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An End of Year Open Letter on Rituals, Success, Failure, Rest and Vitality of Retreating

Dearest Friend,

I sit en-route to Edinburgh from London to celebrate the holidays in a way that is unconventional and one that is bringing great joy to my soul. Of adventuring, retreating in solitude for a few days to remember who I am again, being enveloped in nature and journeying through new experiences. All privileges I do not take for granted while in this able body. And, thankful, really!

The gathering on the morning of winter solstice in England at The Stonehence
Winter Solstice Celebration at Stonehenge

The English are very surprised as to why I would not be celebrating Christmas at home. I get chatty with people when traveling and of course and on my ride to the station the topic of home and tradition came up with my cab driver. His short surprised laughter was endearing as he found out that neither my family nor my partners is from Scotland. We, nonetheless, heard each other out.

Taking part in the winter solstice early morning sunrise celebrations on the 22nd of December, 2022
Winter Solstice Celebration at Stonehenge

A few moments before I stepped out of the vehicle as the rain was pouring and him reminding me to stay dry, I simply said that I am creating rituals that feel right and easy to me. When I am at peace or on my way back to it and there is some level of effortlessness and I am able to stay attuned to my body, my needs are mostly met, this is when I feel right at home. The concept of home has long been convoluted and confusing to me as a first generation diasporan. Now, it's home when and where there is peace. Nurturing and nourishing relationships that help foster that is where my heart gravitates towards, including the one at “home” home.

This year the Highlands of Scotland and the hustle and bustle of London were calling. And, did you know most Scots can’t pronounce ‘purple burglar alarm’? You tube it! You’ll thank me later.

I digress…

In these moments of solitude where I am allowed to permit myself the time to ponder and sit in some discomfort and unfamiliarity especially during solo travel or retreating from the day to day routine and grind that brings upon the illusion of control and permanence, I realize the fragility and beauty of being human in this body and this life. This allowance of space and time lends itself to the creativity we are all deserving of putting out into this world whether it's on canvas or paper or movement.

Victoria Park in London

Whether this note finds you celebrating this season with immense joy or there is a tincture of sorrow or grief unpermitting of the ease and contentment you deserve, know that I am with you and I rejoice that we can carry each other through these times. Even if we have not connected for a while, please know that our connection holds in some form in this grand web of humanness.

Why I write this end of year reflection is to help process a year filled with more love, career enhancements, new connections and friendships and loss. Change, even in its positive form, tends to disorient the mind-body. New neural pathways mean challenging times for a moment, hopefully filled with new insights that shift the course of how things are done. For the first few months of the year of the tiger, I got myself into territory very unknown to me. A bermuda triangle of sorts where I almost always got out of sorts when I lost focus of what was really important. I had to remind myself constantly of the deeper intention of why I am doing any of this and how this is contributing to well-being and joy. On why creating this physical space was important to me is what I came back to over and again. And, to bring together communities for the purposes of deep collective healing, rest and new, authentic rituals.

There is an intense amount of organization and planning that goes to keep a space open. Two things I often consider to be weaknesses. All that lend itself to a year of deeper learnings and failures. I learned the unpredictability of it all and the fragile nature of human desires and behaviors. As a conscious business owner and creator, I attempt to lead with intention and attention. What happens in this space happens only because it feels aligned and makes sense. As you close this year I hope you are able to celebrate both your wins and losses with utter compassion and humble pride.

Moving forward, how comforting it is to know that the mystery of not knowing and the unease that arises from it is a common side effect of simply being human. You are not alone. That unchartered space ahead can include your wildest imaginations and everything you have yet not been able to dream. The invitation is to let soar and permit for plans to fall through without holding on to them if they no longer feel right. Create rest rituals that bring you ease. Give space to moments that have never occurred before. And, perhaps it is in that space of novelty where you permit yourself to step into the truer nature of things that feel right to your soul. You have everything you need for this.

2023 is the year of the water rabbit, and at Pür Joy the year of rituals that feel right, restful and revitalizing. We will continue to bring love, community and intention to whatever we do. That’s both a personal promise and one I make to you if you wish to engage with events at the space. We begin the year strong with workshops on The Magic Of Intention, Coffee Cup Reading, Joy is a Radical Act, Tarot Time with Vicky Vox, Queer Joy and so much more.

If you are still with me on this memo, I am beyond elated to muster the energy with the encouragement of my former retreat family to bring back international and domestic getaways back into the mix and we are taking a trip to the jungles of Puerto Vallarta during the summer of 2023. If this excites you at all, feel free to get sidetracked a little by visiting the information page on the Pür Joy of Rest retreat taking place from June 19th to the 24th.

Finally, I look forward fearlessly to the future and with lots of contentment with what was. May the year ahead bring about the prosperity, longevity, deeper breaths and glittering moments you so desire. I am here when you need it. May rest and rejuvenation fill your days, fun and excitement your evenings and in between during the night, dreams that are wild and sexy.

Warmly and tenderly,

Armen Menechyan

Creator of Pür Joy


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