HappeningsEvents, Sacred Space, social justice

Standing with Standing Rock

We all know the sorrow and chaos that is coming forth from the situation at Standing Rock, and if you aren’t  aware, you may have some research to do.  The injustice that is taking place over sacred land and sacred water in North Dakota, during this sacred ‘holiday’ season is NOT acceptable.  As a human race, it is our duty to make sure that our voices are heard loud and clear, with respect and peaceful determination.

Thanksgiving is supposed to be a time of families coming together to express gratitude.  What terrible irony that the very land the water protectors stand on was taken from the Native Americans many years ago, who are uniting to fight so nobly for the devastating Standing Rock Pipeline situation.  Haven’t we learned our lesson, America?  We once stood for freedom… I’d like to think that core is still engrained.

As a peaceful artist, activist, and woman, I recognize this is a huge opportunity, for those on both sides of this ‘fight’ to learn, grow, evolve, and become stronger as a tribe.  I only wish I had gotten involved sooner.  At first, I thought it didn’t apply to me. Now I realize, as more and more videos surface, that NOW IS THE TIME to stand up and look injustice in the face, any face.  The hardest part, is that we may have to show some grace, even in the face of oppression.

I am asking you to strongly consider supporting the Standing Rock movement, even more than you already have.  During this Thanksgiving, Christmas time, Hanukkah, New Year, or perhaps it is just another Friday night, whatever you choose to celebrate, please, PLEASE keep in mind all of those who do not get to be with their families during these dark times.  Keep in your hearts those who perhaps do not have family to visit, or who don’t have the means to visit them.  Please remember that while you may still be out, having fun, drinking merrily, there are still people living in FEAR for their lives.

No doubt, this year has been difficult.  The following months may be even more challenging.  Guilt trips are a thing of the past, but reality checks are happening every day.  Bottom line, if you can’t give money, or can’t actually go to Standing Rock, there are other ways to help:

PICK UP THE PHONE.  Of course.  Call the North Dakota governor, Jack Dalrymple, and give him a piece of your mind (701-328-2200). Call the Morton County Sherriff’s department (701-328-8118) and the North Dakota National Guard at (701-333-2000 and tell them to stand down. Call the White House at (202-456-1111) or (202-456-1414) and tell president Obama to rescind the Army Corps of Engineers’ Permit for the Dakota Access Pipeline.   Call the executives of the companies that are building the Pipeline: Lee Hanse Executive Vice President Energy Transfer Partners, L.P. (201-403-6455; Glenn Emery Vice President Energy Transfer Partners, L.P. (202-403-6762); Michael (Cliff) Waters Lead Analyst Energy Transfer Partners, L.P. (713-989-2404).  Call the Army Corps of Engineers and demand that they reserve the permit: (202-761-5903).

Also, you can contact the 17 Banks Funding The Pipeline and withdraw your money!  Wells Fargo and U.S. Bank are two of the biggest.  “You vote with your wallet, your dollar bill is your ballot” –Wookiefoot

Some of you have already tried calling, and will find that often the mail boxes are FULL. (This is a good thing!)  So what else can we do?

The Protectors Alliance is a “unified platform and partnership effort of all signed organizations, skilled workers, producers and individuals from the global festival community.  They are working as a Alliance providing solutions in service to solidarity for front line environmental crisis and social justice conflicts.”   And chances are, you have a skill or tool that can help.

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It’s getting colder.  Winterizations for the protectors is a key essential to the success of the action, and right now, you know that local organizations across the country are taking donations of blankets, warm coats, and even water proof scuba gear, etc.  Local firewood and food are also in high demand.

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Please, consider becoming a conscious ally in this Indigenous movement and showing your support NOW, however that looks for you.

If all that you can do is share a video online to help perpetuate this movement, THEN THANK YOU.  Kevin Gilbertt is an excellent online live news source at Standing Rock to follow.  Digital Smoke Signals is another good resource. Unicorn Riot has been active as well.

Again, take a look at the Protectors Alliance website and see how YOU can get involved and be useful.  This is an opportunity of a lifetime, on so many levels, to make a difference for the better… for all of us.  I look at this as not just an opportunity to defend sacred water and land, but to set the standard for how we treat any an all indecencies, whether it be racism, classism, sexism, or environmentalism.

Remember, the next seven generations count on us.  It’s a group effort to enlightenment.  We will NOT sit by and watch these injustices continue to breed hate.  We WILL look this oppression in the eye and PEACEFULLY demand respect, for as long as it takes.

Last week I visited an old friend, and  we communed in our own version of prayer for the waters and fires that are disrupting any flow in this world. For that above and so below. For the waters inside our bodies and inside pipelines. A prayer for understanding and compassion, that if we can’t stop this “Black Snake”, that perhaps one day the pipes being built one day may be useful and carry clean water.  We release anger.  The days of crude oil are coming to an end. May the fires of destruction be a blessing of new growth. Earth, wind, fire and water. North, South, East and West. Together, we are powerful beyond belief.

Here is a picture of our medicine wheel:

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With much respect,
MissConnection

Burn, social justice

Burners Without Borders – Louisiana Flood Disaster Relief

When the August 2016 “1,000-Year-Flood“ hit the state of Louisiana, no one could have known the extent of the damage that 29 inches of rain in 48 hours would do.  Rivers crested, water backup up, and in turn thousands of people were left homeless, with little to no end in sight to correct the mass amount of wreckage.

More than $8 million dollars and two months later, 20 out of the 64 hit parishes in Louisiana are still under a state of emergency, and one particular town, Denham Springs, still has a very long way to go.  Standing water continues to surrounds some buildings.  Caskets that were unearthed are slowly being reburied.  Grocery stores are still trying to reopen.  It’s a huge work in progress for the community, and their cry for help was heard by few.

Enter, the Life Church in Walker, La, who has opened their arms and doors to help with the cleanup, and community support.  Not only did the Life Church offer their sanctuary and building as a temporary place of refuge for flood victims, but they also immediately turned their gym into a distribution center, and for several months this community made it their mission to distribute and facilitate the distribution of all kinds of food, goods, clothing and appliances.

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As fate would have it, a group of Burning Man activists, we will call them ‘burners’, also heard the call that there was work to do in Louisiana, and thus began a symbiotic relationship between a Burning Man Project volunteer group: Burners Without Borders Louisiana Flood Relief and the Walker Life Church.  Burners Without Borders (BWB) started as an off-shoot of the Burning Man global community in 2005 during Hurricane Katrina, and recently joined into the new 501c3 Burning Man Project.  Different projects and chapters often pop up in times of need or crisis to do volunteer work in whatever capacity they are needed in various cities.  This particular group, made up of mostly Louisiana and Illinois burners gathered in Walker, LA at the Life Church to put together a team and go out into the field.  The likelihood of all of these specific people coming together was very special, especially considering that there is a .001% chance of this type of catastrophe happening, hence which it was named the “1,000-Year-Flood”.

The Life Church took to the BWB Louisiana Flood Relief community instantly, both groups priding themselves on being radically inclusive and self-reliant.  Burner volunteers staying at the Church took to helping Denham Springs community members with specific projects, such as cleaning up abandoned homes, hanging insulation, cleaning up lots and other projects.

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Additionally, an affiliated mardi gras group out of New Orleans called Krewe Ulysses began cooking 200+ meals every Sunday using the Life Church’s commercial kitchen.  Krewe Ulysses and other burners then would go out ‘into the field’ to distribute these meals and other supplies such as baby food, diapers, bottled water, and any other requests from those in need. Relationships were formed, and this work became very meaningful, for everyone involved.

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“Part of our job includes just talking to the people, helping them process and tell their story, so that they feel better emotionally…because they know they are cared for more than they even knew”, said Daniel Cappy, the founding logistics coordinator of the Burners Without Borders Louisiana flood relief project.

In particular, two neighborhoods had the most devastation, that being Magnolia Spings and Eastover.  Specifically the challenges that community members faced included house demolishing, removing debris, and ensuring that FEMA would be scheduled to haul away said debris before it turned hazardous.  Taking care of their families was another added challenge un top of all the rebuilding.

The biggest challenge: unattended piles of debris which often contain black mold and other dangerous materials that increase in toxicity after sitting for too long.  Often the residents would take to burning the piles in order to remove them, which led to even worse air quality and pollution in the neighborhoods.  “It truly looks like a refuge camp,” said Nikki, a Burner volunteer.img_8244-1

Life Church community member Duran estimates that about 35% of the work has been done as far as getting ‘back to normal’.

“I remember when the rain began…there was shock everywhere.  People running for their lives with clothes on their back. It came almost like a monster.  The rain went in circles, tributaries began to over flow and there was no downstream to match the upstream.  The Mississippi river had been at it’s crest since June, so there was nowhere for the water to go.  The divider walls on the interstate that the government just installed kept the water backed up,” said Duran during an interview at Life Church.  Duran thinks that the underlying problem not being addressed by authorities is the drainage system in Baton Rouge.

“You don’t get over this in a month or two,” Duran says, disheartened.  “People are trying to get back to normal and it’s going to take at least a year, and that’s pushing it.”  Duran got lucky in that he says he learned a lot from Katrina.  Not everyone paid as close attention.

Danielle from Eastwood had her new-born daughter taken away after the storm hit because she didn’t have a proper home in which to keep the young child.  The child is now in critical condition in the hospital, and Danielle is not allowed to stay with her.  While raising her other children and living with friends/family, she along with the Life Church and Burners Without Borders crew, made it a priority to clear the old wreckage in her lot and make space for the new FEMA trailer to come in.

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Miss Tina, another flood victim story, woke up in the middle of the flood with the water surrounding her bed up to the mattress and no one had come to get her.  She lost her life’s work, her car and her house in the storm.  To be eligible for her new FEMA trailer, she herself had to crawl up in the trees to cut down branches with a hand saw in order to meet regulations.  All that work and she’s still waiting on her trailer.

Duran, while he lost all of his clothes and possessions, he also is dealing with a legal battle, trying to get his car back from the repair shop that it was parked in when the storm hit.  Since the shop was closed for weeks after the storm, the store is now trying to charge him an outrageous ‘storage fee’ for having keep the car during the flood.  The politics so many are dealing with in order to get their lives back are increasingly difficult, which makes moving forward a huge challenge.

Many are still in hotels while they wait for their insurance checks, or for a new game plan if they didn’t have proper coverage. An elderly man, James, is another example of being a victim of an unfair circumstance.  His whole trailer had black mold up to the water line.  FEMA gave him $25,000 but the contractor he used took $15,000 of the money and then disappeared.  He’s now living in a hotel and has been scared to move forward with the rest of his money, which still isn’t enough to fix all the damage.

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Most people in Denham Springs and other counties think that FEMA and the Red Cross are not doing their jobs properly according to Duran.  He explained that the most FEMA will give out is $33,000 to fix your home, and most houses need at least $100,000 to fix the damage that’s been done.  The Red Cross appears to have people on the ground, but they are charging the government $8.50 a plate to feed thousands of people, according to the Life Church. That’s why the Life Church decided to feed people themselves, out of pocket.  They got very lucky in missing the water, and are trying to give back what they can.

When the rain started on August 12th and didn’t stop for three days, the Life Church was very afraid.  “The waters came up to within feet of our Church, but it didn’t flood,” said Paster Val of the Church, who is so grateful to have been able to provide a safe space for people to refuge.

The distribution center has just been closed in the last two weeks, and the needs of flood victims have shifted from personal items and food to specifically needing help rebuilding their homes.  Burners Without Borders volunteers reported that there are not enough construction workers in the area to complete the amount of work there is to do in a timely fashion.  There is only so much volunteering you can offer, and with the mortgage companies involved, licensed contractors must be employed to further repairs.

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Bottom line, if people have the skills and are able to travel to  Louisiana or the Carolinas, they are badly needed.  At this point having a license to work construction is a strong asset, but not necessary.  If you want more information on how to help with the flood relief, or to donate to Burners Without Borders Flood Relief, please contact Burners Without Borders Flood Relief at: Bwblouisiana@gmail.com

“Never think it can’t happen to you,” said Duran. “If this experience has taught me anything, it’s that it is so important to take care of your neighbors.”

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Missed Complexion

Almost every day I wake up and wonder “what do I look like today?” #facepalm

I’ll admit it.  It might sound silly, but it’s true.  New zits, veins and curves pop up on the daily, and I wonder more often than not, how can this be me?

Body image; it’s truly a MIND FUCK.  Engrained so tightly in our society, it’s become a sickness.  Young girls barely old enough to ride rollercoasters wearing more make up than I own.  Workout regimes and communities so overwrought with judgement it’s hard to muster up the courage to go to the gym.  Magazine covers and late night TV ads selling the next ‘cure’ for this ‘disease’.  The culture we have born and bread is oozing pressure, and I really have had a hard time wrapping my brain around where I stand on the sliding scale of beauty, as most women do, even when I’m the judge.

Sometime I catch a glimpse of myself and wonder, “where the hell did those thighs come from?”  Other times, my psyche is more gentle and I’m almost shocked thinking, “wow, you still got it, for 30”.  I definitely catch myself comparing what I’m working with to others bodies, and then quickly slapping myself on the wrist thinking “come on Sara, you’re better than this!”

I know there are plenty of women my age and older who still look STUNNING…  I STILL look stunning, right?  It shouldn’t matter, right?  But it does.  Please, save the overly eager rhetorics, this is not a plea for compliments, and I do have a point to make.

I asked my boyfriend today if I was getting too ‘old’ to wear a swimsuit.  When I said old, I really meant ‘fat’ and he knew that.  He kindly said, “if you feel good about it, rock the shit out of it until you don’t”.  So I put on my bikini and muttered “you’ll still tell me, when it’s too much, right?”

Right.  I see women every day, of all sizes confused about their image. I see petite women hiding in shame and bigger boned statues flaunting like they just don’t care, which is inspiring. I want to not care.  I used to not care…

Every since I can remember I was ‘skinny’.  In recent years, I’ve committed to being ‘skinny fat’.  I just don’t want to give up cheese, is what it really comes down to.  I don’t want to get up at 5 am and go running.  I kind of like having the munchies.  I don’t want to be miserable.  I don’t want to be afraid of a scale.  I want to be HEALTHY.

A few months ago, I was in Colorado, feeling FABULOUS.  I was wearing this shorter white jean skirt that I love and a black top (from It’s a Beautiful Day) that dips low in the back, kinda sexy.  I had done my yoga, put on make up,  dolled up my hair, and walking down the street to dinner some guy yells out of his car “put some clothes on”.  It stopped me in my tracks.

Those words have rung through my head repeatedly since… not obsessively, but just enough that they still echo occasionally.  He could have not even been talking to me.  He could have been angry he doesn’t have a woman.  He could have been right.

It’s not all the time that I worry about what I look like, but it amazes me how fast my own perception can change.  One minute I’m composed, passionate, entertaining on a stage and confident, smiling and getting bad looks from other women’s husbands for just being in the room. Then I get home, wash my face, catching a glimpse of myself as I climb into bed thinking “how can that be the same person?” and “What is wrong with me?”

I do know that I am a ferociously strong, beautiful and smart competent women, and that if I can have these thoughts, by Goddess I must not be alone.  

So I decided to say something about it, instead of hiding in shame; to admit it, to myself, if not to anyone else… Because it’s OKAY to feel discouraged.  It’s OKAY to feel deflated or bloated.  And it’s OKAY to be honest about what’s going on in our heads, let alone in our society.  If we can’t talk openly about what’s causing shame or doubt in our own methodology, we can’t be expected to be competent in fixing our political and social economics.

So here I am, my own walking MissConception, naked, on a page, for you to look at, or turn away from as you like.  Just know that if you’ve ever woken up and not known what you look like, at 15, even at 30, or 60, that’s OKAY.  Every day is a chance to make yourself over again, spiritually, emotionally, and physically.  It really is inside that matters, I keep reminding myself, and self-care is the best path I’ve found to connect the inside with the outside image.  Loving yourself unconditionally, whether that means mud masks and wine, or a once a month pedicure. #ladiesnight

I’ve taken an oath that since the Trump rein has descended, this is an opportunity to better my own life.   November 8, 2016, we awoke from a bad dream that wasn’t really a dream. Our waters and food are poisoned. Our air is unfit to breath. Hatred and bigotry and misunderstandings abound. The government is corrupt. No one trusts anyone, let alone the leadership. Information is to be weary of. Even prayer feels dead. It’s truly a nightmare. You know the story.

I figure, the only thing I can do is better ME. So I am making a pact. To do one thing everyday for myself that betters me, like streching most importantly, or exercise or other self care. And a pact to do one thing everyday that helps spread kindness/awarness to those around me that this world CAN be a good place, and we will NOT settle for this state of the union. Everyone seems to want to make America great again. Let’s start with individually, one by one, being the change. Give our ancestors and grandchildren someting to be proud of. I don’t pretend any of this is easy, or that there is only one right answer.  I just know that we must ‘eat the elephant one bite as a time’ as Papa Sidney would say, and press forward step by step. #wwsd #nodapl

WE MUST also EMPOWER each other, let alone ourselves ourselves, be it physically or emotionally, so that we can get through this time with as much grace and dignity that we can muster.  When someone looks lovely, TELL THEM.  When someone does something kind, THANK THEM. Go out of your way to let any objectified person know that paying attention to detail matters, and that you appreciate their strength, or light, or whatever you want to deem it.   This isn’t about complimenting materials, it’s about cultivating confidence.

Do you know how much easier it is to save the world when you know you look healthy doing it?  

This article might appear self-centered and vain, but it’s what women and some men deal with every single day.  We are not alone in this internal conflict.  And we all play a part in allowing each other to feel comfortable in our own skins, so that we may continue to make ourselves and the world a better place.  I believe in you.

Stay beautiful and stay honest,

MissComplexion

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www.themissconception.com

Art, Burn

Split Hairs – the Lessons of Burning the Man

Next year we’re going to have to start calling it by a different name because at this point, everyone whom was not there is sick of hearing about it and everyone whom was there can’t stop talking about it..  It was epic.  It was introspective.  It was dusty.  It was definitely expensive. It was… a way of life.

When you’re dealing with a wild animal, it’s usually best not to look it directly in the eyes… Some storms you just have to wait out.  Some parties too epic for pictures.

Burning Man.

Yes, I made the pilgrimage this year.  And, yes, it was worth every ridiculous trade-off.

Short parable: Going into Burning Man I decided to braid my hair,  you know, like every other long haired chica on the playa; to keep it from knotting up, naturally. After two weeks of looking ‘fly’, not showering, and spending ten days in the dust, I’ve never combed out such a mess of knots.  Ironically, I felt the burn and, just like my hair, I felt that the knots tied in the fabric of our unique burn culture needed a conditioning treatment of their own.

I debated posting this blog because I am somewhat ashamed of some of the things I have witnessed online and on the playa.  If you’ve been keeping up with the burn word on the street, then you are aware there was plenty of drama to go around this year.  I’ve watch what I’ve grown to call ‘my community’ appear to fall apart over some very specific issues.  This has created a sense of self-doubt in my own choices, let alone in my faith in this community.

I spent much of this year at various burns weighing the two sides… Is the stress worth the comb-out?  Does the carbon foot print outweigh the time, money and energy spent? Are the principles worth the autonomy we give up?    Does radical inclusion justify the split in our community?  Lastly, is deciding to shop at Wal-Mart over-ridden by the notion that we get to party seamlessly for a week in the middle of no where kicking dust?

The biggest question is are you proud to be a part of this scene?

I say, sheepishly, it was worth it.  Every dollar, scrape, burn and bruise, missed deadline and job quit because of Burning Man was worth the epic nature of this event and I can’t get it out of my head!  That moment when I looked around at the vast expanse and see nothing but art and smiles for miles, I KNEW in my heart it was worth it.  No one can shut up about it, and the question at hand becomes “what’s next?”

We’ve certainly outgrown our roots at this point, and now the Burning Man Organization is expanding!  How “fly” of them; it’s about time!  I feel like I’ve been ready for this since before I knew what even was a burn.  Now that the org has purchased a permanent location, Fly Ranch, what should be done with it?

I wonder just how many of us would quit our jobs at the drop of a top hat, depart the default world to arrive in Gerlach ready to colonize #forreal. To Settle. Prepared to work. Ready to practice what we preach.  Ready to surrender.  Ready to stand up for what we believe in.  Ready to chop the dead ends and grow fresh roots.  The land is there. The ten principles are in place. Are we ready to uphold them? Isn’t this what we all want – to live the burner life fully and permanently?  Or perhaps it is just the ideal with which we are in love?  Alas, the conundrum that comes with all serious relationships, “are we ready to commit?”

So far the org has not said much in terms of what Fly Ranch is supposed to be, and the word on the street is that they are open to the community’s vision (you can insert your own thoughts here).

I want to think that this community is one I can be proud to represent, and realistically, be okay loosing my hair over on a regular basis.

So….

Should we quit our jobs yet?

Maybe volunteer with Burners without Burners?  Burners without Borders is a grassroots, volunteer-driven, community leadership organization whose goal is to unlock the creativity of local communities to solve problems.  (Which, I will add, I am headed to volunteer for a week in New Orleans next month).

What I desire most, is that I could head back to Black Rock City, TODAY, with all of the other die-hard sick-of-this-default-shit burner radicals and get settled on Fly Ranch as my heart imagines our community could be living.  If we gave it a real effort to colonize and revolutionize the way we envision our lives, image what we could do for ourselves, and as a model for the world?  I am unsure if it is time for that, yet, but I do know that I am ready.  Are you?  Should we?  This is a group decision, not just for one or two people.

If it’s too soon for you personally that’s okay. The task at hand is clearly upon us; to spread what I believe is a common love and respect all around the world, including within our own community, but specifically outside of our inner circle, and to be proud of this energy.

We are a hefty network.  Think of the global mouthpiece we could amplify should we chose to deliver an intentional message.  What message is worth delivering, and how shall we say it? Perhaps we speak softly, with grace, radical inclusion and exquisite creativity; definitely not with exclusivity.  Let us find the voice of the radical burner spirit that drew us all together in the first place.

I challenge us to a  radical international game that Americans know by the name of telephone.  Allow me to whisper something into your ear, and you into the ear of your neighbors, and so forth.

May we whisper words of creative kindness into our consciousness, let it permeate our lives and the lives of our community and remind us of our roots.  May every action be an opportunity to spread some burner light with others.  Let every grocery store encounter set the stage for intent and radical expressive interaction.  Everyday put something moopy back in its place. :et civic responsibility realign the burner attitude we once sought with pride and inclusion.

Please continue to spread the magical dust on every level and know that our utopia is not as far away as we think, if we want it to be.  The questions are, what role do you play,  and how do we fully practice the art of burning?   #loveyourburn #spreadit #missconcepttour

Sincerely,
MissConception

 

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Burning Man 2016

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Burning Woman

To know who you are and still be wide open to change is a terrifying and beautiful thing…

I sit here on the eve of embarking on a most playful, joyful yet daring experience of my life, and I cannot be anything but simply exploding with gratitude.  How is it that there is so much chaos and turmoil in this world, and I of all people, am lucky enough to buy this ticket?  To take this ride…. To be able to take the time and bask in this creativity… To celebrate the fullness and richness of life?  I do know how lucky I am.

And perhaps, how selfish it can seem, to choose to spend my time in such way, I wonder?  I suppose I might have chose to stay grounded and make money back home?  One could choose to spend time at Standing Rock, supporting our environment and planet.  Or wrapping myself up in politics, maybe that would have given more meaning to my actions?

I try not to second guess myself anymore, but rather look at the assets of the present situation.  70,000 of the most creative problem solvers on this planet are about to convene in the middle of nowhere, in costume non-the-less, it is a divine intervention.  There are  many critical issues today on our planet, perhaps creativity is the quickest pathway to solving many of these challenges?  I do not pretend to know solid answers, but I do know my own worth as a participant in a community of artists and thinkers… so let the brainstorms begin.  I must honor the path that has been set before me, and be grateful for this experience, that is at the forefront of my mind.

As I leave an old world behind and step into a new one, it is with no fear and strong intentions that I humble myself, and allow for change to manifest.

I write this to, you, my friends and family, as though it were my last words coming from the Sara Nicole you think you might know, because after this next week, I am grateful that everything about who I am will be different.  Really every moment is a chance to shed your skin and become a new person, sometimes it’s just easier in a place so open and loving as Black Rock City.  I could not be more excited about this next phase of evolution.

My prayer?  Please, open my eyes.  Grow my heart.  Pull me closer and set me free.  USE ME, Universe, how I was meant to be.

Lastly, may you all know how you each have helped propel me and shape me into the proud artist and poet I have become, and know that I am forever grateful for your patience, encouragement as well as for your own openness and bravery.  YES YOU!  If you are reading this, know that you have impacted my life in a positive way, and we will continue to make positive changes in this chaotic world, one word, one connection at a time.   Look at us… we are an interconnected network of creativity and resources.  I truly look forward to coming back from this experience with more clarity and insight on what move to make next, as an individual and as a part of a community, with complete confidence and competence.   I am home.

Until we meet again,

MissComplete

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24 days…

Four groundscore and seven fests ago, I was partying (too often in vain), when a dear friend turned me on to a little big thing called Burning Man.  ::scoff scoff::  Oh, the stigma!  After doing some serious research and digging deep within my own principles to see if it was a good fit, I was hooked… on the culture, on the curiosity, and of course on the crazy!

I took a good look around my festie scene, and while I do love the live music and wacky vibes, I craved a deeper connection, fueled by community and creativity.

So I turned to burn.

I embarked upon my first burn in 2013 in the middle of Missouri called Interfuse…. that year, it was commonly referred to as Winterfuse; to say the least, it was cold. FRIGID.  It was miserable.  It was exhausting.  And I STILL had the BEST time. Ever. Scratching my head, I had to know more.

I decided it was time to do Burning Man proper, as a seasoned festival goer, and so late 2013 I dove in head-first for Cargo Cult.  Not fully understanding the past enough to help create the future of Burning Man still, I thought I was ready.  Though I had done my homework and was as prepared as us newcomers can be, it was still terrifying.  Not because of the dust (that was hardly the biggest challenge), not because of the cold (I slept outside every night on a cot and was never uncomfortable really…we got VERY lucky I am told), and it wasn’t because of the lack of food or camp infrastructure.  It was scary because as an eccentric performer coming from the midwest I was virtually invisible.

Everyone had their tribe, their camp, their art car, their shtick, and I did find it a bit of a challenge for a newcomer to incorporate myself into existing relationships and bonds.

It was just the challenge I needed, to be fair.

Pushed outside of my comfort zone and into the ‘real world’ of the creative vortex I better understood my self and my environment.  The biggest lesson I learned from the experience is that you don’t go to Burning Man, or anywhere sacred for that matter, without taking with you those with whom you want to share the experience.

“Sometimes you don’t get the burn you want, you get the burn you need,” my partner Michael reminds me, as we head into the abyss of this year’s 2016 Burning Man “DaVinci’s Workshop” of choosing your own adventure!

I am grateful to have a partner who is as open and flexible and free as I feel, especially going into such a journey.  I have come so far from being that innocent hippie jam band free lovin’ festival chica I used to be, and now I walk forward with the 10-principles engraved on my soul.  “Party with class, pick up your trash!” It’s a group effort to leave no trace.  Consent is always fresh in my mind, especially with new people.  Radical creativity and self expression combined with civic responsibility means doing what you do best, while not interfering with anyone elses’ experience.  Burning is a way of life, a beautiful way at that.  Walking this path with integrity, confidence and compassion is my modus operandi, and I could not be more excited to see what unfolds in the Black Rock galaxy this year.

If all of this jargon is a total mystery to you, I encourage you to start researching.  Look up the 10 principles.  Watch videos of what it means to burn with heart.  Most importantly, don’t ever underestimate the power of your own intentions.

So many people have said to me, “oh, I could never afford to go to burning man, it’s so expensive”, and I too said the same thing.  Until I just decided to go.  Never mind the low-income ticketing program (worth looking up, if you’re on a budget) but the rule of thumb with Burning Man tickets is that if you are supposed to be there, you will make it.  If you decide you are going pack your bags and the ticket will find you.  The biggest challenge for most people is getting the time off work.  Last time I went to Burning Man I quit my job before I went. (Sorry about that CBT).  If you decide this is going to be the most life changing epic adventure you’ve ever known then it will be, and quitting your job may be just the catalyst you need to make it happen.  If you show fear then you will be met with fear.  “Attitude is everything” my mother taught me as a little girl.

My attitude is ready to kick some artsy ass; in 24 days we burn the man.

Amen.

Art, Hip Hop, Sacred Space

Greener Pastures…

It looks so glamorous from the outside, but I promise you the struggle is real, no matter which side of the fence you live on.

I often look at my own progress as an artist and in terms of what it means to be “successful”…  I have to often remember that I am only one person, and I’ve come so much further than I ever expected, whilst undergoing the real struggle, to stay humble.   The irony of not being able to book a legit show in my hometown, but in florida they love me, I continue to try and make sense of it. But I am content.  I know I am worthy and was put here to make the world a more beautiful place as an artist. Nothing I have done was handed to me on a silver platter.

Logistics: My mother helped me financially record my first album in 2008. I self produced the 2nd and 3rd album and my fans helped with the costs of 4th album and book publishing.  I am my own manager, booking agent, PR creative director and social media marketer. Words came easy, but I’ve taught myself how to DJ, spin fire, market, update websites, and am now pushing myself out of my comfort zone to travel, teach workshops and street perform along the way.

None of this has been easy… But rewarding, yes. Worth every second of confusion and self doubt and mystery.

So use me universe. Don’t let my wanderings be in vain.

And may I always be grateful for those, friends, family and co-workers, who have believed in me all along the way, even when it was hard to believe in myself.  It is because of all of you that I can wake up everyday proud of my triumphs, and my mistakes. The lessons make all the mistakes worth it.

Oho from Montana,
MissChief

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www.themissconception.com