Arash Afshar

Photographer, Host of Burner Podcast and Founder of Justified Hype


There is this really excellent line in Captain America: Civil War. Prince T’Challa (Black Panther) isn’t really into the United Nations and all the diplomatic protocol. He says to Black Widow, “Two people in a room can get more done than a hundred.” Just then, his father King T’Chaka walks up and chimes in, “Unless you need to move a piano.”

Always loved that line but really got a first-hand account of how accurate it was yesterday when I was literally coordinating trying to move a piano. And I got a real taste of where my legit Burners are.

I was reminded of how often people look for excuses to run away from getting sweaty and dusty in the Default World (what Burning Man refers to as the rest of the world). One of my favorite things upon discovering this community was how quickly Burners shrugged, laughed and rolled up their sleeves. Everything, every new challenge, every breakdown and meltdown… They’re all simply fun new games to play. I learned that we can choose to make things fun or see them as work. I started seeing every new hill I had to climb in a desert festival in Mexico as a fun little workout instead of a chore. Every person saying no to helping with that piano was the universe nudging me in the direction of where I’m actually supposed to be.

Living life brings us contrast and challenges. That’s almost literally the point of living in this physical plane. And we can choose to see those challenges as fun side missions and mysteries to solve or just more roadblocks and walls.

Burning Man really has trained me to receive more of life with ease and flow. There’s a reason we burners just seem to gravitate towards each other.

“Ok so there’s a dust storm coming and my shade structure just collapsed on top of my tent and my crew who is supposed to help build the rest of my art project which has to be up by midnight broke down an hour outside of Los Angeles? ::Shrug:: OK. Well let’s pull up our tutus, crack open a beer and start solving these curveballs one at a time.”

I love this line from the song, Wear Sunscreen: “Don’t worry about the future. Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum.”

The piano got moved, I learned a couple of important lessons I won’t bore you with right now and I got to meet a cool new friend as a direct result of my efforts to move that piano in the middle of the great 2020 quarantine.

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