So, here’s how the #pinksocks movement began. I went to Burning Man for the first time in 2010 to disconnect. To unplug. I found 70K people living in heart space without the construct of judgment or prejudice or fear. 70K people having 70K unique experiences. The art, the music, the people, the desert, the heat, the cold, the sunrises, the sunsets, the stars…..it was all mind blowing…..but more importantly it blew my heart wide open! What an amazing experience to find that we can all live as one and treat each other with love and kindness. If it can happen for a week in the desert, can it be replicated year round in the cities that Burners return home to? Ask a Burner, and we will say “Yes!”
Burning Man becomes “Black Rock City” the 5th largest city in the state of Nevada for one week out of the year. The city is self governed by 10 principles. One of my favorite principles on the playa is “Gifting”. A gift can be fresh water, a beer, a back rub, a bracelet or a necklace, pancakes, or bacon. The principle of gifting does not require quid pro quo. If you give me something, I don’t have to give you a gift in return. A person’s accepting the other’s gift IS the gift. Accepting with gratitude and love. Seeing, really seeing, the other person in that moment…..that’s the magic!
It’s from the principle of gifting that the pinksocks were born. When you wear a kilt, you have to wear fun socks. My friend, and co-founder at a healthtech startup, Andrew Richards and I were on a business trip to San Francisco trying to raise money from some bay area VCs. There was an adorable older couple from Israel whom we met at the hotel one morning over coffee. The husband’s name was Shlomo and he had one of the most awesome smiles! Full of loving energy and joy. He was crazy about the robot monkey socks I was wearing. I had a new pair in my bag that I hadn’t worn yet, so I gave them to Shlomo as a gift. And, I remembered…..I felt…..how amazing the connection between two people can be from gifting!