The Temple, Burning Man 2012

Sep 25, 2012
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Photo by Roger McKeever

The Temple, Burning Man 2012
 -Roger McKeever

After a wild and whooly summer of fun and transformation I have re-emerged with new inspirations, fresh perspectives and a brand new season of The Spandananda Show.  Plus, The Sacred Tremor Collage Project is back to help you stay committed to your intentions.  And, in honor of Season Two's first episode, an originally designed Neti Pothead T-Shirt is for sale for a limited time offer!

I spent 10 days this summer with 52,000 people at Burning Man breathing, eating and wearing playa dust.  Guess what's the first thing I did when I got home?  I took a very long, hot shower.  Guess what's the second thing I did?  I filled up my neti-pot and doused the inside of my nose!  I've never been so happy to place that cool porcelain spout on my nostrils, tilt my head to the side and feel the warm rush of saline pour through the nasal passageways.  Instant relief!

This was my first time at Burning Man.  Upon arrival at the gate the ticket taker asked me to remove all of my clothes and make "snow" angels in the dust.  I knew immediately that I was home.  It was 10 days of being with people who like to live at the ends of the their imaginations... and their comfort zone.

Out of all the experiences I had at Burning Man perhaps the one that stands out the most to me in this moment is The Temple (pictured above).  It's a sanctuary built to hold people's sorrow, anguish and suffering.  On the outside people write their ache on the walls-- loss of loved ones, break-ups, wrong-doings, pleas for foregiveness, etc..  Inside there is a huge altar in the center where people place their sacred objects- photos, ashes, and memorablia.  On my first visit to The Temple I cried uncontrollably as I circled the outside, and  then looked inside to witness a room full of people expressing their unexpressed or unresolved grief.

I realized that I carry around a lot of unexpressed grief, as well.  We all do.  We live in a culture that isn't comfortable with sorrow, sadness, loss and grief.  How many times have you said or has someone said to you, "Now, now.  Don't cry," when crying is probably what is most needed.  So we hide it, push it down, pretend things don't hurt, and squeak out a tear only when it's appropriate or when we are alone.  Our sorrow is as much a part of our beauty and strength as our joy.  In fact, they are to an extent, inseparable.  We can not have the full extent of one with out fully expressing the other.

So.  Here's to crying, to pounding our fists, to wailing, to sobbing, to expressing our sorrow and loss no matter how small or how large.  Here's to throwing our hands in the air, to shouting, to celebrating, to not holding back our laughter, to the courage it takes to shine when the world around us tries to dim our light.  Here's to all of it..