I went to our local Earth Day festival and gave out FREE HUGS.

I didn’t intend for it to be a Burning Man-related activity. It certainly wasn’t my intention to preach the Principles. But that is what happened.

I stood there with a pink “HUGS” sign above my head. Some people ignored me, some smiled and walked on by, but quite a few gave me big ol’ hugs.

But what was most surprising to me was how many people could not understand why I was doing it.
“Who are you here representing? What are you promoting?”

“I’m not selling anything! Just Gifting hugs.”

They gave me looks of bewilderment.

One guy even shoved money in my hand…as if I was painted silver doing the robot.

I am so immersed in Burning Man culture that it did not occur to me how foreign a non-transactional interaction is to most people.

Once they realized I didn’t have some angle, I was struck by the profound appreciation people expressed. People lit up when they started to grok that this was Gifting. I was reminded of how transformative the 10 Principles (and specifically Gifting) can be for people…and the world.

We are Black Rock City Citizens for 1 week a year. We are Ambassadors the other 51.



About the author: John "Halcyon" Styn


Halcyon is a 21-year Burning Man participant and co-founder of Pink Heart camp. He is author of "Love more. Fear less." and producer of the Burning Man short film, "The Pink Path." He's won Webby awards for his over-the-top personal site & his "Love On Demand" video podcast HugNation.com. Halcyon co-founded the San Diego based "1st Saturdays" homeless outreach program based on Burning Man Principles and coaches people how to be radically self expressed in the default world. You can find his full Playa Tips & Tricks series at www.PlayaPrinciples.com

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