The RISE Festival
There are times in your life when you witness something that you know will stay with you forever. The RISE Festival was one of those times for me. Before COVID, before lockdown, I was fortunate to attend the first RISE festival in the United States.
This event was advertised as:
RiSE elevates hope, ignites dreams, and creates memories you will never forget. Together we rise!
After experiencing this event, I can honestly say they were 100% correct!
Looking for Some Comfort
I registered for the event thinking it would be something amazing and I was thrilled when it worked out my daughter, Elizabeth, would be able to attend with me. We had looked forward to it and were excited to experience it together. Part of me kept thinking maybe this was the way for me to have some kind of connection with my mom (see my previous blog post –“Not a Day Goes By”). I miss my mom so much and part of me thought maybe this was a way to send her a message. Elizabeth had also had a tough year and I know we both were looking to release some stress into the night sky via these amazing lanterns.
Arrival and Set Up
The Festival was held in a dry lake bed out in the desert near Jean, NV — really in the middle of nowhere. Upon arrival, we walked about a mile to the site. It was beautiful — you usually don’t think of the desert as so beautiful, but let me tell you, it was. We arrived as the sun was beginning to set and the colors and light were stunning.
Once we found our spots, we set up the yoga mats provided for us and chowed down of the dinners we had pre-ordered. The Festival was set for about 10.000 participants but it didn’t feel crowded. I have to say they organizers did an amazing job. Before we knew it, the sun had set, and it was nearing the time for us to light our lanterns.
We were provided with 4 lanterns, markers, matches and “Wish Cards”. The markers were used to write on the lanterns and the cards to record our thoughts. It actually was a very spiritual event.
Releasing the Love
Elizabeth and I dedicated the first lantern to my mom. We both wrote messages to her and cried the whole time we wrote. The 2nd lantern was dedicated to Elizabeth and her continued good health as she struggles with ulcerative colitis. We dedicated the 3rd lantern to my other daughter, Sarah, wishing her peace as she navigates all things adulting. Our 4th lantern was a conglomeration of wishes for others we love and care about.
At about 8PM, we were instructed to light our torches, which would be used to light all our lanterns. We filled our first lantern with hot air and when given the signal, all 10.000 of us let our first lanterns fly into the night sky. This was an absolutely spectacular site – one that I don’t think we were prepared for. Both Elizabeth and I cried as we watched my mom’s lantern lift off and float peacefully towards heaven, with all those other lanterns, holding other people’s wishes and dreams along with it. It was so peaceful and beautiful.
After the first lantern, we were all able to fly our other lanterns in the remaining time. There was a steady stream of lanterns for the next 45 minutes to an hour. It was exhilarating, joyous, and just plain fun!
I am so happy we attended this event. I would go again in a heartbeat. It is not something I will soon forget.
I See the Light…..
These lyrics sum up how I feel about last night…..
All those days watching from the windows
All those years outside looking in
All that time never even knowing
Just how blind I’ve been
Now I’m here, blinking in the starlight
Now I’m here, suddenly I see
Standing here, it’s all so clear
I’m where I’m meant to be……..Lyrics by Alan Menken