Burn Notice – Insights from Burning Man

Insights Burning Man 2015
Photo Courtesy of Incredible Winemaker & Friend – Stuart Spoto

Insight comes in unusual places. In the middle of a desert, I suppose one would expect a few good insights. Jesus found and resisted temptation in a desert. In Paulo Coehelo’s “The Alchemist” the desert stood between the characters and their dreams, until they learned to embrace its offerings. Insights in the desert – I had some at a festival called, “Burning Man.”

I spent days preceding and the weekend of Labor Day on a salt flat in the desert, being reminded of things that really matter in life. It was a wholly unique and personal experience. Although there were over 70,000 other people with me. I have feeling for each person…Insights from Burning Man 2015

the insights revealed were uniquely their own.

Perhaps, some had no realizations at all. I’m always inviting wisdom into my life; whether or not I recognize it as it comes, is debatable. And, I still maintain those who claim wisdom are the very people it eludes (click to tweet).

Dragon backlit

For many days I breathed through a scarf because winds and dirt devils made it impossible to breathe and see clearly – the irony is not lost on me here. Days passed and I didn’t have the luxury of bathing…but, in the desert’s defense, it was a really, really dry dirt. It was impossible to drag a comb through my hair. Even a Really. Wide. Toothed. Comb.Insights from Burning Man 2015 It was all okay, because when the skies cleared or the sun set, I was treated to absolutely, incredible art, people in full expression of themselves and the reminder that although I had no creature comforts, no phone connections – I was experiencing the things that truly matter in this life….for me. I was reminded of the value of….

1. A sense of wonder and appreciation of the beauty that surrounds me – Beauty of this earth, one another and our divine and unique spirits.Insights from Burning Man

2. The reminder that you are okay, just the way you are….and I am okay, too. Although we may be vastly different, we are both entirely whole.


3. The knowledge that unselfishly sharing doesn’t create scarcity…it creates support, friends and a community that will embrace you when in need. That being said, it can be in the nature of man to take without reciprocation, at which point, the choice becomes that of the giver – who should never be judged for setting limits.

Insights from Burning Man 2015

4. Diversity is essential for the success of humankind – though accepting it can be challenging, it’s one of the most precious gifts we have.

Flamingo Man

5. Tolerance is easy as long as one’s self is not being damaged.

Photo Courtesy Talented Winemaker Friend - Stuart Spoto - Spoto Family Wines
Photo Courtesy Talented Winemaker Friend – Stuart Spoto – Spoto Family Wines

6. Moments are versatile. They not only tangle together to offer experiences…but, can also stand alone. (click to Tweet) It’s through moments that beautiful, whole lives are created. WE create those lives ourselves, our greatest work of art…painted with moments. Moments with people, moments alone, moments in contemplation, moments in gratitude and prayer.

Insights from Burning Man

I realize I’ve written this entire piece in first person. While there were many people sharing this experience, I can’t speak for them. I can’t even speak for the people I traveled with. We come into the world alone – the same way we leave it. While we are here, there are some common threads that connect us. In a desert, in harsh circumstances, with a simple set of agreements, we I felt them deeply and profoundly. Without the noise of agencies competing for my support, I heard them clearly.

All is well with the core of mankind. Have faith and reclaim it. One, by, one. (click to sweet Tweet)

Blessings for us all,



Michelle Andres is a writer and artist. She writes this blog to share tips for a well-Insights from Burning Manlived life and a finely run art business…just for you!
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14 Replies to “Burn Notice – Insights from Burning Man”

  1. Sands and wind, and breathing through your scarf, and not being able to run a comb through your hair… and it still sounds like an amazing experience. Your post makes me wish I was one of those 70,000 people and makes me wonder what insights would have come my way. Your photos are stunning!

  2. Wow Michelle,

    What incredible images! And I truly believe all of the points you have made in your blog. And how timely for me. I am in the process of donating am image of my “Flowing Energy” drawing (a coloring image) so that patients going through the challenge of cancer can spend time coloring and visualizing their own recovery. While still struggling to maintain a living with my art, I decided that sharing this valuable image will help those who are in physical crisis. All the points you made resonate with me but especially #3. I am giving a spiritual part of me and only hope that I can help many!


    1. That’s such a wonderful gift, Deborah! I believe our own approach to healing can be so very powerful. It’s wonderful you are helping others. I still urge you to know your limits and take care of yourself. We can’t help others if we are depleted. Keep doing what you do, friend. 🙂

  3. How cool. This is on my bucket list too, so its fun to read your insights. I would like to know more about the details. Perhaps in a later post. Like, what was a typical day like? What did you do to prepare for it? What do you wish you would have thought of that you didn’t? I have read (see The Good Life Lab book) about this event and have heard that it is a very deep experience for many. Unlike anything else. “Currency” being redefined, in a way. Cool.

    1. Hi Amy! The “Good Life Lab Book” – I’ll have to check it out. Just a couple suggestions that were made to us to enjoy Burning Man – Get involved early
      – Get to know others in your camp
      – Bring costumes (googles and a scarf to breathe through for sure)
      – Be open – everyone is there to have a good time
      – Be prepared for all types of weather. It can be really hot or cold.

      I think the insights will reveal themselves as the right times come for the lessons (or maybe not). You can learn more about the guidelines on their website. 😉

  4. Hi Michelle, although I receive your email notices, I’ve rather avoided them amidst the continuous war for e-attention. But recently, when Linda Johnson recommended you as an artist to inquire with about scheduling an art show, I suddenly found myself exploring your Burning Man images and comments and then on to your posts about studio space. Might I have observed that the male responses seems to indicate a stronger sensitivity toward a defined space? We are, very generally as males, more spatially oriented. Perhaps – at least, I can relate to that as part of my struggle for creating art. Anyway, there is much to admire, appreciate, and be grateful for… and still there’s much more yet to explore at your site. By the way, I FINALLY made my first Burn this year, and was impressed, among many things, by the range of experiences that people choose and/or offer within an accepting and inclusive evolutionary environment. I’m grateful that you captured that greater essence and shared some excellent photos. So back to my inquiry: I schedule / arrange shows in Davis and Sacramento at restuarant venues (Dantorel’s, Toro Bravo, Crepeville, Burgers n Brew…). I do this to provide artists an opportunity to see a collection of their work as a whole (which is greater than the sum of images), and to bring art to a wider audience than might be reached by galleries alone. Shows run for two months. I would be pleased to schedule a show(s) for you and/or for any artists you may recommend, and can send you details / answer further questions in a separate email. Thank you, Craig 916.451-5635

  5. Totems, temples and flamingos – oh my! Thank you for sharing! Wondering how you managed the wine with those bandanas…was it gritty grigio?

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