The windmill has gone, but the wind is still there. - Victor Hugo 🌬 Did you know his middle name was Marie? Did you know I changed my middle name to Marie in junior high for a few years to be like my grandmother and because my middle name held pain for me? 💔 Victor was a French poet, novelist and dramatist. Of course, best known for Les Miserables, which I saw in San Francisco for my 18th birthday. Oh, the connections, when you open to them, are astounding. 🎭 He wrote lyrical lines about music, laughter, life and love. "Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face." 😊 "There is nothing like a dream to create the future." 🙏🏼 "To love beauty is to see light." 🌟 His words speak to the depths of my own as a poet and lover of all things beautiful and good in the world. 🌏 Today I captured this image at Zaanse Schanse in Holland. Nothing could be more fitting as I was overwhelmed by the beauty of ancient windmills, frozen waterways, ice skating children, a pair of swans and handmade clogs. My son learned how weavers made sails by hand 16 hours a day or longer every single day and slept sitting upright in tiny closets. 🏘 It was a day we will always remember. It was a day worth capturing and sharing. I hope you see the beauty. I hope you see the light.
This is my life. How did I get here? I know how... and it honestly wasn't all pretty. It was layered with grief and loss and betrayal and hopelessness. It was rife with challenge and strife and obstacles. Loneliness and sadness seemed to cling to my heels and hang on for dear life. They have not all been left behind on this journey. The views are just much better. And the distractions much more enchanting. If you must go through loss and suffering, then I say go through it somewhere magical. And that's what I am doing, the path I am carving out for myself. All is not perfection. My health is challenged by the constant change. My physical pain has increased exponentially. But again I will approach it like everything, learn the lessons that are showing up and keep learning, growing and changing with every step, every location, every serendipitous meeting, every chance encounter. This is my life. And I say yes.
Ancient Theater of Fourviere. Built in 15 BC at the center of the Gallo-Roman city. Seated 10,000. Here I stand, over two thousand years later with my bilingual handquote about one step at a time. I marvel at the steps (and seeming missteps) it took to get me to this place and wonder about all the other people whose journeys brought them here as well. I stand amazed.
"No one is as deaf as the one who does not want to listen." - French proverb When a debate leads nowhere because of tenacity on both sides, this proverb is likely to be used. It feels like our world continues to divide down lines that are damaging, hurtful and traumatic. The focus and energy goes to the wrong places and the debates are intellectual or emotional diatribes that lack true compassion, connection and a desire to end suffering for all. It's gut wrenching and weighs heavy on my heart. I am worn down by it all and see no change happening when ears and hearts are closed, when sarcasm and insults rule the day and voices are used as weapons against those who once were friends.
Here to steal your heart... this is a page in my personal planner/calendar and the sentiment could be so many things in recent days and weeks. Today we ventured to Nice and were wooed by the azure hue of the sea. Even the stones on the shore fit perfectly in my favorite color palette. The view from the castle in the mountain was beyond belief. Tomorrow we head to Lyon where I imagine the images and experiences will steal my heart again. And again and again. I suppose I should be packing but my art journal page wants to be painted and my found flowers need attention. It will be another late night. Perhaps I'll turn on Beauty and the Beast and let Belle serenade me while I once again put all my belongings into bags and suitcases for the road ahead.
For 1500 years monks have inhabited this island, praying and serving, devoted to a secluded quiet life. Surrounded by the Côte d'Azur in the French Riviera, they walk along the wooded path, holding their prayer beads and drinking in the calm of their surroundings. This island just off the coast of Cannes both stole my heart and made me catch my breath. Every moment a postcard worthy picture. Every sound a music of serenity. Every breath a fresh opportunity to release the old and inhale the new. #monklife
Destiny is made known silently. Not so much in loud bursts and outrageous fanfare, but in little moments of insight and serendipity. That's where destiny seems to show herself and the future starts to become more clear day by day and step by step.
55 days. It’s been 55 days since I posted anything on social media. . At the end of November certain circumstances in my life had begun to sour and move further out of alignment with my highest self, which can be difficult terrain for even the most mentally healthy person to navigate. But because I live with C-PTSD this stressful situation triggered emotional flashbacks that sent me spiralling into intense depression and anxiety. . And so it was after my last post, two days before Christmas, that I realized what I needed was to take the rest of the holiday season off of the internet. I acknowledged that if I was going to pull myself out of this depression tailspin before things became irreparable without medication what I needed was to go radio silent, enter a self-care cocoon, and commit to the slow inner work required to reestablish healthy boundaries and positive mental health. No replying to texts or emails or DMs, definitely NO Facebook, and only the scantest smattering of my fave Insta-stories to follow. A social media fast of sorts. . Two weeks, I figured. Two weeks off of social media would help to calm my stress-ravaged mind. But I had no idea what a profound effect this social media fast would actually have on me. My mind did indeed calm. I began to sense my intuition again. I could feel the pull of the right path to follow. . And then two weeks turned into three, and then four and then five and then six… until seven and a half weeks had passed in what felt like the blink of an eye. . I spent the entirety of early winter––that magic Dreamtime of the year––living as much in the present moment as possible, seeking alignment where ever I could find it, and generally staying in flow with my intuition and the energy of the seasonal and lunar cycles. . It was a time much healing. It felt like a coming home to myself. I made peace with some hard lessons I had to learn regarding the aforementioned negative situation and yes, did finally heal my
Colorful buildings line the streets leading to the sea. La mer, she is called, and she calls to me. Gentle waves touch the shore washing over rocks and stones. On the shores of southern France, I am home once more.