JOYFUL GRATITUDE #110
I am deeply grateful for these quiet days spent with my close family around delicious meals and many wonderful desserts, easy moments of catching up together after months of only talking on the phone, of laughing and being ourselves with our different characters and interests.
This week we also took the time to discover some poetic films that got us thinking, to get warm in the sauna whilst chatting about the world we live in and how we can change it, to exchange (experience) gifts, to go for a mini road-trip to a pittoresque village close by, to share our plans for 2019 and of course to take activist naps and recharge our batteries…
JOYFUL GRATITUDE #102
Last weekend we spent a lovely, slow-paced weekend with my Mum and her partner who were on a visit to Amsterdam. I must admit, for many years I wondered why my Mum would systematically come to visit at the end of October, when the wind is icy, the rain always ready to tumble from grey clouds and the days are getting shorter. But I think I’ve finally understood:)
It’s because with this weather no excuse whatsoever is needed to walk just 200 meters before feeling justified about going into the next cafe and indulging in some delicious cake, and staying cosily indoors while we catch up with each other and discuss possible travel plans for next year. Also, spending two afternoons in the dark of the cinema, being transported to other worlds through movies, is a totally acceptable pastime and way to keep warm. It offered the perfect occasion to discover a talented young pianist in the small room of the Concertgebouw and be moved by her stories and music, shielded from the cold outside. So grateful for these fun moments spent together!
Last week went to recharge my batteries with my family in France. It was the perfect occasion to have lots of long chats during sunny walks in the forest and the park. Over cups of tea and home-made cake or under the duvet with my sisters we talked and talked, trying to make sense of the many things tangled in our minds, armed with angel cards to guide us, laughing at our interpretations of the what the words we randomly picked might be trying to tell us.
I love the plant in the photo above, with its hundreds of feather-like arms reaching out confidently in all directions. It is my visual reminder to keep connecting with people even if it takes some effort, particularly at the moment, because by reaching out I’m reminded that we all have our struggles, big and small, that there actually is no such thing as ‘having life figured out’, and that I am OK.
Though I didn’t come back to Amsterdam with anything like a solution or a plan on how to move forward, it was simply helpful to see that we love each other regardless of what’s going on because there is no right or wrong way to do things, these situations too shall pass once we’ve grappled with them and learned the precious life lessons they carry on their back.
Just returned from our trip to the Altantic coast of France. It was wonderful to have a bunch of uninterrupted time with Paolo and my family for the things that really matter: long, tasty meals with lots of laughs, discovering gorgeous beaches and swimming in the waves, playing guessing games where we mime French expressions (never realised how absurd some of them are!), a fishing trip where Paolo showed his all talent, sharing books and magazines, trying out zumba with my sister on the sand, going for seven minute road trips, walking along the shore with our feet in the shallow water whilst having real chats…
JOYFUL GRATITUDE #88
This summer I’ve decided to split my holidays into snippets and take a week off here and there, rather than several weeks all at once like I usually do. So today Paolo and I are off again, this time heading west to join my family on the Atlantic coast near La Rochelle.
I’m really glad to be able to travel there by train as it’s one of my favorite modes of transport and I don’t feel guilty like when I take the plane. Can’t wait for seaside vacation feeling, family meals and warm hours spent reading in the shade and enjoying ocean swims!
JOYFUL GRATITUDE #75
Today let me share this article that I really enjoyed reading this week and basically put words on what I often feel. Every time I have a tough time at work or something is bothering me, I have a tendency to daydream about taking a sabbatical and exploring far away lands imagining that that would solve all my problems;) Of course I love traveling and will continue to do so, however on a day-to-day basis I want to make sure I remember the concept of ‘the box of daily experience’ and improving the way I experience it, since this is much more accessible and rewarding than constant travel.
Writing JOYFUL GRATITUDE has definitely helped my box of daily experience feel fluffier, as I regularly pay more attention to the things that are readily available such as
- spending time with my family,
- trying new recipes with Paolo,
- admiring amazing plants in the local botanic garden,
- enjoying afternoons with friends and their kids,
- lying on the couch reading a book on my day off,
- going for walks around the neighbourhood
- and a myriad of other small pleasures of life:)
It seems that Winter finally got the message and handed over to Spring. Tiny little green leaves are making their appearance all around and we enjoyed some lovely warm weather in the last days. Perfect for a weekend without fixed plans, allowing for a long improvised wander along the canals with my sister as we admired the city whilst chatting (and searching for ice-cream:) It felt great not having my shoulders bunched up close to my ears permanently tensed against the cold, as we sat on a bench soaking up much-needed vitamin D and reading our books undisturbed while the sun slowly made its way across the sky.
JOYFUL GRATITUDE #73
I am grateful for having had the luxury of a long weekend at home in France to recharge my batteries. It was a pleasure to catch up with my family, chatting and laughing while enjoying delicious meals, a fusion of slow cooked French traditional dishes alongside Lebanese delicacies. Cakes were abundant as always, as well as Easter treats in many forms (including an unexpected chocolate clam!).
Not everything revolved around food though, we also soothed our mind with some lovely spontaneous meditation sessions, lying side by side on our mats, our heads supported by lavender filled cushions as we did our best to focus on the guided body scan. It was particularly fun to debrief afterwards and compare our experiences:)
JOYFUL GRATITUDE #72
So glad to start the long Easter weekend early. In the few hours since I arrived home in France a rhubarb crumble has been baked by my mum (filling the kitchen with the delicious smell of butter) and a huge pot of vegetarian bolognese sauce is now simmering away on the stove (the result of a team effort of mindful vegetable washing and chopping, whilst chatting away, laughing and catching up on each others lives in the past weeks:)
JOYFUL GRATITUDE #59
These days I’m enjoying spending time with my family. Having a bit more than just a couple of days together means we can do more than just scratch the surface on how we are all doing and what is keeping us occupied. Over many lengthy meals, cups of tea and pieces of homemade cake, we’re slowly getting past the talk of day to day topics to deeper conversations, and that’s where it gets more interesting and I feel like we really connect.
With my Mum and sisters, we spent a really fun afternoon of art and collage around the kitchen table to manifest all the wonderful things that we would like to call into our lives for 2018. Then over breakfast we were making grand plans to travel together for 2019. It is in these quiet times that there is space to dream big. I’m looking forward to what the future will bring us!