On *not* going to Burning Man

As I sit here in my neighborhood coffee shop in Portland, OR, there are 60,000 plus people gathered in the Nevada dessert celebrating creativity, community, art and radical self expression — yep, pretty much all my favorite things.  I do not hesitate to say that these lucky people are attending the best party on Earth right now and that party is called Burning Man.


When I close my eyes and let my mind drift, I can *almost* feel the dust and sun on my skin.  This memory is deep in my bones and quick in my mind because for the past seven years in a row I have been among those colorful celebrating humans in the desert— but not this year.

Ever since I discovered the wonders of the ‘playa’ in 2006, I have made this journey part of my yearly ritual.  For me, it’s a spiritual pilgrimage of sorts and one that I look forward to all year long.  In fact, I’ve never *not* considered going on this journey.  It was there in that minimal moonscape that I found lost parts of myself, learned to love my body, discovered how much I love to dance, fell in love, fell out of love, fell in love with myself and experienced what it’s like to live in a city of artists, community builders and radical thinkers.  It was in Black Rock City that…

I found my people. 

I could probably wax poetic for the rest of the day about why I love Burning Man so much and why you should probably make a point of getting there at least once in your lifetime, but I am going to resist.  Instead, I’m going to tell you why I’m sitting here in this coffee shop wearing yoga pants and a sweatshirt instead of climbing an epic piece of art in the middle of the desert wearing a bikini and biker boots.


It pretty much comes down a feeling of fulfillment — a feeling of actually living the principles of Burning Man every single day of my life these days and not needing to go somewhere else to find them.  Although a trip to Burning Man would likely inspire me in ways I can’t imagine, I’m pretty sure in my current state of FULL, it would also leave me feeling exhausted and overwhelmed.  Thus…the coffee shop.

All week, while the burners have been playing, cracking open and becoming new versions of themselves, I’ve been rejoicing in my most beloved simple pleasures:  riding my bicycle, going to yoga class, cooking soup, taking baths and snuggling with my sweetie.  I’ve also been writing up a storm, preparing for my next (and super updated) online course and plotting my return to Mexico and Bali.  Basically, I’ve been taking care of business…and taking care of me.

I have to say there is still a little piece of my heart out there in the desert this week, but all those Burning Man feelings of freedom, joy, expansion and connection are also residing softly in my heart right here at home.  It just feels  *SO GOOD* to roll gracefully with the current state of my perpetually changing life —- to know when to hold em and know when to fold em, if you will. (thanks Kenny).

But don’t get me wrong, I have a pretty strong hunch I will be returning to my beloved biker boots and dusty skin again next year.  Perhaps I’ll see you there?





xo flora


  1. This post is outstanding. I have never been to burning man even though I live in Nevada. Maybe someday……

  2. I try to get my head around what burning man is like.. I think the closest I can come is Oregon Country Fair…

  3. Thank you for sharing Flora! Enjoy your writings so much and look forward to your new online class. I was in your Sept. 2012 class and you led me to painting. I am now taking class from Whitney Freya and will paint with Tracy Verdugo in Austin in November. What a creative connection I have made with you three fabulous souls. Look forward to painting in person with you one day!

  4. Be here now Flora! Happy for you being so happy.

  5. I’m not going either, but I did have a dream about being there last night. I went 6 times in total- the last time I went, I left after just one day. I realized I loved the place and all my times there, but I didnt need to go anymore. I liken it to graduating. So glad its part of me now as my Alma Mater. In order to make room for new people to go and experience it, I think its good for folks to take a break from it. I always thought the scramble to buy tickets before they sold out and then see the tickets later selling for 5 times as much was always a little anti-thematic and essentially opposite of the true ethos of the gathering. cool blog post! thanks, Flora!

  6. I love this Flora, so great to read after hanging with you this afternoon!! oxo

  7. That was a surprise to read you weren`t going after reading about your experiences other years. It brought tears to my eyes when I found out why. I have been feeling the same way, feeling I don`t need to go somewhere else, and do, or seek. I have found what I was looking for . But I watch as my friends still go to Yoga festivals ,and long trips to Peru so that they can be so far away ,that their Soul finally has their attention and time. What I was seeking was clear communication with my Soul, to live with my intuition flowing . I am in it, now here. Love to you and thank you for sharing that.

  8. Such a timely post for me. Like, Melanee I too have places I go to find that feeling of deep connection and peace. But this year I’ve been staying home and looking for it in my everyday life. Sometimes it’s hard to find but I know it’s always there hiding beneath my personal thinking. It’s quite a journey to get beyond the “missing something” voices but it’s been amazing how many beautiful unplanned adventures I’ve had because I stayed at home.

  9. Love this. This is what it’s about. Bringing it home, making it a way of life daily, letting it permeate your movements, flow, decisions, collaborations, impressions and offerings. The energy is alive right where you are… And we get to be pioneers of a bigger transformation by Living this. Beautiful reflection, Flora.

  10. Beautiful post. Thank you for sharing your experience of living in the now.

  11. I think your reasons for not going to Burning Man are amazing. I envy you that – that the spirit of Burning Man is “residing softly in my heart right here at home”. Lovely, thoughtful post.

  12. ha! i still want to go there. at least once in my life. and other places too. still searching then. and still enjoying that journey. so be it.

  13. Where I live we have FloydFest (Google it!) and I feel so blessed to carry with me that spirit of joyousness now, as you are finding Burning Man within. It has changed my life to have such a feeling of integration! Love your “stuff!” Painted and otherwise! Big smile!

  14. I was planning on *not* going to BRC this year, but a close friend who was diagnosed with stage4 cancer was determined to return to the playa – so we went and had the BEST burn EVER! The whole ephemeral creative and chaotic bliss filled dusty dance has once again nourished my creative soul. AND – at the same time – I can totally understand NOT going and finding that nourishment in my everyday life. I know that I will find myself there again, even when I think I don’t need to go. Bali and Mexico are just as compelling – Enjoy!!

  15. Lovely post. I myself am a 4 time burner, who’s on the fence about whether or not to go this year. I really would love to be in the dust, partying with all the precious friends I’ve made there over the years and being one with the earth, as this is what has given me so much love and joy in the past and helped me change and evolve my life. But there is something holding me back… mainly that last year i fell in love at BM and that relationship sadly ended 3 months ago, which lead me to the decision to leave the States (I’m Australian and was living & working in NYC) and go to Bali to do my yoga teacher training course which starts mid July and ends just before BM starts. Now, i could find a ticket and book a flight and make it all happen, which so much of me wants to do, but the other part of me is telling me to sit this one out and stay in Bali in definitely. You and the other comments talk about having found a feeling of fulfillment which is why you didn’t go last year. I guess I’m not there yet, but I’m aiming and really hoping that i will feel that way after my YTT course rather than experiencing FOMO. Any advice, or words of wisdom?

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