I am coming back from Ile d’Yeu !
I had decided to spend a week there before leaving for Asia.
Ile d’Yeu is a small charming island on the Atlantic coast of France. I have been coming here on holidays for ages. And over the last years, I did not take so much time to come, as I enjoyed my holidays to travel in other places, mainly abroad.
So I wanted to spend some time here.
I wanted to ride my bike all over the island (it is quite small actually !), read books on my favorite café terrasse in Port-Joinville harbour (in particular « Le Métier de Coach », basic theory about coaching), swim in the sea, eat delicious local food, do yoga and meditation.
And I was also coming with a specific objective : over the last years I had attended great conferences and I had approximately 10 different notebooks with notes : I wanted to summarize the main content on my laptop before flying to the other side of the world !
« Honeymoon* » beginnings
* Reference to the curve of change concept – it usually starts with the honeymoon period in which everything is absolutely perfect
The first two days, the weather was absolutely wonderful. It was really like a dream. I was biking in the sunshine and the wind, listening to Dalida’s « Mourir sur scène » (thank you Camille et Etienne for inspiration !), singing. I was floating in mindfulness. I would seat on the rocks and just listen to the noise of the waves. Observe the ballet of the boats. Wonder at the seagulls flying. Look at the way the reflection of the sunshine on the deep blue sea created ephemere flashing diamonds.
I had settled my « office » in the small garden behind the house. And I was working there on my laptop, with sun umbrella, sunglasses, sunblock – crème solaire, French friends :).
I even listened to a monk-guided recorded relaxation podcast while laying in the sun – yes, I thought it was a bit strange at the beginning, but it was indeed very nice ! I decided it would be a « sun relaxation » !
I was overwhelmed by beauty. I was swiming in a cloud of seaside happiness.
And then, I caught a cold.
I was having terrible headache and I was sneezing all the time and going nowhere without my tissues !
I still tried to enjoy the sunny weather, going to the harbour in the morning to sit on my wonderful terrasse with my café crème and go to the little market buy fruits, vegetables, goat cheese and chausson aux pruneaux (a typical prune cake).
But it is not the same with an annoying cold.
And then, the weather radically changed. Rain arrived. The wind started to blow. It was much less nice to be riding my bike.
But above all, I started to feel lonely !
I am usually very independant and love being on my own. But after a few days alone, with my cold and the bad weather, I really started feeling what it meant to feel lonely !
It is not a feeling I experience very often. In my « normal » life, I go to work, see my family and friends very often. I socialize a lot.
Phone calls, skype, emails or facebook messages are not the same. It is great to feel close and connected with family and friends, but you do not share emotions, thoughts, time the same way.
The things I missed
I also felt that I missed doing things for others. I missed doing things that I felt were more widely useful. I felt the limits of doing things just for me – working on summarizing my notes, reading, learning, listening to Tony Robbins tapes (I happened to have the podcasts of Personal Power 2 on my laptop so I relistened to some of them).
What I was doing was nice to do, and I knew it would be useful for the future : learning theory about coaching, gathering valuable knowledge, reading. In a way I was feeling like a kind of warrior preparing for a battle haha ! – except that my battle would be very gentle, peaceful and joyful ! And rather intellectual too.
But I felt too much self-centered. I missed giving, doing things for others, sharing, smiling and laughing with my family and friends, eye-contact with them, hugging them.
I missed external stimulation, having an impact, and being caught in more active occupations.
And even if I am delighted by the beauty and wildness of nature, I must say I missed the energy of the city. The rythm. The intensity.
Well. I needed this experience to become aware of that. To discover myself with a new perspective and learn more about me.
Serendipity encouter with the POGO sailing Dutch team !
At the moment I was experiencing all this, I had a joyful serendipity moment !
While I was at my ritual café terrasse on Monday morning, writing my journal, someone talked to me in English – it is not that common to hear another language than French at Ile d’Yeu actually ! « Are you writing a book ? »
That’s actually a very nice aspect of being alone : people talk to you very easily !
Elmer was from the Netherlands, and he and his friends were sailing for a week around La Rochelle. They had stopped for 2 days in Ile d’Yeu. We started to talk. As I knew well the island, I shared tips with them about what to visit, where to go for dinner…
And then, a bit later, I was biking home and I met them again. They had rent bikes to discover the « wild coast » of the island. They offered me to join them later for dinner and I accepted.
I brought them to my favorite restaurant, translated the endless « galettes » (savoury pancakes) menu for them, ordered « cidre brut » (appel cider). It was great – they were like my guests and I was excited to make them discover the local gastronomy !
We had a really great time, sharing about sailing, the fantastic latest-technology boat they were sailing, our respective countries, the island, entrepreneurship, bucket lists, gastronomy, the importance to do « one thing that scares us each day »…
After dinner, they offered me to come to see THE boat and there I was, drinking herbtea in a boat with new serendipity friends, while outside the weather was very stormy !
It was wonderful because nothing of that was planned. Because that morning I would never have imagined that I would end the day with a sailing bunch of lovely people, in their boat, talking about this rain planner app that is so famous in the Netherlands !
It was the magic of chance, life, synchronicity.
Thank you, Peter, Wibrand, Ron, Elmer for this magic time together !
Au revoir, Ile d’Yeu !
I think that for the first time I am leaving Ile d’Yeu with no sadness, and even some relief !
A week alone here was enough. Especially with bad weather and a cold !
I have reached my objective of summarizing the main ideas of my 10 notebooks and I am happy with this – it required some discipline from me.
I have learnt that I need to be connected to people through real deep social warm interactions !
I have learnt that I need a balance between learning and action.
I have learnt that I need to feel that what I do is useful.
Actually, writing these lines about what I learnt I am thinking : « But, Julia, you knew that ! ». Well, yes, in a way this is not a surprise.
But I have made the experience of it now. I know how it feels to lack these things.
Now I understand. This is the difference between « knowing » and « experiencing ».