Since moving to Berlin, I’ve seen more weather changes in one day than I care to count. From rain to snow, to bright and sunny mornings, the party capital certainly does have it all. Unfortunately, it is taking a little toll on my skin. (Not going to sit here and proclaim I have the best skin ever, cause hyperpigmentation is very real round here but we accept it and move on like a true champion.) Among the hectic travel and running around the city like a headless chicken, I’ve decided to make some time for myself where I can truly catch up on all the self care that I’ve periodically disregarded in the week.

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Thus, Neo-Soul Sundays was born. I was scrolling through my playlists and came across, my Noughties Jazz Club mix that I’d made a while back. With a pinch of Floetry, some Musiq Soulchild and of course Jill Scott and Ms. Badu, I wanted to recreate the feeling of listening to spoken word in a early OOs jazz bar in Brixton, whilst actually being stuck in a East block apartment.

I remember as a child watching MTV Base and reveling in the beauty of black women with Afros and dreads wearing autumnal colours, talking about falling in love, falling out of love, but above all, loving themselves. There was something magical about the way in which they were not afraid to be vulnerable and it that honesty show true strength and true care. For me, Neo-Soul was always synonymous with crisp, Sunday mornings, a good breakfast and great company.

Music aside, NSS goes beyond a music playlist. It talks to a habitual lifestyle in which we make time to look after our inner and outer beings. We’re constantly bombarded with books, advertisements and online visual content of how best to physically look after our bodies -how we can make ourselves look or appear to others. Whereas there is some truth in looking after your anatomy, we neglect the mental and spiritual aspects of our character.

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Me at the DDR Museum, 2016 by N. Rhodes

We forget the importance of talking and laughing. We’ve forgotten meditation, reading and writing. Even something as simple as writing a thank you note, washing the dishes or making the bed. Simple acts that show care and respect for ourselves and our surroundings. I think that in the heat of moving, I’ve been too worried about money, friends, my career and my health that I’ve brought on unnecessary stress. It shows in my speech, my negative attitude towards people and ultimately feeling uninspired. NSS in a way has given me reason to work on myself, my goals and my friendships. It says that ‘In my body is a good place to be’ and to live as such.

For example, the Sunday passed (22/01/17) was absolutely exquisite. I woke up to freshly made pancakes, sunshine coming through the window and eventually a walk around a former airport field, now used for gardening, exercise and family picnics. Later on I was treated to a great lunch and a really quiet and relaxing afternoon. Days that I often take for granted because in a working culture, our worth is measured by our outputs.

It felt good to take some time off and do a little work here and there but really take time to appreciate where I am and where I’m going. I’m not saying ignore the problems you face in the hopes they go away; I’m suggesting that it’s healthy to take a day off from regular causes of stress to look after your mind and body to prepare yourself for whatever the week has in store for you.

Music and Vitamin D can cure a lot of things. Not all, but some, and for that I am truly grateful. I hope the playlist helps you the same way it does for me. With big changes ahead in the political and social world, it’s really important that we support ourselves and mentally as well as physically arm ourselves for events to come.

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