I really can’t believe that this time 3 years ago we were in the final stages of packing up our life in Northern Ireland before driving to the Dordogne at the end of August. In so many ways it feels like I have lived here at La Girouette all my life. I actually feel like I have known the forests, the rivers, the caves and the villages here for many lifetimes.
My sense of belonging here is so strong and I feel so deeply at home in this beautiful and ancient landscape. Even though I really loved the life that we had created in Northern Ireland and that land was where I lived for the larger part of 5 decades, this truly feels like home.
I sensed it as we drove through the Dordogne for the first time to house-sit in October 2016.
I sensed it the first time I walked through the chestnut forests here that October.
I sensed it when my heart burst open with joy on our first visit to a market in one of the medieval villages here.
I sensed it on the next house-sitting assignment here when I was able to lie outside in the winter sun and read a book in February.
I sensed it when I first ate sun-warmed figs directly from the trees.
I sensed it when I first swam in the Dordogne river.
I sensed it when we first visited La Girouette on a bleak December day and made an offer of the asking price 12 hours later!
Initially I discounted all those senses because, probably like you, I was conditioned as a child to use the rational, logical aspect of the brain in my head. I was taught how to learn, how to study, how to gather and to prize knowledge and intellect. So to even think about leaving our friends and family as well as 3 businesses, selling a house, 2 cars and then moving to France with a 60 year old who spoke very little French, 2 dogs and no guaranteed source of income was just mad…..or was it?
Over the winter of 2016/2017 my mind spent much time either trying desperately to figure out HOW I could make this dream come true or rationalising my way out of this dream. It went through every possible thing that could go wrong. It went through all the reasons why this was mad and why it was a dream that came true for others but not for me. My mind wanted both the dream but also the safety and security of the lovely life which we were already living. Clearly it couldn’t have both.
You will notice that the feelings of ‘belonging’ and of ‘home’ that I experienced during our first visits here arose from my senses and not my mind. My heart jumped for joy at as I heard the lady who sells her honey playing her accordian at her market stall. My skin tingled with gratitude when it felt the February sun on it. My taste buds said “merci” when I ate figs directly from the trees. Everything about my relationship with the Dordogne was experienced through my heart and my body and NOT my mind. In fact, as I write this, I realise that maybe this was one of the things I loved about it so much. Less thinking and more embodiment has definitely been my internal journey since putting down roots here.
I hope that you have fallen in love at least once in your life. That is what it was like for me when I first ‘met’ this region. There was nothing rational about it at all. It was a real ‘coup de foudre’ (love at first sight) for me and I soon realised that if I did not listen to what my heart and my intuition was telling me, I would deeply regret it for the rest of my life. Even if it was scary. Even if it meant letting go off the familiar. Even if it stretched me out of my comfort zone. Even if it required me to feel the fear and do it anyway over and over again.
If I had listened to my mind and not my other brains, I would never have experienced the levels of full blown bliss that I do on a nearly daily basis. I would never have had the joy of selling cut flowers with my friend every Tuesday in a market which has been running for 702 years. I would never have connected with the interesting and inspirational friends that I have made from all over the world. I would never have relaxed as deeply into my physical body. I would have missed out on SO many genuinely beautiful, fulfilling and life-affirming experiences. And my brain would have missed out on all the learning which it has had to do with improving my French, managing French bureaucracy, understanding the etiquette of rural life here and so much more.
I truly love the brain in my head. It is an amazing organ and I am so grateful that it is in good health. It does such a great job. However, it is not my only brain. The more I live here and the older I get, the more I rely on my heart and my gut in my decision-making and as my guides through life. My mind is wonderful but only when I put it to work in service of my heart. Otherwise I find that it can be extremely restrictive and limited in so many ways.
I wonder what dreams your heart has right now that your mind is talking you out of?
I wonder how often your gut has told you something and you have ignored it because it “doesn’t make sense” only to have its guidance confirmed at a later date?
I wonder where you would live if you listened to your heart and your intuition and not your mind?
I wonder who you would live there with?
I wonder what new adventures and experiences would reveal themselves to you if all your brains were aligned?
Why not take a chance this week and consciously decide to listen to your heart or your gut at least once instead of listening to your mind?
Just for fun, just as an experiment to see what happens!
How good could it be? 😉