Les CĂ©vennes: A Lost Paradise of France

My love tells me he dreams of this place every night. I thought that was bizarre until I saw it. This land where he grew up is like a garden of Eden. I felt like a fairytale character wandering the forests with a straw basket and provincial dress. I climbed cherry trees to pick and eat the juiciest fruits. We find wild mushrooms to eat with dinner. The stones in the forest are silver and sparkle in the sunlight that creeps through the canopy of leaves. Chestnut trees, some 2,000 years old stand watch over the place, and will long after we are gone. Little creatures peek through the trees and stones. Neighbors of this very sparsely inhabited land peek out of their stone homes to say hello and offer fresh grape juice. Everything feels ethereal, like a place to rest from earth, yet a place filled with more earth than I have ever seen. My hair feels softer, my skin feels smoother, and I am filled with peace spending my days reading in front of the waves of green trees, or napping in front of the stars so clearly defined a meteor seems to pass every five minutes.

Here are some lessons I have learned here:

3 tips on how to deal with jealousy

1. Compare to someone else. Instead of comparing yourself to others, think of people you admire most and compare someone your jealous of to them. Once you do this you can capture the silliness of comparison, because you can more clearly see how uncomparable each wonderful and beautiful people really are!

2. We are all constantly changing. Even if someone was more X quality than you, we are all changing. Nothing is still. Every moment, body, career, and pleasure is like a river constantly moving. I am not saying to wish ill on others, but realize you are both riding different trains and sometimes you will be staring out the window seeing a beautiful view while they are stopped at the station, and vice versa. Enjoy each others' good moments because all changes and that is part of the adventure!

3. Stop wearing other peoples' perceptions. Sometimes we might not even notice that we are comparing ourselves out of other peoples' values. Maybe your boyfriend said he loves blondes and you have red hair. Subconsciously you may envy certain blondes only because you are taking on his preferences. Forget other peoples' preferences. This life is for you to live and their thoughts have nothing to do with you deep down. This life is for you to love, create, and enjoy your own values!

I hope you have a great week.

Photography by Isiah Perkins

Butterfly Effect

“When I suddenly see myself in the depths of the mirror, I take fright. I can scarcely believe that I have limits, that I am outlined and defined. I feel myself to be dispersed in the atmosphere, thinking inside other creatures, living inside things beyond myself. When I suddenly see myself in the mirror, I am not startled because I find myself ugly or beautiful. I discover, in fact, that I possess another quality. When I haven’t looked at myself for some time, I almost forget that I am human, I tend to forget my past, and I find myself with the same deliverance from purpose and conscience as something that is barely alive. I am also surprised to find as I gaze into the pale mirror with open eyes that there is so much in me beyond what is known, so much that remains ever silent.”

Clarice Lispector

I found this completely intact butterfly while walking on my way to class. I also found myself appreciating this beautiful cycle of life and death and beauty we all share.