An Epic Gift

What it takes to get to Burning Man…

I learned a beautiful lesson this past week in search for a Burning Man ticket and I want to share it. I found the above photo on the internet; I currently have no photos of my own. If you read this, you’ll learn why.

Last week a new and dear friend of mine, Ben, told me he had a friend willing to sell his Burning Man ticket to me if, and only if, I performed an “Epic Deed” and photographed it.

I wanted to do something that didn’t feel forced or planned but something instinctual, honest and in the moment. As I wandered the streets of a small barrio in Barcelona, I started building up various epic scenarios in my mind. What a great opportunity! I imagined how I might save a child or feed a starving family.

After setting the intention to perform the epic deed, I figured I would practice for the epic moment by performing small deeds in the meantime. At Community Give Back day at Awesomeness Fest, Ben offered me a piece of advice that I held onto — that intention setting is empty action. It’s the action that counts.

I made a rule for myself that these small deeds could not occur in moments of convenience (as I do my best to do that anyway); rather I would go out of my way to give. The days that followed were transformative. I gave away my favorite books, shared food with strangers, and picked up dog shit. It wasn’t the dog shit that inspired the mind shift, though. The most appreciated gift I gave was undoubtedly my time. I committed to fully listening to and honoring everyone I encountered, no matter where I had to be or what I had to do. This modest deed in and of itself felt epic.

Then I got robbed at the Barcelona Yoga Conference, of all places. There is always some irony to every good story, no? I gave someone a huge hug and he jacked my phone from my purse. My first reaction was to cry and screw the good deed giving if this is what the universe provided in return. Then I proceeded to laugh hysterically at the idea that I would cry over a stolen piece of plastic and that I still held the selfish notion that I was doing all of this for something in return.

Lesson learned: the most epic deed is graciously giving your time and fully paying attention as you do it. I continue on my journey phone-less, more empowered than ever and content at the thought of someone else enjoying a new iPhone. Thank you Ben for this totally epic gift wrapped in a little dog shit;)

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