So much has happened in the past month and a half. All of which is helping realign my values, shape who I am and how I’m moving forward. I am slowly integrating the lessons I’ve learned from mother ayahuasca, burning man, solo time in the mountains, the new relationships I’ve built and the fortifying of old ones. Here is my best contemplative pose on a cliff overlooking Lundy Lake to summarize how I’m currently feeling.
On this night at Lundy Lake I was visited by a bear. Phew!
Throwback to August when I discovered my new quiet place. I captured the first photo in this series below before sunrise on my way out to Yosemite before heading to Burning Man. I was feeling as tranquil as this lake while winding down part one of my three act journey. I went from nothing but nature, myself and my thoughts to dust, everyone, and the collective effervescence.
The photo below was from a perch near the top of a mountain that had an entire empty lake at the top of it. Over the course of a week I found three empty lakes all to myself. Just unbelievable country.
Hoka Hey! I am on my pilgrimage to the city that burns. So far, I have had quality time and adventures with @tessrud, explored inward with sacred plant medicines, journeyed outward in the Sierras and have an inbox with zero unreads.
When I return to the default world, I will have silly adventures with @dangrossmusic and @ariellepaul in Reno, then jamming and decompressing with my old friend Leslie in Portland. Right now, I feel the healthiest, most vibrant, appreciative, alive and accomplished I’ve ever felt. Hoka Hey means today is a good day to die. I’m doing everything I can to max out my life and give as much love back to others and the world. If I die the moment this is posted, I know I dived as deep as I could into everything I pursued and loved as hard as I could to everyone I’ve met. The destination of life is this eternal moment.
Burners, catch me inside the Starcats dome at 8:00 & Esplanade serving tea with @norajordan @daniellekushner and a few other beauties. I’m also taking your professional Burner portrait Monday 2-4p in my photo booth in the dome. Gebo out! 🙏🏽
After a day of delivering the mail, meeting brilliant people, holding enlightening conversations, I was given a pass to ride on an airplane anytime I want. I ended up catching the last plane ride of the burn the following morning. On that flight I met a friendly passenger Cristina. Through our connection of zero G’s and some hours relating on philosophy and meaningful books post flight, we remain friends to this day.
Nora, my and Danielle. To the right is Altitude Lounge, who was my first camp back in 2014, and below them the Lamplighters.
This was the year of sunset rides, meaningful mornings, radical inclusion, honesty, injuries, asking for help, and seeing the playa grow, bloom and die. My favorite part about Burning Man is the playful, vulnerable, powerful and fleeting conversations and adventures with strangers you’ll never see again. It was also my first year leading a camp and I learned a lot.
I climbed everything, explored small camps, delivered mail, built lifelong bonds, ate it skateboarding a half pipe, drank the best coffee, flew in a tiny plane, felt how helping deeply heals from both ends, witnessed a friend pop the question at sunrise, renewed my love of portrait photography, turned ten years old again, found new ways to look inward and started really practicing balance and surrendering.
Burning Man is a practice in letting go. The man burning to me is the year’s seam, the harvest, the real new year, where my realizations switch to actions. As much of an afterglow that I feel, I accept any post-burn depression as a reminder to implement the lessons I’ve learned on the playa into my daily routines and practices.
My happiness comes from not taking life too seriously, starting all things with love, accepting everyone and not taking anything personally. If I can still dream, I am truly free.
This was the immediate moment after Brian popped the question to Nora. It was pure happenstance that I photographed my two close friends getting engaged at Burning Man this year. Right place at the right time. I have witnessed three engagements in my life, all of them were surprises I walked into with my camera.
Just as I thought my burn couldn’t get any better, the morning of temple burn I bumped into my friends who were on their way to an adventure. Seeing the rising sun, I thought it was time to get a couple hours of sleep before opening up the tea tent for the morning. I noticed them biking the opposite way, so I turned around and joined them. We eventually found an art piece, climbed it and then this magical moment presented itself to my surprise. The three of us stayed in this spot for hours appreciating one another after. With certainty, I can now say 2019 was my best burn ever.
If you look closely, you can see the ring twinkling in Brian’s fingers.
Camp Tealicious 2.0.
The last sight I see after fourteen days on Playa.
Whenever I visit Portland my friend Leslie has a tendency to throw parties for me. At the first annual Smirch Festival in Leslie and Ken’s backyard on a dissly evening, I captured a video of the Smirchmen performing an entirely improvised set. Check the video below.