Friday, January 5, 2018

a week off to cleanse & leave 2017 behind

I requested off the entire last week of 2017. To be able to spend time reflecting on the past year, and prepare for another. From now on I will try to make sure I have this week off every year so I can start off on the right foot. Time off and relaxation was all I had in mind, but this week ended up being far more than that. I feel entirely restored and ready. 

Twelve months happens quickly. So much transpires and it feels as if life is flying by. We need a break to just be and look back. Give ourselves a mindful pause to realize our growth, accomplishments, setbacks and all the ways to improve into the next twelve months.
I needed a pause to catch my breath before beginning yet another year. I needed time.

To be able to give myself more time I deleted all social media off of my phone. It is a time thief that robs you of the present moment and what is around you. It can fully envelop you whole throughout the entire day. Your few second scrolls become hours piled up at the end of the week. As social media swallows you, you begin to compare yourself. We become so aware of everyone else’s lives that we forget to pay attention to the moment in front of us. I gave myself time by being able to fully be present for my week off.

This past year was all about growth. Transforming and becoming my best self involves a lot of change. When change occurs there are parts of you or your surroundings that will no longer need to remain. This week was dedicated to cleansing in all areas.

It began with cutting the dead ends out of my life, starting with the mass amount at the end of my long curly mess. It always feels like a shedding of layers when I go to see my hair stylist and dear friend. She performed what felt like an entire baptism and I could shine even brighter. I felt beautiful inside my skin, as if all the growth I had made over the past year internally had finally shown on the outside.

Cleansing commenced in my bedroom. What started as a small reorganization of my closet turned into a full room purging. Through time we change, as do our bodies and styles. My closet and room had become too much. Drawers, cabinets and hangers filled with items I will never use. We keep things out of guilt or aspirations we will be able to wear it some day. Stories attached to garments are what keeps us staring at some things unsure we could rid ourselves of it. I no longer wanted to remain holding onto anything just because of the story attached to it. Nothing remaining would be just taking up space without a purpose. Minimizing what I had, to reveal what I actually owned. Purging things that just occupied room created so much more space.

My weeklong retreat continued with a trip to Miami with my childhood friend. We grew up together trying to learn who we were and taking different paths to get there. We were always considered sisters when we were children because of our brown hair, small size and loud mouths. We were very different girls who evolved down our own paths but always remained friends and loved the other. Through all this time, we have become incredibly similar in our beliefs. Our love for life and how we want to experience it makes me realize we are more sisters now than ever.
She always gives me the certainty to never doubt myself. She has assured me since I was a child that I was capable. A best friend who has stood by me through all of life as we both grew our own way. Who has watched me go through all my awkward phases into who I have become now and has loved me every step of the way.

We explored Miami in our own way, which included healthy food, yoga in the hotel room and being present with each other. We had both deleted social media off our phones. We were able to be free together and give each other undivided attention.
Our morning began with a plunge into the cold Atlantic Ocean to cleanse ourselves. We reflected on the past year and the all that we wanted to leave behind in 2017. Taking time to digest what could change in the new year and ways to improve. We looked out onto the water knowing the chill that will take over but knowing it was necessary. We sprinted in, submerging completely into the turquoise water. My heart beating ferociously as I fully plunged. The cold water couldn’t be felt because of all the excitement that was taking over me in the moment. This moment with my long time friend leaving the sludge of the year behind me and feeling refreshed.
Together we are sisters. Constantly pushing the other to be independent, strong and happy. We let our wild curly manes be free after our ocean swim. This was us at our truest selves.
Living this year with no expectations has been the most exciting life I have lived. My week ended with me in Miami again to celebrate New Years. I’ve always placed so much on this day and what it needs to involve. This year I have worked on releasing control and allowing things to happen. That means releasing expectations on a day that is always fully loaded with them.
My last meal of the year was a quick stop into a Middle Eastern kitchen. My belly was full of hummus and I couldn’t feel more myself. My hair was in full form with the beach wind to make it even bigger. Big hoops earrings and thigh high boots, this is the way I wanted to walk out of the year. Feeling my strongest and most true self.
Being fancy and over the top is not always our scene. We felt fabulous in our furry coats, and Miami views. We witnessed fireworks on the balcony of the party at eye level. The clock struck midnight and they erupted in between all the tall buildings celebrating a new year of possibilities to come. We laughed contagiously into the New Year. The laughs and love that surrounded me was all I needed. But the caviar that I added on top of my beets was the cherry on top.
As the rest of the group went out to party, I stayed back by myself. I went on the rooftop in my comfy clothes and make up free. All the buildings standing tall encompassed me. The full moon peering down with all the stars shining as bright as they could. Music could be heard from all the nightlife of the city.

A city is so alive and full. A roof top party of one that was so alive and full. I danced barefoot alone with the music of the city into the beginning hours of the new year. This is the way I wanted to start my year.
The next day I laid in the pool looking up at the huge tree that shaded most of the yard. Watching how the vines wrapped around the trunk and every branch. Seeing all the different leaves and plants that had come together to hug this massive tree. I watched the birds and the planes flying over the city making their way to warmer places. I floated feeling the effects of the past week of restoration. With each breath I felt present and grateful. I could appreciate all that was around and above me. My mind clutter had been cleared out.
This week I gave myself time to restore. Solitude had become far overdue. Life, routines, relationships and careers pull us in every direction possible. We need to take a moment to just be. In the stillness we can be able to fully feel what is happening. Know when you need to stop and remove the clutter. Take the time for yourself.

Pause & take a breath.