What Have We Learned? Reflecting.

Nearly five years ago I started this blog. We had lived in France for just three months. I was full of enthusiasm about taking a chance, in fact I started this blog to encourage others. And although I am now going to put things into place to leave France, I still feel that life is an adventure; and for me, or should I say us, staying still and doing the same ‘ol, same ‘ol is not the way forward.

I have often written about my Tree of Tao the huge old fir tree in our garden that has always relaxed and inspired me as it gently swayed in the wind. Recently as we sat under it I found myself looking up through her majestic branches as they went with the flow of the breeze, and felt a little poignancy that we will be leaving this place.

As we tend to do we got chatting about changing direction, and I asked RD if he had ever regretted the move. His resounding answer was no, as was mine; and we both said the same: ‘Because we have learned so much.’

If someone had told my five years ago that it didn’t matter if your roof had blown off, because at some point you would be able to fix it, that you just had to trust that what you needed would come your way at the right time, I would have laughed at them, or thought them mad. We would have got into debt and got the roof fixed. But during our time here we have read and embraced many philosophies of the Tao Te Ching, and not having debt is one of them.

We did not get into debt, we lived with a leaking roof for over three years, and we are still alive, and it got fixed.

In the same vein when our well ran dry two years after arriving we lived without water for eleven days, and again for four days in the winter until we were able to have mains water connected to our house. Yet here we are, still alive, with memories of showering each other with a watering can (not easy when your husband is over six feet and you have to stand on a ladder!) and laughing as we did it. As a result of all of this we don’t waste water, and we don’t fear things going wrong, it doesn’t kill you, but it does make you stronger.

We say to each now, there is no point in stressing over it, what will be will be.

As we sat under that old tree, talking about all the things we have learnt, lessons we can take with us, we laughed about all the things that had happened, because we are stronger because of them. We realised that we are more patient than we ever were before, we don’t have to have everything now, and often say to ourselves ‘Do I really need that?’

The answer is invariably ‘No’.

But more than anything RD and I have learned that we are not ‘doing the driving.’ And we have learned acceptance, even though we often have to remind ourselves of that.

We know that ultimately what is meant to happen will happen and there is no point fighting it. In fact our ‘Faith’ often brings tears to our eyes, because we know that is the biggest gift that has been given to us, and I don’t mean any religion, just ‘faith.’

We have learned that where there is good there is bad, and where there is bad there is good. That life is a balance, you cannot have one without the other. I do believe that attitude of mind can bring you good or bad depending on your mindset.

We have each other, we have lived in this fabulous place, we have seen hares and deer and breath-taking sunrises and awe inspiring sunsets. But to have that we have also had a hurricane, and a tornado, and freezing nights.

We have struggled with money and work, and people, but we have always had each other, and we know that is a gift.

We have had the gift of love from our animals, we were given Wiglet, but we lost our lovely Tillybet. We looked after Sophie the feral cat, and the joy of seeing her change was balanced by the tears when she died. We had twenty years with our green eyed cat Molly, balanced by the heartache when she left us at the beginning of the year. Understanding that balance has helped us so many times. We know we cannot have it all.

During our time here as well as the ‘Tao’, we have read The Alchemist’, and we are still reading the fabulous Mark Nepo (The Book of Awakenings.) It never ceases to amaze us when we open that book at a difficult time that the passage we come to read gives us the answer to our problem.

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For me, my most recent learning has been to ‘let go’. Or I thought it was until I realised that I had let go once before, when we sold our beautiful house in the UK and look at what it gave me. This time it was a reminder, let go and you know good things will come.


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