Meet Maryjane. For at least the last 12 or so years, she’s lived in a yurt in a field in France with her family. Instead of spending her life being ‘told what, when and how to learn, followed by years of employment being told what to do, just for the privilege of having somewhere to live and enough to eat’, Maryjane left England, moved to France, built a yurt and chose to live with nature.
I refused to swap my valuable time, my life, for a job that was meaningless to me, with an idea that at some point in the future, I would have earned enough to do what I wanted.
Hers is a fascinating story that sees her studying Shiatsu and travelling to Senegal and India where she taught permaculture. She lived on an ashram in Canada studying yoga for a year. Then she married and had kids and found herself living a life she didn’t want, one driven by a need to earn money to pay the rent, to pay the utilities, to repeat the life she’d had as a child. She wanted more for her children.
Clean air, clean water, the freedom for my children to be themselves and follow their natural rhythms, a place to plant trees and watch them grow.
I came across Maryjane when a friend posted her TedX talk from Galway in which she talks about rewiring your brain with birdsong. I’m not a huge fan of the sameness of the Ted format and I rarely listen to them but for some reason, this one I clicked on.
But while I appreciated the sounds of nature on some subconscious level, I’d never stopped to listen, to really listen and hear what was going on around me. There was always something else to do. Maryjane’s talk made me a more active listener and my mood has lightened. Now, when I walk through the garden, I pay attention to the bees as they gorge themselves on the purple clover. I sit awhile and listen to what the finches have to say. And I watch the swallows, who arrived just this week, wonder where they’re going to build their nests. For the first time in years, I have time on my hands and I’ve been struggling as to what to do with it. For the first time in years, I’ve slept in the same bed for more than 10 days straight. For the first time in years, I’m not finishing things, mainly because I’ve not started anything.
For the last 35 days, I’ve run through an alphabet of emotions: anxiety, bitterness, confusion, despair, emptiness, fear, guilt, helplessness, indifference … I’ve been upset with myself for not making more of the situation, for not doing more with my time. But the birds are telling me to chill. It is what it is, they say. Relax. And for that reminder, I’m grateful.