Why do we wait to do something we’re itching to do?
Why postpone something we feel “called” to do? (Whatever that translates to for you.)
Why wait to do anything that life has to offer?
Why wait to do anything?
Is there any legitimate reason to “wait”?
Maybe in some cases, but more often than not, probably not.
I’ve been deeply fascinated by the culture of Burning Man.
Or rather, I’m deeply fascinated by the prospect of what attending Burning Man and being a part of the culture and experience could create in my life.
For a long time, I thought Burning Man was something very different than it actually is – due to my perspective when I was much younger. So naturally, it got filed in the “Lol, not for me” category and it wasn’t ever thought about again.
And then a close friend brought it up. Someone I didn’t think would have brought it up, because of those earlier assumptions of what Burning Man was.
But as they talked more about it, my curiosity was piqued.
They equated it to an adult version of Destination Imagination, and their final event (Global Finals) is one of my all time favorite events due to the many positive values they promote and the numerous experiences of personal growth I gained while attending as a guest.
And when I view Burning Man as an adult version of that? It was like taking all of my favorite things about that event and lighting it on fire (literally in some cases). There are many aspects of Burning Man that also correlate with areas in my life that I’m trying to improve, so it’s hard to not be captivated by “what could be.”
So I began to look into it a little more. My interest grew, and grew, and grew.
Eventually I was spending hours at a time watching YouTube videos about the event, reading about people’s experiences on their blogs, learning about the Ten Principles of Burning Man, transformational results off of the Playa, favorite gifting moments, and more.
I got so deep into it that I actually felt like I was in a physiological state as if I was AT the event. So much so that when I was eventually shut down for the night and had to get ready for bed, it was a little disorientating being “re-grounded” in where I actually was, my bedroom.
This went on for days, here and there, having similar immersive experiences and it only resulted in taking me a little deeper into what Burning Man represents.
Burning Man kept coming back to me, over and over. It kept me up late many nights already. And it’s reoccurring, it’s a message that repeats. And there are a few things that have followed the same pattern in my past: curiosity, deep immersion in research, and eventually taking the leap or a small step forward.
- Creating an online gaming guild.
- Traveling on my own.
- Neo-swing / shuffle dancing.
- Ballroom dancing.
- West Coast Swing.
- Attending more WCS events.
- Starting a local club.
And now Burning Man is one of those next big things that has been repeating.
The more time I spend researching the event, the more I appreciate what it is and what it stands for.
But I also want to make sure that my interest in Burning Man is driven from a genuine desire to experience and not as a way to “fix” who I am. And while it may provide some opportunities to “fix,” or “enhance” parts of my life, I don’t want that to be the only reason I want to go.
This is why I don’t want to attend Burning Man this year. I don’t want to rush it and I don’t want it to be a last ditch effort to “find” something.
Instead, I want to give myself an opportunity to really understand the event and dive deep into the principles of what the event promotes. I can use this time to explore more about the event and focus on those “fixes” I want, and see if I can’t make headway on them before 2018’s gathering.
The essential question driving this perspective is, “Can I create an atmosphere for myself that exhibits the same principles as those that I admire about Burning Man? Can I essentially create a core part of what Burning Man is, right now and today, rather than having to put off “being me” for another year?”
It’s a common theme that I go through: waiting for a solution and not creating it right now.
The Burning Man Principles
Burning Man has Ten Core Principles, and while I see them all as important, these below are the ones that really draw me to the event – by no surprise, they are also similar things that I’m focusing on in my personal life today.
RADICAL SELF EXPRESSION
I often question who I actually am because I habitually default to hiding and deflecting. Burning Man could be an opportunity for me to discover – or create – who I really am.
But I can realistically do this without having to attend Burning Man. The event simply gives a more “welcome” place to do so without judgement.
In the months leading up to Burning Man, I can incorporate this into my life today by being open to exploring who I am, including all the uncomfortable truths that I’m hiding from. I can start to immerse myself into exploring what my style is, the beliefs and values that are important to me, the type of work I want to do in the world, and so on.
My relationship with money has never been that strong. I tend to be highly conservative in how I spend money, which is a bit contradictory when I consider my hobby with dance – and now with considering a festival in the desert. I tend to shy away from contributing because I often don’t know what the socially acceptable thing is to do.
But the idea of gifting is something I resonate with. While I’d like to become more comfortable around money itself, gifting isn’t exclusive to a currency. You can give your personal gift to the world and those around you in different ways.
Hugs, smiles, greetings, introductions, services, talents, time, listening … the list is endless.
Rather than waiting for Burning Man, I can bring this into my life right now by giving my “gift” to the world. That gift can be subjective, as can be my “world.” My gift could simply be spending time online with a friend that needs an ear. My world at that moment can just be a friend, or a small group of people, or even the people that happen to read this post or my blog that I may not have met.
That “endless list of gifts” are all things I can give right now, today, or the weeks that follow.
When it comes to the majority of my life, especially the years prior to discovering dance, I’m an “observer,” an attendee, but less so a participant. In other words, my default is to sit on the sidelines and watch.
But I’d like to be more involved with what’s happening in the world (and again, world is subjective), whether that’s on a grand scale, or a small little interaction happening right before me.
I can practice being a participant in my life without Burning Man by getting myself to stand up from the sidelines and walk across the room to ask that person to dance. I can make a post on my blog to state something I believe in or that has value in my life.
When I notice an opportunity presenting itself to me, I should at least consider it and have the courage to reach out and take it. If the opportunity wasn’t meant for me, it would not have presented itself and I wouldn’t have recognized it in the first place.
As a habit, I’m either being dreamy and trying to look at the way things could be, or focusing on what’s happened in the past (both good and bad), but until recent years have neglected what’s happening in this very moment.
This moment is the only moment that matters. While I can use the future as a way to help me find direction and use my past as something to learn from, it’s only this moment that I can make a conscious choice to do or not do something.
Rather than waiting for Burning Man to “teach me” how to be present and embrace immediacy, I can embrace it right now, today, by doing the things that I feel called to doing and the many things that will improve my quality of life.
Rather than looking at tomorrow as “opportunities” and “dreams,” what can I do right now that will make it more likely that those dreams will be a reality tomorrow?
I can already think of a few things and I’m sure you can too if you gave it some thought.
If I can already feel the momentum of what I think Burning Man can do, why not do something with it today?
If I keep viewing Burning Man as an opportunity to get “permission” in the hopes of “being me” after the event, won’t I have to learn how to do those things outside of the festival anyway?
I often come up with excuses about why I should wait.
- I need the money.
- I need permission.
- It’s already been done, I need to do something new.
- I need to have someone do it with me.
- I need a group of people to support me.
A “Free Hugs” campaign is one of those things that comes to mind, one of the “What Repeats” messages that I regularly have when I think about getting out of my comfort zone or doing good things or trying to stand out.
If I keep looking at the “legitimate” reasons to wait, I’ll never do it – and likely never do anything worthwhile in my life.
For example, I keep putting it off because I know people have done it already. Doing it again is not unique.
But so what? It’s something I want to do and it could make someone’s day better. If that’s the case, why wait?
I keep putting it off because I want someone to help me with it. I don’t quite have the courage to go out and stand by myself with a big ‘Free Hugs’ sign above my head, or wearing a t-shirt that says ‘Free Hugs’ on it.
But that could be a Comfort Zone Challenge in itself. Or you know, I could just go make a post on Facebook and ask. If it’s that simple, why wait?
For many things, I often feel like I need a “community of people who are already doing it, or want to do it.” But how can I find that tribe if it doesn’t exist or it’s already hard enough to find because what I’m looking to do is so obscure?
The only way that “niche” community is going to get created or found is by doing the things I’m longing to do. At first I may have to do it alone, and then connections will start to sprout up, or I may be presented with the opportunity to be the start of that community.
And if that’s the case, why wait?
If I wait…
- I won’t find those people to connect with.
- I won’t find or create that tribe of people that I resonate with.
- I won’t overcome my discomfort and fears.
- I won’t find opportunities simply waiting for me to take the step forward.
- I won’t create memorable stories for my life.
- I won’t actually do the one thing I WANT to do.
So in most cases, it’s better to do it. There’s not really a good reason to wait.
Simply wanting to do something or feeling like it’s the right thing to do (for myself or for someone else) is the only reason WHY I should do anything. I don’t need permission from anyone but myself.
“Just because I want to,” should be my slogan when it comes to embracing the things I want to do in life.
The questions I should be asking myself are…
What can I do right now to tap into the excitement of what Burning Man “could be” in my mind, to bring improvement into my life today?
How can I create Burning Man’s atmosphere of “playfulness” into my own world?
What is that one little thing I can do right now?
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