I woke up before sunrise to catch an early flight out of Nashville with Kappel. I couldn’t believe we were only hours away from the Mojave Desert and only a day away from RiSE. I took a big (for me) leap a little over a month ago and shared on Free People’s blog about the struggle to find my identity through anxiety issues, miscarriage, divorce and eventually freedom and healing. I had a lot to release, and what I ended up experiencing was beyond anything I could have imagined.
Kappel and I made this video before heading to RiSE. It captures some of the moments that have been inspiring me most lately — little things that have given me peace. I shared a short clip on Intsagram a few weeks ago, but here’s the full version, the first posted on my new YouTube channel!
And then all of a sudden, we were there.
When we landed in Las Vegas, one of the first things we did was head out to Red Rock Canyon with dear friends Ravi Vora and Arvind Vora to watch the sunset. I stood on one of the cliffs and breathed deep, imagining that the gentle, steady wind was lifting away shards of self-doubt and fear I’d been carrying for so long. It’s hard to make sense of the painful things most of the time, but healing happens anyway. That’s what I felt in that moment. A new wave of healing.
The following afternoon, we hopped into the rental car and drove 45 minutes to the desert and the Moapa River Reservation. We arrived early and got to witness the scene, set with rows upon rows of torch poles, all leading to a large stage at the front. We gathered our mats and lanterns, found our torch, and after meeting the wonderful folks at MyIntent (and being decorated with their inspiring charms), we enjoyed the quiet — anticipating what the place would feel like filled with 14,000 people in only a few short hours.
The time passed quickly and when the sun began to set, we took out our lanterns and the little black markers they came with, and started to write. I didn’t plan mine. I had no idea what would come out, I just wrote. I ended up scribbling out lists of things I still wanted to heal from, things I had healed from, words expressing the joy and hope I felt, dreams and goals I hadn’t even admitted to myself yet. The tears fell. I overheard some people nearby sharing their own deep things. I looked around and saw thousands of people, imagining that they were all doing the same.
The last light slowly faded behind the mountains and torches flickered to life like stars. There was a count down to the first release, and all at once the sky was on fire. The words and drawings on those lanterns were heavy. They represented so much — thousands of hurts, questions and prayers. But watching them float away, graceful and unhindered, reminded me of the life altering truth that every obstacle and twist in our path serves to grow our roots deeper and make our hearts stronger. I could have clung to my lantern until it burned itself up, but letting it go, watching it soar, and being comforted by the promise of something new was so much better.
I cannot say it enough, but thank you to RiSE Festival and Free People for inviting me to experience this, and thank you, thank you, THANK YOU to every precious human being that shared their heart with me on my Free People blog post and my Instagram posts leading up to the festival. You guys have no idea how much you’ve impacted me. You are SOOOO beautiful!!!