize it was a horrible horrible mistake.
Yeah, FOMO is a bitch. This is why I'm seeking a rekindling - I honestly can't see myself replacing my time in BRC with anything else. Although I fantasize about a week at an all-inclusive resort in Cabo, or going to Phish NYE, or maybe even attending an easy music festival (or four!) with the only worry being "Gee, what do I want to hear today?"... there's something about the 6 hour white-outs I experience in the lanes and the corralling of my sparkleponies and the moment when my now-non-virgin friend turns to me during the Man Burn and thanks me profusely for the past few months that keeps me going. There's something about those Robot Heart sunrises (as terrible as the crowd is), those deep playa bike adventures, the moment when I ride up to the new art piece I just discovered while playing "oooh, shiny!" and finding out that it's a regurgitator, or the moment riding in the back streets and finding a bike course, or somehow drinking a ridiculous amount of alcohol over the span of a week and never getting hungover... hm....
I have exactly the project you need. Nothing but hardship, regret and blisters. You will gladly redeem the last two for the former. Burning Man started as a bonfire. It has turned into a forge. Some of us keep looking to the Man for reason and inspiration, some of us know the Man looks to us to add fuel. There is no leadership into the next, there is only velocity, gravity and impact. The biggest crater wins.
I like this. Also, if you're serious about a project and it's in Oakland, CA or closeby... well.. get at me... I want things, for some horrible masochistic reason.
Take the week on the beach if that's where your fancy leads. Seriously. If this isn't fun anymore, what's the point? Forcing yourself to go isn't going to make it more fun, and desperately trying to relight a spark that's gone out is just going to depress you. A year off might rekindle everything, or it might let you know that it's time for a longer break.
I don't know why the lack of fun bothers me so much. I can sit here and remember all of these individual moments of brilliance, especially from this year, but something is pushing me away. I just really want it to be different, I guess?
there are pills for that.
Not quite my preferred method, but I can't deny the effectiveness. Hey man, want a massage? What's your name? Are we best friends now? Wanna go adventuring? Whoa, this music is great. Holy shit these lights! Whoa, I love Burning Man! The bass!
Renewing, bring virgins you think might fit, and record their experiences.
I think this is something that really effected me this year. Four years in a row I've adopted a virgin(s) and three years in a row the virgin has grown to be something spectacular. My first virgin is my girlfriend and she works gate/co-runs our camp with me. My second virgin just did the ultramarathon this year, now works gate, and is one of the leads in his theme camp who stayed three days late cleaning up his camp of 60%ish virgins. My third and fourth virgin are a couple who now head up the MOOPing of camp, and they do daily passes throughout the city and end up bringing home multiple garbage bags full. They've also begun the process of now adopting virgins. My fifth, six, and seventh virgins were all fantastic, although #6 and #7 are no longer friends for weird unrelated reasons. Drama. Virgin #8... this year... was the bad one. She did not take to the event at all, caused massive camp drama, and left three days in, cutting short the trip of ex-virgin #5, who was one of my favorite virgins from 2014 because I pretty much melted his brain on multiple evenings and we mutually helped each other get over the death of a good friend last year. She was utterly draining this year to a point of insanity. Pure insanity. Like, throwing things in camp, trying to purposefully break our structures, yelling at 5 in the morning, getting upset at the camp taking sparkle supplements even though she knew damn well going into it we had a schedule, insanity.... bleh. I don't want to think about it.

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