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  • Surapsari Fujimaru

Reflect, Release and Realize



I rest under the tree and feel the breeze caressing my skin. The passing cloud reminds me of constant changes in life.


I'm on a retreat in the Guadalupe Mountains National Park. Taking quiet time alone away from home has been my long-held end-of-year ritual. My phone is turned off, and my laptop is left at home. I need this time for reflection and recharge without distraction. Looking back at my path this year helps me set a direction for the new year.


I moved my end-of-year retreat to nature parks in the last few years. I love the simplicity of camping: get up, watch the sunrise, eat, hike, see and hear animals, smell flowers, gaze at the night sky, and sleep under the stars. As I relax into nature, she nurtures, inspires, and guides me.


I start each year with visioning and goal setting and end with a private retreat where I reflect on my process of working toward my goals: achieving, adjusting, changing, or eliminating them. Achieved goals empower me, while unachieved ones make me realize my hidden needs and clarify my path forward.


I get up and continue walking through the forest. I see new sprouts emerging out of the carpet of fallen leaves. The decay fertilizes the ground and nourishes the new life. Young green shines in the sepia death.


The walk takes me to the stream. I spot a small red leaf flowing with the current. It gracefully accepts the order of nature: ending, transitioning, and beginning. It follows the life cycle with no resistance, hesitance, or doubt.


With the end of the year fast approaching, I look at what is emerging from my accomplishments this year. I then release my visions, goals, and aspirations that had lost their spark and come to an end, with ease and grace, like the red leaf in the stream.


The new year is around the corner.



“We do not learn from experience... we learn from reflecting on experience.” —John Dewey

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