With only a few weeks until I am bound for Black Rock City it is hard not to think about Home. This year (as is always the case) will be different from years past. I am a different person, I am going with different people, camping in a different place, and everyone that will be there is facing the same changes from the last time we united on the Playa. This year I will be going with my partner, it is her first time, and I find myself thinking a lot about what my expectations are for Burning Man… which is of course very dangerous.
When I committed to going my virgin year I was crazy excited and became pretty obsessed with researching and preparing. My best friend, who was the one who introduced me to it, gave me some great advice: “You need to go to Burning Man with an open mind and heart, it is okay to hope for certain things and to focus on certain aspects like art or intimacy or spirituality, but you can’t have expectations. If you expect certain things you will be disappointed”. When you really think about it an “expectation” is simply an assumption about the future, and when you make assumptions that involve factors out of your control and you give up your emotions, happiness, and your experiences to someone else.
I think some expectations are reasonable. I should buy food because I expect to be hungry tomorrow…. I should save money because I expect to go on my yearish long bike ride in April… but to expectations should be managed. Burning Man will have 65,000 or so people spread across the desert and each of these individual entities will be filled with their own passions, energy, hopes, ideas, and emotions. To expect certain experiences with that many moving parts is foolish, unwise, and immoral (it is viewing others as means to an end).
So, with a partner by my side there are more experiences available to me, particularly anything that involves intimate encounters, but I must tame expectations and instead leave the default world with openness. Expectations are blinders that cause us to focus prematurely, and when we are overly focused on something we often miss other opportunities that are right in front of our faces. I expect to go Home (which might be a dangerous assumption as well), but once I am there I will try to commit myself to the moment and know that if my heart and mind are open it will be as life changing as ever… and hopefully I can bring some of that magic to my everyday life again.