To begin: as I prepare to get on the Playa (Burning Man), where people often take stage names, I am changing my name to “Marco”, but “permanently”. The new name will distinguish me from the other Marc’s (it is really quite annoying to be a in a group with another Marc), and it carries a certain “je ne sais quoi”, a hint of liberal Italian aristocrat maybe? This has no reality of course, other than my Italian childhood. My mother’s line is working-class and my father’s line is school-teachers. With artistic and intellectual aspirations on both sides, which I am proud of. But no Italian aristocrats that I am aware of. So I made one up.
Anyway — the news here is so incredible that if I told you all that is going on you would think I was cracked (more than you think this already, I mean). And so I am only going to tell you 20% of it, the surface or factual layer.
I have been staying at an intentional community in Washington DC called GlowHouse. I am fulfilling, among other things, a temporary role of “housemother” here. “Housemother” is too complex to describe here (it comes out of Morehouse tradition, which is one of the most effective IC models), and it’s an aspect of relational leadership. I am doing it half-assed, but there are no perfect housemothers anyway, and it represents a return to my original love, intentional community. When the Norristown municipality shut us down in 2009, it broke my heart. So there is a healing there for me, and a (possible) opening into a new life.
But it gets even better. GlowHouse has an event space for building A/R community in DC (for which there is demand), and, even more significantly, everyone here is on the production team for a large dance and burner community called Camp Contact. Camp Contact combines contact-improv dance, ecstatic dance, Acro Yoga (a form of contact yoga), and Authentic Relating. Three of us on the team here are leaving for Black Rock City (North of Reno) on Tuesday, driving a truck there and back. Given setup and take-down of the camp (you have no idea what a production this is, or maybe you do. About a dozen structures need to be erected, commercial kitchen for 170 people, power and HVAC, events happening all day long etc etc), we will be gone the better part of a month.
To make this whole trip even more hallucinating, get this. Burning Man camps tend to group into “villages” with other affinity camps. The two Camp Contact affinity camps are Naked Heart and Decentral. Naked Heart is a Sacred Sexuality (divine feminine) camp, and Decentral is a camp for social change activists, particularly those working on “new economy” models (such as gift economy and integral consciousness emergence — Burning Man of course is a gift-economy), with a special focus on the possibilities provided by blockchain technology. Furthermore (sorry if I am rambling here, but this is kind of unbelievable) there is a Wim Hof method sub-camp of Camp Contact. We will be meeting at 7am each morning for heavy breathing and ice baths, for alleged health benefits.
Thus, as you can imagine, I feel like I have died and gone to heaven. Judging from the program (which just got published), I suspect I will be spending all my time at Burning Man within a 300 foot radius of our village. I don’t think this represents any great loss, as quite honestly I fail to get the cosmic significance of burning a big stack of wood in the desert. But whatever, it is still the greatest tribal gathering on earth. And my ideas about the actual “burn” might change anyway. I have been to Burning Man twice before, but nothing like this.
I am going to stop there. Stay tuned to this channel and I will give you the next 20% slice when I get back in September.