Category Archives: Xtra

Freak Flag Activism


When I started going to Burning Man, almost 20 years ago, its place in culture was different.

It was underground. It was secret. It was taboo.

Now it is a part of cultural mainstream with frequent TV mentions and Buzzfeed lists of “Top Celebs at this year’s Burn”

20 years ago you could read everything publicly written about it in an hour and still have no idea what it was.

Now there are over 5 million Burning Man videos on YouTube.  (Of course, you could watch them all and still have no idea what it is.)

20 years ago digital photography was brand new and nobody had cell phones.  You could walk around naked and be confident nobody would see it in the default world.  

Now people post to Instagram all week long. Your corndog fellatio escapade could be a viral sensation before Burn Night.  Privacy is *not* one of the ten principles.

20 years ago, admitting to going to Burning Man was career suicide.

Now, so many respectable people have gone to (and praised) the event, that participating can be a badge of honor – if not a hiring requirement.

20 years later Burning Man plays a much different role in our culture. And I believe it has never been more important.

Radical Self Expression is no longer a decadence.  It is now critical activism.

We are the seed banks of culture – preserving diverse thinking and creativity.

As a cultural ice age takes its grip – we must persevere.  We must keep the fires going.

We must maintain our humanity by expressing our creativity.  It is our creative expression that makes us more than greedy, over-groomed monkeys.

I’m talking about true creative expression. Authentic expression.

That which may not be appreciated by the mainstream.

Because it is in these fringe nether regions where the transformational ideas take root. Outside-the-box thinking will only thrive when people are supported when they stray outside the status quo.  

And we may be entering an era when radical thought is ridiculed and persecuted.

But a bloodline and a culture both need to avoid inbreeding to stay healthy.  “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” said Albert Einstein.  So, without a healthy culture of non-traditional thought, we are doomed to stagnate in our woes.

Making art has never been so important. Living artistically has never been more courageous.

Now is when we step into our warrior roles.  

Fighting is more than throwing rocks and carrying signs.  It is staying weird, open-hearted and deviant – while the status quo is trying to crush you.  
Buckle-up Burners.  

Intro email to a coaching client

“Just to put it out there:  Personally, I often get the instinct to want to impress people, especially ones who impress me. But I want you to know that I love you profoundly, already. Your truth is perfect. Nothing you have ever done is a failure to me. No quirk is a weakness. Whatever you you are called to share is welcome.  If it is honest, it is impressive.
And I will work on remembering that for myself, as well.”

2016 Year in Review

Screen Shot 2016-12-29 at 11.23.12 AM

I like to look back each year and remember some of the major events. (Here is 2015’s, 2014’s and 2013’s lists) And here’s what happened to me in 2015:

Spoke at Lucidity, Burning Man, Trilogy, MOPS, Nephew Carter’s Classroom

Participated in LiB, YOUtopia, Symbiosis

Participated in my 1st International Regional Burn – Blazing Swan (Western Australia) 

Went to SF Decom and LA Decom.

Contributed more ‘Tips & Tricks” to the Burning Man Blog.

Attended Wisdom 2.0 (for 3rd year)

10th Aniversary of “The Pink Ride”

1st Saturdays – Celebrated our 6th year. Restarted 501c3 process.

1st Saturdays Antelope Valley started with gusto.

Spent  week at The Generator in Reno.

Attended Burning Man Philosophical Symposium 

Went out at did FREE HUGS for the 1st time.

Produced 23 Awesome News Network videos

Enjoyed a wonderful family reunion in Streamboat Springs, CO. (Went to my first rodeo!)

Started using outsourcing labor to improve my art/videos (transcribing and titles)

“Gift of Life” song came out from Blessed Beats / Dj Leif (with audio from Grandpa Caleb)


Appeared on Several podcasts of inspiring people

Consistently did the Hug Nation audio podcast. (on itunes & Soundcloud)

Beer Bottle Hunt went viral – (10 million views

HalcyonStyn YouTube channel broke 10K subscribers

Made a Morning Blessing MP3

Participated in Movember, raised a little $

Did the “Burning Man Regifting Project” experiment.  Raised $600 & spread dusty joy.

Had more hope, and more despair for the future than ever before. Most drastic year ever. Shared more tears online than ever before.

I’m so grateful to have shared this year with you. I love you.

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Vote with your dollar

In addition to petitions and calls, I encourage everyone to do some “voting with your dollars” this week to causes that call to you.
Here are some places I’m personally supporting:
(Feel free to post organizations you believe in *that you have personally gifted money to recently.*)


Net Neutrality

Civil Rights

Men’s Health

Human Evolution

Facebook Filter App Developer
http://www.fbpurity dot com/

+ private gifts to friends in need.


My Facebook feed is full of updates from Standing Rock and a number of my friends have even gone to join the water protectors.   If you are unfamiliar with the situation, watch the 1st video.
If you are unaware of the violence the peaceful demonstrators are receiving, watch the second video.  Facebook Life broadcasts last night showed Militarized Police using water cannons in sub-freezing temps, shooting rubber bullets and tear gas.

It must suck to be a grade school teacher this week figuring out a Thanksgiving-themed lesson plan.
“Teacher, aren’t we spraying the peaceful, praying Native Americans with water cannons in sub-freezing temps, shooting tear gas canisters, and shooting them with rubber bullets in Standing Rock RIGHT NOW, in 2016?”

“Shhhhhhhh….just keep tracing that hand. See? It’s a turkey!”

(Detailed coverage of last night’s violence)

MORE Synchro!

Synchronicity continues to pop-up in my life. And more & more I am unsurprised. I am beginning to see it – not as a source of amazement – but as a tool & guide.
I.e. I have a big decision on my horizen…and I have decided that (rather than ask for the advice of friends and colleagues) I will listen to the signs and go with my gut.

P.S. 30 seconds after posting, I read this Note from The Universe in my inbox:
Owner’s Manual for a Life within Time and Space
Package Contents:
1. Thinker (John Halcyon Styn)
2. Magical Universe with unyielding principals
1. Think about desired manifestation in its final form (the end result).
2. Physically follow hunches, instincts, and intuition – enabling movement in the direction of final form.
Expected Results:
Manifestation will slip into Thinker’s life when least expected, likely via so-called coincidences and accidents, unless contradictory thoughts are entertained.
Manufacturer’s Note:
Believing in the necessities of blood, sweat, and tears, OR sacrifice, worthiness, and years may severely impede the manifestation process, as will worrying about the “hows and means” of attaining desired final form. Additionally, as long as Thinker consistently and perpetually physically moves as outlined, contradictory thoughts will be mitigated and weakened. In other words, as long as you keep doing your part, you needn’t worry that you sometimes worry.
Guaranteed results,
The Universe

Lesser of 2 Evils

To those who have challenged my endorsement of Hillary:

Some people say, “I refuse to pick the lesser of two evils.” To which I would argue: you are getting caught up in a phrase. “The lesser of two evils” is the same thing as “the better of the two.”

Other people are fixated on the foul play that was a part of the primary. I would make the case that politics has always been a dirty game – at every level. There is a reason why Bernie is strongly encouraging everyone to vote Hillary. It isn’t coercion, it is logical game play.

Here is the new way I am looking at it:

Imagine you were pulled over and your 4 friends were framed by a corrupt small town cop. Your lawyer advises, “Innocent or not, you’ve been framed with no good alibi. The system here is corrupt. You could take the plea bargain and do 30 days community service…OR face a jury (which will include people as close minded as the cop) and possibly do 4 years in jail.” THE LESSER OF THOSE 2 EVILS IS MASSIVE. You could refuse to compromise your integrity and face the jury, but the potential downside is just so big. You and all of your friends could pay a huge price. Losing sucks, but losing everything is worse. The time to fight that city’s corruption is before you were arrested and after your trial is over.

(Facebook conversation response to this post:

I am under no illusion that I will change anyone’s mind. I was simply defending my previous statements and addressing some counter arguments.

My reason for speaking out in the realm of politics is this: I do believe that political leadership affects the day to day lives of citizens. (Not just President, of course.) As a person of privilege, it affects me less than many. And perhaps I am out of line by trying to address anyone’s needs (or suffering) other than my own. But I look forward a couple years and have the thought: “If the next President makes decisions/appointments/etc. that eliminate the rights of people I love (i.e. ANYONE) and I did not speak up when I had the chance – I will regret my silence.”
You may disagree with my voting strategy. I’ll agree that the world is a complicated place and there is no black and white. My Hillary endorsement is based on 1) trusting Bernie Sanders 2) Trusting the opinions of people I know who have followed politics & world history MUCH more deeply than I have for decades 3) My intuition.

I have no desire to debate or argue. I speak up to be heard by those on the fence (or ambivalent) who value my opinion. Far deeper than my political views is my love for everyone. I love Trump. I love Hillary. I love Bernie. I love you. I will love every single citizen of this country and the world no matter what the election outcome. I will seek to increase love and reduce suffering on a personal level every day, regardless of the election cycle.

If voicing my opinion has reduced your respect of me, I have no control of that. I wish you well.