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February 07, 2019

Lupita Nyong'o gifted herself 10 days at a silent retreat for her 35th birthday

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2018 was one tiring yet fulfilling year for Lupita Nyong'o, that she felt the perfect gift to herself for her 35th birthday was a 10-day silent retreat in Texas. 

After facing her fears and trying to find inner peace, Lupita Nyong'o found herself signing up for a 10-day silent retreat to celebrate her 35th birthday. Although she's no stranger to meditation, being silent for ten whole days is something she had not done prior to the encounter. 

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During a recent interview, she shares how after the release of "Black Panther" a day after the Oscars, she decided to pack her bags and just leave as a gift to herself. 

“Meditation is something I’ve always been interested in. It always has felt a little mysterious and out of my reach."

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THE EFFECTS OF THE SILENT RETREAT

According to Lupita, her 10-day journey is so different from the lifestyle that she is used to, especially being a celebrity. While it entails talking so much and exerting so much of yourself for other people, this 10-day retreat allowed her to be still with herself and just listen. 

"[...]  It was the best gift because, the thing is, my job has two main parts. There’s the acting, and there’s the celebrity. And the celebrity involves a lot of giving. After talking so much, and just expend, expending, expending, to sit with myself and just listen. Our lives are so full of distractions; you go from one distraction to another.”

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When asked whether she felt like leaving at one point of the retreat, she said that she did, countless times. However, she had no way of going home as she surrendered her phone, signed a waiver to stay the entire ten days, and did not have a car to take her back home. 

“I was constantly wanting to leave and then daring myself to take one more hour and another hour. And oh my God, it was crazy and beautiful, because after the 10 days, it wasn’t talking that I missed...The heart of the program is about unclutching from attachments to pleasure and aversion, the idea that we attach to things that we love and to things we dislike. And our identities are built on assembling these things to basically write the stories of our lives, but learning to unclutch from that control makes it easier to live, to exist.”

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LIFE AFTER THE RETREAT

As for the first thing she did after the retreat? It was to listen to Kendrick Lamar's album "Damn," which featured a song from her hit movie "Black Panther." While she usually focuses on the beat rather than the lyrics of songs, after the silent retreat, she was able to hear every single word that Lamar was belting out. 

"I loved the music, but rap sometimes comes at me too fast and I’m not really able to hear it fully. But this time, I heard every word Kendrick Lamar said. I heard the musicality. I heard instruments I’d never heard before. It was like clarity. And I was just, like, wow. I imagine that people sometimes get that from drugs. But it was really nice to get that just from spending time with myself.”

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LIFE AFTER "BLACK PANTHER"

Although Lupita has a lot of projects to be proud of and new movies to star in, it seems "Black Panther" has a special place in her heart. Due to the success of their movie, they have been bagging nominations left and right, and this has caused their cast to become closer than ever. In fact, Lupita and Michael B. Jordan have even been linked together, something that the two have denied. They might not be romantically involved, but as Michael puts it, 

"“Me and Lupita? I love her to death. Beautiful girl, very talented.”

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