Last weekend during our Vegas “Baby”moon Geoff and I drove about 40 miles outside of Vegas to the Mojave Desert for the Rise Festival. I had learned about the festival through one of my favorite fashion and lifestyle bloggers. She and her husband had gone while she was pregnant last year. Well, this year I’m pregnant during the time the Mojave Rise Festival was scheduled, making it the perfect event to celebrate this new journey we are embarking on!
Throughout my entire pregnancy I have loved the absence of anxiety! If you’ve been around for a while, and/or know me personally, you know that I suffer from anxiety. For some reason pregnancy really blocked any feelings of anxiety that I’ve suffered through in the past. Unfortunately, in this third trimester, the anxiety is back and even worse than before. I’m sure it’s due to a mix of biological and emotional factors. I’m not afraid of going into labor and giving birth (don’t get me wrong, I’m not looking forward to the pain!). The anxiety is mostly about loss. A handful of people that I’ve been close with or have known through others have passed away recently. It’s as if I’m balancing between celebrating new life and mourning those who are gone.
Saturday morning during breakfast at our favorite restaurant in Vegas, I noticed my mother had called me and text me quite a bit. At first I was going to wait to call her back after breakfast, because I knew in my gut what she was calling about and I didn’t want to have the conversation in public. There ended up being a lengthy waiting period that allowed me to call her during breakfast. She asked how my morning was and without answering her question I asked “Papa passed away, huh?” My Papa Art (my mother’s father) had been shutting down since this July. Loss. I did feel a rush of relief when she told me “yes”. Relief for my grandfather, for my mom and grandmother, and for our family as a whole. I knew that night at Rise I wouldn’t only be focusing on releasing my fears and celebrating creating a family with my love, but I would be celebrating my papa as well.
We arrived to the festival a little later than planned. It took over two hours to drive 40 miles (take note of this if you decide you want to go next year!). Also, the lines for the food trucks were over an hour long and while Geoff was waiting to purchase our dinner, I was sitting in our little spot having the worst anxiety I’ve felt in a while. I was so upset with myself because here we were, at this beautiful place that I had been looking forward to coming to for months, and I wasn’t spending it with my husband because the line for food was too long. I kept having braxton hicks contractions which also added to my anxiety. Would I go into labor in the middle of the desert?! I decided while I was waiting for Geoff to return that I would start writing on my lantern. I wrote down a list of things I wanted to release: anxiety, fear, self-doubt, expectations. I also wrote down a list as replacements: faith, trust, confidence, acceptance. Once Geoff returned he wrote on his lantern and then we both wrote on a lantern together about family, marriage, friendships, and even wrote notes to my papa and his late grandparents.
Releasing the lanterns was such a beautiful and freeing experience. It was as if we were making our own stars in the sky with over 14,000 people out in the middle of the desert. Once we’d release our lanterns, both of us looked up into the sky to watch them float away with the rest of them. One thing to be aware of, however, are the run-away lanterns that knock into you! We would be in the zone, admiring the view around us, and then we’d hear “watch out!” and a lantern would be coming right at us, or someone wouldn’t even warn us while a lantern was ready to fall on our belongings. Looking back on the videos we took, I found them both breathtaking and humorous because of the balance between the lanterns that were in the sky and the ones that were coming right at us!
When we left the festival I felt a little disappointed, to be honest. I wanted to feel like I had released what I wrote on my lantern. The lantern Geoff and I released together felt really good because we were celebrating life and remembering our loved ones. But my lantern, the one that was holding on to so much of the emotions and fears I’ve been battling with for years, just didn’t feel like anything was gone when it slipped through my fingers. The anxiety I felt while waiting by myself, trying to watch the sky while also fearing that a lantern would fall on my head or burn Geoff, felt like the complete opposite of how I should have been feeling that night.
Although the drive back into Vegas wasn’t nearly as bad as the drive there, I realized that it’s all a process. Releasing, letting go, can’t happen in one night. It’s gradual. Like weight loss. The things we hold on to, that weigh us down…there aren’t quick fixes for them. Sure, we can find an easy way out, like suppressing how we feel, or telling ourselves everything is okay. But I was made more aware of the reality of time heals all wounds. I know now that I was experiencing anxiety, fear, and disappointment after the festival because those were the very things I wrote on my lantern to release!! I was meant to feel all of those yucky feelings because they are the very things that I am needing to let go of. I had a vision in my mind of how the night would go and when it wasn’t living up to my expectations I freaked out! Everything I wrote down I experienced all in one night.
And that night was perfect. Looking back on the experience, I believe it was the best for me. My truth did rise up. Maybe not in the form of a lantern, but in my heart I know what my truth is, what I need to work on, and that I will be able to release and replace in time.
What are some of the things you need to let go of? Hoping you all have had a beautiful weekend and have an even better week ahead!