• Arika Lawrence

Lesson Learned from 2021



I didn’t write a single blog post in 2021, and I could spend the length of this post explaining why but I’d rather not. Since most people use this week to reflect on the year, I knew I had to make the effort to post my year end wrap up, even if it’s brief. The long story short version is, 2021 was a year filled with more surprises and unexpected twists in turns. I’m happy as hell to say that I survived it because this is the gift this holiday season. Despite all the lemons I was given, I hacked my way into learning how to make more than just lemonade – it’s been a whole recipe book of creative ways to use lemons. Sidebar: I remember in 6th grade science class, we learned how to make lemon batteries (LOL). Anyway, back to the year end reflection, 2021 challenged me mentally. Each day felt like I was doing my very best to navigate the mental gymnastics of the world and my home life. The headlines were crazy: couples breaking up left and right, social injustice movement, Covid wreaking havoc on homes (especially right now as I type this), public mass murders on the rise, frontline workers overwhelmed & beyond tired, Zoom burnout, supply chain broken, stock market plummeting, The Great Resignation marching on, housing crisis & homelessness quadrupling overnight, world leadership is just…(nevermind), people often felt hopeless, agitated and down right, lost…and so on and so forth. It’s non-stop madness and if you’re not careful it WILL consume you.


So, what has 2021 taught me? Three key lessons have shaped my mental perspective and how I’m entering 2022. I’m a work in progress like everyone else; however, I am pretty damn proud of myself for fighting through it…because it’s been hard. So here it goes:


Lesson 1: It’s okay that you’re not okay.

We’re all in the messy middle, trying to manage a lot of emotions, pressure and expectations to perform at a certain level each day but it’s okay to admit when you’re not okay. To this day, when the most decorated athlete of all time and seven-time Olympic medalist & gymnast Simone Biles stepped away from competing at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics to prioritize her health, I 100% heard her message loud and clear. I had those days (many days), even at work, and all I could do at that moment was choose to step away. Because I know that I can’t mentally push myself to perform when it’s just not in me – creative burnout, pandemic fatigue, and mental blocks — it’s real out here. Sometimes I struggled to step away because I thought it would be held against me, be a sign of weakness, blah blah. What I learned from Simone and so many others this year: It’s NOT a sign of weakness to admit you’re not okay, in fact, it’s a strength. What Simone did on a global stage was so inspiring and a huge mental health breakthrough that we all never knew we needed. It was bold and it was the call to action that we all needed to see as an example of what goodness and greatness can happen when you do choose yourself. I’m still a work in progress on this lesson and I’m thankful for my observant, kind and supportive network of people, on and offline that helped me navigate this lesson.


Lesson 2: Stay close to people who feel like sunlight.

I downloaded a free app called “Motivation” on my phone a few years ago, and it periodically sends me motivational quotes to help me get through the day. These exact words: “Stay close to people who feel like sunlight” appeared across my phone and those words haven’t left my side. I even posted it and it received several likes because I believe we ALL could benefit from a random (but timely) message coming across our newsfeeds. I don’t even know who said this quote (shout out to you, whoever you are!) but these words are so true. We’re living in unprecedented times and the last thing you need is to be surrounded by people who make you feel like: gloom & doom, an arctic blizzard, a tsunami, or a category five hurricane (sometimes all of these rolled in one…sigh). Let me be the one to tell you, It’s. Not. worth. It. You deserve to surround yourself with people who nurture your soul, pour into your mind and uplift you when you need it. If your circle/support system/community isn’t lifting you as they climb, then they’re not for you. Period.


Lesson 3: Have you thought about soul care?

I’m a huge advocate for the self care movement that’s been happening! I love seeing so many people prioritizing their mental, emotional and physical health. I love seeing people choose themselves first. I love that people are becoming more aggressive with their self awareness and recognizing that not everything serves them. However, what I would love to see more of is a soul care revolution. I started my soul care journey in 2019, and it’s been both hard and amazing. Some days you have big breakthroughs; other days, it feels like a setback – no one said the healing process was linear nor easy. I could write a whole book about it but for now, I’ll just say this: turn inward and do the work. I’ve come across so many people (on and offline) in different phases of their life and the uniting theme I see is pain, especially now. You never know what type of mental and emotional traumas and hardships people are carrying. However, I’m convinced that what we’re all bearing witness to in the world is what happens when a soul goes untreated. When we’re not channeling our energy in the world in a positive way, it tends to play out negatively (i.e. senseless violence, pollution/excessive waste, dark web dealings, etc.). The soul care revolution is bigger than therapy, it’s bigger than a pampering day at the spa, it’s bigger than reading and saying affirmations daily, what people need today is introspection and deep healing. Again, I could get into a long ramble about this but I sincerely hope more people learn to find wholeness, wellness and healing within self first. Your body is the vessel that carries your soul and your body is the only temple , so make the choice to nourish it, heal it, love it and cherish it.

 

Cheers to 2022

I’m not big on new year resolutions; however, I’m super big on setting intentions, planting the seeds and doing the work that needs to be done now to ensure that I’m stepping in 2022 with good energy, a clean heart and a beautiful soul. I’m looking forward to unplugging a bit more to do some introspection focus work. Because taking rest is productive. Cheers, y’all & Happy New Year!


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