Burning Man is has a gifting economy. Everything is a gift, freely given. Camps offer experiences as free gifts, and people offer all kinds of things. For my first Burn in 2015 I created a blessing that I could offer strangers. I needed it to have integrity and reflect me, who I was as a priest on the Playa, but also be readily received by as many people as possible, inclduing those who had been wounded by toxic Christianity. Here it is:
The world now
is too dangerous
and too beautiful
for anything but love.
I bless your eyes be so blessed you see God in everyone.
I bless your ears, so you hear the cry of the poor.
I bless your lips so you speak nothing but the truth with love.
I bless your hands so that everything you give
and everything you receive,
is a sacrament,
I bless your feet so you run to those who need you.
And may your heart be so opened,
so set on fire
that your love,
changes . . .
It was amazing to be in an environment where I could go up to a stranger and ask, "can I bless you?" and they would expectantly say "yes." They of course never knew if it was something funny or deep - at Burning Man anything could be considered a "blessing." And I mean anything. After getting consent to touch them, I would put my hands on their shoulders, look in their eyes, take a breath and say, "The world now . . ." After the opening line, their countenance would change. They would prepare themselves to receive something important. I would touch next to their eyes, ears, lips, and hands, then stoop down and kiss their feet. For the last line I would put my thumb on their sternum and press hard. It was always a moving exchange.
I did it a fair amount my first year, but not as much as I thought I would. Each exchange took more energy than I had anticipated. I needed time to reset. I also learned that there were times that were more appropriate, when people would be more open. Sunrise was good. Evening, when people were getting ready to party for the night, was not.