MA-losophy in France: Dance to the Rythym

I will have a dozen or so blogs about my trip to France in the Summer of 2013.  Expect the MA-losophy style while also getting tips that you may be able to use when traveling with family in Europe (in my case with 11 people total) and my ability to maintain my sanity (most of the time).  While I receive compliments on my ability to speak French, I am far from perfect and it is a continuously humbling experience.  The following are some of my adventures as the only family member that spoke the language and was most exposed to the culture.  Wow, did I learn many lessons.  Read on…

Psychic Connections
An interesting phenomena began to develop after more than a week of constant contact with 7 people in one apartment.  One morning I was hearing in my head “Beat It” by Michael Jackson then my son began humming it, and my husband responded, “I was just thinking of that song.” It’s not that this doesn’t happen at home, but when you are in such close quarters the connection becomes more obvious.  This is also why it’s important that we knew when to cut a cord (even in close quarters) when a member of the group was not in balance — not feeling well, was in a bad mood, was being negative.

We were all moving on the same schedule in our apartment.  In a type of rhythmic dance we would chat about the next day’s activities, took military showers (in this apartment due to the limited hot water) to be courteous to one another, ate breakfast around a similar time (by now we knew who would want coffee, nutella with bread, pain de chocolat–a bread with dark chocolate baked into the middle, fruit, bacon, eggs, tea…), then would transition to our new experiences together (sometimes separately).

We found that having a day of rest, calm and sleeping in after a couple of high activity days was a great way to rejuvenate and remain healthy.  This meant that while we had a later start than other days, we still made it to our destination by lunchtime (no later than 1pm or 13:00 hours to get our large group seated).  Arles, France was our destination with Roman ruins with well-preserved and marked ancient theatres, stone streets, historic entry ways.

3 Generations at our midday meal in Arles, France

First our midday meal.  Our server was a bit abrupt, but he warmed up a bit when he noticed we had three generations at our table.  Intially, I took the picture (I have a tendency not to be in pics because I’m usually the one snapping them) and our server saw this and gruffly commanded (you know, the kind of voice that says I’m kind, but I won’t admit it), “Vous vous asseyez!” (basically, take your seat).  To the left is the fruit of his labor.

When walking into the walls of Arles I immediately noticed the public toilets and got a little eye-rolling when I announced this, but having to eliminate… creates a dark cloud over one’s experience if what she is doing is the Pee Dance or worse.  Just sayin’!  How else could my 12-year-old do cartwheels in Roman Ruins?

My 12-year-old carthwheeling in Roman Ruins in Arles, France

This area — at least, in early June — was not overly crowded.  The ruins were well-preserved.  There were plenty of places to just sit and reflect on 1,000+ year old ruin stone slabs and stairs.  I would say that when going to Arles purchase the tickets to go into the theatres (don’t just peer in through the fences).

My 76-year-old mother attempted to connect to the stones, hear their stories.  While she was viewing her Roman soldier, it was a sunny day and I had no interest in “talking” and over taxing my mind.  I rolled up my sleeves and shimmied my skirt up a bit (making it more interesting for the ghosts of the past) to get my Vitamin D dose for the day.  My husband and kids went running in out of corridors and exploring.  I finally found them a number of stories up as they gave their champion poses.

We are the champions of the Arles ruins!

I, as usual, found my 3 to 4ish pm cafe and had my tea (in a great little plaza with many restaurants and cafes).  Others had ice cream in another shop in the same plaza.  Some went for beer.  Still others walked on to do whatever they wanted to do.  Arles is very easy to figure out, to walk, and felt very secure for our 2 to 76 year old tribe.  If you’re in the Provence area, keep this ancient city in mind.

The Gotta See (but Quickly) Mode
It was a good thing we rested up, because we headed into the “gotta see” mode.  Keep these quick and intuitive opportunities in mind.  It doesn’t mean you remain for the whole day, but it may be a place that you want to return to in the future.

Le Baux de France took us only 15 minutes out of our way back to our apartment.  Another walled village but with really great views as we had to drive up into the mountains a bit, we did a little shopping and made it back to our place for a light dinner.

After our meal, something for everyone, in the evening we sat on the patio and chatted, had various beverages (which also included a group of french neighbors bringing over a bottle of wine and small candies for the children in our group), upon my 12-year-old’s insistence there was some card playing, our family with children retired to their room, my mom (the kids’ grandmother) went into her bedroom to read, and I wrote.  I almost said it doesn’t get any better than that, but it does.

The MA-losophic message is notice the rhythm
Notice the dance and decide how it fits for you.  Understand that it might fit differently for others.  Enjoy the sameness of movement when it feeds you, is comfortable, energizing.  Be OK when you feel like shimmying away from a situation is best.

To learn more about my mind over matter practice, my self-help books, workshops, and techniques to create comfort for yourself and others, go to  www.MichellePayton.com.  Speak to you soon.

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