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Midburn Series Part 1 / What I Learned about Life

It’s an experience I can’t fully describe. It’s like living in Israel, or being from New Jersey for that matter – I can’t explain why it’s so special – it’s something you can only understand if you experience it for yourself.

Photo by Gerome Viavant on Unsplash

“Should I go to Midburn?” My friends ask me plenty; and my response is always – do you want to go Midburn? How do you feel about the 10 principles? Are you okay being dusty as fuck for a week?

“But I don’t really take drugs,” the hesitant say. That’s great, I don't really take drugs either. Midburn is not like this crazy drug fest. Okay, maybe for some people it is. But just like life, every individual’s experience is different based on their intention for that experience. Some people may go to Midburn to melt their minds, or expand them, and dance for 5 days straight high on life.

BUT - I’d like to believe that most people go because of their belief in the 10 principles and the creative community aspect the 6-day event delivers into reality. It’s a playground of opportunity, brimming with people, hearts, principles, culture, connection and love – perhaps the most realistic revolution yet.

“But I don’t like camping.” Okay, so maybe don’t go to Midburn.

Why do I go?

Because I want to experience the culmination of nature, art, music, beauty, culture, community, adventure, gifting, expression, energy and chaos that life has to offer in one hot spot on Earth.

Because I always approach this week long life changer as a serious learning experience for myself. It’s an opportunity for me to challenge myself, explore myself and express myself. A chance to truly step outside of my comfort zone, explore my curiosities and my boundaries. It’s a chance to play like a child, feel awe and enthusiasm for life, and create memorable experiences with complete strangers who become family. It’s an opportunity to truly meet yourself wherever you happen to be, face challenges, issues, relationships, responsibilities – and face your own mind and thought processes – if you’re willing to.

In short, it’s a fun as fuck way to grow and develop as the human you want to be.

This year was my third year going to Midburn. The first year I went completely by myself. It was the first time I didn’t ask for a second opinion, hitched a ride and went for it. It was the first time I pitched a tent by myself, didn’t shower for 5 days, and was told I smelled like a “dead desert flower” by the end of it. The second year I free camped with my roommate, sprained my ankle, and found myself dealing with heavy themes of guilt and freedom.

This year, I decided I wanted to join a camp; and was graced with the opportunity to create one of the greatest gifts I believe I could offer the playa - The Red Tent. The Red Tent, aka Adome, which means “red” in Hebrew, was a part of Lev Camp. Lev means “heart”, and I felt like I had landed right in the golden heart center of it all.

Full disclosure: I don't remember who took this picture but isn't it beautiful!?

In addition to a crew of over 40 people from around the world who came together to create a home in the desert for 7 days, a tribe of women worldwide also collaborated on the Red Tent, which is a tradition found in Judaism and almost every other indigenous tradition around the world. It was started by women who were menstruating who wanted to retreat into a safe space and honor their cycles. The Red Tent was the playa's womb, and allowed people to learn and connect to their femininity by allowing and reviving heart opening energies.

This Red Tent was a sacred space to connect with feminine energy and values - inclusive to everyone. And the coolest part? Our Red Tent was built in THEE Desert where the tradition was started...more on that later.

With all that said, I wanted to find a way to express a taste of how truly meaningful my Midburn experiences always are.

Here begins my four-part series of the 11 most powerful truths I learned that may help you on the daily, whether you choose to Midburn or not.

1. Listening to your body matters.

From the first step into the dust, a slow jolt of excitement takes hold of my body. Here. We. Go. Hello Sunshine which beats down her rays so intensely they infiltrate my bones. Hello Air, filled with heat, dryness, and sand which gets slowly and unconsciously sucked into my skin and throat with every breath. Hello Dust, you motherfucker I hate to love, which unsteadily supports my slow ass saunter through your uneven miniature mounds of nanoparticles.

Helloooo, Body. I know you’re feeling these less familiar elements of earth, entering your pores, draining your power, and ever so gently, requesting you to Slow. The. Fuck. Down. She’s entered the original land, her new home for the week, and she’s already being forced to watch her step amidst the soft sea of sand, to dig in her heels, take conscious breaths, and find her stable ground before she can move on to the next step.

As women, and maybe as men too, we were never taught to truly love or listen to our bodies. We were taught to use her, abuse her, trash her and bash her. We were never taught how to preserve her peace, and her precious energy. But here’s the deal – when you spend a week in the Mediterranean desert – your energy is your most precious resource. Paying attention to your body’s capabilities, whether it’s full of energy, or in desperate need of water or shade - is the most crucial aspect to tune into. Yes – you are surrounded by people, by music, art, culture and chaos – but at the end of every day it’s you and your body who live this life together, and eventually, you have to face whatever she's trying to tell you from the inside.

Which makes me think about radical self-reliance -- one of the 10 principles - which related to many Midburn lessons of the past. However, something I experienced on Day 2 of being in The Desert sticks out.

I had gotten my period. In the desert. Two weeks early. In hindsight, I should have known. I was building a Red Tent - OF COURSE it was going to happen.

I felt it happening right after the Cacao Ceremony we were hosting in Adome. If you’re not familiar, Cacao is a totally natural substance (think super thick hot chocolate) which boosts your energy, loosens up your limbs, and offers up a fresh dose of loving energy. I was SO EXCITED for the ceremony, and in my mind, I was ready to get loose, shake booty and explore all night long - but in my body, I began to feel my full flow creeping out of my inner depths. Day One is the worst. It means that inside my legs felt like jellyfish spines were stinging up and down them, my tummy felt deep and dull depressing pain, and my body as a whole immediately required the fetal position.

As the ceremony ended and everyone was bubbling around with love, I could barely move. Logistically, I knew my next stop needed to be the bathroom, and then would I continue out? Typical Zo would spend time deciding what to do. Midburn Zo knew she had to focus on what her body was telling her, and understood that her only tremendous trek of the evening would be straight to the portapotties, and back again.

While dozens of people chatted energetically and left the Red Tent for their big night out, I sadly succumbed to my FOMO fate. What do I need, I asked myself. I needed a big effing hug, and I wanted it to be soft and comforting, and last all night long, and I wanted to crawl into my own safety nest, and never need to a move again.

And so, I slowly and painfully gathered every single pillow I could to build my nurturing nest. Then, I fell deeply into their much needed comfort. Fuck FOMO. I was exactly where I needed to be - and it was the best feeling in the world.

Takeaway: With so many options and choices of where to be and what to do, both in Midburn and normal everyday life, it’s crucial to tune in to what your body needs, and take the time to listen to what she's telling us. It’s easy to get caught up in the crowd, to feel that FOMO, to stay on the path of what you think you should be doing. But the truth is, your life is lived better if you tune into your own desires and needs before getting caught up with anything or anyone else.

2. Being slow is soooo okay.

I’m used to everything moving so fast around me. It’s the world we live in – technology, time, innovation, entrepreneurs, Israeli drivers. We live in a culture where the faster we are, the better - or so it is perceived.

At Midburn, especially after feeling my flow tapping out of me, I chose to totally tune in to my body. And there came a point where I stopped feeling like I needed to keep up with everyone else. I accepted that my body and brain simply do not move as fast as the others. And I just slowed down to my own sultry speed.

And I realized, it’s okay. My pace is my own, and it’s okay.

I would rather live life with the utmost sense of devotion to my own unique needs and authenticity than rush into something just to keep up with someone else's pace. In fact, it seems like we’re all rushing around like a bunch of headless chickens and cocks, overwhelmed with our need to simply keep up. But who exactly are we trying to keep up with – and why?

One thing which truly helped me slow down? I didn’t touch my phone for the week. When I hit the desert, I hit Airplane Mode too. Bye iPhone - it’s time to get back to the original “I.” To get back to the ground that I stand on instead of being constantly connected to the Cloud.

Takeaway: Maybe we all need to slow the fuck down, take a deep breath and get back to the basics. Where are we rushing to anyway? Try Airplane Mode for a few hours a day. Imagine what life is like when you control it, not when your iPhone controls you.

Want more? Wait for when Part 2 of the Midburn Series goes live - Lessons I Learned from the Desert.

If you’re interested in learning more about Midburn and what goes down, feel free to ask. Whether you choose to explore it or not, I invite you to read more about the 10 principles which started it all - and to try and practice them more in your daily life too.

School of Shine

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