I have wanted to attend Burning Man since 2003. It just took much longer to get there than I thought. That year, I was too busy getting my life out of the gutter to attend yet another party in the desert. The next year I got pregnant, which is an automatic 3-5 year hiatus on all things new, wild and fun. (ok, often self imposed hiatus but still) Then we started a business, nearly lost our son, started another business, watched our son graduate, got involved with our daughters softball and on and on with the mundane activities of daily life. ho hum, ho hum. Until this year. This year, I WAS GOING. This year, NO MATTER WHAT. I reserved an RV, I bought a bike, I made costumes, I had a camp of friends we named our camp and had camp meetings, we made lists and planned things, we send group emails and texts, we were going – except for one teeny tiny hiccup. I didnt have tickets.
I have been told that when Burning Man calls you, you go. That if you are meant to be there, you will get there. I am a big believer in these types of ideas: fantastical faith, unwavering optimism, crazed conviction. Yep, all me. Sometimes, I just know what I know and I knew, I WAS GOING. There are several reactions when you tell people you are going to Burning Man. 1.) the What the Heck Is That (for those who have never even heard of it- if this is you please Google it, prepare to be mind blown) 2.) the Why the Heck Would You Do That (for those who have heard only a little of it and are terrified of what they have heard -if this is you please Google it and prepare an open mind) 3.) the Wow You Are Gonna Have A Great Time (for those who have been or those who want to go – if this is you, you rock, you’re my people) Finally there’s the one I got most 5.) How the Heck Are You So Sure You Are Going When You Don’t Even Have Tickets (for ye of little faith – if this is you keep reading). Number 5 is the hardest one to deal with as it was a constant reminder that I didn’t have entry to the one place I was sure I was meant to be but I dealt with it.
I dealt with the fact I was not shelling out the cost of presale tickets, I dealt with the stumbling blocks of not getting tickets in February when the regular tickets all went on sale to the general public. I dealt with the Burning Man forum boards on E-Playa that broker tickets but had no luck finding regular priced tickets. I dealt with the hordes of scammers on Craigslist preying on other hopeful dreamers like me. I dealt with it all, but it was exhausting. Keeping faith alive when all outside indicators point towards “you are cuckoo if you think this is still possible” but that’s usually when I shine. This was no exception. I was frustrated but not willing to give up. I mean, c’mon I have walked through Hell on Earth, I have witnessed miracles, scoring tickets should be no problem-o. I redoubled my efforts, I changed my phones home screen to an image of tickets. Every time I opened my phone I said ” thank you God for our tickets to Burning Man” and I meant it.
I still had one concrete, real world, non-magical hope though. I still had a chance of getting tickets during the OMG sale in August (the last chance, dump of 1000 or so tickets only a few weeks before the event). The night before the sale I had a dream, in my dream there was a clock counting down till 12:00pm when the ticket sale started. 11:50am – I was on my computer and trying to make sure the server was up, 11:55am checking that all the settings were right on my computer, 11:57am – I woke up bolt straight in my bed. It was the middle of the night, still dark out, which is weird because I never wake up in the middle of the night. Not for dreams, not for Earthquakes or Thunderstorms. I just dont, but I did that morning right before the OMG sale. The next day the sale came and I didn’t get tickets, I thought I had, the screen said tickets but they turned out to only be “ticket” donations to the Burning Man organization which felt a little like a bait and switch and I was highly agitated by that.
After the OMG sale/ticket donation SNAFU my confidence wavered. I mean, I was going, right? I did know, right? Then what the heck? Where were my tickets? I will admit it, I cried. I cried after the OMG Sale, I rode my bike down to the beach and cried. I called my husband and I cried frustrated tears of months of pent up angst. I cried tears of “how can this be when I have had so much faith in this”. I cried because he said, “well there’s always next year”. Then I stopped crying and rode back towards my office on a random side street in my sleepy little beach town and I saw this little old man walking through his front gate and I slowed because I love little old men and he nodded hello to me and then I noticed the little chalk board, stuck in some plants in the patio of his house and it said in all caps, “Are you exhauted trying to remain strong?” and I cried a little more. I was “exhauted”, I was exhausted too. Having faith is exhausting sometimes.
That night, the night of the OMG sale I, the one who sleeps through everything, she who never, ever wakes up, for anything, sleeps like the dead, hates all alarms – woke up in the middle of the night, again. The sky was still dark outside my windows and inside my heart was a little dark as well. I laid there and let the tears slip from my eyes and roll down my cheeks as I thought about Burning Man. I said a little prayer, I released all doubt and fears about it. I wiped my eyes with the heels of my palms, rolled over and grabbed my phone to see what time it was. It was early, around 2:45am.
I get these “notes from the Universe” via email. (If you haven’t heard of http://www.tut.com/inspiration/nftu check it out, it’s awesome.) My note from August 6th read:
From here, of course, all earthly problems appear small – really small. That’s because we know they’re fleeting, they prepare you for the “best of your life,” and you chose them, not wanting to obtain their rewards in any other way.
But from where you are, of course, they can look gigantic. That’s because they’re often seen as permanent, limiting, and imposed upon you by chance, fate, or circumstance.
Jolissa, get real. See them from our perspective.
To the best of your life starting right now,
“Not wanting to obtain their rewards in any other way,” Jolissa. Totally sounds like you.
Weird, right? Getting that Note, just as I am crying about my “gigantic earthly” problem. I chuckled a little to my self, this was not the first time The Universe had sent me the exact message I needed at the exact time I needed it. I WAS going to Burning Man, not in some easy way like everyone else, not in the usual bought my tickets through a regular sale kinda way. No, I was going in my way. The way of faith and hope and magic. With my conviction restored and my eyes still burning from tears and bleary from the predawn hour, I logged in to E-Playa to check the boards yet again and there was Jack and his freshly posted, no replies yet, 2 regular price tickets. I answered immediately and he called me right back. He was in Turkey enjoying a lovely day and I in L.A. ecstatic to be awake at 3am. We chatted and made plans for Pay Pal transfers and social media connections. I told him I would take him with us and I did.
In the end, it all worked out. We made it to Black Rock City. Our entire group, we volunteered at 88NV the Burning Man airport, we faced the dust and biting cold, we had an adventure. Isn’t that how life always goes though? Just when you think hope is lost, just when you are down and out, there is a breathe of hope that sweeps in and changes everything. I plan on going back to Burning Man and hopefully with out the flair of drama that this year required. I plan on seeing and doing more, both on the playa and off. I plan on a lot of new, amazing magical adventures but as I know all too well, life is what happens when you are busy making plans and regardless of my plans, I know that God has one heck of a plan for me. He might even email me about it.