Radical Inclusion and Building a Better World
I am reflecting and decompressing from a transformational week at Burning Nest, the UK Burning Man.
Of all the communities I find myself floating around in, this is the one that resonates with me most. Various places, parties and events I go to I may question, do I belong here, is this my scene? I love trying out all the scenes to be fair, I am very curious! However, I do question wherever I am, am I creative enough to be here, am I spiritual enough for this conscious event, am I cool enough, or am I hippy enough, am I open-minded and body aware enough? Or am I posh and clever enough for this event, or bad-ass and savvy for that event. Or am I culturally queer enough to be allowed at this particular event? Am I dressed appropriately, saying & doing the right things for this proposed event, am I cracking the right jokes? Do I really truly belong in <insert community> or am I faking it? You see though, at a burn, EVERYONE is accepted, as part of one of the principles of radical inclusion. No matter what age you are, where you are from, what you believe in, whatever your sexuality is, if you are neurodivergent, rich or poor, loud or quiet, even if you don’t like to party, you go for the camping and go to bed before midnight, you are welcome. I am so welcome even though my build skills are zilch, practically useless in building the infrastructure. But yet I am welcomed in. It might be your first burn or your 15th, we are all mixed up together. You may come for the surreal eccentricities you will find, or you just want to gift away your hand-made finger puppets, or you want to chat to new interesting people from all walks of life round the camp fire, or you want to have an erotic encounter, or you want to release any trapped emotions and have a cathartic release through the various rituals you can take part in. You can come for any reason and have a glorious experience, and often not the experience you intended. They say you don’t get the burn you want, you get the burn you need. If you like to dress like a different gender, or wear plain clothes, or dress up in a glamorous cocktail dress, or as a troll for the Troll Bar, or walk around in your birthday suit… or even wear a 3rd leg… you are totally accepted. And complete and total acceptance is at the core of love.
I belong at a burn. I am a burner!
And everyone else is so so welcome at a burn too, as long as you abide by the Burning Man principles, and of course consent is absolutely key.
I have been burning since 2016 and it is my soul education, it is responsible for my awakening on many levels. There is always so much more to life than meets the eye, it blows my mind with every year I live on this magical planet. I wish I could digest the mysteries of life through reading books, you know stay out of trouble at home, me and my book whilst drinking a cup of tea, but I know that I need to somatically experience things to assist with my soul learning. I learn from a transfer of energy from human to human, and being out in nature. I feel this is what our ancestors did, when we lived in communities and more connected to the land, it feels right.
This week I have felt so loved and accepted for me in all my various forms. From opportunities to perform and facilitate, to revealing my very silly side, to my sexy dancing side, wearing various random costumes, to my invented workshops where people embraced themselves in their weird and wonderfulness. I was even encouraged to explore my High Priestess archetype by holding a solemn ritual for the Temple Burn. I got into a hot tub with people at 2am who I didn’t know and realised I was talking far too much and apologised, and then I felt so accepted when they said ‘we love listening to Radio Iona, tell us more stories’, haha. It is so wonderful to be able to explore all these parts of me. And when I run out of energy, to be accepted as a mute blob in a cuddle puddle of love, needing to be recharged by oxytocin. And I equally loved everyone back too, all the spectrum of human beings I encountered.
I feel like I have this incredible soul tribe around me, supporting me on my path. Everyone is a teacher to me, or I am a teacher to them. They accept me in all my various forms, and I accept and support them back. We all lift each other up and contribute to each other’s evolution, wherever we are at.
But most of all at this burn I have realised that my life does have a purpose. I have a calling. It would be way easier if we could see what the future holds, like a typical career ladder you can just follow step by step, climbing up each year, knowing there is a safety net at the end. Unfortunately my life is not as simple as that, and it is intimidating that I do not know what is in store in my future. All I can do is live each day one at a time and tune into my intuition about how I need to be showing up in the world, what roles I need to contribute in the wider society, what lessons my soul needs to learn next, follow my curiosity and flow into who I am supposed to be. Going on a journey to get closer to who I am, and keep radiating out my essence. Participate in the default world to the best of my ability, and blast out my light. And give permission to others to have the courage to go on the journey, to express who they truly are too.
I sometimes want to shrug these thoughts aside, like I need to drop this ridiculous Messiah Complex about saving the world and making an impact, and just get back to the reality of the gritty default world. But I can’t help but feel like we are all here at a monumental time in humanity. We are here to birth a new age, to raise the consciousness, and I am on a path to assist with this transition. At Nest I could see I was surrounded by light workers, healers, visionaries, artists, musicians, DJ shamans, community leaders, system change activists, witches, wizards, storytellers and empaths: we are gathering the tribe. Through the power of the burn, we come together, to connect, and to collectively dream this new world into being. Yes we party together, we cook and eat together, we laugh together, we are totally ridiculous together, but SO MUCH MORE is happening on a soul level. Through the connections we make, we develop trust with one another, and we can use the power of the community to infiltrate out into the wider world and make an impact. I feel hopeful and empowered that we can change people’s minds and make the world a more loving, connected, conscious and enlightened place.