How do I summarize my recent experience in words that will catch attention spans of eyes scrolling to find nothing while avoiding everything? Firstly I will say expectations can be detrimental. I went on a true adventure this weekend. I flew to Utah, a state that this suburban East Coast material girl knew nothing about, to chase community and knowledge. I heard about the Building Man festival last year at another festival and was sold instantly. A zero impact, solar powered festival physically created out of recycled materials? This exists? My move to the West Coast had been validated once again.
My lover and I kickstarted a five weekend travel bender with this expedition. It was our one negotiable trip, yet we both felt the undeniable urge luring us to Utah. With few expectations, we arrived to the barren ranch littered with less than anticipated cars and our tilted heads and puzzled grins questioned our instincts. Our rented camper van bumped down the dusty dirt pass leading to a clearing surrounded by mammoth red-rock mountains. Stunning, yes, organized? We shall see.
I have attended numerous festivals and workshops and most of the time have emerged with emotional breakthroughs and lifelong lessons. This is why I flew two hours and drove four to the desert of Utah. We set up our camp and were pleasantly surprised by the comfort of our tie-dye tapestries glowing in the LED string lights we remembered to trek from San Francisco. Cozy home away from home, check.
We slept snuggly through the night on our foldable mattress and the sun woke us little after dawn. We caught the tail end of a lovely mindfulness talk which was followed by a yoga/chi gong class. Intensity grew as the sun's shade slipped away. I loved this class! I am recovering from a shattered pelvis and broken spine and I swear this energy work released a blockage in my pelvis. I felt something shift afterwards and my body still feels different today. ENERGY IS REAL PEOPLE!
We took a breakfast break and my partner and I split for the next workshops. I was attending a Law of Attraction talk in the large dome structure that was built from old pipes, fabric and used car parts. It was an impressive structure, however the talk was quite the opposite.
The facilitator was WASTED - drunk, hammered, plastered... I am not exaggerating. It is 12 noon and this woman is chugging a beer, slurring her words, bursting into tears rambling about her intuitive gifts and the crazy shit she has seen, oh and how she forgot her talk was this morning. I was extremely turned off. I snuck out feeling jilted. The festival was a bit chaotic, unorganized, and messy. Is this what I traveled 1000 miles for?
An amazing girl followed me out of the "workshop" and shared her disappointment which actually eased our anxiety. We had our "WTF" moment, laughed about it, and went on searching for answers about life and the Universe. We ended up spending the weekend together frolicking around the desert sharing personal histories, experiences, world philosophies and dance moves. Strangers can make some of the greatest friends.
As time progressed, I understood why I was called here. Although I walked into the weekend with an intentional open mind, I realize I had subliminal expectations. I envisioned attending workshops that would heal my body, emotional trauma, and expand my consciousness. I craved information; how to reduce waste, consume less or build a house out of tin cans ;). I desperately desired answers about sustainable living, tips to creating a better, safer, cleaner world.. but no one told me how to do any of it.
The truth is, life is chaotic, unorganized, and messy. This festival was created by a group of people like myself; humans, activists, attempting to make this world better but working within an infrastructure that is so broken yet so deeply embedded into our culture that nobody truly knows how to transform it. There is no guru who can tell us how to save the world. All we can do is appreciate our ONE planet, witness it's beauty and make small yet oh so significant choices towards consuming less and creating more with what we already have.
I received knowledge and connection I didn't know I was missing. My spirit yearned to reconnect with this beautiful earth that I try so hard to protect. I needed the wild desert sand in between my toes, up my nose and everywhere in between. I was caught in a sandstorm at the base of a million year old arid valley and was faced with the pure strength and resilience of nature. I had to walk upon lands where dinosaurs once stood to fully comprehend that this world will survive long after us humans are gone. I needed to hold an itty bitty baby bunny to feel the fragility of life, the harshness of the natural world, and to appreciate the safety within our human one. I felt called to submerge in a rushing river surrounded by canyons and discovered that we do not need to travel across the world to be healed; nature surrounds us.
Thank you Jenkstars for creating such an amazing, open, artistic space and for inviting anyone and everyone to participate. Thank you to all of the amazing artists, creators and open minds I interacted with this past weekend. Thank you to the artists who have proven that following our souls path is possible no matter what life we have been conditioned by. Thank you Mother Earth for supplying endless resources despite our abuse. Thank you to my partner for sharing this journey with me, I wouldn't want it any other way. Thank YOU for reading this and being open to new experiences. Thank you, thank you, thank you.