August 27, 2017

Mes pensées et la réalité possible (My thoughts and the possible reality)

Bonjour! J'espère que vous avez un beau dimanche. I hope you are having a lovely Sunday. Vous m'avez manqué. I have missed you, or as it translates in French - you have been missing from me. As a result of one of my courses this semester I have been thinking a lot about language and how it interacts with culture and the way we see the world. You have been missing from me. It's such a beautiful phrase, expressing that without you I have not been whole. You are an important part of who I am. I just love that.

I am thankful for this time to write. I'm sitting here with a hot cup of coffee, the sun is flooding the apartment, and all is calm. I am very much at peace. For me, it is so important that I have found this time as last week marked la rentrée, the start of the school year, for my 4th graders and for me as I continue my journey as a student, following my dream of achieving fluency in French. If I said I was balancing all of this with total grace and ease, I would be lying to you and lying to myself. This transition has been a challenge, but I am grateful for the guidance of so many as I consider the best way to organize my time, pursue my passions, and remain gentle with myself. 

Today I am going to share some of the thoughts (mes pensées) that have been streaming through my head during this busy time, and the inspirational advice I have found that is helping me to reframe my outlook and find more of that grace and ease I am striving for. 

Ma pensée: I can't stop everything and go for a run with you. I'll never get all of this done. 

La réalité possible: Wednesday was my first evening of juggling 4th grade and my university studies. I was sitting on the couch (frantically) working, and Tony walked in smiling and said immediately: "Go get changed, we're going for a run!" You already know what my initial reaction was... but I overcame that negativity, laced up my sneakers, and hit the trail. The air was cool, the Hamilton soundtrack reminded me to "rise up", and for about 30 minutes I just completely let go. What did I discover? My work was waiting for me right where I'd left it, and I was able to finish it with a lot more calm and a lot less resentment. This moment of self care was completely spontaneous (I want to do more of this), but for me I know scheduling time for calm and being intentional about my self care will make a big difference as I navigate through la rentrée, and the rest of the year for that matter. I'm committing to two yoga classes a week. I sign up on Sunday and schedule it into my planner just like I would a meeting or an appointment. These things have to be just as much of a priority as everything else, and I know as I saw on Wednesday that tending to my body and mind will only increase my productivity. 

Ma pensée: SEVEN novels en français in one semester?! Plan on not seeing me for a while. 

La réalité possible: This one really got me. And I guarantee the time I spent worrying about it could have gotten me through a considerable chunk of a novel. Thank goodness for Carrie Anne of French is Beautiful and the support communities she has developed and fostered. On the French is Beautiful Book Club Facebook page, a fellow Francophile asked how she should approach reading in French - should she look up every word, or just read through to get an overall sense of the story/content? Carrie Anne responded that both are wonderful, it just depends on your time and intention. I jumped in on the conversation and shared the above assignment. Carrie Anne's response completely inspired me to look at this challenge in a new light:

The reality is that this assignment is going to get me closer to my goal of total fluency, and that is a gift. On a related note, Carrie Anne has also inspired me through her l'art de VIVRE course that I am currently taking. This past week's theme was l'amour, love, and with that Carrie Anne shared just how important family and quality time with family is to the French. We spent some quality time with Tony's family last night, and as I shared my French reading challenge, his sister gave me a very simple but important reminder: Break it up into manageable chunks. Work through one novel at a time. It was advice I could have told myself, but surrounded by the warmth of family, this gentle reminder and feeling of support was just what I needed.

Ma pensée: It might be June before I get back to my art. 

La réalité possible: Ah, this thought! It has been almost three months now since I've gotten serious about pursuing my art and launching a shop on Etsy, yet I continue to tell myself it's not the right time. I'm pretty sure I've even made excuses here on the blog. I'll share the dream, then come back with one reason or another that now is not the time. Enter the incredibly inspirational Cathy Heller, host of the podcast Don't Keep Your Day Job. As I was listening yesterday, she shared the most beautiful advice about just beginning: you don't have to know the first 8 steps. You don't even have to know the first 2. All you have to do is figure out the first step, and take it. The rest will begin to come naturally. So I'm just going to take the first step and try something. I just opened Fleur de St. Louis Atelier! Right now I am selling my personalized "classics" paintings in a limited quantity of 4 per month. It is my dream to share my artistic passion with you and bring a little extra joy to your every day. I do have to honor what I can handle at this time, so I appreciate your patience as this item is hand made personally for you with lots of love. Enjoy! :) 

Ma pensée: Wait... I've also got this blog going too!!! 

La réalité possible: My plan is to be here every Sunday, just like this, sharing the content I love with you. My vision is that you will enjoy the weekly post as your rest and restore for the week ahead. 

As always, thank you from the bottom of my heart for being here. I have said it before and I will say it again, this community means so much to me. I hope today's post inspires you to reframe any negative thoughts that might be swimming around in your head, and also to go for your dreams one step at a time.

Warm wishes and lots of love from me to you,

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