The Habits of Living A Life

The habits of living a life cherished, become so pronounced when you shift continents and cultures – or even towns. Everything changes – and yet les habitudes carry forward through time, if you like them – and if you want them.

After nine years of grounding-in to Normandy – renovating our 250 year old stone house, finding the correct French-made materials to do the jobs, painfully learning the language from the inside out (immersion *does* work), discovering the absolute treasures of a culture through the people and our friends – we decided it was time to put a foot (just one, mind you!) back on US soil – and so shifted continents — again.

It is revelatory to discover how deeply we rely on our ‘habits of mind’ as the French would say – les habitudes – and re-create a new life being lived, not dissimilar to the last one!

I was passed an article today, called ‘A Woman Abandoned Her Apartment (Paris) 1942 … What They Found Inside …’

And there it was – les habitudes.

What is common between us? It struck the deep cord of what matters in a life; that one’s habits, which create, re-create and define spaces and lives, are kept — and mostly cherished.

HERE, read this:

…and you will see what I mean.

It gives pause to consider that every day Madame de Florian was not there, in this lovely Parisian flat she called home, it was *still* all hers. She WAS there – not just in her heart and mind – but in her BEING.

It’s a space FULL of the oxygen of a life being lived!

How many conversations have I personally had with our French friends, and I’ll comment on ‘what a surprise it is that …’ which ALWAYS beckons the response of shrugged shoulders, a quiet, demure smile, and ‘mais c’est les habitudes’. Frequently, the answer to why things are so.

THERE, we get to witness a life (hers) now suspended in time and space,
and HERE, we relate and connect by virtue of what is strikingly similar.

Our sweet country cottage in the fields of Normandy, is a very humble home – nothing remotely similar to Madame’s apartment – but it is all ours.

It’s terribly intimate.

There’s nothing quite like knowing you can open the door, kick off your heels, pour a glass of favored wine, and relax.

When I look at the pictures in this article, I look at my own life’s habits – les habitudes which exist, breathe and comprise such ‘a security of being’, I think I’ll call it …

Like knowing what cupboard the salt is in?
Knowing what door home resides through?
Knowing where the light falls at a given time of day … where you can put mirrors *just* where you want to see what feeds you; where to place the settee for the best view of the room to ponder and Be; where you can saunter into la cuisine, pull down a favorite saucepan and begin to stir a meal onto the table…

So familiar …

The French know well the power of les habitudes — lives are created around them. And, there’s a reason they die hard.

Part of the cohesive nature of life’s safety net and sense of well being, no matter what — why — who would want to change that?