Burning Man Talk: Connect, Collaborate and Celebrate.

Via Shasta Townsend
on Sep 11, 2012
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Burning Man

Why is love such a deep longing for us all? How do we find more love? Do we even know how to love? Can we love better?

These are questions that keep me up at night—and the questions I posed and answered in a recent public talk at this year’s 2012 Burning Man Festival in Nevada. I love to share ideas and was thrilled and delighted at the response from Burner listeners and their many questions. Love really is the question and answer we are all seeking. The sheer number of questions I received that day and later that week in camp and on the Playa inspired me to share this article and to invite readers to truly become a container of love and allow more passion, purpose and yes, even lust, into their lives. See what fertile unfolding blooms when you do…

This is Part Two of a three part-series posted exclusively on elephantjournal: read Part One now.

This new age invites us to stand in the essence of who we are truly—loving beings who are wired to connect, collaborate and celebrate.

We no longer need to mask our desire for love, deep connection, intimacy and vulnerability. Our spiritual teachings that told us desire is bad are being replaced by the body’s knowledge that desire calls you to open up to joy and connection.

I am not talking about just sensory pleasure, just for our selves; we are being called to hold that same space of radical acceptance and unconditional love for another.

Unconditional means I love you regardless; I see your beauty, your shining, your truth and hold you there, where there is no fear of judgment. It means that I have the strength to love all that is there, even the “bad,”scary and shameful stuff, because I know you are not truly any of that stuff.

This is how love can transform.

When I am loved for all that I am, I can heal those parts that I have tried to cut off or wall off—I love them back into wholeness.

Love becomes like water that melts away the mud.

So, love not is not some fairy tale rescue but calls me to step into the fire of transformation, evolution and responsibility.

Love allows us to overcome our family, societal and personal patterns. Our relationships can be the catalyst and the crash pad to do so. It requires also that we choose love—and know that it is actually the surest way home.

It is love that we all seek…but do we know how to love?

Most of us were taught love from our parents; they were our first model of love toward us and towards each other. If you are like me, that model was very dysfunctional and demonstrated that love or relationship can actually be painful.

You may decide that love is not for you; you decide that it is better to not love. Or, you believe you are not worthy of love.

Unworthiness is a cancer in our society. That unworthiness causes us to abuse ourselves—to overwork, over-do, over indulge, over accumulate, over eat—all in an attempt to feel full.

The fullness we seek is love—for ourselves and others.

The great ecstatic poet, Rumi said love is a river, so drink from it. But do we know how to actually open our mouths to quench our thirst? Do we know how to love another?

When I was first married, learning how to unconditionally love my husband was a huge learning curve; I badgered him to quit smoking until one day he said, “Maybe you could just love me as I am and I will quit when I am ready.”

This was a huge lesson in learning to love and accept someone for all that they are—even the things that irritate us or annoy us.

Is there someone you love that you could love a little more—even the things they do that drives you crazy?

There are thousands, maybe millions, of words written on love. Much new age or relationship counseling tells us how to get love. This is the old paradigm of love and really the old paradigm of scarcity—that I must get what I need before you get what you need, as there is only so much to go around.

Our culture is also addicted to getting.

We consume each other the way we consume all resources—with little thought to giving back, little thought on maintenance and sustainability and little thought to how we act and how that actually not only affects another heart—but the whole.

We ask, “How do we get what I want?”

We pass people over and look for all that we do not like as though we are buying used cars. Even when we find someone to love, we say, yes I love you—and now here is what you need to do and be so I can keep loving you and be happy. You need to give me what I want or I won’t love you anymore.

This is not love.

If you want love, ask what can I give? What can I give this person? How can I be of service? How can I just love what is without needing to change it or fix it?

You then become a vessel for love to flow too you and through you; you won’t be able to keep it away. You will see the world through the eyes of love and people will see you the same way.

Think of someone you know who is easy to love—I bet they offer up love easily and unconditionally.

This is why we all love cats and dogs—they love us, no matter what. And there really are no exceptions, for all of us with a human heart.





Editor: Bryonie Wise

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About Shasta Townsend

Best-selling author, award winning teacher and down-to-earth Canadian girl, Shasta Townsend helps women and men reconnect to their wholeness, release blocks to their happiness and reclaim magic so they can live a wonderful life, no matter what! Shasta is passionate about the how-to of creating good relationship—the relationship to our Self, to each other and to the Earth. She is a feisty champion of “unbroken wholeness”—that is the current of love, goodness and creativity that supports us always, and is adept at integrating various disciplines so we may tap into this current with power and ease. Shasta is your feisty champion as she helps to strip away the old stories and reveal your authentic radiance as you unabashedly create the next big, beautiful chapter of your life. Shasta shares her passion for living well as a Featured Columnist at Elephant Journal, The Good Men Project, Rebelle Society and Vivid Life. Shasta leads retreats, workshops and talks around the world. She lives in Canada with her husband, cat and creative impulse. Her debut book, Happy, Sexy, Shameless – What Our Mother’s Didn’t Know About the Birds and the Bees is an international best seller and is available through amazon.com and all amazon platforms world-wide. Connect with Shasta on Facebook or on Twitter @shastaherself.


One Response to “Burning Man Talk: Connect, Collaborate and Celebrate.”

  1. Jean Simenon says:

    Ok ok. LOVE, right? I feel like I'm listening to the speeches of the first women (Romney & Obama) the word love was so abused it became in-sincere in the end. It's because you repeat it a 1,000 times that it's gonna be heard, instead you're just diluting the message and losing us all. But collaboration is at the center of BM. Without it, the event wouldn't exist. And I think that's also the problem of Burning Man, is that the collaboration is also being diluted. One big issue as I see it, is how the org is reducing its share of funds towards the art grants. In 2005 it was 5%, then it's back down to 2.5%. This is a big "kickstarter" for that collaboration since all these art projects require some funding. There should be more money allocated to that so more groups can burgeon out of BM, not just to have more art, but to have more collaboration, more collaborators. I'm going back to this film: Dust & Illusions (http://dustandillusions.com). The film exposes the issue very well and in a very balanced way. Check it out. BM is a difficult process. We should all become supporters and activists of the way the event is run, to ensure its future.