In the modern world, productivity and the ability to progress are held up as some of the most highly-desired traits. We strive to do more, make more, move faster, and to achieve as much as possible in the least amount of time. I’ve noticed that there is a worrying tendency to place more value on a single person’s measurable contributions to industry and economy than on who they are as people. We sling around the oft-uttered phrase, ‘I’m just so busy’, as though it were a badge of the highest honour.
Earrings, Dhs2,279, Monica Sordo at The Modist
The busier our schedules, the more productive we feel. And the more we feel productive, the more valuable we feel. As exhausting as all of this is, it’s no wonder that the concept of self-care is growing in popularity. Taking a break and listening to yourself is just as important as pushing forward on your grind. Having been personally guilty of putting hustle before self-care in the past, this is something I’ve learned from experience and am still continuing to learn. As I write this, I’ve just recently returned from a trip to Bali with a few close girlfriends. It was a very spur of the moment trip, which for me, is not how I usually travel. I even tried to make up every reason not to go – from the weather, to my schedule, to a million other excuses. But two days before we were supposed to leave, I forced myself to stop thinking and just book the entire thing through Escapes, a friend’s travel agency.
Top, Dhs1,800, Alexis at Ounass
If there ever was a lesson in saying ‘yes’ to everything, this trip was it. The slower pace of life, the tropical environment, the kindness of the locals, the realness of the friends I travelled with, and the experiences
I had were cathartic beyond belief (if there’s ever a life lesson in letting go of control, swinging through the jungle thousands of feet above the ground is it). I looked into the eyes of elephants, visited a healer and took time to be present in the moment with friends and new acquaintances. I came away with clarity, a fresh perspective, and a deep sense of gratitude for the things in life that truly matter.
Bag, Dhs4,200, Okhtein at Bloomingdales
This trip gave me the much-needed space to reconnect with what was important and to reground myself. Most importantly, this holiday also gave me permission to stop chasing things, and to just say yes to what comes my way. I’m learning that when you’re constantly in the pursuit of something bigger, you often wind up missing the most important things that are right in front of you. In a way, taking a break like this one to Bali has similarities to Ramadan, because it’s during the Holy Month that people have to adjust their pace, refocus on what is important, and connect with people in a far deeper and more meaningful way. Our interactions are not just transactions, as the modern world so often positions them to be, but true connections.
Shoes, Dhs659, Kurt Geiger
The ritual of tradition, such as fasting and praying, is a reminder of our roots. Nourishing this foundation of culture, people and tradition brings one back to what has remained essential through the ages. This year, I’m looking forward to being here in the Middle East for Ramadan and to connecting on a deeper level with the people I’ve come to call my friends, and in this place I’ve come to love as my home. It will be my second time experiencing the beautiful and peaceful traditions of Ramadan first-hand and I’m eager to put my newfound philosophy of saying an unconditional ‘yes’ to the universe into practice.
From May 2018 issue of Harper's Bazaar Arabia
Photography: Efraim Evidor, Styling: Lucy Wildman, Carla wears: Attico dress at Matches Fashion and Stuart Weitzman shoes at Net-a-Porter