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Finding Her Inner Sun


Image: Heather Lee Dixon.

Heather Lee Dixon has had an extremely traumatic year. She lost her husband, dog, business, and home. The former owner of Midtown’s toy store, Happy Happy Joy Joy, left town after her husband died last year. But she’s back and her chin is up.

BOB: You’ve had a number of major life changes. What’s been going on?

HEATHER: My husband was killed in a motorcycle accident last year. This unthinkable event released a chain of events. We had been back together for 7 years, reunited on FB. He was my first love when I was 18, and we had only been married 10 months. We married because we thought it meant everything each other had would then be jointly owned but that was not the case.

I was forced to sell my home in probate, and also could not run a business through all of this, so I closed Happy Happy Happy Joy. I’ve since bought an RV, done a bit of “getting away from it all”, crashing in Mom’s guest room and joined up with a huge Burning Man project in order to stave off a very real existential crisis.

“For me, it’s about re-connecting with my inner light.”

Yikes. Very sorry to hear. What are you doing now? It seems the Burning Man project is where your heart is now.

Yes yikes. I am in a position right now, having spent all last year selling everything I own, to take this summer for some “healing time.” My late-husband and I had attended Burning Man together 3 years in a row.

It’s a magical place for me with many special memories of spending quality time with him, riding around on our bikes, hanging out with new people and being in awe of the big art and both sober, he had 14 years of sobriety and I am coming up on 11 years.

It’s not just a party place! I’ve always wanted to see how one of the massive art installations goes up at Burning from start to finish. So I went to the Reno Burner Town Hall and found The InnnerSun Project. It felt like a good fit, for me, it’s about reconnecting with my inner light, a light which feels dim in the wake of my tragedy.

What’s next after this?

Right now it’s all about this! Our Kickstarter is live and we have until May 25 to raise the money to get it built. I am hoping to spend my whole summer up to Burning Man and then after building this thing.

It’s been a very positive influence in my world right now. Helping me to reconnect with the world. I had a hard time keeping up with close relationships last year, let alone forming new ones, and I already have a small community of people I am connecting with through this project.

We hope to make it a much larger community and continue it long after Burning Man ends. So for now I am focused on making this thing work and hoping I can rally more people around this project. It’s really cool. You don’t have to be a so-called Burner or go to Burning Man to participate, it’s bigger than that.

The project asks the question is What’s Your InnerSun? For me, that is “Honoring Kenny Dixon and Dog.” Your write your InnerSun on your hand submit at TheInnerSun.org, we cut and engrave a metal hand which skins the base of our massive art piece.

These hands will be saved after the piece is burned in welded mosaics to give to our Kickstarter backers once the event ends. I hope people will support this project so I don’t have to start thinking about my existential crisis again! I don’t want to think that far ahead yet. One day at a time. One gigantic art project at a time!

Heather is seeking help with her project. The InnerSun is heading to Black Rock City in 2019. Check out their Kick Starter: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/altman/the-innersun-projectburning-man-2019

Bob Conrad
Bob Conradhttp://thisisreno.com
Bob Conrad is publisher, editor and co-founder of This Is Reno. He has served in communications positions for various state agencies and earned a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Nevada, Reno in 2011. He is also a part time instructor at UNR.