The Glimmer of Beautiful People
For months now, I’ve fantasized about going to Burning Man. I’ve spent a good amount of time researching the event and living vicariously through videos and blogs from Burners from previous events. And looking at pictures, watching videos, and reading about the world of Burning Man, three elements in particular really stand out to me at the moment:
What Makes Beauty?
As I continue to watch these videos and read about people’s experiences, I’m discovering that many of these people and the art installations at Burning Man are astoundingly beautiful.
In their wacky outfits (or lack thereof), all the art structures, the sea of light and colors, the mutant vehicles, and even with all the Playa dust … it’s all beautiful.
Because these people are happy, fulfilled, and moving towards something that brings them to life. They move with purpose. They are genuinely excited to see the people around them. They are deeply involved in the festival itself, not just watching it happen.
And I notice this in everyday life, too. Some of the most beautiful and inspiring people to me are those that are confident in who they are, are doing what they love, and radiate happiness and vibrancy to everyone around them. These people make it easy for us to come alive or to find a sense of calm, simply by being in their presence.
While I don’t strictly mean aesthetic beauty, I do think that when one finds something they enjoy and dares to pursue it, feels confident in who they are, and has the opportunity to playfully and artistically shape their world … they exhibit an unmistakable glimmer that’s eye-catching and attractive.
To me, the most beautiful people are those that are as close as they can get to their authentic self. And maybe this has to do with how the mind works and that one theory comes into play, where “what you focus on or desire” is what you tend to notice in the world around you (Tony Robbins has a great exercise on this), so make sure your focus is where you want it.
And as I aspire to be authentic, embrace myself, and do creative and courageous things in a playful manner that bring me to life … I tend to notice those qualities in others, too.
(Hat tip to Lori Rose for a chills-inducing exercise for helping me discover that the qualities I admire in others are already well within myself.)
This is a trend I’ve noticed in my own experience. When I was younger I wasn’t happy with how I looked, which was coincidentally during a time when I was heavily depressed and didn’t think I had value in the world.
But now I’ve been learning to embrace who I am, I’m in pursuit of things that bring me alive, and I am otherwise on the journey of self-discovery. And as a result I’m far more “comfortable” with what I look like and who I am.
What I mean is that our outlook on life, embracing our true selves and personalities, and learning to play with the world can quite literally bring out the beauty of who we really are.
This is how I see it:
Who are some of the people you enjoy spending your time around? Who are the people that you admire and want to emulate in your own life?
Chances are, they either have their shit together and know what they want to do in life or they are deeply in tune with who they are and their personal values. These are people that seem to have this presence that allows them to bring lightness to every interaction they enter and with every person they converse with.
They seem to shine and glimmer in everyday life. They’re a role model on so many levels.
That’s why Burning Man looks so attractive to me. Two of the ten core principles of Burning Man are Radical Self Expression and Radical Inclusion.
People are who they really want to be – no filters.
People accept others for who they are – no exceptions.
When you combine these two qualities you get a world that is unlike any other.
Art, the Medium of Discovery, Expression, and Interaction
It’s no wonder that Burning Man would be appealing for someone who’s trying to “find himself,” find ways to express the quirkier sides of his personality, and learn how to make a positive impact in the world.
As I continue to learn how to better express myself (or learn “who I am”), I constantly lean towards the idea of “creating art” through…
- Challenges – to push myself past my comfort zone and grow as an individual.
- Stories – to chronicle my life as a way to showcase what I’ve overcome and how I got to where I am … as a reminder to myself when things get tough.
- Quests – to keep me oriented towards the life I want to live so that I avoid standing still.
- Photographs – to visually see where I’ve been and what I’ve done, and as a way to help me remember to stay the course on my quests.
- Communities – to use strength-in-numbers to bolster a “team of doers” to help each person embrace themselves and make improvements in their life so that we each can improve the world around us and live a more enjoyable life.
- Movements – to make a positive impact on the world, even if it’s small and only helps one person.
Creating art is a way to express oneself and to make discoveries along the way.
And art doesn’t have to be with a paintbrush, a pencil, a song, a dance, or any of the “traditional” forms of creativity we might think about.
Art is how we interact with the world when we come alive and give what we uniquely have to offer.
It’s a medium through which we can experiment and dabble with who we are and how we give our gift to the world around us.
Go Play, Don’t Wait for the Invitation
Another major principle of Burning Man is Participation. A notion that people who “attend” Burning Man aren’t there to watch, but rather invited to work and play on the Playa. Participation and “playing” is an opportunity for each Burner to be directly involved in the festival.
But “playing” within Burning Man, and our own world, is not about filling a need of that community. It’s about discovering how we can actually make an impact in whatever world we choose to play in.
A significant portion of my life has been living as an “observer,” someone who waits for things to come to him before actually getting involved.
It’s been a challenge to shift my default characteristic from “reactive” to “active.” I no longer want to feel obligated to “wait for the invitation” to get involved in life.
I want my instinctive behavior to be to jump into the fray; to…
… reach out and say hello to that passer-by.
… ask for help when I need it before I’ve gotten to my lowest point.
… invite someone to join me for an activity.
… compliment someone that’s attractive or is wearing an interesting accessory.
… initiate an activity for others to join in.
… go explore for adventure’s sake, not because it’s tied to some event.
… start something new and explore an interest.
Choosing to play is choosing to jump into the arena of life, where opportunities are like treasure chests covered in dust or dirt, simply waiting for us to brush them off and dig them from the ground.
Treasure chests don’t usually land in our lap.
We have to go find them.
And playing with life, participating in life, is a means to discovering where those treasures are hiding.
Why not make the quest playful and enjoyable?
A life filled with vibrancy, color, excitement, and badassery seems like a lot better way to approach it than living it with dullness, difficulty, discontentment, and passivity.
What’s beautiful in your life right now?
How are you contributing your art today?
Where can you play in life today?
Images via … Pinterest, YouTube, Unsplash, Scott London Photography