This week I'm getting used to calling it 2018 and inevitably like everyone I know, I'm drawing a line between last year and this year, using that line to start holding myself more accountable to my dreams, imagining all the changes I'd like to make and the person I'd like to become. But in reality I know I'm always changing, but that never stops January feeling really hopeful and new.
I spent New Years Eve at home, alone in my cocoon. After a big Christmas I couldn't really summon the energy to go out, so in the spirit of allowing myself what I need, I let myself stay home. This Christmas holiday period maybe has been the most rest I'm gotten in years. So much time spent at home alone had me giggling to myself as I nestled under the covers to watch Netflix while it rained outside. I started to wonder why my life couldn't be more like this all the time. Can I work less? Or be more efficient with my time? Can I live life all the time with a quiet, gentle joy and trust the work I feel inspired to do will be enough to feed me? This year, I hope so.
I had earmarked the Christmas holidays as the time to work on my visa application, work I'd been putting off since mid-November for some reason, I'm blaming the emotional blocks. But even during this quiet period, I couldn't bring myself to open the file. I found a way to do every other little bit of work I had to do before it. Until I finally came to the end of the line last week and started. I realised the things I was having to prove for this visa to justify my worthiness for a life in France were actually things I needed to get clear on for myself anyway. I set out in French my entire work history including this blog, and my business plan for how I planned to support myself here in France.
It was slow going writing it all in French but I found myself feeling proud looking at everything I've done to get to here and everything I can plausibly do now and offer in my work. This was a visa application, yes, but it felt like a means to look more closely at what I do and value it, the timing of this work seemed perfect. There are a few things like booking my flight home and back that I can only put in place/figure out once I sort this application. It's got me stressing, just low key in the background. As always, I'm trying to practice trust and patience that everything will fall into place when and how it should, even if it's not always exactly fitting in with my human schedule or when I told my Mum I'd be home again.
I had lunch with my dear friend Ula last week and as we always do, the talk turned to our work and dreams. We've been talking for a while now about how we can use our talents and passions more as a means to make a living rather than separating our lives into passion work that doesn't pay and work that pays, can we bring it all together? It's just more efficient to spend your time doing only work that gives energy back to you rather than draining you.
I'm working on a way to do more Skype consulting and coaching, to help people connect with their highest purpose and truth and then bring that through in the physical world, earth it, giving practical advice on everything I've learned and am always learning about blogging, social media, branding and marketing. I want to do more work helping individuals and business with social media, writing social media content more. I do a lot of this now and I really love it. I feel closer than ever before to figuring this puzzle out of how I work, I guess it will always be changing anyway, the puzzle. I hope to have a tangible, clear offering up on The Light Studio very soon and pick this up and run with it for real this year with my sister working alongside me too.
My friend Lydia came to visit for five days last week. We met on Instagram through a mutual friend and she first came to visit me and Paris two years ago now. She's a photographer who takes the dreamiest pictures; they're so beautiful they make me want to cry. She's a huge inspiration to me, the moods she captures.
Beautiful pics on film by Lydia Trappenberg on her visit this weekend
I remember a few years ago a friend told me I should be hanging out with photographers if I loved photography so much, I agreed and forgot about her comment. Unconsciously though, my life and friendship circle has become filled with more and more photographers since she made that comment, they give me so much inspiration, knowledge and support. To spend my free time and sometimes work time creating with these people brings me so much joy and energy.
We headed to the Saint-Ouen Flea/Antiques market in Paris' North-West on Saturday, spending our time in the Marché Dauphine and getting a drink afterwards at the nearby La Recyclerie.
We spent the day on Sunday with my friends exploring the Paris metro and taking photos on a very cold, grey, rainy day when we'd otherwise have been at home tucked up in bed in socks. It was a beautiful Sunday and I'll post the story here later in the week, our love letter to Paris metro.
Pics by Lydia Trappenberg
Lydia's a staunch vegan and she showed me all her favourite products in the hour we spent at a health food store near my place. We ate all our meals together, doing a tour of Paris' best vegan food - we ate a feast at Paris' little India around the Gare du Nord at Saravanaa Bhavan, vegan burgers at Hank's, mexican at La Doña in the 11th, gluten-free bread at Chambelland and the best coconut ice cream from vegan grocery store, Un Monde Vegan. Every time she visits she gets me thinking more and more about becoming vegan. For the moment, I try not to eat animals and will eat seafood if there's nothing else available, but living here in France I definitely eat cheese and enjoy it. I try to avoid gluten due to an intolerance so being vegan and gluten free seems like a big task but I think I'm headed that way. Lydia recommended me to read a book, Eating Animals, a kind of summary of all the popular arguments for eating vegan so I'll download it and report back.
Pressing on my mind lately too is money, again. With my flight home to Australia and other big expenses coming up right now as well as a slower work schedule over the holidays, I don't have much leftover in my pockets, I have enough, just enough. So I found myself reaching for a great book on money that I first read about a year ago offering a radical perspective on money, and everything really. Busting Loose from the Money Game offers up a perspective based around the idea that life as we see and live it could be just a hologram, a video game our souls sign up to play to evolve, learn and grow. It touches on some theories of quantum physics, how nothing really exists until it passes through consciousness to create it, everything starting from an infinite field of equal potentiality and nothingness, a conscious thought is what sparks anything into being. It talks about money, income, expenses, work, lack of work, bank accounts, the rules of money and none of it being real unless we give it the power to be real through our beliefs and thoughts.
We believe that in order to make more money we have to work harder. We believe we have to save and hoard money for the future. We believe that money is limited, in finite supply. We put so much belief in money and its rules, we give it so much power. But money doesn't really play by rules. One day you can have a big windfall out of the blue for no reason and end up with a big sum of money in your account or equally you could make a huge loss through inexplicable disaster, losing your job, theft. We say that the logical laws of money are real but really money is just as unpredictable as all of life and we should look at it with trust and patience, not with fear and control. That's what I'm trying to do more of anyway.
The book presents a pretty radical way of thinking that I really connect with. If it interests you you should read it because I can't possibly do it justice in my own words. The take away for me is that I'm pulling myself out of the money fog again, not letting money or the lack of it control my life or act as an indicator of how well I'm doing. I have enough to do everything I want mostly and when I don't have enough, I kind of think I wasn't meant to do that thing anyway. Money is a part of my life but it can't control me if I don't let it.
Anyway, I'll write again next week ❤
p.s. I love this song this week