Ten Ingredients for Building Beloved Community and Creating Belonging

As we collectively move into a time of year many devote to gifting, contemplation, and renewal, we’d like to introduce you to the 10 Ingredients for Building Beloved Community and Creating Belonging. Yes, this is another list of 10 things… not to be confused with (but absolutely related to) the 10 Principles of Burning Man

We’re sharing the 10 Ingredients for Building Beloved Community and Creating Belonging as a series of 11 posts in Burning Man Hive — and YOU are invited to become part of the conversation. Each post lays out key concepts and practical examples intended to bring us closer to building Shirley Strong’s vision of Beloved Community, which is driven by a spiritually engaged activism to bring about a shared vision and a greater good. This is especially important at this time given the disconnection many of us are experiencing due to isolation from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

As a global culture of creators and community engineers, many Burners are familiar with Shirley’s ideals; we may see them in our projects, events, and aspirations. The 10 Ingredients for Building Beloved Community and Creating Belonging — the first five are introduced below, with more introduced weekly on Hive — burnify the process of building Beloved Community and creating belonging by sharing stories and examples that reference our own experiences in Black Rock City and beyond.

We invite you to join us in reflecting on ways we integrate these ingredients into your life, creations, gatherings, and beyond. Want to learn more? Listen to “Beloved Community in Our Midst” a conversation with Shirley and Simone on the Burning Man LIVE podcast.

To dive in and participate, log into Burning Man Hive using your Burner Profile. Don’t have a Burner Profile yet? Create one here.

The First Five Ingredients

  1. A Compelling Experience that Connects Us to Our Purpose and Provides  Direction for Our Lives

An encounter, a confrontation, witnessing an act of courage, hearing an inspiring quote, a tragic event — these experiences take us out of our comfort zone and keep us going in times when we want to give up on something important. Learn more about this ingredient and join the conversation in Hive 

  1. A Practice that Sustains

A sustaining practice is a way of ordering our lives, deepening our well-being and providing connection to our higher selves and something beyond ourselves. These practices sustain us because they enable us to reconnect our mind, body and spirit. Explore this ingredient in Hive

  1. A Community that Serves

A relationship with a community of like-minded people can provide support and comfort through the various stages and changes of life. This includes organizations with explicitly spiritual endeavors, and those that see themselves as serving a larger purpose. Explore this ingredient in Hive

  1. A Commitment to Others that Strengthens

Commitments encourage follow through. When we are part of a team, when we stay connected to family and friends, and demonstrate concern for the well-being of self and others, we keep our commitments because we know others are depending on us. Explore this ingredient in Hive

  1. A Philosophy or Belief System that Guides

A philosophy or belief system can guide us in our lives — particularly one that is inclusive and encourages deep connections. It can serve as a North Star by which we can orient our lives, functioning as a code of conduct without being too prescriptive. Explore this ingredient in Hive

Participate and Discuss These Ingredients on Burning Man Hive

Intrigued? Each post features examples of the ingredients in practice, and offers up questions to ask yourself and discuss with the community. Your voice is important! Dive in, participate and share your stories and thoughts in Burning Man Hive. We’ve only shared the first five ingredients here — there are five more to go. 

Join Hive with your Burner Profile. (Don’t have one yet? Create yours here.)


Cover image: “Do You Trust?” by Lana Radivojevic, 2018 (Photo by Manuel B. Pinto)

About the author: Shirley Strong and Simone Torrey

Shirley Strong and Simone Torrey

Shirley Strong is a social justice educator committed to greater equity and inclusion in higher education. She has been to Black Rock City in 2013 and has been part of the R.I.D.E. Advisory Group since 2019. Most recently, Shirley was the Chief Diversity Officer at Samuel Merritt University (SMU). Currently, she is the Diversity Director for the Center for Psychedelic Therapies and Research, a program of the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) that trains health professionals on the use of psychedelics. Shirley also serves as an advisor and trainer for the Structural Competency Working Group (SCWG), which conducts training on structural racism in healthcare in order to reduce health disparities leading to improved health outcomes for vulnerable populations. ___________________________________________________________________________________ Simone Torrey began her Burning Man journey in 2016 when she was invited to join BeeCharge camp in July, and subsequently sparkleponied her way through her first burn. During that same year, she met someone during a dust storm; he’s now her husband and father of their child. The next year Simone was part of the mutant vehicle crew that brought the Red Hot Beverly to life. And a year later she joined the organizing team of BeeCharge, leading an effort to create independent but interconnected pods within the camp. Simone has been working with Burning Man Project on several community engagement initiatives since 2018. Through her evolution as a professional facilitator for transformative change and community engagement processes, she has lived, studied and worked in 15 countries over the past 23 years.

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